1 Thursday, 18th February, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.07 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Have the accused brought
5 in and take him to the witness bench immediately.
6 (The accused/witness entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
8 interpreters, to the reporters, to the Office of the
9 Prosecutor, to the Defence counsel, and to the accused.
10 Now we can proceed. Mr. Nobilo, continue,
12 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
14 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
15 Q. Yesterday, at the end of the day, we left off
16 with a description of the incidents in May 1992 between
17 the individual villages, sometimes the villages where
18 the inhabitants were one ethnic group and others where
19 there were several ethnic groups.
20 In terms of time, the first incident that you
21 are charged with occurs in Duhri in August 1992, and it
22 is Count 14 of the indictment. Tell me, between the
23 12th of May that we mentioned as an incident and the
24 events in Duhri in August, was the situation calm and
25 was Duhri an exception compared to what happened in
1 Kiseljak in the summer of 1992?
2 A. Your Honours, it was not an exception. On
3 the contrary, there were several incidents from this
4 period, particularly from the end of April 1992,
5 throughout May, June, July, and August 1992. What
6 characterised these incidents in particular,
7 particularly in the first stage, was that they were
8 individual incidents, sporadic to begin with. Later
9 on, they grew to become incidents carried out by
10 individual groups or villages and, in time, they grew
11 into international or inter-ethnic incidents.
12 I should like to mention in this regard that
13 the incidents that took place in the neighbouring
14 municipalities, that is to say, outside the Kiseljak
15 municipality, also had an effect and, as I say,
16 influenced the instilling of fear and division and gave
17 birth to new incidents.
18 For the most part, what was characteristic up
19 until August 1992, that is to say, until the conflict
20 broke out in Duhri, was that all the incidents, for the
21 most part, broke out at the level of villages, whether
22 they were uni-ethnic villages or villages with a mixed
23 population, Croatian and Bosniak Muslim. So the
24 conflicts usually occurred at the level of the
1 Q. What about the political power and authority
2 in Kiseljak, both military and civilian? What was its
3 relationship towards these conflicts and was government
4 power and authority one of the generators of the
5 incidents up until August 1992?
6 A. The political rule of the day, and I have in
7 mind the municipal crisis staff of the Kiseljak
8 municipality firstly, for the most part dealt with the
9 consequences of these incidents. The motives or the
10 causes leading up to the incidents were usually for
11 economic reasons, they broke out for either economic or
12 social reasons. That was what triggered them off.
13 The political powers-that-be were not the
14 generators of those divisions at that time, those
15 conflicts or divisions, but was primarily involved in
16 reacting to the consequences and tried to deal with the
17 situation and what it had created and to calm the
19 Q. Let us remind the Court, this crisis staff
20 that decided upon all matters in Kiseljak, it was made
21 up of Croats and Muslims, two ethnic groups took part
22 in it.
23 Before we come to the conflict in Duhri ...
24 The answer was ...
25 A. Yes, yes. Yes.
1 MR. NOBILO: I would like, for the purposes
2 of the record, to have the answer recorded. In answer
3 to my question, the witness said "Yes."
4 Q. So before we go on to describing the incident
5 that is mentioned in the indictment first, and that is
6 the conflict around Duhri, tell us very briefly,
7 telegraphically, so to speak, in one sentence, could
8 you enumerate the important incidents which upset the
9 international relationships on the eve of the Duhri
10 incident, that is to say, what happened at the end of
11 May and in June and July?
12 A. Your Honours, already on the 13th --
13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, we are listening to
14 you very carefully, of course. I think that you dealt
15 with this yesterday, or didn't you? I noted your
16 question had to do with the previous period, that is,
17 the appointment of the accused to the head of Central
18 Bosnia for May, June, and July, and the accused spoke
19 about incidents in armed Croat villages or non-armed
20 Croat villages. Is that the question that you're
21 asking? I don't want us to go back constantly to the
22 same thing.
23 MR. NOBILO: Yes, that is correct,
24 Mr. President. I asked the question, but the witness
25 did not enumerate all the incidents, and the last date
1 yesterday that we encompassed was the middle of May
2 1992. So now we should like him to enumerate the
3 incidents that took place in the next two months, but
4 very briefly.
5 JUDGE JORDA: You had moved to the incident
6 of August 1992. You had begun your
7 examination-in-chief by Count number 14 in the
8 indictment. I just want to be sure what we're doing
10 MR. NOBILO: Yes, I did that so that the
11 Trial Chamber could come to understand why we're
12 talking about the incidents. Our goal is Duhri, but
13 Duhri did not come out of the blue, something preceded
14 Duhri, whereas this was pulled out of a hat, Duhri was
15 sort of pulled out of a hat, but we want to show the
16 genesis of the Duhri incident, what led up to it.
17 Q. So, very briefly, let us enumerate the
18 conflicts that took place.
19 A. On the 13th of May, 1992, the conflict broke
20 out between the village of Drazevici, that is a Serbian
21 village, and the village of Grahovci, which is a Muslim
22 Bosniak village, both in the Kiseljak municipality, and
23 the consequences of that conflict were that the village
24 of Drazevici was disarmed.
25 On the 14th of May, 1992, another conflict
1 broke out, this time in the village of Brestovsko
2 between the Croats. The participants in the conflict
3 were the Croats.
4 Also, on the 14th of May, 1992, a conflict
5 broke out between the Croatian villages of Donja
6 Podastinje and the Croatian village of Donji Palez.
7 The cause of that conflict was who was to control the
9 On the 14th of May, 1992, there was an
10 incident that broke out in the village of Hercezi,
11 where the members of the Territorial Defence forces
12 from the village of Hercezi opened fire on a Croat
13 civilian, the driver of a motor vehicle.
14 On the 14th of May, 1992, in the town of
15 Kiseljak, there was confrontation between the members
16 of the HVO on the one side and the members of the
17 Territorial Defence who allegedly had intended to
18 deblock the city of Sarajevo on that day. Towards the
19 town of Kiseljak, columns of motor vehicles started out
20 from the directions of Visoko, Kresevo, Fojnica,
22 On the 15th of May, 1992, a Croatian civilian
23 was wounded in the village of Medvjednica by the
24 Territorial Defence forces, and there was considerable
25 difficulty in transporting him to a hospital.
1 On the 16th of May, 1992, in the local
2 community of Gromiljak, conflicts broke out between the
3 Croats on the one side. We had the Croats from the
4 villages of Visnjica, Dolce, and Hercezi, and on the
5 other side the remaining Croats in the villages of the
6 Gromiljak local community.
7 On the 19th of May, we once again had an
8 incident in Duhri and Gornji Palez. Gornji Palez was a
9 Croatian village, Duhri was a Bosniak Muslim village.
10 Trenches were dug. Both sides turned their weapons
11 towards each other; they faced each other.
12 On the 23rd of May, 1992, an incident broke
13 out in the village of Tulica between the Croats and
14 Bosniak Muslims. The Croats were from the village of
15 Azapovici. On that same day, on the 23rd of May, there
16 was another incident in Brestovsko between the Croats,
17 the military recruits, and Croats belonging to the
18 reserve formation of the civilian police.
19 On the 25th of May, the Territorial Defence
20 of Gomionica, a Muslim Bosniak village, dug
21 fortifications, trenches, bunkers, and communicating
22 trenches directed to face the Croatian villages of
23 Krizici and Gornji Podastinje.
24 On the 26th of May, it was rumoured in
25 Kiseljak that the municipal crisis staff was carrying
1 out distribution of military flats, flats belonging to
2 military men, and this had, as its repercussion, the
3 occupation of the entire barracks and the storming of
4 the barracks by practically all the members from the
5 urban area of Kiseljak, both the Croats and the
6 Muslims, predominantly members of the Patriotic League
7 with weapons. People who had weapons carried them on
8 the occasion.
9 On the 27th of May, 1992, in the local
10 community of Gromiljak, there was, after the incident,
11 a division, a rift between the Croatian villages, and
12 they became divided. They were divided into Gromiljak
13 1 and Gromiljak 2.
14 On the 31st of May, 1992, the municipal
15 crisis staff of Kresevo was confronted with the
16 municipal crisis staff of Kiseljak over questions of
17 competency and authority over the relay station, radio
18 relay station of Cubren and checkpoints were set up or,
19 rather, barricades, at the delineation line between the
20 two municipalities.
21 On the 31st of May, 1992, there was an open
22 armed conflict between Croatian villages, the Croatian
23 villages of Donji Podastinje and the Croatian village
24 of Donji Palez, between the two. The fighting lasted
25 almost until midnight, and after that, the conflict was
2 On the 4th of June, 1992 in Kiseljak, units
3 from outside stormed Kiseljak under the command of
4 Mr. Porobic, Mustafa Porobic, and they told us they
5 were members of the Rijeska Brigada, and they took
6 control of the entire Dalmacija Hotel located in
7 Kiseljak. They threw out about 300 displaced persons,
8 Muslim Bosniaks, from Rakovica who had been put up
10 Q. Would you please explain to the Trial Chamber
11 what the Rijeska Brigada was? What was the composition
12 of that unit? Where was the unit set up and equipped,
13 which state, before it arrived in Kiseljak?
14 A. That afternoon, I talked to the deputy
15 commander of this unit, and he told me that they were
16 members of the Derventa Brigade from Bosanska Posavina,
17 the area called Bosanska Posavina, which, after the
18 Serbs had occupied Bosanska Posavina, had rallied
19 together in the town of Rijeka in the Republic of
20 Croatia. They underwent training in Rijeka and were
21 equipped there with weapons and full military gear,
22 and, having been equipped in that way, they came to
23 Kiseljak and, on that day, were deployed in the
24 Dalmacija Hotel.
25 The composition of the brigade was that the
1 majority of members were Bosniak Muslims, although
2 there were some Croats within the composition of that
4 Q. We can move on, I think, and discuss the
5 following incident.
6 A. On the 5th of June, 1992, four officers were
7 killed belonging to the joint command of the regional
8 staff for Central Bosnia. The killing occurred on the
9 territory of the municipality of Gornji Vakuf in the
10 area which was controlled by the HVO forces and the TO
12 Q. What was the ethnic group of those killed?
13 A. Mostly they were Croats.
14 Q. Please continue.
15 A. Also on the 5th of June, the village of
16 Tulica, a Bosniak Muslim village, opened fire on Croat
17 members in the village of Azapovici, and the unit of
18 Territorial Defence, which was called the detachment, I
19 don't remember the number, the detachment had a number,
20 and it was from Kiseljak, when they launched the
21 operation to deblock Sarajevo, so they opened fire on
22 the backs of the defenders of the HVO who, at that
23 time, were located on a position called Zelena Meraja.
24 On the 11th of June, 1992, the Territorial
25 Defence forces in the area of the Kiseljak municipality
1 stormed Croatian houses, ransacked them, took away
2 weapons from the Croats where they found weapons.
3 On the 14th of June, 1992, the members of the
4 Territorial Defence forces from the village of Bukovica
5 in the Kiseljak municipality also ransacked all the
6 non-Muslim homes. There were several houses belonging
7 to the Serbs, but most of them were owned by Croats,
8 and they seized weapons and military equipment from
9 those houses during the search.
10 On the 15th of June, 1992, the members of the
11 Territorial Defence forces, who represented themselves
12 as being members of TG-1, threatened the Croats in the
13 village of Medvjednica and said that, with the
14 operation to deblock Sarajevo, they would be used as a
15 human shield in breaking through the front lines of the
16 army of the Republika Srpska.
17 On the 15th of June, the Territorial Defence
18 of Bukovica forbade Bakir Alispahic to enter the
20 Q. Bakir Alispahic was the Muslim commander,
21 together with you; is that correct?
22 A. Yes. On the 15th of June, 1992, the
23 Territorial Defence of Gomionica set up a
24 counter-infantry minefield in front of its positions
25 facing the Croatian village of Krizici.
1 On the 17th of June, 1992, the commander of
2 the headquarters of the Territorial Defence of Kiseljak
3 disarmed the village of Tulica, the Bosniak Muslim
4 village, and took the weapons to Bukovica. This is a
5 village which is along the front line towards the army
6 of the Republika Srpska.
7 On the 18th of June, 1992, a conflict broke
8 out in Novi Travnik, and what happened was that they
9 tried to gain control of the petrol pump there. The
10 conflict broke out between the HVO and the TO of Novi
11 Travnik. In the night between the 20th and the 21st of
12 June, 1992 in Gornji Vakuf, the commander of the
13 regional staff for Central Bosnia was kidnapped. His
14 name was Zulu.
15 On the 22nd and 23rd of June, 1992, there
16 were conflicts going on in Gornji Vakuf between the
17 members of the HVO and the members of the TO.
18 On the 25th of June, 1992, members of the
19 Hajdarevic family in the local community of Brnjaci
20 opened fire on Croatian houses belonging to the Bosnjak
22 Q. Hajdarevics were Muslims?
23 A. Yes, they were Muslims, and the Bosnjaks were
24 Croats, and this lasted during the night of the 25th of
1 On the 18th of June, 1992, members of the
2 Territorial Defence from Visoko arrived in the
3 territory of the Kiseljak municipality and conducted
4 a search of Croatian villages in the border areas of
5 the municipality of Kiseljak.
6 Q. General, let me stop you here for a moment
7 because I want to move on to when you were appointed
8 the commander of the Operative Zone, which happened on
9 the 27th of June, but before we move on to that, can
10 you tell me, how did the civilian authorities respond
11 in Kiseljak or Vitez or elsewhere and how you
12 personally responded to these incidents?
13 A. It was very difficult to respond because both
14 the communications and the command structure had not
15 been established. When I say "difficult," I refer to
16 the commanders of both the Territorial Defence and the
17 HVO and other armed groups. The only way was to go to
18 the site of an incident and to try to persuade those
19 who were in conflict to stop.
20 The civilian authority, in almost all the
21 cases which I have mentioned here, would hold meetings
22 and was attempting to find people who had authority,
23 the local prominent representatives of the Croatian or
24 the Bosniak Muslim communities, and then, in contact
25 and communication with them, would lower tensions and
1 try to overcome the consequences of such conflicts.
2 Myself and Bakir, who worked closely with me
3 at the time, were strangers in this area, and the
4 individuals whom we met were also unknown to us. So it
5 was quite difficult to try to resolve these conflicts
6 and respond to them.
7 Q. Would it be possible for the civilian
8 authority to conduct any kind of repressive measures,
9 in other words, to arrest some of the people involved
10 and organise their trials, for instance?
11 A. No, this was not possible, all the more so
12 because some of the armed groups were better armed than
13 the police itself. What further complicated the
14 situation, the judicial system did not function, that
15 is, at the municipality level, and such cases simply
16 could not be prosecuted.
17 The role of the police was, often times,
18 reduced to just registering the incident and responding
19 after the incident, but the full follow-up process was
20 not possible in the area of Kiseljak at the time.
21 Q. With this organisation of local power, which
22 was not based on particular laws but rather the
23 conditions, in other words, this mixture of military
24 and civilian power which called itself the crisis
25 staff, what did they consider at that time? Was this
1 lowering of the tensions the task of Bakir Alispahic
2 and yourself or was it their own, that is, the
3 competence of the civilian authorities?
4 A. Bakir Alispahic and I, first of all, were not
5 members of these civilian structures, and we were only
6 asked to report on the preparations for defence in the
7 territory of the municipality, in other words, to
8 report on our work on the front line against the army
9 of the Republika Srpska.
10 We were not considered responsible for the
11 security matters behind the front lines, so the
12 municipal government did not consider us responsible
13 for that, and the chief of the police station in
14 Kiseljak reported on these security matters or it would
15 be the commander of the police station, both of them
16 members of the civilian police.
17 Q. Did you and Bakir, despite that, volunteer to
18 go to these villages, talk to people, try to lower the
20 A. I personally went with Bakir on occasion,
21 like to Bukovica and Tulica on the 17th of June when
22 there was this disarming. I talked to everybody in
23 Tulica, to the Bosniak Muslims, and I attempted to at
24 least alleviate the situation because they were left
25 without weapons and they were on the front line.
1 I was also in the village of Grahovci, Han
2 Ploca, sometimes with Bakir, sometimes he would go
3 there by himself, depending on the situation, the need,
4 and our own assessment of the situation; however, I
5 never received an order from any superior, that is,
6 from the municipal crisis staff, to go to some of these
7 villages because they too were aware that both of us
8 were strangers in the area. I believe that Bakir was
9 not even born in the Kiseljak area.
10 Q. You arrived in April and now we're dealing
11 with June. This is what you had promised your wife you
12 would do, that after those two months, you would go
13 back. So what happens now? You not only stayed but
14 now you assumed a new, more responsible role. What was
15 the reason for this?
16 A. That is correct. I was aware that what I had
17 set out to do, what I thought it was possible to do at
18 the level of the Kiseljak municipality, I had not
19 completed, and I did not conduct all preparations for
20 defence, that is, for preparation and organisation of
21 personnel, as well as the territory.
22 Also I was aware, that is, those two months
23 allowed me to get to know, to get a better picture of
24 the situation in Central Bosnia in general, and, in
25 fact, I saw that as far as the professional military
1 personnel is concerned, especially among the Croats,
2 there were very few of these people, maybe five or six
3 people, who had been active in the former JNA.
4 True, I was able to establish a corps at the
5 level of the Kiseljak municipality, but still there was
6 no structure in place. This was still just the armed
7 population who were facing at least the same, if not
8 even more, danger from the Serbian advances. So my
9 conscience did not allow me to leave this area because
10 I believed this would be like leaving a sinking ship at
11 the time. So this is why I decided to stay on and
12 continue my work without asking for any compensation or
13 any benefits.
14 Q. On the 27th of June, 1992, you were at a
15 meeting in Grude. This was the first time that you met
16 Boban and the other leaders of the Croatian Community
17 of Herceg-Bosna.
18 Can you clarify for the Trial Chamber that
19 event and how you became the commander of the Operative
20 Zone of Central Bosnia?
21 A. I attended the meeting of 27 June, 1992, in
22 Grude, in the basement of Hotel Grude, with the late
23 Mate Boban and other people attending were the
24 commander of the main headquarters of the HVO, whom I
25 met that day for the first time, and also attending was
1 General Roso, and briefly I stated my views to
2 Mr. Boban, my views on the military situation. When I
3 say "briefly," it was a 20- to 30-minute briefing, and
4 after that I, for the most part, talked to the chief of
5 staff of the main headquarters. I discussed Central
6 Bosnia, I discussed different fronts, mostly military
8 After finishing this conversation, I received
9 an order on my appointment as commander of the regional
10 headquarters for Central Bosnia. This order was signed
11 by Mr. Mate Boban and General Ante Roso.
12 Q. So this was the first time when you met the
13 military and political leadership of the Croatian
14 Community of Herceg-Bosna?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you tell me, what did you know at that
17 time? What information did you have on the Croatian
18 Community of Herceg-Bosna? What was it? What were the
19 goals? Because you said that in Kiseljak, you
20 basically had an autonomous Croatian-Muslim authority,
21 regardless of any superior authority.
22 So can you tell me, what did you learn about
23 the structure and goals of the Croatian Community of
24 Herceg-Bosna and what opinion did you form? What
25 organisation were you becoming a part of?
1 A. My first meeting was actually my first direct
2 source of information on what Herceg-Bosna was, that
3 is, Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, I should say,
4 and my understanding of it was that it was a form of
5 self-organising of the Croatian people for defence
6 against the Serbian aggression.
7 What I remember well and what Mate Boban
8 requested in the conversation with me was that he
9 expected that the members of the HVO, that the army
10 were apolitical and professional and that any kind of
11 politics would be eliminated from the operations of the
12 military. He pretty much literally said: Leave out
13 politics and the political questions, and leave it to
14 the elected representatives of the Croatian people to
15 deal with those. What your duties are are to organise
16 and carry out defence against the Serbian aggression.
17 Q. Was this position acceptable to you? Did you
18 have any political ambitions? Were you a member of the
19 HDZ in Bosnia or outside Bosnia?
20 A. No, I was not a member of any political party
21 except that during my training in the military academy,
22 which was at a time of the former Yugoslavia, like any
23 cadet, I was a member of the Communist Party of
24 Yugoslavia. When this party fell apart or dissolved, I
25 never joined any other political party, and this was
1 the only position that I felt comfortable with. This
2 is what I repeated a number of times in many meetings
3 with my associates, even later on when I was commander
4 of the regional headquarters, saying that the military
5 personnel within the HVO need to be depoliticised and
6 that they should let the civilian representatives, the
7 elected civilian representatives of the Croatian
8 people, deal with political matters.
9 Q. So you received an order that you became the
10 military leader of Central Bosnia. Did you also
11 receive a rank at that time? If you did, describe it,
13 A. Yes, I did receive a rank, and under strange
14 circumstances, I should say, for me. When my briefing
15 was completed, General Roso said, and I quote him:
16 "Very well. You will be a major and commander of the
17 regional headquarters for Central Bosnia." And then he
18 looked at a map where the zone of responsibility in
19 Central Bosnia was drawn, and he said, and I quote him,
20 "Well, in fact, this is quite a bit of a territory.
21 In fact, you will be a colonel."
22 After that, I received an order appointing me
23 to the duty of commander of the regional headquarters
24 for Central Bosnia, but I never received a formal
25 decision for the rank of colonel; that is to say, in
1 the former army and in the armies that exist today in
2 this territory, I think that it is by a decree that the
3 ranks are conferred.
4 Q. Very well. So you were conferred the rank of
5 colonel even though there were no ranks in the HVO at
6 the time; is that correct?
7 A. Yes, that is correct. At that time, there
8 was no conferral of ranks in the HVO. There was no
9 basis for establishing a chain of command, so everybody
10 was just a commander and everybody addressed each other
11 as such, starting from just a combat group of three
12 soldiers up to the level of the commander of the
13 Operative Zone.
14 Q. Very well. Before we move on, let's just
15 clarify something. You became commander of the
16 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia which, at that time,
17 was a very large territory, even larger than the one
18 that you will end up being a commander of later on.
19 Could you say, in a normal army, what rank
20 did you take on at that time and what rank had been the
21 highest rank which you had had in the previous army?
22 A. Looking from the size of the territory, this
23 would be a rank of the commander of a corps, but this
24 is only if the criterion would be the number of -- if
25 we just look at what rank would be with reference to
1 the number of recruits, that would be the commander of
2 a division. But when I finished my training in 1983, I
3 qualified as a commander of a platoon, and the highest
4 duty I ever had was commander of a company, and for a
5 brief period of time, deputy commander of a battalion.
6 Q. Just to clarify it even more for those of us
7 who are not military experts: How many soldiers are in
8 a division, how many in a company?
9 A. The standards are pretty much the same in all
10 armies. For a division, it is somewhere between 8.000
11 and 12.000 soldiers, depending upon what type of
12 division this is, but this is how we were taught in the
13 military academy; and a company is comprised of about
14 100 to 150 soldiers at the most, again depending upon
15 whether it is an infantry, a mountain, or what type of
16 company it is, so not below 100, not over 150.
17 Q. How would you define your military experience
18 up until this assignment?
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: While you're on that
20 aspect, would you see any value in getting the witness
21 to say what is the size of a corps and what is the
22 rank, the normal rank, of the military officer
23 commanding a corps?
24 MR. NOBILO: By all means.
25 Q. Please, General. In the indictment, "corps"
1 is mentioned several times, like the 3rd Corps. So
2 what would be the rank of an officer commanding a corps
3 and how many soldiers would a corps have?
4 A. Your Honours, a corps is a combined unit, so
5 the number of soldiers also depends, but it varies --
6 it goes from 25.000 up to 30.000, even 50.000, and even
8 The way we were taught in the military
9 academy, a corps could be composed of brigades, in
10 other words, let's say, to be composed of ten, or up to
11 ten brigades, and it could be a group of divisions, so
12 that it would have three, perhaps four divisions. In
13 any event, it would have no less than 20.000 soldiers.
14 It is difficult to sort of define it upwards because it
15 depends upon the type of corps.
16 Q. What would be the typical rank of the
17 commander of a corps, let's say in just a regular,
18 normal military organisation?
19 A. In the former -- if I speak of the former
20 JNA, and I think that this is the case today as well,
21 it would be Major-General or General who had a certain
22 amount of experience, but he would have to have over 20
23 years of professional experience in a military
25 Q. Very well. Were you talking about a corps or
1 a division?
2 A. It is approximately the same. It would have
3 to be at least 20 years of troop experience and it
4 would also have been typical for this commander to have
5 had experience of at least three or four years in some
6 kind of command structure and to have had proper
7 education. Some places it's called wartime, war
8 academy, and some places it's called the national
9 security academy.
10 Q. So this is a rank that is several grades
11 above the military academy?
12 A. Yes, this would be several grades above the
13 simple military academy. I'm talking about the regular
14 procedures. In order to become a commander of a
15 company, you not only had to have completed the
16 military academy but also a special course and to have
17 had at least three years of experience as commander of
18 a platoon. Also, the standard was that a commander of
19 the battalion, in order to become a commander of a
20 battalion, one had to undergo a course, a six-month
21 course leading to that duty or to have an equivalent
22 experience in some type of command.
23 Q. How about commander of a corps or a division,
24 what other training was requisite?
25 A. A necessary requirement would have been a
1 staff academy which lasted for two years and then one
2 would have had to have experience of a commander of a
3 brigade or a regiment, plus one had to have applied for
4 an exam for General. Also, another requirement was an
5 All People's Defence course or a national security
6 course, so that would be the highest training that was
8 Q. Very well. How would you sum up your
9 experience in the JNA? Were you just a regular troop
10 officer or were you more involved in the training?
11 A. Between 1983 and 1986, I was, for the most
12 part, away from troops. I worked with cadets. I
13 worked with the cadets of the academy of reserve --
14 Q. Excuse me. There was -- the years were '83
15 to '86, not '93 to '96. [Real-time had "1993" and
17 A. Yes. After I graduated from the military
18 academy in 1983 until 1986, I was, for the most part,
19 involved in training, teaching. At that time and later
20 on, I did not take any courses for commanding duties,
21 either for a company or a battalion.
22 Q. Let's go back to 1992. In Grude, you were
23 appointed as the chief military person for Central
24 Bosnia. What followed? When did you take over the
25 duty? Who did you meet there? What did you take over
1 in terms of documents, in terms of the organisation of
2 the headquarters for Central Bosnia and so on?
3 A. I took over my duties as commander at a
4 meeting held on the 30th of June, 1992, in Gornji
5 Vakuf; it was a meeting which had been convened
6 previously, scheduled previously by the former
7 commander of the regional headquarters for Central
8 Bosnia, Mr. Zulu. At that particular meeting, I
9 availed myself of the few minutes that I had beforehand
10 to inform him of the fact that I had received a command
11 and that I was, in fact, going to take over his
12 command, take over his duties. He told me that he had
13 also been informed of this decision and decree, and
14 that when the meeting was over, he would formally hand
15 over his duties to me.
16 At the end of the meeting in his office, he
17 gave me military documents and a notebook which was
18 called a war journal or war log, and that was my first
19 encounter with a document of that kind, and that was
20 all the documents that he had to give me.
21 Q. What was the staff in the headquarters?
22 A. The staff comprised of the deputy commander,
23 his deputy, Mr. Luka Sekerija, who was the commander of
24 the municipal headquarters of the HVO for Gornji Vakuf,
25 and he performed the duty of his deputy, he acted as
1 his deputy, because the office of the commander for the
2 regional headquarters were located in the building of
3 the municipal headquarters of the HVO for Gornji
4 Vakuf. However, the deputy did not have any order on
6 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, I would like
7 to ask you for a clarification. General Ante Roso,
8 what was his position before yours?
9 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I don't know
10 what function he had at the time, what rank. I saw him
11 for the first time. On that occasion, he was there
12 together with General Petkovic and they sat round the
13 same table. General Petkovic introduced himself to me
14 for the first time on the occasion and said that he was
15 the chief of the main staff of the HVO and I reported
16 to General Petkovic. I don't know nor did I later see
17 what function he performed within the HVO.
18 JUDGE JORDA: So you would report to General
19 Petkovic; is that correct? Did I understand correctly?
20 A. General Petkovic was the chief of the main
21 staff of the HVO at that time. I did not get any
22 information nor did I know the function of General
24 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Thank you. Excuse
25 me. Judge Shahabuddeen?
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, you would have
2 understood that General Roso was then speaking with the
3 authority of General Petkovic; is my impression
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. NOBILO:
7 Q. In addition to Luka Sekerija, who else was a
8 member of the regional headquarters, regional staff?
9 A. In addition to Luka Sekerija, we had the
10 assistant for information, Mr. Marko Prskalo, and in
11 the main staff, there were two secretaries; however,
12 none of them had any document or order or decree on
14 Q. Did you find any documents relating to
15 fighting and combat operations, and were you able to
16 understand whether this main staff gave out combat
17 orders for Central Bosnia?
18 A. I did not come across one single combat
19 document. I asked the commander to give me some
20 documents of that kind, but he said that he had no
21 other documents, and he did not even have a list of
22 commanders of the municipal headquarters listing their
23 names and surnames, and I realised, I understood, that
24 from that office, no commands were issued from that
25 office from any of the commanders, nor was there any
1 communication, in the military sense of the word, with
2 the immediate commanders, subordinate commanders,
3 because the command there, apart from Mr. Zulu, did not
4 have any other people who were appointed, any other
5 individuals appointed to a position in that command.
6 Q. Could you tell the Court who the commanders
7 were of the regional headquarters of Central Bosnia
8 before you, and what do you think, why did Boban and
9 Petkovic choose you? What choice did they have? What
10 did your potential professional competition and traits
11 represent in their selection of you in particular?
12 A. As far as I know, I was the fifth commander
13 within a space of one month, barely one month. Before
14 me, I had got to know the commanders of the regional
15 headquarters. One of them was Mr. Pasko Ljubicic. I
16 also knew that for a period of time this duty was
17 performed by Mr. Filip Filipovic. I also was
18 introduced to Mr. Brigadier Zarko Tole, and I also met
19 Mr. Zulu. We would address him as commander. He did
20 not have a rank, though.
21 Q. So these then were professional officers in
22 Central Bosnia. Why do you think you were chosen?
23 What criteria led to your election?
24 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. The one who came
25 before you was Mr. Zulu, was it not?
1 A. Yes, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE JORDA: So chronologically then, the
3 first was Ljubicic?
4 A. Mr. President, as far as I know, I did not
5 have an insight into their documents.
6 JUDGE JORDA: If you don't know, you can
7 imagine how difficult it is for us. These were your
8 direct predecessors. There were five in one month.
9 There were five in one month. You were the fifth.
10 Before you was Mr. Zulu.
11 A. Before Zulu, it was Mr. Zarko Tole. Before
12 him, I think it was Filipovic and Mr. Ljubicic before
14 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
15 A. Mr. President, if I may, let me just clarify
16 what I mean when I say "I don't know." I know who
17 represented himself as commander to me and introduced
18 himself as commander to me, but I did not see any
19 decree or order as to that appointment. So I was not
20 able to control their documents relating to their
21 appointments. I know that they introduced themselves
22 as such, as being commanders, without actually seeing
23 the appointment decree.
24 MR. NOBILO: Could we take a break now
25 perhaps, Mr. President?
1 JUDGE JORDA: We're going to take a break
2 because we're going to have to stop at 12.45, so we're
3 going to take a 20-minute break.
4 --- Recess taken at 11.15 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 11.40 a.m.
6 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume the hearing
7 now. Please be seated.
8 MR. NOBILO:
9 Q. Well, let us continue. The last question
10 before the break was what was the possible choice, that
11 is to say, the potential competition you had from the
12 professional officers in Central Bosnia, the
13 competition you had with them, and why do you think you
14 were selected to be the commander for Central Bosnia?
15 A. Well, in Central Bosnia, I already said that
16 there were very few active military personnel, and the
17 choice was also made on the basis of professionalism
18 and my professional training and education.
19 Besides myself, there was the possibility of
20 choosing as commander and appointing as commander
21 Mr. Ivica Rajic, who had completed the military academy
22 in Rajlovac for air reconnaissance, the air
23 reconnaissance course. This was, for the most part,
24 work with radar stations and the technicality involved
25 in this. That was his particular expertise.
1 Then there was Mr. Mato Lucic, who had
2 completed the higher military academy which lasted for
3 two years, he graduated after this two-year course, and
4 he had been working for a little under one year as
5 commander of a platoon for anti-aircraft defence.
6 There was another candidate, possible
7 candidate, his name was Ivica Zeko, but he was a
8 specialist and trained expert in matters of
9 reconnoitring units, reconnaissance units. At that
10 time in the HVO in the area of Central Bosnia, they
11 were mostly infantry men, that is to say, armed
12 villagers and locals with different types of small
14 Q. Filip Filipovic was an officer. What were
15 his credentials, so to speak?
16 A. Well, he had graduated from the artillery,
17 and he was, for a time, commander of the regional
18 staff, but very soon he was replaced.
19 Q. What about your particular field of
21 A. I graduated from the ground forces and
22 infantry at the academy, so for infantry weapons.
23 Q. Can we, therefore, conclude that you had the
24 rank of an infantry man, and that is what the HVO had,
25 it had an infantry?
1 A. Yes. As an active military man from the JNA,
2 in that particular area, I was the only one holding
3 that particular rank, and my field of expertise was for
4 the infantry. The others worked in Territorial Defence
5 and so forth.
6 Q. Can you describe to us now the situation that
7 you encountered when you came to the Operative Zone, in
8 the sense of the battleground and front line towards
9 the Republika Srpska, what units existed, what their
10 composition was, so on and so forth? So can we
11 describe the situation in the Operative Zone when you
12 took over as commander?
13 A. I would need a map to describe the front
15 THE REGISTRAR: This is D539.
16 MR. NOBILO: May we zoom in with the camera
17 onto the map, please?
18 A. So the first front line under my area of
19 responsibility was the Kupres battleground, and
20 authority over the municipal headquarters of Bugojno,
21 Gornji Vakuf --
22 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. President. I
23 can't see this, and I doubt my colleagues can see it.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. The Judges don't see it
25 very clearly either. I know that it's difficult. As
1 regards you, Mr. Kehoe, there wouldn't be any problem,
2 you can approach the model, and if the witness wants to
3 rise, of course, he can. There's no problem with
4 that. There's the problem with the Judges which is
6 MR. HAYMAN: If the camera can't zoom in,
7 Your Honour, then we will put it on the ELMO and then
8 it will be visible to all.
9 MR. KEHOE: Whatever is easier.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps that would be the best
11 thing to do.
12 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, as we're getting
13 ready to put this on the ELMO, it might be easier for
14 us and the Court if we could get a copy of it so we can
15 take a look at it. It would be easier to examine. If
16 counsel has a copy, it would be easier.
17 MR. HAYMAN: We would like a copy too. We
18 don't have any copies. So if the court staff can help
19 us in that regard, we would be grateful. Thank you.
20 JUDGE JORDA: All right. I will decide that
21 the Tribunal will make available as quickly as possible
22 the map, both for Defence counsel and for Prosecution
23 counsel and, of course, for the Judges.
24 Mr. Registrar, be sure that that is done.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, of course.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. In the meantime, we
2 will do what we can with the ELMO, but that is already
3 a lot of progress. I'm beginning to see things now.
4 General Blaskic, please continue.
5 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the front in the
6 regional headquarters of Central Bosnia comprised of
7 the following: The Kupres front which included the
8 municipal commands of Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf, Prozor,
9 and then we have part of the front to north-west
11 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Blaskic, are you defining
12 the combat zones or the municipal staffs? I didn't pay
13 careful enough attention. Are the combat zones against
14 the Serbs there or the organisation? Is it the
15 organisation or the combat zones? What is it that you
16 are defining?
17 A. Mr. President, on this map, I wish to show
18 the front and the front lines towards the army of the
19 Republika Srpska.
20 MR. NOBILO:
21 Q. Perhaps we could limit ourselves to the front
22 lines and forget which commands held which sections.
23 Let's see Central Bosnia under your command, what were
24 the front lines towards the Serbs that they held?
25 A. So the front lines were as follows --
1 Q. Okay.
2 A. -- the Kupres front and the front in
3 north-west Herzegovina, the front Glamocko around the
4 town of Jajce --
5 Q. On the map, we can see that the front line
6 has been moved slightly. Can you tell us when Jajce
8 A. Probably the map is outside the time span of
9 the 28th of October. It probably dates back to the end
10 of October, beginning of November.
11 Q. On the map, it states that the map dates back
12 to December 1992 when Jajce had already fallen.
13 A. Yes. Jajce fell at the end of October 1992,
14 but when I took over the command, we had a front line
15 up here towards the army of the Republika Srpska. Then
16 there was the Komar pass, Radalj, Lasic, and towards
17 the north towards Teslic. Then we come to the area
18 south of Doboj and onwards, the west slopes of Mount
19 Ozren, Olovo, east of Vares, Mount Zvijezda, Kiseljak,
20 Hadzici, the slopes of Mount Bjelasnica, and the
21 western slopes of Mount Visocica.
22 Q. Thank you. Yes.
23 A. Part of the front of the municipalities in
24 Sarajevo, that is, the centre of the city, in concrete
25 terms, it was the electricity building up to Vrbanja
1 Most, the bridge, and the Stup municipality and part of
2 the front at Hrasnica.
3 Q. Those were all the suburbs of Sarajevo,
4 suburban municipalities?
5 A. Sarajevo was under encirclement, and those,
6 for the most part, were parts of the front. There were
7 seven fronts in total.
8 Q. We're going to leave the map for a moment,
9 and we shall be getting a copy to hand round of the
11 Can you tell us what situation you
12 encountered? What units of the HVO did you have in
13 Central Bosnia when you took over your command, and how
14 were they organised?
15 A. The situation was as follows: It was similar
16 to the situation in the Kiseljak municipality. There
17 were no organised military formations, and in actual
18 fact, each municipality was, in a way, organised, that
19 is to say, there was only a brigade being formed in
20 Usora, it was called the 110th Brigade, but it was
21 still under formation. It still had not been
22 completely established, nor did it have all the
23 formation documents and organisational documents that
24 were required; however, recruits from that area
25 referred to themselves as the Usora Brigade actually
1 prior to the actual establishment of the brigade
3 Q. How was the defence organised along the
4 fronts that you mentioned? What model did you pursue?
5 A. The defence was organised in such a way that
6 the shifts of armed locals, villagers, would take up
7 certain positions, they would be deployed according to
8 shifts, and the shift would last between one to five
9 days at most. The most numerous armed groups could be
10 referred to as shifts. They were referred to as
11 shifts, and that's what they called themselves. They
12 called themselves shifts and these shifts were
13 mobilised by the offices in the different
15 Q. Now, what happened five days later when one
16 shift completes its term of duty on the front line?
17 A. After five days, or after one day sometimes,
18 usually it was a one-day shift, the shift would return
19 to base, that is to say, to the village and the homes,
20 their own homes in the villages, and they would take
21 their weapons with them and ammunition with them and
22 all the military gear that they had been issued. They
23 would then carry on with their daily work. If they
24 were people who were employed in companies, they would
25 go to perform their daily jobs, they would go to work.
1 The peasants would tend to their land, depending upon
2 the season, if it was a season for field work.
3 Q. So that was the situation you encountered.
4 How then did you undertake your duties? What were your
5 methods of work? What were the concrete things that
6 you did as commander of the regional headquarters?
7 A. At the very beginning, I endeavoured to
8 organise meetings with the commanders of the municipal
9 staff and have them brief me on the existing military
10 situation, although I was fully conscious of the fact
11 that I would not be able to engage in operative
12 command, but I wished to take all the necessary steps
13 to try and influence this or give assistance to the
14 individual commanders.
15 What influenced my activity most were the
16 front lines and the seven fronts that I enumerated. Of
17 course, there were other activities involved. We had
18 to contend with the attackers, and the attacks were not
19 in equal measure on all the fronts. Then there was the
20 time that I had at my disposal, the configuration of
21 the land and logistics. I had to take all this into
23 I usually applied two forms of work: One was
24 my individual work, that was one way in which I
25 functioned; and, secondly, we would have joint work
1 together, that is to say, I would hold joint meetings
2 with the commanders of individual municipal
3 headquarters or with the commanders of one of the
4 municipal commands. I would visit them, for example.
5 I would personally visit the front lines, tour the
6 front lines, and have talks there with the soldiers up
7 at the front lines.
8 Q. Can you tell me, where did you work as the
9 commander of the regional headquarters? Where did you
10 create your headquarters?
11 A. I first took over the duty in Gornji Vakuf,
12 and I stayed there, in other words, I had an office
13 there at the headquarters of the municipal staff of the
14 Gornji Vakuf HVO, and then I sent a proposal, which was
15 agreed to, that I transfer this headquarters to Vitez,
16 to the local commune of Kruscica. There was a motel
17 there, it was called Lovac or "Hunter," and this is
18 where I wanted to set up the headquarters.
19 Q. Apart from the headquarters, did you also
20 have a sort of satellite headquarters during 1992?
21 A. Yes, I had command posts on several fronts.
22 The first command post was in the territory of Kiseljak
23 municipality in the village of Bukve, and later it was
24 transferred to Cubren. Then I had another command post
25 in Jajce, in the village of Blazevici. Additionally, I
1 had a command post in Zepce and a command post in
2 Travnik during the period when the defence of Travnik
3 was at issue.
4 When I say "command post," I, first of all,
5 had in mind certain facilities which would be part of
6 the front line, sometimes there would be shelters or
7 dugouts, and I would normally be there and, along with
8 me, one or two of my associates.
9 Q. This was exclusively the front lines?
10 A. Yes. For instance, the Travnik command post
11 was directly at the front line against the Serbian
13 Q. The main headquarters, apart from these
14 command posts at various front lines, your central
15 command post was in Kruscica. Can you tell me, who
16 lives in Kruscica? Which ethnic group has a majority
17 population there and was there a problem for you there?
18 A. I knew, based on information given to me by
19 the municipal headquarters in Vitez, that Kruscica was
20 predominantly inhabited by Bosniak Muslims. However,
21 for me, that was not a problem at all nor did I
22 consider it a problem. The biggest problem I had was
23 that I only had a piece of paper saying that I had this
24 authority; that was the only thing that I actually
25 had. I was not a member of any municipal headquarters.
1 Q. Could you describe to the Trial Chamber what
2 were your initial activities; in other words, what did
3 you start with and how did you go about your duties in
4 this new post?
5 A. There were a number of priorities, and let me
6 try to list them. What I thought that my basic role
7 was, if I was not able to have an operational command
8 of the defence, I felt obliged to exercise certain
9 influence over the combat activities, and what I mean
10 by that is to provide assistance at the most threatened
11 fronts which had been attacked by the aggressor. Then
12 I tried to work together with the commanders of these
13 municipal staffs, that is, Jajce and Bugojno, who were
14 at the front line, to slow down, if this was possible,
15 and, if possible, stop the insurgence and advances of
16 the Serbian forces, and specifically in Jajce, we very
17 soon came to the realisation that we needed to set up a
18 defence, and so I became involved on these fronts.
19 Q. Can you describe, define, what "missing
20 defence" means in purely military terms?
21 A. That means that we were not able to lose --
22 you were not in a position to lose any more military
23 facilities because in the area of Mrkonjic Grad, we had
24 been squeezed practically into the city centre itself.
25 Q. Does that mean that there will be no retreat?
1 A. Yes, in a way that is what it means, but I
2 also tried to convince commanders at the front lines
3 that what was needed was to increase caution because
4 any further losses would mean the fall of the town of
6 Apart from that, I also thought that I needed
7 to work on preparing the ground for the defence, and I
8 used similar methods to what I had used in Kiseljak,
9 that means visiting of certain front lines, define the
10 front line, the reserve front line and others. For the
11 most part, we worked on building fortifications in
12 terms of engineering work.
13 A special problem in Central Bosnia was the
14 climate, that is, the coming of winter. This is
15 mountainous terrain with very severe winters, and we
16 had to pay special attention to provisions and supplies
17 for these municipal staffs. The road to Jajce was
18 passable only in summer and early fall, these were
19 mountain roads, and the rest of the roads are already
20 under the control of the Serbian forces.
21 Apart from these priorities, I also tried, as
22 much as I could, to establish the command itself, that
23 is, the regional staff command, because apart from the
24 deputy and this one assistant and the two secretaries,
25 there was literally no one there. There were problems
1 in terms of the pool of people from whom I could
2 select. There were also problems in the lack of
3 standardised organisational documents, in other words,
4 documents that would be used to fill the staff and
5 which defined competences within the command.
6 At that time, we did not have the
7 mobilisation chart nor the mobilisation code or any
8 other organisational documents, so that we had over 20
9 municipal staffs and each one had different
10 organisation. Some had five, some had a staff of
11 fifteen, some had a staff of one.
12 In addition to this task, I also tried to
13 find out ways for a post-combat recuperation period for
14 the wounded because we had some wartime hospitals like
15 in Jajce but we did not have enough beds for all the
17 I also tried to set up a system of assistance
18 to the most threatened fronts, like in Jajce, Bugojno,
19 and Teslic; in other words, to use those points which
20 were behind the most threatened front lines so that
21 they could help the points at the front lines so that
22 we could gain some time before we got better organised.
23 Also, I tried to organise the training of
24 personnel, both soldiers and the command staff;
25 however, for a long time, this remained just a good
1 intention simply because we had been under attack for a
2 long time.
3 I also thought at that time that Vitez should
4 have the central command post, in view of what our
5 assessment of the future developments were, and I
6 thought of setting up a logistics base because the
7 regional headquarters had none at that time, neither a
8 logistics base nor any kind of logistics. The
9 logistics was the duty of municipal staffs, and they
10 handled it as best they could. Fojnica, which is a
11 municipality which was potentially very convenient even
12 before the war broke out, was identified as being
13 especially fitting for the setting up of a wartime
14 hospital and rehabilitation of the wounded, and this is
15 what we later did.
16 I also tried to set up at least draft
17 documents because we did not have documents which
18 defined either the competences or the daily activities,
19 and let me just give you an example. The gentleman who
20 was my assistant for information was trained as an
21 economist. He was somebody who worked pretty much --
22 who had a career as an economist and never worked in
23 information, and overnight, he just became an assistant
24 for information, and he told me himself that he did not
25 have the vaguest idea what he was supposed to do.
1 Also, my deputy, Mr. Luka Sekerija, was not a
2 professional soldier at all.
3 Q. When you talked about documents which formed
4 the basis of your activities and through one of these,
5 Exhibit D244 (sic) speaks to this. Was this a job that
6 would be typically -- a type of document that a person
7 in your position would draft?
8 A. No. These are very strategic documents so
9 that the Defence department would be the institution --
10 JUDGE JORDA: Give us a brief reminder of the
11 contents of that document because now we are having the
12 witness talk about this document, and I heard 240, that
13 was the number I heard, and on the transcript, 244.
14 Are you talking about the organisational chart?
15 MR. NOBILO: Document D240 is the document
16 relating to the establishment of brigades in Central
17 Bosnia, and so I link that question to the question:
18 Was it usual or normal for a commander of this rank to
19 issue such a document? This document regulates the
20 establishment of brigades in the entire zone of
21 responsibility of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Has the Prosecution found it?
23 MR. HARMON: Yes.
24 MR. NOBILO: Well, we have it here on the
1 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Please continue.
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. I am not going to go into this document, but
4 just to remind you that the establishment of a number
5 of brigades was ordered through this document.
6 Would this be part of your competence
7 according to the military doctrine, and did you try to
8 set up all the necessary documents or did you receive
9 them from the main headquarters?
10 A. This document would not be part of the
11 competence of the -- not even the main headquarters.
12 This document should have been drafted by the Ministry
13 of Defence on the basis of the mobilisation
14 development; however, this document was drafted after
15 the loss of many positions, and it was our attempt to
16 try to do something in terms of organisation because we
17 just could not wait any longer to receive a document
18 from a higher authority.
19 Q. How about the other establishment documents
20 which, as you said, you tried to draft and which would
21 serve as a base for establishing some type of an army?
22 Were such documents also of that level where you should
23 have received them from the Ministry of Defence rather
24 than draft them yourself on the ground?
25 A. Yes, it was the very same problem, and let me
1 just give you an example. At that time, there were 22
2 municipal staffs in the Operative Zone and then there
3 was the city of Sarajevo which had two or three such
4 staffs. No municipal staff had a standard which would
5 regulate its organisation, its structure; and as I
6 mentioned, the assistant for information whom I
7 mentioned, he did not know what his job description
8 was. So in July of 1992, I sent a proposal for the
9 structure of the municipal staffs and I tried to define
10 their competence, and I personally worked on
11 instructions for assistance, for information, of trying
12 to help them and enable them to conduct or carry out
13 their jobs.
14 There were other organisational documents
15 because the situation on the ground and the general
16 situation required that we have them and we could just
17 not wait for them.
18 Q. Can we then say that these organisational
19 documents are a prerequisite for establishment of any
21 A. Yes, they are basic documents for
22 establishing any kind of organisation and regulate
23 competences. Without them, you could not make any
24 progress in terms of organisation.
25 Q. We described briefly the situation in the
1 Operative Zone in Central Bosnia, and then you also
2 listed the front. We are not going to go into details
3 of which fronts were active in which period. We will
4 go back to that once we have copies of the map.
5 I would like to take you to an incident, to
6 the first incident which has been mentioned in the
7 indictment, which is the conflict in Duhri in Kiseljak
8 municipality sometime in August of 1992. Could you
9 describe to us, based on your best recollection, how
10 this conflict broke out, what preceded it, how it
11 developed, and how it was resolved?
12 A. With the Trial Chamber's permission, I would
13 like to use the model again, or should I just describe
14 it first?
15 Q. Why don't you step towards the model and look
16 at the individual positions of individual units, and if
17 you could just define all the symbols on the map?
18 I would also like to ask that the map be
19 brought closer because at one point we will ask that a
20 photograph, a still photograph, be taken of it which we
21 will submit.
22 MR. KEHOE: Just before we begin -- if we
23 could take a look at it just before we begin with the
25 Thank you.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
3 MR. NOBILO: Just one moment, please. Could
4 we have the microphone switched on, and perhaps for the
5 benefit of the Trial Chamber, Kiseljak is now -- we
6 have changed the model, the position of the model, and
7 Kiseljak is now facing Defence counsel.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Let's not change the model too
9 many times or we're not going to know what we're doing.
10 MR. NOBILO: The mountains are further away
11 from you so you have a better view of the model.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Show us again, please,
13 Kiseljak, General Blaskic. I have to find where I am
15 A. Mr. President, Kiseljak (indicating).
16 JUDGE JORDA: All right. And Vitez then ...
17 A. Busovaca, Vitez, Travnik, and Zepce
19 JUDGE JORDA: Okay. All right.
20 A. Moving here. In Kiseljak, in the same
21 building, here the commander of the Territorial Defence
22 staff was Mr. Sead Sinanbasic, and here the commander
23 was, for the municipal headquarters of the HVO,
24 Mr. Ivica Rajic. These two flags represent that
25 building and their headquarters.
1 MR. NOBILO:
2 Q. For purposes of clarification, Mr. Ivica
3 Rajic replaced you when you became commander of the
4 regional headquarters; is that correct?
5 A. Yes, it is. This was the situation as it
6 stood on the 6th, between the 6th and 7th of August,
8 On the main road running from Busovaca to
9 Kiseljak and Ilidza and further on towards Sarajevo
10 (indicating), that's the main road, we had checkpoints
11 set up of the reserve formation of the civilian
12 police. There was a checkpoint at Brestovsko.
13 Q. Was that a joint Croatian-Muslim civilian
14 police force?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And it is denoted with a blue and green flag.
17 A. The Gromiljak checkpoint was here
19 Q. Once again, a joint Croatian-Muslim police
21 A. And here, there are no markings, but this is
22 where the checkpoint at Brnjaci was.
23 Q. Who controlled that checkpoint?
24 A. The reserve force of the Croatian-Muslim
25 police force.
1 The front line, the main front line towards
2 the Sarajevo and Romanija corps, the Serbian one, of
3 the HVO was at Kokoska. Then we have feature 651,
4 Pljesevac, Ostrik (indicating).
5 Q. For purposes of the record, they are the blue
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Who held those posts where the blue flags are
9 towards the Serbs?
10 A. These positions were held by the HVO.
11 Q. For purposes of the record, may we note that
12 the Serb positions are denoted by red flags; is that
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. NOBILO: May we now have a picture taken
16 of the front line toward the Serbs? May we have a
17 still, a photograph, which we could use later on as an
18 exhibit, if that is at all possible? If it is not
19 possible now, we can do that later on.
20 Q. Please continue.
21 A. The positions to the right or south-east were
22 held by a detachment of the Territorial Defence force
23 of Kiseljak composed of TG-1. Those are the Koscan
24 positions and the area of the Hadzici municipality.
25 Q. They are the green flags; right? They are
1 the green flags opposite the red Serbian flags?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. Please continue.
4 A. On the 7th of August, 1992, I spent most of
5 the day in Zepce. It lies in the direction I'm
6 pointing to (indicating). It is not on the model. I
7 had a meeting there with the commanders of the
8 municipality headquarters of Zepce, Maglaj, Zavidovici,
9 Usora, and Komusina. The topic of the meeting was the
10 critical situation in the municipal headquarters of
11 Komusina. They include the municipalities of Teslic
12 and the attacks which the Serbs launched on that part
13 of the municipality under the control of the HVO in
15 Q. When did you arrive in Kiseljak, about what
17 A. I arrived in the afternoon. I got home,
18 that's roughly the position (indicating), and I got a
19 telephone call at about 5.00 p.m. It was the
20 afternoon. I'm not quite sure as to the exact time.
21 It was about 5.00 p.m., not before that. They
22 telephoned and said that I should appear in the
23 Kiseljak municipality and that the meeting had been
24 convened of the municipal assembly of Kiseljak and that
25 I was to attend.
1 Q. That is the Croatian-Muslim authority?
2 A. Yes, it is the parliament of the municipality
3 of Kiseljak which, up until then, had never convened a
4 meeting because the conclusion of the assembly was that
5 a municipal crisis staff would be set up, having all
6 the competencies of an assembly. I asked what the
7 occasion was to hold a meeting of this kind, why it was
8 being convened, but I was told that I would find out at
9 the meeting itself and that it was necessary that I
10 attend the meeting.
11 I went to the meeting, and when I arrived in
12 the building of the municipal assembly of Kiseljak, I
13 asked Mr. Rajic what the topic of the meeting was, and
14 he told me, "We're already late. We're waiting for
15 Sead Sinanbasic to arrive, and then we're going to
16 start the meeting, and you'll hear at the meeting what
17 the topic is." After some 10 to 15 minutes of waiting,
18 the meeting started.
19 Q. If you would like to sit down, if you don't
20 need the --
21 JUDGE JORDA: You can remain standing as you
22 like. Do you still need the model?
23 MR. NOBILO: We shall be needing the model
24 because the point has to do with the barricades that
25 were set up. They are the yellow areas.
1 A. The meeting started by playing a tape of the
2 radio broadcast and a statement made by the commander
3 of the Territorial Defence of Kiseljak, and after this
4 tape of the statement was played in front of the
5 members attending the meeting, the introductory address
6 was made by the president of the municipal assembly,
7 Josip Boro, and he then gave the floor, after that
8 introductory address, to Mr. Rajic. Mr. Rajic took the
10 Q. What was said on the tape that was played to
12 A. As far as I can recall, the tape presented
13 untruths about the fact that in Kiseljak -- falsehoods,
14 that in Kiseljak, it was only the Territorial Defence
15 forces on the front line towards the army of the
16 Republika Srpska and that only TO forces were engaged
17 in combat activities; whereas the HVO was not in
18 control of the positions there, but that it was trading
19 and engaging in black marketeering with the Serbs.
20 There were some other details that were
21 presented, but that was the gist of the radio broadcast
22 that was played and which, in fact, minimised,
23 diminished, the role played by the HVO.
24 Q. What happened at the meeting next? Where did
25 the problem lie?
1 A. After that, Rajic commented on the statement,
2 and he maintained that this statement was not one that
3 the -- that the commander of the Territorial Defence
4 did not wish to deny the statement. He presented the
5 view that as of that day in the joint command, when I
6 say "joint command," I have in mind the command of the
7 TO and the HVO of Kiseljak, and that only he was
8 responsible there or Sead Sinanbasic.
9 He sat at the head of the table, and
10 Mr. Josip Boro sat there as well. I was there. I was
11 present there. Mr. Ejub Mujic was there, who was the
12 president of the executive council of the Kiseljak
14 Q. He was a Muslim?
15 A. Yes, a Bosnian, and he was president of the
16 SDA party. We also had the chief of staff of the
17 Territorial Defence of Kiseljak, Mr. Nasid
19 This other problem that was stressed at the
20 meeting and which, to my mind, was far more important
21 and a far greater problem were the barricades, the
22 roadblocks that the TO had set up on the third day.
23 When I say "the third day," I mean the third day of
24 July. Probably they were set up on the 5th of July. I
25 do not know when they were actually set up, but --
1 Q. Do you mean July or August?
2 A. No, August. The date is the 7th of August.
3 It is still the 7th of August. The meeting was on the
4 7th of August. The problem was with the barricades.
5 Q. When were these barricades set up? What was
6 the date?
7 A. If the 7th of August was the third day of the
8 functioning of the barricades, apart from this
9 barricade here, it was set up later on, all the others,
10 the yellow barricades, this one --
11 Q. Just a minute. If possible, would you tell
12 us the place where the barricade was set up and the
13 date it was set up and by whom?
14 A. This is Bilalovac, the barricade at Bilalovac
15 (indicating). It was set up at around the 5th of
16 August. The barricade at Duhri was also set up at
17 about the 5th of August. The Han Ploca barricade was
18 set up the same day, once again, about the 5th of
19 August. The barricade at Bukovica was set up about the
20 5th of August. The barricade at Han Ivica was set up
21 about the 5th of August.
22 Q. Who set up all these barricades?
23 A. All these barricades were set up by the staff
24 of the TO of Kiseljak.
25 Q. Was that in agreement with the HVO or without
1 the knowledge of the joint command?
2 A. It was not in agreement with the HVO, and, in
3 fact, the setting up of these barricades stopped
4 movement, made movement impossible, for the civilian
5 population of the local community of Brnjaci and the
6 local community of Lepenica. The Lepenica local
7 community was a particularly critical area because if
8 an attack were to be launched by the army of the
9 Republika Srpska, the population here had no where to
10 withdraw to, no where to flee.
11 May I just add that from these positions
12 here, the Kokoska feature in particular and the Zenica
13 slope, Zenica slope, with the means at their disposal
14 at that time, that the Serbs had at their disposal at
15 the time, we're speaking about weapons, they were able
16 to directly hit the whole local community of Lepenica.
17 Q. What was the aim of setting up these
18 barricades? Did anybody explain this or was it
19 explained during the meeting? Were you able to
20 conclude the reasons for this during the meeting?
21 A. No. At the meeting, nobody explained why
22 these barricades were being set up. I was worried
23 about these barricades because I was conscious of the
24 fact that the manpower from the Kiseljak municipality,
25 the people there who were located at these positions,
1 that is to say, at the front line towards the Serbs, on
2 the third day had been completely cut off from any
3 possibility of the shifts and evacuation of any
4 possible casualties to the Kiseljak Hospital, they were
5 cut off, and any supplies.
6 Q. Just one moment, please. I apologise. Can
7 you tell us whether these barricades were manned by an
8 armed army, and can you show us where the communication
9 lines were, that is, how the army and population moved
10 towards Kiseljak, what direction, and how this was cut
11 off, this communication line was cut off?
12 A. The communication line, and this is the
13 direction, it goes from the local community of Lepenica
14 via Han Ploca, across the local community of Brnjaci,
15 through Duhri towards Kiseljak. That is the
16 communication line.
17 The barricade at Duhri was defended with a
18 deployment of troops belonging to the Territorial
19 Defence from Duhri, and in the course of the conflict,
20 we noted that there were members of the Territorial
21 Defence units which were made up of displaced persons
22 from the area of the Ilidza municipality, who had come
23 from the Ilidza municipality and who had been put up in
24 Duhri and were now deployed there.
25 Q. What about the other barricades? Were they
1 also manned with armed men?
2 A. Yes. In Han Ploca, there was a whole bus
3 load of men. There were two parts to this bus, and it
4 was red, a vivid red, and that was set up.
5 Q. How?
6 A. It was horizontal, this way (indicating).
7 The bus driver was in front, and that was the back
8 part. On the right-hand side, a trench was dug for
9 five to ten soldiers. Five to ten soldiers could fit
10 in the trench on the right-hand side. I'm pointing to
11 that particular position (indicating). It was right
12 here on this side of the road (indicating).
13 Q. Tell us, in view of the configuration of the
14 terrain, we see the hills and we see that the road is
15 in the valley, would it be true to say that with the
16 blockades, there was a complete blockade of the
17 Kiseljak municipality? It was completely severed,
19 A. This can be seen quite clearly, particularly
20 after the barricade had been set up here, not on the
21 7th, but we were informed on the 8th. I now have a
22 precise document as to when we were informed of this.
23 This barricade was set up in Smajlovici, so that all
24 the communication in the Kiseljak area was, in fact,
25 blocked, but the main problem was here up at the front
2 Q. How did you arrive there? What road did you
3 take? What route did you take to arrive there from
5 A. On the 7th in the afternoon, I went from
6 Busovaca, across Kacuni by this barricade here
7 (indicating), so I wasn't blocked on that day, and I
8 was able to arrive in Kiseljak.
9 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, you said that we
10 would be taking a break at 12.45. Perhaps this would
11 be a good moment to stop.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Thank you. We will
13 resume at 2.45.
14 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.45 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.50 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
4 If you don't mind, before we continue with
5 the testimony of the accused, my colleagues and myself
6 decided to inform you about a procedural difficulty
7 that we're faced with.
8 Let me wait until Mr. Hayman has his books
9 there so we can do things right.
10 There is a procedural problem that we wanted
11 to speak to you about and to have your agreement. I'm
12 speaking about a procedural issue which purpose is the
13 transfer of communication of protected testimony in the
14 Blaskic case to the Aleksovski case.
15 The Prosecutor knows what I'm talking about.
16 The Office of the Prosecutor appealed two decisions in
17 the Aleksovski case, one having to do with the
18 testimony of Admiral Domazet, which was public
19 testimony, and the appeal was rejected, but that's not
20 a problem. In the second appeal, which the Appeals
21 Chamber accepted, the Prosecution said that it had the
22 right to present a motion to the Blaskic Chamber
23 seeking from the Blaskic Trial Chamber protective
24 measures being, if necessary, modified or at least
25 produced, that is, the testimony be produced, the
1 testimony that had originally been protected, to the
2 Blaskic case.
3 All of this is part of the various disputes
4 that have to do with transferring materials from one
5 case to another, but that's not the issue. The issue
6 is the following: Ever since Judge Riad has not been
7 available, we've all had the pleasure to welcome Judge
8 Rodrigues to our Chamber, but Judge Rodrigues is also
9 the Presiding Judge of the Aleksovski Trial Chamber.
10 Therefore, Judge Rodrigues is somewhat uncomfortable,
11 and we have looked through the various texts, with the
12 extremely relevant help of my friend, Judge
13 Shahabuddeen, we have looked in and out of the texts,
14 and we've reached a solution which is the following:
15 To ask your consent to having Judge Rodrigues sit with
16 us in the Blaskic case as he is, but that he also sit
17 so that he can rule on that motion which asks that we
18 amend the protective measures that have been given to a
19 protected witness.
20 After having looked through all the different
21 procedures since the start of the presentation of
22 evidence in this case, we are faced with this
23 difficulty. The decision, I can't say exactly what
24 we're going to do, but we could consider this as a
25 routine matter, but we thought it was not a routine
1 matter because it had to do with the protection of
2 witnesses, and, therefore, we cannot ask the President
3 to authorise the Trial Chamber to sit with only two
4 Judges, since we prefer to sit with three Judges, and
5 we have complete confidence in Judge Rodrigues, but we
6 wanted this to be an open discussion. We're asking
7 first for your opinion and, beyond that, to have your
8 feeling about the possibility of Judge Rodrigues
9 remaining with us to rule on that motion, and then we
10 would be able to come to a ruling quickly.
11 I don't know who would like to speak first.
12 Perhaps I should ask the Prosecutor to speak first
13 since it's the Prosecutor who appealed.
14 Mr. Harmon?
15 MR. HARMON: Yes. Thank you very much,
16 Mr. President, Your Honours. I know the issue that is
17 facing the Trial Chamber in this case, and before I
18 give my answer, I would like time to consult with my
19 colleagues, and perhaps over the break, over the
20 15-minute break that we have mid-afternoon, I can give
21 you the position of the Prosecutor.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Absolutely. And Defence
23 counsel, would you like to have some time to think
24 about it as well?
25 MR. HAYMAN: If only to consult with our
1 client, Mr. President, but I think it would only take a
2 moment or two.
3 JUDGE JORDA: All right. What I suggest is
4 that you inform us of your opinion after the afternoon
5 break. Can we agree with that? All right. Thank you
6 very much.
7 Excuse me. General Blaskic, you can now
8 resume your testimony.
9 Mr. Nobilo?
10 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
11 Q. We left off at the developments around Duhri
12 related to the conflict of 7 August, 1992. I suggest
13 that we continue your testimony in that regard, and
14 whenever you find it appropriate, you may stand up and
15 point at the model about what transpired at what point,
16 whenever you find it appropriate. Go ahead, please.
17 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, in the afternoon
18 on 7 August, 1992, this meeting was in progress, the
19 meeting at the municipal assembly of Kiseljak, and
20 Mr. Ejup Mujic asked to speak, and he commented on the
21 current situation by saying that, should it continue,
22 eventually, a conflict will arise between the TO and
23 the HVO.
24 After his remarks, I asked to speak, and I
25 said that, first of all, we had a front towards the
1 Serbs, that we had major problems at the fronts in
2 Travnik and Zepce, which were close by, and that we did
3 not need additional fronts and that the meeting itself
4 should have as its goal the overcoming of these
6 I do not recall all the participants in this
7 discussion, but the discussion continued, and at one
8 point, Mr. Ivica Marijanovic proposed that the
9 prominent representatives of the Croatian and Bosniak
10 Muslim communities take two flags, one of which would
11 be a flag of the Croatian people and one of the Bosniak
12 Muslim people, that they tie these two flags together
13 in a knot and that they drive in vehicles in two
14 opposite directions. May I point?
15 MR. NOBILO: The pointer, please, can we have
16 the pointer?
17 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Now we have a
18 camera. That's going to help us, help us see better.
19 A. One car with these tied flags was to start
20 from Kiseljak via Gromiljak, Brestovsko, to Bilalovac.
21 MR. NOBILO:
22 Q. You mean to the first barricades?
23 A. Yes, and this was done, and this barricade
24 was removed.
25 Q. Could you just take it away, this barricade.
1 A. While a second vehicle was being looked for,
2 which was to start from Kiseljak via Duhri, Brnjaci,
3 Han Ploca, Lepenica, Bukovica, Zabrdje, so while this
4 was going on, information came from the HVO sources
5 that fighting had broken out between the Muslim village
6 of Duhri and the Croatian village of Potkraj and that
7 two Croats were already wounded. One of them was a
8 commander of this village, one of the wounded ones
10 The vehicle started from Kiseljak, and at the
11 bridge in Palez, the vehicle was stopped and sent
12 back. The barricade in Duhri, the barricade at Han
13 Ploca, the barricade at Bukovci, and the barricade at
14 Han Ivica remained in their positions, and according to
15 the information we received, here (indicating), as I
16 pointed out, here at Potkraj --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Excuse me. The
18 interpreters have lost the signal for a moment. Can
19 the witness repeat the last sentence?
20 MR. KEHOE: Apparently they lost the signal
21 and didn't hear what was going on.
22 MR. NOBILO:
23 Q. Would you please repeat what was the exact
24 information you received?
25 JUDGE JORDA: Would you speak a little
1 louder, please, Mr. Blaskic, so that the interpreters
2 can hear you? Thank you.
3 A. So the fighting broke out, and the fighting
4 went on at the barricade in Duhri between the village
5 of Duhri and the village of Potkraj.
6 Around 2000 hours, that is, in the evening
7 hours of the 7th of August, the fighting stopped. I
8 had a telephone conversation with the commander of the
9 Territorial Defence in Visoko. He introduced himself
10 as Mr. Delic, first name Rasim. He asked of me to fill
11 him in on the developing events, and I told him about
12 the problems regarding the blockade of the main road
13 from the front line to the town of Kiseljak. That
14 night and that day of 7 August ended that way, that is,
15 the barricade remained.
16 MR. NOBILO:
17 Q. So what you're saying is that the fighting
18 stopped but the barricades remained?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Did the armed crews, who were manning this
21 barricade, remain in their places at the barricade that
23 A. That night, we had no information whether the
24 crews remained by the barricades, but we knew that the
25 barricades remained in the same positions.
1 Q. What happened on the next day? Can you
2 describe that to the Trial Chamber?
3 A. On 8th August, early in the morning, the TO
4 forces regrouped at the Duhri barricade. There was a
5 row of houses right next to the village of Brnjaci.
6 This redeployment caused certain anxiety and fear among
7 the local population, and soon enough, fire was
8 exchanged, again between the villagers of Duhri
9 village, whose positions were right alongside the
10 road. They had military dugouts, and they had
11 fortified positions there above the road, the main road
12 between Kiseljak and Ilidza. On the other side were
13 the locals of the Potkraj village.
14 Q. Let me just remind the Trial Chamber that
15 Duhri is a Muslim village and Potkraj a Croatian.
16 A. Yes. And so fighting started between those
17 two groups.
18 In the early morning hours, Mr. Franjo Boras
19 arrived at the main headquarters. He was a member of
20 the presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina and a member of the supreme command of the
22 armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He requested
23 to be informed about this situation on the events of
24 the 7th and early hours of the 8th of August.
25 After this, when I informed him of these
1 developments, I asked him to call the competent people
2 in Sarajevo and asked him to mediate -- asked for their
3 mediation in stopping this fighting. I sat in the
4 office while he talked with the Prime Minister of the
5 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Mile Akmadzic.
6 He then talked to the Minister of Defence of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina, Mr. Jerko Doko.
8 The Minister of Defence asked that I send him
9 this information in writing, including full operational
10 details of these events starting with the 7th of August
11 up until 1400 hours on the 8th of August, and I sent
12 him this report, to Sarajevo. I sent it through
14 After that, Mr. Franjo Boras called the
15 supreme command headquarters, that is, the headquarters
16 of the supreme command of the armed forces in Sarajevo,
17 and asked them to mediate in cessation of fighting. On
18 that day, fighting was intense, that is, between the
19 two villages Duhri and Potkraj, and there was
20 intermittent fire at the barricade in Han Ploca.
21 As far as Han Ivica is concerned, in the
22 course of the day on the 8th of August, fighting also
23 broke out, and in the latter part of the day, this
24 barricade was removed.
25 Q. By whom?
1 A. It was removed by the HVO.
2 Q. This was the barricade in Han Ivica that
3 you're referring to?
4 A. Yes, at Han Ivica. But only after fire had
5 been opened on the part of the army of Republika
6 Srpska, the area of Ostrik, Koscan --
7 Q. Perhaps -- it may have been misinterpreted.
8 The Serbs were the ones who opened fire.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. They opened fire on the positions which were
11 held by the Croat and Muslim forces.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Go on, please.
14 A. Around 1900 or 2000 hours, an order came from
15 the headquarters of the supreme command of the armed
16 forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina signed by Sefer
17 Halilovic. The order referred to the immediate
18 cessation of combat operations between the TO and the
19 HVO. Our activities were directed towards transmitting
20 this order, and we attempted to do this via courier
21 from Kiseljak or by telephone by calling individual
22 villagers and the reserve police station which had a
23 centre in Brnjaci.
24 The problem at that time was that the
25 Territorial Defence commanders did not show the
1 intention of implementing this order at that time; that
2 is, the commander of the TO detachment from Bilalovac,
3 Mr. Zrno, said that he received the order but that he
4 would think about the decision that he was to take. He
5 did not explicitly say that he would not implement the
6 order, but he made it clear that he was going to think
7 about this order.
8 After this, there was some sporadic fire in
9 Duhri and Potkraj, while at the other positions, all
10 hostilities stopped after 2000 hours. I know that
11 Mr. Franjo Boras made another call to Mr. Alija
12 Izetbegovic in his attempts to reach and ask for his
13 help in implementation of this order and to the
14 cessation of hostilities.
15 Around 2300 hours on 8 August, 1992, we
16 received a second order. Its contents were almost
17 identical to the first order, and it was sent from
18 Sarajevo by the chief of staff of the supreme command
19 of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and was signed by
20 Sefer Halilovic.
21 Q. Just one moment, General. I would like to
22 read a document. This is an exhibit, 132, D132 -- yes,
23 D132 which is an order by Commander Sefer Halilovic,
24 and I want you to identify it.
25 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me while we find it.
1 JUDGE JORDA: The Judges would also like to
2 have a copy of that order on the ELMO.
3 MR. NOBILO: This is a document which was
4 used in the cross-examination by the Defence. I
5 believe that it may have only been submitted in
6 B/C/S rather than French or English.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Do you also have it in
9 MR. KEHOE: There is no copy in either
10 English or French as far as our records have -- this
11 was a Defence document.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Since you've had it, I suppose
13 you have had it translated, though. Are you familiar
14 with it?
15 MR. KEHOE: It's a Defence Exhibit, it's not
16 a Prosecution Exhibit, and the Prosecution --
17 JUDGE JORDA: But that had been tendered as
18 evidence; is that not correct? So you've had it --
19 well, when was it tendered? About when? About a month
20 or two months ago?
21 MR. HAYMAN: More, more.
22 JUDGE JORDA: It doesn't matter. It isn't
23 very long. Perhaps you could read it, Mr. Nobilo. We
24 don't have a copy here -- no, it has to be on the
1 All right. Go ahead.
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. It is sent to the headquarters of the supreme
4 command of the armed forces in Sarajevo, then there is
5 a registration number, Sarajevo, 8 August, '92, it says
6 "Military Secret, Strictly Confidential," and then
7 there is a distribution. It is sent to the commander
8 of the headquarters of the HVO in Kiseljak, commander
9 of the tactical group 2, commander of the municipal
10 staff -- defence staff of Kiseljak, and now the body of
12 "With respect to the developing situation of
13 the worsening relations in your territory, more
14 specifically in the territory of the Kiseljak
15 municipality, I hereby order:
16 1. Immediately cease all combat, that is,
18 2. Bring the situation in the territory of
19 the Kiseljak municipality to the state of affairs four
20 days ago;
21 2. Seek a political solution in the spirit
22 of the agreement on friendship and cooperation signed
23 in Zagreb;
24 4. Immediately report on the implementation
25 of this decision."
1 Then there is a stamp and it's signed by the
2 chief of staff of the supreme command of the armed
3 forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sefer
5 Q. So, General, is this --
6 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me.
7 MR. NOBILO:
8 Q. -- the order that you referred to? General,
9 is this the order which you received on 8 August in
10 Kiseljak, sent by the chief of staff of the supreme
11 command of the armed forces?
12 A. Yes. We received two orders, the first one
13 around 1900 hours and the second one around 2200
14 hours. It was the same order.
15 Q. What does point number 2, item number 2,
16 mean: "The situation at the territory of the Kiseljak
17 municipality is to be returned to the situation as it
18 was for four days before"?
19 A. In my opinion, because at that time I did not
20 talk to Sefer, he probably had in mind that the
21 checkpoints should be removed, the checkpoints which
22 had been set up after 4 August, 1992.
23 Q. That is four days prior to the order which
24 was issued?
25 A. Yes. So they were up there as early as the
1 5th of August.
2 Q. What happened next?
3 A. This order also did not result in the
4 cessation of activities on the part of the TO groups,
5 and upon receipt of this order, I called the main
6 headquarters of the armed forces of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina, and Mr. Vahid Karavelic answered the
8 phone. I also asked him to identify himself in terms
9 of his position and I also asked to be put through to
10 Sefer Halilovic.
11 He told me that he was at that time the chief
12 of operations with the supreme command, and I confirmed
13 receipt of this order and told him that for a while we
14 had been following it and that they should mediate with
15 the Territorial Defence of the municipal staff in
17 Sometime around 2300 hours on the 8th,
18 Mr. Ivo Komsic arrived. He introduced himself as the
19 authorised person, that is, that he had been authorised
20 by Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, and he asked to verify that
21 we received this order. He also called the commander
22 of the Territorial Defence, Mr. Zrno, asking the
23 commander of the Territorial Defence to follow the
24 order of the headquarters of the supreme command. I
25 did not hear what Mr. Zrno said in response, but
1 somewhere around midnight, all combat activities were
2 stopped at this position or this location in Duhri and
4 Q. Were the barricades removed?
5 A. The barricade at Duhri, I can only suppose
6 that it was dismantled as a consequence of that
7 fighting during that night, but the barricade at Han
8 Ploca and at Bukovice were not removed.
9 Q. Can you remove the barricade at Duhri so that
10 we can see which barricades remained? That will be the
11 last photograph.
12 Tell me, in the days to come, the next day or
13 the following days, did you have occasion to pass by
14 the village of Duhri on the road there? Did you see
15 the mosque? What state was the mosque in, because in
16 the indictment, it is stated that the sacral feature
17 was destroyed?
18 A. In the next few days, I passed along the main
19 road and I visited the front line and the features
20 there, and I saw the mosque which is right by the
21 road. On the minaret of the mosque, from the direction
22 of Kiseljak, there were traces of shooting, but this
23 was damage done to the facade without any major
24 destruction. The mosque was intact apart from that,
25 without any traces of destruction.
1 Q. When you say that the facade was damaged,
2 what did that mean? What could you actually see on the
4 A. Well, from the road, you could see quite
5 easily that it was hit in several places on the facade,
6 and this had left an imprint. There were imprints,
7 pockmarks, on the facade of the mosque, and the surface
8 was slightly damaged with these pockmarks from shots.
9 Q. Could you see any holes in the minaret?
10 A. No, absolutely not. From the road,
11 two-thirds of the minaret can be seen clearly, and
12 there were no apertures anywhere except for these
13 surface grazings or pockmarks.
14 Q. What about the position of the barricade?
15 How far is the minaret from the road where the
16 barricade was set up?
17 A. In relation to the barricade -- I never
18 measured the distance, of course, but I can say that it
19 was approximately 100 to 150 metres away -- perhaps not
20 that much. About 100 metres.
21 Q. Tell us, did you or anybody else, any of your
22 subordinates, issue an order to destroy the mosque and
23 to try and break down the mosque or the minaret?
24 A. No, no order of that kind was ever issued
25 from the command, that is to say, from the building of
1 the barracks in Kiseljak.
2 Q. Have you got any explanation or did you hear
3 of any explanation or were you able to conclude how the
4 damages occurred?
5 A. I can only suppose that it is quite possible
6 that the damages occurred when there was an exchange of
7 gunfire between the HVO forces and the Territorial
8 Defence forces because some houses were damaged as were
9 the positions of the soldiers in the village of Duhri,
10 and they were right below the mosque, situated below
11 the mosque. So that when there was this crossfire
12 going on, it is possible that a stray bullet had hit
13 something in that direction.
14 Q. In all the discussions that you had at the
15 time, did anybody ever, up until this Tribunal, pose
16 the problem of these two marks and the damage done on
17 the minaret of the mosque?
18 A. Your Honours, I personally had a meeting on
19 the 9th of August with the religious Muslim person,
20 Mr. Senahidin Durakovic, the Muslim priest, and a
21 representative of the Muslim Bosniaks from the village
22 of Duhri, Abdulah Oruc. The meeting took place at
23 12.20 on the 9th of August, 1992, and the priest on the
24 part of the Muslim Bosniaks made no mention at all of
25 this problem nor did he bring it up at all, and I had
1 meetings before that and after that as well with that
2 same Muslim religious man, and he never raised the
3 problem of the damage done to the mosque.
4 Q. What did the Muslim priest say; can you tell
5 us something about that?
6 A. He was together with the representative of
7 the Bosniak Muslims from the village of Duhri, they
8 were together, and we tried to find a way of bringing
9 life back to normal in the village of Duhri. I have
10 already said that there were several incidents which
11 occurred between the villages of Gornji Palez and
12 Duhri, and the Muslim priest and Abdulah Oruc told me
13 that they distanced themselves from the members -- from
14 those people who were --
15 Q. The members of what?
16 A. The members of the Territorial Defence forces
17 which had been brought in from outside in order to
18 instigate unrest between the two peoples, that is to
19 say, between the Croats and the Bosniak Muslims. I can
20 quote his words, and I am quoting: "For honest people
21 of the village of Duhri, to distance themselves from
22 those who are inciting unrest between the two ethnic
24 Q. To close the incident concerning the village
25 of Duhri, what were you able to conclude then or
1 afterwards? Why did the Territorial Defence need this
2 whole manoeuvre with the barricades and the armed
3 guards and everything else? What was the sense of it
4 all? Why did they do that?
5 A. Before I go on to explain that, I should just
6 like to mention that on the 8th of August, sometime in
7 the early hours of the morning, I was called on the
8 phone by the head of the Territorial Defence
9 headquarters, Nasid Huseinbasic, he telephoned me and
10 asked where the commander was, the commander of the
11 Territorial Defence staff of Kiseljak was, and I told
12 him that I didn't know where he was because neither the
13 previous night, having in mind the meeting of the 7th
14 of August -- because he wasn't at the meeting on the
15 7th of August.
16 After that, I was also interested in what had
17 happened to the commander of the Territorial Defence of
18 Kiseljak, where he was, and I tried to find out where
19 he was and to gain information on the event. In the
20 latter half of the day of the 8th of August, 1992, I
21 received information that in the course of the night,
22 the night between the 7th and the 8th of August, the
23 commander of the Territorial Defence staff of Kiseljak
24 was arrested by the civilian police, the reserve
25 formations, the reserve unit at the checkpoint at
1 Brnjaci. That means that in the night between the 7th
2 and 8th of August, he was arrested by the civilian
3 police, the reserve units of the civilian police of
5 It was my assessment of these manoeuvres --
6 Q. Just one moment, please. Where was he taken;
7 can you tell us?
8 A. In the latter half of the day, he was taken
9 from the police station in Kiseljak to the police
10 station in Busovaca.
11 Q. Was he later released?
12 A. Yes, he was.
13 Q. Let us return to my first question. What was
14 your assessment? Why did the Territorial Defence need
15 this operation? What was the goal of the operation?
16 A. It was my assessment that the aim of the
17 Territorial Defence operation was to link up
18 communication from Tarcin via Zabrdje, Lepenica, Han
19 Ploca, Rakovci, Godusa, Kralupi, and Visoko because
20 Visoko was where the commander of Tactical Group 2 was
21 located at the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the area
22 of -- the region around Zabrdje and Bukovica, Mokrine,
23 those were the forces of Tactical Group 1. They were
24 located there.
25 Had there been a withdrawal of forces, the
1 forces of the Croatian Defence Council, from the front
2 line across from the Serbs, then this communication
3 line from Visoko via Kralupi, Godusa, Grahovac, and Han
4 Ploca, Lepenica, Zabrdje, and Tarcin, would have
5 enabled in full the communication line to function
6 between Central Bosnia and southern Bosnia by roads
7 exclusively under the control of one army or the
8 members of one side.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Nobilo, excuse me for
10 interrupting you. What was the predominant ethnic
11 group in Lepenica? Was it Muslim?
12 A. Your Honours, I do not have any facts as to
13 the majority ethnic group living there. I can only
14 suppose that the relative majority was, perhaps, the
15 Croats, that they made up the local majority. I know
16 that Muslims lived in Lepenica, as did the Croats and
17 the Serbs. The Serbs were the minority. The Muslims
18 and Croats, I don't know the exact figures for those
19 two ethnic groups. I don't know the exact ratio.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me as well because this
22 is important. The model is good, but I have a great
23 deal of difficulty following this on the map because in
24 order to put this back into a strategy, the accused is
25 giving an interpretation. We still don't know why
1 there was this operation of the Territorial Defence.
2 I've looked through this. I've had this map from the
3 beginning, and it's, I'm not sure, useful. I see here
4 there's Visoko there, and there they talk about Han
5 Ploca, they talk about a line, but it's true, I'm
6 having some difficulty in trying to see what the
7 strategic purpose of the Territorial Defence,
8 specifically in relation to Tactical Group 1 and 2,
9 which, according to the accused, seems to be the basic
10 tactical motivation here.
11 I have to say that I'm having some trouble
12 here. Of course, the model is something that the
13 accused is very familiar with. He knows the region
14 very well, he knows it by heart, but I am having some
15 trouble with the map.
16 Han Ploca is here, Visoko is there, and
17 here's Kiseljak, so it's kind of a fan.
18 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President, that is why
19 it is perhaps better to look at the model, because in
20 Bosnia, who controls the roads controls the territory,
21 so it is important to differentiate between road and
22 mountain because you can only pass via road, by road.
23 You can't pass if there's a hill or mountain in the
25 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, continue, if you could
1 help us a little bit.
2 MR. NOBILO: Yes. I have tried to help out a
3 little bit from what I've learned from this case. In
4 Bosnia in World War II and in this war as well and even
5 during Turkish times, the struggle to control the roads
6 was the key to success. So if you look at the towns on
7 the map, they are dispersed and have no links. That is
8 why it is important to see the link between the towns
9 and to see where the hills and mountains are, so that
10 you can see the road and route to be taken leading you
11 from one town to the other and how to bypass the hills,
12 and it is enough to intercept, to place a roadblock on
13 the road, and then you stop all circulation and you're
14 in control.
15 JUDGE JORDA: I understand that it's easier
16 to go on a road than it is to go through a mountain,
17 that's how it is in every country, but I have seen that
18 from Kiseljak, in order to go to Visoko, there must be
19 a road from Kiseljak to Visoko; whereas Han Ploca is on
20 another road further south; am I wrong or am I right?
21 I see that the accused is very familiar with all of
22 this and can explain it to us.
23 MR. NOBILO: The General is the right man to
24 do this. Let us just wait for the technicians to
25 switch the microphones on.
1 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, you're quite
2 right, of course. The main road is precisely this road
3 here (indicating) running from Kiseljak towards
5 JUDGE JORDA: To Visoko. All right.
6 A. Yes. That is the only asphalt road that
7 exists with a modern asphalt base, but there are other,
8 shall I say, reserve roads, and one of these secondary
9 roads goes from Tarcin. Tarcin is a town from Sarajevo
10 towards Mostar. I don't know whether you have Tarcin
11 on your map, but it is located somewhere here
12 (indicating), Tarcin. It is the main road running from
13 Mostar to Sarajevo. Then there's a mountain road which
14 takes you via Suvodol, Pirin, Toplice, Zabrdje,
15 Lepenica, Han Ploca, Grahovci, Kralupi, and Godusa, and
16 you get to Visoko that way.
17 Q. Who was in control of Tarcin?
18 A. Tarcin was controlled by the BH army.
19 Q. Who controlled Visoko?
20 A. Visoko was held by the army of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but this entire area was under the
22 control of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, so these are
23 BH army positions.
24 Q. Can we say then that, in that way, they
25 wanted to open a corridor between two areas controlled
1 by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Tarcin and Visoko,
2 can we say that, a corridor?
3 A. Yes. This would then be a corridor and an
4 unhampered route, completely under the control of one
5 army which would enable --
6 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, if I may
7 indicate, the corridor on the model is established in
8 that way. So could the camera focus on that corridor?
9 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that's right. Yes, I
10 see. Okay. We've found it. I've found it with Judge
11 Rodrigues. Thank you very much, Mr. Nobilo and
12 Mr. Blaskic. Continue. Excuse us for having
13 interrupted you. It's not a habit of ours, but we
14 really wanted to have the clarifications at that
15 specific point.
16 MR. NOBILO:
17 Q. After those clarifications, I should like to
18 show you a document. It is Defence Exhibit 127, which
19 you have heard about in this courtroom. We have
20 already used it, so it is document D127, and it is a
21 document of the command of the Territorial Defence of
22 Kiseljak, and I'd like to read out two points from that
23 document. There is no translation, so we're going to
24 put it up on the ELMO.
25 It is from the headquarters of the
1 Territorial Defence of Kiseljak, and the date is the
2 5th of August, 1992, and it states in point 1: "All
3 units of the armed forces of Kiseljak, in their own
4 zone of responsibility, should immediately have
5 assignments to strengthen control in the
6 zone/territory, the formation of reconnaissance groups,
7 lookouts with the task of collecting, processing, and
8 using intelligence data as to the deployment, movement,
9 and activities of the aggressor, as well as the units
10 of the HVO."
11 Point 3 in that document of the 5th of
12 August, 1992, point 3 states: "Immediately to
13 determine the features and especially the positions on
14 the main communication line and secondary roads for a
15 blockade and a cutting across of territories and roads
16 and to assign part of the forces to execute this task,"
17 so on and so forth.
18 Tell us, General, at that time in 1992, did
19 you know that your allies were issuing documents of
20 this kind?
21 A. No, I did not. I have never seen this
22 document until I came to the Tribunal here.
23 Q. Does this document fall within the
24 description of the developing events as you described
25 them? Yes, please go ahead.
1 A. Can I just point out, point 2, it says,
2 "Immediately engage all manpower from the units to
3 take control of the important facilities and features
4 in the zone of responsibility of those units with a
5 rational distribution of all available weapons and
6 facilities -- equipment." I would like to stress the
7 word "immediately."
8 Q. On the 5th, it was issued, and was it
10 A. In the course of the day of the 5th, it was
11 implemented, especially in the area of Bukovica, Han
12 Ploca, and Duhri.
13 Q. Let's move on. We've said a lot about Duhri
14 today, although that is one of the counts in the
15 indictment. Was Duhri the end incident between the HVO
16 and the army in the Operative Zone that we were
17 mentioning or were there further incidents? If there
18 were other incidents, would you tell us of them in
19 telegraphic fashion, as briefly as possible to move
20 forward as quickly as possible, so that we can conclude
21 with 1992 today or at least tomorrow morning?
22 A. Unfortunately, Duhri was not the final
23 incident. There were more. On the 10th of August, for
24 example, 1992, at the barricade in Kacuni --
25 Q. Would you point that out to us, please?
1 A. Here they are (indicating). It is on the
2 road between Busovaca and Kiseljak, the
3 Busovaca-Kiseljak road.
4 Q. Thank you. What happened there?
5 A. In the afternoon of the 10th of August, I was
6 travelling from Vitez via Busovaca to Kacuni towards
7 Kiseljak. As the barricade was set up there, we had to
8 slow down and pass by the obstacles, the roadblocks,
10 Q. Who controlled the barricade?
11 A. The barricade was manned by the TO, the
12 Territorial Defence, and we passed by in a column.
13 There were others in the column, some five other
14 vehicles in actual fact made up the column, and they
15 opened fire on the vehicle. The members of the TO
16 opened fire on the vehicles -- on the first vehicle,
17 and the vehicles bringing up the rear, a truck moved
18 towards the --
19 THE INTERPRETER: I'm afraid we can't hear
20 the General.
21 A. -- they started shooting at the vehicle I was
22 in. I was in the front car.
23 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. I think that the
24 translators have just noted that they missed something
25 in the translation, so they are not catching what the
1 witness is saying. I think we need to back up and
2 reiterate what was just testified to. I don't know if
3 it was coming across in the French, but apparently it's
4 a problem in the English booth, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE JORDA: The French interpretation
6 seemed all right. They seemed to have heard.
7 THE INTERPRETER: We don't quite know what
8 happened to the end of the column.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Could you move just a little
10 bit or come a little bit closer to the microphone or
11 perhaps the usher could hand the microphone to the
12 witness. It seems to be a bit complicated.
13 General Blaskic, could you perhaps hold the
14 microphone? No, that might be too complicated. All
15 right. We'll have the United Nations buy you a little
16 microphone you can put on your tie. I'm sure that
17 wouldn't be too onerous for the budget.
18 MR. NOBILO:
19 Q. Would you just repeat, General, at Kacuni, at
20 the checkpoint manned by the Territorial Defence, an
21 attempt was made on you and the vehicle in which you
22 were travelling. Could you describe this incident?
23 A. We were moving from the direction of Vitez
24 via Busovaca in the direction of Kacuni and further on
25 to Kiseljak. At Kacuni, a checkpoint had been set up
1 by the Territorial Defence. Before this checkpoint, a
2 motor vehicle was parked, and as our column was
3 approaching the checkpoint, the first vehicles were let
4 through, and at the last vehicle from the side, from
5 this direction (indicating), this large truck was moved
6 in order to force it off the road, and fire was opened
7 from the checkpoint. The vehicle was damaged, none of
8 us were hit, but the engine was damaged. I don't know
9 exactly what the problem was. This point is called Cep
10 (indicating). So we had to bring the vehicle to a stop
11 here and exchange them.
12 Q. Very well. Could you now please sit down,
13 and if you can just very briefly give us a list of the
14 following incidents?
15 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We're going to take
16 a break now. Thank you.
17 --- Recess taken at 4.05 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 4.32 p.m.
19 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume the hearing.
20 Please be seated.
21 Mr. Nobilo?
22 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Q. So, General, we just completed a discussion
24 of the big incident at Duhri, and the next major
25 incident was in Novi Travnik, it was the conflict
1 between the TO and the HVO, and the conflict over the
2 barricade in Ahmici in October of 1992.
3 Between Duhri and the conflict at the Ahmici
4 barricade, were there any other conflicts except for
5 this attempt on your life?
6 A. Yes, there were other incidents. As early as
7 the night of the 11th of August, 1992, in Sarajevo, the
8 Territorial Defence attacked the command post of the
9 HVO Sarajevo, and a number of people were captured and
10 taken away from the building of the HVO command.
11 Several days later, the command post was freed and
12 there were no additional serious consequences.
13 Further, in Kiseljak, four HVO soldiers,
14 representing that they were working for the military
15 police, took away some 100 rifles from the TO. I was
16 informed of this on 12th August, 1992.
17 Q. Did you order any kind of investigation or
18 other measures?
19 A. Yes. I issued an order following a meeting
20 which I held with General Merdan on the 10th of August
21 regarding this matter, and with respect to this
22 incident, I requested an investigation and taking
23 appropriate steps.
24 Q. Did you also issue an order in which you
25 forbade that the TO soldiers be disarmed?
1 A. Yes, I issued such an order as early as 10
2 August, 1992.
3 MR. NOBILO: One moment, please. I believe
4 we have a copy of this order. This is Defence Exhibit
5 number 395, issued by the commander of the Central
6 Bosnia Operative Zone headquarters, and number 1 says:
7 "I forbid any taking away of weapons or giving
8 ultimatums to the TO units to surrender weapons."
9 Q. Would you please look at this order? Was
10 this order issued in relation to that incident?
11 A. This is the order which I issued after a
12 meeting with General Merdan and a meeting with the
13 chief of staff of the Kiseljak defence office, Nasid
15 Q. At point 2: "Written and signed warnings are
16 to be issued to all subordinate commanders down to the
17 squad level that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
18 do not stand behind such reckless actions and that they
19 will be personally responsible for such actions."
20 Was this what your order contained?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. So will you please move on to the next
23 conflict? Was that the incident in Konjic, which was
24 the neighbouring municipality?
25 A. Yes. Konjic is a municipality, neighbouring
1 municipality, to Fojnica. An incident that took place
2 there was in relation to disarming of some HVO soldier
3 which was conducted by the Territorial Defence soldiers
4 of the Konjic municipality. Also, in August, there was
5 another conflict in Stup municipality, this is one of
6 the Sarajevo municipalities, between the members of the
7 HVO and TO.
8 Further, there was an incident in the
9 territory of Breza municipality, that is in Ilijas
10 municipality, but the incident was provoked by the TO
11 members from Breza, and it concerned the persecution of
12 Croats in Zupe and Cemerno who had been driven out of
13 their homes by members of the Serbian army.
14 Q. In August, there was also an incident
15 involving an attempt on the life of the HVO commander
16 in Jajce?
17 A. Yes, that was also in August of 1992. The
18 commander of the HVO in Jajce, Mr. Stjepan Blazevic,
19 was travelling from the town of Jajce via Karaula and
20 Travnik to Vitez to a meeting with me. He was hit from
21 the back and he was hit in the place where he had his
23 Q. What about the following month? Again, if
24 you can just give us in a very telegraphic manner?
25 A. In the month of September, the tensions
1 between members of the Vitez HOS and members of the
2 Zenica HOS were very frequent. For the most part, it
3 was over the issue of competence; who was going to have
4 the command of HOS.
5 Also, on 4th of September, special MUP units
6 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, of Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 MUP, whose commander was Juka Prazina, attacked a
8 barricade, that was a Serbian barricade, at Stup. This
9 place is called Stup. This then, in turn, provoked
10 conflicts and resulted in the expulsion of both Croats
11 and Muslims from there.
12 On 9 September, the Territorial Defence
13 attacked the Serbs in the villages of Tolovici in the
14 Vitez municipality.
15 Q. In these villages, were there just civilians
16 living there or was the army deployed there?
17 A. According to the information I received,
18 first the civilians were disarmed, and then on the 9th
19 of September, the Serbian civilians were expelled from
20 the village and brought to the territory of the town
21 itself and placed under the HVO control. This also
22 involved the village of Preocica.
23 On 9 September, the commander of the Kresevo
24 defence confiscated weapons which were going to the
25 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to the Tuzla corps.
1 Q. Did you do anything about that?
2 A. I ordered that the equipment be returned, and
3 I managed to have most of it returned. I also
4 disciplined some of the perpetrators of this act.
5 Ivica Bosnjak was their commander.
6 On the 10th of September, a Croatian civilian
7 was killed in Vitez, his name was Ivo Plavcic, near the
8 gas station which was called Kalen and was owned by
9 Bosniak Muslims. In the town of Vitez that night, two
10 hand grenades were thrown.
11 On the 18th of September, 1992, I was
12 informed that on the road between Fojnica and Gornji
13 Vakuf, an officer went missing who was a member of the
14 Fojnica municipal staff.
15 Q. I believe that we don't have that area here
16 on the model.
17 Who was the dominant force in Gornji Vakuf
18 and who was suspected of having done this?
19 A. This area was controlled by the army of
20 Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is, the Bosniak Muslims.
21 Q. Continue on with the incidents.
22 A. On the night between the 28th and 29th of
23 September, there was an incident in Kiseljak when
24 members of a private unit abducted, that is, kidnapped
25 Ivica Rajic, the HVO commander in town, and tortured
1 him and threatened to execute him.
2 On the 20th of September, 1992, members of
3 the Territorial Defence expelled 40 families from the
4 village of Medvjednica in the Kiseljak municipality,
5 all of them civilians, and who had been received in the
6 Kiseljak municipality as refugees.
7 On the 21st of September, 1992, the commander
8 of the Croatian Defence Council in Zepce, Mr. Ivo
9 Lozancic, was attacked. He was attacked by members of
10 the HVO.
11 On 25th of September, 1992, in the town of
12 Travnik, there was a rebellion, mostly among the HOS
13 and HVO members, and the reason for this rebellion was
14 their accusations that members of the civilian police
15 were not being involved at the front lines and they did
16 not carry out their police tasks. So there was a
17 confrontation between the civilian police on the one
18 side and the HVO members on the other -- and HOS on the
19 other side.
20 On the 26th of September, in Novi Travnik,
21 the commander of the military police of the HVO
22 attacked the mayor of Novi Travnik.
23 On the 26th of September, there was another
24 incident in Konjic. Members of the Territorial Defence
25 attacked a vehicle which was transporting food. They
1 killed the driver and wounded two HVO soldiers who were
2 escorting this vehicle.
3 On the 29th of September, 1992, there was an
4 armed conflict in Novi Travnik between members of the
5 HVO and members of HOS.
6 Q. Could you just briefly say what incidents
7 took place in October before we move to the events in
8 Novi Travnik and Ahmici which we just had announced?
9 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps you could speak about
10 the major incidents, and speak in shorter form, whether
11 they were mostly part of the Territorial Defence
12 against well-known people at the seat of the HVO or
13 whether there were also attacks, because I think,
14 Mr. Nobilo, that your question deals with the serious
15 events of November 1992 in Novi Travnik and at the
16 roadblock in Ahmici.
17 MR. NOBILO: Yes, I thought that the witness
18 would mention some of the more significant incidents
19 and then move on to the two big incidents in Ahmici and
20 in Novi Travnik. We are almost there. We only have a
21 few more incidents.
22 Q. So, please, if you can just limit yourself to
23 the more significant incidents because we know that
24 there have been a number of small incidents.
25 JUDGE JORDA: So this entire period was
1 really scattered with incidents, and that's what you're
2 trying to show us, but perhaps you could focus on the
3 events which, to you, in the position of responsibility
4 that you had, you considered to be major and which have
5 an effect on what happened later. That would be of
6 great interest to the Judges. Thank you very much.
7 A. Thank you Mr. President. Your Honours, the
8 following incident took place on the 6th of October.
9 This was an attack conducted by the units of the
10 Territorial Defence from Zenica on the Kuber feature
11 where members of the HVO were conducting works on --
12 were building placements for anti-aircraft defences.
13 At that time, we had joint defences as regards the
14 anti-aircraft defences; in other words, the regional
15 staff of the Zenica TO and the HVO had joint
16 anti-aircraft defence crews, and the Kuber feature was
17 attacked by members of the Territorial Defence and
18 later we learned that the attack was carried out
19 pursuant to an order issued by the regional
20 headquarters in Zenica.
21 MR. NOBILO:
22 Q. Very well. Let us now skip a number of minor
23 incidents which were happening throughout this period
24 and move on to the 19th of October, 1992, when you were
25 travelling to Mostar. Why were you going to Mostar,
1 what happened there, and what was the situation which
2 you found after you returned from Mostar?
3 A. The situation at the front, especially at the
4 Jajce front, was very critical; in fact, in October, we
5 launched the last effort to retain our positions in
7 In the afternoon of the 18th, I was visited
8 by the commander of the municipal headquarters of the
9 Jajce HVO and president of the Jajce HVO on behalf of
10 the civilian authorities and requested of me assistance
11 in personnel and materiel because the fall of town was
12 imminent. I asked for a reception, an audience with
13 the chief of main staff, and a member of the Defence
14 Ministry --
15 Q. Let me just refresh your memory. You spent
16 October --
17 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. Excuse me. With all
18 due respect, counsel, I don't think the witness needs
19 his memory refreshed.
20 MR. NOBILO: I am only doing it for -- I
21 wanted to just refresh his memory in terms of --
22 JUDGE JORDA: You know that both parties
23 always speak in the interests of the Judges. We all
24 know that.
25 I think that we are dealing with a witness
1 who doesn't particularly need to have his memory
2 refreshed. However, I must say that I myself asked the
3 question a while back in order to allow the Judges to
4 have the most synthesising type of testimony possible
5 and to have the witness focus on the most important
6 points. Now, if the accused prefers to insist upon all
7 of the incidents, that's his absolute right.
8 Continue, please.
9 MR. NOBILO:
10 Q. Very well. Let us all be reminded: Who
11 fought at Jajce?
12 A. On the one side, there were the defenders of
13 Jajce who were members of the HVO, HOS, Territorial
14 Defence, and the Patriotic League, and the attackers on
15 the town of Jajce were Serbs.
16 Q. Very well. So on the 19th of October, 1992,
17 you arrived in Mostar to conduct talks with the chief
18 of staff --
19 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. The commander of
20 the staff -- I am really insisting on the names because
21 I have to really know who they were. Who was the
22 commander at headquarters?
23 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I arrived in
24 Mostar to meet with Mr. Bruno Stojic and General Milvoj
25 Petkovic, at the time was Brigadier, he was the
1 commander of the main headquarters, main staff, and
2 this was Brigadier at the time, Milvoj Petkovic.
3 I came to visit them in the morning of the
4 19th of October with the intention of informing them of
5 the situation which was very critical and to ask for
6 assistance both in personnel and materiel.
7 In this meeting on the 19th, at one point
8 Mr. Bruno Stojic, who was the representative of the
9 defence department, said "What is going on up there
10 with you?" And I told him that as far as I knew, the
11 only problems we had were with the defence of Jajce and
12 that there were no other problems. He posed a
13 question, "What about Novi Travnik?" I replied that on
14 the basis of my information, which was yesterday's
15 information, the situation was normal.
16 So in the latter part of the day, I travelled
17 from Mostar to Grude to the assistant for logistics to
18 identify the priority materiel for the defence of
19 Jajce. After I reached an agreement with him, I
20 returned to Kiseljak via Konjic, and in the Kiseljak
21 barracks, I asked the duty officer to give me any
22 information, if he had any, about the events in Novi
24 The duty officer told me that there were some
25 incidents, but that the situation had been calmed down
1 and that there were no problems anymore. He also added
2 that Colonel Filipovic had also called, who at that
3 time was commander of the Operative Group in Travnik,
4 and that he said that the situation in Travnik had been
5 calmed down.
6 On the 20th of October, I started out from
7 Kiseljak on the main road via Busovaca, and at about
8 8.00, I arrived at this position at Kaonik. The
9 members of the civilian police there told me that the
10 road was blocked and that I couldn't go further on by
11 car because the members of the Territorial Defence had
12 set up a barricade.
13 Q. Where had they set up the barricade?
14 A. They told me that the barricade had been set
15 up by the cemetery near the village of Ahmici. This is
16 the position I'm pointing to now (indicating).
17 I continued along the road, my driver was
18 driving and with my escort, and I arrived at the
19 barricade. On the road, I saw two devices called
20 hedgehogs. They are metal devices, roadblocks. I saw
21 three anti-tank mines, and I tried to remove the mines
22 and the barricade, that is to say, those hedgehog
23 devices, in order to pass through.
24 When I stepped out of the car, I heard a
25 warning at that time, I was told to stop, and I saw in
1 front of me, at some 15 to 20 metres in front of me,
2 soldiers who were in military gear with their weapons
3 pointed at me, their weapons were cocked at us, and one
4 of them cautioned me and told me to go back. I tried
5 to learn on the spot whether there was a commander
6 amongst them, and I asked them who their commander was
7 because I intended to talk to their commander and to
8 ask him to allow us to move forward and go on to Vitez
9 and Kruscica; however, he just kept repeating one
10 thing, "There's no commander here. Go back where you
11 came from."
12 Having asked to be taken to Dzemo Merdan and
13 to talk to him, as they did not desist in their
14 threats, I returned. I went back to Busovaca, and at
15 the bus stop in Busovaca, the military police conveyed
16 a message to me and told me to contact the UNPROFOR
17 headquarters in Kiseljak, to call them by telephone
18 from Busovaca.
19 The members of the UN headquarters in
20 Kiseljak asked me to convene a meeting with Brigadier
21 Petkovic, General Razek, and General Morillon in
22 Kiseljak. Before I went to phone General Petkovic from
23 Busovaca, I phoned my headquarters in Kruscica and
24 asked them to inform me of the events because I was not
25 able to pass the barricade. They told me, four or five
1 members of the headquarters told me, that they had been
2 encircled, surrounded, and that it was impossible to
3 leave the headquarters building because 30 metres away,
4 there were soldiers belonging to the Territorial
5 Defence and that they were mostly from Kruscica and
6 that they had surrounded the building, surrounded the
7 headquarters. They also informed me --
8 Q. The headquarters were your own headquarters,
9 the headquarters of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone?
10 A. Yes, that's right. It was the regional main
11 staff, my own headquarters.
12 I was also informed that there was fighting
13 in Novi Travnik but that they did not have any precise
14 details as to the actual events that were happening
15 there. They knew that there was fighting between the
16 HVO and the Territorial Defence of Novi Travnik and
17 that the detonations, strong detonations, could be
18 heard in Busovaca, almost as far as Busovaca.
19 Later on, I tried to establish links with the
20 head of the main staff in connection with these
21 activities and meetings from Busovaca, and at around
22 2.00 p.m., I managed to contact the mayor of Vitez, the
23 president of the municipal assembly, who was Ivica
24 Santic, who informed me that they in Vitez had
25 established contacts with the representatives of the
1 Bosniak Muslims and had organised a meeting with the
2 aim of transcending all the tensions and difficulties
3 and that the meeting would be attended by both the
4 civilian and military representatives.
5 I asked him whether he had any concrete
6 information as to the events in Novi Travnik, and he
7 said that he knew that there was fighting there and
8 that there were casualties, but that he had no
10 The conflict broke out at the barricade in
11 Ahmici after a shift had been stopped, which was to
12 have passed and moved on to the Jajce front, and the
13 military police took part in the removal of the
14 barracks on one side and the Territorial Defence on the
16 Q. You mean the military police of the HVO?
17 A. Yes, the military police of the HVO.
18 Sometime in the afternoon after 6.00 p.m., this
19 barricade was dismantled.
20 Q. Where were you, yourself, located when the
21 fighting was going on at the barricade in Ahmici
22 between the military police of the HVO and the
23 Territorial Defence?
24 A. Almost the entire time, I was at the
25 headquarters of the military police in Busovaca, and I
1 was trying to contact General Petkovic. Finally, I
2 called a liaison office in Kiseljak to carry on with
3 this job and to try and arrange a meeting.
4 Q. Do you know what the results of that military
5 operation were at the barricades, how many dead there
6 were on both sides, whether any civilian facilities
7 were destroyed? What was your information in that
9 A. I later received information that one soldier
10 belonging to the HVO had been killed and that one
11 member of the Territorial Defence had been killed, who
12 was also one of the soldiers in the trenches. I know
13 that there were some facilities that were burnt on both
14 sides, both on the Croatian side and on the Bosniak
15 Muslim side, and I know that a commission was set up to
16 investigate, it was a municipal commission, and it
17 dealt with the damage that had been done.
18 Q. Did the municipality use its own resources to
19 clear up the damage that had been done?
20 A. Yes. The municipality of Vitez and the
21 commission that was set up studied the damages and drew
22 up a report of the damage that had been done, and it
23 repaired the damage from its own resources. The
24 members of the commission were both Croats and Bosniak
1 Q. Tell us, please, whether you remember how
2 many facilities were burnt down during that fighting.
3 A. As far as I know, very few, perhaps three,
4 and five at the most, a maximum of five.
5 Q. What happened afterwards? On the 20th of
6 April, Stojak, the commander of the HVO, was killed; is
7 that true? Is that correct? Can you tell us something
8 about that, and can you describe how this happened? On
9 the 20th of October, I apologise, the 20th of October,
11 A. I later received, sometime around 8.00 p.m.,
12 information that, in the course of the afternoon, at
13 the exit from the town of Travnik towards -- the exit
14 from Travnik, this position here (indicating), the army
15 of Bosnia-Herzegovina had set up a checkpoint, its own
16 checkpoint, and at that checkpoint, there were also
17 people who manned the checkpoint from the composition
18 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Territorial
19 Defence, and that is where the commander of the
20 Croatian Defence Council for the Travnik municipality,
21 Ivica Stojak, was killed, and an officer of his who was
22 in the car with him was seriously wounded. This caused
23 a great increase in tension, so tension was at a peak
24 in the town of Travnik itself.
25 I received information later on at the Hotel
1 Vitez where I was informed by the deputy commander of
2 the municipal main staff in Vitez, Mr. Cerkez, about
3 the situation, and he told me that the road from Vitez
4 towards Kruscica, there was still not free passage on
5 the road because of the barricades which had been set
6 up by the Territorial Defence from Kruscica.
7 I received information that at 11.00 p.m.,
8 2300 hours, a meeting would be held between the
9 commander of the regional staff of the Territorial
10 Defence of Zenica, Mr. Dzemo Merdan, and I was to have
11 been present at that meeting. The meeting was to have
12 been presided over by Colonel Bob Stewart and
13 Brigadier, I think his name was, Cummings, Andrew
15 Sometime after 2300 hours, the meeting was
16 actually held, it did take place, and the topic was a
17 cease-fire of combat operations in Novi Travnik.
18 Q. Were you informed as to why the conflict in
19 Novi Travnik broke out?
20 A. Yes. According to the information that I
21 received, once again, the cause of the conflict was
22 control over the petrol station, to gain control, and
23 over the old hotel.
24 Q. Between which sides?
25 A. Between the HVO and the Territorial Defence.
1 Q. Tell us briefly something in connection to
2 the killing of Stojak, the commander of the HVO, a very
3 popular man. Was anything done? Was an investigation
4 held? Were the perpetrators uncovered, and were they
5 brought to justice, disciplined?
6 A. After the killing, a joint commission was set
7 up between the HVO and the Territorial Defence, and
8 this was done at the level of the municipal main staff
9 of Travnik. An investigation was conducted, and it was
10 confirmed that the killing was performed by a member of
11 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and he was nicknamed
12 Tara. The commission stopped its work, taking note of
13 the fact that, for the time being, Mr. Tara was
14 inaccessible for proceedings in the case to be
15 continued. As far as I know, he was not taken into
16 custody, and that case was never taken any further.
17 Q. Before we move to another area, I should like
18 to mention the 23rd of October. You were at a meeting
19 in the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and you
20 received the highest decoration of the Republic of
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Golden Lily, and if that is
22 true, would you explain how and when this took place?
23 A. Yes, that is correct. On the 23rd of
24 October, I was within the delegation, a member of the
25 delegation, of the Croatian Defence Council which
1 attended the first Tri Partite meeting at the airport
2 in Sarajevo. It was the stand of the HVO delegation
3 that, before the Tri Partite meeting take place, a
4 meeting be convened in the presidency building, the
5 presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, between the members,
6 that is to say, the delegations of the HVO and the army
7 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in order to coordinate and
8 dovetail stands and coordinate further work.
9 At that meeting, I, as the commander of the
10 main staff of the HVO, and two other officers were
11 decorated with the order of merit of the Golden Lily,
12 and that was the highest military decoration of the
13 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina at that time.
14 Q. For a moment, we'll leave behind chronology,
15 and we'll go on to talk about the end of the year
16 tomorrow, but let's go over to a summary review of
18 We saw the incidents that took place between
19 the two sides. Can you tell us something about crime?
20 As a concept, was this something that worried you and
21 something that drew your attention? What were the
22 characteristics of the crime that was taking place? So
23 if you could summarise, in the few minutes that we have
24 left, and explain to the Court what crime represented
25 in the area of Central Bosnia in 1992?
1 A. The position of this area of Central Bosnia,
2 and when I say that, I have in mind Kiseljak and Vitez,
3 Busovaca and Travnik, and at that time, the
4 communication links with eastern Bosnia and southern
5 Bosnia and the enormous influx of refugees and
6 displaced persons had an effect on the crime rate.
7 Crime soared, and this led to a collapse of general law
8 and order. However, I focused my attention on the
9 front line, and I spent sometimes several weeks and
10 sometimes several months working out the organisation
11 and defence and I was -- in the defence of Jajce and
12 Travnik and other areas. I was engaged in that.
13 The crime that took place was, first and
14 foremost, the looting of social property,
15 socially-owned property. At that time, as property did
16 not have a defined owner, defined ownership, some
17 people considered that it was quite all right, that it
18 was moral to appropriate what was known as
19 socially-owned property, that is to say, property owned
20 by certain companies, social companies and so on. Then
21 there was an appropriation of materiel from the
22 warehouses of the former JNA, and this appropriation
23 was done on different pretexts but the consequences of
24 it were always the same.
25 Then there was a general reselling of weapons
1 and military materiel which very often led to family
2 tragedies and a settling of accounts where profits were
3 concerned. Then there was the formation of barricades,
4 ad hoc barricades and roadblocks on roads, and this was
5 a basic source of income for certain villages along the
6 roads, main roads, in Central Bosnia. Each village
7 took it into their own hands to set up a roadblock and
8 a checkpoint and to reap the profits thereof, a sort of
9 tax that they levied of their own accord, and then
10 there was highway robbery, so to speak, and motor
11 vehicles were confiscated and appropriated, stolen, in
12 fact, and later on there was looting of family houses,
13 first of all of workers who were employed abroad, that
14 is to say, the houses were empty and their owners
15 working abroad, but then looting of the other homes
16 began as well. This was also done in a systematic
17 manner, that is to say, they would even steal the
18 construction materials, the bricks and roofs and so on,
19 and it was a very lucrative business to evacuate
20 citizens from Sarajevo. It was a phenomenon at that
21 time that for the profiteers, the road was always open
22 and that they always managed, given remuneration and if
23 you paid them, that they would ensure the evacuation of
24 people from Sarajevo and the encirclement around
25 Sarajevo. This was a lucrative business. There were
1 also other high-profit goods that were sold and
2 imported and sold in the region.
3 In a word, crime flourished, and it led to
4 the breakdown of the system of law and order that had
5 prevailed and it led to a misbalance and general
6 destruction of all criteria, moral criteria and all
8 Q. In 1992, having given us an overview of the
9 situation in Central Bosnia and having had an overview
10 of the situation yourself, and you will be describing
11 this to us, what was civilian power and authority like
12 and what were your relationships to civilian
13 authority? How did you distribute your authorities?
14 Where did they coincide? So tell us something about
15 civilian power and authority in the area of the Central
16 Bosnia Operative Zone in 1992.
17 A. In 1992, I was informed that a regional main
18 staff existed as a coordinating body of the civilian
19 organs of power and authority. However, I did not
20 consider myself competent for the civilian organs of
21 power and authority, and I did not consider them to
22 have any competence over me. I know that my superior
23 was the chief of the main staff and, for the most part,
24 that is how I behaved and what my conduct was like.
25 The civilian power and authority at the level
1 of the municipalities functioned for the most part in
2 an autonomous manner, and we could even say that it was
3 a sort of state within a state, and apart from
4 coordination, there were no other links, and these two
5 power structures endeavoured, I say "endeavoured," to
6 function quite separately.
7 Q. The central authorities in Sarajevo, was
8 their effect felt in any way in the area of Central
9 Bosnia, either with the Croats or with the Muslims?
10 A. No, it was not, and this could be seen on the
11 basis of the daily functioning of the civilian
12 institutions, the taxes that were levied and customs.
13 Q. Who levied taxes and duty, customs duty?
14 A. These were levied and taken in by the
15 municipality but with regard to the population and not
16 the area, which was a little strange.
17 Q. What does that mean? What do you mean by
19 A. Well, that meant that the members of the
20 Croatian people, for the most part, paid their dues
21 vis-à-vis the organs of the civilian authorities of the
22 HVO and the members of the Muslim Bosniak people paid
23 their dues via taxes which they paid to the authorities
24 of the Bosniak Muslim authorities in the same
1 Q. What happened with the legal system in 1992,
2 the justice system, the law court system?
3 A. In 1992, at the level of the state of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, towards the municipalities, it was
5 not functioning for the most part.
6 Q. What about at the level of the
7 municipalities; was the legal system working there?
8 A. No. In 1992, no civilian courts were
9 functioning apart from an attempt to set up regional
10 military courts, district courts.
11 Q. Between the civil authorities -- civilian
12 authorities in towns, for example, Muslim civilian
13 authorities and the government in Sarajevo, was there
14 any communication between the two which is standard
15 practice in states of any kind?
16 A. As far as I know, this kind of communication
17 did not exist, but I didn't have any personal insight
18 into that mechanism and that communication.
19 Q. What about the balance of payments and the
20 system of payments between companies and the state; did
21 that system function as it had done before the war or
22 did it disintegrate?
23 A. Well, it wasn't able to function because
24 there wasn't a currency. The German mark was the
25 prevailing currency, whereas the balance of payments
1 and everything else was not functioning.
2 Q. What about the post office system; did that
3 function in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Did pensioners receive their pensions and did
6 salaries come in to civil servants from the budget?
7 A. No, only if the municipality had its own
8 resources in order to pay these dues. They were not,
9 in fact, pensions but they were just -- they just took
10 care of the social cases. People who relied on social
11 welfare to survive, they would receive remuneration.
12 Q. What about the pension funds from Sarajevo?
13 Did they send pensions to people or not?
14 A. No, they did not.
15 Q. What happened to money and currency? What
16 was the money that was in use in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
17 A. Well, the German mark was the prevailing
18 currency at that time in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it was
19 the valid currency for the whole of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina. You could buy and sell on the
21 basis of the German mark throughout the territory of
23 Q. What currency was proclaimed by the
24 government in Sarajevo as the prevailing currency?
25 A. For a time, the Yugoslavia dinar was the
1 currency in use, but it had devalued a great deal.
2 Later on, there was bonds of some kind and 1992, and
3 only later on did the BH dinar come into play, it was
4 introduced, the BH dinar, but it was impossible to buy
5 anything because there were no goods to buy.
6 Q. Was Croatian kuna also used in this area of
8 A. It was because -- this was forced by the
9 circumstances, because in order to buy goods, you had
10 to go to the first neighbouring store or the first
11 neighbouring country, and so the Croatian kuna was also
13 Q. At that time, according to the laws of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, was there an army; in other words,
15 what was the legal armed force in the territory of
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina?
17 A. The Yugolav People's Army.
18 Q. So that was the army with which at least two
19 ethnic groups were at war?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. What was the case with the civilian police?
22 A. I can speak about Central Bosnia. In at
23 least eleven municipalities, the civilian police had
24 ceased to exist. The central links, that is, links
25 with certain centres, had been maintained, but
1 according to the information I received from the chief
2 of the Kiseljak police station, he issued the last
3 salary to his staff in April.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Nobilo. Ordinarily we
5 would go until a quarter to six, but since -- well,
6 perhaps we could go for another five or six minutes,
7 but I would like us to settle this problem that I
8 raised with you a while back about the common interests
9 between the Aleksovski and Blaskic Trial Chambers.
10 Please continue.
11 MR. NOBILO: Shall I go till about 5.45, or
12 shall I cut it off a bit earlier so that we can discuss
13 the Aleksovski issue?
14 JUDGE JORDA: Go for another five minutes,
15 then we'll stop, and we'll use the last five minutes to
16 discuss the problem that I mentioned so that we don't
17 keep the interpreters any longer.
18 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
19 Q. So you just described some key functions of
20 the federal state, and you said that they did not
21 operate. So who filled in this void; in other words,
22 who regulated life in Central Bosnia?
23 A. This void, for the most part by force, was
24 filled in by the municipality which took over all these
25 functions and attempted to discharge them in addition
1 to all the other functions which it had legally. So
2 this was simply a situation which we had, that each
3 municipality functioned as a mini state in itself.
4 Q. So let's list other functions: police,
5 taxing, schools. Who was regulating these affairs
6 which used to be regulated by the state?
7 A. All this was done by the municipality. What
8 the school year was going to be, when school would
9 start and when it would finish; police affairs, the
10 size of the police force, the active police force size;
11 and many, many other activities, levying of taxes,
12 other income, supplying the citizenship, that is, the
13 entire economy, the police, even the defence; in good
14 part, the defence as well, because the municipality was
15 the main logistics base for the military conscripts
16 because the municipality also carried out tax of
17 mobilisation which was a competence of the state, and
18 all the mobilisation plans were drafted by the
19 municipality, that is, competent departments of the
20 municipal government.
21 Q. Did the competence of the municipality sort
22 of overlap with the competences of the Central Bosnia
23 Operative Zone which you led?
24 A. Yes, they overlapped, and the municipalities
25 de facto had a large number of competences which were,
1 in fact, competences of the command of the Operative
2 Zone, at least in theory, on paper, but which were to
3 be taken over from the municipal structures by the
4 regional headquarters.
5 Q. We are still talking about 1992. We will
6 move on to 1993 later. But in 1992 were you trying to
7 take over the rest, so to speak, some of the
8 competences which they had which you felt that you had,
9 and could you mention some of the issues over which you
10 wrested with them?
11 A. Yes. There were activities there and, of
12 course, I tried to take over the competences which were
13 a part of commanding. Let me give you one example
14 only: The municipal crisis staffs adopted a decision
15 on the involvement of troops, even to the point that at
16 a level of local communes, the municipal crisis staffs
17 adopted decisions on the involvement of troops. They
18 appointed commanders and also regulated compensation,
19 the distribution of logistics such as ammunition. All
20 this was within the competences of the municipalities
21 because they controlled the means with which this
22 equipment or this materiel was acquired.
23 Similarly with respect to the combat
24 operations and the logistics support for these combat
25 operations because the logistics affairs, the
1 mobilisation affairs, and even the establishment
2 affairs were conducted by the municipal structures.
3 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, if you agree, I
4 think we have reached the end of a particular area, so
5 this may be a good point where we can stop.
6 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We'll stop at that
7 point and we'll resume tomorrow, remember at 9.45,
8 Friday. Friday is tomorrow.
9 All right. Mr. Prosecutor, have you
10 consulted with your colleagues?
11 MR. HARMON: I have, Mr. President, Your
12 Honours, and we certainly have no objection to Judge
13 Rodrigues participating in any decision taken on the
14 motion that has been presented by the Aleksovski
15 Chamber to this particular Trial Chamber. So we agree
16 to his participating in the decision.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Mr. Hayman or
18 Mr. Nobilo?
19 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, we consent to
20 Judge Rodrigues acting as a member of the Trial Chamber
21 on this issue. I'm not sure you need our consent; he
22 is a member of the Trial Chamber.
23 As a footnote, the Defence notes that we
24 don't know who the protected witness is that the
25 Aleksovski Trial Chamber has -- well, perhaps the
1 Appellate Chamber now has ordered the transcript to be
2 made available in the other case. We don't know if
3 it's a Prosecution witness or a Defence witness, I
4 think. I have read the appellate decision that was
5 made available to us yesterday, and I think that's the
6 only paper ...
7 JUDGE JORDA: I think only the Prosecutor
8 knows. I don't know. I don't think Judge Shahabuddeen
9 does either, nor does the Aleksovski case. The problem
10 here was simply to know how the Trial Chamber should be
11 composed. Now that the trial has been composed, thanks
12 to your agreement, we ourselves can know to what extent
13 we can or cannot modify the protective measures that
14 were taken, but in general, you should know -- I think
15 we can say, the decision was public -- you should
16 already know the direction that the Blaskic Chamber has
17 taken, that is, to strengthen or at least not to
18 diminish the protection of witnesses once the
19 testimonies move from one case to another.
20 Having said that, it's with pleasure and
21 satisfaction that we have noted the agreement of the
22 parties and that the Trial Chamber be definitively
23 composed as it is with Judge Rodrigues.
24 MR. HAYMAN: The only footnote,
25 Mr. President, I was making was if the witness was a
1 Defence witness, a protected Defence witness, we do not
2 consent without further discussion or information to
3 the revelation of a protected Defence witness to
4 another party, including -- to another party, period.
5 But I don't know if the witness the Prosecutor seeks is
6 a protected Defence witness or a protected Prosecution
7 witness. If we could be told the pseudonym, if it was
8 a pseudonymed witness in our case, then we already know
9 who it is based on the pseudonym, and we may well be in
10 a position to consent. Even if it were a Defence
11 witness, I just want to note we don't know that. We're
12 operating a little bit in the dark.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Hayman, but
14 you're really going now to the substance of the
15 motion. We simply had to know who was going to decide,
16 whether it would be with two Judges or three Judges,
17 but as concerns the rest, I don't know whether
18 Mr. Harmon wants to tell us something.
19 MR. HARMON: I can assuage my colleague's
20 concerns. It is a Prosecution witness. I won't say
21 more and I will not identify the witness.
22 MR. HAYMAN: That probably does eliminate any
23 concern. There may be cases where there are
24 Prosecution witnesses and there were segments of the
25 testimony that the Defence had a unique interest in the
1 sealed nature or confidential nature of a question or a
2 document. I don't know. But subject to that, we, of
3 course, would not have any objection and would consent
4 to whatever the Court feels appropriate with respect to
5 confidential Prosecution witness material. Thank you.
6 JUDGE JORDA: All right. It's with
7 satisfaction that Judge Shahabuddeen and I accept Judge
8 Rodrigues on this very sensitive issue.
9 Thank you very much. The court stands
10 adjourned, and we will resume tomorrow morning at
12 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
13 5.47 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
14 the 19th day of February, 1999, at
15 9.45 a.m.