1 Tuesday, 12th January, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.13 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning. Have the accused
5 brought in, please, Mr. Registrar.
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
8 interpreters. I want to be sure that everybody can
9 hear me. Good morning to the parties, to the accused
10 as well. I would like to tell you the following.
11 Mr. Kehoe, I would like to make a short
12 announcement first. Thank you. It has to do with our
14 In agreement with my colleague and my friend,
15 Judge Shahabuddeen, we have decided, since tomorrow
16 there are no hearings for official reasons, I would
17 like to say that we would like to finish with this
18 witness, and then this afternoon, if necessary, we will
19 set up a Status Conference which will be closed to the
20 public in order to review as completely as possible all
21 the effects of the fact that our friend and colleague,
22 Judge Riad, is not available.
23 After having heard what you have to say, we
24 will probably not take a decision at the bench, but
25 we'll reflect on it, and I would like already to ask
1 you to think about all the possibilities. It's been
2 understood that the rights of the accused must be taken
3 into account and to resolve this problem which is
4 unusual for us. We're not going to speak about it in
6 I'm going to ask the witness to be brought
7 in, I think that will take some of the morning, and if
8 we have the time, we'll do the Status Conference this
9 morning, but we'll resume the 71 hearings on Thursday
10 morning and Thursday afternoon and then Friday in the
11 morning, as had been scheduled. I may say this so that
12 the Defence can prepare itself. But before that, in
13 light of next week's schedule, we have to have a
14 meeting together about all the effects of this new
16 Having said this, I would like to give the
17 floor back to Mr. Kehoe who apparently wanted to make a
18 statement and whom I interrupted, I would like to
19 apologise, and now he can tell us what he wanted to
21 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Good
22 morning, Mr. President. Good morning, Judge
23 Shahabuddeen and Counsel.
24 Yesterday, when I stood up to begin my cross,
25 I neglected to introduce to the Court the new courtroom
1 deputy and case manager that has joined the Blaskic
2 team after this period of time, the gentleman seated to
3 my left, Mr. Andrew Powell, and I apologise for not
4 making those introductions yesterday, both to the
5 Court, Counsel, and to Mr. Powell, but I suppose better
6 later than never.
7 JUDGE JORDA: I think I can speak for Judge
8 Shahabuddeen to tell you that we can really excuse you
9 for that omission. Very well. We would like to
10 welcome your assistant.
11 We can now have the witness brought in. Mr.
12 Palavra, I believe that is his name. Mr. Palavra.
13 (The witness entered court)
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Palavra, do you hear me?
15 Please be seated. Please be seated. We can now
16 continue with the cross-examination conducted by the
17 Prosecutor. Let me remind you that you are still under
19 Mr. Kehoe, you may proceed.
20 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 WITNESS: MARINKO PALAVRA
22 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe: (Cont'd)
23 Q. Good morning, Colonel. Let me show you, as
24 we begin, I can first show you a document that we can
25 move into, and if I can give these to the courtroom
1 deputy Thomas.
2 These are a few preliminary questions,
3 Colonel, I would like to ask you before we move into
4 the rest of the cross-examination and where we left off
5 yesterday, so if I can digress just a few moments
6 before we get back into that.
7 THE REGISTRAR: This is D562.
8 MR. KEHOE:
9 Q. Now, Colonel, this is a decoration that you
10 received in 1996 by President Franjo Tudjman of the
11 Republic of Croatia, and for reference purposes, I
12 believe your name is 61; is that right? You have to
13 respond orally into the microphone, sir.
14 A. Yes, yes, it is.
15 Q. And, Colonel, this is for outstanding wartime
16 achievement for the good of the Republic of Croatia; is
17 that right? I refer you to the front page where it
18 says, "Decision conferring on the following, the Order
19 of the Croatian," and pardon my pronunciation, "Trefoil
20 for the outstanding wartime achievement for the good of
21 the Republic of Croatia"; is that correct?
22 A. Your Honours, you know that when the
23 cease-fire was signed, that is to say, the agreement
24 was signed in Split between Alija Izetbegovic, that is
25 to say, Franjo Tudjman, the President of the Croatian
1 state and the then member of the presidency, the
2 president of Bosnia-Herzegovina, an agreement was
3 signed and that Croatian forces could be active in the
4 region of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that agreement was
6 As we were a component of the HVO, I am very
7 pleased to have been decorated by the president of all
8 the Croats, and nothing can be contested here, as far
9 as I'm concerned.
10 Q. Well, Colonel, did you act in conjunction
11 with Croatian forces?
12 A. Yes, we acted after the signing of this
13 cease-fire, this agreement, which means that there was
14 the Kupres operation, Glamoc, and Grahovo, and
15 everything that came after the signing of the
16 agreement, that is to say, after the signing of the
18 Q. Now, which cease-fire are you talking about,
20 A. I am talking about the fact that we
21 participated from the time that the agreement was
22 signed, that is to say, between the Croatian state and
23 the Croatian army and the forces, that is to say, that
24 they could be active in Bosnia-Herzegovina from the
25 Kupres operation onwards.
1 Q. When was that, sir?
2 A. It was after the signing of the cease-fire in
4 Q. The individuals that received this Order of
5 the Croatian Trefoil, were they all Croats?
6 A. I don't know. Let me see. Yes, they were
7 all Croats.
8 Q. Sir, do you know a man by the name of Anto
10 A. I do.
11 Q. And who is Mr. Furundzija?
12 A. Mr. Furundzija was a member of the light
13 battalion. He was a subordinate commander. He was not
14 actually a commander. He was not a senior officer in
15 that unit.
16 Q. Did he receive a similar award as you, this
17 exact award, the Order of the Croatian Trefoil?
18 A. I don't know, possibly, because at that time,
19 he did take part in the activities of the joint forces
20 from Kupres onwards, Glamoc, Livno, et cetera, and he
21 probably did. I don't know what order he received, but
22 it is possible that he did because he was in the
23 Special Purposes Unit of the civilian police at that
25 Q. Let me show you Prosecutor's Exhibit 547.
1 MR. KEHOE: And 547, Mr. President and Judge
2 Shahabuddeen, is the Order of the Croatian Trefoil that
3 was awarded to Mr. Holman, at number 143, and I would
4 like to show this same document because on that page at
5 132, it reflects the name of Anto Furundzija.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Is it important for you,
7 Mr. Kehoe, to refer to these decorations that were
8 given to other people other than the accused? I don't
9 want us to use up too much time here. If you say
10 "yes," well, then, yes.
11 MR. KEHOE: It will. I will tie it up,
12 Mr. President.
13 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Very well.
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. Colonel, take a look at that, and if you can
16 page through that, I will direct your attention to 132
17 which is the second page in, and that reflects Anto
18 Furundzija's name as receiving this same award; is that
19 correct? You have to answer audibly, sir, "yes" or
20 "no." You have to say "yes" into the microphone
21 or "no" into the microphone.
22 A. Yes, yes, that's what it says here, "Anto
23 Furundzija, soldier of the special police of the MUP of
24 Croatia," et cetera.
25 MR. KEHOE: I think my learned counsel there
1 is correct. I think that the microphone can be turned
2 a little bit towards him, sure.
3 MR. HAYMAN: The usher needs to assist the
4 witness so he sits in the right position and the
5 microphone is directed towards his face so that he can
6 be comfortable and he can testify without having to
7 crawl up onto the desk to be audible. Thank you.
8 Could you do that, please?
9 JUDGE JORDA: I think that the witness is big
10 enough to assume the responsibility about knowing how
11 he has to sit at the table.
12 Try to relax, Mr. Palavra. It is true that
13 you have to try to answer clearly, distinctly. You are
14 before Judges, before a Tribunal, and you have nothing
15 to fear. Try to relax a bit, take your time, and then
16 answer clearly into the microphone so that everybody
17 can hear, first of all, the interpreters, actually.
18 All right. Go ahead.
19 MR. KEHOE:
20 Q. Colonel, this is the same Anto Furundzija who
21 was the head of the Jokeri and also was the head of a
22 3rd Light Assault Battalion; isn't that right?
23 A. I do not know that. I wasn't there at the
24 time. I came to the military police of the 4th
25 Battalion on the 1st of August, 1993, but I do know
1 that Anto Furundzija was never a senior official in the
2 Jokers, and I know the schematic of that. I know that
3 Vlado Cosic was the commander and not Furundzija, as
4 far as I know, that is.
5 Q. Colonel, when you came to take over the 4th
6 military police battalion in the beginning of August,
7 1993, Anto Furundzija was in the 3rd Light Assault
8 Battalion, wasn't he?
9 A. Yes, but not at the beginning of 1993. I
10 took over my duties on the 1st of August, 1993, and
11 before that, that is to say, before the 1st of August,
12 1993, the commander of the military police was Pasko
14 Q. And prior to the light assault battalion,
15 Anto Furundzija was in the Jokers, wasn't he?
16 A. I don't know. I was in Travnik at the time.
17 I really don't know because I did not do research into
18 his wartime biography, but I do know the man.
19 Q. Okay, sir, we'll change subjects now, and I'd
20 like to talk to you about some of your testimony during
21 direct examination concerning the transfer of your
22 personnel, your Special Purposes Unit, from Travnik, I
23 believe you came to the area of Kraljevica or Bukovica;
24 is that right? You have to say "yes" or "no," sir. Is
25 that correct? Sir, you have to answer verbally, "yes"
1 or "no," because the transcript will only show --
2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Palavra, you must answer.
3 The interpreters can see you, and they indicate that
4 you're nodding, but we don't work with sign language
5 here. These are oral proceedings. Criminal
6 proceedings are, in principal, oral. You can say
7 "yes," "no," "perhaps." You can give explanations,
8 but you must answer. I'm asking you for the last
10 A. While I was the commander of the Special
11 Purposes Unit in Travnik, the unit for special purposes
12 attached to the police department in Travnik, I left
13 last with my unit from the central section of Travnik,
14 although before me, other people had left, that is to
15 say, the command of the Travnik brigade. Everybody had
16 left Travnik and went towards Kalburnada (phoen) and
17 the borders of the Travnik municipality. Having left
18 Travnik, I went to Kraljevica with my unit because the
19 chief of police of Travnik was there at Kraljevica.
20 I stayed there up until the Croats were
21 expelled from Travnik, and I was able to pull out with
22 my unit, that is to say, part of the unit, in the
23 region of the Lasva River Valley under the control of
24 the Croats, and part of the unit, another part of the
25 unit, was made up of the wounded which we had, and they
1 went via Vlasic, Mount Vlasic, and the soldiers who
2 died were buried in Travnik. That is my answer.
3 Q. Now, the wounded that went by way of Vlasic,
4 did they go through Serb lines?
5 A. Yes, yes, they did go via Serb lines. Not
6 only them, but everybody went via Serb lines.
7 Q. And when did this take place?
8 A. It took place in June.
9 Q. Early June, late June, could you give us an
10 approximation, if you can?
11 A. I think that it was the beginning of June.
12 Q. So the activities of the HVO in moving
13 wounded and other people up through Vlasic, those
14 activities were coordinated between the HVO and the
15 army of the Republika Srpska or the VRS; is that
17 A. I don't know about that, whether it was
18 coordinated or not. I know that there were attacks by
19 Muslims all the time in the Travnik municipality, and
20 the positions which the HVO had and held were under
21 constant attack from the Muslim forces, especially the
22 Mujahedin units and the units of the 7th Muslim
23 Brigade, part of it. So that at that time, I did not
24 make the decisions. They had probably arrived at some
25 sort of solution. Whatever that was, it was not mine
1 because I was a soldier at that time.
2 Q. Well, sir, you were, in fact, at that time, a
3 leader of the Special Purposes Unit in the police,
4 weren't you? You weren't just some soldier on the
5 street. You were running a particular unit in the
6 police department at that time, were you not?
7 A. Yes, yes, that's right. I am not ashamed of
8 that. I was in Travnik --
9 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo?
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, my learned
11 colleague has entered into a region which was not
12 comprised in the examination-in-chief. I let him go
13 ahead with one or two questions, but I see that the
14 direction of his cross-examination encompasses areas
15 which were not touched on in the examination-in-chief.
16 After biographical data, we began with the military
17 police and the 1st of August, 1993.
18 JUDGE JORDA: No. The last point had to do
19 with the fact that the witness was saying that he was
20 an ordinary soldier or that he was an official, but he
21 can't be both at the same time. Go ahead, Mr. Kehoe,
23 MR. KEHOE:
24 Q. So you were an official in the police in
25 early June 1993?
1 A. Yes, I was. I was the commander of the
2 Special Purposes Unit.
3 Q. And you gave orders to your subordinates to
4 transfer from Travnik to Kraljevica; isn't that right?
5 A. No. I received an order from the head of the
6 department of the civilian police of Travnik, and at
7 that time, the chief of police there was Mr. Ivo Rezo,
8 so I was just following orders from the chief of the
9 police station there to which we were attached and
10 where he was the senior officer for the complete police
11 force in Travnik. It was under his command.
12 Q. Well, Colonel, given your position in the
13 police, do you know if the HVO was consulting and
14 coordinating with the VRS, the army of the Republika
15 Srpska or the Bosnian Serb army?
16 A. I really don't know, but I think that after
17 the civilians left Travnik and the army left Travnik
18 towards the Serb-held territories at that time, this
19 was decided upon by the government of the HVO, and this
20 was under the control of the civilian authorities.
21 Q. So the government of the HVO did have
22 agreements with the army of the Republika Srpska; is
23 that correct?
24 A. I don't know that. You can't ask me that. I
25 was a soldier. What the government did, I really
1 cannot say. At that time and in the crucial moments
2 and when the Mujahedins and the army units were
3 attacking where the Croatian Defence Council was in
4 control, where there was a Croatian army and civilians,
5 there was burning, there was a lot of destruction,
6 there was a slaughtering, there was a takeover of
7 territory, and quite normally, they made decisions in
8 those crucial times to save lives because you must not
9 forget that Travnik, the ratio was one to eight to the
10 advantage of the Muslim units.
11 Q. Well, how many Bosnian Croats crossed over
12 Serb lines?
13 A. I don't know how many, but there were
14 civilians. There were 20-odd, 25.000, 26.000 in
15 Travnik, and of that number, 2.000 Croats remained.
16 The rest had to flee, and all the military-able men I
17 know did cross over because they said so. They said
18 that there were about 800 to 1.000 later on, I don't
19 know exactly, military-able men transferred to Serb
20 territory. The others were children, the elderly, the
21 infirm, the wounded, and so on. I don't know the exact
22 figures. I did not determine their route towards Serb
23 territory. I just set out towards the territory under
24 HVO control, although I thought that we were in an
25 encirclement at that time, and Bukovica was free at the
2 Q. Colonel, the Kiseljak area was also part of
3 the Central Bosnian Operative Zone and under the
4 command of Colonel Blaskic; isn't that right?
5 A. Yes, that's right, it was.
6 Q. Do you know of coordinated acts, coordinated
7 military activity, between the HVO and the VRS against
8 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina that took place in the
9 Kiseljak municipality in early June of 1993?
10 A. I do not know that, no.
11 Q. Now, the Zepce area was also in the Central
12 Bosnian Operative Zone and under the command of Colonel
13 Blaskic; isn't that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you know of coordinated acts, military
16 actions by the HVO operating in conjunction with the
17 VRS that took place in late June in the Zepce area?
18 Are you aware of that?
19 A. At the end of June, but what year?
20 Q. Of 1993, sir.
21 A. I don't know. I really don't know. At the
22 time I was in the civilian police force in Travnik.
23 JUDGE JORDA: You can't ask the witness to
24 reconsider the entire war strategies. We are not here
25 for that. He had a position in the military police. I
1 want you to concentrate your questions or else explain
2 to the Judges what you are trying to get from the
3 witness. Do one thing or the other so that we can
5 We are now asking questions about all the
6 military and strategic aspects of the conflict in the
7 former Yugoslavia, and we are only receiving evasive
8 answers, or at the best, approximate answers, so I
9 would like things to be clearer, not to waste too much
10 time on that. Or explain where you are trying to go.
11 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. What is of
12 interest during June of 1993, commencing with the
13 testimony that was given by the Colonel, was the
14 co-operation between the HVO and the VRS in June in the
15 Travnik area. What we also have during that relatively
16 same period of time, based on the testimony that Your
17 Honours have heard, are coordinated military activities
18 and artillery attack support provided by the VRS to the
19 HVO in the Kiseljak municipality in attacks on villages
20 such as Han Ploca, Tulice and others.
21 In addition to that, Your Honours also heard
22 testimony of coordinated activity by the HVO and the
23 VRS again in June of 1993, albeit the latter part of
24 June of 1993 where the HVO and the VRS in coordinated
25 activities attacked and engaged in military activities
1 in the Zepce area. The common denominator for all of
2 this, Mr. President and Judge Shahabuddeen, is the
3 military commander, General Blaskic, who is the
4 commander of Zepce area, part of the Central Bosnia
5 Operative Zone, who is the commander of the Travnik
6 area, also part of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone,
7 and also the Kiseljak area, which is part of the
8 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, where all this activity
9 and coordination with the VRS was taking place.
10 Likewise, Your Honours heard during the
11 testimony of Mr. Tolo that letter that was received in
12 evidence from a Colonel from the VRS whose name escapes
13 me, who was talking about coordinated activity in
14 co-operation with the HVO was, in fact, the Colonel's,
15 Colonel Blaskic's immediate commander, when Colonel
16 Blaskic was then Captain Blaskic in the JNA and in
17 Slovenia. So what I was attempting to ask --
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, thank you. Thank you also
19 on behalf of Judge Shahabuddeen. Thank you for the
20 clarifications. I understand better now. But
21 nonetheless you should focus your questions on the
22 specific functions that the witness had. Don't forget
23 that this witness has come at the request of the
24 Defence to speak about his experience as a military
25 police official.
1 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. I was just
2 simply asking some questions based on his direct
3 testimony where he mentioned these wounded going up
4 through the Vlasic feature that came out on direct. I
5 will move onto a separate subject at this juncture.
6 Q. Colonel, what I would like to do at this
7 point is move to your initial meetings and events just
8 prior to that initial meeting that you had with the
9 accused, Colonel Blaskic. And you noted during your
10 direct testimony that Blaskic was unhappy with Pasko
11 Ljubicic who prior to that was in charge of the 4th
12 Military Police Battalion; is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And you noted in your direct testimony that
15 Pasko Ljubicic didn't follow orders; is that right?
16 A. I'll explain this to you once again. Let me
17 repeat it. The military police -- I already explained
18 this schematic -- in its organisation, I mean the
19 administration of the police actually commanded the 4th
20 Battalion, and in a situation of war, of course, the
21 commander of the Operative Zone has the highest
22 responsibility, and that is what is exactly written
23 everywhere too. And I also know that at that time the
24 military police was independent in its zone of
25 responsibility, and it was not only the commander of
1 the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia but also the
2 commanders of the other operative zones too.
3 My opinion is that at that time they wanted
4 to have control over the entire area, that is to say
5 those who were controlling it, however, the military
6 police came into the picture, which is not commanded by
7 the commander of the Operative Zone. Perhaps in terms
8 of daily routines, yes, but this is where this
9 discrepancy came about. There were some who wanted to
10 take over total control, that is to say commanders of
11 the operative zones, as far as I know, and there were
12 always misunderstandings there in terms of dual
13 leadership and command.
14 The commander of the Operative Zone,
15 naturally, wants to have control over everything. This
16 is my opinion. And they wanted to -- and they would
17 want to put everything under their command. So there
18 was always this -- these discrepancy as to who was
19 commanding and how. That is my opinion and that is my
21 Q. Colonel, my question is this: Did you say in
22 direct examination, in response to Mr. Nobilo's
23 questions, that Pasko Ljubicic did not follow orders?
24 Did you say that?
25 A. Pasko Ljubicic, I never -- I mean, I only
1 heard from Colonel Blaskic at the time when he received
2 me at his command of the Operative Zone. He said that
3 he was not satisfied with the military police as it was
4 at that time, and that a reorganisation had to be
5 carried out as soon as possible. He did not explain
6 the reasons for this to me, that Pasko was this or that
7 kind of a person. As I talked to policemen I found out
8 -- well, they have spoken arbitrarily too, that
9 between Colonel Blaskic at the time and Pasko, they did
10 have some disagreements at the time and that the chain
11 of command had broken down, precisely, allegedly, for
12 those reasons, namely, that Colonel Blaskic at that
13 time wanted to have control over the military police
14 too. And Pasko wanted to keep his independence and to
15 work according to what he thought was right and to be
16 held responsible only by the administration of the
17 military police.
18 This is not only the case of the Operative
19 Zone in Central Bosnia. The other operative zones had
20 the same kind of situation. Again, there was this
21 discrepancy, as I said, that is to say this dual
22 command, because the commanders of the units of the
23 military police wanted to be somebody too in the zone
24 of responsibility because the minister gave this right
25 to them or, rather, the chief of the head office of the
1 military police. And, on the other hand, these
2 units of the military police and of the security were
3 under the direct command of the Minister of Defence.
4 That is what I wish to say.
5 Q. Colonel, on page 16717, starting on line 4,
6 you were asked this question by my learned colleague,
7 Mr. Nobilo: "What happened between Pasko Ljubicic and
8 Colonel Blaskic? What happened between the two?"
9 Answer: "I do not know what happened between the two,
10 but Pasko wanted to retain the hierarchy, to retain his
11 command over the military police, and did not, in fact,
12 follow orders."
13 My question to you is: What orders did Pasko
14 Ljubicic not follow?
15 A. Well, I don't know. I don't know, but
16 probably orders from the commander of the Operative
17 Group or Zone. I don't know. I really don't know. At
18 that time I wasn't there, but I only know from the
19 moment when I took over on the 1st of August 1993 that
20 all orders and everything that happened in the
21 Operative Zone I carried out all orders. Why? Because
22 I realised that we Croats could not act differently.
23 One person wants to do this, the other person wants to
24 do that. We have to subordinate everything to our
25 defence. Our units were under attack every day and I
1 wasn't thinking at all whether it was this way or that
2 way. The important thing was to save peoples lives and
3 that is the way all of us at headquarters behaved.
4 Thank you.
5 Q. Well, Colonel, did you refuse any orders
6 given to you by Colonel Blaskic?
7 A. No. At that time I did not. But we always
8 consulted what should be done, whether it should be
9 done this way or that way, and once we agreed, then I
10 would transmit this to my subordinates, to company
11 commanders, et cetera. But there was always agreement,
12 but I never refused. Why would I refuse? Because
13 everything was fair, in my opinion.
14 Q. Did these orders that came from Colonel
15 Blaskic include written and oral orders?
16 A. Depends on the situation. There were written
17 orders and there were also oral orders. It depends on
18 the circumstances involved, the circumstances that we
19 were in at the time, but most of the time -- the main
20 point is that there was coordination.
21 Q. Now, Colonel, when you -- going back to Pasko
22 Ljubicic. When you told the Trial Chamber that Pasko
23 Ljubicic did not in fact follow orders, am I correct in
24 saying that you don't know what orders Pasko Ljubicic
25 refused to follow?
1 A. You are right, I don't know. At that time I
2 wasn't there, but I assume, and in these conversations
3 with the military policemen -- well, I described the
4 situation to you.
5 Q. In fact, Pasko Ljubicic was promoted, wasn't
7 A. I don't understand.
8 Q. He received a promotion from his job in the
9 4th Military Police Battalion to the assistant head of
10 security for Central Bosnia; is that right?
11 A. Try to imagine this situation. Probably, I
12 don't know. But just try to imagine this situation.
13 The commander of the 4th Battalion of the military
14 police is being replaced, a new commander comes in. As
15 things unravel, at that time the head office of the
16 military police assessed that it would be right for
17 Pasko to be some kind of coordinator up there in
18 Central Bosnia for the military police, because he was
19 the only one who knew the position and who knew the
20 situation. And now it is up to the administration, the
21 head office of the military police, to decide what they
22 will decide. And then the 4th Battalion of the
23 military police, all of this was up to me, and I had to
24 do everything, all the operative work involved. Pasko
25 just read reports, nothing else. I mean, he was there
1 at the hotel.
2 Q. Well, Colonel, how long did Pasko Ljubicic
3 remain in his position as the assistant head of
4 security in Central Bosnia?
5 A. Well, look, it wasn't only Pasko Ljubicic who
6 was assistant chief. At that time the head of the
7 police administration appointed three or four assistant
8 chiefs, because the area was fragmented and the
9 military police could not -- could not be unified. It
10 was fragmented. So in order to have a better situation
11 at work and in order to coordinate activities, Pasko
12 was, for example, appointed over there, and his only
13 zone of responsibility was only in that area and not in
14 the entire area covered by the military police. And
15 Pasko was there about a month, I am not too sure, a
16 month or two, I can't say exactly, but he was supposed
17 to leave even before that. But as soon as I came to
18 the 4th Battalion, on the 1st of October 1993, Pasko
19 was supposed to go to military police headquarters, but
20 since we were encircled, I think that he left by
21 helicopter, because I am not sure when helicopters
22 could fly, but I know that he was supposed to leave and
23 it was postponed from one day to another. But, I don't
24 know, he wasn't there for longer than a month and a
25 half in this particular area.
1 Q. So would you say by mid-September Pasko
2 Ljubicic was gone, or September 1?
3 A. I don't know. I have an agenda at home where
4 I have all flights registered, so I cannot remember now
5 when Pasko left, but at any rate Pasko did leave the
6 area of Central Bosnia.
7 Q. When he was there and you were there, you
8 answered to Pasko Ljubicic and took orders from Pasko
9 Ljubicic, didn't you?
10 A. Pasko spent a very short period of time in
11 the area of Central Bosnia. From my arrival that is.
12 At first he would go to the early morning briefings,
13 Pasko Ljubicic would go to General Blaskic and then
14 Pasko would convey to me all the things that had to be
15 done by the military police and what their assignments
16 were. However, this lasted for a very short time,
17 because at the time Pasko would either come to the
18 Operative Zone or would be detained, I don't know
19 where, and then Colonel Blaskic would call me
20 afterwards to these meetings because we had regular
21 briefings every week. On Fridays we would all report
22 to the commander of the Operative Zone, everybody, all
23 the commanders, and naturally that included the
24 commander of the 4th Battalion of the military police
1 Q. When Ljubicic was the assistant chief, was
2 his office in the Hotel Vitez?
3 A. Yes, yes. His office was in the Vitez hotel.
4 Q. Colonel, you mentioned that there were
5 several assistant chiefs. How many assistant chiefs
6 were located in the Hotel Vitez, other than Ljubicic?
7 A. Obviously, you did not understand my answer.
8 The head, the chief of the administration of the
9 military police, of the head office of the military
10 police in Ljubusko, he appointed his assistants in the
11 territory of Central Bosnia, and in that area Pasko
12 Ljubicic was the assistant chief, and also in the area
13 of southeast Herzegovina or southwest Herzegovina, and
14 in Posavina, he had his assistant chiefs in all these
15 areas, in all these parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina that
16 were under the control of or, rather, where there was
17 HVO military police. That is to say that Pasko was
18 only assistant chief for the area of Central Bosnia,
19 and his office was in the Vitez hotel.
20 Q. Now, after he received the job as assistant
21 chief of security for Central Bosnia, did he receive
22 another promotion when he went down to Herzegovina?
23 A. No. He was not appointed assistant chief of
24 security. He was assistant chief of military police,
25 not of security. After leaving Lasva River Valley,
1 Pasko spent some time at the head office of the
2 military police. For a very short period of time he
3 stayed there, and he went to the MUP, that is to say he
4 went to the civilian police, to the civilian police of
5 Herceg-Bosna at the time, its headquarters being in
6 Mostar, and he did not spend much time in the military
7 police, only a very short period of time after he left
8 the Lasva River Valley.
9 Q. Let's shift gears, Colonel, if we will.
10 Let's go back to this first meeting that you had with
11 Blaskic in early August of 1993. Now, in this meeting,
12 I think you said in your testimony yesterday, that
13 Blaskic told you that you had the most responsible job
14 in the Operative Zone; is that right?
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. And he also told you that as part of your
17 job, in the reformation of the military police, was to
18 make it a national police; is that correct? In other
19 words, a police that was responsive to the Bosnian
20 Serbs, the Bosnians Croats, as well as the Bosnian
22 A. No, no, that's not the way it was. Colonel
23 Blaskic said -- I remember this meeting very well --
24 that this was a military police of the people, that is
25 to say it is not that there are Croats, Serbs, Muslims,
1 and that they would take care of only one part of the
2 population or act against one part of the population.
3 That is to say that all peoples who lived under HVO
4 control are citizens and should be treated as such, and
5 they are all the same before the law, and that there
6 should be no separations of this kind, no Serbs,
7 Muslims, Croats, whatever.
8 In the units of the military police I truly
9 did have some Muslims there too. I had -- I can tell
10 you straightaway, I can even give you the name of Adis
11 Cosic, who was an exemplary man in the military police
12 units. Until the present day he has remained in our
13 territories and he works there too. Also there were
14 quite a few Serbs and there was never a national ethnic
15 criterion involved, who would join the police.
16 In Central Bosnia, it was a popular police, a
17 police of the people, and there were Croats, Serbs,
18 Muslims, and what have you. And he also said that in
19 our area there were UNPROFOR units too, that these were
20 people who came. They are also someone's children,
21 somebody sent them too. Also representatives of the
22 UNHCR, the Red Cross, the European monitors. All of
23 these are people who came with their own assignments,
24 and it is precisely in our interest for them to see the
25 real situation in the Lasva River Valley, because we
1 are the ones who an encircled, we are the ones who are
2 attacked, and it is in our interest for the people to
3 see the actual state of affairs. And he said that we
4 had to defend and protect their property and their
5 people at every point in time, and if they were
6 attacked by anyone. I remember that's exactly what he
8 And I, of course, agreed with him and said
9 that that is the way it was, because indeed at that
10 time we needed to show the world the real situation
11 that prevailed in that area. There was no food, there
12 were no clothes, there was no footwear, there were many
13 displaced persons, many civilians. Thank you.
14 Q. Colonel, when you took over in August of
15 1993, how many Muslims were there in HVO controlled
17 A. I really don't know. There are facts about
18 this, but I really don't know. My task was to organise
19 and lead the units of the military police, but I do
20 know that there were Muslims as well, a lot, of
21 considerable number. I know that there were Serbs as
22 well in units from -- going from Novi Travnik,
23 Busovaca, Vitez, and so on. And there are documents on
24 that score. I know that there was a considerable
1 Q. You just noted in your testimony, Colonel,
2 that your job was to protect and defend everybody; is
3 that right? How many people did you arrest for
4 attacking Bosnian Muslims, burning their houses,
5 stealing from them, looting from them, or committing
6 any crimes against Bosnian Muslims? How many did you
7 arrest during your tenure from 1 August 1993 until the
8 Washington Peace Accords were signed, or thereafter?
9 How many?
10 A. Well, I don't know if you have a particular
11 fact on -- on the fact that a Muslim had been arrested
12 or a Serb expelled or that he was maltreated by the
13 military police or the HVO. At that time, on the 1st
14 of August 1993, it was chaos, pure -- sheer chaos.
15 There was so frequent attacks by Muslim units that
16 nobody even thought of this. They just wanted to
17 escape alive and prevent the attacks. And we were all
18 one. Nobody looked at anything.
19 I know that Colonel Blaskic, I can't remember
20 exactly when, but he -- but someone -- an individual
21 was mistreated of the Muslim nationality and he
22 proposed measures that I investigated to see what had
23 been done and the perpetrator brought to justice.
24 There were cases of this kind, not a lot, but there
25 were, as this case in point that I mentioned.
1 Q. How many, Colonel? You had the most
2 responsible job, according to the accused, in the
3 Operative Zone, and your job, according to what you
4 just told us, was to protect Muslims, Croats and Serbs,
5 and my question for you is: How many people did you
6 arrest and prosecute of the Croatian ethnicity who
7 committed crimes against Bosnian Muslims? How many?
8 One, two, five, 100, 200, 300, 1.000? How many?
9 A. I don't understand you at all. What crimes?
10 In my time, on the 1st of August 1993, there were no --
11 I had no notion of crimes. At the time I brought
12 military policemen to disciplinary action. I asked the
13 commanders of the companies to punish them in various
14 forms -- for various things, for looting, for behaving
15 in a non- -- in a manner not -- that doesn't correspond
16 to how a policeman should behave. And when the
17 military police saw that something was amiss --
18 JUDGE JORDA: Is that the question that you
19 asked, Mr. Kehoe?
20 MR. KEHOE: No, it's not, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE JORDA: I don't think that you are
22 being asked whether you sanctioned any Muslim
23 policemen. I don't believe that was Mr. Kehoe's
24 question. Ask your question again.
25 MR. KEHOE: I'll repeat the question.
1 JUDGE JORDA: That was not the question that
2 was asked.
3 MR. KEHOE:
4 Q. My question is a very simple one, Colonel,
5 and it is this: You took over 1 August 1993. How many
6 people of Croat ethnicity did you arrest for crimes
7 committed against Bosnian Muslims, any crimes
8 committed? How many did you arrest?
9 A. I must tell you that from the beginning of
10 1993, I began on the 1st of August 1993, that's when I
11 took over my duties as commander, and that is the
12 second half of 1993, so from that time on. Whereas in
13 the documentation of the military police there are
14 records on exactly how many people, military policemen
15 were -- disciplinary action was taken against them who
16 had gone contrary to the laws, so that I know that in
17 the command of the battalion I had to discard two
18 members. One was my assistant for crime investigation,
19 because he, in fact, collaborated with some commanders,
20 that is Kraljevic units. He had connection with the
21 criminals there. And so automatically I suspended him
22 from duty --
23 Q. I think my question was quite clear,
24 Mr. President, Judge Shahabuddeen, and I believe that
25 the answer we are receiving is not responsive.
1 I don't mean to interrupt you, Colonel. I do
2 apologise for the interruption.
3 But I do believe, Mr. President, that this is
4 not a responsive answer to the question that I proposed
5 for the second time.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that's correct. Ask your
7 question for the third time, and I'll ask the witness
8 to pay careful attention to the question.
9 Yes, Mr. Nobilo.
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I do not agree.
11 I feel that the witness has answered. He has answered
12 by asking the Prosecutor, what crimes were committed
13 during my time? Not a single one. No Muslims were
14 killed or wounded or expelled. He said that at the
15 beginning. And by insisting further, he understands
16 that you want him to answer about disciplinary action,
17 but he says that crimes did not take place over the
18 Muslims at that time during his time.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. Colonel, is your testimony consistent with
22 what Mr. Nobilo just said, that there were no crimes
23 committed against Bosnian Muslims after you took
24 control of the 4th Military Police Battalion on the 1st
25 of August 1993? Do you agree with what
1 Mr. Nobilo just said?
2 A. I do agree. Do you have any facts and
3 figures on what you are stating?
4 Q. Let's turn our attention to, in part, Exhibit
5 433, a series of photographs on the burnings in the
6 village of Grbavica, after it was secured by the HVO on
7 the 7th and 8th of September 1993. Would you like to
8 see the burning of those houses, sir?
9 MR. HAYMAN: I object to the form of the
10 question, Mr. President. If Mr. Kehoe has a question,
11 he should ask a question. He shouldn't ask the witness
12 if he wants to have lunch, if he wants to see a photo,
13 if he wants to go to the dance. It's inappropriate
14 conduct by counsel.
15 JUDGE JORDA: No, no, no. No, no.
16 Mr. Hayman, I don't agree at all. It was very clear.
17 Mr. Kehoe repeated Mr. Nobilo's answer and asked the
18 witness if he agreed with what Mr. Nobilo had said,
19 that is, that Mr. Nobilo in a way had kind of
20 interpreted the witness's first answer. That's where
21 we are now. And as regards that point, Mr. Kehoe is
22 going to produce an exhibit. Let's not multiply the
24 Mr. Nobilo, for the last time go ahead.
25 MR. NOBILO: Just for precision purposes, I
1 did not say what crimes were committed, who was killed
2 and who was expelled and houses burnt, because I know
3 about Grbavica. So I said which Muslim was killed,
4 wounded, expelled, because the witness said that there
5 were no crimes, that is to say forceful conduct and
6 crimes against individuals.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Let the Prosecution develop its
8 exhibits in respect of the last question.
9 Mr. Kehoe asked the witness whether he agreed
10 with what you said, Mr. Nobilo. The witness said yes,
11 and now Mr. Kehoe is moving on and the Judges will make
12 their evaluation.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. You took over in August of 1993. The
15 Military District Court, the Travnik District Military
16 Court was operating, wasn't it?
17 A. I apologise, but what date did you say?
18 Q. When you took over the 4th Military Police
19 Battalion in the beginning of August 1993, the Travnik
20 District Military Court was operating, wasn't it?
21 A. Not in Travnik, unfortunately, but it
22 functioned in Vitez, so the headquarters were in
23 Vitez. But it was called the District Court in
24 Travnik, that is to say the Military Court.
25 Q. The fact remains it was operating; isn't that
2 A. Yes, it was.
3 Q. I would like to show you Exhibit -- part of
4 433. I am showing you 433/21 to 433/40. With the
5 assistance of the usher, Mr. President, just by way of
6 some recollection, we can just put them on the ELMO in
7 seriatim as opposed to talking about them -- without
8 showing them on the ELMO, so the audience can hear and
9 so Your Honours can look at it as well.
10 Again, Mr. President and Your Honours, these
11 are the photographs that were taken during the period
12 by -- during the period of time of the attack on
13 Grbavica and thereafter by Captain Lee Whitworth of the
14 Prince of Wales own regiment of Yorkshire, who was the
15 British battalion located in Stari Bila during this
16 period of time.
17 If I may just go through them. Thomas, if
18 you could put them on the ELMO in seriatim. I think
19 the first one is 433/21. It might be easier -- that's
20 fine. The next one is 433/22, 433/23, 433/24.
21 You can see from that photograph, can you
22 not, that the gentleman on the left hand has a radio
23 with him? Do you see that? The testimony from Captain
24 Whitworth at the time was that these houses were being
25 looted. 433/26. It should be this one. Yes, that's
1 it. Keep going. 433/27, 433/28, 26, 27, 433/29,
2 433/30, 433/31, 433/32, 433/34, 433/35, 433/366,
3 433/37, 38, 39, and 40. Now, Colonel. Thank you,
4 Mr. Usher. I appreciate it.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Now, be very specific in the
6 question that you are going to ask, Mr. Kehoe.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. Colonel, after Grbavica was secured by the
9 HVO, houses were burned and looted by members of the
10 HVO, weren't they?
11 A. In view of the fact that Grbavica was taken
12 as it was taken by military means, we cannot say that
13 the houses were looted by members of the HVO because
14 they were up at the frontlines, the defence lines,
15 predominantly, but I know that at that time, the
16 refugees, who were located in Vitez, Travnik, that is
17 to say, part of Novi Travnik, in Novi Travnik, that
18 they went to look for space for themselves because
19 there were two or three families living together in a
20 house or in two or three rooms, so that they went up
21 there and wanted to enter Grbavica, to enter the houses
22 and to take over that space there. That's what I know.
23 Q. Now, these were Bosnian Muslim houses; isn't
24 that right?
25 A. Not only Bosnian Muslims, but there were Serb
1 houses and Croatian houses as well.
2 Q. Now, Colonel, as the head of the 4th Military
3 Police Battalion, you were responsible for
4 investigating the crimes against those Bosnian Muslim
5 houses, weren't you?
6 A. Well, yes, not only Bosnian Muslims but
8 Q. My question is, based on what I asked you
9 previously, how many people of Bosnian Croat ethnicity
10 were arrested or prosecuted for the crimes committed
11 against Bosnian Muslim houses in Grbavica in September
12 of 1993? How many?
13 A. Well, I don't really know the facts and
14 figures. The Courts probably have that figure, but I
15 really can't say. I don't know.
16 Q. How many were arrested then, Colonel? Your
17 units were responsible for the arrests. How many did
18 the military police arrest? One, five, ten, how many?
19 A. I don't know. I can't tell you just offhand
20 like that, I don't know the figure, but there were
21 arrests, and in the penitentiary in Busovaca, there
22 were people arrested, military-able men and others. I
23 don't know the exact figure. I can't say 5, 10, 15,
24 50. I really don't know. I did not prepare myself for
25 answering that question. But there are complete
1 documents on that score, and you can have an insight
2 into the documents of the military police and what it
3 did at the time.
4 Q. Colonel, I'm going to make this very simple.
5 Name one Bosnian Croat that was arrested and prosecuted
6 for the crimes that took place against Bosnian Muslim
7 homes in Grbavica after or on the 8th of September or
8 7th of September, 1993? Name one.
9 A. I can't answer that question.
10 JUDGE JORDA: You can't answer because you
11 don't have the documents?
12 A. I don't have the documentation. I can't
13 because I haven't got the documents here.
14 JUDGE JORDA: We're going to take a break in
15 any case. Perhaps you can think about it. It's a
16 legitimate question, Mr. Palavra. You had a position
17 of responsibility which would not exclude this question
18 being asked by either one of the parties.
19 All right. I suggest that we take a
20 20-minute break, and we'll resume at twenty to twelve.
21 --- Recess taken at 11.22 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 11.50 a.m.
23 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing.
24 Have the accused brought in, please.
25 (The accused entered court)
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, you have the floor.
2 I'd like to know whether you still have many questions
3 you want to ask so that we can organise our work.
4 MR. KEHOE: I'm trying to move through this
5 as fast as I possibly can, Mr. President. It's just
6 taking a little bit more time than I'd anticipated.
7 Q. Now, Colonel, just going back to Grbavica,
8 was the 4th Military Police Battalion involved in the
9 attack on Grbavica on the 7th and 8th of September of
11 A. The military police did not take part in the
12 attack on Grbavica, no.
13 Q. Did the 3rd Light Assault Battalion, which
14 was formerly the Jokers, take part in the attack on
16 A. I don't know, probably did, special unit --
17 my parts of the military police were not engaged in the
18 Grbavica operation.
19 Q. Did the Vitezovi take part in the Grbavica
21 A. They say that they were. In which parts, I
22 don't know, but that's what was being said, but the 4th
23 Battalion of the military police did not take part.
24 Q. Now, to your knowledge, Colonel Blaskic
25 ordered the attack on Grbavica on the 7th and 8th of
1 September, 1993; isn't that right?
2 A. I don't know. I was surprised by that action
3 too. I just know that there was this action on
4 Grbavica, and I had no idea. I don't know. Whether it
5 was secret or not, I don't know, probably was, but I
6 didn't know about it.
7 Q. Well, you told us during your direct
8 examination that it was general knowledge that members
9 of the Vitezovi, as well as the military police, were
10 criminals; do you recall that testimony?
11 A. I do. I said part of the Vitezovi unit, part
12 of the Vitezovi unit was out of control or, rather, was
13 under the direct protection of their commander at the
14 time, now he is the late Kraljevic, but quite a few
15 units were regular, so there were those who were under
16 his protection, perhaps 20 or so men, they were under
17 his direct protection.
18 So at that time, that's the way it was, of
19 course, until I came to the 4th Battalion where I tried
20 or, rather, did carry out the reorganisation of the
21 military police and when we started clearing up
22 everything, starting from military policemen and going
23 through all the units. All of those who had committed
24 any criminal offences or who were committing any
25 criminal offences at that time, I wanted them to be
1 arrested immediately, and I wanted proceedings to be
2 initiated against them so that we could see finally
3 whether this would lead to punishment.
4 Q. Well, if it was common knowledge that there
5 were members of the Vitezovi who were criminals, and if
6 the Vitezovi was involved in the attack on Grbavica on
7 the 7th and 8th of September, 1993, what steps did
8 Colonel Blaskic or what orders did Colonel Blaskic give
9 to you as commander of the 4th Military Police
10 Battalion to prevent the burning of Bosnian Muslim
11 houses and to prevent the looting of those houses after
12 the attack? What orders did Blaskic give?
13 A. During the action itself, I mean, on
14 Grbavica, a certain number of houses were set fire to
15 or, rather, I mean, the houses were on fire during
16 these combat operations. A number of houses, a
17 considerable number of houses, were on fire during the
18 action itself because this was during the fighting, of
19 course. However, when Grbavica was taken and when the
20 units that took part in taking the area of Grbavica
21 moved further on towards the Muslim forces, towards
22 Sadovace and even further than that on the frontline,
23 at that moment, when it was obvious that that's the way
24 it was, the civilians got in from all sides. Civilians
25 who were expelled from Zenica, from Travnik, from all
1 parts, they ran into the Grbavica village.
2 So the units moved on further towards the
3 Muslim units, and I remember -- oh, well, I can't give
4 you the exact number now, but there was a very large
5 number of civilians, and also there were a
6 military-aged man or two among them who got into the
7 village then.
8 So when an area is liberated, then it is
9 civilians, and it is the civilian police that is in
10 charge, I mean, of the entire population that is in
11 that particular area.
12 Q. Were you present when this burning and
13 looting was taking place, Colonel?
14 A. No, no, I wasn't. I was down there in Vitez,
15 and had I seen this or had any of my military policemen
16 seen this, we would have taken measures, of course, but
17 I hadn't seen this.
18 Q. So if a captain from the British battalion
19 testified that it was, in fact, soldiers who were doing
20 this burning and looting, you would have no way of
21 refuting that, would you, because you weren't there?
22 A. Yes, I was not there.
23 Q. Take a look at, if I can go back, with your
24 assistance, Mr. Usher, Exhibit 433/24, if you can put
25 that on the ELMO, Mr. Usher. Do those look like
1 soldiers to you, Colonel?
2 A. Yes, it does look like soldiers.
3 Q. Do you think that soldier on the left
4 carrying that big radio brought it with him into battle
5 or do you think he stole it?
6 A. A picture can represent anything. Perhaps he
7 did steal it but perhaps he found it and perhaps he was
8 taking it from one place to another, but I hadn't seen
9 this picture before, and I see this soldier carrying a
10 cassette player, and why, I really don't know.
11 Q. So I go back to my initial question,
12 Colonel: What orders did Blaskic give to you, as
13 commander of the 4th Military Police Battalion, to go
14 to Grbavica after it was secured to prevent the
15 unnecessary burning of Bosnian Muslim houses and to
16 prevent the looting of those houses? What orders did
17 Blaskic give, if he gave any?
18 A. Specifically, as far as Grbavica is
19 concerned, I did not receive any orders, but, again, I
20 repeat, it is civilians who got into Grbavica, and
21 they -- I mean, yes, there truly was looting. Some
22 people were carrying beds, and I see, yes, somebody was
23 carrying a cassette player, somebody was probably
24 carrying a radio too, somebody was taking wood,
25 firewood; however, it is undeniable that there was
1 looting, but I'm telling you that, at that time, a lot
2 of civilians flooded into Grbavica, and some of them
3 sought accommodation there and actually came to stay at
4 some of these places, and others were looting these
5 houses. So, again, I say it is civilian structures,
6 the civilian police, who were responsible for --
7 JUDGE JORDA: Don't repeat yourself. The
8 Judges heard your answer, and we can now have the
9 Prosecutor move to another question.
10 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, my question was,
11 did he receive any orders from Blaskic to --
12 JUDGE JORDA: He answered. He answered. He
13 answered that he did not receive any orders for
15 MR. KEHOE: That's all right. I'll move on.
16 Q. Now, you noted during this meeting in --
17 MR. KEHOE: If I may just consult with my
18 colleague just one second.
19 Q. Now, you noted during this meeting that you
20 had with Blaskic, this initial meeting that you had in
21 August of 1993, that Blaskic told you that part of your
22 task was to clean up the military police and to get rid
23 of the criminal elements in the military police; is
24 that right?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. Who were the criminals in the military police
2 that he asked you to get rid of?
3 A. They were members of the military police.
4 Q. What were their names?
5 A. I wasn't going to mention them, but if
6 necessary, no problem, I will. My assistant for crime
7 investigation, Josipovic, Ivan Josipovic, my assistant,
8 he was my assistant, and he directly cooperated with
9 criminals, and he told them exactly what the military
10 police would do and were doing, so they knew at the
11 time because they were working together. Then also
12 Zoran Curak, he was in my headquarters, and he had
13 committed a criminal offence according to the Criminal
14 Code, and he was supposed to be held accountable for
15 it, and I eliminated him immediately, and then
16 Policeman Gugic. I don't know. There were quite a few
17 of them who stole things, and the military police
18 discovered that they had stolen certain things from the
19 area that they were providing security for. So first,
20 naturally, they were sent to Kaonik, disciplinary
21 action was taken against them, and then they were
22 expelled from the military police, and they were sent
23 to the general military office so that they could be
24 sent to other units. That's it.
25 Q. Any of the individuals that you removed from
1 the military police, were they convicted of crimes that
2 they committed against Bosnian Muslims, and if so, give
3 us their names and the crime that they were convicted
4 of or charged with.
5 A. I cannot recall. It wasn't only Muslims.
6 All the people who lived in this area, these policemen
7 did more in terms of Croats. I don't know whether
8 there is a single deed that was committed from the 1st
9 of August, 1993 that a Serb, a Muslim, or whoever was
10 killed or expelled and that the military police did not
11 react or did not take action or impose sanctions. I
12 would like to see proof of this because I do not
13 remember any such thing.
14 Q. Well, Colonel, you were responsible for
15 prosecuting and investigating crimes that took place
16 prior to you taking office; isn't that correct?
17 A. The military police, yes, is responsible in
18 terms of its tasks and responsibilities for preparing
19 evidence for the court and also for preparing criminal
21 Q. Then I go back to my question: What crimes
22 against members of the military police did you file
23 charges on or have arrested for crimes committed
24 against Bosnian Muslims? Tell us what you did, how
25 many you did, and who you arrested.
1 A. I can't tell you the exact number, but there
2 were cases, and they were arrested. I haven't got the
3 facts and figures. The military courts have exact data
4 on this, who, when, and what was done, but I really
5 can't tell you. I really can't answer that question
6 with any precision at this point.
7 Q. Well, Colonel, you also said it was common
8 knowledge that the Vitezovi was filled with criminals;
9 is that right?
10 A. Not only the Vitezovi but the others as well.
11 Q. What crimes did the Vitezovi commit and who
12 committed them?
13 A. I can't give you the names exactly now and
14 what crimes. They took cars, seized cars. There were
15 brawls of various kinds where public law and order was
17 Q. Did you ever prosecute a member of the
18 Vitezovi for killing a Bosnian Muslim, for burning his
19 house, for looting his house, or for driving that
20 Bosnian Muslim out of his premises? Did you ever
21 prosecute a member of the Vitezovi for that at any
23 A. Yes, we did prosecute them, but I can't tell
24 you the names and surnames. I was the commander, and
25 these names were sent to me, but that is correct, we
1 did do that, yes.
2 Q. So you don't remember any members of the
3 military police, you don't remember their names, and
4 you don't remember any names of the Vitezovi who were
5 prosecuted; is that right?
6 A. It's not my duty to know. The commanders of
7 the companies told me, and there were so many figures
8 that, quite simply, I don't know the names, but cases
9 of this kind did exist.
10 Q. Now, Colonel, you discussed with Blaskic in
11 this initial meeting the fact that all these units had
12 committed crimes; isn't that right?
13 A. Not the units but individuals, the
14 individuals in units.
15 Q. And did Blaskic know the names of these
16 individuals in these units, the individuals who were
17 committing crimes?
18 A. It was not his task. It is the task of the
19 courts and the prosecutor's office and the military
20 police to uncover individuals of this kind.
21 Q. Colonel, did Blaskic tell you the names of
22 criminals in these units? Did he or did he not?
23 A. Well, he did not say it at the meeting. We
24 did not discuss those matters, but just the general
25 situation, the general state of affairs in the military
1 police and his vision as to what it should be like,
2 what the military police should be like, and I agreed
3 completely with him.
4 Q. Now, Colonel, Blaskic had the power to direct
5 your organisation to investigate a particular crime;
6 isn't that so?
7 A. Yes, he could have. Colonel Blaskic could
8 have, and any commander, brigade commander, on the
9 basis of knowledge obtained, could order the military
10 police to examine and investigate a case of that kind
11 and then to inform Colonel Blaskic as to the measures
12 undertaken and what is to be undertaken in the future
13 and what is being done. That is how things were done.
14 Q. In fact, Blaskic could order that an
15 individual be arrested; isn't that so?
16 A. Colonel Blaskic or any commander could have
17 ordered an investigation to be undertaken, but how can
18 you investigate if the military police does not arrest
19 and take into custody the perpetrator? He could order
20 but he could not influence. Colonel Blaskic could not
21 influence or any other commander could not influence
22 what the police was doing at the time because the
23 police had its own competencies as to what it was
24 doing. And he couldn't say, "I'd like you to shut him
25 up for five, ten," or whatever time. This was done by
1 the court and the military police collecting documents
2 and facts and figures for the military prosecutor and
3 the courts.
4 Q. Well, the fact of the matter is that
5 Blaskic's orders or powers were so vast that he could
6 order the arrest of individuals and also order their
7 summary execution, isn't that so, for crimes such as
8 deserting the line?
9 A. No. There were very few of us up there. No,
10 no, he couldn't have ordered that, and nobody would
11 ever execute those orders because the courts existed,
12 and so it was our task, our duty, to bring the
13 perpetrator to the courts, and it was up to the court
14 to decide what to do. We couldn't do that. Nobody
15 could do that.
16 Q. Let me show you Prosecution Exhibit 456/77,
17 if I may, 456/77.
18 Now, Colonel, that's an order of 11 October,
19 1993 that, I do believe, was given to you as the
20 commander of the 4th Military Police Battalion, signed
21 by Colonel Blaskic -- actually, this is going over
22 to -- it was sent to a Emil Hara in Vares but from
23 Colonel Blaskic, and notes that given "The rising
24 number of soldiers deserting their position and defence
25 lines has resulted in the loss of defended facilities
1 and entire defence lines. In order to prevent such
2 occurrences, I hereby issue the following order:
3 1) Undertake the following disciplinary
4 measures against any soldiers and their immediate
5 commanders who desert defence lines: a) execution of
6 the unit/soldier; b) unit commanders will be declared
7 traitors of the nation and given the most severe
8 sentence of death by firing squad in front of the
10 2) All units and soldiers will be notified of
11 this order.
12 3) This order will come into force
13 immediately and commanders of brigades and independent
14 units will be responsible for its execution."
15 Did you receive this order, Colonel?
16 A. If it states here that the 4th Battalion got
17 this, then probably yes, but as far as I can see, the
18 disciplinary measures for leaving the defence lines,
19 desertion of defence lines, I don't know if there were
20 any cases. It is like this on paper, but whether there
21 were any cases in the HVO whether a commander shot by
22 firing squad any one of his members, I don't know of
23 any cases. This is what it says on paper, but I don't
24 recall anybody ever having done that, although people
25 did desert the defence lines, but I don't recall any
1 example of commanders shooting -- having shot some
2 member of his unit. I don't remember that. So one
3 thing is what is written, whereas what was done in the
4 units is quite another. Although I repeat again,
5 people did desert defence lines, there was -- there
6 were cases of desertion, but I cannot recall anybody
7 ever being shot.
8 Q. Blaskic issued this order to shoot deserters
9 in this particular document, and that, would you agree
10 with me, Colonel, would give Colonel Blaskic extremely
11 vast powers to discipline his troops; isn't that
13 A. Commander Blaskic, I once again state that
14 this is the implementation of disciplinary measures.
15 He did not actually name anybody. He just provided for
16 the possibility of doing so. And he said that there
17 must be no desertion. And if he wrote the order, then
18 he knows why he wrote it and the competencies therein.
19 But it just says under A, against all soldiers, any
20 soldiers and their immediate commander who desert
21 defence lines, that the following disciplinary measures
22 should be undertaken. So he proposes that disciplinary
23 measures in fact be taken, and that all the commanders
24 be informed of the contents of the order. But I repeat
25 once again, are there any examples of anybody, a
1 soldier or commander or anybody, being sent before a
2 firing squad? I don't know of any such case.
3 Q. Did you think, Colonel, that maybe they were
4 too afraid once they received this order?
5 A. Well, these are the regions of Vares, the
6 area of Vares, and had they been afraid they would have
7 all died at the defence lines under Muslim attack. And
8 as you know in Vares, everybody was expelled, and had
9 they been afraid, they would not have left defence
10 lines -- everybody fled, so under the impact of the
11 Muslim forces that were attacking them so much.
12 Q. Now, tell me, tell me, Colonel, was it
13 important for you to know the identities of the
14 criminals that were in the 4th Military Police
15 Battalion, so you could reform that military
16 battalion? Was it important to know who else was a
17 criminal in the other units, such as the Vitezovi or
18 Zuti, et cetera? Was that important?
19 A. Yes, of course. And on two occasions they
20 stole my car. They weren't Serbs or Muslims, they were
21 Croats. Precisely when I started clearing up some of
22 these criminal activities, my car was stolen on two
23 occasions and, in the course of a minute or two later,
24 I was to have been killed in the car as well, because
25 explosives were placed in my car and the car exploded.
1 Q. Well, in this meeting with Blaskic in early
2 August of 1993, did he mention Ahmici and the
3 involvement of the military police in the massacre in
4 Ahmici? Did he mention that to you?
5 A. No, he didn't mention it at that meeting.
6 Had he mentioned it at that meeting, I would have said
7 what we discussed at that meeting. However, at that
8 meeting he did not mention Ahmici. He only mentioned
9 the current situation in the military police and that
10 he had a different vision. He explained what kind of a
11 situation he would have liked, and I agreed with him
12 and I agreed that we should carry out that vision of
13 his, and that we should do things accordingly.
14 Q. Colonel, if members of the military police
15 under your command were involved in Ahmici, wouldn't it
16 be significant for you to know that and for you to
17 ascertain if you had criminals within the military
19 A. Yes, it is important. Of course it's
21 Q. Did Blaskic share with you the results of any
22 of his investigations that were conducted by SIS when
23 you went to his meetings, investigations concerning
25 A. I was not on that case. I don't know. And
1 he didn't say this to me. Although I later found out
2 that the security service was charged with this duty to
3 investigate how this happened and what happened.
4 Q. Well, Colonel, you said to us it would be
5 important to know if there were criminals in the
6 military police who had been involved in Ahmici, and
7 your testimony is that Blaskic neither discussed Ahmici
8 nor shared with you any information he had concerning
9 the events in Ahmici; is that correct?
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, these are
11 conclusions, and there is repetition too. The witness
12 said that he didn't discuss Ahmici with him --
13 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I agree with you,
14 Mr. Nobilo. I know that we are going around Ahmici, I
15 know that you are looking for that result, but you've
16 got an answer to your question. I think you have to
17 move onto something else.
18 MR. KEHOE:
19 Q. Let's move ahead to continue with Ahmici
20 concerning the rest of the investigations. And at any
21 time did anybody come to you and ask to interview some
22 of your soldiers, some of the members of the military
23 police that were under your command concerning the
24 events in Ahmici? And if so, who did they interview
25 and who did the interviewing?
1 A. I did not interview anyone. If anybody did
2 interview people, then it was the crime investigation
3 service, but, I repeat, when I came the situation was
4 such that the military police were at the front lines.
5 They were carrying out their duties there. And at that
6 time there were very few policemen who were actually
7 involved in military police work. Everybody was at the
8 defence lines precisely for that reason, because many
9 Muslim units were attacking the Lasva River Valley.
10 And I said that at that time the Court of law or,
11 rather, the Military Prosecutor's Office was
12 practically paralysed. They were hardly working at
13 all, because you could not bring soldiers in precisely
14 for that reason. Many were at the defence lines. And
15 I explained that.
16 Q. Let me show you Defence Exhibit -- excuse me,
17 Prosecution Exhibit 456/73.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Just for your information, I
19 would like to tell you that you -- that the examination
20 in chief lasted for two hours and twenty minutes, and
21 in about ten minutes -- you have about -- in about ten
22 minutes you have reached the same amount of time that
23 was used for the examination in chief. Do you think
24 that you will have finished by about 20 to one?
25 MR. KEHOE: I don't think so, Mr. President.
1 I do believe, and I implore the Court to allow me to
2 continue. The answers that have been given in many
3 instances have not been responsive to the questions
4 that I have posed. That has happened on more than one
6 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, we the defence
7 might be more sympathetic if a lot of time hasn't been
8 spent on events in Travnik and other, quite frankly,
9 peripheral matters. And we would ask the Court to hold
10 the Prosecutor to a reasonable period of time, that is,
11 the same period of time spent on direct, and that will
12 incentavise the Prosecutor to go to the heart of the
13 matter and use his time efficiently and effectively.
14 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I asked this
15 witness how many Bosnian Croats were prosecuted for
16 crimes against the Bosnian Muslims four times. I asked
17 him the same question four times, with Your Honour
18 interceding after the third occasion saying, please,
19 you didn't get a responsive answer, ask the question
21 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but there is something
22 that you have to know, Mr. Kehoe, and that is that the
23 Judges at the proper time will do their own work, they
24 will do their analyses and study what the answers were
25 that were given or that were not given. The Judges
1 will do that. I want to consult with my colleague for
2 a moment.
3 Mr. Kehoe, the Trial Chamber will give you
4 until 1.00, we will resume at 3.00, and if you haven't
5 finished, the Tribunal will give you another 20 to 30
6 minutes, but no more than that. All right?
7 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
8 JUDGE JORDA: But in general I would like to
9 repeat that in the future try to be sure that the
10 cross-examination does not take longer than the
11 examination in chief. These, of course, are rules that
12 the Judges try to apply with a certain degree of
13 flexibility. All right. Go ahead.
14 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. If we
15 can show the witness Exhibit 456/73.
16 Q. Colonel, this is a document that's in
17 evidence in the -- dated 31 August 1993. It's a
18 communique from the information -- the Information
19 Office of the Central Bosnian Operative Zone. I direct
20 your attention to the bottom of the page: "The Travnik
21 District Military Court based in Vitez pronounced the
22 following sentences." The first two individuals, as
23 you can see, were indicted on the 18th of August 1993
24 for aggravated robbery and were convicted and sentenced
25 on the 25th of August 1993. The next two individuals
1 were indicted on the 19th of August 1993 and were
2 convicted on the 26th of August 1993.
3 So it would appear during the timeframe you
4 were there, Colonel, that the courts were working and
5 were actually operating quite swiftly. Isn't that so?
6 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the Prosecutor is
7 claiming that it says here that the rulings were
8 suspended, however, if that is what the English text
9 says, then it is a mistranslation, because I have the
10 Croatian text here and it's quite obvious that these
11 were not suspended sentences but these were conditional
12 sentences, and this is the way it is according to the
13 Criminal Code of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
14 MR. KEHOE: I don't mean to quibble on the
15 conditions. I just mean to indicate that these
16 individuals were arrested -- excuse me, were indicted
17 on the 18th and 19th of August respectively, and
18 approximately a week later, on the 25th of August and
19 the 26th of August respectively, these individuals were
20 convicted and received sentences. I wasn't gauging or
21 commenting on the level of that sentence.
22 MR. NOBILO: The Croatian text, it says -- I
23 mean, your translation says that the sentence was
24 suspended in the sense of quashed. So that's why it
25 doesn't have any meaning.
1 MR. KEHOE: I bow to your expertise. I plead
2 ignorance on that score. But that was not my point on
3 this juncture.
4 Q. Would you agree with me, going back to my
5 question, Colonel, that the District Military Court was
6 in fact operating and in these two cases was operating
7 swiftly to dispense justice?
8 A. I cannot influence the Court. The Court does
9 its job and they are going to decide whether they are
10 going to sentence someone and to what time. I can only
11 gather evidence. I mean, I can only do what the crime
12 investigation section of the military police does. But
13 I cannot influence the Court. It's up to them what
14 they are supposed to do. It's a good thing that they
15 intervened immediately in this case, because they were
16 clear on this. This is information that such and such
17 a thing happened to soldiers. I mean, when it comes to
18 the people, then it sounds different. So I think, huh,
19 that is the way the court ruled and that's it.
20 Q. Colonel, did you ever visit Ahmici?
21 A. No. No, never.
22 Q. Was a crime committed in Ahmici, to your
24 A. I don't know. You are investigating that. I
25 really don't know. I came on the 1st of August 1993,
1 so --
2 JUDGE JORDA: We are going round and round,
3 Mr. Kehoe. You asked questions about Ahmici, the
4 witness answered. The Judges will make their
5 evaluation. The witness says that he arrived on the
6 1st of August, and from that point on things become
7 complicated, or else -- perhaps you should ask your
8 questions in a different way because we are wasting a
9 lot of time.
10 MR. KEHOE: Let me shift from Ahmici.
11 Q. When you took over or when you were in
12 Travnik prior to coming to Vitez in the beginning of
13 August or after, when you took over in the beginning of
14 August, did you receive information about a truck bomb
15 that had been sent into Stari Vitez on approximately
16 the 18th of August 1993 that caused many killings and
17 significant damage? Did you get information about that
18 or did you hear anything about that?
19 A. When was this, on the 18th?
20 Q. 18th of April 1993.
21 A. You said August, so --
22 Q. I apologise, sir. 18th of April 1993.
23 A. No. At that time I was in Travnik and up
24 there -- I mean, I was in Travnik, so I have no idea
25 what was going on in Vitez or, say, in Busovaca. We
1 were locally organised, so I was in Travnik.
2 Q. Well, in your conversations with the
3 accused, did he ask you to investigate this truck bomb
4 explosion --
5 JUDGE JORDA: The question was already
6 asked. Mr. Kehoe, you asked that same question
7 exactly. I can almost give you the specifics on it.
8 You asked it. Move on, please.
9 MR. KEHOE: I am asking whether or not the
10 accused asked them to investigate the truck bomb.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but you asked the
12 question. I don't have to look in the transcript, but
13 I know that you asked it. You want to know whether
14 during the discussions with Blaskic they had spoken
15 about Ahmici. You know, I am listening to what's being
16 said here.
17 MR. KEHOE: This has to do with Stari Vitez.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Then perhaps it was an
19 interpretation problem. It was an interpretation
20 problem. All right. Go back to the truck bomb. Go
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Colonel, I am talking about the truck bomb in
24 Stari Vitez on 18th April 1993. Did Blaskic tell you
25 to investigate that particular incident?
1 A. Blaskic didn't tell me, but it wasn't his
2 duty either. It is the duty of the military police to
3 carry this out, even without Blaskic or anybody's
4 orders. Everything that was committed under the
5 territory that was under the control of the HVO at that
6 time, it is the duty of the military police to
7 investigate or to prepare for the court and the
8 Military Prosecutor's Office materials so that the
9 court could naturally rule.
10 Q. Let me show you Defence Exhibit 368,
11 Colonel. This is a Defence Exhibit, Colonel, signed by
12 Colonel Blaskic on the 31st of May 1993 concerning two
13 military policemen who were expelling Muslim families
14 by force. He orders that an investigation be conducted
15 and disciplinary measures to be imposed. I am
16 referring to paragraph 1 of that. Do you see that,
17 sir? Did Blaskic ever order you to conduct an
18 investigation on the truck bomb that took place in
19 Stari Vitez on 18 April 1993; yes or no?
20 A. I repeat once again. Whether Blaskic gave an
21 order for the investigation or not, it is the duty of
22 the military police to carry out an investigation
23 together with the organs of the court --
24 Q. Excuse me, Colonel. I have to interrupt at
25 this point.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Palavra, try to concentrate
2 on the question that you are being asked. This was a
3 very specific question. We don't have to keep going
4 round and round. We understood that the investigations
5 came from the military police, which is a natural
6 thing. Of course the police carry out investigations,
7 whether it's military or civilian police. That's not
8 the question. The Prosecutor is asking you around the
9 31st of May, it says that the -- wants to know whether
10 the accused was -- had competence to carry out
11 investigations. The Prosecutor wants to know as
12 regards the truck bomb, did the accused ask for an
13 investigation to be conducted about the truck bomb.
14 It's a very simple question. We don't have to keep
15 going round and round. Answer the question, please.
16 THE WITNESS: No, no.
17 JUDGE JORDA: What is your answer? What is
18 your answer? I didn't hear it.
19 THE WITNESS: No. No, he did not give me
21 JUDGE JORDA: Move to another question now,
23 MR. KEHOE:
24 Q. Colonel, the shelling of Zenica took place on
25 the 19th of April 1993 at approximately mid-day where
1 approximately eight to ten civilians were killed. In
2 your discussions with Colonel Blaskic, did Colonel
3 Blaskic order you to investigate the shelling of Zenica
4 that took place on the 19th of April 1993 in order to
5 ascertain the facts? Did he order that?
6 A. I am hearing this from you now. I don't know
7 who shelled it. Has that been ascertained? Who
8 shelled Zenica on that occasion, I don't know. I don't
9 think that the HVO units did that. I don't know. I am
10 hearing this from you now. We did not discuss this.
11 Q. So the answer to the question is you received
12 no such directive from Colonel Blaskic; is that
14 A. I did not know that it had been shelled. I
15 am hearing this for the first time from you now.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, don't make the
17 witness say what he didn't say. Since you were
18 asserting that it was the HVO that did this -- all
19 right. But the -- that's all that was said and it's
20 been noted down. Please continue. Ask another
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Now, when you arrived at Vitez in early
24 August of 1993, numerous Bosnian Muslim houses had been
25 burnt; isn't that so?
1 A. What locality? The Vitez locality?
2 Q. Throughout the Lasva Valley, Colonel.
3 A. No, no, they weren't burnt. A large portion,
4 many Muslims were in their homes and flats at the
5 time. I saw that. That is what I came across when I
6 got there. But I repeat again that on the 1st of
7 August 1993 I came to Vitez because before that I was
8 in Travnik.
9 Q. Let me direct your attention to two villages
10 such as Gacice and Donje Veceriska. Those were areas
11 that were in the Lasva Valley. Prior to your coming to
12 Vitez on August 1993, were the Muslim houses up there,
13 many of the Muslim houses burnt?
14 A. I repeat again, I don't know, but I know that
15 in the village of Gacice and in the village of
16 Veceriska, the people expelled from Zenica and Travnik
17 were living there and residing there. What actually
18 happened, I really don't know.
19 Q. Let me ask my question one last -- one last
20 question on this. Did you ever receive a directive, an
21 order from Colonel Blaskic to investigate how Muslim
22 houses in Gacice, for instance, were burnt? Did you
23 ever receive such an order?
24 A. From the 1st of August 1993 onwards I did
25 not. What happened before that, I cannot say.
1 Q. With regard to the murder of Bosnian Muslim
2 civilians, did you ever receive an order from Colonel
3 Blaskic to investigate the murders of Bosnian Muslim
4 civilians that took place prior to you becoming the
5 chief of the 4th Military Police Battalion or
6 thereafter? Did you ever receive any such order?
7 A. I did not receive that. I just say that from
8 the 1st of August 1993, everything that happened, I was
9 responsible for that. Whether beforehand he had
10 ordered the military police to conduct an
11 investigation, I do not know.
12 Q. Colonel, as late as 1996, or when you
13 transferred to Sarajevo, you were making referrals to
14 the District Military Courts concerning war crimes that
15 took place as far back as 1992, war crimes directed
16 against the Bosnian Croat population; isn't that right?
17 A. I don't understand. Could you repeat your
18 question, please.
19 Q. You stayed in the position of the head of the
20 4th Military Police Battalion until you were
21 transferred to Sarajevo sometime, I believe you said,
22 in 1997. And my question for you is: During your
23 period of time up through your departure in 1997, you
24 continued to make referrals to the District Military
25 Court or the Prosecutor concerning crimes against the
1 Bosnian Croat population, and those crimes which took
2 place as far back as 1992; isn't that right?
3 A. Yes, we did make referrals to the
4 Prosecutor's office. All cases that existed,
5 regardless of whether we were dealing with Croats or
6 Muslims or any other ethnic group, that was our duty
7 and we made these referrals and you have records of
8 that in the Prosecutor's office.
9 Q. So you continued to investigate after the war
10 had been completed. And my question for you, sir, was
11 through your entire experience was any member of the
12 military police, the HVO, the Vitezovi, the Zuti or
13 anybody else, was anybody ever prosecuted, to your
14 knowledge, concerning the events in Ahmici?
15 A. I repeat, I don't know which units took part
16 in Ahmici, but I know that they were -- that the
17 criminals were brought before the Courts, and the Zuti
18 and Kraljevic, and I know all those units and, if I
19 have to name them, a group that killed or was thought
20 to have killed the late Tuka, the commander, they were
21 condemned and sentenced, and the process -- the
22 proceedings were completed, not only for them but for
23 others. But it was our job to collect the information
24 and data and hand it over to the law courts and that
25 would be where our duties ended. Those were the
2 Q. Well, the bottom line, Colonel, was that
3 nobody, to your knowledge, has been prosecuted for the
4 crimes that took place in Ahmici; is that correct?
5 A. Yes, that's correct. I don't know. I don't
7 Q. Now, after Blaskic left the Lasva Valley, in
8 April of 1994, he became the deputy chief of staff, the
9 HVO in Mostar, didn't he?
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, there have been
11 several questions already outside the timespans of the
12 indictment. We are talking about 1994, '95, '96. I
13 think that we are just losing time. They step over the
14 time boundaries of the indictment.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, we are wasting time. I
16 agree with you. I would also like to go back a little
17 bit as regards Ahmici. It seems to me that the witness
18 said, or perhaps I didn't understand correctly, that
19 the Zuti and the Vitezovi had been prosecuted and
20 tried. Am I wrong? Is that what you said,
21 Mr. Palavra?
22 A. Yes, not the Zuti and the Vitezovi, but all
23 those who had committed acts of this kind, they had to
24 be taken to court, and it is up to the court to know
25 what to do. We could not influence any court
1 proceedings. But anybody, had they performed any
2 crimes, had they committed any crimes or criminal
3 offences or any offence from the time that I came, they
4 would have to have been sanctioned, and I say that this
5 was so.
6 MR. NOBILO: (No translation)
7 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Counsel. We're not
8 getting a translation. It's not coming through.
9 MR. NOBILO: Yes. Can you hear me now?
10 JUDGE JORDA: I wanted to know what this
11 witness said when he spoke about the Zuti and the
12 Vitezovi who had been prosecuted and tried. It seemed
13 to me that that was for Ahmici; is that correct?
14 MR. NOBILO: No. You can ask him. Go ahead
15 and ask him, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE JORDA: As regards Ahmici, how should I
17 interpret what was interpreted for me, that is, that
18 the Zuti and the Vitezovi were prosecuted and judged
19 for Ahmici? Could you repeat your answer for that,
20 please? Perhaps I didn't catch it.
21 A. No, I was not talking about Ahmici, but from
22 the time that ...
23 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Then I had
25 Mr. Kehoe, where are you as regards your
2 MR. KEHOE: I am almost through,
3 Mr. President. My question is concerning the
4 activities of the accused when he was deputy chief of
5 staff from April to August of 1994 and then chief of
6 staff of the HVO thereafter until his promotion to the
7 rank of general in November of 1995 to the HV. And the
8 question is, did he receive any directives or does he
9 know any steps that were taken by Blaskic as chief of
10 staff and deputy chief of staff to ensure that people
11 responsible for Ahmici were prosecuted. Because that
12 goes, Mr. President, to the fact that not only did he
13 not do anything when he was the chief of staff and
14 deputy chief of staff, but it sheds great light on his
15 lack of activity when he was in charge of the Central
16 Bosnian Operative Zone.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo?
18 MR. KEHOE: And I might note, Mr. President,
19 the issue concerning the relevance of this, I think
20 there was some debate about that that was joined in by
21 Judge Shahabuddeen.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, yes, but I didn't say that
23 your question was not relevant. I simply said that Mr.
24 Nobilo had the floor. I did not reject your question
25 for the time being.
1 Mr. Nobilo?
2 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, Your Honours, if
3 the Prosecutor wishes to question reasons why people
4 were not charged while General Blaskic was the chief of
5 staff in 1995/'96, then the indictment could have been
6 posed as such, but the indictment ends with the
7 Washington Accords, that is one thing, and the basic
8 obstacle to this question being asked.
9 The other question is that the Dayton
10 Agreement accepted the fact that the Court in The Hague
11 would be allowed to open proceedings on this matter,
12 and in the entire former Yugoslavia, in Croatia and
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, nobody was ever charged or taken to
14 court for war crimes against another nation, the
15 members of a majority nation. So we're entering in an
16 area which is not included in the indictment and is far
17 broader and more complex than the problem and case in
19 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, you can ask your
20 question but don't ask several. The Judges consider
21 that it is possible, even if they know that it's not
22 part of the indictment, it is not a question in
23 determining the accused's responsibility outside of the
24 time frame of the indictment, but that's not exactly
25 the same question. It's simply a question about
1 shedding some light so that one can know whether there
2 was a desire for a follow-up to the investigations that
3 had been conducted beforehand.
4 The Judges ask that you ask a single question
5 and not turn this into a debate.
6 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, thank you.
7 Q. Colonel, after Blaskic became the deputy
8 chief of staff between April and August of 1994 and
9 then chief of staff of the HVO between August of '94
10 and November of 1995, do you know of any steps that he
11 took or any orders that he gave to ensure that the
12 criminals who committed the atrocities in Ahmici were
13 prosecuted and brought to justice? Do you know of any
14 steps that he took?
15 A. As far as Ahmici, I do not know. I'm not
16 aware of that, but it was not his duty to do so. It is
17 up to the courts and the prosecutor's office to uncover
18 the perpetrators. And as far as we know, the courts
19 did this. I don't know anything else.
20 Q. Colonel, let me ask you one last area of
21 questions which will take about two minutes. Sir, do
22 you have a passport from the Republic of Croatia at
23 this point and are you travelling on that passport?
24 A. I have what we call a putovnica, a Croatian
25 putovnica, which is the Croatian passport, and soon I
1 will have a Bosnian passport because the Croatian
2 people are a constituent people in the Republic of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And it is an honour for me to have
4 a passport of Bosnia-Herzegovina, not the kind that
5 exists now, but the kind that is being prescribed by
6 the International Community, and it is an honour for me
7 to have a Croatian passport as well. I would like to
8 have an American one as well.
9 Q. And travelling on a Croatian passport,
10 Colonel, are you also a citizen of the Republic of
12 A. I don't know whether you know that all
13 Croats, regardless of where they are in the world, if
14 they wish to have dual nationality, they can do so and
15 are entitled to a Croatian passport. So a Croat in
16 America or Canada or Australia or anywhere else in the
17 world is entitled to one. So this is the legal right
18 of all Croats, and as a citizen, as a Croat, I availed
19 myself of that right. I am a Croatian by nationality.
20 I'm not a Catholic. I'm not a Bosniak. I'm a Croat.
21 MR. KEHOE: Thank you very much, Colonel.
22 You've been very helpful.
23 Mr. President, Judge Shahabuddeen, I have no
24 further questions.
25 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Thank you,
1 Mr. Kehoe. I would like to turn to the Defence.
2 Mr. Nobilo, do you have many questions for
3 your redirect?
4 MR. NOBILO: It is difficult for me to assess
5 in terms of time but I think about a half hour.
6 JUDGE JORDA: All right. I suggest that we
7 adjourn until 3.00.
8 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 3.15 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume our work.
3 Have the accused brought in, please, Mr. Registrar.
4 (The accused entered court)
5 (The witness entered court)
6 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We can now resume,
7 Mr. Palavra. You may be seated. The Defence is now
8 going to go back to a certain number of points from
9 what was said during the cross-examination.
10 Mr. Nobilo, you may proceed.
11 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE JORDA: About how much time are you
13 going to need?
14 MR. NOBILO: Very little, half an hour,
16 JUDGE JORDA: All right.
17 MR. NOBILO: But it's going to be brief.
18 It's not going to be long.
19 Re-examined by Mr. Nobilo:
20 Q. Mr. Palavra, the Prosecutor asked you about
21 what you knew about Blaskic's activities in terms of
22 the prosecution of criminals after he had become head
23 of the main staff in 1994. This was not part of the
24 examination-in-chief, so I feel it is my duty to put a
25 few questions to you in this regard.
1 Do you know that in September 1994 and
2 onwards, under the command of Colonel Blaskic, the
3 Operation Pauk, Spider was organised?
4 A. Your Honours, I am familiar with that. I
5 think it was '95, though, and the battalions of the
6 military police were involved in the Operation Spider
7 according to the orders issued by the general staff and
8 by General Blaskic personally.
9 Q. Oh, yes, at that time, he was already a
10 general. The operation took a long time, '94 and '95.
11 Is it true that this was not a military operation, it
12 was an operative action aimed against crime and all
13 kinds of criminals; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, that is correct, that is to say, against
15 crime and against criminals, regardless of what kind
16 and what the ethnic background of these persons was,
17 and it was on HVO-controlled territory.
18 Q. Within this operative action against crime
19 and criminals, which was spearheaded by Blaskic, what
20 did you do? What was your task? What was the
21 assignment that you were given? Please explain this to
22 the Court.
23 A. Your Honours, I had an assignment within my
24 own zone of responsibility, that is to say, the 4th
25 Battalion of the military police, Zepce, Vitez, and
1 Kiseljak. I must say immediately that this operation
2 was carried out by the military police and the security
3 service, that is to say, it is the military police that
4 did this while supporting the military security
5 services, that is to say, that we took these people to
6 prison and also collected some information from them.
7 So in the Lasva River Valley and in Kiseljak,
8 I personally was in charge of this operation. I
9 personally was in charge of this operation, and we
10 arrested the communications officer. His name was
11 Bakula. He belonged to the Josip Ban Jelacic Brigade,
12 that is to say, that he was a high officer, and also
13 the commander of the special unit of Maturice, Como, I
14 got him too. And also at that time, the commander of a
15 battalion, I remember his name, his nickname was Zuna.
16 His name was Zuna, I can't remember his first name, but
17 I was in charge of that operation too.
18 But in Herzegovina, the commander of the
19 Operative Zone of Kiseljak, Ivica Rajic, he was also
20 apprehended, but it was also because he was in the
21 territory of Herzegovina. Had he been here, he
22 wouldn't have been apprehended.
23 Q. Was Ivica Rajic arrested and also Milijasevic
24 called Solomon, he was the commander of the Maturice,
25 and the rest, were they arrested on the orders of the
1 leader of the action, Blaskic?
2 A. The main operation or, rather, the commander
3 of these operations was General Blaskic. The security
4 services, the military police took part in this, and
5 the civilian police too, the MUP, at that time of
6 Herceg-Bosna, that is to say, in the area that was at
7 that time under HVO control.
8 Q. Tell me, which service was in charge of the
9 investigation? You did the arresting, but who was in
10 charge of this?
11 A. It was the security service that was in
12 charge of the investigation. As I said, we only
13 assisted in this matter, that is to say, that we made
14 the arrests, and we took these persons to the prison.
15 We did that, and the rest was done by the court of
16 law. When they were detained and they were handed over
17 to the court, then, of course, it was the court that
18 took the necessary action.
19 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we have a short
20 order issued by Blaskic. It is from that area. We did
21 not have it translated because we did not think that we
22 were going to raise this issue. However, since the
23 Prosecutor raised this issue, we will have to look at
24 this, and we also have copies for the interpreters, so
25 I believe there will be no problems.
1 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Fine.
2 THE REGISTRAR: This is D512.
3 MR. NOBILO:
4 Q. I'm going to read this very slowly so that we
5 can have it interpreted. The heading says, "Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina, Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna,
7 Ministry of Defence, Main Staff of the HVO." On the
8 right-hand side, it says, "Defence, Military Secret,
9 Confidential," and then there are certain numbers, the
10 class, and then the registry number, and then it says,
11 "Mostar, the 7th of September, 1994," and it is
12 addressed to the command area of Vitez, to Brigadier
13 Philip Filipovic, and then it reads as follows: "On
14 the basis of the decision of the President of the
15 Presidential Council of the HZHB, Mr. Kresimir Zubak,
16 on carrying out an investigation concerning war crimes
17 committed and with a view to collecting evidence, I
18 issue the following order:
19 1) Give all support to and allow insight into
20 all documents that can be used as evidence and that
21 show war crimes committed in the territory of the
22 community of municipalities of the zone of
23 responsibility of Vitez.
24 2) Special insight should be allowed into
25 documents," and then in parenthesis it
1 says, "(recordings, video cassettes) which are in the
2 intelligence department, the police station of Travnik
3 and the commission for investigating war crimes -- to
4 Dragan Kvasina," and signed by Major General Tihomir
5 Blaskic, his signature and seal, and it says that he is
6 head of the main staff of the HVO.
7 So my first question addressed to you is the
8 following: This signature, is it the signature of
9 Major General Blaskic, and this seal, is this the seal
10 of the main staff of the HVO?
11 A. Yes, yes, this fully corresponds to this
13 Q. So this order is part of the operation called
14 Spider, Pauk. Tell me, did you see this before? Did
15 you see it before I showed it to you today?
16 A. Your Honours, I have never seen this. I
17 received assignments from the head of the police at
18 that time, because after war operations ceased, the
19 head of the military police issued orders to us, but
20 this is the first time I've seen this order. I saw it
21 in similar form in terms of what I received.
22 Q. If you look at this entire order, and in
23 three different sections, it says that war crimes
24 should be investigated. What is your conclusion on
25 this basis, and knowing that this is part of the spider
1 operation, Operation Spider, what did you think, that
2 Blaskic meant only crimes committed against Croats or
3 all crimes?
4 A. Your Honours, I think that this order is
5 quite clear. It is not only related to Croats but to
6 all war crimes and all perpetrators of war crimes
7 committed against Serbs, Croats, Muslims, whoever, so
8 regardless of everything. We had to work, for example,
9 in the military police too.
10 Q. At that time, within the Operation Spider,
11 you personally arrested Como and your other colleagues
12 arrested Rajic. Were these the two more powerful men
13 in Kiseljak?
14 A. As you know, Rajic, Ivica Rajic, was
15 commander of the operations group, and he was the
16 person who carried the utmost responsibility as far as
17 the units were concerned in the territory of Kiseljak.
18 Como was the commander of the special unit Maturice in
19 the territory of Kiseljak. Bakula, the one I
20 mentioned, he was also in the Josip Ban Jelacic Brigade
21 in Kiseljak. He was an officer there, a liaison
22 officer, and Zuna, this commander, he was commander of
23 the battalion, so they were all commanders.
24 Q. So let us conclude this area of questioning,
25 and now let us go back to the rest of the subject
1 matter covered by the cross-examination.
2 On the 1st of August, 1993 when you took over
3 the command of the military police, in view of the fact
4 that your people fought at the frontline, that you
5 reorganised the military, and that you had to work on
6 disciplinary measures and actions, did you have enough
7 manpower, enough time at that time? During the actual
8 fighting, did you have time to investigate crimes that
9 occurred several months back?
10 A. Your Honours, as far as I know, and I
11 mentioned this, I did not have the strength to do so
12 when I first came there, and I didn't have enough
13 military policemen to do that. I truly carried out all
14 the current tasks I had from that very moment, and I
15 dealt with everything that was going on in the area as
16 of my arrival. But as regards these other things, no,
17 no, I couldn't have because there were intensive
18 attacks underway by the Muslim forces throughout
19 Central Bosnia, so we were fighting for bare survival
20 at that time.
21 Q. From the point when you took over the
22 military police, did you know of any Muslim being
23 killed, wounded, beaten up, kicked out of his house
24 without having the military police intervene, and if
25 this was done, I mean by persons in uniform and that
1 the military police did not intervene?
2 A. No, there was not a single case of this
3 kind. All were the same to me, and we had to protect
4 people and property, that is to say, of all who were in
5 the territory of Central Bosnia at that time.
6 At that time, UNPROFOR was in this area too,
7 and various international organisations, so, of course,
8 we were told that these were people who came in order
9 to carry out their own assignments and that they did
10 not come of their own free will, that they were also
11 somebody's children. So we treated them all the same,
12 and we also gave assistance to these international
13 organisations at this time because Colonel Blaskic
14 mentioned at this meeting that that was the core of the
15 matter, that the international organisations should
16 actually see what was going on in our part of the world
17 and that we can and should defend these international
18 organisations because that is what it says in terms of
19 the obligations of the military police.
20 Q. In response to the question put to you by the
21 Prosecutor, did you prosecute Croatian soldiers who did
22 something bad to Muslims, and you said yes, you did,
23 but you don't have the names because they belong to
24 your archives. But I'm going to read a few names to
25 you from documents that you said were authentic
1 yesterday. You didn't read them, you didn't know what
2 it said in these documents, so I'm going to read a few
3 names. I'm talking about D498, so could you please
4 identify who is a Croat and who is a Muslim.
5 "On the 1st of March, 1993, the military
6 police reports as follows --"
7 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment. The Prosecutor
8 doesn't even have a translation of them, I'm not sure
9 he has them at all. Do you have them, D498?
10 MR. KEHOE: There are translations of these,
11 Mr. President.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Since you were going very
13 quickly and since yesterday the Prosecutor did have
14 them but there were translation problems, I know that
15 you're going quickly, and you're going to tell me that
16 you're going quickly, but do let the Prosecutor have a
17 look at 498.
18 Are you ready, Mr. Prosecutor?
19 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
20 MR. NOBILO: So it is D498, paragraph 3.
21 Q. So this is the report of the military
22 police. "On the 1st of March, 1993, a criminal report
23 was filed against --"
24 THE INTERPRETER: It was too fast for the
25 interpreters. I didn't get the names.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, read more slowly, please.
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. So Stipo Maros, "Criminal charges were filed
4 against Vitomir Drmic and Stipo Maros from Vitez
5 because they used arms against Salim Softic from Zenica
6 in order to take away his Golf passenger vehicle."
7 So now I'm asking you the following: People
8 who had charges brought against them in this particular
9 case, can you recognise which ethnic group they
10 belonged to, and what about the injured party, what
11 nationality did that person belong to?
12 A. Your Honours, the injured party is Muslim,
13 and the persons against whom criminal charges were
14 brought were Croats, both of them, and I know them
16 Q. Thank you. Document D499, just two or three
17 examples. Of course, the Judges are going to read this
18 on their own and fully understand this. On page 2,
19 section 3 of this document, D499, I'm looking at the
20 Croatian text, it says, "Milestones, major
21 developments," and then "On the 2nd of April, 1993,"
22 that is how the text starts. So let us look at this.
23 "On the 2nd of April, 1993, criminal charges
24 were brought against Goran Medugorac of Zenica for the
25 murder of Mujo Smriko of Zenica on the 15th of
1 November, 1992. After the murder, the aforementioned
2 person disappeared in an unknown direction and,
3 therefore, a wanted notice was issued for him. After
4 the arrest, the aforementioned was taken to the
5 district military prison in Busovaca where he remains."
6 This is what the report of the 4th Battalion
7 of the military police says, and this was addressed to
8 Mostar, to the military police headquarters there, and
9 to the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, and then I'm
10 asking you, the victim and the murderer, which national
11 groups did they belong to?
12 A. Your Honours, again, the same case. The
13 victim is a Muslim person, and the perpetrator of the
14 murder is a Croat. I personally know Medugorac.
15 Q. Just one more example, and I'm not going to
16 tire you with this any longer. Also from April 1993, I
17 have several examples which illustrate this, but this
18 will do for the time being. We are reading the sixth
19 paragraph of the same section, and it begins with the
20 following words, "On the 7th of April, 1993."
21 "On the 7th of April, 1993, criminal charges
22 were brought against Zdravko Cecur for robbing three
23 persons of Muslim nationality from whom weapons and
24 money were taken. The aforementioned was taken to the
25 military prison in Busovaca where he remains until the
1 present day."
2 Zdravko Cecur, what is he by nationality?
3 A. He is a Croat.
4 Q. A new exhibit or, rather, the same exhibit
5 but page 5, number 4, other events that are of a
6 security interest.
7 "On the 2nd of April, 1993 in Zenica, Hadjo
8 Sahdan reported that he was assaulted by two members of
9 the Zenica HVO and slightly hurt. The military police
10 identified the attackers as Tihomir Ljubic and Goran
11 Konjic. These two persons were brought in and handed
12 over to the commander of the brigade, Zivko Totic."
13 Tell me, the injured party, Hadjo Sahdan,
14 what nationality does he belong to?
15 A. He's a Muslim.
16 Q. Document D510, D510, on page 1, paragraph 2,
17 very briefly, "On the 1st of December, 1992, a criminal
18 report was filed against Marko Bakovic from Jajce for
19 the killing of Nasmir Hazbic from Jajce on the defence
20 line in Jajce."
21 What nationality does the victim belong to
22 and what about the perpetrator?
23 A. The perpetrator is a Croat and the victim is
25 Q. And one more and then let us not tire the
1 Judges any longer, page 3, the last paragraph, the very
2 bottom of the page, "On the 18th of February, 1993, a
3 report was filed on the death of Zoran Jukic from Novi
4 Travnik who, after escaping from the military prison in
5 Busovaca, attempted to kill in Travnik Ahmet
6 Serifovic. When an HVO Novi Travnik military police
7 patrol came to intervene, the aforementioned fired two
8 bullets from an RAP rifle at them. The patrol returned
9 fire and Jukic was killed. Jukic was a multiple
11 So Zoran Jukic, who was killed by the
12 military police, what national group did he belong to?
13 A. He was a Croat by nationality.
14 Q. And who had he killed before that?
15 MR. NOBILO: It should read, "Who did he
16 attempt to kill," yes, that's right.
17 Q. What nationality is Ahmet Serifovic whom
18 Jukic attempted to kill?
19 A. He is of Muslim nationality.
20 Q. Thank you. You shouldn't get too close to
21 the microphone because we're going to have problems
23 Is it correct that I mentioned to you only
24 the dates when action was taken against Croats who had
25 harmed Muslims in the period before you came?
1 A. Yes, yes.
2 Q. And now tell us, when you assessed the
3 overall situation, your arrival there and Blaskic's
4 insistence on the reorganisation of the police, did
5 this crucially contribute to the security situation in
6 the Lasva River Valley?
7 A. Your Honours, I can fully confirm that it is
8 so. In my statement I mentioned that as soon as the
9 criminals found out that I would be the commander of
10 the 4th Battalion of the military police, they said,
11 "We are going to have a war with the police now." And
12 some people asked "Why?" And they said, "It's that
13 Palavra again. He is going to be in charge of the
14 military police, and again we are going to have a war
15 with the military police." And truly things did
16 change, everything changed.
17 Q. Grbavica, two or three words about Grbavica.
18 Would you give me a direct answer. The units that took
19 part on the side of the HVO, the attack on
20 Grbavica, did those units torch Grbavica and loot it?
21 A. I have already said that during my
22 testimony. The units which took part in the attacks
23 and battles at Grbavica expelled the Muslim units, ran
24 off to them, and in the meantime the civilians, a large
25 number of them, about 200 of them in fact, I can't give
1 you an exact figure, but they began to flood into the
2 area and they entered the region, in fact.
3 Q. At that particular time in Vitez, how many
4 refugees were there? Can you recall the number?
5 A. I can't give you an exact figure. I can't
6 tell you exactly how many refugees there were, but at
7 that time I would say, operationally speaking, the
8 figure mentioned was about 20.000, 22.000 to 25.000
9 refugee Croats from the Travnik region, as well as
10 Zenica, Kacuni and Fojnica, I think. So, roughly
11 speaking, about 25.000 of them. I haven't got the
12 exact figure, but, as I say, the figure that was
13 bandied about was 25.000.
14 Q. And all of them were in the encirclement
15 together with you, were they?
16 A. Yes, quite normally they were.
17 Q. Let us now move onto another area. The Order
18 of Merit you received from President Tudjman, you said
19 that you received this Order of Merit when, as member
20 of the military police of the HVO, together with the
21 HVO, you fought in the areas of the Glamoc, Grahovo and
22 Drvar. Tell us, please, who was your adversary, who
23 were you fighting against on that occasion?
24 A. As I said, with the signing of the agreement
25 between the then President of the Presidency of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic, and the
2 President of the Croatian state, Franjo Tudjman, in
3 Split an agreement was signed that the units of the
4 Croatian Army can function in the territory of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And we fought against the Serb
6 units, the units of the Republika Srpska at the time in
7 coordination with the units of the BiH Army; that is to
8 say the BiH Army, the HVO and the Croatian Army acted
9 in conjunction in fighting the Serb units for the
10 liberation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 Q. Were those the final battles when these
12 regions were definitely liberated?
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. And did that take place in 1995?
15 A. Yes, 1995 onwards. 1995, Glamoc, Mrkonjic
16 Jajce and so on.
17 Q. Thank you. Now, let us now go back for a
18 moment to Travnik. Part of the fighters, together with
19 the people, had fled across the frontlines towards --
20 onto the side of the Serbs, and the Prosecutor asked
21 you a question about coordination or co-operation
22 between the HVO and the VRS, the Serbian Army. Could
23 you tell the Trial Chamber, please, the following: The
24 fighters that had gone onto the Serbian side, what
25 happened to them? How were they treated? Would you
1 explain to the Trial Chamber how this happened and what
2 it was like.
3 A. The fighters of the HVO who had come to
4 Vlasic, I was not up there, I just heard this,
5 immediately were taken over and treated as prisoners of
6 war, and when some people were joined up, when they
7 came to our region of Central Bosnia, they were in
8 Munjaca camp as prisoners, prisoners of war.
9 Q. In this notorious camp of Munjaca, did they
10 have the same treatment as any other prisoners of war
11 of the members of the BiH Army?
12 A. Well, yes, the treatment was equally bad.
13 Yes, that's right. It is logical to suppose that we
14 had co-operation with the units of the Serbian Army,
15 that is to say the Army of Republika Srpska, so why
16 then would they place us into these camps. We would
17 then have a defence line from Serbian territory and we
18 would be able to defend Travnik from that vantage
19 point. But what they did, quite normally, was to expel
20 us. And it was logical that we -- we had co-operation,
21 why would we have been taken prisoner of war? Why
22 would there have been HVO members at Manjaca, and why
23 would they have been treated as prisoners of war
25 Q. Let us now move onto another area. When you
1 took over the command of the 4th Battalion, Pasko
2 Ljubicic had been given a new function which in formal
3 terms was a promotion. But tell the Trial Chamber,
4 please, substantially speaking, was he promoted or was
5 this, in a way, degradation for him? What did this
6 move actually mean?
7 A. I cannot say exactly whether he was promoted
8 or not, but from the time that I -- from that time on I
9 took over the 4th Battalion of the military police and
10 all the operations that took place and work in the
11 units and with the units and in the Operative Zone,
12 everything went via me. I only sent reports to Pasko.
13 Pasko no longer commanded the units because I was in
14 the operative section of the unit. I was with the
15 commanders and I was in that region.
16 Q. Let us move on now. Prosecution Exhibit
17 456/77 was shown to you and it speaks about
18 disciplinary action, shooting by firing squad as a
19 disciplinary action for individuals and units. Could
20 you tell the Trial Chamber, please, in keeping with
21 disciplinary rules and regulations, what is the
22 greatest punishment that Blaskic could have given at
23 that time?
24 A. Blaskic really did and could have given the
25 greatest possible sentence, which was 60 days
1 imprisonment as commander of the Operative Zone. That
2 was the highest sentence. I, as commander of an
3 independent unit, that is to say the unit of the 4th
4 Military Police Battalion, it was treated as a brigade
5 -- it was in fact a brigade. I could have given a
6 month's term of imprisonment, whereas my company
7 commanders could have given punishments of 7 to 15
8 days. And that is what it was like.
9 Q. Could you please tell the Court, according to
10 the laws of Herceg-Bosna and Bosnia-Herzegovina and the
11 laws of the former Yugoslavia, any laws, could any one
12 individual, civilian performing civilian or military
13 duties, could they have ordered death by firing squad,
14 either for an individual or for a unit? Did any legal
15 provision for this exist at all?
16 A. In our units this could not have happened.
17 The court was the number one authority for things of
18 that kind. The court would have had to decide on a
19 death sentence, but the commanders, nobody, none of
20 them could have done that.
21 Q. When you received this order of the 11th of
22 October 1993 with the task of reading it out to your
23 soldiers, what did you commanders understand by this
24 order? How did you understand it? Were you going to
25 shoot everyone by firing squad or what?
1 A. I told the court that there was no example of
2 anybody being shot by firing squad, and I understood
3 this to be a repressive measure, that is to say at that
4 time we had to tell the soldiers up at the frontline,
5 due to the general danger that existed at that time,
6 that they should fully have realised the severity of
7 the situation they were in, the seriousness of the
8 situation, and that they cannot -- that they should
9 perform their duties.
10 Q. Was this a threat, directly speaking? Was
11 this a threat to frighten them?
12 A. Yes, it was a direct threat, but nobody ever
13 thought of shooting anybody by firing squad. I never
14 recorded an incident of that kind.
15 Q. And after that, the whole of the Vares
16 brigade fled, let's speak openly; is that correct?
17 A. Yes. And I mentioned that, I think.
18 Q. And now my last point, and it concerns
19 Ahmici. Did SIS, the Security and Information Service,
20 or the secret military, secret service, could it
21 perform investigations of a military policeman? Could
22 it investigate military policemen without the commander
23 knowing? Did it have the right to investigate
24 secretly? Will you please tell the Trial Chamber.
25 I'll ask the question once again. We spoke about, that
1 is to say, the Prosecutor asked you whether anybody in
2 the units of the military police which you commanded
3 performed investigations related to Ahmici, and I am
4 now asking you the following: Did SIS, the Security
5 and Information Service, could it conduct an
6 investigation amongst your own military policemen
7 without your knowledge?
8 A. Yes, it could have done.
9 MR. NOBILO: That is all, Mr. President.
10 I would just like to tender into evidence the documents
11 that we showed yesterday and today ranging from D498 up
12 to D512. And at the same time, we should like to
13 tender evidence for admission, something that the
14 witness confirmed yesterday, and that is D90, D91, D94,
15 151 and 410. Of those documents, some are under seal.
16 And that is all from me. Thank you.
17 THE REGISTRAR: We have to say that D497 and
18 D491 and D94, those have already been admitted,
19 therefore they do not have to be admitted again. But
20 D151 was not tendered and D410 was not admitted, and
21 therefore they are being retendered now before this
23 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, have you any
24 comments to make?
25 MR. KEHOE: No, Mr. President. I believe we
1 have no objection to those. I just want to check 151,
2 if I might have one second.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Let me draw your attention
4 also to the fact that the Prosecutor has also tendered
5 an exhibit, 562, and it would be good to have a
6 decision as to its fate.
7 JUDGE JORDA: 562?
8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, the Prosecutor's
10 JUDGE JORDA: No comments about 5 -- and as
11 far as the other ones?
12 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I am just checking
13 one particular exhibit. We have no objection to the
14 exhibits tendered by the Defence and, naturally, we
15 would offer the Prosecutor's exhibit, which I believe,
16 562 -- is that correct, Mr. Dubuisson? Yes.
17 JUDGE JORDA: All right. I think that the
18 right to redirect of the Defence has now been
20 Judge Shahabuddeen, do you have any
21 questions? No. I don't have any questions either.
22 Having said this, Mr. Palavra, the Tribunal
23 first would like to thank you for having come for this
24 long deposition and we do thank you, and we now send
25 you back to your position.
1 Mr. Registrar -- did you want to say
2 something to me? Yes, you will first have the witness
3 escorted out of the courtroom.
4 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 (The witness withdrew)
6 JUDGE JORDA: I think that the witness
7 testimony, until Thursday morning, is completed. We
8 are going to have a Status Conference in closed session
9 and I suggest that we meet in thirty minutes, that is
10 at 4.30.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
12 4.00 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
13 the 14th day of January, 1999 at
14 10.00 a.m.