Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 2538

1 Wednesday, 24th September 1997

2 (10.00 am)

3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Could we have the accused

4 brought in, please?

5 (Accused brought in)

6 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning. Does everybody hear? Are the

7 interpreters ready? Again, good morning. Does the

8 Prosecution hear? The Defence? Mr. Blaskic, do you hear

9 me?

10 MR. BLASKIC: Good morning, your Honour. I hear you fine.

11 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing, continuing the

12 interviews of those people who have been called by the

13 Prosecution. Go ahead, Prosecution, please.

14 MR. CAYLEY: Good morning, Mr. President, your Honours,

15 learned counsel. The Prosecutor would now like to call

16 Lieutenant Colonel Thomas.

17 JUDGE JORDA: About how long have you scheduled for your

18 questions?

19 MR. CAYLEY: Approximately two and a half hours, your

20 Honour.

21 (Witness entered court)

22 JUDGE JORDA: Fine, thank you. Do you hear me, Colonel?

23 THE WITNESS: I can.

24 JUDGE JORDA: Please remain standing. Would you give us

25 your name again, please? You are?

Page 2539

1 THE WITNESS: Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Martyn Thomas.

2 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. Before testifying, please read the

3 solemn declaration, which you are asked to read pursuant

4 to the rules of procedure and evidence.

5 LIEUTENANT COLONEL THOMAS (sworn)

6 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, you may be seated. Colonel, you

7 were called in by the Prosecution as part of the charges

8 that were brought by the Prosecutor against

9 General Blaskic. Mr. Cayley?

10 Examined by MR. CAYLEY

11 Q. Thank you, Mr. President. Colonel Thomas, you have given

12 your name to the court. Could you please give your

13 nationality?

14 A. British.

15 Q. What is your current profession?

16 A. Regular army officer.

17 Q. In the British army?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. What year did you join the British army?

20 A. 1976.

21 Q. If you just -- briefly I would like you to give some

22 background to the court, very briefly. Whereabouts did

23 you do your officer training?

24 A. At Sandhurst.

25 Q. That is the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst and that

Page 2540

1 is, I think, equivalent to West Point in the

2 United States or Sancerre in France?

3 A. That is correct.

4 Q. How long was that period of training?

5 A. About 14 months.

6 Q. What was the training centred around while you were

7 there?

8 A. Essentially it is leadership training, based on

9 low-level infantry skills to develop leaders to, at that

10 stage, command platoons or their equivalent in the

11 British army.

12 Q. When you answer my questions, if you could address the

13 judges rather than me? Thank you.

14 Which part of the army did you join when you left

15 Sandhurst?

16 A. I was commissioned in the Cheshire Regiment which is an

17 infantry regiment.

18 Q. I think you were commissioned as a second lieutenant

19 into the army, is that right?

20 A. That is right.

21 Q. Do you remember what year that was?

22 A. That was 1978.

23 Q. I think you joined your Regiment, the Cheshire Regiment,

24 on a four-month emergency tour in Londonderry in

25 Northern Ireland, is that correct?

Page 2541

1 A. That is correct.

2 Q. To give some background, because you are going to be

3 talking about this in your particularly relevant

4 testimony, what is the size of a British infantry

5 battalion?

6 A. It varies on the particular role they are in at the

7 time, whether they are based in Germany or the United

8 Kingdom or in Northern Ireland, but usually between

9 about 550 and 750 men.

10 Q. Am I right in saying that that battalion is then

11 subdivided down into companies?

12 A. That is correct.

13 Q. How many companies are there normally in a battalion?

14 A. There are normally three rifle companies or fighting

15 companies, to give it a simple explanation, a support

16 company and a headquarters company.

17 Q. Those companies are then divided down again into

18 platoons, is that correct?

19 A. That is right.

20 Q. Very briefly, the Cheshire Regiment; why is it called

21 the Cheshire Regiment?

22 A. Because, in common with a lot of British army regiments

23 which have a long history, we were raised in 1689 in the

24 county of Cheshire, in the north west of England, and we

25 recruit nearly all our soldiers from that particular

Page 2542

1 part of the country. As I say, in common with most of

2 the British Army, the army has very strong regional

3 connections.

4 Q. I think after your service in Northern Ireland, the

5 Regiment, the Cheshire Regiment went to Germany, is that

6 correct?

7 A. It was actually in Germany at the time, they went to

8 Northern Ireland from Germany, but yes, I did return to

9 Germany.

10 Q. What was the role of the battalion in Germany?

11 A. We were then what was called a mechanised battalion, we

12 had armoured personnel carriers, and we were at that

13 time involved in, if you like, along with much of NATO

14 at that time, defending against the then perceived

15 Soviet threat.

16 Q. I think your job then was as platoon commander, is that

17 correct?

18 A. That is correct.

19 Q. How many men did you command at that time?

20 A. About 32.

21 Q. I think that was from 1978 to 1979, is that correct?

22 A. Right.

23 Q. I think you then completed an in-service degree in

24 politics at the University of Bristol?

25 A. That is right.

Page 2543

1 Q. From 1979 to 1982. You then returned to the Regiment in

2 1982 and you were second in command of an infantry

3 company in Ballykelly in Northern Ireland, is that

4 correct?

5 A. That is right.

6 Q. What was your job --

7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, think about the interpreters,

8 please.

9 MR. CAYLEY: My apologies, Mr. President. I will slow down.

10 What is the role of a second in command in an infantry

11 battalion?

12 A. He stands in for the company commander when he is away,

13 he does a lot of the routine administration of the

14 company and basically helps to run the company with the

15 company commander. It is the sort of job that a young

16 Captain would normally do and at that particular time,

17 the company commander was, of course -- was Major

18 Stuart, who subsequently went on to command the

19 battalion when I was one of his company commanders later

20 in Bosnia.

21 Q. You were a Captain at this time and this was from 1982

22 to 1984?

23 A. That is right.

24 Q. From 1984 to 1985, the battalion moved to Hong Kong as

25 part of the British military garrison, is that correct?

Page 2544

1 A. That is right.

2 Q. What was your position at that time?

3 A. In Hong Kong I was the adjutant of the battalion.

4 Q. What is the role of the adjutant within an infantry

5 battalion?

6 A. You are the commanding officer's principal staff

7 officer, responsible for the day-to-day administration

8 of the battalion for what we call G1 matters,

9 administration, discipline, that sort of thing. As

10 I say, really you are essentially the commanding

11 officer's executive officer. You are also responsible,

12 particularly in Hong Kong, for the ceremonial side of

13 the battalion.

14 Q. Of course, Hong Kong has now gone back to China and the

15 British military garrison has withdrawn.

16 A. That is right.

17 Q. In 1985, I think you returned to the Royal Military

18 Academy in Sandhurst, is that correct?

19 A. That is right.

20 Q. What were your responsibilities at this time, at the

21 Military Academy?

22 A. I was what was called a company instructor, I had three

23 platoons over the two-year period of officer cadets,

24 each platoon being again about 30 cadets, and I was

25 responsible for taking the cadets from day one of their

Page 2545

1 training to when they were commissioned 7 months later

2 and basically ran their training along with the other

3 staff.

4 Q. This was based around infantry training and tactics,

5 primarily?

6 A. Essentially low-level infantry tactics up to company

7 level.

8 Q. You were essentially training the future leaders of the

9 British army, is that correct?

10 A. That is right.

11 Q. I think then from 1987 to 1988, you were again in a

12 training position in a territorial infantry battalion

13 based in the United Kingdom, is that correct?

14 A. That is right.

15 Q. Then I think in 1988 you were selected for Army Staff

16 College, is that correct?

17 A. That is right.

18 Q. And that involved training for you at the Royal Military

19 College of Science at Shrivenham and at the Staff

20 College in Camberley, is that right?

21 A. That is correct.

22 Q. What did this training involve?

23 A. The first part of the course was ten months at

24 Shrivenham, which is a science-based course to prepare

25 army officers for staff jobs in the Ministry of Defence

Page 2546

1 and other scientific establishments -- other

2 establishments whereby they may be involved, for example

3 in the procurement of weapon systems, in the staffing

4 and purchase of weapon systems and that sort of thing,

5 and it was essentially a science-based course.

6 Q. Colonel, if you could slow down --

7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, we have the same concern here.

8 I know all these questions are important, but he is

9 telling us his life. He is available to you, you called

10 him, I suppose he is going to say what he can about the

11 conflict in which he was involved. Perhaps all these

12 questions could be summarised quickly. We would be

13 sensitive to that. If you say that it is particularly

14 relevant, of course, continue in that line.

15 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I only have a few more questions.

16 My view is I call the -- the Prosecutor calls this

17 witness and he is a military man and in order to provide

18 some foundation for the basis of his testimony, I think

19 it is relevant that you actually hear about his military

20 career and what he will base some of his opinions on.

21 As I say, I only have a few more questions, but I do

22 think it is relevant and I do think it is important.

23 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Continue then.

24 MR. CAYLEY: The training at Staff College, you say this is

25 to prepare officers of the British army for staff jobs.

Page 2547

1 I think it is also true, is it not, that Staff College

2 is there to prepare, as it were, the future leaders of

3 the British army, those persons who are destined for

4 higher rank, is that correct?

5 A. It certainly provides a foundation to go on in the army,

6 yes.

7 Q. I think you were then promoted to Major in 1989, is that

8 correct?

9 A. Correct.

10 Q. I think you then actually carried out what is known as a

11 staff job with headquarters United Kingdom Land Forces

12 in Wilton in Salisbury, is that right?

13 A. That is right.

14 Q. What did that job involve, very briefly?

15 A. Essentially it was largely in the training world and

16 I was involved in staffing matters of training policy

17 for the army across a wide range, really, which I will

18 not go into detail here about, but it was a training

19 policy job.

20 Q. I think in 1992 you then returned to command a company

21 with the Cheshire Regiment, is that correct?

22 A. That is right.

23 Q. How many men are there in a company?

24 A. At this time, and it is probably more relevant to what

25 we are going on to, I was commanding a company of about

Page 2548

1 100 men in Germany and at this time we were what was

2 called an armoured infantry battalion, so we were

3 equipped with Warrior vehicles.

4 Q. I think it was at this time that the Cheshire Regiment

5 actually deployed to Bosnia passes as part of the

6 United Nations Protection Force, is that right?

7 A. That is right. We were warned in August 1992 that we

8 were likely to be part of the first British deployment.

9 We then prepared between August 1992 and November 1992

10 and we then deployed with all our armoured vehicles in

11 early November 1992.

12 Q. We will come back to that, but I just want to bring the

13 court up to date with your career. I think after your

14 return from Bosnia, you went back to Germany, is that

15 correct?

16 A. That is right.

17 Q. Where you continued to command a company and then in

18 fact you moved on to another training job with the

19 armoured infantry training team in Senelager in Germany,

20 is that correct?

21 A. That is right.

22 Q. I think there you trained British army personnel for

23 service in Bosnia-Herzegovina with the UN Protection

24 Force and subsequently with NATO forces, is that right?

25 A. That was certainly part of the job, yes.

Page 2549

1 Q. I think you actually instructed, am I right, on the

2 tactical use of the Warrior armoured fighting vehicle,

3 is that right?

4 A. That is right.

5 Q. If I could ask for the first exhibit to be placed in

6 front of the witness, these exhibits have been

7 premarked. This is exhibit number 100 and the image is

8 Z1/169.

9 Mr. President, we are using new technology this

10 morning. The image appears on the screen. You will be

11 talking a lot about the Warrior and I think just for a

12 point of reference for the court, this is a Warrior

13 armoured fighting vehicle, is it not?

14 A. Yes, it is.

15 Q. This is the vehicle that was extensively used by the

16 British infantry battalion in Bosnia?

17 A. That is right.

18 Q. So when you refer to "Warrior" you are referring to this

19 vehicle?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Thank you. I think then from 1996 to 1997, you were

22 chief of staff for training support command in Germany,

23 is that correct?

24 A. That is right.

25 Q. I think, just to bring us right up to date, in February

Page 2550

1 of this year you were promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and

2 given command of the third battalion, the Cheshire

3 Regiment, is that correct?

4 A. That is correct.

5 Q. How many men do you currently have under your command?

6 A. About 350.

7 Q. Colonel Thomas, you are, are you not, a professional

8 army officer?

9 A. Yes, I am.

10 Q. I think you have been for 20 years, is that correct?

11 A. That is correct.

12 Q. How familiar would you say you are with infantry

13 training and tactics?

14 A. As you will have heard from my testimony, I have been

15 involved in a fair number of training jobs, so yes, I am

16 very familiar with infantry tactics.

17 Q. Are you familiar with the infantry training and tactics

18 of other armies other than the British army?

19 A. Obviously to a much lesser degree, but as part of

20 training, certainly at Sandhurst and Staff College, one

21 did study the tactics of the Soviet Union.

22 Q. Now we come on to your particularly relevant testimony.

23 I wish you to recall the events that occurred between

24 November 1992 and April 1993 when you were a company

25 commander of a company, the Cheshire Regiment in Central

Page 2551

1 Bosnia. I think you have already said, and if this is

2 correct please confirm it, the Cheshire Regiment was

3 part of the British government's contribution to the

4 United Nations Protection Force, is that right?

5 A. That is right.

6 Q. I think you deployed to Bosnia with elements of British

7 cavalry and also certain logistics or supply troops, is

8 that correct?

9 A. That is right.

10 Q. What was the modus operandi of the Cheshire Regiment in

11 Bosnia? What was your mission?

12 A. We were absolutely clear in the fact that our mission

13 was to support the United Nations Commission for

14 Refugees in the distribution of aid throughout Central

15 Bosnia. That was essentially our mission.

16 Q. And to, as it were, provide protection for those

17 actually attempting to supply humanitarian aid?

18 A. That is right.

19 Q. When did you arrive in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

20 A. On 11th November 1992, although I had been on a

21 reconnaissance in October.

22 Q. Whereabouts did you arrive?

23 A. We arrived at Split, we spent a couple of days

24 offloading our Warriors from the ship. We then

25 low-loaded to Tomislavgrad and then drove them over the

Page 2552

1 mountains into Central Bosnia.

2 Q. I think you were located, were you not, in the town of

3 Vitez in Central Bosnia, the battalion headquarters was

4 there?

5 A. That is right.

6 Q. And the majority of the soldiers in the battalion. How

7 long did you actually spend in Vitez?

8 A. I was not there for very long initially, I spent about

9 two or three weeks there, barely time to unpack, before

10 I was despatched up to a small town called Kladanj,

11 about 50 kilometres south of Tuzla.

12 Q. I wonder if you could indicate on the map next to you

13 the location of Kladanj?

14 A. Just here. (Indicates).

15 Q. So it is really in the north eastern corner of Bosnia?

16 A. That is right.

17 Q. Take a seat now. What was your function in Kladanj?

18 A. At that particular time we were very concerned about the

19 situation in Tuzla, which was deteriorating rapidly, and

20 there were also reports that some of the enclaves were

21 in severe difficulties. At that time we began to hear

22 about Srebrenica. It was felt we ought to have a

23 presence in the north eastern part of Bosnia, so I was

24 sent up there with a small team to establish a link in

25 that area, and what we were then tasked to do was to

Page 2553

1 escort convoys along a stretch of road from Kladanj into

2 Tuzla.

3 Q. Colonel, if you could slow down and try and follow my

4 pace. I know it feels unnatural, but the

5 interpreters ...

6 I think you commenced these duties in Kladanj and

7 then at the end of December you moved your entire

8 company to Tuzla, is that correct?

9 A. That is correct.

10 Q. Whereabouts were you based in the town of Tuzla?

11 A. We were based in an airfield, a former Yugoslavian

12 airforce airfield about 8 kilometres to the south east

13 of Tuzla.

14 Q. What were your responsibilities here?

15 A. Again, it was very much as best we could to escort aid

16 throughout the area of Tuzla and north of Tuzla to open

17 up routes as best we could, to carry out liaison with

18 the factions on the ground, to establish some sort of

19 dialogue with the Serb forces who were to the north and

20 east of Tuzla and also to meet, there was a regular

21 convoy which came from Belgrade which we used to meet on

22 the Bosnian/Serb front-line.

23 Q. Who were the factions in this particular area?

24 A. Tuzla and that particular area is primarily a Bosnian

25 Muslim area, but we were very close to the Serb

Page 2554

1 front-line so we had some contact with the Serbs.

2 Q. I think in early January, am I right in saying that you

3 actually crossed the front-lines into the Serb-held area,

4 is that correct?

5 A. In fact I went across I think on three occasions, but on

6 one particular occasion, we went down to the area east

7 of Kladanj, which was in Bosnian Serbia, to try and

8 establish links with the Bosnian Serb brigade commander

9 whose troops had been shelling us, or shooting at us, on

10 a daily basis near Kladanj. The aim of that particular

11 visit was to ask the Serbs to stop shelling us.

12 Q. I think you stayed here until February 1993 and then you

13 actually moved back to Vitez in the second week of

14 February, is that correct?

15 A. That is correct.

16 Q. I think here you commanded one of the operations

17 companies, alternating on duty with another company of

18 the battalion, C Company, is that correct?

19 A. That is right.

20 Q. What were your responsibilities from the Vitez area?

21 A. Essentially it was carrying on what we had set out to do

22 and that was to escort humanitarian aid. Our mission

23 had moved on slightly in this time and we were -- we had

24 teams of liaison officers at Captain level who were

25 heavily involved in negotiating with local factions. We

Page 2555

1 were developing routes, carrying out reconnaissance of

2 lots of routes in the area and basically giving a

3 presence on the ground.

4 We were also involved with negotiations with the

5 Serbs to our west in Turbe because they were shelling

6 Travnik, which was of some concern to us, and also

7 because we were quite regularly involved in prisoner

8 exchanges with the Serbs and also, occasionally, body

9 exchanges.

10 Q. You have a copy of a map actually and I wonder if the

11 usher could just lift up the first map? For a point of

12 reference, I would like you just to mark on that map the

13 location of the British base in Vitez.

14 A. This area here. (Indicates).

15 Q. Fine. What is the name of that area?

16 A. It is just south of Stari Bila. It was actually in an

17 old school -- well, in fact it was not an old school, it

18 was a school which had been used up until the time we

19 moved there. We occupied that.

20 MR. CAYLEY: You have marked that with a green pen on exhibit

21 29. Mr. Registrar, what is the number of that exhibit?

22 THE REGISTRAR: 29H.

23 MR. CAYLEY: 29H. Thank you. How would you describe the

24 state on the ground, the atmosphere in Vitez, strictly

25 in February of this year; in fact, the atmosphere in the

Page 2556

1 whole of the area of the Lasva Valley where you were

2 patrolling at that time?

3 A. It did fluctuate considerably. There were occasionally

4 tensions on the ground between the local factions,

5 occasionally roadblocks would be set up by either side

6 to prevent our access into particular areas,

7 particularly if local forces had some sort of operation

8 going on, for example, against the Serbs, but generally

9 the situation was not too bad and we were able to get on

10 with our principal task, which, I repeat, was, of

11 course, to escort humanitarian aid.

12 Q. You mentioned the factions in the area. Who were the

13 factions in the Lasva Valley?

14 A. They divided up between Croat and Muslim, and they were

15 spread throughout the area.

16 Q. If the witness could now be shown premarked exhibit

17 100/2 and 100/3 and, for the technical staff, this is

18 Z31 and Z32.

19 First of all, that badge on the screen in front of

20 you, do you recognise that badge?

21 A. Yes, I do.

22 Q. What is that badge?

23 A. That is the badge of the HVO or the local Croat forces

24 that we saw in Central Bosnia.

25 Q. If the witness could now be shown new exhibit 100/5,

Page 2557

1 which for the technical staff is Z32; do you recognise

2 that badge?

3 A. Yes, it is the standard army badge worn by all soldiers

4 in the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, i.e. the Muslim

5 forces.

6 Q. Did you regularly see these badges during your time in

7 the Lasva Valley?

8 A. On a daily basis.

9 Q. Is that how you actually identified the forces that were

10 on the ground?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. If we could now move ahead considerably in time to mid

13 April, and specifically 15th April 1993; am I correct in

14 saying that you went to a small village called Putis?

15 A. That is correct.

16 Q. Could you go to the map that is there in front of you,

17 and if you could mark, actually in a different colour

18 than green, and if you could mark on the map, you are

19 marking in orange the location of the village of Putis.

20 A. (Witness marks map).

21 Q. Thank you. That is on exhibit 29H. Why did you go to

22 the village of Putis?

23 A. I have to say I cannot remember at this stage why we

24 were tasked to go there. It may have been that we were

25 tasked by our own military information cell but the fact

Page 2558

1 was that I was tasked to go there and I went there with,

2 I think, one other Warrior late in the evening as it was

3 getting dark, because we had had reports that the

4 village had come under attack and was threatened. The

5 position was very unclear, so basically I was sent to

6 have a look at it.

7 Q. Who did you meet in the village?

8 A. I met some local people who were in a very agitated

9 state and summoned me into one of their houses. Putis

10 is only a very small hamlet and they basically implied

11 that they were going to be attacked.

12 Q. To which faction did the people of this village belong,

13 the people that were telling you they were going to be

14 attacked?

15 A. They were Muslims.

16 Q. Did they say by whom they were going to be attacked?

17 A. They said they were going to be attacked by the Croats.

18 Q. Can you describe the state of the village?

19 A. As I say, Putis was a tiny hamlet, just a few houses,

20 nestling in some fairly steep hills. There were just a

21 few people around at that stage. From what I recall,

22 I think they were all men, and basically I had a quick

23 look round the village, I did not have an interpreter

24 with me and there were snatched conversations. One or

25 two could speak simple English and they told me that

Page 2559

1 they thought they were going to be attacked. At that

2 particular time, there were snipers firing in and around

3 the village, so they were basically moving quite quickly

4 from house to house.

5 Q. Were they frightened?

6 A. Yes, they were.

7 Q. Did you see any civilians in the village at all?

8 A. I have to say I cannot recall whether these people were

9 Bosnian army or civilian. I believe they were

10 civilians.

11 Q. Were there any women at all in the village?

12 A. I do not recall seeing any.

13 Q. In your professional opinion, how did you regard Putis

14 at the time? What conclusions did you draw about that

15 village?

16 A. The situation was extremely tense and that they were

17 expecting something to happen. They were not, for

18 example, fortifying their houses or digging trenches or

19 anything like that, but I think they felt they were

20 about to be attacked and they were extremely nervous.

21 Q. We have moved ahead in time from February to April. Can

22 you describe the atmosphere now in the Lasva Valley?

23 A. The atmosphere around this particular period in mid

24 April had changed considerably and we were getting

25 reports of various activities going on throughout the

Page 2560

1 area, for example there were various faction leaders

2 kidnapped and shot in Zenica. We were patrolling in

3 Travnik throughout the night, because it was felt that

4 Travnik might erupt into some sort of violence. We were

5 patrolling Zenica, and throughout the whole area there

6 was a significant degree of tension.

7 Q. Were there roadblocks on the roads?

8 A. Yes, there were.

9 Q. Erected by both sides?

10 A. Erected by both sides.

11 Q. How were you monitoring the situation on the ground?

12 How were you actually receiving information as a

13 regiment?

14 A. At this stage our liaison officers had very good

15 contacts with the local forces and the local force

16 commanders. For example, we had a liaison officer in

17 Travnik, we had one in Vitez, we had one in Zenica and

18 we were able to get very good feedback of what the

19 locals thought on the ground, so that was our prime

20 source of information. We also had our own military

21 information cell, which was very well organised and well

22 run and was very good at disseminating information and,

23 of course, from our own patrols on the ground as well as

24 doing our best to escort convoys, we were also

25 maintaining a continuous presence on the ground. We

Page 2561

1 very much felt that something was probably going to

2 happen, but we did not know what.

3 Q. I want to take you now forward to the morning of

4 16th April 1993. Whereabouts did you sleep on the night

5 of 15th April?

6 A. I was in a house alongside the camp and I was sharing a

7 room with Major Alan Abraham, who commanded the

8 9/12 Lancer Squadron.

9 Q. He was the officer commanding the cavalry component of

10 UNPROFOR in Vitez?

11 A. That is right.

12 Q. I think you awoke at about 6.00 in the morning on that

13 morning?

14 A. That is right, we were awoken by enormous explosions,

15 gunfire, mortars going off continuously and quite

16 clearly there had been a major eruption of violence in

17 the whole area so we both reached for our steel helmets

18 and flak jackets and departed in the direction of the

19 operations room.

20 Q. You were listening to the sound of this eruption that

21 you have just described. Could you actually distinguish

22 what weapons were being fired by ear?

23 A. Certainly the main weapons were small arms, heavy

24 machine gun, rifle and quite a lot of mortars going off

25 as well.

Page 2562

1 Q. You say you went to the operations room of the

2 battalion. What is the operations room?

3 A. It was where we had all our -- we did all our planning,

4 we did all our briefings, and where we had all our radio

5 networks, satellite, high frequency, VHF, and it was

6 where all operations on the ground were conducted from.

7 It was where, if you were on the ground in your Warrior,

8 and you were on the radio and you sent a message, that

9 is where the message would go back to, so it was the

10 place where all operations were controlled from.

11 Q. It was sort of the brain of the battalion, as it were?

12 A. That is correct.

13 Q. Am I right in saying that after discussing matters in

14 the operations room, you deployed your entire company

15 into Vitez in Warrior armoured personnel carriers?

16 A. Initially it was my vehicle and I think about a

17 platoon's worth, but then as the situation developed the

18 whole company then very quickly followed on.

19 Q. If now, please, the usher could place exhibit 56 on to

20 the easel, this is an exhibit that has already been

21 admitted into evidence. Colonel, could you take a look

22 at that aerial photograph? Do you recognise that?

23 A. Yes, I do.

24 Q. If you could stand to one side of it so the judges can

25 actually see it. You say that you went into the town of

Page 2563

1 Vitez on that morning with your entire company. Can you

2 indicate the route that you actually took into the town?

3 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters cannot hear the witness,

4 he is not speaking into the microphone.

5 A. We came down the main road, which is coming down this

6 way, the way we always went into town, straight down

7 here. (Indicates).

8 MR. CAYLEY: Can you describe what you saw as you entered the

9 town?

10 A. Yes, as we approached the town, it was quite clear there

11 had been a major outbreak of violence. There were a

12 large number of houses that were badly shot up or on

13 fire. As we approached, and I think it is probably the

14 area from about the spot marked "P", up to about

15 probably "O", I think concentrated in the area around

16 about "H" here, we found a number of dead bodies lying

17 in the front of houses and complete carnage throughout

18 that area.

19 Q. If you could take a seat now. So just to clarify, that

20 was the area on exhibit 56 between the letters "P" and

21 "O"?

22 A. That is right.

23 Q. You say you saw "complete carnage". Can you describe

24 more specifically exactly what you saw?

25 A. There were a large number of houses which had been shot

Page 2564

1 up, in that there were several hundred bullet marks,

2 grenade explosion marks, a number of houses had been

3 burnt out and we found, I think, about a dozen or

4 fifteen bodies on the way in.

5 Q. These bodies, how were they dressed?

6 A. They were dressed in local civilian attire, shirt,

7 trousers, it was a fairly warm time of the year, and

8 I think almost exclusively, I do not recall seeing any

9 soldiers, they were all civilians.

10 Q. Were there any weapons next to these bodies?

11 A. I did not see any.

12 Q. What sex were these bodies?

13 A. From what I recall, the ones that I saw in the early

14 part of the morning were all male, although we did treat

15 an elderly woman for a gunshot wound.

16 Q. I think various members of the battalion took

17 photographs as you were travelling through from the

18 turret of the armoured personnel carrier. If you could

19 look at exhibits 100/4 and 100/5, which for the

20 technical staff are Z1/232 and Z1/233, do you recognise

21 this image?

22 A. I do, because I took it.

23 Q. What does it depict?

24 MR. HAYMAN: Excuse me, I apologise for interrupting,

25 Lieutenant Colonel.

Page 2565

1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Hayman, go ahead.

2 MR. HAYMAN: The photos we have been provided with, which

3 I assume counsel is referring to, have not been marked

4 in the manner in which counsel is referring to them.

5 They do not have exhibit numbers on them. They have

6 photograph numbers which are different from the numbers

7 counsel is giving to the technical staff, so I just want

8 to understand how we are going to identify the exhibit

9 that is in front of the witness so that we may follow

10 along.

11 MR. CAYLEY: My apologies for that, it is a good point.

12 There is some confusion, the problem is this. The

13 technical staff, in order to show these images from the

14 computer-generated images, have different numbers from

15 the actual exhibit numbers allocated by the court. It

16 is something I have raised, I do not think it is the

17 most prudent way of doing it, but I am afraid for the

18 moment we have to live with it. What I will do as we

19 move along, for the sake of counsel, is actually

20 specifically identify both the number for the technical

21 staff and the exhibit number. I do not believe,

22 Mr. Registrar, that Defence counsel's book of photographs

23 have been marked in the same way as the Registry copy.

24 Is that the reason he does not know what the exhibit

25 numbers are, for the purposes of the court? There is

Page 2566

1 only one copy that has been premarked.

2 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, only one of the copies was numbered,

3 but on the list which will be given to the parties and

4 to the judges there will be not only the Registry number

5 but also the number which is on each of the photographs,

6 which will permit us to see exactly what photograph is

7 being used in relation to the number given to it by the

8 registry.

9 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, is this an answer which you can

10 live with?

11 MR. HAYMAN: The best answer, your Honour, would be if the

12 unique identifying number on the photograph could be

13 identified at the time the exhibit is referred to, then

14 we can follow along with precision.

15 JUDGE JORDA: Then we should say that we all have a

16 photograph in our file here, this is, for example,

17 photograph 232, is that not right, Mr. Registrar?

18 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that is so.

19 JUDGE JORDA: When you ask for identification and the

20 witness answers, should you not just say "this is

21 photograph number 232 and then for the technical staff

22 this is another number"? Would that not be a way of

23 working? Would that make it too difficult for you?

24 MR. CAYLEY: That is fine, Mr. President, that is what I am

25 attempting to do. Unfortunately, trying to remember so

Page 2567

1 many numbers at the same time, it makes it rather

2 difficult, but I will, as we go through each photograph,

3 for the sake of Mr. Hayman and Mr. Nobilo, I will very

4 slowly identify the number both for the court and for

5 the technical staff.

6 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, thank you.

7 MR. HAYMAN: Counsel can do it quickly, if he just gives us

8 the number.

9 JUDGE JORDA: For the judges, it would also be helpful. Go

10 ahead, please. All right, we are talking about

11 photograph 232. We can start working that way right

12 away and for the technical services this is Z -- what

13 number was it?

14 MR. CAYLEY: Z1/232 and Z1/233, and the court exhibit numbers

15 are exhibit 100/4 and 100/5.

16 JUDGE JORDA: For the Registry, is that correct?

17 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that is right.

18 JUDGE JORDA: It is a little longer doing it that way, but

19 if it is clearer for the judges and the Defence, then

20 that is how we should work. We would ask the Defence to

21 do the same thing when it identifies documents. Go

22 ahead.

23 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you. Colonel, the photograph in front of

24 you at the time, which is marked 232, what is this

25 photograph an image of?

Page 2568

1 A. It is taken from my Warrior and it is an image of a dead

2 person in his front yard, I suppose, which is typical of

3 many we saw that morning as we drove down that stretch

4 of road.

5 Q. If very quickly the technical staff can show 233, which

6 is exhibit 100/5 on the court exhibit numbers, and

7 I think that is the same image taken from the turret of

8 your Warrior, is that correct?

9 A. Yes, I think it is.

10 Q. You say that you travelled this area and that you saw a

11 number, you say approximately a dozen civilians or

12 persons dressed in civilian attire lying on the ground.

13 Are you aware of the ethnic composition of the persons

14 who resided in this area between "P" and "O"?

15 A. From what I recall, this was essentially a Muslim area

16 and as events subsequently confirmed when I was called

17 back there a couple of days later, it was a Muslim area,

18 but, of course, Vitez was split into various pockets of

19 Croat and Muslim, but this area was in the vicinity of

20 the mosque and I know it to be a Muslim area.

21 Q. How do you know it was a Muslim area?

22 A. Because we discovered that morning very quickly when we

23 were on the ground that the people that had been killed

24 were Muslims, but also because the fact that we by this

25 stage had been in Bosnia for five months and we knew the

Page 2569

1 area quite well.

2 Q. I think you said earlier in your testimony that you came

3 across a female Muslim on the road. How old was she?

4 A. It is difficult -- she was probably in her late 50s,

5 early 60s.

6 Q. If you could stop there. (Pause).

7 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead.

8 JUDGE RIAD: May I just ask for precision? Lieutenant

9 Colonel, you said that all the bodies were Muslim

10 bodies.

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Is there any indication that they were all Muslims, or

13 was that your own assessment of the situation?

14 A. It was not my own assessment, we discovered later that

15 day that they were, and indeed we were involved later,

16 over the days following, in getting some of these people

17 buried. At that particular incident as I was driving

18 along I could not say "that was a dead Muslim", I have

19 to say, but as events unfolded that day and on

20 subsequent days, it was confirmed beyond any doubt

21 whatsoever, there is no doubt about that, that it was a

22 Muslim stretch of road, and as we will probably discover

23 later, I was called back two days later after a bomb

24 exploded and again it was confirmed to me that it was a

25 Muslim area.

Page 2570

1 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.

2 MR. CAYLEY: Returning to this Muslim lady that you found in

3 the road, what state was she in?

4 A. She had two gunshot wounds; one was not so serious and

5 one was to her chest, which was pretty serious. We gave

6 her some first field dressings and stopped the bleeding

7 and then put her in an ambulance and took her to our

8 dressing station in Vitez camp.

9 Q. What was the initial opinion that you formed as a

10 professional army officer on what had actually happened

11 on that stretch of road? Your initial opinion as you

12 travelled down the road as you saw these dead bodies and

13 the devastation of these houses?

14 A. What you have to remember, of course, was that this was

15 so unique and so unusual, it was something that none of

16 us had ever seen before and it was not a typical

17 military operation in the sense that we had ever

18 experienced or taken part in. It was something

19 completely different. What struck us all was the

20 ferocity of what had gone on and the fact that there was

21 virtually no limit to what could be done. It was also

22 particularly striking, the sheer level of violence that

23 had been used and the number of rounds that had been

24 fired in the houses to basically clear the people out of

25 them.

Page 2571

1 Q. Was there any evidence between points "O" and "P" of any

2 defensive positions by a military force?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Any wire?

5 A. No. If as part of a conventional operation in the

6 British army we were involved in defending houses for

7 what we call fighting in built-up areas, then there are

8 many ways of doing it with barbed wire, sand-bagging and

9 so on. If you wanted to defend a series of buildings --

10 there was no evidence that any of the houses in this

11 stretch of road, or indeed anywhere else in the

12 Lasva Valley, were constructed for Defence.

13 Q. I think you then continued on down the road, did you

14 not?

15 A. That is right, yes.

16 Q. I think you drove past the Hotel Vitez, is that correct?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Do you know what the Hotel Vitez was? Do you know what

19 the purpose of that building was?

20 A. It was essentially the headquarters -- it was part of

21 the headquarters of the Croat forces in Vitez. They had

22 a headquarters across the road from the hotel and the

23 hotel also functioned as the headquarters. Exactly the

24 relationship I do not know, but essentially the hotel

25 was a focal point for Croat forces in Vitez.

Page 2572

1 Q. Could you very quickly point to the Hotel Vitez on that

2 photograph?

3 A. I think it is in the area of "A". It is actually quite

4 difficult to spot exactly, but I think it is "A".

5 Q. As you recall it was in that area.

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thank you. Do you remember seeing anything in

8 particular on that day outside the Hotel Vitez?

9 A. There was frantic activity throughout the town that day,

10 with cars screeching everywhere and people obviously, in

11 the light of what had gone on, there was a very high

12 degree of tension. There were certainly Croat forces in

13 and around the hotel, but I cannot recall -- I could not

14 put a figure on specific numbers.

15 Q. That is fine. Do you recall -- did it appear as if the

16 Hotel Vitez was under attack?

17 A. No.

18 Q. Did anybody go into the Hotel Vitez?

19 A. I personally did not that day, but I suspect, but I do

20 not know, that Colonel Stuart I suspect probably did, or

21 the battalion second in command, or almost certainly

22 some of the liaison officers.

23 Q. I think you then proceeded on through the town and you

24 went to a Muslim headquarters in Vitez, what you called

25 the Muslim headquarters in your statement, and you spoke

Page 2573

1 to a number of people there, is that correct?

2 A. That is right.

3 Q. Could you indicate on the map where the approximate

4 location of that headquarters was, as far as you

5 remember?

6 A. This is slightly more difficult, but I think it is

7 probably in the area marked "B", in that sort of area,

8 but it is quite difficult to recall.

9 Q. That is fine. So near to the stadium, would that be

10 correct?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. What was the state of this headquarters?

13 A. It had been quite badly shot up, there was a lot of

14 broken glass, there appeared to be some sort of

15 hand-held anti-tank weapons which had been fired at the

16 building. There were several hundred bullet marks in

17 the building and there were probably 10 or 15, I think,

18 Muslim forces in and around the building.

19 Q. How were they armed?

20 A. Light machine-guns, grenades, rifles, that sort of

21 thing.

22 Q. Was there a commander there?

23 A. Yes, there was.

24 Q. Did you speak to him?

25 A. Very briefly.

Page 2574

1 Q. What did he say had happened?

2 A. The situation was extremely confused, but they told me

3 they had been under attack and that they expected to be

4 attacked again.

5 Q. What was the general state of this area of the town?

6 A. Not as bad as the area along the stretch of road that we

7 drove in on, but again large parts of the area had been

8 shot up.

9 Q. When you say "shot up", what do you mean by that?

10 A. By small arms fire, pockmarks of small arms fire in all

11 the walls, broken glass.

12 Q. Did you see any houses on fire in this particular area?

13 A. Not that I recall, no.

14 Q. Up until this point in time, had you seen any dead

15 individuals that appeared to be soldiers?

16 A. No.

17 Q. What was the purpose of the Cheshire's -- at this time

18 what was the decided purpose of the Cheshires remaining

19 on the ground?

20 A. Quite clearly at this stage our mission of escorting

21 humanitarian aid had changed somewhat and quite clearly

22 we were not going to stand by and let further killing

23 and carnage continue, so what we tried to do as best we

24 could over the next couple of days was put as many

25 armoured vehicles on the ground as possible to try and

Page 2575

1 prevent the local forces killing each other, and also at

2 that time there was a frantic period of liaison,

3 particularly with Colonel Stuart and the liaison

4 officers, to try to broker some sort of peace in Vitez

5 and the surrounding area, but essentially it was

6 maintaining a presence on the ground.

7 Q. And to suppress violence?

8 A. That is right.

9 Q. Were you in and out of Vitez all day that day?

10 A. Yes, I was.

11 Q. What I would like you to do now, again as a professional

12 soldier, is to give your opinion on the degree of

13 destruction of civilian objects and property in the

14 Vitez area; if you could describe it to the court?

15 A. The worst part of the town was the area I described

16 earlier on, going from the letter "P" up to "O", where

17 there was very considerable destruction and as I said,

18 from the point of view of a soldier, it was something we

19 had never seen before and it was difficult to put into

20 the context of anything we might have experienced, but

21 what clearly had gone on, there had been a very violent

22 attack, probably by a large number of small groups, just

23 because of the scale of the damage, who had attacked

24 houses in a fairly clear-cut way along a stretch of road

25 in Vitez, with a view of either killing or driving

Page 2576

1 people from their homes.

2 Q. Was the damage that you saw the result of collateral

3 damage caused by the engagement of two military forces?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Why do you say that?

6 A. Because of the fact that the people we saw were

7 civilian, the fact that there were no defended positions

8 in the area and the fact that -- if you were talking

9 about collateral damage you are normally talking about

10 artillery fire and there did not appear to be much

11 evidence of that. What there was was many, many

12 hundreds of thousands of rounds of small arms fire.

13 Q. You say the people you perceived to be attacked were

14 civilians?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Is it not the object of an infantry force to actually

17 take ground and hold it? Is that the purpose of

18 infantry?

19 A. That is one of the classic, if you like traditional,

20 roles of infantry, yes, to capture ground and to hold

21 it.

22 Q. Had this occurred here?

23 A. No, because there were no Croat forces occupying the

24 areas that had been attacked.

25 Q. So what was the purpose of this attack?

Page 2577

1 A. It is difficult to judge, I would assume the purpose was

2 to drive people from their homes and, if necessary, to

3 kill them in the bargain.

4 Q. Was it an effective operation, could you judge that at

5 the time? Was it possible for you to judge that?

6 A. I think it was effective, yes. If that was the aim, to

7 get people out of their homes and to destroy them, then

8 it was an effective operation.

9 Q. I think on 16th April, that evening, you actually slept

10 in the British battalion camp at Stari Bila, is that

11 right?

12 A. That is right.

13 Q. On 17th April you went on patrol, is that correct?

14 A. That is right.

15 Q. If the usher could now place exhibit 53 on the easel,

16 which again is an exhibit that has been admitted

17 previously. It is an aerial photograph of the Ahmici

18 area. (Handed). Thank you.

19 Colonel, if you could take a look at the aerial

20 photograph on the easel, do you recognise that

21 photograph?

22 A. Yes, I do.

23 Q. Can you just briefly say where it is?

24 A. It is the area east of Vitez, just east of Vitez,

25 starting here probably about one or two kilometres east

Page 2578

1 of Vitez, the village of Santici and Ahmici, and this is

2 the main road leading down towards what we call the

3 Busovaca junction. I will just point out, this is

4 the -- not the main road --

5 Q. Colonel, could you pause for a moment? I am sorry.

6 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead.

7 A. This road here is what we call the back road or the

8 mountain road to Zenica, and this is a fairly hilly part

9 of the countryside here. (Indicates).

10 MR. CAYLEY: Colonel, on this day I think we have already

11 established that you were patrolling in the area, again

12 with a view to suppress violence on the ground and to

13 keep an eye on what was happening, is that correct?

14 A. That is right.

15 Q. I think on this particular day you were actually

16 travelling on your way to the village of Ahmici, is that

17 right?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. You had to pass through, did you not, the village of

20 Santici, is that correct, in order to get to Ahmici?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Can you describe what you saw on 17th April in Santici?

23 A. I was with, I think, one other Warrior, going down the

24 road. As we approached -- I think it was in this area

25 here. (Indicates). There were a number of houses on

Page 2579

1 fire and a crowd of about 35 to 50 refugees were walking

2 down the road, so we stopped the Warrior and jumped out

3 and they were in a very distressed state and pointed to

4 their houses, and were carrying what they had with them

5 and one woman handed me a baby at that time and they

6 were fairly hysterical.

7 Q. What did they say to you about what had happened?

8 A. Again, I will be absolutely clear, I did not have an

9 interpreter, but what they said to me was "HVO, HVO" and

10 were basically screaming and shouting and it was quite

11 clear they were in an extremely distressed state. All

12 I could do then was get on the radio, warn off Vitez and

13 got them to warn off the refugee centre in Travnik and

14 point them in the right direction. We then subsequently

15 went over to the buildings.

16 Q. If you could take a seat now, Colonel. Of this number

17 of people that you have identified, what was the

18 composition in terms of men, women, children?

19 A. They were primarily women, a lot of women, quite a lot

20 of children and a couple of elderly men. There were one

21 or two other men of middle age, but primarily women and

22 children.

23 Q. Were they civilians, these people?

24 A. Yes, they were.

25 Q. Exclusively civilians?

Page 2580

1 A. From what I remember, yes.

2 Q. You say they were carrying their belongings as they were

3 leaving?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Were they leaving quickly?

6 A. They were not running, but they were leaving with haste,

7 on foot.

8 Q. What was your judgement of what had happened in the

9 village of Santici, or certainly this area near to

10 Santici, that you have identified on the aerial

11 photograph?

12 A. It was quite clear what had happened. Their houses had

13 just been attacked, literally I think probably 20

14 minutes or so before we arrived. They were at that time

15 on fire.

16 Q. Was there sign of a military engagement between two

17 forces at this place?

18 A. No.

19 Q. Were there any bodies of soldiers, combatants, around on

20 the ground?

21 A. No, we found no bodies that particular morning.

22 Q. How far was this location from the Hotel Vitez,

23 approximately?

24 A. I think about two or three kilometres.

25 MR. CAYLEY: Fine. Mr. President, if it is convenient for

Page 2581

1 you, this is a convenient time for the Prosecution to

2 take a break, because we are now moving on to another

3 area of testimony.

4 JUDGE JORDA: I think in light of what you are going to ask,

5 you are the one who can say what is the best time to

6 stop. All right, I think we can stop now and begin

7 again at 11.35.

8 (11.15 am)

9 (A short break)

10 (11.35 am)

11 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume. Can we have the accused

12 brought in, please?

13 (Accused brought in)

14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, would you start from 17th April,

15 that is the part you -- very quickly, starting from that

16 point, 17th April, when the houses were burning?

17 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President. First of all, if there

18 are no objections from the Defence, could I apply for

19 admission of the first five photographs, that is 100/1,

20 100/2, 100/3, 100/4 and 100/5. As my learned friend has

21 pointed out, they do have different numbers, but for

22 technical reasons. It is the first five photographs in

23 that book that has been provided to the Defence.

24 MR. HAYMAN: No objection, and I note we are not asking for

25 the source of the photographs to be identified.

Page 2582

1 JUDGE JORDA: Fine.

2 MR. CAYLEY: Colonel, to recap, as the President has already

3 said, on 17th April, at approximately what time did this

4 event occur, within the environs of Santici?

5 A. It was probably about mid morning, about 10.00 or 11.00.

6 JUDGE JORDA: Could you have the microphone on, please, when

7 you answer?

8 A. How is that?

9 JUDGE JORDA: That is fine.

10 MR. CAYLEY: As you have already stated, there were various

11 houses burning and you remember a large number of

12 persons actually on the road, actually leaving the

13 village and if you can just -- this may be somewhat

14 repetitious, but just conclude: what did you feel had

15 happened, from what you saw?

16 A. I believe quite clearly we had arrived on the scene just

17 after this small hamlet had been attacked and people had

18 been forced out of their homes violently, although they

19 did not appear to have been murdered -- there was no

20 evidence of people being murdered.

21 Q. I think you then continued on the same road, past this

22 incident which you had seen. As you stated, you radioed

23 back to Vitez, is that correct?

24 A. That is right.

25 Q. You told them the situation on the ground?

Page 2583

1 A. Yes, I did.

2 Q. As you went down the road towards the village of Ahmici,

3 did you notice anything on the road in particular?

4 A. After leaving these band of refugees, nothing in

5 particular, then I turned in up a road towards Ahmici.

6 Q. Can you stand up and identify on the aerial photograph

7 your journey from Santici to Ahmici?

8 A. As I say, we found the refugees I think in about this

9 area here (indicates), and I believe that the houses

10 which were on fire I think were in this area. They

11 could have been slightly further up. We then carried on

12 the road going higher. I then turned up this road here

13 and worked my way into Ahmici.

14 Q. If you could take a seat, please, Colonel. Can you

15 describe to the court what you saw on 17th April in

16 Ahmici?

17 A. I think this was by now late morning and we were on the

18 fringes of Ahmici and as we drove up a particular track

19 we passed the mosque, which was on its side. I then

20 continued along, we found very many badly burnt out and

21 shot up houses. I then got further up a track and I was

22 quite concerned about the possibility of hitting a mine,

23 so we turned round and then headed back out of Ahmici.

24 Q. If the witness could please look at photograph 100/6,

25 which is marked Z1/171, and if that photograph could be

Page 2584

1 brought up on the screen, please? Do you recognise this

2 photograph?

3 A. Yes, I do. Again, I took this particular photograph.

4 Q. What is this photograph?

5 A. That is a photograph of a house on the outskirts of

6 Ahmici.

7 Q. Were there many houses in this state in Ahmici when you

8 went there?

9 A. Yes, very many of them.

10 Q. You say you investigated parts of the village to a limit

11 where you thought there might be mines, is that correct?

12 A. That is right.

13 Q. Was there any sign of a military engagement having taken

14 place in this village?

15 A. Well, if you mean by "military engagement" two forces

16 engaging each other, there was no sign of that. What

17 there was sign of was of a village which had been

18 completely shot up, attacked and burnt out. That is

19 what we saw, but it was not necessarily what you would

20 call a military engagement, it was the engagement of one

21 force against what we subsequently saw were civilians.

22 Q. Did you see any defensive positions in the village, any

23 fortified positions?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Any sand bags?

Page 2585

1 A. No.

2 Q. Any wire?

3 A. No.

4 Q. So no indication of any defensive fortifications in

5 Ahmici?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Did you see any dead bodies in the village at all?

8 A. Not on this occasion, no, I did not.

9 Q. Did you dismount from your armoured personnel carrier

10 and actually enter any of the houses?

11 A. Yes, I think we looked actually in this particular one

12 that the photograph shows, but actually this was only a

13 very cursory look at Ahmici.

14 Q. Did you actually see anybody alive in the village?

15 A. I cannot recall seeing -- there may have been the odd

16 person wandering around, but I cannot honestly recall.

17 Q. Could you actually hear any shooting while you were in

18 the village?

19 A. In the sense -- not in the village, but all around the

20 Lasva Valley at that time there was sporadic shooting

21 going on, so throughout that period, throughout that

22 period, there was gunfire somewhere and if you looked up

23 into the hills, there were a lot of houses throughout

24 the area smouldering away.

25 Q. If the witness could now look at exhibit Z1/170, which

Page 2586

1 on the court record is 100/7. Do you recognise this

2 photograph?

3 A. Yes, that is what is left of the mosque in Ahmici. The

4 minaret, as you can see, has toppled into the main

5 building.

6 Q. Did the mosque appear like this on 17th April when you

7 entered the village?

8 A. Yes, again, because I believe I almost certainly took

9 that photograph.

10 Q. How do you think, in your professional opinion, that

11 that damage was caused to that building?

12 A. I am not a demolitionís expert, but I think it would have

13 been extremely unlikely that that was caused by an

14 artillery shell, because the chances of an artillery

15 shell landing close enough, having been deliberately

16 fired at that minaret, are very extreme. It has almost

17 certainly been caused by perhaps charges being placed

18 around it or even indeed having been set fire to, but as

19 I say, I am not qualified as a demolitionís expert to

20 say, but it certainly is not the result, I would say, of

21 an artillery shell.

22 Q. You inspected the houses from the safety of your

23 armoured personnel carrier in the village. Did you

24 actually observe any damage other than fire to these

25 buildings, any damage to the walls?

Page 2587

1 A. Again in common with Vitez, the houses were very badly

2 shot up in the sense that there were many hundreds, in

3 some cases, of bullet rounds, small arms fire and

4 grenade fragments in the houses, more than you would

5 expect just to kill the occupants of a house and drive

6 them out. It was significant to all of us the level of

7 violence that had been used, particularly in Ahmici but

8 also in other areas at that time, the sheer volume of

9 small arms ammunition which was expended was

10 extraordinary.

11 Q. Again, based on what you have just said, did you reach

12 any conclusion about the nature of this military

13 operation?

14 A. I think at that time, that morning, we were to busy with

15 what was going on to draw specific conclusions as to

16 what had happened. We were more concerned with the now

17 of sorting out people and doing it as best we could.

18 Quite clearly we came to the conclusion that there had

19 been terrific violence used against the occupants of the

20 village. We had not begun to think about the reasons.

21 It was quite clear that people were murdered in their

22 homes and their homes destroyed. The overall reason at

23 that time, frankly, we were not particularly concerned

24 with, it was more the impact of the present, of sorting

25 out the situation.

Page 2588

1 Q. Thank you, Colonel.

2 If there are no objections from the Defence,

3 I would like to apply for admission into evidence of

4 exhibits 100/6 and 100/7, which are the two photographs

5 we have just viewed on the monitor.

6 JUDGE JORDA: Registrar? They will then be put under which

7 number?

8 THE REGISTRAR: The numbers would be 100/6 and 100/7.

9 MR. CAYLEY: Colonel, you left Ahmici after viewing the state

10 of the village. Do you remember approximately what time

11 of day this was?

12 A. I think it was about midday.

13 Q. I think I am right in saying that you headed towards the

14 town of Busovaca, is that correct?

15 A. I certainly carried on patrolling east down towards

16 Busovaca, yes.

17 Q. Was there anything in particular that you noticed on the

18 road as you passed down towards the town of Busovaca?

19 A. We always passed at that particular time -- there was a

20 HVO headquarters in the area of -- this area here

21 (indicates) on the left-hand side of the road as you

22 drove down, which was something we called the Alpine

23 Lodge.

24 Q. Could you just point to it once again?

25 A. This area here on the bend in the road. (Indicates). It

Page 2589

1 was an area we referred to as the Alpine Lodge, which

2 was a Croat headquarters, and as usual on that

3 particular day there were a number of expensive 4X4-type

4 Shogun vehicles parked outside and some HVO forces, but

5 I would stress that was relatively normal in the sense

6 there were always forces there, but there was activity

7 around those headquarters.

8 Q. Approximately how many people did you see around those

9 headquarters, if you did see anybody?

10 A. I would not like to place a figure on it.

11 Q. Do you remember how these individuals were dressed?

12 A. They were dressed as all HVO forces were, with combat

13 kit and small arms.

14 Q. I think you then returned to Stari Bila camp and I now

15 want to take you forward in time to 18th and 19th April

16 1993. I think it was whilst you were in the camp at

17 Stari Bila that you heard a very large explosion, is

18 that correct?

19 A. Yes, I think it was a Sunday evening, getting dark, and

20 we heard an enormous bang coming from the centre of

21 Vitez, and again, as we were at that time the Ops

22 Company, I was sent down -- at that time I went with 2

23 Platoon, so we went down with about five Warriors. In

24 fact, I was the first Warrior on the scene and we came

25 across a huge explosion, just past the mosque.

Page 2590

1 Q. If you could pause there, and if the usher could replace

2 exhibit 56, which is the aerial photograph underneath

3 the present photograph on the easel. Thank you. You

4 say that you entered the town of Vitez, you were the

5 operations company, is that correct?

6 A. That is right.

7 Q. Can you describe what you saw when you entered the town?

8 A. We came across, in the centre of the road, just past the

9 mosque, the scene of a massive explosion and the remains

10 of what appeared to be a truck or something like that,

11 I think we later discovered it was a petrol tanker, and

12 in the immediate vicinity of the explosion there was a

13 large number of houses which were completely flattened.

14 Q. Can you indicate on the aerial photograph, I know it is

15 marked, the site of the bomb blast, but put where you

16 believe, if you could -- and refer to a letter, the

17 nearest letter to where you believe the explosion took

18 place?

19 A. I think it is in the area between "P" and "H", or it

20 might be further up. It was just past the mosque,

21 I remember that.

22 Q. That is fine, Colonel, as best as you recall.

23 A. It may have been a bit further north, but it was within

24 about probably 100 metres heading into Vitez, past the

25 mosque.

Page 2591

1 Q. Can you describe the damage that you saw in the town in

2 detail, please?

3 A. As I say, in the immediate vicinity of the explosion,

4 the houses were completely flattened, probably five

5 houses on either side of the explosion, and there were a

6 number of dead bodies as well.

7 Q. Do you remember the number of casualties that there

8 were?

9 A. I think we found about five bodies, I think about eight

10 casualties, and then we subsequently discovered, because

11 we then started doing some house searches and about

12 probably 15 minutes after, we found in a cellar a large

13 number of civilians sheltering, they were probably -- it

14 is difficult to remember, probably about 40 or 50 of

15 them at this stage in a cellar, so we got them out and

16 they were saying that they thought they were about to be

17 attacked and they were in fear of their lives.

18 Q. Did they say by whom they were about to be attacked?

19 A. I do not actually remember anybody saying to me "we are

20 going to be attacked by the HVO", but there was only one

21 conclusion to draw because these were Muslims and in

22 fact I know that because we then evacuated them to the

23 Muslim refugee centre in Travnik.

24 Q. What was the composition of these people in terms of

25 male, female, children?

Page 2592

1 A. They were predominantly women and children and less men,

2 a number of older men. They were in an extremely

3 distressed state, to the extent that I took the decision

4 on the spot to move them out of their houses and move

5 them down to Travnik, so they were prepared at that

6 stage to leave their homes, what was left of them,

7 immediately, carrying nothing and go. That was the

8 level to which they felt that they were about to be

9 attacked.

10 Q. So they were very, very frightened?

11 A. Extremely frightened.

12 Q. Was there any shooting going on at this point?

13 A. There was sporadic sniper fire down the main street, but

14 nothing that was particularly untoward for Vitez,

15 although we were quite careful about where we moved. We

16 just backed up -- I then got on the radio and we moved

17 virtually every armoured vehicle we had in Vitez down to

18 the scene and we just backed them up to the houses and

19 put people in the back and drove them out.

20 Q. How many people did you evacuate to Travnik, do you

21 recall?

22 A. I think just over 100, but I would stress at this

23 particular point that at no time, and I was particularly

24 conscious of this on the ground, that at no time did we

25 move any soldiers. It is something that quite clearly

Page 2593

1 I would never have considered doing. It would have been

2 out of the question for me to move any soldiers of

3 either side in a situation like this.

4 Q. If you could look at the final photographs in front of

5 you, which are Z1/246, Z1/250, Z1/251 and Z1/252, the

6 first photograph on the screen in front of you, that

7 shows a Warrior armoured personnel carrier from the

8 Cheshire Regiment, does it not?

9 A. No, it shows a 432, a different vehicle, but it is an

10 armoured vehicle from our force, yes.

11 Q. What does this scene depict?

12 A. It depicts the area very near the centre of the

13 explosion. You can just see the aftermath there of the

14 bomb.

15 Q. If we could now move to -- that photograph will be

16 exhibit 100/8 on the court record. If we could now move

17 to 250? Colonel, could you explain to the court what

18 this photograph depicts?

19 A. That is looking down Vitez main street and you can just

20 see at the far end of the road remains of the truck and

21 just this side of it, there is a small crater which is

22 where the blast took place.

23 Q. For the purposes of the court record, that will be

24 exhibit 100/9. If we could now have 251, please? What

25 does that depict, Colonel?

Page 2594

1 A. It is a closer image of the immediate scene of the

2 explosion. Just in front of the gun there you can see

3 where the explosion took place, and further down, you

4 can see the remains of the truck.

5 Q. How far had that truck been thrown from the site of the

6 explosion?

7 A. Difficult to say, probably about 100 metres, possibly

8 more.

9 Q. What size charge would you need to throw a truck 100

10 metres down the road?

11 A. I could not comment on the size, but a pretty big one.

12 Q. That will be exhibit 100/10, and if we can move on the

13 final photograph, which is Z1/252, that I think is a

14 view of the remains of the truck?

15 A. Yes, I think it is.

16 Q. That will be exhibit 100/11. Finally on this point,

17 there is a very short video clip that I think you can

18 identify of these events, and if the booth could please

19 play that video now?

20 (Videotape played)

21 Q. If you could make any comments on this, Colonel, as we

22 move through it?

23 A. It is a video taken from the turret of one of the

24 Warriors. It is now just driving past the scene of the

25 explosion, which, as you can see, has made a small

Page 2595

1 crater, and then you have the immediate aftermath, as

2 you can see, pretty substantial damage to the immediate

3 houses. It was in this particular area that we -- just

4 a bit further down the street, that we were evacuating

5 that night the inhabitants of the immediate area.

6 (Videotape stopped)

7 MR. CAYLEY; thank you. If there are no objections,

8 Mr. President, from the Defence, I would like to apply

9 for admission into evidence of exhibit 100/8, 9, 10 and

10 11, and the video clip which I think is exhibit 101.

11 JUDGE JORDA: Then these will be put into the record under

12 the numbers that you have just said.

13 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that is right.

14 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, go ahead, Mr. Cayley.

15 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you. Mr. Usher, if you could now remove

16 that aerial photograph to reveal the map of the

17 Lasva Valley, which is exhibit 29. Colonel, I think a

18 short time after the bomb explosion in Vitez, you

19 proceeded to the HVO headquarters in Busovaca, is that

20 correct?

21 A. That is right.

22 Q. I think you met somebody there, is that correct?

23 A. I met -- I certainly met a representative from the HVO

24 headquarters who I thought was probably the commander in

25 Busovaca.

Page 2596

1 Q. Do you recall his name?

2 A. No, I do not. It may have been Kordic, who was the

3 commander there, but I cannot definitely say it was.

4 Q. Why did you go to Busovaca?

5 A. Again we had been tipped off, and I think it was through

6 our military information cell or it may have been

7 through the press, who had heard reports there had been

8 some sort of massacre in a village called Kazagici, a

9 village near Busovaca. I was sent off to discover what

10 had gone on.

11 Q. Could you please look at the map next to you and mark on

12 there with a pen, and you are now marking I think with a

13 pink pen, the location of Kazagici, if you can recall.

14 A. (Witness marks map).

15 Q. So you have marked on the right-hand side of the map of

16 the Lasva Valley with a pink marker the location of the

17 village of Kazagici. You made your way to the village.

18 Were you able to access the village without any

19 problems?

20 A. At the bottom of the hill leading up to it, we were

21 stopped.

22 Q. By whom were you stopped?

23 A. I have to say I find it difficult to recall. I will not

24 even say, I cannot remember which forces. It was a very

25 confused situation around there. It had been the tail

Page 2597

1 end of a very busy and confusing period. Anyway, we

2 ignored them and drove on up the hill into the village

3 which had been very badly shot up in the style of

4 Ahmici. We did not find any bodies there and the only

5 thing I can remember was a lot of dead cattle. There

6 was then a large amount of gunfire directed at us and in

7 fact I had two reporters from the Daily Mirror with me

8 at that time as well, and in fact we had probably more

9 fire than we had experienced in the whole tour at that

10 stage, personally. We then made our way back to the

11 Warriors and moved out.

12 Q. What was the state of the housing in the village of

13 Kazagici?

14 A. Again, it was very similar to one of the exhibits you

15 saw of one of the houses in Ahmici, in the sense they

16 were completely destroyed.

17 Q. Were there any individuals actually still living in the

18 village?

19 A. No.

20 Q. So there was nobody there?

21 A. There were local forces which we saw around the village,

22 but certainly -- in fact, we walked the length of the

23 village with these reporters and saw nobody.

24 Q. I think the last significant event of this particular

25 time you recall was in and around the camp at Vitez,

Page 2598

1 when in fact the battalion itself came under threat, is

2 that correct?

3 A. Yes, but I think there was probably one other event in

4 this period which is the day of the truck bomb, in a

5 village called Kadras.

6 Q. If you could move on to the events in and around Stari

7 Bila, specifically when the camp itself came under

8 threat?

9 A. Towards the end of this particular period, we felt that

10 the camp itself or the houses around the camp, which

11 were Muslim-owned, were going to be attacked. There was

12 a very strong belief by the local people that their

13 houses were about to be attacked by the Croats, to the

14 extent that we put Warriors on all corners of the camp

15 and we started preparing defensive positions, because we

16 believed that the houses in the immediate vicinity of

17 the camp were about to be attacked.

18 Q. Why was there a feeling that you were about to be

19 attacked?

20 A. Because the houses next to the camp were getting shot at

21 and the local people who lived in them were telling us

22 that they were about to be attacked.

23 Q. Who were the occupants of these houses?

24 A. They were Muslim people.

25 Q. Were they civilians or soldiers?

Page 2599

1 A. They were civilians.

2 Q. What did you actually do in the camp?

3 A. What we did, if you like, we doubled the guard, to coin

4 a phrase, but we deliberately put all our Warriors up in

5 the shop window, as it were, and put them on the corners

6 of the camp and prepared, if necessary, to defend

7 ourselves and indeed the people next to the camp. We

8 would not have been prepared to stand by and watch

9 people be attacked in their houses, of whatever side

10 they were.

11 Q. Was there a belief of who you were actually going to be

12 attacked by at the time?

13 A. It could only have been the HVO.

14 Q. They were actually going to attack the base in Vitez?

15 A. No, I do not think they would have attacked the base,

16 they would have been absolutely mad to attack us, given

17 the armoured vehicles and fire power that we had. I do

18 not think that was on the agenda. I think what was very

19 possible was that they were going to attack the houses

20 next door to the camp and indeed may have attacked or

21 put a bomb or something in the officers' mess, which

22 bordered on the front road. Indeed subsequently, they

23 did attack some of the houses in the sense that one of

24 our interpreters, Debrila Kalaba was shot dead by a

25 sniper just after we left, sitting on the step outside

Page 2600

1 one of the houses next to camp.

2 Q. Really this is reaching the end of this period of

3 particularly violent hostilities. In concluding

4 everything that you had seen over those number of days,

5 so after 16th through to about 19th or 20th April, what

6 were your personal views, your personal opinions as a

7 senior army officer on what had actually occurred in the

8 Lasva Valley during those days?

9 A. I think now with hindsight, it is probably easier to

10 look back and form a judgement than at the time. We were

11 so involved in operations on the ground that we were

12 working 24 hours a day and we were witnessing something

13 which we had never seen before and quite clearly it was

14 very new to us and particularly for some of the younger

15 soldiers, it was very, very different to what they had

16 ever witnessed before.

17 Q. Could you speak more slowly, please, Colonel. Thank

18 you.

19 A. What had happened, we were obviously very distressed and

20 quite shocked by some of the things we had seen, but

21 what clearly happened, there had been a massive outbreak

22 of violence in a very short space of time, whereby a

23 large number of civilians had been killed, many of them

24 in their homes, and the level of the violence which had

25 been unleashed on those people was something which was

Page 2601

1 quite striking. There did not appear to be, from our

2 position at the time, any military objective to it, in

3 the sense what we witnessed was straightforward murder

4 in people's houses.

5 Q. Looking at the scale of what you saw going on on the

6 ground, was this some uncoordinated bout of violence by

7 disorganised soldiers, or was there any degree of

8 organisation or system that you saw going on?

9 A. I think what we witnessed was a fairly ruthless and

10 clinical operation, and I say that to the extent that we

11 hardly every saw the events taking place and if we had

12 done, we certainly would have tried to do something

13 about it. Most of the events took place at night, and

14 very quickly and very ruthlessly. One of my platoon

15 commanders did witness in Vitez a small band of men

16 employing, if you like, house-clearing tactics, about to

17 enter a house in Vitez. When they saw him, they stopped

18 what they were doing and then disappeared. I believe

19 that it was co-ordinated in the Lasva Valley. I am

20 quite clear about that.

21 Q. Why do you feel it was co-ordinated?

22 A. Because it happened so quickly, because it was so

23 efficiently and ruthlessly done, and because of the fact

24 that we could not actually catch people in the act of

25 doing it. It was quite a clear-cut, efficient operation

Page 2602

1 to murder people and destroy their homes. Also, you

2 know, we were aware of a command structure on both

3 sides. There was quite a clear command structure in the

4 BiH and there was quite a clear command structure in the

5 HVO. We had wiring diagrams, or if you like a family

6 tree of the headquarters of all the organisations. We

7 knew all the local commanders, the liaison officers knew

8 the local commanders. Indeed, if you were moving around

9 on the ground in Central Bosnia and you were stopped at

10 a checkpoint, the first thing that the local commander

11 on the ground would do, very often, if there was a

12 dispute, if we wanted to get to a particular place and

13 there was a dispute, they would get on the radio or the

14 telephone and refer to their higher headquarters. Of

15 course it was a factor, I think probably inherent from

16 the communist system, of clear-cut chain of command and

17 in fact people unwilling to take decisions unless the

18 person senior to them sanctioned it. It was very much a

19 throwback to the old Yugoslav army system or, indeed,

20 the communist system, what we call in the British army a

21 sort of "jobsworthian" attitude on the ground, i.e. "it

22 is more than my job is worth to let you through, I will

23 refer to the person above me". So in that respect on

24 both sides, and I stress on both sides, there was a

25 clear-cut command structure. There was no doubt about

Page 2603

1 that.

2 Q. Thank you. You would have had opportunity to compare

3 the quality of the two forces that you saw on the

4 ground, the HVO and the BiH in the Lasva Valley; is that

5 correct?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Did you make a judgement during this time of the relative

8 qualities of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO,

9 the army of the Bosnian Croats?

10 A. It is actually quite difficult to make judgements. What

11 I would say about both sides, particularly when they

12 were fighting the Serbs, and let us not forget that that

13 initially was the main threat, they were brave,

14 dedicated, tough and robust soldiers. I think that

15 equated for both sides. There were many decent and

16 honourable men on both sides.

17 As to make a comparison between the two is quite

18 difficult. I would say that generally speaking, the HVO

19 were probably smarter, probably more efficient and

20 probably slightly better equipped, but beyond that,

21 I would not like to say.

22 Q. Have you ever heard of the Vance-Owen Plan?

23 A. Yes, I have.

24 Q. Do you believe that that plan is in any way connected

25 with the events you saw during this time period?

Page 2604

1 A. It is getting into an area in which I am not

2 particularly qualified to comment. All I will say is

3 I was aware of the Vance-Owen Plan which divided up

4 Central Bosnia into many cantons, depending on the

5 strength of the Croat or the Muslims in those particular

6 cantons as to who governed that area. There is nothing

7 new in this, I, in common with many other people,

8 suspected that what went on might have been a reaction

9 or a preparatory move before the Vance-Owen Plan to

10 cause a population shift in Central Bosnia so that

11 certain sides benefited from the outcome of the

12 Vance-Owen Plan. There is nothing new in that.

13 Q. Thank you. Did you ever meet any of the HVO commanders

14 in the Vitez area?

15 A. Yes, I did, but not very much and really only in the

16 early part of the tour and indeed very early on, I think

17 in the first couple of weeks in Vitez, we had a dinner

18 night whereby we invited on both sides, Croat and

19 Muslim, commanders from Vitez, Zenica, Travnik into

20 Vitez so that we could meet them socially. So yes,

21 I had met various Croat commanders.

22 Q. Do you recall ever meeting General Blaskic?

23 A. No, I do not. I may well have met him, but I do not

24 really remember meeting him.

25 Q. Did you make any judgement at this time on the quality of

Page 2605

1 the HVO commanders as a group of officers from the

2 British army, did you make a particular judgement at the

3 time?

4 A. Yes, I think we were aware actually that we were dealing

5 with people that were very dedicated -- of course, in

6 many respects they were fighting against the Serbs,

7 fighting for the survival of their country. They were

8 dedicated professional people, obviously with a

9 different ethos and culture to that of the British army,

10 but I think we had a healthy respect for the commanders

11 on both sides and it goes without saying, and perhaps

12 I should have said at the beginning, as part of our

13 modus operandi as UN forces, we were and remained

14 completely impartial as UN forces throughout our time on

15 the ground. I firmly believe that even during this

16 particular period in late April that we maintained that

17 impartiality.

18 Q. When did you finish your service in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

19 A. I think we drove out of Vitez on, I think, about May

20 8th.

21 Q. You ultimately returned to Germany with the battalion,

22 is that correct?

23 A. That is right.

24 Q. Am I right in saying that you were honoured by Her

25 Majesty the Queen for your service in the former

Page 2606

1 Yugoslavia?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. What award did you receive?

4 A. The MBE.

5 Q. That is the Membership of the British Empire. What was

6 that for?

7 A. It was mainly for operations that the company conducted

8 in Tuzla in December and January and February 1993.

9 Q. So, in effect, escorting humanitarian aid convoys into

10 the Tuzla region?

11 A. Yes.

12 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Colonel. Mr. President, I have no

13 further questions.

14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, Mr. Nobilo? I think that one

15 counsel will be enough. If Mr. Hayman is going to do the

16 cross-examination -- is that correct?

17 MR. HAYMAN: That is our plan, your Honour.

18 JUDGE JORDA: All right.

19 MR. CAYLEY: Just one point, Mr. President, before I conclude,

20 if I could apply for the admission of exhibit 29H into

21 evidence, if my learned friend has no objections.

22 MR. HAYMAN: That is the large map, your Honour?

23 MR. CAYLEY: Yes.

24 MR. HAYMAN: No objection.

25 JUDGE JORDA: Very good. It has already been filed,

Page 2607

1 I believe, has it not?

2 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, it is numbered and I am going to

3 file it right now.

4 JUDGE JORDA: All right. How is it going to fit in with the

5 other exhibits that have been put it? Will it have the

6 same number?

7 THE REGISTRAR: When it is a copy of one which has been

8 tendered, we take the same number and add the letter

9 which follows, depending upon the annotation of the

10 witness.

11 JUDGE JORDA: Very good. Mr. Hayman, I am giving you the

12 floor now.

13 Cross-examined by MR. HAYMAN

14 Q. Thank you, your Honour. Good afternoon, Lieutenant

15 Colonel, how are you?

16 A. Very well, thank you.

17 Q. We have had a chance to meet before, have we not?

18 A. Yes, we have.

19 Q. You were kind enough to grant me an interview in the

20 United Kingdom and we met for some time in connection

21 with that interview, correct?

22 A. Yes, we did.

23 Q. I have a few questions. I probably will not finish

24 before the luncheon break but it will not be a very long

25 examination, I think. The BritBat force in Central

Page 2608

1 Bosnia was, had superior armour to any other force in

2 the region, would you agree with that?

3 A. Yes, it did.

4 Q. Namely through your Warriors and other armoured

5 vehicles?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Did those Warriors also have superior mobile fire power

8 to the other forces in the region, at least the Croat

9 and Muslim forces?

10 A. Yes, it did.

11 Q. What kind of cannon was on the Warrior?

12 A. 30 millimetre cannon.

13 Q. Were there also some machine-guns in the vehicle or

14 connected with the vehicle?

15 A. Yes, the Warrior is fitted with a Hughes' chain gun,

16 which is a machine gun.

17 Q. 7.62 millimetres? What is the size?

18 A. That is correct.

19 Q. You mentioned that the BritBat force had a Mil Info

20 Cell.

21 A. That is right.

22 Q. Can you tell us first what the function of that cell

23 was?

24 A. It was really to be able to brief all the patrols going

25 out on the ground as to what sort of areas they were

Page 2609

1 moving through, what incidents had occurred in their

2 particular areas, who were the local commanders, the

3 sort of routes they might be going over, problems with

4 bridges, that sort of thing. It was very wide ranging,

5 but it was more, and I stress here, information rather

6 than intelligence. It was to aid -- to make the most of

7 the patrols and indeed getting humanitarian aid around

8 the country.

9 Q. By the way, if at any time I ask a question that you

10 feel would be better answered in a closed session

11 without the public and the media, you are absolutely

12 free to make that request and no inference will be drawn

13 from that. Please feel free to let us know if you are

14 uncomfortable with any question I ask in that regard.

15 By what process or processes did the Mil Info

16 Cell --

17 JUDGE JORDA: It is the Tribunal that makes the decision as

18 to whether or not there will be a closed session at the

19 request of the parties.

20 MR. HAYMAN: Absolutely, your Honour. I just want to make

21 sure the witness knows he can ask if he is not

22 comfortable and he should ask if he is uncomfortable.

23 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, go ahead.

24 MR. HAYMAN: By what process or processes did the Mil Info

25 Cell gather information?

Page 2610

1 A. There is nothing sinister about this. Basically every

2 time people came back in from a patrol or an escort,

3 they would do a report and hand it in. As I said

4 already, we employed liaison officers on the ground and

5 that was a feature of the way we worked, if you like,

6 classic hearts and minds aspect of putting people out on

7 the ground and they gained lots of information with

8 which they briefed the Mil Info Cell.

9 Q. When you say reports were made when platoons or a

10 company came back in, would that be an oral debriefing

11 or a written report, or would it vary?

12 A. It would vary, but very often it would be a short

13 written report, particularly if there was something

14 new. Very often things were very routine. If, for

15 example, a bridge had been found which could not take

16 Warrior, for example, then that would be reported and it

17 affected the route planning and so on.

18 Q. Do you know, did the Mil Info Cell also derive

19 information from the liaison officers?

20 A. Yes, they did.

21 Q. Did the Mil Info Cell produce a document of its own?

22 A. I think the Mil Info Cell, along with the operations

23 officer, produced a daily what we call "Sit Rep",

24 situation report of events that day and that would, for

25 example, consist of how many convoys were escorted, the

Page 2611

1 tonnage and what the particular sub-units, for example,

2 the companies, had done that day, but only in very broad

3 outline.

4 Q. Would the daily Sit Rep -- which I take it stands for

5 "situation report"?

6 A. That is right.

7 Q. The daily Sit Rep, is that the same thing or a different

8 document from a Mil Info Summ?

9 A. It is a different document.

10 Q. How would you describe the Mil Info Summ?

11 A. The Mil Info Summ was probably a summary -- it was a

12 summary of local force activity, whereas the Sit Rep was

13 more a briefing on -- mainly the aid activities that had

14 been carried out that day.

15 Q. Were the Sit Rep and the Mil Info Summ documents sent up

16 the chain of the command to United Nations, UK land

17 force command or to both?

18 A. I am not quite sure how far they went, but certainly

19 they went down to Split to our headquarters down there.

20 Q. To the headquarters of the UN command?

21 A. To the headquarters of the British forces down in Split,

22 and also, I should add, also to the then UN headquarters

23 in Kiseljak.

24 Q. Were there other regular forms of reporting either

25 within the British forces or to the United Nations that

Page 2612

1 you were aware of, other than the daily situation

2 reports and the Mil Info Summs?

3 A. Apart from that clearly that were given by commanders,

4 for example Colonel Stuart briefing his superiors at

5 Kiseljak or in Split, yes.

6 Q. I am referring to other written reporting.

7 A. Not that I am aware of.

8 Q. How did you receive information back from the Mil Info

9 Summ so that you would be aware of local situations

10 before you went out on patrol or in some other

11 assignment?

12 A. Very often, things were so routine that sometimes it was

13 not necessary, but if we were doing -- for example, if

14 we were doing a line crossing, we were for example

15 receiving prisoners from the Bosnian Serb lines in

16 Travnik, a complicated operation which required a degree

17 of security, or something sensitive like that, or we

18 were going to try and approach the front-lines before we

19 went ahead and did something like that, we had a formal

20 session of orders. In that session of orders, a

21 representative from the Mil Info Cell would do part of

22 the briefing.

23 Q. Can you explain what you mean by the term "session of

24 orders"?

25 A. What would happen, and let us say, for example, that a

Page 2613

1 company was going to conduct an operation to bring back

2 some prisoners across the Serb front-lines, I would sit

3 down with my -- probably with a map like that, with my

4 platoon commanders in front of me, with probably

5 representatives from the ICRC, Red Cross, probably from

6 the UN and other agencies, probably the liaison

7 officers, and we would talk through in a formal way, in

8 which way the British army does its orders, the

9 operation, so everybody is absolutely clear on the

10 structure of the plan.

11 Q. Thank you. You were the commander of A company?

12 A. Yes, I was.

13 Q. Did the company keep a company log?

14 A. The company did not keep a company log, the battalion

15 kept a log, of which when A company was on operations,

16 there was a log.

17 Q. Can you describe that process?

18 A. It is a radio log, A4 size, which sits in the operations

19 room which we described earlier on, and when there is

20 any communication over the radio, the signaller in the

21 Ops Room writes down the message, who sent it, who it

22 was to and the content of the message. It is a way --

23 it is much less relevant in situations like this, but

24 clearly in conventional war, these things are more

25 important.

Page 2614

1 Q. Is there also such a thing known as the battalion log?

2 A. That was it really, that was the battalion --

3 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, can I object at this point? We

4 have spent the last 12 minutes moving through a

5 description of the reporting process of the Cheshire

6 Regiment. This subject is completely outside the scope

7 of questions that were asked in direct examination. We

8 had a meeting for several hours yesterday where we spoke

9 of pinpointing and asking our questions with precision.

10 I do not believe that this is relevant in this

11 examination, and I would ask that counsel be asked to

12 move on.

13 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to consult with my colleagues for

14 a moment. (Pause). The Trial Chamber has already had

15 the opportunity of taking up this question and in

16 line with what we spoke about yesterday afternoon, the

17 Tribunal is absolutely convinced that the

18 cross-examination must be connected with the principal

19 examination. Having said this, the judges do have faith

20 in the Defence today, as it had in the Prosecution a

21 while back, to understand the theory is respected for a

22 legal and procedural principle. There is a habit which

23 should be taken in this trial, if we want the trial to

24 fit into the time-frame that we have set.

25 Mr. Hayman, this is the desire of the Tribunal, and

Page 2615

1 we will be careful to make sure that things go that way,

2 which means that your questions in your

3 cross-examination must correspond with the questions

4 that were asked during the examination-in-chief.

5 Continue, move on to another question, please.

6 MR. HAYMAN: I take that, your Honour, that I may continue my

7 line of enquiry?

8 JUDGE JORDA: No, perhaps I used language which was not that

9 clear. What we mean is that -- let me try to be

10 clearer, pardon me. The principle that the Tribunal

11 wants to set forth is that the cross-examination must

12 correspond and suit the examination-in-chief. You

13 cannot have a cross-examination, I am saying this to you

14 today and I will say it several weeks and several months

15 from now to the Prosecution, the cross-examination must

16 be fitted in with the examination-in-chief.

17 Having said this, you are the master of your own

18 strategy and it is therefore possible that in the

19 line of thought that you have in the interests of your

20 client that you would sometimes need to move somewhat

21 aside. We do know that the Prosecution had no objection

22 immediately, but waited for about 10 or 12 minutes.

23 Let us be very clear here. The Tribunal wishes

24 that in this Blaskic case, the cross-examination which

25 is carried out should fit in with the

Page 2616

1 examination-in-chief. Having said this, the judges do

2 have faith, and are not going to stop you by saying "you

3 did not follow exactly what the Tribunal had said",

4 because faith in you, up to that point when the opposite

5 party makes an objection, and says therefore that you

6 have to change the line of your question and then move

7 to another line of questioning.

8 MR. HAYMAN: Very well. If I am being told to stop this

9 line, I would simply note the Defence has not been given

10 an opportunity to be heard as to the relevance of this

11 area. I would note that for the record, that the court

12 ruled without giving the Defence an opportunity to state

13 the relevance, not only to this witness but to the

14 case. I will move on, your Honour. (Pause).

15 JUDGE JORDA: Since yesterday, we have been trying to start

16 with new principles which we are going to set up in a

17 flexible manner. We did not stop you, Mr. Hayman, but we

18 want to assert this principle, that the

19 cross-examination within this Trial Chamber, whether it

20 be yours or the Prosecution's, should be matched to the

21 examination-in-chief. We did not stop you because the

22 principle is to have faith in you, but it is

23 self-evident that if the opposing party objects, the

24 objection is going to be granted, which is what is

25 happening now. If you have two or three questions that

Page 2617

1 you want to ask in order to complete your line of

2 questioning, you can do so, because we are being

3 flexible, but we want the principle to be understood

4 both by you and by the Prosecution.

5 MR. HAYMAN: I will continue, your Honour. I cannot tell if

6 the objection was sustained or denied.

7 Lieutenant Colonel --

8 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, if I was not clear, the objection

9 was sustained. This is the principle. It is not the

10 Tribunal that stopped you, but given the principle that

11 we have, we are sustaining the objection. As we are now

12 in the process of setting up a principle which to us

13 seems one of good administration of justice, I did not

14 interrupt you immediately, but when the Prosecution

15 objected, we said that this has been sustained. If you

16 have wanted to file questions, then ask them, but in the

17 future, it should be understood that the

18 cross-examinations must fit in with the

19 examination-in-chief, otherwise you understand, as we

20 said yesterday, and everybody understands, otherwise

21 questions are going to be asked of areas that have

22 nothing to do with this, perhaps it would just be to

23 destabilise the witness, today yours, tomorrow the

24 Prosecution's.

25 This would not be part of good administration of

Page 2618

1 justice. This is now a process which is in your hands,

2 but the Tribunal has the responsibility of moving the

3 case forward and the cross-examination must fit in with

4 the examination-in-chief. The Prosecutor's objection has

5 been sustained, but since these are principles that are

6 now being put into place, if you want to ask one or two

7 more questions, go ahead, but in the future it must be

8 clear, I mean clear both for you and the Prosecution.

9 MR. HAYMAN: Very well. Our position is these are relevant

10 questions and indeed are central to the case. We have

11 not been able to articulate why, but I will move on.

12 Lieutenant Colonel, you stated that there were

13 certain kidnappings of factional leaders in Central

14 Bosnia which escalated or increased the level of tension

15 between the Croats and Muslims in the valley, is that

16 right?

17 A. That is right, yes.

18 Q. Would you say that those incidents were very important

19 events in escalating the level of tension in mid April

20 1993?

21 A. It is difficult for me to say how important they were,

22 but they must have been factors, yes.

23 Q. Do you have in mind a particular, as you put it,

24 factional leader who was kidnapped or killed in the days

25 before mid April 1993?

Page 2619

1 A. It was not given in my evidence, but I was aware, and

2 I do not recall which side it was, that one or two

3 faction commanders were killed in the Zenica area just

4 before events we described earlier.

5 Q. That was Commander Totic of the HVO, who was kidnapped

6 in Zenica on 15th April; do you not recall that?

7 A. The name I do not recall, the incident, as I said, I do.

8 Q. Do you recall that some four of his bodyguards were

9 killed, executed in connection with that kidnapping?

10 A. I think that is probably true, yes.

11 Q. Is that somewhat akin to you or Colonel Stuart having

12 been abducted, in terms of the potential impact on the

13 men under that commander?

14 A. If they were fairly senior commanders, I suppose it

15 could have that sort of impact.

16 Q. Commander Totic was a brigade commander, was he not?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Were there other kidnappings or abductions that you were

19 aware of, for example in Novi Travnik, in the days prior

20 to April 16th 1993?

21 A. Not that I recall, no.

22 Q. As a result of this increase in the level of tensions,

23 was the BritBat force placed on any kind of alert as of

24 15th April 1993?

25 A. As I explained, we significantly increased our

Page 2620

1 patrolling activity. We patrolled continuously in

2 Zenica during the night, we patrolled in Travnik,

3 certainly. I cannot remember what activity we had in

4 Vitez, because I was involved in Travnik on those

5 particular nights and in Zenica, but I am pretty certain

6 we upped our activity, yes.

7 Q. Prior to mid April, had there been an influx of refugees

8 into the Lasva Valley of which you were aware?

9 A. Throughout our time, there were movements of refugees.

10 Some, for example, came up from Prozor, there were

11 movements of people from Zenica, down from Tuzla; it was

12 a factor of life at that time because so many people had

13 been moved out of the Serb-held areas of Central Bosnia

14 that there were frequent movements of refugees and

15 primarily, we were involved in meeting refugees who had

16 been driven from their homes in places like Banja Luka

17 and meeting them on the front-line in Turbe, so the

18 movement of refugees was a common feature at this time.

19 Q. Was there an influx of refugees into the Lasva Valley

20 prior to mid April 1993, insofar as you were aware?

21 A. There may well have been. As I said, the movement of

22 refugees was common at that time. There were frequent

23 moves, certainly, of people coming in from the previous

24 Serb areas, so it undoubtedly could well have happened

25 at that time.

Page 2621

1 Q. Were most of those refugees of Muslim background?

2 A. They would have been, if they had come from Bosnian Serb

3 areas, yes.

4 Q. Would that influx of refugees have further increased

5 tensions in the Lasva Valley, tensions between ethnic

6 Croats and Muslims?

7 A. It may have done, because inevitably if you are moving

8 into an area -- but they were civilians. I could see

9 that tensions could have been increased by the movement

10 of a large number of people into an area. Any country,

11 you know, it is exactly the same, you have a movement of

12 refugees in, it may be a factor.

13 Q. You described for us your visit to the village of

14 Putis. Do you have that in mind?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. When you went to Putis, you went to see the commander of

17 the Armija in Putis?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. That is in fact who you met with?

20 A. Almost certainly, yes. You say the commander of the

21 army in Putis -- there was no army in Putis. Putis was

22 a tiny hamlet and I probably met that night a small

23 handful of people. As I said in my evidence, I cannot

24 recall whether I met civilians or military that night.

25 What I do recall was meeting a handful of people in a

Page 2622

1 hamlet. To say he was the army commander of Putis would

2 be putting the wrong slant on it, because there was no

3 army there.

4 Q. The men who you met with in Putis, who you saw there,

5 were they men of able-bodied, fighting age?

6 A. I recall the person I met that night was probably in his

7 50s, but the people that I met that night, the handful

8 of people that I met that night, were male and

9 able-bodied, yes, but they in no way constituted an army

10 or a fighting force.

11 Q. Did they have any arms?

12 A. Yes, they did, they had small arms.

13 Q. So is it your testimony that you were unable to

14 distinguish whether these individuals were soldiers or

15 civilians, or do you believe that they were individuals

16 preparing to defend the village, or engage in some type

17 of military or armed conflict?

18 A. I am not saying I cannot distinguish between military

19 forces and civilians, what I am saying is I cannot

20 remember on that particular night -- this was at a time

21 of many, many incidents going on on a daily basis and

22 one of many, many patrols that I did. I am being

23 absolutely honest in saying I cannot remember whether

24 they were wearing a uniform or in civilian, but, of

25 course, some of the uniforms on both sides were so

Page 2623

1 civilianised anyway that very often the uniform may be

2 civilian clothes with a badge on it, so you cannot

3 necessarily draw that particular distinction on that

4 particular evening.

5 What I would say is yes, they did have weapons and

6 yes, they were being shot at and I suspect would have

7 returned fire and defended their village, yes.

8 Q. Would you agree, based on what you saw in Bosnia, that

9 within the army of Bosnia and the Territorial Defence

10 Forces that some soldiers wore uniforms, some wore mixed

11 garb and some wore civilian clothes; would you agree

12 with that proposition?

13 A. Yes, I would. The majority wore uniform, there was a

14 lot of what we would call mixed dress and I suppose were

15 little more than local peasant farmers with a weapon.

16 Q. You said on the morning of 16th April 1993 you heard

17 small arms fire and mortar fire, correct?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Would you agree that those are the two most common forms

20 of fire used in fighting in built-up areas?

21 A. In the situation of Central Bosnia, yes, they were.

22 Q. As opposed to British army training?

23 A. We would almost certainly use artillery and we may even

24 use armour in the form of tanks as well, but in relation

25 to what the local forces had in Bosnia, yes, small arms

Page 2624

1 fire and mortars.

2 Q. That is what you would expect to hear if you were

3 hearing fighting in built-up areas in Central Bosnia at

4 the time, small arms and mortar fire?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. On the morning of 16th April, did you hear any sirens

7 going off in the town of Vitez?

8 A. I do not recall any sirens. I do not recall any.

9 Q. On your drive into Vitez that morning, did you see any

10 HVO soldiers?

11 A. On the initial part, in the area of the mosque and a

12 couple of hundred metres up from the mosque, no, I did

13 not, but as I drove round the town that day -- I was in

14 Vitez for most of that day and I saw soldiers, HVO,

15 mainly around the area of the hotel, yes.

16 Q. On your initial drive into town?

17 A. Not that I recall, but we were going in very fast and

18 quite low in our turrets because of the amount of small

19 arms fire that was going around.

20 Q. So there was still small arms fire in that area, along

21 that strip of houses as you passed by?

22 A. At that particular time, there was certainly small arms

23 fire in Vitez and throughout the day there was small

24 arms fire in Vitez.

25 Q. I take it in terms of the strip of houses, and we will

Page 2625

1 try to find it on the map in a moment to make sure we

2 are all clear what area we are speaking of, but along

3 that strip, you did not see any actual combat between

4 soldiers or soldier and civilian or anything of that

5 sort?

6 A. No, we arrived in the aftermath of what had happened.

7 Q. Did you exit your Warrior during that drive in, did you

8 stop at any point and exit the Warrior?

9 A. Not initially, no, we did not.

10 Q. On that initial drive in you did not exit your Warrior

11 at all?

12 A. I do not think so.

13 Q. Did you turn off the main road on the drive in?

14 A. Not on the initial drive in, no, I did not.

15 Q. Perhaps we had better find this segment on the map, just

16 for perfect clarity.

17 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps this is where we could break and then

18 start again at 2.30.

19

20 (12.55 p.m.)

21 (Adjourned until 2.45 p.m.)

22

23

24

25

Page 2626

1 (2.45 p.m.)

2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Have the accused

3 brought in, please.

4 (Accused brought in)

5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman -- Mr. Cayley, you want to say

6 something?

7 MR. CAYLEY: It is a small point, your Honour. The next

8 witness, I have been reminded by one of my colleagues.

9 Certain protective measures apply to that witness and he

10 just wished me to remind the court.

11 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, all right. Mr. Hayman, the floor is

12 yours.

13 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon,

14 Lieutenant Colonel Thomas.

15 A. Good afternoon.

16 Q. When we broke for the luncheon period, I was, I believe,

17 asking about exhibit 56, the aerial photograph, and

18 I would like to approach and ask you a question or two

19 about it.

20 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, may I approach the witness,

21 please?

22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes.

23 MR. HAYMAN: Again, keeping in mind that the court needs to

24 see the exhibit, and we have a microphone here that you

25 need to speak into, your initial drive on the morning of

Page 2627

1 16th April into Vitez took you along the path roughly

2 from "P" to "O" on exhibit 56?

3 A. Initially, yes.

4 Q. You said that the worst destruction, that is the signs

5 of the heaviest destruction of homes, was around the

6 letter "H" on this map, is that right?

7 A. On the strip "P" to "O", but from what I recall,

8 primarily in the area of "H".

9 Q. Which is roughly in the middle of this stretch from "P"

10 to "O"? "H" is roughly the mid point of that line?

11 A. This whole stretch along here, yes.

12 Q. Were all of the -- strike that.

13 Can you estimate how many houses there were along

14 the road from "P" to "O" on exhibit 56?

15 A. No, I cannot.

16 Q. Dozens of houses?

17 A. Dozens.

18 Q. Were they all on fire when you transited this route on

19 the morning of 16th April?

20 A. A lot of them were and the great majority had been

21 attacked.

22 Q. When you say a lot of them were on fire, are you saying

23 half were on fire, more than half, less than half?

24 A. I would say nearly all had been attacked. Most of them

25 had been burnt out, yes.

Page 2628

1 Q. Did they all have hundreds of rounds of markings, that

2 is markings from rounds of small arms fire in the walls,

3 or just some of them?

4 A. Not all of them, but the great majority did.

5 Q. More than half did, in your estimation?

6 A. I would say so, yes.

7 Q. Can you shed any light on why some of the homes had so

8 many rounds in the walls and others did not, or for that

9 matter why some were on fire and some were not?

10 A. It may have been that some of the occupants simply were

11 not there, or that some of them possibly may have been

12 lived in by Croats, and therefore were not attacked.

13 Q. You may take your seat. If exhibit 100, the photo

14 album, could be placed before the witness while I am

15 asking the next couple of questions?

16 During your tour, Lieutenant Colonel, did you

17 learn of any distinctions in appearance between the

18 typical house of a Croat in this region and the typical

19 house of a Muslim?

20 A. No.

21 Q. Specifically I am asking if you learned whether the roof

22 tops of Croat versus Muslim houses had any differences

23 in them in this area, if you know?

24 A. I do not know.

25 Q. If you would turn to exhibit --

Page 2629

1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, thank you, Mr. Dubuisson, to fix the

2 microphone. Could you ask the question again, because

3 I do not think we got it?

4 MR. HAYMAN: I will, your Honour. Exhibit 100/5, which is

5 PH233, do you have that photo before you?

6 A. I do.

7 Q. Do you see that the roof tops on the houses along the

8 left-hand side of the street would be characterised as

9 two-sided roofs rather than four-sided roofs?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Would you agree with that?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. But I take it you are not able to tell us whether that

14 is a feature of roof tops that in this region of Bosnia

15 tends to indicate the ethnicity of either the

16 constructor or the occupants of the home?

17 A. I am not aware of that particular distinction, no.

18 Q. Thank you. You said in terms of your own experience

19 when you saw the destruction and the casualties in Vitez

20 on the morning of 16th April, you had never seen

21 anything like it, is that correct?

22 A. Yes, but that is not surprising, given the scale of what

23 I saw, yes.

24 Q. In fact, your prior tours had been in relatively --

25 strike that. Your prior tours had been in areas where

Page 2630

1 there were not open armed conflicts, would you agree

2 with that?

3 A. My previous operational experience had been in Northern

4 Ireland, so it was a different scenario, of course.

5 Q. That is more of a terrorist war, if you will?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Had you ever seen fighting in built-up areas, for

8 example, in your tours in Germany, Hong Kong or

9 wherever?

10 A. No, but I have been on many exercises involving that

11 sort of training.

12 Q. What about your men? Had they ever been exposed to, for

13 the most part, this type of destruction, if you will,

14 open conflict with casualties and destroyed buildings

15 and the like on this scale?

16 A. We had certainly seen elements of it up in Tuzla, when

17 we had been there in January and February, earlier in

18 the year and they had also had experience by this stage

19 of quite a lot of shellfire and shooting, so the

20 platoons had seen quite a lot of operational experience

21 in Tuzla, months before.

22 Q. I take it prior to your and their deployment to Bosnia

23 your platoon or the members of your platoon, to your

24 knowledge, had never fought in a conflict involving

25 fighting in built-up areas, is that right?

Page 2631

1 A. That is right.

2 Q. That is they had not?

3 A. They had not.

4 Q. You said the houses along the strip of road from "O" to

5 "P" on exhibit 56 were not constructed for Defence, do

6 you recall that?

7 A. That is right.

8 Q. Do you recall that testimony?

9 A. I said they were not fortified for defence.

10 MR. HAYMAN: One moment, your Honour. (Pause). When you now

11 use the term "fortified", you are referring to sand

12 bags, that kind of thing?

13 A. Sand bags, wire emplacements, ditches, that sort of

14 thing, yes.

15 Q. Would you agree that in fighting in built-up areas an

16 important tactical issue is whether a structure itself

17 is being used for defence?

18 A. It is often a factor. When fighting in built-up areas,

19 very often the defenders will occupy a building and

20 shore up that building to fight from it.

21 Q. But they do not necessarily have to shore it up in order

22 to use it as a defensive position, correct?

23 A. No, they do not, but if you wanted to defend it, you

24 would do your utmost to fortify, if you wanted to stay

25 in that position.

Page 2632

1 Q. If you had notice of an impending attack?

2 A. That is right.

3 Q. If an attacker learns that a structure is defended, then

4 under the tactics of fighting in built-up areas the

5 mission is typically to clear the house of the enemy,

6 correct?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Including by destroying the structure if necessary?

9 A. If necessary, but actually invariably relating to

10 conventional war, if possible you try and leave the

11 structure standing because structures that have

12 collapsed all over the place restrict the movement of

13 your own armoured vehicles. Certainly in our doctrine,

14 we prefer that structures remain standing.

15 Q. To do that requires small groups of soldiers moving into

16 a built-up area, correct?

17 A. It all depends on the size -- the objective you are

18 taking. You cannot compare a street in Vitez, as you

19 said, a couple of dozen houses, with a major city in

20 Western Europe.

21 Q. But a typical assignment for a platoon would be to clear

22 a particular small structure?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. They would do so, would they not, using tools such as

25 grenades, machine gunfire and the like?

Page 2633

1 A. Yes, that sort of thing.

2 Q. That is normal if the building is in fact defended,

3 correct?

4 A. That is right.

5 Q. You said it was typical of a fighting force to hold on

6 to territory after it had been seized; do you recall

7 that?

8 A. I do. I am referring to conventional operations, that

9 if you have captured ground, you then do not go and

10 leave it.

11 Q. Would you agree, though, that the answer to that

12 question depends on a number of things, including where

13 the front-line is; that is, where the confrontation

14 line with your enemy is?

15 A. It might be a factor, yes.

16 Q. Namely, if you have been pushed back from the territory

17 that you seized, by definition you are not going to be

18 able to hold it, correct?

19 A. Mm.

20 Q. Or is it possible that an attacker does not have enough

21 forces to hold and occupy territory on a point by point,

22 building by building or even a somewhat broader basis;

23 is that not also possible?

24 A. That is possible.

25 Q. Where was the front-line or the confrontation line on the

Page 2634

1 morning of 16th April 1993 between armed Croat and

2 Muslim elements in and around Vitez, if you know?

3 A. I do not know, but there again, the confrontation

4 line changed virtually on a daily basis. The

5 confrontation line varied, depending on which particular

6 command you spoke to. I never saw one confrontation

7 line marked on a map that was the same. In such a fluid

8 situation as this, the confrontation line is virtually

9 meaningless, but not only that, until this particular

10 time, there was no confrontation. This is the point.

11 We were not talking about a battle that had been going

12 on for weeks between Croat and Muslim, up until this

13 particular day -- as we all know, these events happened

14 suddenly, so although there may have been pockets

15 throughout Vitez which were Croat and Muslim there was

16 nothing then regarded as a major confrontation line.

17 Q. Was it fair to say on the morning of 16th April 1993,

18 the confrontation line , such as it was, was dynamic,

19 not static, in and around Vitez?

20 A. The confrontation line changed daily, but there again,

21 the term confrontation line there, you may equate to the

22 Serbs to the west of Turbe, but at that particular time

23 we knew that there were obviously pockets of Croats and

24 Muslims, but there had been no open conflict on the

25 scale that we saw here.

Page 2635

1 Q. Would you agree that on 16th April 1993, the

2 confrontation line between Croats and Muslims was

3 dynamic, it was moving?

4 A. Inevitably.

5 Q. I believe you said that as you drove along this stretch

6 of road from "O" to "P" on exhibit 56, you did not see

7 any bodies of soldiers, that is dead soldiers, is that

8 right?

9 A. I said that, yes.

10 Q. Do you mean you did not see any bodies wearing

11 uniforms? Would that be more specific and more

12 accurate?

13 A. I did not see any bodies of people in uniform, correct,

14 but there again I am pretty certain in my own mind, as

15 are my soldiers, that the bodies we saw that morning

16 were civilians. Not only that, but they invariably were

17 the occupants of those particular houses. A number of

18 people we either found in their gardens or, in two

19 cases, draped over their fence. If they were soldiers,

20 they were spread out far and wide and you would expect

21 to find groups of them, if they had been defending a

22 house. You would not have soldiers defending one person

23 per house, so it very much gave the impression that

24 these were the civilian occupants of these houses.

25 Q. If a soldier is off duty, are you referring to them as a

Page 2636

1 soldier or a civilian?

2 A. If he is off duty, he is still a soldier. But what I am

3 saying is the people in the houses we saw were wearing

4 civilian clothes and I deemed to be civilians. What

5 reinforces that particular point is the fact that when

6 I extracted, I think on the evening of the 18th, people

7 from along that street, as the point I made quite

8 clearly, I insisted that night that we carried no

9 Bosnian army soldiers in any military vehicle and every

10 person we moved out of that location, which was in the

11 same street, was a civilian.

12 Q. I believe you said of the 12 bodies or so you saw

13 between "O" and "P", they were all male?

14 A. I think, yes, that was the case. As I said, we treated

15 one elderly woman for a gunshot wound.

16 Q. The bodies of males that you saw, were they roughly

17 between the ages of 18 and 60?

18 A. Yes, although one of my platoon sergeants, Sergeant

19 Kujvinksi, in a well-documented account, recalled

20 seeing a boy of about eight years old dead, cradling a

21 puppy that morning.

22 Q. Did you say you did not go into any of the homes along

23 the strip of "O" to "P" on that morning?

24 A. Not initially, no.

25 Q. Later in the day, did you go into any of the homes, on

Page 2637

1 the 16th?

2 A. I do not think so.

3 Q. So if there had been shell casings or other signs of

4 defence within any of those homes, you would not have

5 been in a position to discover it on the 16th, right?

6 A. No.

7 Q. When you came to the Hotel Vitez on the morning of

8 16th April, did you exit your Warrior?

9 A. I do not recall doing so, because on that particular

10 morning, the battalion second in command was also on the

11 ground in his Warrior and I am pretty certain he went to

12 the Croat headquarters. I personally did not that

13 morning.

14 Q. That would have been Major Waters?

15 A. That is correct.

16 Q. Were you tasked to go to the Armija headquarters in

17 Vitez, or did you do that of your own initiative?

18 A. I did that of my own initiative. As I said, at that

19 time pandemonium had broken out throughout Vitez. There

20 was continuous gunfire and we were just doing our best

21 to establish just exactly what was going on. At one

22 particular time I ended up at the Armija headquarters,

23 but it was of my own volition.

24 Q. You identified that the Armija headquarters at point "B"

25 on exhibit 56; are you comfortable with that location as

Page 2638

1 your best recollection?

2 A. As I said at the time, I am not entirely comfortable

3 with it, no. All I said was --

4 JUDGE JORDA: Could we have the microphone on, please, and

5 if you could slow down a bit?

6 A. No, I am not absolutely comfortable that was the

7 location. I believe it was in this general area here,

8 but we are dealing with a small air photograph and that

9 was the first time, that morning, I had been to that

10 headquarters. I think in that area is probably specific

11 enough.

12 MR. HAYMAN: Are you familiar with the general distinction

13 between Vitez town and Stari Vitez, or old Vitez?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Was this headquarters that you went to in Vitez town and

16 not in Stari Vitez?

17 A. It was in Vitez town.

18 Q. Thank you, you may have a seat. Can you give us an

19 estimate how far this headquarters, that is the Armija

20 headquarters you visited, was from the Hotel Vitez

21 within Vitez town?

22 A. I cannot give an exact estimate, because I was slightly

23 unclear as to the exact location. It would be wrong of

24 me to give an exact distance, but it would be no more

25 than a mile and no less than half a mile. That was the

Page 2639

1 sort of distance. It is a small town.

2 Q. And the outside of the Armija headquarters in Vitez

3 looked, so to speak, "shot up"?

4 A. Yes, it was.

5 Q. Inside there was a military commander with approximately

6 15 soldiers, armed?

7 A. Something like that number, yes.

8 Q. I am sorry, I need to call your attention back to

9 exhibit 56. Would you expect, in an armed conflict,

10 between two armed forces, that the worst devastation of,

11 for example, structures where fighting in built-up areas

12 occurs would be in and around the front-line, that is,

13 the confrontation line between those two forces?

14 A. You would expect probably the heaviest fighting to be

15 where the opposing forces first engage, yes.

16 Q. That is because if one takes a structure and the other

17 side takes it back, in the course of all that fighting,

18 the structure is likely to show very significant signs

19 of battle, correct?

20 A. Mm.

21 Q. Do you know whether the strip of the stretch you have

22 described, going roughly from "H" to "O" in fact

23 represents the area very close to if not the front-line

24 or confrontation line between the Armija and the HVO?

25 A. It must be close to what you are telling me is the

Page 2640

1 confrontation line, but as I said, I do not necessarily

2 believe that is the right definition. It was

3 certainly -- that stretch of road was an area which at

4 one point divided Croat houses and Muslim houses,

5 certainly. But there were pockets throughout Vitez and

6 that is why the confrontation line is so difficult to

7 point out.

8 MR. HAYMAN: With the court's permission, I am going to place

9 over exhibit 56 an overlay which has previously been

10 marked and admitted as exhibit D26, an overlay marked by

11 another witness. Let me ask you, Lieutenant Colonel

12 Thomas, I will ask you to stand, you see on this overlay

13 which we have placed to match up to the legend and so

14 forth, so it is in the proper location, we see a red

15 outline roughly around the area of Stari Vitez, would

16 you agree?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Would you also agree that parts of that

19 line representing the area within Stari Vitez and

20 dividing it from the area outside Stari Vitez are

21 virtually at point "H" on this map, exhibit 56, correct?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And that other parts of it run along the road that

24 reaches from "P" to "O"?

25 A. Yes.

Page 2641

1 Q. Thank you.

2 A. But I would say that this -- I mean, this scrawl on here

3 is virtually meaningless. The thing is, as I said,

4 confrontation lines vary between who drew it. I have

5 seen many similar maps to this and the fact of the

6 matter is these lines do not necessarily mean very

7 much. I do not believe this actually can be regarded as

8 a tactically significant overlay.

9 Q. Do you mean by that -- I will allow counsel to return to

10 his place.

11 Do you mean by that that the presence of an army

12 of BiH soldiers in Stari Vitez was not of strategic

13 significance to the conflict between Croats and Muslims?

14 A. I am sure the presence of troops must have been

15 significant and I do not dispute that. Of course the

16 presence of BiH troops must be significant. However,

17 that does not necessarily conform to what you are saying

18 there. What I have said consistently is that that

19 morning I saw no dead BiH troops and that is a fact.

20 What you are saying is that somewhere within this

21 confrontation line there was a pocket of BiH troops.

22 That may be the case, but I did not see any. Not only

23 that, but the validity of this confrontation

24 line I would question anyway.

25 Q. You did not see any troops at all in that area of Vitez,

Page 2642

1 Stari Vitez on the morning of the 16th, correct?

2 A. I saw no dead troops; indeed, I saw no live ones, apart

3 from the ones I saw at the BiH headquarters, primarily,

4 and then throughout the day the odd individual in the

5 odd house, spread throughout the town.

6 Q. Were you aware at the time that there were BiH troops on

7 16th April in Stari Vitez, in some numbers?

8 A. I was not, no.

9 Q. Now I would like to turn your attention to April 17th.

10 You were driving, I believe, on the main road from Vitez

11 to Busovaca in the direction of Santici?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And you saw a number of refugees on the road, perhaps

14 30, perhaps 50?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And you saw houses on fire?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Were those houses on the south side of the road?

19 A. Yes, they were on the right-hand side of the road as you

20 look at the map.

21 Q. As you look at exhibit 56, they are on the right-hand

22 side of the road?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Were they the houses immediately adjacent to the road?

25 A. The ones I saw on fire were probably about 100 or 150

Page 2643

1 metres from the road.

2 Q. Were they the first row of houses next to the road or

3 were they several rows back?

4 A. This is extremely difficult. They were in a patch of

5 open land, I think about 150 metres from the road. They

6 were very clearly visible from the road.

7 Q. They would have a commanding view -- a line of sight

8 view of the road, correct, from those houses?

9 A. Not a commanding view, they were just near the road.

10 Q. They were higher than or as high as the road, or were

11 they below the road?

12 A. The area around there is pretty flat, and they were

13 virtually on the same level.

14 Q. During your tour, did the army of BiH ever cut that road

15 in approximately that position, or was that after your

16 tour ended?

17 A. That was after our tour.

18 Q. I take it you did not see any fighting in this area as

19 well, you saw refugees and houses on fire?

20 A. That is right.

21 Q. You saw no soldiers in that area?

22 A. That morning, no.

23 Q. Is the same true in Ahmici when you turned up the road

24 to Ahmici on the 17th, you saw no fighting and no

25 soldiers?

Page 2644

1 A. That is right.

2 Q. Did you go in any homes to look for evidence of possible

3 defence, such as spent shell casings?

4 A. The photograph you saw as one of the exhibits there,

5 I went into that particular house.

6 Q. Referring to exhibit 100/6?

7 A. That is the one, yes.

8 MR. HAYMAN: I am holding up for the record, your Honour,

9 100/6.

10 That was the only house you went in on that day?

11 A. I believe it was, yes.

12 Q. Did you go out from the area of the road to look for any

13 possible fortifications, such as a trench or a fox hole

14 or something of that sort, or did you stick to the road?

15 A. We stuck to the road because of the fact that the mine

16 threat was quite significant and I was not prepared to

17 risk the Warrior on a mine.

18 Q. Were you aware at the time that there was in fact a

19 headquarters of the Armija and/or the Territorial

20 Defence in Ahmici?

21 A. No, I was not.

22 Q. Did you make a report of your visit to Ahmici on the

23 17th?

24 A. I would have certainly got on the radio and told the

25 company headquarters what I was doing, yes. I do not

Page 2645

1 recall writing a formal report of that particular recce.

2 Q. Is that because in the context of the conflict and the

3 destruction that you were seeing, Ahmici did not stand

4 out particularly?

5 A. It did not stand out that morning, but, of course, later

6 on my 1 Platoon, under Lieutenant Dooley, actually

7 discovered what is now known as the massacre in Ahmici,

8 and it took on much greater significance. The part of

9 the village that I was in did not.

10 Q. Have you completed your answer?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So I take it on the morning of 17th April when you went

13 into Ahmici, in fact went in one building, one

14 structure, you were not aware there had been a massacre

15 in the village?

16 A. Not at that stage, I do not think, no. As I said, I saw

17 no dead bodies at that stage.

18 Q. Had you heard from any other BritBat soldier or BritBat

19 source that BritBat forces had been in Ahmici on

20 16th April?

21 A. I would have done, because it was my company that were

22 the Ops Company at the time. This is where I am unclear

23 on the chronology of this, whether or not Lieutenant

24 Dooley -- the exact period when Lieutenant Dooley

25 discovered the massacre in Ahmici. I may have been in

Page 2646

1 that particular house the day after Lieutenant Dooley

2 discovered the massacre.

3 Q. But when you were there on the 17th, were you thinking

4 "this is where a massacre of 100 people or more has

5 occurred", or was that not in your mind?

6 A. I cannot recall.

7 Q. But in any event, you made no special report or written

8 report of your visit on that day?

9 A. Not that I recall doing, no.

10 Q. Now let me turn your attention to 18th April 1993, and

11 the truck bomb in Stari Vitez. You were one of the

12 first UNPROFOR officers on the scene. Did you gather

13 any evidence from your visit that would tend to shed

14 light on whether the truck bomb was essentially a

15 terrorist act or whether it was a military operation

16 sanctioned at a high level?

17 A. I think it is impossible to draw that distinction. As

18 I said in my evidence earlier on, at that particular

19 time all we were interested in was sorting out the

20 people on the ground as best we could. To draw

21 distinction whether it was a terrorist act or part of

22 some campaign plan was not really a factor. It was, if

23 you like, a terrorist act as we know it, but in the

24 context of a localised conflict.

25 Q. But I take it you did not gather any evidence through

Page 2647

1 forensic or other sources or your Mil Info Summ tending

2 to indicate who had directed that attack, is that

3 correct?

4 A. We could only surmise the fact that it was just down the

5 road from the mosque, that it was in the area we knew to

6 be the Muslim area, therefore we surmised it to be

7 targeted at the Muslim population.

8 Q. By some Croat element, is that right?

9 A. Almost certainly.

10 Q. Were there any Armija soldiers killed as a result of the

11 truck blast?

12 A. I do not know.

13 Q. Did you see any bodies pulled out of collapsed

14 buildings?

15 A. Yes, we did.

16 Q. Were any of them in uniform?

17 A. Not that I recall.

18 Q. Did you see any arms, that is guns and the like, taken

19 out of any of those collapsed buildings?

20 A. No.

21 Q. No, or not that you recall?

22 A. I did not see any arms taken out.

23 Q. Some time later you went to Kazagici?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. The village.

Page 2648

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Were there soldiers in that village?

3 A. There were soldiers not in the village because we were

4 able to walk through it without seeing anybody, but as

5 I said in my evidence, around the village there were a

6 number of local forces.

7 Q. Of the same side or of different forces, or do you

8 recall?

9 A. From what I recall, at the bottom of the hill, and this

10 was where I was not clear in my earlier evidence,

11 because I could not specifically remember. At the

12 bottom of the hill leading up to Kazagici, I believe

13 there was a Croat checkpoint which we drove through.

14 Around the village of Kazagici I think there were BiH

15 soldiers, but I would not wish to swear on that. All

16 I am saying is the village of Kazagici, and I have no

17 doubt somebody here in the Tribunal would be able to

18 ascertain whether it was a Croat or a Muslim village,

19 all I am saying is that particular village had been

20 completely destroyed. I am not interested whether it

21 was Croat or Muslim, it was a terrible act. All I am

22 saying is the village was destroyed.

23 Q. From what you have described, do you think it sounds

24 like that village was at the confrontation line between

25 Armija and HVO troops?

Page 2649

1 A. It was probably close to the confrontation line, again a

2 difficult term, because of the sheer level of gunfire

3 that was in and around that village.

4 Q. Could you tell whether that gunfire was directed at you

5 or whether it was being exchanged between the warring

6 parties?

7 A. Some of it was definitely directed at us.

8 Q. You said in your earlier testimony that attacks in the

9 area of the Lasva Valley in mid April happened so

10 quickly; do you recall that?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. How long did the fighting go on after it began on the

13 morning of the 16th? Did it not go on for a period of

14 days?

15 A. A couple of days, and in villages in and around Vitez

16 there were battles for a longer period than that, but

17 the main fighting in Vitez and Ahmici and so on was up

18 and over in a period of a day or so.

19 Q. When you said "so quickly" you meant in many instances a

20 day of fighting or so?

21 A. Not even that. There was sporadic shooting over that

22 period, but the instances we have been referring to in

23 Ahmici or the attack in Vitez happened in the space of a

24 couple of hours, because, as you know, we woke up on the

25 morning of the attack on Vitez, I think the 16th, and

Page 2650

1 everything had happened in the space between going to

2 bed that night and 6.00 in the morning, so probably a

3 period of six hours, a whole street in Vitez was

4 flattened.

5 Q. But the fighting woke you up on the morning of the 16th?

6 A. Yes, it did.

7 Q. So it was not going on between midnight and 5.00, it

8 started at 5.00 or 6.00 am?

9 A. Possibly, yes.

10 Q. And then you responded?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. You started to describe your visit to Kadras, but you

13 were not able to elaborate. Do you recall roughly when

14 that visit occurred?

15 A. That visit was on the day of the truck bomb, which

16 I think was the 18th.

17 Q. Roughly where is the village of Kadras?

18 A. It is in the hills south of -- a few kilometres south of

19 Zenica.

20 Q. North of Vitez?

21 A. North of Vitez.

22 Q. When you went to that village, who did you encounter?

23 What type of force?

24 A. I encountered a group of Muslims who had been -- who

25 appeared to have ransacked some houses.

Page 2651

1 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, at this point, I have not objected

2 before, there have been a number of points where I was

3 going to object, but in order to get through matters --

4 but at this point, we do wish to make a very strong

5 objection. Defence counsel is now seeking to introduce

6 evidence of potential breaches of international

7 humanitarian law committed by another faction, in this

8 case Islamic extremist forces.

9 The Prosecutor's position on this is that this is

10 a fundamental question. It is a fundamental question

11 for the following reasons. Alleged crimes committed by

12 other parties are irrelevant to the case before you.

13 They are not contained -- the village of Kadras is not

14 referred to in this indictment and indeed,

15 General Blaskic, it is not alleged that he had

16 absolutely anything to do with these events at all in

17 this village. This document sets out the four square

18 corners of this case. The fact that another party

19 committed a crime is not a defence to General Blaskic.

20 Thirdly, the matters to which counsel refers may

21 well be the subject of a separate investigation by the

22 Office of the Prosecutor, and public revelation of those

23 matters may well be prejudicial to such an investigation

24 in its nascent stage.

25 Lastly, and a matter which we addressed yesterday

Page 2652

1 in the status conference, the raising of these

2 extraneous matters consumes precious time of the court,

3 it delays the course of justice and it ultimately

4 distorts and bewilders the truth, which after all,

5 I would respectfully submit, is why we are here, to find

6 the truth. For these reasons, I would respectfully

7 submit to the court that both the Defence and the

8 Prosecution be precluded from asking questions of

9 alleged breaches of international law which are not the

10 subject of this indictment.

11 JUDGE JORDA: I give the floor to Mr. Hayman. I would just

12 first like to point out, I have not decided about the

13 objection, but I would like to know whether this was --

14 the Colonel did mention this, did he not? So on the

15 basis of the principle that we will indicate that the

16 cross-examination has to be part of the examination, he

17 did mention it, but your objection raises other problems

18 and I would like first to give the floor to Mr. Hayman so

19 he gets his opinion -- gives his opinion on what was

20 just said.

21 MR. CAYLEY: Of course defence counsel must have his say, but

22 I have one other point to make. The Colonel did

23 actually mention the name of the village. He did not get

24 on to the subject-matter, because it was my view that it

25 is not relevant to this case, for the reasons that

Page 2653

1 I have given. I will not repeat them. So the actual

2 subject matter of this event was never raised.

3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman?

4 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President, your Honours. I could

5 not agree more with the principle that crimes committed

6 by other persons, other parties, are not relevant of and

7 in themselves, to this case. But that is merely the

8 beginning, not the end of the inquiry. The question is:

9 did the presence of Mujahedin, call them soldiers, call

10 them terrorists, what you will, on the soil in Central

11 Bosnia, is it relevant to the level of tensions between

12 Croats and Muslims? Is it not relevant much in the same

13 way the kidnapping of Commander Totic and the execution

14 by, it is believed, Mujahedin fighters of his four

15 bodyguards are relevant to understanding the conflict,

16 what gave rise to it. That is one area of relevance.

17 The other is this witness has testified to very

18 broad opinions about the causes of the conflict, the

19 nature of the conflict, et cetera, and I think we have

20 to be allowed to probe. If it is confidential, the last

21 thing we wish would be to contaminate any such inquiry,

22 but we submit it could be done in closed session with no

23 danger of any such contamination. By the way, I have

24 three or four questions in this area. It is not time

25 consuming. I would have been done long ago.

Page 2654

1 JUDGE JORDA: I rather tend to some extent to agree with

2 Mr. Hayman. I will explain why. I want to limit as much

3 as possible the examination and cross-examination, but

4 the case does not -- the judge does not have the entire

5 case file, so he cannot criticise or tell either of you

6 what to do. It seems to me, however, just as I will ask

7 Mr. Hayman not to dwell too long on this point because it

8 was only mentioned by the Colonel, I do believe that it

9 is actually natural for General Blaskic's Defence to

10 show, as much as he can, a possible, if you like,

11 mitigation of responsibility of his client.

12 Have faith in us, Mr. Cayley. If the questions

13 having to do with this climate that reigned go on too

14 long, I believe we would be the first to stop

15 Mr. Hayman. But I think that we cannot prevent the

16 Defence from trying to characterise what this climate

17 was. We are not saying that the village was far away,

18 it was a village -- that it was very far away, hundreds

19 of kilometres removed from the combat area. I would be

20 the first in that case to say absolutely not, you cannot

21 ask questions about that, but it is true that the

22 Colonel mentioned it, I even noted it, the name was in

23 the Colonel's mouth and he said it. So I am very strict

24 about what has been said and I think the

25 cross-examination has to remain within the limits of the

Page 2655

1 examination-in-chief. He did mention it, the Colonel,

2 that is, we can understand that the Defence might be

3 used to support his Defence in one way or the other.

4 Therefore, Mr. Hayman, go ahead, but do not spend the

5 whole afternoon, please, on this issue.

6 MR. HAYMAN: I should be done within half an hour with my

7 entire examination, your Honour.

8 Lieutenant Colonel Thomas, you went to Kadras, you

9 encountered a group of Mujahedin fighters; about how

10 many were there?

11 A. I am not saying they were Mujahedin, because I cannot

12 categorically say they were, but what I will say is they

13 were a particularly aggressive group of Muslims who

14 I had not encountered before.

15 Q. Were they bearded? Were they wearing beards?

16 A. I cannot remember, they may have been. But they were

17 Muslim forces.

18 Q. Can you put a rough number on the group?

19 A. There were probably about six or eight of them.

20 Q. What did they, if anything, do to you?

21 A. I could not get my Warrior very close because it was on

22 a very steep hill, so I walked forward with my Sergeant

23 Major and a female interpreter. I asked them what they

24 were doing and I asked them to stop. They looked like

25 they had been looting houses, there were some wrecked

Page 2656

1 houses there. I asked them what they were doing. They

2 refused to talk to my interpreter and became very

3 aggressive. One of them put a grenade under my chin.

4 I thought it was probably best that we leave with a

5 degree of dignity and we walked back to our Warrior.

6 Q. He physically put a grenade under your chin?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Could you see houses burning -- how could you tell

9 houses had been ransacked?

10 A. They were not burning at this stage. I stress this was

11 not the village of Kadras, this was a tiny hamlet on the

12 top of a hill of probably three or four buildings near

13 Kadras.

14 Q. On what do you base the statement, just in a general

15 sense, that the houses were being looted?

16 A. Because they were obviously working their way through

17 the houses. The houses were not burning but they had

18 been ransacked and shot up. I think what I would say is

19 the reason I was -- perhaps against the wishes of the

20 Prosecution -- that I was even keen to put this in

21 evidence was that I believe it showed our impartiality

22 in investigating claims by in fact the priest in Kadras,

23 a Croat priest, that there had been a problem there,

24 which I would hope puts my other evidence in context.

25 Q. You and your men had difficulty at times moving through

Page 2657

1 Croat checkpoints as well as army checkpoints, is that

2 in part what you are saying, that kind of thing?

3 A. At all times when there was tension we had difficulties

4 moving through checkpoints, yes.

5 Q. Before your testimony, did you have occasion to review

6 any radio logs of BritBat?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Including the watch keeper's log?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Do you know whether you were interviewed, anyone reading

11 from any of those logs as part of your preparation for

12 your testimony?

13 A. No.

14 Q. That is to your knowledge no one did, no one was

15 referring to a radio log in the course of interviewing

16 you or preparing you for testimony?

17 A. No.

18 Q. Would you agree that in fighting in built-up areas most

19 of the fighting is done by small groups of soldiers,

20 platoon or smaller?

21 A. It is normally -- again, it all depends on the level of

22 war you are talking about. Individual houses are

23 attacked by small groups of people, but normally, such

24 operations are done in conventional war by battalions

25 and brigades, who then break down to clear individual

Page 2658

1 streets and houses. In the case of Vitez, I imagine

2 that a fairly large force broke down into small bands

3 and attacked houses.

4 Q. Does that type of fighting make command and control more

5 difficult, in your judgement?

6 A. Command and control is inevitably difficult in FIBUA,

7 but you normally work -- the thing about FIBUA, Fighting

8 In built-up Areas, is that you worked to a very detailed

9 plan and such operations are planned in minute detail,

10 normally with air photographs and individual platoons

11 and sections being detailed the houses that they should

12 take on. Although during the actual operation the

13 command and control may be difficult, although not

14 impossible, the planning for a FIBUA operation is

15 normally conducted in great detail.

16 Q. And that proper planning for such an operation requires

17 training and rehearsals and so forth?

18 A. If the British army was conducting such an operation, it

19 would carry out rehearsals, certainly.

20 MR. HAYMAN: One moment, your Honour. (Pause). Your Honour,

21 I have three or four more questions, but I think they

22 are most appropriately asked in closed session and I can

23 explain why, but probably not outside of closed

24 session. I can write it down in a sentence or two if

25 that is convenient, as the court wishes.

Page 2659

1 JUDGE JORDA: Before we havea closed session, I first would

2 like to turn to the Prosecution. Do you have any

3 objections to a closed session, since these are

4 questions which would involve a certain number of

5 secrets?

6 MR. CAYLEY: The problem is, Mr. President, I have absolutely

7 no idea what the questions are, so I cannot make any

8 objections. Clearly the only way we will find it is if

9 we go into closed session. I have no objection to a

10 closed session. That does not mean to say I will have

11 no objections to the questions.

12 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We will now have a closed session

13 and then if we have to get out of closed session once

14 again, we will decide that. For now, we will have a

15 closed session, unless you want to have something

16 absolutely in private.

17 MR. HAYMAN: I think if we just turn off the sound, that is

18 enough. We need not lower the blinds.

19 JUDGE JORDA: If we cut the sound, that is enough. That is

20 fine. We will cut the sound. You do not have to turn

21 to any maps or anything like that. You are sure? We do

22 not have to draw the curtains. We will simply say that

23 this is now a private session.

24 (In closed session)

25 (redacted)

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Page 2665

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18 (redacted)

19 (In open session)

20 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President. Lieutenant Colonel

21 Thomas, a couple more questions. You said that the HVO,

22 in your view, had a "clear command structure".

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. I believe you said you based that on, for example,

25 individuals at checkpoints calling their commanders

Page 2666

1 before making a decision whether to let you pass?

2 A. That is right.

3 Q. Typically what commander would a guard at a checkpoint

4 call in order to confer on that type of matter, if you

5 know? Would they call their commander?

6 A. Almost certainly, yes.

7 Q. The local village platoon commander?

8 A. Or often physically go and get him and bring him down to

9 the checkpoint as well. This could sometimes take half

10 an hour, it could even -- it sometimes could take hours.

11 Q. Do you have any basis for testifying before this

12 Tribunal concerning the nature or the strength or

13 weakness of the command structure of the HVO at the top

14 level, at the upper levels? What you have described is

15 the bottom of the ladder. What about at the top, do you

16 have any basis to give an opinion there?

17 A. Only on the basis that we, certainly our Mil Info Cell

18 was very clear on the names and structure of the

19 hierarchy and it seemed fairly settled and unchanging in

20 the time that we were there on both sides. It was not

21 fluctuating, and we knew where to go at all times, and

22 certainly Colonel Stuart and the liaison officers always

23 knew where to go to find the commanders. There was a

24 fairly settled command structure on both sides and we

25 could, with a good degree of confidence, draw a

Page 2667

1 line explaining the hierarchy of both sides.

2 Q. What I am asking is, do you have a basis to testify

3 whether or not the command structure at the upper and

4 mid level range, did it work, was there command and

5 control? Were orders uniformly followed, or do you not

6 have a basis for testifying on that issue?

7 A. I do not have a basis for saying they were not uniformly

8 followed. From our dealings on the ground, people

9 tended to do as they were told and at some particular

10 checkpoints when life was particularly sensitive

11 sometimes we were stopped going through at all and

12 people were very robust, because their commands had told

13 them. I think generally on both sides there was a

14 reasonably effective command structure.

15 Q. But your personal experience was in the main at the

16 checkpoint level?

17 A. Not necessarily. I had dealings in Tuzla, for example,

18 with the Bosnian Muslims, I had dealings with the Serbs

19 and with the Croats throughout my time at all levels and

20 I believe that there was a reasonably strong command

21 structure.

22 Q. What example can you give us on which you would base

23 testimony, if you are so testifying, that the command

24 and control exercised at the top of the HVO was, for

25 example, commensurate with the type of command and

Page 2668

1 control that exists in the British army?

2 A. I am not trying to establish and never have done that

3 the command and control of the HVO is commensurate with

4 the British army, and that has never been said. What

5 I have said is we were able to quite clearly work out a

6 wiring diagram, there was no secret to that, and we knew

7 the commanders and we had to know the commanders anyway

8 to open up certain routes.

9 There were certain times, for example, opening up

10 routes in and around Vitez where we needed the

11 permission of the local commanders. That was often

12 granted or not granted, in and around Maglaj, for

13 example. We had to go to commanders to get clearance to

14 go up certain routes.

15 Q. But again, you are talking about clearance to get

16 through checkpoints to deliver aid and so forth.

17 A. Very often these were very sensitive issues, because

18 they were near the front-line, so, you know, it is not

19 necessarily taken by the chap down the road who is the

20 local boss. Some of these were relatively high level

21 issues.

22 Q. Were you involved in trying to gain the enforcement and

23 implementation, for example, of cease-fires, or was that

24 something you were not involved in?

25 A. I was not involved in that directly.

Page 2669

1 Q. Are there other operational areas other than aid convoys

2 and getting through checkpoints where you had actual

3 involvement and you could base an opinion of the type

4 that I am asking about, or not?

5 A. My main dealings at that level were at core level in

6 Tuzla and I had a number of negotiations with the core

7 leadership regarding the movement of convoys across

8 Bosnian Serb lines.

9 Q. At the higher level, your direct dealings were limited

10 to the army of BiH in Tuzla, correct?

11 A. Yes, but I also had dealings with various Croat

12 commanders.

13 Q. Brigade commanders or lower level commanders?

14 A. I cannot recall.

15 Q. Did you ever have a substantive meeting with

16 General Blaskic?

17 A. Not that I recall, no.

18 Q. Did you ever come to know his headquarters, his

19 headquarters staff and how it functioned, or did not

20 function?

21 A. No, I did not.

22 Q. You said you went to Maglaj. Did you deliver or escort

23 aid to Maglaj?

24 A. I went to Maglaj on several occasions, yes.

25 Q. Was aid delivered?

Page 2670

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Was that aid transported by an aid or relief

3 organisation?

4 A. It varied. Usually, from what I recall, it was

5 transported in UN trucks.

6 Q. Under UNHCR auspices?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Was that aid delivered to a warehouse -- to whom was it

9 delivered?

10 A. I cannot recall. I am pretty certain there was an UNHCR

11 warehouse in Maglaj.

12 Q. Is that as far as you would see it go?

13 A. Yes, we were not responsible for the door step delivery

14 of aid.

15 Q. Was there a significant civilian population in Maglaj?

16 A. Maglaj was a fairly significant town, primarily because

17 of its proximity to the Bosnian Serb front-line.

18 Q. Was it mostly populated by army of BiH soldiers?

19 A. It was a mainly Muslim town, yes.

20 Q. Was it mostly populated by soldiers, not civilians?

21 A. I do not know, and I would not like to give the

22 impression, because it would be very wrong and false,

23 that we would be delivering aid to BiH soldiers. That

24 was never the intention of the UNHCR and something we

25 would desist from doing. As I have stated all along,

Page 2671

1 our impartiality was absolutely crucial to our success.

2 There may have been BiH soldiers in Maglaj, there may

3 have been Croat soldiers elsewhere where we delivered

4 aid. The decision to take aid to Maglaj and other

5 locations was the UNHCR's and not ours.

6 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas. Your

7 Honour, the Defence has no further questions.

8 JUDGE JORDA: Does the Prosecutor wish to rebut anything?

9 MR. CAYLEY: Could I just have a moment, Mr. President, to

10 confer with my colleagues?

11 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you may. (Pause). Mr. Cayley?

12 Re-examined by MR. CAYLEY

13 Q. Just a couple of questions, Mr. President. I will be as

14 quick as I can.

15 Colonel Thomas, in your cross-examination you said

16 to Mr. Hayman that prior to 16th April 1993 there were no

17 confrontation lines in Vitez. Is that correct?

18 A. As I said, I think the term "confrontation line" is

19 perhaps a misnomer, because there was no real

20 confrontation. The town was split up into factional

21 areas, but the term "confrontation line" I am not sure

22 was applicable at that time.

23 Q. So although there was tension, there was no fighting

24 between -- no higher intensity fighting between the

25 parties prior to 16th April?

Page 2672

1 A. Not on the scale that we saw -- that I have described.

2 Q. One last question: all of the events that you observed

3 over that number of days, approximately between 16th and

4 the early 20s of April, so about 20th April, at the

5 time, did you reach a conclusion whilst you were in

6 Bosnia about the nature of this attack, in its totality?

7 A. I think the brutality and the callousness of what we

8 witnessed I think was our biggest abiding memory and

9 I think the conclusion that we reached was that we had

10 witnessed something of a ferocity and a viciousness that

11 is almost impossible to describe. What I believe we

12 witnessed was an attack by and large on civilians in

13 Ahmici and in parts of Vitez, to drive them from their

14 homes. For whatever reason, I do not know.

15 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Colonel.

16 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to now turn to my colleagues.

17 Judge Riad, have you any questions you want to ask the

18 Colonel?

19 JUDGE RIAD: Colonel Thomas, I would like to ask you a few

20 general questions of a general character, and the answer

21 came to me through your answers both to the Prosecutor

22 and to the Defence, but still I might like to have more

23 precision. You mentioned several times, just the last

24 one was right now, that there was a mass of ruthless

25 violence unleashed on the people without any military

Page 2673

1 objective, as you said now, unleashed on civilians. You

2 cannot tell us more about the purpose of this unleashing

3 of ruthless violence? If it was not a military

4 objective, what was the objective?

5 A. Well sir, because of the very local nature of the

6 conflict there, if we were referring to conventional

7 war, one could argue you would capture a road or a hill

8 or a town which would have some tactical or strategic

9 significance. The fighting in and around Vitez was so

10 sporadic and localised, it was difficult to define any

11 tactical or strategic reason for why things happened.

12 That is why I am inclined to the belief that it was out

13 of sheer viciousness and hatred that people were driven

14 from their homes in certain streets and certain

15 factions, because it was actually quite difficult to

16 define any strategic objective. I do not know if that

17 answers your question.

18 Q. I gathered from your testimony too that it was not

19 haphazard action, there was some kind of organised and

20 co-ordinated acts going round. Was that right?

21 A. I think to succeed with the speed that the forces did

22 succeed, in the number of areas that they operated in,

23 I think there had to be some sort of co-ordinated plan.

24 I do not think you could have destroyed so many houses

25 in Ahmici and in Vitez without some sort of co-ordinated

Page 2674

1 plan.

2 Q. Those who committed these acts, not to speak of those

3 who made the plans, were they military or paramilitary

4 or simple civilians, according to your knowledge?

5 A. I think going back to my last answer, I think to carry

6 out such an -- almost a Blitzkrieg-type assault on those

7 houses, in arguably a successful way, would indicate

8 that they were military forces with some sort of

9 co-ordinated command and control structure. I cannot

10 see that it was the work of disaffected locals or

11 villagers of a different faction suddenly deciding one

12 night that they were going to kill their neighbour. The

13 scale and the brutality in that valley would indicate it

14 was something much wider than just disaffected former

15 friends who had been living side by side deciding one

16 night to kill their neighbours and burn their houses.

17 Q. As I said, it was the act of some kind of military

18 groups. Putting this in perspective with your

19 explanation of the chain of command, which you tried to

20 describe as a result of the communist system, it was --

21 I even can quote you somewhere here, you said:

22 "It was deference to the person above and a

23 clear-cut chain of command."

24 Nobody almost was ready to take decisions on

25 himself, always had to refer to others?

Page 2675

1 A. That is right.

2 Q. In that case, do you think the military committing these

3 acts committed them with their own free will or had to

4 refer to superior orders?

5 A. I think the individuals who were responsible, for

6 example, for murdering families in their cellars in

7 Ahmici, must have been ordered to do it by somebody.

8 They did not do it of their own free will. I think they

9 were operating under orders from some sort of wider

10 plan, whatever that plan was.

11 Q. All those murdered, was there among them Croats too, or

12 the houses demolished and burnt?

13 A. I am sure there were, and again I stress our

14 impartiality. Amongst those people that were murdered

15 in and around Vitez in the Lasva Valley there were

16 undoubtedly Croats, but I have been referring to the

17 incidents of the truck bomb, Ahmici and that particular

18 strip of houses in Vitez where the great majority were

19 Muslim. I carry no torch for either side, I am merely

20 reporting what I was asked to and what I saw on those

21 particular days. There were Croats killed, but the

22 majority of people in the incidents I have been asked to

23 describe were Muslim.

24 Q. Did the Croats killed live in Muslim areas?

25 A. Some did, yes.

Page 2676

1 Q. My last remark was concerning the refugees. You said

2 there was a movement of Muslim refugees coming from the

3 Serb-controlled areas?

4 A. Yes, sir.

5 Q. Were these refugees aggressive, did they represent any

6 imminent danger to the population, to the Croat

7 population?

8 A. I do not think so. These were people, and I was

9 involved in several operations to escort refugees across

10 the front-line west of Travnik at Turbe, and these people

11 were completely downtrodden, carrying their possessions

12 in plastic bags. The last thing they were was

13 aggressive. They had nothing. They had no future.

14 They were not aggressive.

15 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much, Colonel.

16 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Riad. Judge Shahabuddeen?

17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Colonel, just a few questions.

18 I understood you to be testifying that you spent around

19 five months in and around the Lasva Valley area, is that

20 right?

21 A. A bit less than that, sir, because I spent about a total

22 of seven or eight weeks in either Kladanj or Tuzla, so

23 really about four months.

24 Q. About four months then. I stand corrected. During your

25 tour of duty, you were given information about the main

Page 2677

1 military aspects of the armed conflict in the area?

2 A. We were certainly given lots of information, sir, but,

3 of course, at this particular time, through most of our

4 tour, our main concern was surrounding Bosnian Serb

5 movements, particularly as regards Vitez, to the west of

6 Vitez. For example, we were concerned that the Serbs

7 may try and shell Vitez, because it was in range.

8 Q. What I mean is, did you become acquainted with the main

9 elements of the military situation?

10 A. Yes, I did.

11 Q. I understood you to be saying that in the Lasva Valley

12 area there developed a problem between two sides, Croats

13 and Muslims, is that right?

14 A. Yes, sir.

15 Q. You yourself were not involved in negotiating any

16 cease-fire agreements?

17 A. No, I was not.

18 Q. But you served in BritBat?

19 A. That is right.

20 Q. Was BritBat involved in negotiating any cease-fire

21 agreements?

22 A. Yes, it was. At the time, after this period of 16th to

23 18th April, there were attempts at localised cease-fires,

24 but the negotiations were conducted at a higher level,

25 mainly with Colonel Stuart and the liaison officers

Page 2678

1 because, of course, this is an extremely serious

2 outbreak of violence. I was really more a player on the

3 ground with my armoured vehicles. The negotiation level

4 was done by Colonel Stuart, but there certainly were

5 BritBat negotiations to try and establish some sort of

6 peace.

7 Q. Those negotiations would be conducted as between what

8 military elements on each side?

9 A. They would have been conducted between Colonel Stuart,

10 various liaison officers from the ECMM and possibly

11 UNHCR, and I suspect representatives on both sides at

12 brigade level.

13 Q. When you say both sides --

14 A. I mean the HVO and the BiH.

15 Q. That is what I mean.

16 A. Yes, sir.

17 Q. And you told us of the character of the military command

18 structure on both sides.

19 A. Yes, sir.

20 Q. Was it your impression that there were operating on

21 either side any military units which were totally

22 independent of the two command structures which you have

23 described?

24 A. I think there was a possibility that there were extreme

25 elements on both sides that were capable of operating

Page 2679

1 independently, but I did not come across any.

2 Q. You did not come across any. Now, the assessments which

3 you made as a military officer of the incidents to which

4 you referred on 16th April and 17th April would have led

5 you to what kind of conclusion as regards the possible

6 involvement of independent military units?

7 A. I suppose there is a possibility that independent units

8 could have come from outside to carry out those acts,

9 but I think we would have probably noticed the movement

10 of forces coming in and indeed leaving, if they were

11 going to carry out those acts. But beyond that,

12 I cannot say, nor would wish to, who did them. All

13 I can say is the evidence I have given already, that

14 I believe they were carried out by an organised force

15 operating with a coherent command and control structure,

16 operating to a certain plan. I do not believe they were

17 some renegade element. They may have come from outside;

18 that, of course, is a possibility, but I think

19 unlikely.

20 Q. You saw any evidence of their participation?

21 A. No, sir, I did not.

22 Q. You got periodically, I imagine, information from Mil

23 Info about the command structure on either side and the

24 distribution of forces, I would suppose. Did your

25 dealings with people and organisations on the ground

Page 2680

1 tally with the information which you got from Mil Info

2 about the command structure on either side?

3 A. Yes, it did. I think Mil Info was fairly accurate in

4 its descriptions, because again, really up until this

5 time, we were not too worried about the command

6 structure, because there had been no real conflict, so

7 there was no great secret as to who was the various

8 commander in each location and so on. It was open

9 knowledge, the BiH and HVO structure.

10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you very much, Colonel.

11 JUDGE RIAD: Colonel Thomas, I just wanted to add one

12 question to see things more clearly in your answers.

13 Was the HVO in full control of these areas where these

14 acts were committed, or was it a no-man's land?

15 A. I do not know I can give you a clear answer to that,

16 sir. I think Vitez was a mixture of HVO and BiH before

17 16th April and before then, I could not say that the

18 Croats or the BiH were in control of it. I think after

19 16th April the HVO certainly had the upper hand. With

20 regard to Ahmici, I really cannot say who had the upper

21 hand before. It was a Muslim town or village, I assume

22 that obviously therefore the BiH ran it -- not

23 necessarily ran it, but certainly the Muslims there were

24 obviously in control.

25 Q. I am speaking of the areas where the acts you mentioned,

Page 2681

1 burning houses and seeing the corpses, killed, these

2 very specific areas where the acts were committed, were

3 they controlled by the Muslims, Serbs, Croats or the

4 HVO?

5 A. The town of Ahmici was a Muslim town, or was. It was

6 controlled by the Muslims before the attack on it. The

7 strip that I have been referring to in Vitez which was

8 attacked was a Muslim area of Vitez which was largely

9 controlled by the Muslims.

10 Q. Then why did the Muslims not defend it?

11 A. I think this is the whole point, sir. They did not

12 defend it because it was not a military target. They

13 were simply the homes of people that lived there, so

14 therefore, and this is really the crux of the argument,

15 it was not a military installation or a military sector

16 or an objective -- this goes to the point why it was not

17 defended, because there was nothing to defend. It was

18 merely a strip of residential houses that were lived in

19 by Muslims. That goes down to the point that none of

20 buildings were fortified for defence because they did

21 not have to be because they were simply people's

22 houses. Does that clear it up?

23 JUDGE RIAD: Yes, I think I see it clearly, thank you.

24 JUDGE JORDA: I have no questions to ask you. We would like

25 to thank you for your testimony and send you back to

Page 2682

1 your responsibilities.

2 (The witness withdrew)

3 JUDGE JORDA: We can now ask the usher to accompany the

4 witness out of the courtroom and once he has left, we

5 can adjourn our hearing.

6 I now turn again to the Prosecutor. I think the

7 pause comes at a good time because arrangements have to

8 be taken for the maximum protection of the next witness

9 for whom protective measures were asked. Is that not

10 correct, Mr. Cayley, for the following witness?

11 MR. CAYLEY: Yes.

12 JUDGE JORDA: I have a question I would like to ask you,

13 because some time back when you raised your objection,

14 you pointed to the indictment. I would like to point

15 out to you that in the French version, I do not have the

16 modified copy of the indictment since the last changes

17 that were made, perhaps there were some translations

18 problems, is that why?

19 THE REGISTRAR: No, we took advantage of the fact that there

20 were no hearings in the Blaskic case in order to make

21 available to the Trial Chamber an integrated version

22 with the corrections.

23 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. All right, we can now take a break

24 until 4.35 p.m.

25 (4.25 p.m.)

Page 2683

1 (A short break)

2 (4.35 p.m.)

3 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing. Have the

4 accused brought in, please.

5 (Accused brought in)

6 JUDGE JORDA: It is Mr. Kehoe who is going to ask the

7 questions? Am I right.

8 MR. KEHOE: Yes, your Honour.

9 JUDGE JORDA: We will ask the usher to have the witness

10 brought in.

11 MR. KEHOE: If I can just take one moment --

12 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead.

13 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, we have a bit of a technical

14 problem with the equipment. There was a minor accident

15 at the break. It appears that the microphone -- the

16 equipment is not working here.

17 JUDGE JORDA: We have the impression that when there are

18 protective measures, that this involves everybody, but

19 we have had a month to get the technical aspects into --

20 at a level where they are not going to give us problems

21 any more.

22 MR. KEHOE: Unfortunately your Honour, there is no accounting

23 for a pitcher of water. That will gum up the works

24 every time. I think we are all set at this point,

25 judge. We will recall witness D. I do believe we have

Page 2684

1 to drop the blinds.

2 JUDGE JORDA: Can we have the witness brought in and,

3 exceptionally, this time we are going to have the witness sit

4 down immediately. But the witness will not come in until the

5 curtains have been drawn.

6 (Witness entered court)

7 JUDGE JORDA: Witness D, good afternoon. You are under the

8 protection of the International Tribunal at the request

9 of the Prosecution that has asked you to come, and has

10 asked for special protective measures which were

11 justified and granted. You will now start answering the

12 questions. It is a public hearing, we can raise the

13 curtains, but you are completely protected, and answer

14 the questions that the Prosecutor is going to ask you,

15 the Prosecutor, who asked you to come to testify in the

16 trial against General Blaskic.

17 Mr. Kehoe, as I recall, witness D, you have already

18 taken the oath, therefore you are under oath.

19 A. Yes.

20 JUDGE JORDA: Ask for the microphone to the put on, please.

21 The microphone is on? Yes. Mr. Kehoe, I give you the

22 floor.

23 Examined by MR. KEHOE

24 Q. Yes, Mr. President. I believe there are facial as well

25 as oral distortions, just for the record. when we

Page 2685

1 had you here the last time, as the President just noted,

2 you had been placed under oath and I believe you

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 getting a job, is that correct?

6 A. Yes, that is correct. (Pause).

7 (In closed session)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (In open session)

18 MR. KEHOE: The outbreak of hostilities in Bosnia-Herzegovina

19 in April 1992, after that, did you join the Territorial

20 Defence?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. After you joined the Territorial Defence --

23 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead.

24 MR. KEHOE: After you joined the Territorial Defence, did you

25 serve on occasion at the front-line?

Page 2686

1 A. Yes, I was.

2 Q. What line did you serve in --

3 JUDGE JORDA: We do not hear the answer because the

4 microphone was not on. Do you hear me, witness D?

5 A. Yes, I hear you.

6 MR. KEHOE: You said you served on the front-line, what was

7 the front-line you served on? What front-line did you

8 serve on first?

9 A. First I was in Visoko.

10 Q. Was that against the Bosnian Serbs?

11 A. Yes, we held the front-line.

12 Q. After Visoko, did you serve on any other front-line?

13 A. Yes, I was in Turbe on the battlefield.

14 Q. When were you on the front-line in Turbe?

15 A. For the new year, 1992/1993.

16 Q. Were HVO soldiers also on the front-line at Turbe?

17 A. They were at lines that were behind our backs, four or

18 five kilometres approximately behind our backs.

19 Q. After you were at the line in Turbe and you left the

20 line in Turbe, did you come back to the Vitez area?

21 A. Yes, I came back to Vitez.

22 Q. Was this at the time that conflict was taking place in

23 Busovaca?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Between January of 1993 and April 1993, did you go back

Page 2687

1 to any front-line again?

2 A. No, I did not go anywhere.

3 JUDGE JORDA: Does everybody hear me? Does the French booth

4 hear me? Yes, go ahead now.

5 MR. KEHOE: You said that between January 1993 and April

6 1993, you never went to the front-line again, is that

7 correct?

8 A. Yes, that is correct.

9 Q. When the hostilities broke out on the morning of

10 16th April 1993, were you still in the Territorial

11 Defence?

12 A. Yes, I was.

13 Q. Were you on active duty on the morning of 16th April

14 1993?

15 A. No, I was at home.

16 Q. Were you on leave at the time?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Take us directly to 16th April 1993. Can you tell the

19 judges exactly what happened, beginning in the morning

20 of 16th April 1993? Can you wait one moment. (Pause).

21 Go ahead

22 A. On 16th April, I was at home, I was asleep (redacted)

23 (redacted) shooting about 5.30 in the morning

24 woke me up. There was shooting all over the place. One

25 could hear detonations, rifle fire, I woke up (redacted),

Page 2688

1 I got up, (redacted). From the window

2 I looked in the direction where we heard the shooting

3 and I saw smoke coming from (redacted) and one

4 could hear terrible shooting. I told (redacted)

5 (redacted), so that we could go into the basement

6 because we had a kind of shelter that we made, because

7 we were afraid of Serb aggression.

8 I went into the yard of my house, (redacted)

9 (redacted

10 (redacted), and our other neighbours were there as well,

11 women and children were still in the houses, but the men

12 gathered there and we were discussing how to get

13 organised and what to do in order to protect our

14 families and all that.

15 Q. Let me stop you there for a moment. Were you and all

16 the people that were gathered to talk about what you

17 were doing, were you all Muslims?

18 A. Yes, all of them were Muslims.

19 Q. (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. So from where you were in (redacted), you could

23 hear the firing and the smoke coming from the village of

24 (redacted)?

25 A. Yes.

Page 2689

1 Q. After you and your neighbours and family met to gather

2 and discuss what to do, what happened?

3 A. There was shooting all over the place and bullets were

4 flying around us too, because it was all over (redacted),

5 from all directions. We agreed -- is something wrong

6 with my tone? Something is wrong with my tone.

7 MR. KEHOE: I think your tone is fine. I do not have any

8 problem with your tone. Mr. President, your Honours?

9 I think it is a minor feedback on the headphones.

10 A. Okay, I can continue.

11 Q. Continue, if you would.

12 A. There was a lot of shooting around us, bullets were

13 flying around us and we agreed that our families should

14 be put into the basements of our houses until we saw

15 what would happen next. My family went down into the

16 basement (redacted) and these other people who

17 were staying (redacetd), refugees and others,

18 they all went to the basement. We men were outside. We

19 were simply waiting to see what would happen.

20 We all went into the yard of a relative of mine,

21 and at that point in time, it was perhaps about 7.00 or

22 already 7.30, we heard somebody banging at the door of

23 our neighbour who lived across the street and we heard

24 his name being called out. He was there with us. His

25 family was in his house where they were banging at the

Page 2690

1 door. He went towards them, he put his hands in the

2 air. He crossed the street and he went towards his

3 home.

4 MR. KEHOE: One moment, (Pause). Continue on, You

5 said he crossed the street and he went toward his home;

6 what happened then?

7 A. Yes, I was looking in his direction and I saw four or

8 five people walking up to him, they were wearing

9 camouflage uniforms and some of them wore black

10 uniforms, too, uniforms that were totally black. They

11 had socks over -- stockings over their heads, their

12 faces, so I could not recognise them. I went to the

13 basement of the house of this relative of mine and soon

14 after that, perhaps after a minute or two, we heard

15 terrible firing and also an explosion, and then there

16 was a kind of cease-fire.

17 After that, there was a lot of shooting again from

18 the direction of Kolonija, the residential area of the

19 town of Vitez, and this went on for about ten minutes or

20 so, this shooting, and I went from (redacted)

21 (redacted) house so that I could be with my family

22 and with my parents.

23 At that point, when I came into the house, very

24 soon after that, then the family of this neighbour of mine

25 who had crossed the street came,(redacted)

Page 2691

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted). All of them came running, worried,

3 bewildered, with bare feet, without any shoes. They

4 were crying and we asked them what had happened and they

5 told us that this neighbour of mine went into his home,

6 took a rifle and started shooting at these soldiers from

7 the balcony of his house and that they ran away, and

8 that the soldiers fired back. As we were talking to

9 them, the neighbourhood shot at them came too. Soon

10 afterwards came (redacted).

11 When we looked in that direction, the direction of

12 their houses, we saw they were already on fire. During

13 this shooting with these bullets, the houses caught fire

14 and they burned down very quickly. We were all afraid,

15 we were all terrified, and we were talking to this

16 neighbour of ours and we suggested to him that he should

17 go elsewhere, that he should hide somewhere else, so

18 that if the HVO army came, they would not find him with

19 us because he was the one who shot at them and he agreed

20 to that and he went away from our houses in the

21 direction of Kolonija, towards town.

22 During that day, we were expecting the army,

23 soldiers to come to our houses any minute. However,

24 nobody came. We spent the night there in these houses.

25 We all slept in the basements. Hardly anybody got much

Page 2692

1 sleep really, because we were all afraid of the night

2 and we did not know what would happen during the night

3 and what would happen to us.

4 Q. When you say you expected soldiers to come, did you say

5 HVO soldiers or Armija soldiers?

6 A. Yes, I meant HVO soldiers. However, nobody came during

7 the night, so we spent the night there and the next day,

8 throughout the morning of the next day, nobody came. We

9 heard shooting from all over, but we did not move

10 anywhere, we all stayed in the yards of these houses so

11 we did not know what was happening. We were simply

12 sealed off, in a way. We could not move anywhere. This

13 next day, in the afternoon, we were in the basements of

14 these houses when we heard somebody banging at the door

15 of the shop that was in (redacted)

16 Q. Excuse me, this is the next day, 17th April?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Continue.

19 A. We heard somebody banging at the door of that part

20 (redacted), so (redacted) got out of

21 the basement and he went upstairs to see what was there,

22 what was going on. He came back very soon to the

23 basement, he was accompanied by a soldier and he said

24 everybody should get out of the basement of (redacted)

25 house and that everybody should move to my house, which

Page 2693

1 is a bit lower, (redacted)

2 (redacted). The soldier said that they would not torch my

3 house but that they would torch my father's house, and

4 that was why we were all supposed to move to my house.

5 Everybody left except for me and a neighbour man, who

6 was a younger man, because we were simply afraid to

7 leave, we were afraid of being captured or killed or

8 whatever.

9 We stayed in the house until water started

10 dripping into the basement, probably the pipelines broke

11 down and we also felt smoke in the basement, so we could

12 not stay there any longer, so we decided to move on to

13 my house. This neighbour of mine and I ran in the

14 direction of my house, and when I saw that in my house,

15 (redacted) were not there, I asked where they

16 were. (redacted) me that they went to my

17 relative's house, which was safer, it had a better

18 basement, et cetera.

19 Q. (redacted)let me stop you for a second. You just testified

20 that the HVO soldier came and said that the house that

21 you were in, in the basement, was going to be burnt?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. But that your house was not going to be burnt?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Do you know the reason for that, why your house would

Page 2694

1 not be burnt and your father's house would be burnt?

2 A. My house is made -- was made in such a way that it faced

3 two directions, and Muslims usually say that houses

4 should face four directions and they would leave those

5 houses facing only two directions and they would not

6 burn them down.

7 Q. So (redacted) had a four-sided roof and

8 (redacted) had a two-sided roof?

9 A. That is right.

10 Q. And the HVO soldier said he was going to burn down your

11 father's house?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Prior to the burning down of the (redacted) house, had

14 any HVO soldiers come to take your vehicles, automobiles

15 from the premises?

16 A. Just before this soldier came who told us we should get

17 out of the basement, a group of soldiers came and they

18 were also banging at the door and (redacted) went out and

19 they asked for the car keys, because (redacted) had a car in my

20 garage and (redacted) had a car in the garage. I told

21 (redacted) where the keys were, and (redacted) where

22 the keys were. However, he was probably too afraid, he

23 did not manage to find the keys and we heard him being

24 hit. (redacted) followed him and went into my house,

25 took the keys for both cars and handed the keys

Page 2695

1 over to them, they took the car from my garage and this

2 car that was in (redacted) garage is one that I had

3 broken down on purpose, because HVO soldiers would take

4 cars from Muslims who had good cars, so I had broken it

5 down so they could not take it. They came, they tried

6 to turn it on, but they did not manage to ignite it, so

7 one of them fired at the car and then they left.

8 Then this single soldier came and said that (redacted)

9 (redacted) house should be torched and that we should all

10 go to my house that they would not burn. When I came to

11 my house, I realised that (redacted) were not

12 there and I asked (redacted) where they were. They told

13 me that they went to my relative's house. I decided to

14 go to my relative's house too. It is about 150 metres

15 away from my house.

16 I ran across the garden and I came to my

17 relative's house, I went into the basement. I spent two

18 or three minutes there, perhaps, when my relative who

19 stood at the door to the basement said that HVO soldiers

20 were in my yard and that they were taking all the men

21 out of my house and that they were lining them up by the

22 fence. I peeked through the door a bit and I saw

23 (redacted), my neighbour and these refugees who were staying

24 (redacted), I saw them being lined up along the fence

25 of my yard.

Page 2696

1 I went to my relative's basement once again and we

2 sat there waiting for them to come and get us too.

3 However, no one came to get us. They had already

4 torched that house as well, they did not even warn us,

5 they did not even tell us about it, that my relative's

6 house was on fire. Again, water started dripping and we

7 felt the smoke again, so we had to leave the basement of

8 that house and we went out. It was already getting

9 dark, and my relative's house was already burning,

10 (redacted) house and my neighbours' houses were burning.

11 Four houses were burning at the same time, and we went

12 into the yard of this house and we heard tanks coming

13 down the road.

14 We ran out into the road and we saw them coming

15 from Rijeka, three tanks coming from the direction of

16 Rijeka.

17 Q. Let me stop you there before you go into telling us

18 about the tanks. All the houses that were on fire, were

19 they Muslim homes?

20 A. Yes, all of them were Muslim houses.

21 Q. Were all the men that were being taken prisoner, were

22 they all Muslim men?

23 A. Yes, they were.

24 Q. What happened when you saw the tanks coming down the

25 road from Rijeka?

Page 2697

1 A. From the direction of Rijeka, there were tanks coming

2 and I took (redacted) in my hands, in my arms,

3 I stood in front of the tanks and they all stopped and

4 we all expected them to protect us, to save us, but they

5 started moving backwards. With my left hand, I held on

6 to the gun of the tank, because these were small calibre

7 guns. The tank was dragging me along for about 150

8 metres. I ran after it so I could not take it much

9 longer and I just let it go. Then the tank stopped,

10 turned around and then they went back in the direction

11 of Rijeka.

12 I came back to this group of women and children,

13 the houses were burning, we could not even stand in the

14 middle of the road any more, the flames were so strong

15 and we decided to take shelter in the house of a

16 neighbour of ours, a Croat. We went into his yard and

17 we asked him whether we could stay with him and he said

18 yes. So then we took shelter there in his house, we

19 spent about 15 or 20 minutes there, when another

20 neighbour of ours came and said we should all move to

21 his house and that we would be safe in his house.

22 Q. How many people moved to this other neighbour's house?

23 How many Muslims?

24 A. About 50 or 60 of us altogether, including the women and

25 children from all the Muslim houses there, we were all

Page 2698

1 together in one group.

2 Q. Did you go to this second neighbour's house?

3 A. Yes, we all went there and we stayed there and around

4 12.00 at night until 2.00, I was staying in a room

5 upstairs. It was a very big house. And I decided to go

6 downstairs, where my neighbour was and as I was walking

7 down the stairs, the main door to the house opened and

8 there was a HVO soldier there. He asked me how come

9 I was there. I said that I was staying there now with

10 this neighbour, and he said that I was supposed to come

11 with him, and that another boy, a young man of 17 who

12 was a refugee, should also come with me. I went

13 upstairs, I called this young man and I told (redacted)

14 that I had to come along with this soldier and that

15 I did not know where I was going. We all went

16 downstairs and we started moving towards the main road.

17 When we came on to the main road, the soldier told

18 us that we should put our hands up above our heads, and

19 that we should walk along the middle of the road. We

20 started moving in the direction of Rijeka of Sumarija.

21 As we were approaching the veterinary station, Sumarija,

22 the soldier told us to stop. We stopped and he told me

23 that I and this boy should go to his house. Because

24 I did not know exactly which house was his, I said I did

25 not know which house was his and then this young man who

Page 2699

1 was with me said that he knew which house was his and he

2 said we should go to his house and that he would go to

3 Sumarija and that there was a HVO patrol down there.

4 So we went to his house, I knocked at the door and

5 the mother of this soldier opened the door and I said

6 that he had sent us there and she said "no problem

7 whatsoever, please come in". When I walked into the

8 house, I found that neighbour of mine who was together

9 with me in the basement of my house and who was captured

10 by HVO soldiers before, I found him there too and very

11 soon, two relatives of mine came in as well.

12 We spent the night there; however, the next day

13 the mother of this soldier who sent us to his house,

14 this housewife, told us through tears, she was crying,

15 that we had to leave their house, that on the radio they

16 were told that no Croats were allowed to keep Muslims in

17 their houses, and I said, "no problem, we will leave",

18 but that somebody should take us to hand us over there.

19 Soon the husband of this woman came and that is

20 what she told him too and he said that that was out of

21 the question, that he would not hand us over, but that

22 we would stay at his house and he left. However, the

23 woman was crying all the time and I decided not to stay

24 there any longer, but as soon as her husband would come

25 in, that he should hand me over. As soon as he came in,

Page 2700

1 I told her I could not stay there any more, that I could

2 not stay there any more and that he should take me to

3 the veterinary station and hand me over there where all

4 the other Muslims were. So he took me and my relative

5 who was younger and my other relative who was older

6 stayed on. My neighbour also stayed on, who was married

7 to a (redacted). He brought us to the veterinary

8 station and I was put in the basement of the veterinary

9 station.

10 Q. Just going back to this radio broadcast, did the mother

11 of this soldier tell you what the radio broadcast said

12 about Croats hiding Muslims?

13 A. Well, she told us that the radio was saying that no

14 Croats were to harbour any Muslims and she was just

15 afraid for her own safety and for the safety of her

16 family and things like that.

17 Q. Tell us about -- you went to the veterinary station.

18 Tell us about the veterinary station and the conditions

19 in the veterinary station when you got there?

20 A. I was put in the basement of the veterinary station and

21 all my friends and relatives, neighbours were there. My

22 (redacted) was also there. Down in the basement, it was

23 very tight, we could only crouch, we could not move

24 around, we could only sit down and nothing else. It was

25 damp down there, the air was stale. There was no

Page 2701

1 ventilation, it was wet. Since we were too many, they

2 said that the older people could move upstairs to the

3 room where the animals were brought, and so (redacted)

4 and other people went up there and it was better up

5 there, the air was fresher.

6 I stayed down in the basement, and I spent the

7 night there, that night. But when I arrived there,

8 I saw that some people from the neighbourhood were

9 missing, ones that should have been there and I asked

10 where they were and I was told that a group was taken to

11 Santici to dig trenches. I spent the night there at the

12 station and in the morning, a van arrived and a HVO

13 soldier arrived and said that a group of people was

14 needed to dig trenches.

15 Q. In the veterinary station, all the people you saw in the

16 basement, were they all Muslims?

17 A. Yes, they were all Muslims.

18 Q. Were they civilians?

19 A. Yes, they were all civilians. Nobody wore a uniform.

20 Q. The people you said were taken -- they told you that

21 people were taken out to dig trenches. What was the

22 area they were taken to dig trenches at?

23 A. They took them to Ciganluk. This was in the direction

24 of the village of Kruscica.

25 Q. You said the next day a minibus came to pick you and

Page 2702

1 others up to dig trenches, is that right?

2 A. Yes, about 20 of us were assigned to dig trenches and we

3 sat into this minibus and they took us down in the

4 direction of the railway station. When we passed the

5 railway station, we headed towards the village of

6 Santici between Buhine Kuce and Santici. The minibus

7 stopped in front of a house and a group of ten people

8 got off and I stayed in the minibus and we were taken to

9 the village of Santici. We were put in front of the

10 house and we stayed there for about half an hour. They

11 gave us some pickaxes and shovels and a soldier came and

12 took us in the direction of Pirici.

13 When we arrived to the village of Pirici, there

14 was a house there where they had some sort of command,

15 and there was an intersection in front of it of roads

16 there in Pirici, so that was a larger open area, so we

17 waited there for about ten minutes and this soldier came

18 back and took us above this house towards the Muslim

19 cemetery, and he assigned us to trench digging, and

20 I was assigned with a friend to dig to the right-hand

21 side of the Muslim cemetery.

22 Q. When you first got up there, did you see any telephone

23 lines or any means of communication between the HVO

24 soldiers up in Pirici and Vitez?

25 A. Right there at the entrance of the Muslim cemetery was a

Page 2703

1 telephone, and this is where we were waiting to be

2 assigned and I was surprised, I asked the soldier whom

3 I knew, "you have a telephone here", he said "yes, we

4 do". He told me that just before that, he spoke with

5 his wife who lived in the city of Vitez, so from this

6 phone, they could call into Vitez, to the city, so the

7 lines were connected through the main post office.

8 Q. So you were then taken to dig trenches, is that right?

9 If so, tell us about that?

10 A. Yes, myself and another friend were taken to

11 (redacted) and already the trenches had been

12 started, somebody had started digging them before us, so

13 we worked there until about noon. We widened the

14 trenches and things like that and according to them, we

15 were finished there, so then they returned us to the

16 (redacted) and then they took us to the left of

17 (redacted). We also dug trenches there. They also

18 brought us some food there, there was some bread, so we

19 ate.

20 We were finished there quite quickly and then they

21 took us in the direction of this command of theirs from

22 where we had come and there we waited again for a while

23 and then the whole group was taken in the direction from

24 this command in Pirici, down towards the bungalows at

25 the same level where that command of theirs was. My

Page 2704

1 friend and I dug in a ravine, it was sheltered, so we

2 were protected there and we could work there without any

3 problem.

4 When we were done, the HVO soldier that we had to

5 go out into an open field and there was no protection

6 there. We could be seen from all sides there. Myself

7 and my friend went out there and started digging, I had

8 a pickaxe, he had a shovel and I dug a bit and then he

9 started shovelling it out. I was looking in the

10 direction of a forest that was in front of us. It still

11 did not have any foliage. About 50 metres from us I saw

12 a man in uniform and I saw him with a rifle, so I told

13 this friend that there was a man, a soldier there and

14 that it is possible that he might shoot at us.

15 At that moment, a shot rang and we lay down on the

16 ground and I asked him, "were you hit" and he said

17 "no". I was not either, and then we crawled back into

18 the shelter where the HVO soldier was lying, in this

19 shelter and he said "what happened" and we said "we were

20 shot at". He told us to go back and continue digging

21 because we would not be shot at, because they knew that

22 we were Muslims so we should just continue to dig,

23 without concern.

24 We went back and dug some more and not even two

25 minutes past and another shot rang out. We lay down

Page 2705

1 again and now we did not return to that shelter, we just

2 lay there and the HVO soldiers told us to continue to

3 dig. There were four shots altogether, and when the

4 fourth shot rang out, we again lay down and the HVO

5 soldier told us again to go and dig and I got up first

6 and my friend was behind my back. At that moment, when

7 I hit the ground with a pickaxe, I heard the shot and

8 I threw myself on the ground. I turned around and saw

9 my friend lying on his back. I asked him "were you hit"

10 and he said that he was.

11 I crawled over to him and pulled up his T-shirt

12 and his sweater and I could not see any wounds on him.

13 When I pulled down the sweater, I saw under the

14 collarbone that he was hit and I put my hand on his --

15 against his back and felt blood. Then I called others

16 who were digging around us. This man was (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted), so another Muslim who was digging

19 trenches came over and we brought him back to the

20 shelter where the HVO soldiers were. There they gave

21 us -- treated him a bit, we put him in a blanket and

22 they told us to take him in the direction of this

23 command of theirs. We carried him in the direction of

24 the command, maybe it could have been up to a kilometre,

25 about 1,000 metres. When we arrived there, there was a

Page 2706

1 passenger car there, where we put our wounded friend,

2 and they took him away.

3 After they took him away, we stayed by this

4 command there in that white paved area and they gave us

5 something to eat. We got a tin of fish and some bread.

6 The whole group sat down there and ate and to the right

7 of me, Jusuf Ibrakovic was sitting, his nickname was

8 Jusa, but he was nervous, he was not eating. He walked

9 away from us to that building, there were about 15 HVO

10 soldiers there. He went there three or four times and

11 then he would come back to us.

12 While I was eating, a HVO soldier came by and he

13 knew me. Within five minutes, he passed me about four

14 times and every time he passed, he was giving me a pack

15 of cigarettes. Every time I turned it down and said

16 I was not smoking. The last time he came by, I told him

17 give it to Jusa, Jusa was sitting next to me. He gave

18 the cigarettes to Jusa and I continued to eat. At that

19 moment, Jusuf passed behind my back and that is where

20 the HVO soldier who was guarding us and another soldier,

21 they were there and they were talking. Jusuf passed

22 behind my back and all of a sudden there was some noise

23 and shouting. I turned and saw Jusuf holding on to the

24 barrel of the submachine gun and actually he was trying

25 to lock it.

Page 2707

1 Jusuf was a big man, the two of them were on top

2 of him, on his back, and they started beating him, but

3 they could not bring him under control. I saw that

4 there might be shooting and myself -- the whole group,

5 we went and we literally -- we ran over to the HVO

6 soldiers and we sort of mixed in with the HVO soldiers,

7 because we were afraid there would be shooting. They

8 were trying to bring Jusuf under control, but one was

9 hitting him with the shovel and he was trying to take

10 away the submachine gun from him. At one point,

11 I yelled "do not kill him, he is crazy", but as all this

12 was going on and they came to the intersection, the

13 soldier who was guarding us pulled out a pistol and shot

14 Jusuf in the back.

15 Jusuf fell to the ground and let go of the

16 submachine gun and then the soldier took the submachine

17 gun. Jusuf was still alive and he cursed their Chetnik

18 mothers. A HVO soldier, who was very young, he could

19 not have been more than 18, shot a burst of fire into

20 Jusuf and said "we are not Chetniks". We were all mixed

21 in with the HVO soldiers and then the soldiers said

22 "bring over the one who said that this one was crazy",

23 and a soldier came over who knew me and I knew him. He

24 had a pistol in his hand and he put it against my temple

25 and told me to go in the direction where Jusuf was.

Page 2708

1 When I came near Jusuf, about a metre away, he

2 told me to kneel down. I did and he told me to put my

3 hands behind my back and he told me to put my forehead

4 against the pavement and I did and then he put the

5 barrel of his pistol against the back of my head.

6 I then sort of lost my bearings, I do not know what was

7 going on, I could only hear noises, curses and at one

8 point, I heard "get up" and (redacted) was cursed

9 and then said "get up and go digging". I got up and the

10 rest of the Muslims they all got up and went to dig.

11 Q. When the HVO soldier put his gun to the back of your

12 head, what were you thinking? Did you think you were

13 going to die at that point?

14 A. I thought it was over.

15 Q. They let you up and you and the rest of the Muslims went

16 back to dig trenches, is that right?

17 A. Yes, we went back to dig trenches, we went to the spot

18 where this man who was with us was wounded, and now it

19 was getting dark, and so we were not assigned to dig in

20 the same place, but now we were further down. It was

21 sheltered. We continued to dig until about 4.00 in the

22 morning and around 4.00, they told us to stop and they

23 brought us back to this command in the village of

24 Pirici.

25 They put us up in the basement of this building,

Page 2709

1 it was very dark there, it was a low ceiling, it was

2 dark, you could not see anything. We came inside and

3 this soldier who wanted to kill me, who had put the

4 pistol in the back of my head, he said if he heard a

5 word uttered that he would throw in a grenade and kill

6 us all. We all kept silent, nobody was talking or

7 saying anything, we were all afraid and we were there

8 until 6.00, so for about two hours.

9 At 6.00, they told us that they were taking us

10 back and that we had to go back to the village of

11 Santici. They brought us down to the building where

12 they had given us these tools for digging and since the

13 vehicle had not arrived yet, they put us in a garage.

14 We were in the garage for about half an hour, and the

15 van arrived, it was a van without any windows, you could

16 not see anything. They put us in there. Since we were

17 familiar with this terrain, we knew that road, we knew

18 pretty much where we were and so we realised they were

19 taking us in the direction of the city.

20 Near Sumarija, the van stopped and we heard the

21 driver saying where was he taking us and what to do and

22 then somebody told him to take us to the movie theatre

23 in Vitez. He brought us to the theatre, movie theatre,

24 and that is where we were put.

25 Q. Before we talk about your stay at the cinema, how long a

Page 2710

1 period of time did you dig trenches in the area of

2 Pirici?

3 A. We dug the whole day and until about 4.00 in the

4 morning. We were in Pirici about 24 hours altogether,

5 so a full day, full night. We had that two-hour break

6 between 4.00 and 6.00.

7 Q. You mentioned during your testimony when your colleague

8 was shot that you saw a soldier out in the woods. Why

9 did you not, and the other Muslims who were digging

10 trenches, try to escape?

11 A. When they brought us there, they told us that we could

12 not -- that we should not escape because if anybody

13 escaped they would shoot the rest, so we made agreement

14 that nobody would escape because nine people could

15 perish because of one and so we had an agreement among

16 ourselves that nobody was to escape so we would protect

17 each other.

18 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I do not know if you want me to

19 move into another area at this point or if your Honour

20 wants to break?

21 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, we are going to suspend the hearing now

22 and start again at 10.00 tomorrow. Tomorrow afternoon,

23 for technical reasons, I believe the parties were

24 informed -- is that not so, Registrar -- we will not be

25 able to sit tomorrow afternoon.

Page 2711

1 THE REGISTRAR: We cannot sit in the afternoon.

2 JUDGE JORDA: The court stands adjourned. We start tomorrow

3 at 10.00.

4 (5.45 pm)

5 (Court adjourned until 10.00 am the following day)

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