1 Tuesday, 23rd February, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.07 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Registrar,
5 have our witness brought in, please, that is, General
7 (The accused entered court)
8 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
9 interpreters and to the court reporters. Good morning
10 to the Defence and to the Prosecution counsel and to
11 the witness. If everybody can hear me, and I hope
12 everybody can, we can continue.
13 Mr. Nobilo?
14 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Perhaps this is a good point to introduce the
16 photographs, the still photographs, which were taken
17 yesterday. We only have a single colour series, and
18 the rest of them are black and white. Perhaps we could
19 also place them on the ELMO and ask General Blaskic to
20 just quickly describe each one of them and then have
21 each one assigned a number.
22 THE REGISTRAR: As regards the photographs,
23 this will be D542/1-7.
24 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC
25 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
1 Q. The first photograph is D542/1. Could you
2 just briefly describe this photograph?
3 MR. KEHOE: I believe you said you had black
4 and white copies if ...
5 MR. NOBILO: The quality is very poor, so you
6 can barely see it. What we need to do is we need to
7 have additional copies made for the rest of the
8 parties. We tried to make them, but we were
10 JUDGE JORDA: Is this a problem for you,
11 Mr. Kehoe?
12 MR. KEHOE: No. It's easier, of course, to
13 make notes on a particular document as the witness is
14 talking about it so, of course, at the appropriate
15 time, we would like that because it would be very
16 useful in cross-examination.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I agree with you. I have
18 another request. I would like this, and I have already
19 said it, I frequently say it, that when documents are
20 put on the ELMO, the public gallery should be able to
21 see them as well. These are public hearings, let me
22 remind you. We have enough closed hearings for other
23 reasons, and so I would like to remind you of that. I
24 know that technically it's a bit complicated, but I'm
25 supervising the matter because I can see that we have
1 people in the public gallery. These are public
2 hearings, let me remind you of that, unless, of course,
3 we come to a different decision.
4 All right. Continue, please.
5 MR. NOBILO:
6 Q. Would you please describe what the photograph
7 D542/1 represents?
8 A. Your Honours, this photograph represents the
9 checkpoints which were established starting on 2nd
10 January, 1993 until 20th January, 1993.
11 Q. By whom?
12 A. By the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The
13 position I am pointing at is Vitez (indicating). This
14 is Travnik (indicating). This is Novi Travnik
16 Q. Just briefly, these are the BH army
17 checkpoints in Vitez, Novi Travnik, and Travnik in
18 January 1993; can we define them like that?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Next photograph, please, D545/2.
21 JUDGE JORDA: I would like for the witness to
22 define, very quickly, not to go over what we went over
23 yesterday, so the witness sees the photos, sees the
24 legend, the legend is written and registered with the
25 registry. Please go on, Witness. We don't want to
1 waste any time. Please go forward. Please go ahead.
2 We have the description. Read the description and then
3 go on to the next.
4 A. This photograph shows the checkpoints in the
5 Travnik municipality, deployment of the HVO forces and
6 the forces of the BH army against the front line with
7 the Serbs.
8 MR. NOBILO:
9 Q. Very well. Next photograph, D542/3.
10 A. This photograph shows the checkpoint
11 established near the Vodovod elementary school by the
12 BH army.
13 Q. And the checkpoint is designated by the
14 yellow piece of paper?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Very well. Next photograph, D542/4.
17 A. The photograph shows the checkpoint of the BH
18 army in Kruscica, and it is designated in yellow.
19 Q. Very well. Next photograph, D542/5.
20 A. The photograph shows the checkpoints set up
21 by the BH army on the main road Novi Travnik-Gornji
22 Vakuf. The yellow markers mark the checkpoints.
23 Q. Very well. Next photograph, D542/6.
24 A. The photograph shows checkpoints set up by
25 the BH army from Kacuni to Bilalovac. The yellow
1 markers mark the checkpoints themselves.
2 Q. Very well. The next photograph, the last
3 photograph, D542/7.
4 A. This is the same photograph. This shows the
5 situation of January 1993 and shows the checkpoints.
6 Q. You mean the checkpoints between Kacuni and
8 A. Yes, between Kacuni and Bilalovac.
9 Q. Very well. So we left off yesterday, at the
10 end of the day, at 25 January, 1993 when, in the
11 afternoon, you received information about fighting in
12 Busovaca. What exactly did you receive in terms of
13 information, and did you receive sufficient information
14 in order to be able to start to exercise your command
16 A. During that day, I received information that
17 a conflict had broken out at the checkpoint at Kacuni
18 where a member of the HVO military police was killed
19 and another civilian, who could not be identified at
20 the moment, and the rest of the information was pretty
21 scant, and they did not allow me to get the full
22 picture of what was going on in the Busovaca
24 MR. NOBILO: Could the witness now please be
25 shown Exhibits D95, 96, and 406. If this is D95, can
1 you put it on the ELMO, the English version, please?
2 First, D95, please, and apparently there's no English
3 translation right now, so I'm going to read it.
4 Q. This is to the 4th Military Police Battalion,
5 4th Military Police Battalion, and then the
6 registration number is there. The date is 25 January,
7 1993, and it says: "To the Command of the Central
8 Bosnia Operative Zone (Colonel Tihomir Blaskic,
9 Kiseljak)." The heading is "Report."
10 "On 25 January, 1993 around 0100 hours in the
11 village of Kacuni, in the fighting between the members
12 of the HVO units in Busovaca and the BH army, Ivica
13 Petrovic, member of the Busovaca HVO, and an unknown
14 person, whose identity has not yet been established,
15 were killed. The on-site investigation of this
16 incident was conducted by the crime department with the
17 Mostar/Vitez HVO department," and it is signed by Pasko
18 Ljubicic, the commander.
19 General Blaskic, did you receive this report
20 such as we see here?
21 A. Yes. I received it on the 25th of January,
23 Q. In what fashion did you receive it, by what
25 A. I think that the report was received by fax,
1 I think through the local telephone lines between
2 Kiseljak and Busovaca.
3 Q. General, what were the telephone lines like
4 in the Busovaca, Vitez, and Kiseljak area? What lines
5 were used? What cables were used? Where were the
6 cables passing through?
7 A. The cables themselves were between Kiseljak,
8 Busovaca, Vitez, and they went through Kacuni and
10 Q. In such circumstances, could you use the
11 regular civilian telephone lines for military command
12 and control and for reception of the military reports?
13 A. No, because we had certain knowledge that
14 these lines were not safe, that they were monitored.
15 Q. Very well. Let us now move on to Exhibit
16 D96. This is an order which was not confirmed, has not
17 been authenticated, by any witness so far, as I'm being
18 signalled by the registrar, so we have no translation,
19 so I'm going to read it. It states: "Command post of
20 OZ SB, forward command post in Vitez." The number is
21 SB1881/93, and the date is the 25th of January, 1993,
22 and it says, "Deliver to the commander of the Nikola
23 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade in Busovaca directly," and the
24 heading is "Assignment of Persons for the Joint
25 Commission," and it says, "Pursuant to the proposal
1 delivered by the commander of the 3rd Army Corps of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina," the number "02/33-320 of 25
3 January, 1993, point 5," and the response sent, "number
4 02/33-327 of 25 January, 1993, point 3, by the 3rd
5 Corps of the BH army, I order the following:
6 "The commander of the HVO brigade Nikola
7 Subic-Zrinjski in Busovaca will appoint a person who
8 will establish the telephone contact and be authorised
9 to adopt any decisions in the zone of responsibility of
10 the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade in Busovaca.
11 2. The basic role of the commission is to
12 work on tasks of immediate cease-fire between the HVO
13 and the BH army.
14 3. Members of the commission should be
15 selected based on the assessment and proposals of the
16 Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade command.
17 4. The deadline for carrying out of this
18 order is 25 January 1993, 1500 hours."
19 It is signed by the Commander, Colonel
20 Tihomir Blaskic.
21 First, can you tell me, did you write this
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Now, let us analyse it a little bit. It
25 contains several slightly illogical points, including
1 the Croatian language. First of all, let's look at the
2 registration number. Is this the registration number
3 used by the Central Bosnia Operative Zone?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Who could it have been used by?
6 A. I was in Kiseljak that day, and as I did not
7 have the Central Bosnia Operative Zone command logbook
8 in order to assign a proper registration number, so
9 through the packet communications, I asked from my
10 staff to register this order, that is, this staff to
11 assign it a number, which it decides. So where it says
12 "S.B.", it should have stated "T.B.", that means
13 "Tihomir Blaskic," and these were the numbers in
15 Q. Very well. We're moving on to the preamble.
16 It looks from it as if the letter of the 3rd Corps has
17 a registration number of the 3rd Corps, and it looks as
18 if your response also has the 3rd Corps registration
19 number. Is this a mistake, or what is this?
20 A. This is probably a mistake because the
21 operative who probably typed up this document, and this
22 document was sent via packet communications, probably
23 was not able to read my handwriting because my order
24 was written by hand, and I believe that I was probably
25 sending it to the 3rd Corps, and the 3rd Corps was
1 responding to me; in other words, I communicated with
3 Q. So do you agree that this preamble is not
4 logical and that some mistakes and errors are involved?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. The next question is: Why are you not
7 assigning the person to negotiate but you are giving
8 this authority to the Busovaca Brigade?
9 A. First of all, I was not in full control of
10 the situation and I did not have full information about
11 what was going on in Busovaca, and the commander of the
12 brigade, I was not sure whether he was able to return
13 from Zepce. This was Mr. Niko Juzinovic. I still
14 believed at that time that this was an incident in
15 Kacuni and that the conflict did not spread.
16 MR. NOBILO: Very well. Could Exhibit D406
17 be placed on the ELMO, and here we do have an English
19 Q. So this, it says the Central Bosnia Operative
20 Zone command, and the number is 01-1-366/93, dated the
21 26th of January, 1993, and the time is 2300 hours. It
22 is addressed to the commander of the Central Bosnia
23 Operative Zone, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, in Kiseljak.
24 If you look at the signature, it is the chief of staff,
25 Franjo Nakic.
1 Could you first, please, just review the
2 document, and then say how it was delivered to you?
3 Please, the back page also.
4 A. This document was faxed to me using the
5 regular civilian telephone line.
6 Q. We're not going to read the entire document.
7 Just point 2, which talks about the communications.
8 "1. Report on the sending of wires by
9 packet communications
10 - packet communications of the main staff of
11 the HVO are not fully operational (only the
12 participants from Herzegovina can receive them).
13 - there is a need for checking identification
14 documents due to a frequent appearance of foreigners
15 (Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina).
16 - there is a high overload of the entire
17 packet network in the area of the Croatian Community of
19 - there is a high frequency of packet network
21 - within the Central Bosnia Operative Zone
22 packet network, only the Vitez network is operational
23 at the moment, Travnik and Novi Travnik packets have
24 limited capacity, the Kiseljak packet operates
25 exclusively through Vitez, Zenica and Busovaca packets
1 are not operating within the network but only by using
2 a special frequency with Vitez, which creates the
3 additional difficulties of operating on two
4 frequencies; the Zepce packet is entirely out of use.
5 - operators in the Kiseljak packet
6 communications cannot operate full-time, and they
7 neither have the training nor the equipment to use this
9 - BH Army participants have already attempted
10 to intercept our wires, which has been noticed by the
11 packet of the main staff of the HVO; we are therefore
12 forced to run maximum checks on every participant."
13 I'm not going to read the rest of the
14 document, but I want to ask you: Did you actually
15 receive this fax in Kiseljak from your command post in
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Could you very briefly, just a couple of
19 sentences, explain what the packet communication system
20 was which you used and which you used in addition to
21 the civilian lines, and was there a third system which
22 you used?
23 A. No, we did not have any additional
24 communication systems. The packet communications, as
25 described, was the only communication means we had, and
1 what happened was we used one telephone line and modem
2 on the computer through which messages were sent. The
3 operator would type up the text and then send to the
4 addressee this typewritten text. However, the security
5 problems with the packet communication lines were very
6 high because any operator could send a message and any
7 operator could receive it; they only needed to know the
9 Q. Just a moment, please. You said that you
10 used a modem and used the telephone line. Do you mean
11 telephone line or the radio line?
12 A. Radio line.
13 Q. So you misspoke just now.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Could you tell me what problems were involved
16 in sending a message in this way?
17 A. The biggest problems were to secure this
18 message; in other words, other participants in this
19 communication traffic were able to receive such
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Nobilo, you will
22 kindly bear with the Bench. We know that all the
23 witnesses have used the term "packet communication,"
24 and no doubt it has been explained here and there. But
25 this is such a significant witness. I wonder whether
1 you would think it useful to ask him to explain very
2 neatly and concisely what the reference means?
3 MR. NOBILO: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. General, would you, in the briefest of terms,
5 explain the technicalities of that link and the
6 communications you used? What devices were used and
7 what was the idea?
8 A. We used ordinary computers that we had in the
9 economy. They were not specific, special military
10 computers, they were ordinary computers, the kind that
11 you could buy on the market, business computers, and we
12 used the existing lines that the PTT use, the Post,
13 Telegraph, and Telephone service used, but we would use
14 radio relay stations and an adapter or modem which we
15 used, we used this additional modem which enabled
16 communication between the users in this packet
17 communication link network.
18 Q. How would a text be sent? Could you explain
19 the procedure to us?
20 A. When I wrote an order or a document, if it
21 was urgent, then I could hand it to the operator who
22 was at the computer, and the operator would then type
23 out the order on the computer. After that, he would
24 call the next user in the communication line, that is
25 to say, a neighbouring computer to which the text was
1 addressed, and if communication between the two
2 computers existed, then the text would be sent on to
3 the next user or the next participant.
4 Q. So you use a computer and a modem; is that
6 A. Yes, it is.
7 Q. When the message is on the air waves, radio
8 waves, where does the problem lie? Must it reach the
9 receiver, the person receiving the message, or can
10 somebody intercept the message?
11 A. These are two problems which were serious
12 ones, and one problem was that if somebody knew the
13 code of the participant, then this message could be
14 taken over and intercepted by anybody who knew the
16 The other problem was that if somebody else
17 wanted to interfere with the packet link, then they
18 would be able to send a message themselves. For
19 example, if I were sending a message from Kiseljak and
20 the 3rd Corps was aware of the code, it too can send
21 from the communications centre a message to the command
22 of the Operative Zone in Vitez.
23 Q. Was it a code or was it a question of knowing
24 the frequency you were using?
25 A. Those are two matters. Frequency is one
1 thing. If you know the frequency, you can take part in
2 the communication itself, but the participants had
3 their own codes and code names. For example, they had
4 a very simple code name.
5 Q. So they identified themselves by stating a
6 name; can we put it in layman's terms in that way?
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, could you wrap
9 it up by explaining to us whether there could be any
10 interception if you applied the packet method of
11 communication which, as you have explained to us, means
12 really communication from computer to computer? Could
13 there be any interception if that method were used?
14 A. Yes, Your Honours, especially as we had just
15 started using this method and had no protective
16 devices, and I tried to explain this a moment ago.
17 Interception was possible, both with the conveyance of
18 the message, but what could also be done was that
19 another message could be sent under a false name or
21 MR. NOBILO:
22 Q. So it could be a false order, in fact; is
23 that right? A false order could be introduced?
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE JORDA: General, getting back to the
1 very beginning of the conflict in which you were allied
2 with the 3rd Corps, or you were dealing with the 3rd
3 Corps, now we're dealing with various means that were
4 used for communications and for other logistics. So in
5 the very beginning, did this pose any more important
7 A. Your Honours, we did have cooperation in the
8 sense that the heads of communications took part; for
9 example, my own and Enver's would have meetings, and
10 they would settle those technical details. I don't
11 know how they actually did this, I don't know the
12 details in the technical sense, but as I say, there
13 were difficulties because at that time we were allies,
14 we were truly and genuinely allies, and we had a whole
15 link-up system of communications, so there were no
16 secrets. The head of the 3rd Corps and the Operative
17 Zone would be sitting down together.
18 THE INTERPRETER: A little slower, please,
19 General, if you would?
20 JUDGE JORDA: We can therefore deduce that
21 you yourself were able to intercept communications from
22 the 3rd Corps, for example?
23 A. At the very beginning, yes. The difference
24 being that, Your Honours, the 3rd Corps of the army of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina inherited the communication system
1 from the zone headquarters of the Territorial Defence
2 of Zenica, and I'm talking about the time when the JNA
3 was stationed in Zenica itself, and I mean the
4 Territorial Defence as a component of the armed forces
5 of the former Yugoslavia. So they inherited the
6 communications and link system.
7 MR. NOBILO:
8 Q. And that communication system, in the
9 technical sense, at what level was it compared to your
10 own communication system?
11 A. For all intents and purposes, that system of
12 communications enabled operative command to take place
13 whereas the system of links and communications that
14 we're talking about in the HVO was a system that was
15 under formation, it was a fledgling system of packet
16 communications, if you like, and not all the operators
17 had been trained yet sufficiently to work with those
19 Q. Tell us, please, according to your experience
20 -- you are not a specialist in communications -- but
21 this system of packet links and communications that you
22 used, is it a professional military system which
23 enabled operative command?
24 A. It was not a professional military system
25 because operative command implies command in real time
1 and real space whereas, according to the documents, we
2 can see that some of the documents travelled from
3 Kiseljak to Vitez as long as two days.
4 Q. Explain to the Trial Chamber -- and I think
5 this is an important point --
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me, General
7 Blaskic. We know that beyond your own professional
8 military training, you also have computer training.
9 Did this computer training that you received aid you in
10 installing or in improving the communications in that
11 situation or not?
12 A. Your Honours, had I had the cadres and the
13 resources, that knowledge would have helped me. Let me
14 quote an example. The head of communications for the
15 Operative Zone and my headquarters had secondary
16 education, vocational training, he was a radio
17 technician, and he had worked in the Maintenance
18 Institute of Travnik and was trained to maintain
19 radios; but to command and control devices and units,
20 that was something that he did not know about at the
21 time, and I didn't have anybody else working with me.
22 MR. NOBILO:
23 Q. The software that you used in the computers,
24 was it a special type of software devised for the
25 purposes and needs of the army, or was it something
1 that could be purchased in any computer shop?
2 A. It was not any kind of military software,
3 no. As far as I know, it was the usual type of
4 business software that could be bought on the market,
5 in shops.
6 Q. You mentioned a term a moment ago which I
7 think deserves the Court's attention, "command in real
8 time." What does "real time" mean in military terms?
9 A. A moment ago, we mentioned informatics and
10 computers and how this helped, and the term that I was
11 acquainted with in the former Yugoslav People's Army,
12 that term implied that the military commander receives
13 information at the time when the event actually takes
14 place in a certain region and that he has the
15 possibility of reacting and influencing and guiding the
16 course of events. That is to say, to react
17 simultaneously upon the reception of that information.
18 Today, in addition to commanding in real
19 space and communication and control, there is also a
20 selective approach to the multitude of information
21 which is sent at all times to the commanding officer,
22 and all this with the aim of enabling him to react as
23 speedily as possible and exert influence on the events
24 in a certain area.
25 Q. We looked at D96, the previous document, it
1 was written on the 25th of January, 1993, and the stamp
2 was the radio packet dated the 27th of January, 1993.
3 It was probably at 4.00 a.m., 4.00 in the morning.
4 Tell us, please, is this an example of the
5 level of communication that you had at the time, and
6 what did this kind of information mean to you as a
7 commander, information that was sent to you five or six
8 hour later or a day and a half later? How did this
9 influence the possibility of reacting?
10 A. Well, this is just one example. There were
11 quite definitely many examples of this kind. This kind
12 of information sent in this way and received in this
13 way made it impossible for the receiver, in this case,
14 it was the command in Vitez, to react on time, to have
15 a timely reaction, because two days elapsed before this
16 information reached the commander, and so you cannot
17 really react properly. If information is as late as
18 this, it is impossible to command in terms of real time
19 and real space.
20 Q. Thank you. Let us move on. This brings us
21 to the 26th of January. You are still in Kiseljak cut
22 off from the events in Busovaca, and you have a meeting
23 at 10.00 a.m. with Dzemo Merdan and General
24 Cordy-Simpson. Can you tell us how this meeting came
25 about and what you discussed at the meeting and what
1 was the purpose of the meeting?
2 A. The meeting of the 26th of January, 1993 at
3 around 10.00 a.m. at the headquarters of UNPROFOR for
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina was held. Mr. Cordy-Simpson and
5 Colonel Bob Stewart were present, Dzemo Merdan was
6 present from the 3rd Corps, and I, myself, attended the
8 The meeting was convened on the basis of a
9 request from myself made on the 25th of January and at
10 the demand of UNPROFOR, that we should have a meeting
11 and agree upon a cease-fire, a cessation of the
12 conflicts with the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 I, first of all, requested a cessation of the
14 conflict. That was my first request. Second, I
15 demanded that the barricades at Kacuni be dismantled
16 and that the road be opened running from Kiseljak and
17 Busovaca, that there be free passage along that road,
18 and I also requested a complete freedom of movement
19 along the Kiseljak-Busovaca road.
20 Dzemo Merdan did not contest the fact that
21 the conflict should be stopped. The point that was
22 contested had to do with the troops from outside, that
23 is to say, the engagement of forces outside the
24 municipality of Busovaca in this conflict.
25 Nonetheless, in the course of the meeting, we
1 succeeded in agreeing on practically all the points
2 that we discussed, and at one particular moment during
3 the meeting, a message reached me, it was brought to me
4 in the hall where we were having our meeting, which
5 said that the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina had been
6 launching combat operations in the Lasva, Dusina, and
7 Visnjica area and that the Croatian civilians in those
8 villages had been slaughtered.
9 I reacted in the following fashion: I asked
10 Dzemo to have these operations stopped, and I told him
11 that we could not sit down and discuss things of this
12 kind while the 3rd Corps was launching these attacks,
13 and that particular meeting was interrupted
14 temporarily, and it ended by us having reached an
15 agreement that on the next day at 10.00 a.m., that is
16 to say, on the 27th of January, 1993, we would meet
17 again at the same venue and that that meeting would be
18 attended by the commander of the 3rd Corps, Enver, who
19 had usually come to meetings of this kind with me.
20 Q. Tell us, did Dzemo Merdan promise to see what
21 was happening in Lasva and Dusina and that he would
22 stop the killing of civilians there?
23 A. Yes. He said that at that particular point,
24 from the venue of the meeting, he did not have any
25 communications, and he was not able to ascertain what
1 was going on and that the best thing would be if he
2 personally were to investigate and see what was going
3 on in that region.
4 Q. Let us now move on to another meeting that
5 was held, but I just remembered one point and that is
6 to ask you the following: Did you have or did the 3rd
7 Corps have brigade vehicles and centres, that is to
8 say, mobile communication centres, on the basis of
9 which the commander could command combat activities
10 wherever he was located?
11 A. We called them the radio relay system of
12 communications and links for the level of the brigade
13 of the former JNA, whereas in the HVO, we did not have
14 a single system of that kind. We did not have them in
15 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, and I know for a
16 fact that, from the technical maintenance institute of
17 Travnik, systems of this kind were taken over by the BH
19 Q. On the following day, that is to say, the
20 27th of January, 1993, at the headquarters of the
21 United Nations in Kiseljak, at 10.00 a.m., another
22 meeting was held at which Enver Hadzihasanovic turned
23 up. The commander of the 3rd Corps had entered that
24 meeting. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber how that
25 meeting evolved?
1 A. Enver Hadzihasanovic from the 3rd Corps came
2 to attend the meeting, but Kadir Jusic from the 3rd
3 Corps also came to the meeting. He came from Visoko.
4 The meeting was also attended by the head of the
5 European Monitoring Mission, Mr. Flemming.
6 At the very start of the meeting, Enver made
7 the observation that I was isolated, that I was cut off
8 in Kiseljak and that, quite obviously, the HVO in the
9 Lasva River Valley was being commanded by somebody
10 else. He agreed to have the meeting start only when I
11 had given him assurances as to who the commander of the
12 Central Bosnia Operative Zone actually was, and I
13 confirmed that it is quite true that I was in Kiseljak,
14 but that as far as I knew, I, myself, was the commander
15 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
16 Q. Were you able to confirm and actually tell
17 him that you were not in control of the events in
18 Busovaca as a commander should be?
19 A. Well, at that particular moment, it was a
20 meeting between us, the conflicting parties, and, of
21 course, I did not own up to this. I did not affirm
22 this because my positions were anyway subordinated
23 under conditions of that kind, inferior.
24 MR. NOBILO: May we now show the witness
25 Defence Exhibit D128. Defence Exhibit 188. Please,
1 the English transcript on the ELMO, the English copy.
2 Q. I will read from this document D188 only
3 three items, and this is a report of Enver
4 Hadzihasanovic to the Supreme Command Staff of the
5 armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
6 The top of the third paragraph: "We assume that
7 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic is isolated in Kiseljak and
8 that his readiness to solve the problems is a lie, that
9 somebody else is solving the problems instead of Tiho
10 Blaskic, and that there is no point in negotiating as
11 whatever is agreed upon will not have any result," and
12 the last sentence, "The HVO main headquarters would
13 need to be asked to designate a person other than
14 Colonel Blaskic, which would be," and I can't read it
15 very well, "which would have the authority to take
16 decisions," and then Enver Hadzihasanovic signed this.
17 This is a document which, obviously, you
18 could not have seen because this is Hadzihasanovic's
19 report, and this is an opinion expressed by him to his
20 supreme command. Does this coincide with his position
21 which he orally expressed to you on that occasion
22 during that meeting?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. After you tried to sort of salvage your
25 position, did the meeting continue, and what was the
1 outcome of the meeting?
2 A. The negotiations were continued. The basic
3 issue that we discussed was the cease-fire, which is
4 what I requested, and withdrawal of troops outside of
5 the Busovaca municipality, that is, of the troops which
6 took part in this conflict. I tried the clearing of
7 the battleground, the opening up of the road at Kacuni,
8 and the return of the entire situation to the condition
9 as of 23 January, 1993, and we managed to agree in this
10 meeting, to come to this agreement, on the cease-fire.
11 We signed the agreement and presented it publicly
12 before the media, and the host during this meeting and
13 the mediator was Brigadier Cordy-Simpson in Kiseljak.
14 After the meeting, I went to the Kiseljak
15 barracks, and I worked on a draft of a document on the
16 implementation of the agreement.
17 MR. NOBILO: Can I now please ask that
18 document D348 be shown to the witness?
19 Q. This is document D348 from 27 January, 1993.
20 You sent it to the head of the defence department in
21 Mostar and to all the brigades and independent units.
22 The title is "Implementation of the agreement of the
23 cease-fire," and I'll just read a few paragraphs. "1.
24 Implement the cease-fire, including all the parties.
25 Enable the UNPROFOR monitors to monitor the
1 cease-fire. Allow free passage of all vehicles of the
2 personnel of UNPROFOR and the UNHCR and other
3 humanitarian organisations," and then also, "Enable the
4 exchange of prisoners through the auspices of the Red
5 Cross." You also are trying to identify the person who
6 was going to the joint commission, et cetera, et
8 Is this a document that was drafted on the
9 basis of the meeting which you had?
10 A. Yes. The points of the agreement are pretty
11 much identical with the points in this order, and this
12 order was issued out of the meeting held with the
13 commander of the 3rd Corps in Kiseljak.
14 Q. On the 27th of January, after this meeting,
15 you received first news about violence in the Croatian
16 villages of Nezirovici, Besici, Gusti Grab, et cetera?
17 A. Yes. I received this information after the
18 meeting, and I believe that this was late at night,
19 that in the course of the day, the units of the 3rd
20 Corps had attacked the Croatian villages of Nezirovici,
21 Besici, Prosje and that these villages were taken by
22 the BH army and that the civilians were driven out from
23 these villages.
24 Q. Could you point out those villages on the
1 JUDGE JORDA: The attack took place on the
2 same day of the meeting, General Blaskic, these
4 A. Yes, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE JORDA: The same day as the meeting you
6 had with UNPROFOR and General Cordy-Simpson; is that
8 A. Yes, Your Honours, and with your permission,
9 I can show on the model where this was.
10 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps use the model since we
11 have it handy here.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, if you wish to
14 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 A. This is the village of Nezirovici
16 (indicating) that was attacked on that day, that is, on
17 the 27th of January, 1993, and Croats from this village
18 were driven out towards Oseliste and Gusti Grab, that
19 is, in the direction of Kiseljak. Here is the village
20 of Besici, which is also a Croatian village, and Croats
21 were driven out towards Oseliste, and Prosje is in this
22 location. It may be better to show it on the map.
23 MR. NOBILO:
24 Q. No, I think that this is enough. We're aware
25 of the general area.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. I'm sorry. I have some
2 difficulty in seeing it. I think that the map gives an
3 idea of the geography, especially the orientation. So
4 from which direction did they come? Where is Kiseljak,
5 first of all?
6 A. This is Kiseljak (indicating). This is the
7 main road leading to Busovaca (indicating). On the
8 27th, we held a meeting here (indicating), and the
9 villages that were attacked are Nezirovici, which I'm
10 pointing at now (indicating), then the village of
11 Besici, and the village of Prosje, in which that day,
12 during the attack, a chapel was burned down.
13 MR. NOBILO:
14 Q. Could you say who attacked these Croatian
16 A. It was the forces of the 3rd Army Corps of
17 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They drove out the
18 Croats from these villages in the direction of Oseliste
19 and Gusti Grab.
20 Q. Later on, we will see what happened to
21 Oseliste and Gusti Grab which was ethnically cleansed
22 of Croats, but now I would like to show you a document
23 which speaks to the first crime that took place in the
24 Lasva Valley, the first crime against civilians, and
25 this is Exhibit D434.
1 The Jure Francetic HVO Brigade from Zenica
2 sent this document on the 27th of January, 1993, but it
3 was only received on the 29th of January, 1993, and the
4 heading is "Report on the Massacre of Croats in the
5 Village of Dusina, Lasva Local Commune."
6 "On 27 January, 1993, displaced persons from
7 the village of Dusina, Lasva local commune, arrived in
8 Zenica and informed us of the massacre of Croats in the
9 above-mentioned area.
10 "Early on the morning of 26 January 1993, the
11 Muslim Liberation Forces or MOS from Zenica surrounded
12 seven Croatian houses in the village of Dusina. They
13 demanded that the Dusina HVO members surrender their
14 weapons. After it was agreed that the demand would be
15 honoured, MOS members opened fire on the Croatian
16 houses. The shooting claimed the lives of the
17 following individuals:
18 1. Pero Rajic ...
19 2. Drazenko Kegelj ...
20 3. Frano Rajic ..."
21 And then, in brackets, their fathers' names.
22 "Zvonko Rajic ... was killed during the
24 The following two individuals were wounded:
25 1. Marko Rajic ...
1 2. Blasko Bosnjak ...
2 The wounded were transported to the Zenica
4 After the shooting ceased, MOS members
5 entered the village, closed the civilians in the house
6 owned by Stipe Kegelj ... and kept him there until the
8 The HVO soldiers were arrested and their
9 weapons were seized.
10 After that, they started searching houses,
11 threatening to shoot those who refused to surrender
12 their weapons, because they had been informed by --"
13 and this note, it's barely legible, it's probably
14 "local Muslims" -- "that there were additional
15 weapons. As they were unable to find more weapons,
16 they carried out executions.
17 The following people were executed:
18 1. Niko Kegelj ...
19 2. Vinko Kegelj ...
20 3. Jozo Kegelj ...
21 4. Mladenko Kegelj ...
22 5. August Rados ...
23 After the execution, the soldiers' bodies
24 were taken to a cellar in a family house ..."
25 And then it says Marinko Kegelj managed to
1 escape, and his father, Stipo Kegelj, was executed
3 "The following people are missing and their
4 whereabouts are unknown:
5 1. Perica Rados ...
6 2. Dragan Rados ...
7 3. Nedjeljko Rajic ...
8 4. Marinko Kegelj ...
9 After having executed the HVO soldiers, MOS
10 members wanted to shoot Zdravka Rados, Dragan Rados's
11 wife. It is assumed that they abandoned their idea to
12 carry out the execution at the request of a local
14 And so on and so forth. Commander of the
15 Jure Francetic Brigade, Zivko Totic.
16 Did this information reach you somehow in
17 Kiseljak in the course of January of 1993?
18 A. This information on the incidents in these
19 villages reached me as early as 26 January on a -- I
20 received it on a piece of paper, that is, that the
21 attack was in progress during this meeting which I had
22 with Dzemo Merdan. He saw this piece of paper, as did
23 the other participants in the meeting, but not in this
24 form, only that the attack was under way and that the
25 Kegelj family was executed, but who it was specifically
1 that was -- how many members were executed, that I did
2 not know. Only late in January, I believe this was
3 probably on the 30th or 31st of January, I received
4 this information that you see here.
5 Q. Very well. Thank you. You said that on the
6 27th you received information about Croats being driven
7 out of their villages to Gusti Grab, Besici, and
8 Nezirovici, and on the 29th of January, 1993, in the
9 Muslim media, the Muslim media have announced their
10 entry in Busovaca. Did you receive that information in
12 A. Yes, we had already talked about it in
13 Kiseljak, and through Radio Visoko and other media, it
14 was announced that the only thing remaining was the
15 entry in Busovaca, that all the other positions had
16 been taken by the BH army and that they expected them
17 to move into Busovaca.
18 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, this may be a
19 good time to suspend.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Twenty minutes' recess.
21 --- Recess taken at 11.20 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 11.47 a.m.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. We are now
24 resuming with the examination-in-chief.
25 I apologise for this delay. Of course, this
1 was not intentional. Let us now continue.
2 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. Before the break, we were talking about the
4 29th of January when the media announced the fall of
5 Busovaca. You were in Kiseljak. What do you know
6 about that?
7 A. We received this information, as I have
8 already said, via the media, that Busovaca was just
9 about to fall and that, in the course of the day, the
10 forces of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina were expected
11 to enter Busovaca, and that in the afternoon, Busovaca
12 would be liberated.
13 After that, we received information in
14 Kiseljak, that is to say, it was a request to extend
15 aid and assistance to the population of Gusti Grab, a
16 village in the Busovaca area, and that the wounded
17 should be evacuated from the villages of Sirovi Panj,
18 Oseliste, and Gusti Grab, that general area.
19 Q. Could you tell us what you undertook and what
20 happened, and could you just point the places out to us
21 on the model?
22 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me.
23 MR. NOBILO: Maybe you can move the ELMO.
24 A. The events that we're going to talk about
25 occurred in the immediate vicinity of this barricade,
1 the barricade was at Oseliste, and it was locally
2 referred to as Donji Bukovac, the villagers called it
3 Donji Bukovac, and it was on the main road from
4 Busovaca to Kiseljak.
5 On the map ...
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, are we now looking
7 at the consequences of the fall of Busovaca; is that
8 correct? Is that what you're asking the witness now?
9 I want to make sure that I understand.
10 MR. NOBILO: No. The media, the Muslim
11 media, had announced that Busovaca would be falling on
12 that day, but Busovaca had not fallen. On the road
13 between Kiseljak and Busovaca, there were several
14 Croatian villages which were still under attack, and
15 the witness is now going to recount what happened in
16 those villages on the road between Kiseljak and
18 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
19 A. Your Honours, perhaps one sentence would be
20 enough, would suffice. On the 27th, there was an
21 attack on Nezirovici and Besici, the villages I
22 mentioned, and the Croats from the Nezirovici village
23 and Besici --
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. Would you slow down, please, General, for the
1 benefit of the interpretation?
2 A. After an attack by the BH army, they
3 withdrew --
4 Q. Perhaps it would be a good idea to bring the
5 microphone up closer, it is too far away at the moment,
6 because the interpreters can't hear you properly. Try
7 and slow down, please, as well.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Madam Registrar, when the
9 witness moves about, I would like for the court usher
10 to be next to the witness to try to help him so that we
11 do not lose any more time.
12 Sir, would you please try to do that? We
13 always have problems in the movement. It would make
14 things much easier if we would have the usher on hand
15 to intervene. Thank you.
16 A. From the villages of Nezirovici and Besici,
17 the Croats were expelled on the 27th of January, 1993,
18 after the attack launched by the forces of the 3rd
19 Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 On the 29th of January, 1993, the expulsed
21 Croats from Nezirovici and Besici found themselves in
22 the area of Oseliste, it is marked on the map, and I
23 received a request from Busovaca, from the HVO in
24 Busovaca openly, by phone, in Kiseljak to extend
25 assistance in taking in the refugee Croats from Gusti
1 Grab and Oseliste, to take them in and to evacuate the
2 wounded from that area.
3 In the morning, we sent a first aid vehicle,
4 ambulance, to evacuate the wounded, and at the
5 checkpoint at Donji Bukovci, and the exact position of
6 that checkpoint is the one I am indicating at present
7 (indicating), or, on the model, the position is here
8 (indicating). That is the exact position. It is
9 Oseliste, Donji Bukovci.
10 They opened fire on the ambulance, and the
11 physician who was in the ambulance, his name was
12 Barbic, he died as a result of being wounded when the
13 shooting took place, whereas the ambulance itself was
14 kept in Bukovci.
15 MR. NOBILO:
16 Q. Who opened fire on the ambulance with the
17 doctor inside?
18 A. It was the crew at the checkpoint in Bukovci
19 and Oseliste, the members of the BH army.
20 Q. Thank you. What happened to the doctor?
21 A. The doctor died. The vehicle was kept, they
22 kept the ambulance, and any evacuation was rendered
24 Q. At one particular moment, you received
25 information that the Grubesic family, they were parents
1 of one of the HVO commanders, elderly folk, that they
2 had been killed.
3 A. We received information that day that the
4 Grubesic family had been killed. They were 65 years of
5 age, and they were from Nezirovici. The information
6 also said that another family had been killed from
7 Besici, and that there was another -- that the attack
8 was still being launched on a group of Croats who had
9 been blocked and trapped between the villages of
10 Nezirovici and Besici and the Oseliste village
11 (indicating). In this area, all the Croats belonging
12 to the Kacuni local commune found themselves in an
13 encirclement and under a blockade by the forces of
15 Q. On that particular day, you gathered some
16 volunteers, about 120 of them, and you started moving
17 towards the obstacles set up by the BH army, the
18 blockade from the direction of Kiseljak. Can you tell
19 us what happened and how events were to develop and
20 what happened to that group of people under your
22 A. At about 3.30 p.m., we managed to collect
23 about 120 volunteers from the Kiseljak municipality,
24 and we started out from Kiseljak with six motor
25 vehicles. We took the road, main road, across
1 Gromiljak, Brestovsko, and Bilalovac, and stopped at
2 the Plin Klokoti factory, and then went on on foot
3 towards the barricade at Donji Bukovci with the
4 intention of lifting the barricade and evacuating the
5 civilians and the wounded from the Oseliste area.
6 We started out on foot from Klokot using this
7 road towards a feature on the map termed Gracac. It is
8 feature 594.
9 At about 4.30 p.m. or 4.40 p.m., we arrived
10 at the positions of the BH army and we heard them
11 talking at the Gracac feature as we approached, and I
12 remember them saying that they were expecting a shift
13 to replace them at about 5.00 p.m. There was an
14 uncontrolled burst of gunfire. We were 30 to 50 metres
15 away from each other. The consequences of that burst
16 of gunfire on the HVO side and the group of men who
17 were with me was that one man was killed and two to
18 three soldiers were injured.
19 I don't know the figures for the casualties
20 on the BH army side, whether anybody was lightly
21 wounded or not, because I saw that the positions at
22 Gracac, that particular feature, had been left empty,
23 void, after that conflict at the Gracac feature.
24 The soldiers of the BH army had withdrawn in
25 the direction of the village of Bukovci, Gracac,
1 Bukovci, here (indicating), which enabled the villagers
2 from Oseliste to move towards Jelenov Gaj, the gasworks
3 there and, with my group of volunteers, returned to the
4 Plin or gas factory called Klokoti. Having left Mato
5 Lucic to be in charge, in the course of the night, of
6 the displaced persons, I returned to Kiseljak with the
7 vehicles and with the volunteers, and the volunteers
8 went home for the night. They were, for the most part,
9 people who lived in the Kiseljak local community.
10 Q. This brings us to the 30th of January, 1993.
11 Can you tell us whether, on that particular day, you
12 launched an operation of any kind to try to protect
13 some of the Muslim families in Kiseljak? What
15 A. On that day, the 30th of January, sometime in
16 the morning, it was about 6.15 a.m., I received an
17 invitation from the Brestovsko local community, Dugo
18 Polje is indicated on the model, marked on the model,
19 they said that they had noticed a mass of civilians
20 going from Bilalovac and the surrounding villages and
21 moving towards Brestovsko.
22 Q. Were they Croats?
23 A. Yes, they were the Croats from Bilalovac, and
24 up until then, up until the 29th or 30th of January,
25 there had been no conflicts or incidents.
1 Q. You mean in Bilalovac?
2 A. Yes, no incidents in Bilalovac up until that
3 time. They were arriving at the barracks in Kiseljak.
4 There were a lot of high emotions. They were desperate
5 at having been expelled and threatened, that they would
6 undertake the same measures towards the Bosniak Muslims
7 in the town of Kiseljak, the same kind of measures that
8 the BH army undertook vis-à-vis them in the Bilalovac
9 local community, so emotions were running high.
10 In the course of the night between the 29th
11 and 30th of January, they were expelled from the
12 Bilalovac local community by the BH army forces. I
13 asked the deputy commander of the police station in
14 Kiseljak to ensure safety for the prominent Muslim
15 citizens, that threats had been made --
16 Q. When you say "prominent Muslim families," do
17 you mean prominent in terms of culture, religion, or
18 did you mean the families of the political and military
19 leaders of Muslims in Kiseljak?
20 A. I meant the families of the political and
21 military leaders from Kiseljak, from amongst the
22 Bosniak Muslims, and also the families of the
23 commanders of the police station in Kiseljak, and he
24 was a Bosniak Muslim, so both the police, military, and
25 political prominent Bosniak Muslims who had been
1 threatened publicly by the expelled Croats from
3 Q. What happened in actual fact? Did the police
4 listen to this request made by you?
5 A. Yes, a patrol was designated, and it was
6 there to supervise the vicinity around the houses or
7 apartments of these families, and later on, I think the
8 officers themselves came to learn of this, such as the
9 chief of the police station, Ganija, and the deputy
10 chief, Bujic, and so on.
11 MR. NOBILO: I should now like to show a
12 videotape, and I should like to ask our technical booth
13 to dim the lights and start up the video. It is a very
14 short video. I think that the booths have been given a
15 copy. This is for the English. Just one moment so
16 that the English booth can receive a copy of the text.
17 This is a videotape which I received from
18 Television Kiseljak of the day. It was taken after the
19 events in the sports hall of the school in Kiseljak,
20 which is where the refugees from Gusti Grab and
21 Oseliste were located, precisely the event that you
22 spoke about a moment ago.
23 No sound yet. May we have the sound, please,
24 sound track? We seem to be having some technical
1 JUDGE JORDA: Would you prefer to continue or
2 what would you like to do now, Mr. Nobilo?
3 MR. NOBILO: Just to see if the technical
4 booth is ready.
5 (Videotape played)
6 THE INTERPRETER: (Voice-over) "They shot at
7 us from all sides --"
8 MR. NOBILO: Would you rewind it back to the
9 beginning, please?
10 (Videotape played)
11 THE INTERPRETER: (Voice-over) "A young man
12 named Cavara Dalibor, and he is now going to tell us of
13 his vision of the past events. Go ahead, Dalibor.
14 "Well, I come from Gusti Grab. We fought,
15 and they shot at us from Lugovi and from the other
16 side, from Silos, where there are a number of
17 villages. We did the best we could. They attacked us,
18 and they came from outside, they were the people from
19 Krajina and the Mujahedeen, and we had to withdraw
20 because there were some wounded young men. While we
21 were busy taking out the wounded young men, they
22 entered our trenches, and we had to withdraw, and we
23 went back behind the lines, and then they sent us out
24 of that position and shot at us from all sides, both
25 from Silos and from Lugovi, and we had to withdraw
2 "The line had been drawn up until Jelenov
3 Gaj, and then we went back on the lines. They attacked
4 us again, and we found ourselves at Sirovi Panj. There
5 were eight of us there who fought, and I think that
6 there were at least 500 of them attacking us. We
7 managed to refute the attack. One of our men was
8 wounded, and that is how we managed to retain the line.
9 It had not fallen yet. And when more of them came and
10 they began grouping forces, they launched an onslaught
11 of us, and we had to withdraw from Brestovsko, but I
12 would like to tell them that we're going to return and
13 that there will be no more Muslims in Busovaca. So
14 much from me."
15 MR. NOBILO:
16 Q. This was shown on Television Kiseljak, and
17 had you seen the tape at the time or is this the first
18 time that you're looking at the tape?
19 A. I see the video for the first time, but what
20 this witness is talking about is all known to me. I'm
21 familiar with it.
22 Q. This is a young man of no more than 17, and
23 let me just repeat his last comment, and tell me if
24 this is something that you heard from others as well.
25 "Still, I am giving them a message, that we will
1 return and that Muslims will no longer survive in
2 Busovaca. That's all I have to say."
3 How do you comment on this vengeful remark by
4 this young man?
5 A. It is certainly a consequence of everything
6 that this young man went through in this conflict, and
7 this remark was made several days after he was
8 expelled, and it reflected the feelings of the Croats
9 in the local communes of Kacuni and Bilalovac. These
10 feelings were shared there, and this further
11 complicated our situation in the Kiseljak
13 Q. In addition to the problems with these
14 refugees who were upset and enraged and who were asking
15 for revenge in Kiseljak, were there also problems in
16 the organisation of the Ban Josip Jelisic Brigade? Was
17 this a new, sudden, and unexpected situation, and how
18 were you going about solving it?
19 A. Yes, this was a major problem, because if you
20 consider that the forces from Kiseljak, for the most
21 part, were engaged at the front against the army of the
22 Republika Srpska at Kokoska, Kobiljaca, the Pljesevac
23 feature, and that part of the forces from Kiseljak,
24 from the local communes of Brestovsko and Bilalovac,
25 was already deployed at the Travnik front in the
1 Paklarevo sector, also against the army of the
2 Republika Srpska, then we were in the situation on that
3 morning of the 30th of January to use the elderly men
4 from the local commune of Brestovsko to establish the
5 new front lines which were now against the forces of
6 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina who were facing the
7 Brestovsko local commune and the rest of the Kiseljak
9 Q. Just remind the Judges, where were the young
10 men from Brestovsko and Bilalovac at the time when you
11 had to use the elderly men?
12 A. Two hundred young men were used in sector 1,
13 which is called Paklarevo, in defence of the town of
15 Q. You said that a number of refugees were upset
16 and angry. I will now show you a document which you
17 drafted, which is document D350, and I would also like
18 the videotape to be marked for identification, a
19 defence number.
20 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked D543.
21 MR. NOBILO: So the videotape is D543. Thank
23 Q. Let us now go back to document D350 which you
24 drafted on the 31st of January, 1993 and sent to
25 Mustafa Agic. Who was he? What was his ethnic group?
1 A. A Bosniak Muslim.
2 Q. This was dated 31 January, 1993 to the
3 attention of Mr. Mustafa Agic, and the reference is
4 "Apology for the brutal behaviour of extremist member
5 of the HVO in Kiseljak."
6 "Dear sir, I have been informed by the
7 competent authorities about the destructive behaviour
8 of an uncontrolled group of HVO soldiers who demolished
9 your catering establishment between 1400 and 1600 hours
10 on 29 January, 1993.
11 "I am aware of the fact that this kind of
12 behaviour among the extremist element in the HVO
13 undermines the security situation and creates mistrust
14 among the inhabitants of Kiseljak who are concerned
15 about their personal safety. However, I promise you
16 that appropriate measures will be taken against the
17 perpetrators of these acts.
18 "I wish to apologise to you once again for
19 everything that was done by the extremists in the ranks
20 of the HVO.
21 "Regards, Commander of the Central Bosnia
22 Operative Zone, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic."
23 Could you explain to the Trial Chamber, in a
24 situation where Croatians are being expelled, their
25 houses are being burned down, we saw that the Croats in
1 Dusina were massacred, what were your motives for
2 apologising personally, as the commander of the Central
3 Bosnia Operative Zone, to a private businessman, a
4 restaurant owner? What did you want to do by that?
5 What were your motives?
6 A. The motives are perfectly clear from this
7 document. I wanted to maintain good relations and to
8 stabilise the situation in the Kiseljak area, and when
9 I say "good relations," I mean the relations between
10 the Croats and Bosniak Muslims in the area of the
11 Kiseljak municipality. This was an incident, and I
12 know that the incident was handled by the competent
14 Q. Let me draw your attention to the stamp, and
15 can you tell me, whose stamp is this?
16 A. This is the stamp of the Ban Josip Jelacic
17 HVO Brigade in Kiseljak, of their command.
18 Q. Why did you use a brigade stamp, being a
19 commander of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone?
20 A. I did not have another stamp, and the
21 document gains more weight, so to speak, if it is also
22 stamped in addition to being signed, and I used the
23 only one that I had available to me at that time, which
24 was the one of this brigade.
25 Q. Did you have your back-up command post and
1 office in Kiseljak?
2 A. No, I had no office there, and if I stayed in
3 the barracks, I used the brigade commander's office. I
4 did not have a separate office or a command post in
6 Q. During the January conflict and after that
7 time, that is, throughout your stay in Kiseljak, and we
8 will see that you stayed there all the way until early
9 March, were any Muslim villages in the Kiseljak
10 municipality attacked or disarmed?
11 A. No, no village was attacked or disarmed, not
12 a single Muslim village or even hamlet.
13 Q. Were civilians arrested in Kiseljak during
14 your stay there in January and February 1993?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Did any Muslim forcibly dig trenches in the
17 Kiseljak municipality while you stayed there in January
18 and February of 1993?
19 A. No, not a single person.
20 Q. Was a single Muslim house burned down in the
21 Kiseljak municipality while you stayed there in January
22 and February of 1993?
23 A. Not a single structure owned by the Bosniak
24 Muslims was burned down or damaged.
25 Q. Before we move on to the joint commission and
1 overcoming the consequences of the conflict with the
2 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, could you tell me:
3 What gains did the BH army achieve out of this conflict
4 and what losses did the HVO incur?
5 A. With the permission of Their Honours, I would
6 like to point to the map. Could I get up and point?
7 JUDGE JORDA: Please go ahead.
8 A. The army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with this
9 operation, created a corridor which includes
10 Kacuni-Bilalovac on the main road between Kiseljak and
11 Busovaca, and in this way it created a land link
12 between the 3rd Corps in Zenica with the forces of the
13 4th Corps in Mostar and with part of the forces of the
14 1st Corps of the operative group named Igman, and in
15 the territory of three municipalities, that is, Zenica,
16 including the villages of Lasva, Dusina, and Visnjica
17 conducted ethnic cleansing and expulsion of Croats from
18 these villages; from the area of the Kacuni local
19 commune, Croats were also ethnically cleansed from the
20 villages of Nezirovici, Besici, Gusti Grab, Oseliste,
21 Prosje, and partly the village of Bilalovac; and from
22 the area of the Bilalovac local commune, Croats were
23 expelled from the villages of Prviste, Odrace,
24 Devetaci, Badnje, Milodraz, Sehitluci, and hamlets of
25 the Bilalovac local commune in the area towards
2 Q. Approximately how many Croats were ethnically
3 cleansed and driven in the direction of Kiseljak and
5 A. Around 2.100 Croats, and perhaps more.
6 Q. Was this the first ethnic cleansing in
7 Central Bosnia carried out by any side?
8 A. Yes, this was the first ethnic cleansing in
9 the three municipalities, that is, Zenica, Busovaca,
10 and Kiseljak.
11 Q. Was this the first time that an army came to
12 a village, killed the villagers, took prisoners of war,
13 and burned down the village?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. This new military situation -- and let's put
16 aside the ethnic cleansing right now and what that
17 meant for the inter-ethnic relations, that is, between
18 Croats and Muslims -- what was the military situation
19 of the HVO following this operation by the BH army or
20 the situation of your Operative Zone?
21 A. Generally speaking, we can look at it in two
22 ways: First of all, the Operative Zone, with its
23 headquarters in Vitez, remained without a communication
24 line with the main staff in Mostar, and that was a huge
25 strategic loss for the Operative Zone command.
1 Secondly, we ended up with enclaves, so that
2 Vitez, Busovaca, Zenica, Travnik, and Novi Travnik
3 (indicating) comprised one enclave.
4 Q. Which could be called Lasva Valley?
5 A. Yes, Lasva Valley. And the other enclave was
6 Kiseljak, Kresevo and, later on, Fojnica was also
7 physically separated from Kiseljak and Kresevo, but on
8 the 30th of January, 1993, Fojnica had communication
9 line with Kiseljak but -- Kakanj also became an
10 enclave. Sorry, let me show it on the map.
11 For the Kiseljak HVO, Kakanj also became an
12 enclave and Vares (indicating).
13 In the north, on the main road Zenica-Zepce,
14 would be where the next enclave was, that is, the Zepce
15 enclave, so that is where the -- that was Zavidovici
16 and Maglaj. Another additional enclave was Usora.
17 Q. So if I understood well and I counted
18 correctly, your Operative Zone was --
19 JUDGE JORDA: Where is Usora? I'm sorry.
20 Where is that located? The last one you mentioned,
21 where is that located?
22 A. Your Honours --
23 JUDGE JORDA: I'm sorry, I'm missing my map
24 because that's where I see it better, apart from the
25 excellent photographs, of course, submitted by
1 Mr. Hayman. But in the meantime, we have the maps
2 here. So where is Usora again, please?
3 A. Your Honour, the town of Tesanj, which is due
4 north from Zenica, and Usora is then due east from
5 Tesanj (indicating). There is no town of Usora, there
6 is only a Usora river.
7 JUDGE JORDA: All right. So I understand
8 there are five enclaves, if I understand correctly,
9 Mr. Blaskic?
10 A. Your Honour, I said that as -- I didn't
11 mention Sarajevo as an enclave, but it was not as a
12 consequence of this conflict, so Sarajevo could be
13 added as a fourth operative group within the Operative
15 MR. NOBILO:
16 Q. So if we count Sarajevo, then your Operative
17 Zone would have been broken up into six enclaves?
18 A. Yes. I'm pointing to Usora now
19 (indicating). This is within the municipality -- in
20 the territory of the municipalities of Doboj and
22 Q. But formally speaking, you remained the
23 commander of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone which
24 would now include all six enclaves?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Tell the Trial Chamber, you have six
2 enclaves. In the circumstances of the structure or
3 organisation which you had, which is the initial stages
4 of transformation of the armed people into an army and
5 in the conditions of the communication lines such as
6 you had, what was your ability to command and control
7 in real time and space with these enclaves which you
8 had available?
9 A. I had no ability to command and control in
10 real time in these six enclaves with the exception of
11 the Kiseljak enclave which is where I stayed at the
13 Q. Okay. Having sketched this military
14 situation, let's move on to February. Throughout the
15 month of February, you were in Kiseljak. Could you
16 briefly and chronologically describe the main
17 developments and your activities because at this time
18 you were away from your main headquarters. Just give
19 us a quick overview of this period, that is, following
20 the first conflict in late January of 1993 and leading
21 up to the second conflict in April. So let's start
22 with the 1st of February, '93.
23 A. On the 31st of January, 1993, due to the
24 clear failure to implement the agreement which we had
25 reached with the 3rd Corps on the 27th of January, I
1 asked for a new meeting with the commander of the 3rd
2 Corps through the UN headquarters, and on the 1st of
3 February, we held a new meeting. If I recall
4 correctly, it was held in Vitez. General Morillon
5 presided in this meeting, and the chief of the
6 monitors, Mr. Flemming.
7 Q. Before we go to the meeting and what took
8 place, can you just tell me what did the 3rd Corps fail
9 to implement, what basic provision of the agreement of
10 the 27th of January?
11 A. It was cease-fire and the cessation of all
13 Q. Can we say that after the 27th of January,
14 the worst violence and the most gains took place?
15 A. Yes. These villages were attacked after the
16 27th, that is, the villages in the -- the villages in
17 Kacuni and Bilalovac.
18 Q. On the 1st of February, you went to Vitez.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you describe how your trip went and what
21 orders you gave to Mijo Bozic just before leaving
23 A. I was aware of the fact that Kiseljak was
24 filled with refugees who were very frustrated and,
25 unfortunately, some of them were also armed, and I
1 demanded of Commander Bozic to take all necessary steps
2 and prevent any type of retaliation against the Bosniak
3 Muslims in the town of Kiseljak and to remove the armed
4 groups from Kiseljak and send them to the front lines,
5 either one or the other side who were in the area of
6 Kiseljak. I also asked to find collective
7 accommodations for all refugees as soon as possible.
8 Q. With whom, how, in what way did you start to
10 A. I received a notice to wait for the UNPROFOR
11 vehicles and to use the armoured vehicles to go from
12 the Kiseljak barracks to Vitez. I could not follow
13 very well and observe the area as we passed, but I
14 believe that we went towards Visoko, Kakanj, Zenica,
15 and then to Vitez to the UNPROFOR base.
16 Q. In other words, you did not use the short
17 route, which is where the line of defence was, but you
18 used the circuitous route?
19 A. Yes. It took us about 45 minutes to get
20 there, which is what made me conclude that we had used
21 this really circuitous route because there were only
22 two communications lines open.
23 Q. This circuitous route was under the control
24 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was it not?
25 A. Yes, it was. It was under the full control
1 of the BH army.
2 Q. Why were you not able to see where you were
3 going? What stopped you? What prevented you from
4 seeing this?
5 A. Well, I can only suppose that for security
6 reasons, it was decided to put the blinds down on the
7 armoured UN vehicles, and we were practically
8 hermetically sealed within the armoured vehicles
9 themselves and were not able to look out and see
10 anything from within.
11 Q. You reached the UN base in Vitez. Tell us
12 who was at the meeting and what was said at the
14 A. The meeting was chaired by the commander of
15 UNPROFOR for Bosnia-Herzegovina, General Morillon, and
16 the head of the UN Monitoring Mission, Mr. Flemming.
17 Also present at the meeting were Enver, the commander
18 of the 3rd Corps, and Kadir Jusic, who represented the
19 3rd Corps of the BH army, and Dzemo, the deputy
20 commander of the 3rd Corps of the BH army.
21 Q. You're referring to Dzemo Merdan, are you
23 A. Yes, Dzemo Merdan, that's correct. I myself
24 was present, and the head of the staff, Franjo Nakic,
25 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone was also present.
1 Q. Perhaps this is a good time to clear up a
2 terminological matter. The name of the deputy
3 commander of the 3rd Corps, his name was Dzemail
4 Merdan, and "Dzemo" was short for "Dzemail"; is that
5 correct? People who knew him better, they referred to
6 him as "Dzemo." So is "Dzemo" an abbreviation of his
7 full name, which was "Dzemail"?
8 A. Yes, that is correct, and I knew him as Dzemo
9 at that time, and Enver, and we communicated using that
10 name at that time.
11 Q. General Morillon presided over the meeting.
12 What did he say by way of introduction? How did he
13 open the meeting?
14 A. In his introductory speech, he said that
15 activities were under way in Geneva to come by a
16 peaceful solution for Bosnia-Herzegovina and that he
17 was surprised that the destruction that had taken place
18 in the zone of the 3rd Corps of the BH army and the
19 Central Bosnia Operative Zone had been expanded, and he
20 asked that in the discussions to follow, Enver and
21 myself should present our proposals as to how to stop
22 this destruction.
23 General Morillon took note of the fact that
24 Croats had been expelled from Bilalovac, and after
25 that, he emphasised that it was our task, and probably
1 he had in mind mine and Enver's task, to build up
2 mutual trust and confidence, to appoint liaison
3 officers with the UN, and to establish PTT links and
4 communications, that is to say, telegraph and telephone
5 communication lines.
6 When I was given the floor at the meeting, I
7 emphasised in particular the fact that it was necessary
8 to monitor and examine the way in which links were
9 being relayed because, quite obviously, there had been
10 some disturbances.
11 Q. You're talking about the telephone cables,
12 are you not?
13 A. Well, I mean cables as well, because in
14 Bosnia, there were two forms of communications: cable
15 links, telephone cable links, and radio relay
16 transmitters, and it was enough for one of the relays
17 to be upset for the link not to function.
18 Q. When the representatives of the International
19 Community insisted that these communications be
20 repaired and put right and re-established, did they
21 have in mind the links between the 3rd Corps and the
22 Operative Zone?
23 A. They had in mind overall communications, both
24 civilian and military communications, which would
25 enable the speedy settlement of mutual
1 misunderstandings in the aim of achieving peace and a
2 return of trust and confidence.
3 Q. Very well. Please continue. What else was
4 concluded at the meeting?
5 A. I also put forward a number of suggestions at
6 the meeting and said that we ought to intensify the
7 work of the joint commission and that our deputies
8 should be appointed and designated, so on the one hand,
9 we had Nakic and, on the other side, Dzemo Merdan. I
10 also asked for freedom of movement along the roads in
11 our zone of responsibility, principally the road from
12 Vitez-Kiseljak, Vitez-Zenica, and the other roads.
13 Q. Another terminological qualification now,
14 please. Franjo Nakic, what was his position in your
15 command? What function and duty did he have?
16 A. Franjo Nakic at that time was the head of the
17 staff of the headquarters of the Operative Zone for
18 Central Bosnia, the chief of staff of the Central
19 Bosnia Operative Zone.
20 Q. Did he ever have the formal position of
21 deputy commander of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone?
22 A. He was never officially -- he never posed as
23 deputy commander -- he was never appointed officially
24 deputy commander of the Operative Zone.
25 Q. However, in some joint documents, he and
1 Merdan signed themselves as deputy commanders: Nakic
2 as deputy commander of the Operative Zone, and Merdan
3 as deputy commander of the 3rd Corps. How did this
4 come about? Could you explain that to the Trial
6 A. That is correct, and we were duty-bound, that
7 is to say, I myself was duty-bound and so was the
8 commander of the 3rd Corps, Enver Hadzihasanovic, to
9 appoint deputies, that is to say, if, according to the
10 system, we had no deputies, then the chief of staff
11 should be appointed to the joint commission; and
12 therefore, as I did not have a deputy commander at that
13 time, I appointed a staff deputy, the chief of staff,
14 who, in addition to being the chief of staff, had to
15 perform the duty of deputy as well, whereas the
16 situation in the 3rd Corps was somewhat different
17 because there Dzemo was the deputy commander and Nakic
18 was the chief of staff of the 3rd Corps.
19 Q. In actual fact, for all practical intents and
20 purposes, when you were absent, you were replaced by
21 the deputy commander, Franjo Nakic -- by the chief of
22 staff, Franjo Nakic?
23 A. That's right, because there was nobody else
24 to replace me.
25 Q. And so although he was the chief of staff ...
1 We're having some problems with the
3 From what you said, in the Central Bosnia
4 Operative Zone, the deputy commander post did not
5 exist; is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You were replaced in your absence by the
8 chief of staff; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. So the transcript should be understood in
11 that way and what you previously said, the
12 differentiation between chief of staff and deputy
14 Now, tell us how the meeting continued and
15 what the conclusions were.
16 Q. The next topic of that meeting were the
17 control points, the checkpoints --
18 MR. HAYMAN: I see some snickering at the
19 Prosecution table. I would ask that the tape of my
20 client's statements concerning Mr. Nakic be reviewed
21 and that the translators retranslate the tape because
22 what I think has happened is that they corrected
23 themselves. The translators at several points
24 corrected themselves. First they used the word
25 "deputy," and then they immediately said "chief of
1 staff," and it's not clear in the transcript whether
2 it's the translators correcting themselves or is that
3 General Blaskic correcting himself, and I think it
4 needs to be clear, particularly if an issue is going to
5 be made of it or if there is going to be snickering in
6 the courtroom about it.
7 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, Your Honours, I
8 invite the Court to examine any tape and examine any
9 conduct on behalf of the Prosecutor's bench.
10 Mr. Cayley and I consult, as do I with Mr. Kehoe,
11 during the course of the examination. Mr. Hayman can
12 put whatever gloss he wants on that, but I would
13 suggest that if there is an issue in this regard that
14 the Court review the tape.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, do not trouble the
16 serenity of these proceedings. We need to proceed in a
17 climate of serenity, and, therefore, by causing any
18 excitement, this may cloud the clarity of these
19 proceedings, and so, Mr. Hayman, let's please try to
20 remain calm. Smiles may occur, and you, yourself, may
21 smile during proceedings. I see sometimes that when
22 the Prosecutor says something that doesn't please you,
23 that you spring up. I hope that the camera doesn't
24 catch me doing such things because Mr. Hayman won't be
25 pleased. Please understand. Let's try to remain calm,
1 Mr. Hayman. Don't forget, soon it will be time for
2 lunch, so perhaps that may resolve a number of things.
3 MR. HAYMAN: I've been quiet for many days,
4 Mr. President. I don't know how in French some of
5 these passages have been translated and if there's any
6 ambiguity. I can only say that in the English there's
7 absolute ambiguity as to whether the translators were
8 correcting themselves or the witness was correcting
9 himself. If it's in issue, let's fix it. We have a
10 chance to fix it by going back to the videotape.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much. It is not
12 incumbent upon me to interpret the English
13 interpretation. It is up to the two sides to find the
14 best solution for the interpretation from the booths,
15 so for the time now, I'm not making any incriminations
17 Witness, General Blaskic, have you managed to
18 remain calm and keep your serenity or are you tired,
19 and perhaps you might like to take a break at this time
20 because you have a very long memory, I understand, and
21 you have a great deal left to discuss, but perhaps you
22 might like to take a break now and give your counsel
23 the time to calm down.
24 I see now that I'm making everyone smile, so
25 we will take now our recess and resume at 2.30.
1 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.53 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.34 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
3 take your seats. I think we can resume. May we greet,
4 Mr. Dubuisson.
5 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. We
6 left off at 1 February, 1993 at the meeting after
7 Mr. Blaskic was driven in an armoured vehicle from
8 Kiseljak via Zenica to the base in Vitez.
9 Q. You described who attended the meeting and
10 what General Morillon said at the beginning, and could
11 you please now go on and describe what happened next in
12 this meeting?
13 A. Yes. General Morillon pointed out the
14 problem of checkpoints and said that by removing them,
15 the communication lines would be reopened, and he
16 suggested that at each of these checkpoints, UN
17 forces would be deployed and that the army which
18 controls this area could also position their forces
19 within the field of vision.
20 I understood this proposal to mean that here
21 in Bilalovac, the UN forces would be deployed and
22 that within the field of vision from this position, a
23 BH army checkpoint would be set up and on the other
24 side, the HVO forces, one of the HVO forces.
25 Q. What was your position with respect to this
1 proposal of General Morillon?
2 A. For me, that would have meant giving
3 legitimacy to the occupation of these territories and
4 that that would mean deployment of forces of the --
5 taken or the occupied territories of the local
6 communities of Bilalovac and Kacuni by the BH army, and
7 I asked that the situation be reversed to the positions
8 as it existed on the 23rd of January, which meant that
9 these forces be withdrawn from those areas.
10 I did not agree that anyone's armed forces,
11 including the BH army and the HVO, be deployed on
12 either side of the UN forces, but I understood and I
13 accepted that the UN forces be deployed on the road
14 because they would have guaranteed safety of travel. I
15 also opened the question of the exchange of prisoners
16 between the 3rd Corps and the Operative Zone.
17 Following that, the chief of the European
18 Monitoring Mission, Mr. Flemming, asked to speak, and
19 in this meeting, he argued the following: He asked for
20 a representative of the 1st Army Corps, that is, of the
21 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, who would have the
22 authority of commander of the 1st Corps. He also
23 requested to --
24 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. I don't know
25 whether this is a matter of interpretation, but it's
1 not quite clear to me, he asked that a representative
2 of the 1st Army Corps and the authority of commander,
3 can you explain that to me, please, General Blaskic?
4 What did Mr. Flemming ask exactly?
5 A. He, in fact, asked that a representative of
6 the 1st Corps has the authority of the commander of the
7 1st Corps over the forces which were deployed in this
8 area of Kacuni and Bilalovac, to have the authority
9 over these forces which were deployed in the Kacuni and
10 Bilalovac areas.
11 MR. NOBILO:
12 Q. General, did only the forces of the 3rd
13 Corps, under the command of Enver Hadzihasanovic, take
14 part in this operation or were there also some forces
15 of the 1st Corps involved?
16 JUDGE JORDA: It wasn't very clear. He was
17 the representative of the 1st Army Corps. Perhaps it's
18 not very important, but could you explain this to us on
19 the terrain? What did Mr. Flemming ask the
20 representative of the 1st Corps? He asked him to have
21 authority over the 1st Corps or what? That seems to me
22 to be evident. Could you explain this, please?
23 A. Mr. President, in the meeting, there was a
24 representative of the 1st Corps present. This was
25 Mr. Kadir Jusic. This was at the meeting in Vitez.
1 Flemming asked of him to acquire, that is, that Kadir
2 Jusic be given authority by the commander of the 1st
3 Corps to command over the forces which were deployed in
4 Bilalovac and --
5 MR. NOBILO:
6 Q. General, is it true that the commander of the
7 3rd Corps was present at the meeting and also the
8 commander of the Operative Zone?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. And only there was no representative of the
11 1st Corps present at the meeting; is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. The fact that no commander of the 1st Corps
14 was present, did that represent a problem during the
15 negotiations, that is, when the agreement was reached
16 and then in a sense of control and command over the
17 units on the ground in terms of the implementation of
18 the agreement?
19 A. I just interpreted here the words of
20 Mr. Flemming. I think that he was aware of the fact
21 that he had two commanders present, that is, myself and
22 the commander of the 3rd Corps in Zenica, and that as
23 regards the forces who had been brought from Visoko,
24 the commander of the 1st Corps was not present to sign
25 the agreement, and he was not present to work on the
1 implementation of this agreement.
2 At that time, we knew that the forces of the
3 1st Operative Group in Visoko were brought to Visoko
4 and deployed there, but we did not know what the chain
5 of command was between Visoko and the 3rd Army Corps in
7 Q. Just a moment, please. From where were these
8 forces brought here?
9 A. The forces of the 1st Corps were brought here
10 from Visoko to Bilalovac.
11 Q. During the January attack against the HVO?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Very well. If this is clear now, let's move
15 What were the positions of Mr. Flemming of
16 the European Monitoring Mission, and if you could just
17 slow down a little bit so that the interpretation can
18 follow you.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Go to the essential points,
20 General, the conclusions of the meeting. You, of
21 course, know all this very well because you experienced
22 it, lived through it, and what I would like to ask you,
23 on behalf of the Judges, is to go to the conclusion of
24 the meetings to know how this would affect the events
25 that were to follow.
1 A. Your Honours, I did not present here the
2 positions of the 3rd Corps, that is, the positions of
3 the commander of the 3rd Corps, and --
4 MR. NOBILO:
5 Q. Perhaps it would be useful if we knew what
6 the position of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was?
7 A. The commander of the 3rd Corps asked that the
8 situation be brought back to what it was on the 23rd of
9 January, 1993, just as I did, but in the meeting, we --
10 and when I say "we," that means myself and the
11 commander of the 3rd Corps and a representative of the
12 3rd Corps, we drew up a map in which we identified the
13 areas controlled by either side and the deployment of
14 units there.
15 On the basis of this map, it was clear that
16 the forces of the 3rd Corps and the forces of the
17 operative group in Visoko of the BH army were
18 controlling the areas of the Kacuni and Bilalovac local
19 communes. The commander of the 3rd Corps also
20 suggested that the artillery should be trained towards
21 the positions of the army of the Republika Srpska. He
22 asked that the exchange of all prisoners be carried
23 out, and as regards the damage and destroyed houses and
24 a chapel in the village of Dusina, he said that these
25 were acts committed by individuals outside of the
1 control of the army.
2 In this meeting, he also said that he would
3 coordinate the forces of the operative group from
4 Visoko. I asked that these forces in the areas of
5 Kacuni and Bilalovac local communes be withdrawn, that
6 is, taken back to Zenica and the territory of Visoko,
7 and that the road be opened for traffic. I also asked
8 that the violence committed by individuals be curbed.
9 The representative of the 1st Corps,
10 Mr. Kadir Jusic, pointed out that it would be important
11 that the UN forces control the areas which were
12 unaffected by the conflict. He claimed that the
13 abandoned Croatian villages are being torched and
14 looted and that goods and property are being taken away
15 there. He also said that the Croatian families from
16 Bilalovac and the area were leaving their homes.
17 The reason for bringing the 1st Corps forces
18 to Bilalovac, he said, was protection of the Bosniak
19 Muslims in the local commune of Bilalovac. I asked
20 that this claim be cleared during this meeting, and I
21 asked who were Bosniak Muslims threatened by in the
22 Bilalovac local commune because the military conscripts
23 who were Croatian were still on the Travnik front
24 facing the Serbian army.
25 I also pointed out that members of the Black
1 Swan unit were frightening the Croatian civilians in
2 Bilalovac. The Black Swans were members of the BH
3 army. I also pointed out that the conflict must have
4 been planned at a higher level.
5 I also asked that, in the media,
6 more temperate and more moderate views be espoused.
7 Q. Very well. Do you also remember what General
8 Morillon said to Mr. Jusic with respect to the burning
9 of houses?
10 A. I remember, and I quote him. He said,
11 "Mr. Jusic, stop the burning down of houses in
13 Q. And Jusic was from the 1st Corps of the BH
15 A. Yes. He said that he represented the 1st
16 Corps of the BH army in Visoko.
17 Q. Could you mention the conclusions of these
18 meetings and who were they proposed by?
19 A. Yes. They were proposed by Mr. Flemming in
20 the latter part of the meeting and they were the
21 following: The implementation of withdrawal of all
22 forces, and the deadline for that was set for the 2nd
23 of February, 1993, at 1200 hours, and the report was to
24 be -- we were supposed to deliver a report to the joint
25 commission, that is, Enver and myself, by 1300 hours.
1 Next, we also agreed that the zone of
2 responsibility and engagement of the joint commission
3 be identical to the zone of responsibility of the 3rd
4 Corps and Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
5 Q. What was this joint commission supposed to
7 A. The joint commission was supposed to
8 investigate, that is, it was supposed to implement and
9 monitor the conclusions of this meeting, that is, all
10 the orders which Enver and I would issue, the joint
11 commission would implement on the ground. However, the
12 problem was with respect to the communication systems
13 of the joint command and the Central Bosnia Operative
14 Zone because we did not have such a system.
15 One of the conclusions of this joint meeting
16 was to establish a hot-line which would be a telephone
17 line between Kacuni and Busovaca, and, on the other
18 side, between Bilalovac and Kiseljak in order to secure
19 communication of the HVO forces and forces of the BH
20 army in this area.
21 I also proposed lines of withdrawal for the
22 forces from the Bilalovac area to Visoko and from
23 Kacuni in the direction of Zenica.
24 Q. According to these conclusions, when was the
25 Vitez-Kiseljak road supposed to be re-opened?
1 A. The Vitez-Kiseljak road was supposed to be
2 re-opened on the 2nd of February, 1993, around 1400
3 hours, that is, after 1400 hours.
4 Q. After the conclusion of the meeting, you
5 returned to Kiseljak?
6 A. Yes, I returned to Kiseljak, and I, for the
7 most part, worked on drafting the order which would
8 regulate the implementation of the conclusions reached
9 at the meeting which we had in Vitez the previous day.
10 Q. While you were in the UN base in Vitez, did
11 you have an opportunity to go to your command post,
12 that is, to your headquarters, and if not, how did you
13 leave Vitez?
14 A. No. When the meeting ended, I entered the
15 UN armoured vehicle, just as I did in Kiseljak, and I
16 was then driven back to Kiseljak from their base in
18 Q. Either on the way there or back, did you have
19 an opportunity to stop, to get out of the vehicle and
20 meet and see anybody in Busovaca, any member of the
22 A. No. As far as I could ascertain the route
23 that we took, I don't think we ever went through
24 Busovaca. I believe we went through Kakanj and Visoko.
25 Q. On 2nd February, 1993, was the provision of
1 the agreement about re-opening of the Busovaca-Kiseljak
2 road respected?
3 A. This provision of the agreement was not
5 Q. You had a conversation with Mr. Flemming when
6 he presented you with some accusatory documents or
7 materials, and can you tell us how this situation was
9 A. I had previously already been working on this
10 document in Kiseljak when Mr. Flemming arrived at
11 around 1700 hours and claimed that he was informed that
12 the chief of the Kiseljak police station had asked that
13 the Muslim villages of Kazagici, Visnjica, and
14 Svinjarevo be disarmed. I asked Mr. Flemming, did he
15 refer to the chief of the civilian police station, and
16 he said in the affirmative, that it was indeed the
17 chief of the civilian police station, and I suggested
18 to Mr. Flemming that the best course of action would be
19 for me to immediately go together with him to those
20 villages and on site confirm the information which
21 Mr. Flemming was in possession of.
22 Q. Before you go on, could you tell me what the
23 chief of the civilian police station said to
24 Mr. Flemming? Whose orders was he implementing or
25 carrying out?
1 A. Flemming had this information or this report
2 that the chief of the police station had approached the
3 villagers with the intention of disarming them. When
4 the villagers told the chief of police that this was
5 not in the spirit of the agreement which had been
6 signed the day before and made public, then the chief
7 of the Kiseljak police station said that he was
8 implementing or carrying out the decisions from Mostar.
9 Q. Now, what did you do? Did you go to those
10 villages with Flemming, and what facts did you find
12 A. First of all, I told Mr. Flemming that I did
13 not think that this was true but that it would be
14 simpler if he and I went to those villages immediately
15 and checked out the veracity of this information. We
16 immediately went to the village of Visnjica and then to
17 the village of Svinjarevo, we verified the information,
18 and Mr. Flemming said, after the verification, "It is
19 all right. I had incorrect information, that is, I had
20 incorrect reports. The reports that I received were
21 not correct."
22 Q. The translation says that the information was
23 confirmed, which usually means that the original
24 information was correct. What did you find out? Had
25 Flemming received correct or incorrect information?
1 A. We confirmed that Flemming received incorrect
2 information, and this is what he told me. He said,
3 "The information I had was not correct."
4 Q. Let us now skip a whole number of incidents
5 and reports, information that was coming about them.
6 But on the 3rd, you received a report that there was a
7 gathering of army troops of Bosnia and Herzegovina in
8 Gomionica. Can you please point where Gomionica is
9 because later on this village will become important?
10 A. On the model, Gomionica is the location which
11 I'm pointing at (indicating), and I'm also going to
12 point to it on the map. When we set off from Kiseljak,
13 we took the main road to Busovaca, and due north from
14 the main road is the village of Gomionica.
15 I received information on 3 February, 1993,
16 that 60 soldiers, local soldiers of the army of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, were stationed in the village and
18 that another 100 soldiers were brought there on that
19 day from Visoko.
20 Q. Can you tell me, in those days, was the
21 Busovaca-Kiseljak road reopened in the spirit of the
23 A. No, the road was not reopened, and we
24 continued to receive this worrying information, news,
25 from Fojnica about building of fortifications in the
1 territory of Fojnica municipality by members of the BH
2 army which were positioned facing the Croatian-held
4 Q. On the 24th of -- on the 4th of February,
5 there was an attack in Kuber, and you received
6 information about that. What was that information
7 which you received?
8 A. This is the Kuber feature (indicating). This
9 is this whole mountain range that I'm pointing at
11 On the 4th of February, I received
12 information that the forces of the 17th Krajina Brigade
13 and the 7th Muslim Brigade carried out an attack on
14 Kuber at the Saracevica feature, and that this feature,
15 Saracevica, was taken.
16 MR. NOBILO: Could the witness be shown
17 Defence Exhibit D402, please?
18 Q. On the 5th of February, Commander Rasim Delic
19 from the staff of the supreme command of the armed
20 forces in Visoko asked from your command to transport
21 ammunition, that is, a large amount of ammunition. As
22 stated here, it's 400.000 pieces of 7.62 millimetre,
23 200.000 of 7.9 millimetre, and 30.000 of 20.7 calibre.
24 Did you receive this request and did you
25 approve the passage of these amounts of ammunition for
1 the BH army on the 5th of February, 1993?
2 A. In the course of the day on the 5th of
3 February, we responded to this request, and the convoys
4 passed through carrying ammunition for the BH army.
5 I would also like to point out that the
6 convoys had unimpeded passage through Kiseljak almost
7 throughout this period and they were carrying supplies
8 for the BH army.
9 Q. But on the 5th of February, you had another
10 meeting with the UN representatives as well as
11 representatives of the 3rd Corps. However, this time
12 this was in Busovaca. How were you transported there,
13 what did you experience during the trip, who was at the
14 meeting, and if you could just give us the conclusions
15 of the meetings?
16 A. Again, the UN organised the
17 transportation. We used UNPROFOR armoured vehicles. I
18 was transported from Kiseljak to Busovaca to Motel
19 Tisa. This was where the headquarters of the joint
20 commission was which had been established previously
21 following the meeting in Vitez. During the
22 transportation, I could sense the smell of burning
23 structures in the area of Bilalovac and Kacuni.
24 Q. In his opening remarks, Mr. Flemming said a
25 couple of important things. Could you comment on that?
1 A. Yes. Mr. Flemming chaired the meeting, and
2 he pointed out that it would be necessary to withdraw
3 the troops of the 1st BH army corps from the area of
4 the Kiseljak municipality. Further, that the civilians
5 had been attacked in the village of Katici in the
6 Busovaca municipality.
7 Q. Who were these civilians? What ethnic group
8 did they belong to?
9 A. The civilians in Katici were Croats, ethnic
10 Croats. This is the village of Katici (indicating).
11 The civilians were Croats. The attack was carried out
12 from the direction of Merdani, and the civilians from
13 this village were taken away.
14 Q. Did you have information whether these
15 civilians had been held as hostages?
16 A. This was ascertained by a joint commission of
17 the 3rd Corps of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone and
18 the European Monitoring Mission. They went to visit
19 the area where civilians from the village of Katici
20 were being held, and they succeeded in ascertaining
21 that in one particular house, 25 women were being held
22 with children, and they were not able to supervise the
23 other buildings, premises, because they were not
24 allowed to by the members of the BH army.
25 Q. Is it true that at that meeting you accused
1 the 3rd Corps and 1st Corps of having made ethnically
2 pure areas?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. After that, what did Dzemo Merdan state?
5 A. When I raised the problem of ethnic cleansing
6 in the region, Dzemo Merdan said the following: He
7 asked for a visit to be organised to the village of
8 Rovna and Pezici, Kovacevac, and Putis, the village of
9 Skradno, the village of Stranje, the Mahala, and Kadira
10 Strana. He said that the attack on the village of
11 Katici was provoked by shooting from the village of
12 Katici towards the village of Merdani. After that,
13 Merdan said that the civilians were being taken to do
14 trench digging.
15 Q. Where? What place?
16 A. To Busovaca, and that was the first time that
17 I was confronted with a statement of this kind because
18 we had had numerous meetings, Dzemo and I, before that
19 and the commander of the 3rd Corps, and he also
20 ascertained that the Vitezovi were dealing with
21 problems in the individual villages by using
22 ultimatums, and he had in mind the Bosniak Muslim
23 villages. He also ascertained that the disarmament of
24 the Muslims in the area of the Kiseljak municipality
25 was the cause for bringing in the forces of the 3rd
1 Corps to the local community of Bilalovac.
2 I asked him to stipulate which village,
3 Bosniak Muslim village, in the municipality of Kiseljak
4 had been disarmed. He did not state one single
6 Q. When you came to the prisoners who were
7 digging trenches and who had to be freed, in the
8 discussion, a representative of the International Red
9 Cross, a lady, was present, and she presented some of
10 the ICRC's stands with regard to the liberation of
11 prisoners. Could you explain to the Trial Chamber what
12 the attitude taken by the Red Cross was?
13 A. The name of the lady from the Red Cross I can
14 tell you, if you like, her name was Iris, she
15 introduced herself as Iris, and she considered that it
16 was necessary for both sides to free all individuals
17 who had been taken prisoner, and she said that 64
18 individuals had been detained. I have this fact
19 written down in my notes, but I'm not clear as to who
20 she was referring to, who the figure of 64 actually
21 related to.
22 She asked the chairman of the meeting, who
23 was Mr. Flemming, to delay the momentary and prompt
24 freeing of prisoners because of an incident that had
25 taken place in Katici because the security situation,
1 according to her assessment, was such that it was not
2 possible to free the individuals who had been taken
3 captive, and she asked us at the meeting to provide
4 security guarantees to all the returnees.
5 Q. Let us leave that meeting aside for a moment
6 and the individuals who were taken prisoner because it
7 enters the very essence of the indictment, that is to
8 say, trench digging by civilians.
9 Did you, prompted by the information that you
10 received, especially with the representative of the Red
11 Cross, have special talks with the representative of
12 the Red Cross regarding the freeing of prisoners and
13 trench digging? Did you ask for additional
15 A. When the meeting had been concluded, the
16 first part of the meeting, I had a separate meeting
17 with Mrs. Iris in the same hall of the Tisa Motel, and
18 we discussed just one topic, and that topic was the
19 involvement of prisoners in trench digging. Mrs. Iris
20 told me that she had received a report that prisoners
21 were being used to dig trenches in the Busovaca
22 municipality. I told Mrs. Iris that I was in Kiseljak
23 the whole time and that up until that time, that is, up
24 until the 5th of February, I had not received a report
25 to that effect but that I would do everything in my
1 power to confirm the information, to see whether it was
2 correct or not, and to verify it and to undertake
3 measures because I did not acquiesce to this kind of
4 work being done.
5 Q. In the days to come, did you check the
6 information you received, and, if so, who did you call,
7 what information did you get, and how were you able to
8 establish contact?
9 A. I asked that the information be verified, and
10 the command of the Operative Zone, I contacted it, and
11 the command of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade in
12 Busovaca, and the information that I received, feedback
13 information, from the commander in Busovaca, as well as
14 from the chief of staff in the Operative Zone, the
15 information was that nobody had given the order or
16 approved or requested this kind of engagement of
17 prisoners in the assignment of trench digging.
18 Q. In the days that followed or, more exactly,
19 on the 6th of February, 1992, you received fresh
20 information from Gomionica -- I misspoke, 1993, the 6th
21 of February, 1993. It seems that I misspoke when
22 quoting the year.
23 A. On that particular day, I received
24 information, according to which mortars, 120-millimetre
25 mortars, had been brought again from the direction of
1 Visoko to Gomionica.
2 Q. In a situation of this kind, what was noticed
3 as a mass phenomenon in Kiseljak or the shops of
4 Kiseljak? What could be noticed?
5 A. Well, what could be noticed was that food
6 stuffs were being bought up in large quantities, and
7 they were large quantities for families, compared to
8 previous periods.
9 Q. I forgot to ask you. After the meeting in
10 Busovaca and the separate talks you had with the
11 representative of the Red Cross, where did you return
12 to and how did you return to where you went?
13 A. The procedure was the same again. Once
14 again, we were taken in the UN vehicles straight back
15 across Kacuni, Bilalovac, to Kiseljak.
16 Q. Was the road open then, the road from
17 Kiseljak to Busovaca, and the checkpoints that we can
18 see on the model, were they dismantled?
19 A. No, the road was not open even then, although
20 that was another subject of discussion. The road was
21 still closed to the HVO.
22 Q. However, on the 8th of February in the
23 Kiseljak municipality, new blockades were set up by the
24 BH army, that is to say, the blockades that existed
25 were not dismantled but new ones were set up. Can you
1 explain to the Trial Chamber who set up the new
2 blockade and where the blockades were set up using the
3 yellow symbols that we have, markers.
4 A. The new blockades were set up at the very
5 entrance to the village of Gomionica by the army of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and directly next to the
7 checkpoint, there were forces of the BH army deployed
8 for the defence of that checkpoint, so there were both
9 the manpower and the materiel.
10 Q. Now, Gomionica, what position did it have and
11 what was the importance of Gomionica and how was it
12 linked up to the rear and the territory in depth?
13 JUDGE JORDA: Could you show us on the map,
14 please, because as I say, the model is very good for
15 detailed information, but the Judges like to have an
16 overall view, so a map is a good idea. Could you show
17 it on the map, indicate it on the map, and the camera
18 can show the map as well so that the public can see?
19 With regard to Kiseljak, please, General Blaskic, would
20 you point out Gomionica?
21 A. I am pointing to Kiseljak, first of all
22 (indicating), this is Kiseljak (indicating), and the
23 main road moves along towards Busovaca. On the
24 right-hand side north of the road lies Gomionica.
25 The checkpoint that was set up in the
1 immediate vicinity of the main road at the entrance to
2 the village of Gomionica, and Gomionica was across the
3 road from Cakalovici, Orasje, and linked to the main
4 road from Kakanj to Visoko, that is to say, it was
5 linked to Visoko.
6 Q. Was this a territory which was exclusively
7 under the control of the BH army?
8 A. Yes, it was, uninterrupted control, as the
9 forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the area of Gornja
10 and Donja Zimca had cleared up the territory of the
11 Serbs in 1992.
12 Q. On the 9th of February, once again, an armed
13 incident, this time from Merdani; what happened there?
14 A. Well, there was a burst of gunfire from the
15 Merdani village on the town of Busovaca, and some of
16 the projectiles fell near the UN base there.
17 Q. Who was in the village of Merdani?
18 A. In the village of Merdani were the forces of
19 the 3rd Corps of the BH army. They were stationed
21 Q. At that time, that is to say, on the 8th of
22 February, 9th of February, and further on, where were
23 you, yourself?
24 A. I, myself, continued to be in Kiseljak, and I
25 was in the Kiseljak municipality.
1 Q. Was that your choice? Were you in Kiseljak
2 by choice or did you have no other possibility? What
3 actually happened?
4 A. Well, on the 9th, there was an attempt for
5 the refugee civilians to break through towards
6 Busovaca, and this was unsuccessful, and I didn't have
7 the possibility of going to Vitez. So it was not my
8 choice, it was out of necessity, and I was not able to
9 go to Vitez.
10 Q. Tell the Trial Chamber, please, many
11 witnesses on the side of the Prosecution unsuccessfully
12 tried to find some secret mountain passes and routes.
13 Could you go to Busovaca from Kiseljak and Vitez
14 without passing through the ranks of the BH army? Was
15 that at all possible?
16 A. Your Honours, with your permission, I would
17 like to show this on the map. That is much simpler,
18 but my answer is no. No, I could not.
19 Q. Perhaps you can show us in greater detail
20 later on.
21 On the 11th of February, in addition to the
22 activities and relationship with the BH army --
23 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, will you be going
24 back to that point? I hope that you will go back to
25 that point; otherwise, it will be the Judges who will
1 raise that point because it is a point to discuss.
2 There were helicopters and lots of other things. So
3 you shouldn't say that you will be going back to the
4 subject again, but this was a fact, a question, that
5 was discussed because the witness said, "I'll show you
6 on the map, but my answer is no," and I think that the
7 Judges would like to know what all this was about, but,
8 of course, you needn't do it straightaway. I would
9 just like to draw your attention to the fact that this
10 point should be cleared up.
11 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Your Honours. Yes, I
12 thought that it was sufficient for the witness to say
13 that he could not go from Kiseljak to Busovaca and
14 Vitez, and I thought that if anybody would be
15 interested in this point later on -- but if Your
16 Honours feel that this is necessary, then the witness
17 is at your disposal straightaway.
18 Q. So would you please, General, explain what
19 this --
20 JUDGE JORDA: That's not the question,
21 Mr. Nobilo. You said that you would return to the
22 question, so you can choose the moment at which you
23 wish to return to the question, but I would like to
24 say, and I think that I interpret my colleagues'
25 feelings as well, there was talk of helicopters which
1 could allow, perhaps, the witness to go back to the
2 question. Now, I don't mind. It is up to you to
3 choose the moment. He answered in an elliptic way and
4 said he couldn't go, but when you like, it's up to you,
5 you can decide, to make the demonstration. It's up to
7 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we can do that
8 straightaway. The witness will indicate the links
9 between Busovaca and Vitez, and I would like the
10 witness to stand up, please.
11 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, you were
12 blocked in Kiseljak, and you thought that you were in
13 an enclave and that you could not rejoin the Vitez
14 area, except by the mountains, and you couldn't go
15 across those.
16 A. Your Honours, I'm showing the main road
17 between Kiseljak, Bilalovac, Kacuni, Busovaca. It was
18 cut off at the Kacuni checkpoint, in Oseliste and Donji
19 Bukovci, and at Bilalovac, so it was impassable for
21 Next, the road Kiseljak, Visoko, Kakanj,
22 Lasva, Kaonik, Vitez, it is controlled by the BH army,
23 the forces of the 1st Corps from Visoko and the forces
24 of the 3rd Corps around Kakanj. This entire route, it
25 also was under control of the 305th Brigade which had
1 been driven out of Jajce, and at Dobrinje, there was
2 the Abdul Latif detachment, that is, the Mujahedeen
3 unit, so this road was also impassable to me.
4 Next, if you go from Kiseljak to Gromiljak
5 and then to Raskrsce, there is a road branching off to
6 Fojnica. In Fojnica, the 310th Brigade, who at that
7 time was part of the 3rd Corps, was stationed with
8 forces at the size of a battalion in Pridola.
9 Somewhere it is marked as Pridola, and elsewhere it is
10 marked as Zivcici. There was a Mujahedeen camp in
11 Dragacici and the 310th Brigade Battalion at Gradina
12 and another battalion in the town of Fojnica.
13 In order to prevent communication between
14 Fojnica and Busovaca for the HVO members, the army of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina set up a checkpoint at Smajlovici,
16 the location I'm pointing at now (indicating), and then
17 they stopped any joint patrolling with the HVO in the
18 Zahor area.
19 As early as the 6th of February,
20 fortifications were built and trenches facing the
21 Croatian villages. Civilians were also unable to pass
22 through if the BH army did not let them, that is, to go
23 from Kiseljak to Busovaca, and if we look at the
24 chronology, those who had been driven out of Kacuni
25 could also not come back.
1 There were no mountain roads left free and
2 open for that either because they were all controlled
3 by the BH army forces. This will be seen even better
4 when we show the lines set up by the BH army on the
5 31st of January.
6 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, during the break,
7 we will delineate the new demarcation line between the
8 BH army and the HVO.
9 Q. With your permission, let's go to the issue
10 of helicopters. Did you have a helicopter in January
11 in Vitez or Kiseljak?
12 A. No.
13 Q. And in February?
14 A. No. You mean 1993? No.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. That is very clear,
16 and it is up to the Prosecutor to draw the conclusions
17 and the observations necessary to the discussion.
18 We can carry on. We started at 2.30.
19 Perhaps we can go on for another ten or fifteen
21 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
22 Q. We stopped at 11 February when a big police
23 operation, a crackdown against criminal activities was
24 organised, and could you tell us, what did this
25 criminal group do and what was done to stop them?
1 A. We organised a widespread operation, and
2 about 14, maybe up to 20 individuals involved in
3 criminal activities were arrested. For us, it was also
4 something new which we learned. We found on these
5 individuals the insignia of the Croatian Defence
6 Council, army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, insignia of the
7 Territorial Defence, the HVO military police, TO
8 military police, and it operated and robbed in the area
9 of the Kiseljak municipality, mostly in the urban area
10 but also in the surrounding villages, that is, the
11 villages surrounding the town of Kiseljak in the
12 Kiseljak municipality. Regardless of which village it
13 was looting -- actually, depending upon which village
14 it was looting, they would wear the insignia of the
15 military units of the other side.
16 The composition of this group was that it was
17 about two-third Croat and one-third Bosniak Muslim, and
18 I believe that there were two Serbs in this criminal
20 Q. At that time, it was the only multi-ethnic
21 organisation in the area; is that correct?
22 Let me tell you, on the 11th of February, the
23 BH army carried out an infantry attack at Kula. What
24 was the significance of Kula and what was the size of
25 the force that had attacked it?
1 A. I will show it on the map. I'm pointing to
2 the town of Busovaca, Kula (indicating). The attack
3 was carried out from the direction of Lasva and Dusina
4 on Kula, and the force was somewhere between 600 and
5 1.000 soldiers, and this was a key position for the
6 defence of Busovaca, from the north side.
7 Q. Was this a hill above Busovaca?
8 A. It is the only hill above Busovaca, and had
9 it been taken, the town of Busovaca would have fallen
10 to the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
11 On the model, it is the location that I'm
12 pointing to now (indicating).
13 Q. What forces did the BH army use for this
15 A. This attack was carried out with forces
16 numbering 600 to 1.000 soldiers, and they were members
17 of the 17th Krajina, 333rd Mountain Brigades, and parts
18 of the 7th Muslim Brigade.
19 Q. Had there not been two agreements for a
20 cease-fire made between you and Hadzihasanovic?
21 A. Yes, but it was not implemented by the 3rd
22 Corps of the BH army; in other words, the cease-fire
23 was just not implemented.
24 Q. So how did you receive such information, in
25 purely technical terms?
1 A. If there were serious attacks of this kind,
2 these reports would be sent by open telephone lines, in
3 other words, by using the lines which would be used for
4 any other civilian purpose.
5 Q. So you received the information that the BH
6 army was attacking Kula with such and such forces.
7 When you received this, could they give you detailed
8 positions, that is, the defence positions on these open
9 civilian lines, so that you could issue military orders
10 and take charge of this military operation?
11 A. No, this was not possible because we were
12 aware that such information would first arrive in
13 Kacuni and that the BH army command post in Kacuni
14 would respond or react to this information even before
15 I would be able to physically respond to it.
16 Q. Why do you think that this information would
17 be first received in Kacuni? How do you explain that?
18 A. We already knew at that time that our calls
19 were monitored.
20 Q. Where do the phone lines go between Busovaca?
21 A. We knew that it went through Kacuni and we
22 knew that our conversations were all being monitored,
23 and this would just be playing into the hand of the
24 enemy who, at that time, was attacking us.
25 Q. Would it have been possible to use the packet
1 radio communication in order to speed up the process of
2 command and control?
3 A. No. In these conditions of a developing
4 situation, packet communication was not viable, because
5 by the time the operator had typed up my instructions,
6 the attack would be halfway over.
7 Q. Very well. I would like you to look at
8 document number 456/9 on the 22nd -- the date when the
9 joint command was established, and I would like to take
10 you back to that.
11 We have a Prosecution Exhibit which is an
12 order of Sefer Halilovic, the chief of staff of the
13 supreme command of the armed forces of Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina and Milivoj Petkovic, chief of main staff
15 of the HVO, he's a brigadier, ordering that on the 11th
16 of February, 1993, paragraph 1:
17 "The Commander of the BH Army 3rd Corps and
18 the Commander of the HVO Central Bosnia Operative Zone
19 (Hadzihasanovic and Blaskic) shall form a joint
20 coordinating team of three members each, presided over
21 by the said gentlemen. The team shall have the
22 following assignments and powers:
23 a) It shall issue joint orders."
24 And so on and so forth. I'm not going to
25 read the entire document.
1 Can you explain -- or, Mr. President, perhaps
2 maybe we can take a break now because we are at a
3 quarter to four now, and we can go back to it after the
5 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. We will have a
6 20-minute break.
7 --- Recess taken at 3.46 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 4.09 p.m.
9 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed.
10 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
11 Q. General, the last exhibit before the break
12 was Defence Exhibit 456/9 (sic), Exhibit 456/9, by
13 which Halilovic and Petkovic, the commanders of the HVO
14 and the BH army, ordered the establishment of a joint
15 command. What does that mean and what did they wish to
17 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, General, before you
19 Just for the record, Mr. President, that's a
20 Prosecution Exhibit, not Defence. 456/9 is a
21 Prosecution Exhibit. I think counsel said Defence.
22 It's just for the purpose of clarifying the record. I
23 do believe that's what came up on the screen.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, it was stated Defence
25 Exhibit. Is it Defence or Prosecution?
1 THE REGISTRAR: It is a Prosecution Exhibit.
2 All the 456, 4-5-6 exhibits are Prosecution Exhibits.
3 JUDGE JORDA: So it was the joint commission
4 or a joint command?
5 MR. NOBILO:
6 Q. Perhaps General Blaskic could explain what
7 this document meant and what kind of action you
9 A. This document was based on the basis of an
10 agreement between the commander of the main staff of
11 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the chief of the
12 main staff of the HVO, and there was an attempt to
13 prevent all misunderstanding and further conflict and
14 the creation of a new joint command with the aim of
15 uniting the struggle against the Serb aggressor.
16 This was also a continuation of the joint
17 command and its activities in a different composition,
18 somewhat different composition, because from 1992, we
19 already had a joint command, the Prkacin-Pasalic joint
20 command, whereas now, with this order, I and the
21 commander of the 3rd Corps established a joint
22 coordinating team which, once again, had the competency
23 of issuing joint orders.
24 Q. In that particular joint order, Petkovic and
25 Halilovic, in point 1(c) and 1(d), it is stated:
1 "1(c) It shall remove all barricades and
2 barriers in the area of responsibility, and ensure the
3 return of the population to their homes, and
4 unobstructed movement on all roads (provide conditions
5 for the return of the legal organs of power and
7 (d) It shall issue an order that all units
8 brought in from other areas be withdrawn to the
9 position they occupied before the conflict."
10 Tell us, in the days that followed, was this
11 order by Halilovic and Petkovic carried out? Were the
12 barriers and barricades removed in the Lasva Valley?
13 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. Perhaps it is a
14 matter of translation. Was it Halilovic? What was his
15 name? What was the exact name?
16 MR. NOBILO: The name was Sefer Halilovic,
17 Sefer Halilovic.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Halilovic. Very well. Thank
20 MR. NOBILO: He was the chief of the general
21 staff of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, supreme
23 Q. Did the 3rd Corps respect that order?
24 A. No, the barricades and barriers were not
25 removed and the return of the population to their homes
1 was not ensured and unobstructed movement was not
2 ensured. The units deployed from other areas were not
3 withdrawn to the position they occupied before the
5 Q. On the following day, the 12th of February,
6 1993, you once again had a meeting with a
7 representative of the International Red Cross
8 concerning a serious occurrence which was mentioned by
9 Prosecution witnesses. Can you describe what that
10 incident was and what happened?
11 A. Yes. I had a meeting on the 12th of
12 February, 1993, in Kiseljak, where Mrs. Iris, the
13 representative of the International Red Cross, informed
14 me that there had been a killing of Mrs. Sehovic and
15 Elezovic on the 7th of February, 1993, in the Busovaca
17 Q. What were the circumstances surrounding the
18 murders of Sehovic and Elezovic? What ethnic groups
19 did they belong to? What ethnic group did their
20 murderers belong to?
21 A. They were Bosniak Muslims, and the killers
22 were from amongst the Croatian ethnic group. The
23 circumstances under which they were killed were while
24 they were doing work, performing work, and digging
25 trenches. I was surprised with the information I
1 received, because up until then, I had no knowledge
2 from the chief of staff or the duty officer of the
3 Operative Zone.
4 Q. Did you start out to investigate, that is to
5 say, to ascertain what had happened? Did you ask any
6 measures to be taken? What did you do after you
7 received that information?
8 A. Immediately after I received the information,
9 I asked an investigation be conducted, a complete
10 investigation, particularly the system for security and
11 the chief of military police, and I asked for
12 information from the command of the Operative Zone in
14 I also, after having been informed of the
15 fact that an investigation had started, on several
16 occasions I checked to see how this process was being
17 conducted, and I was informed of the proceedings as to
18 the incident.
19 Q. What about the military prosecution,
20 prosecutor; did it take up the case and bring the case
21 before the military court?
22 A. I was told that a criminal report had been
23 filed and that the military prosecutor had started
24 proceedings and that the process, the whole case, was
25 given over to the military district court.
1 Q. What did you tell the representative of the
2 Red Cross? What was your attitude, your stand, in
3 relation to trench-digging, and what did you undertake
4 connected to that part of the information you received?
5 A. At a previous meeting held in Busovaca
6 already on the 5th of February, I defined my own views
7 with regard to trench-digging, and that was that
8 trenches and fortifications, shelters, be dug by the
9 soldiers themselves for their own purposes, and that
10 prisoners cannot be used to dig trenches.
11 At that time, I also confirmed my stand and
12 reiterated it to Mrs. Iris of the Red Cross and I
13 believe she was conscious of the fact that I was in
14 Kiseljak all the time and that I did not have a
15 complete insight into the events in the Busovaca area.
16 Q. Did you, to a certain brigade in Busovaca and
17 your staff in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, send a
18 message, a clear message, connected to these
19 occurrences and trench digging by prisoners?
20 A. Yes, and in that case too, as in the previous
21 case dating back to the 5th of February, I sent not
22 only a message but an order that work of this kind must
23 not be done because they were unlawful acts.
24 Q. On the 12th of February, 1993, an attempt was
25 made to assassinate you. Can you tell us where this
1 occurred and what the circumstances of that attempt
3 A. In the afternoon, somewhere around 7.00 p.m.,
4 I received an invitation from Mr. Flemming that I
5 should go to Visoko to attend a meeting with the
6 commander of the 3rd Corps organised by the European
7 Monitoring Mission for the Central Bosnia region, and I
8 was to have been transported to that meeting in Visoko
9 by the chief of the European Mission for Kiseljak,
10 Mr. Russell, escorted by the Danish members of the
11 United Nations from Kiseljak.
12 We started out --
13 JUDGE JORDA: Would the guard move slightly
14 backwards so that we can see, thank you, there, and you
15 can leave enough space for the Prosecution and the
16 Defence to be able to see.
17 Very well, Mr. Blaskic, you may continue.
18 A. Your Honours, from Kiseljak, on the 12th of
19 February, 1993, we started out from the parking spot in
20 front of the barracks, Mr. Russell, myself, and our
21 escorts, we started out along the main road towards
22 Visoko, and the intention was for the meeting to be
23 held in Visoko between myself and the commander of the
24 3rd Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Enver.
25 Somewhere in the area behind the village of
1 Tusnjici, on the map towards Visoko, we encountered a
2 barricade, first of all, and the first vehicle, which
3 was a UN armoured vehicle, was stopped. We also
4 stopped some 15 metres behind the first vehicle in
5 front, and at that time, at that moment, from the
6 left-hand side looking at the main road, a burst of
7 strong gunfire came from an automatic weapon.
8 They opened fire at our jeep which was where
9 myself and Mr. Russell were, and we remained in the
10 vehicle while the armoured vehicle belonging to the
11 Danish UN forces offered protection to our vehicle.
12 It was a Mercedes Puch, an armoured car, and it was
13 damaged in the attack, but we succeeded in going back
14 along the same road towards Kiseljak, and on that
15 night, I did not manage to go to the meeting in
16 Visoko. As it was an armoured car, none of us in the
17 vehicle received any bodily damage. There were four of
18 us in the vehicle, the driver, Mr. Russell, myself, and
19 my escort.
20 MR. NOBILO:
21 Q. Thank you. The next day, the 13th of
22 February, 1993 -- so as I said, the next day, the 13th
23 of February, 1993, a meeting was held, but this time it
24 was in Busovaca. Sefer Halilovic was present, Milivoj
25 Petkovic was present, and yourself, and tell us the
1 other members of the meeting, and tell us what the most
2 important points discussed at the meeting were?
3 A. On the next day, the 13th of February, the
4 topic of the meeting was precisely this order by Sefer
5 Halilovic and Milivoj Petkovic, and the meeting was
6 held in Busovaca. At the meeting, we discussed the
7 following questions, that is to say, the withdrawal of
8 forces brought in from outside, then the removal of the
9 barricades from the roads, the return of the local
10 population, and unobstructed movement.
11 At the meeting, Enver Hadzihasanovic was
12 present, the commander of the 3rd Corps, also present
13 at the meeting was Dzemo Merdan, then there was myself
14 and Franjo Nakic, and the meeting was chaired by
15 Mr. Flemming.
16 Q. What about the representative of the Red
17 Cross, Mrs. Iris, was she there?
18 A. Yes, the representative of the Red Cross,
19 Mrs. Iris, was present as well, and I think there were
20 one or two officers from the command of the 3rd Corps
21 and from the command of the Operative Zone. I know
22 that Mr. Marko Prskalo was there too.
23 Q. How did you arrive in Busovaca?
24 A. Again, by the same way I did before, that is,
25 by UN vehicles. It would be two, sometimes three,
1 armoured vehicles, I would board one of them, and I had
2 to have my ID ready, and my identity was checked. Then
3 we would all board the vehicles and, without stopping,
4 would be transported from Kiseljak to Busovaca.
5 Q. Can you tell me, and this may be the crucial
6 thing for this meeting, what was the position of the
7 International Red Cross, that is, Mrs. Iris, the one
8 that she laid out in this meeting?
9 A. Her position was, with respect to the item
10 where the immediate release of all the prisoners was
11 demanded, that this release could not be carried out
12 because the situation was still volatile, that tensions
13 were high, and she believed that new problems would be
14 created if the prisoners were released and let go. She
15 asked that the release of prisoners be postponed. This
16 was in this meeting of the 13th of February, 1993.
17 Q. Can you tell me, it was the second time that
18 she expressed the view, the position, of the Red Cross
19 that the release of prisoners should not be proceeded
20 with until the conditions for their release were met.
21 Did you believe that this was a firm position based on
22 principle by the Red Cross or that it was something
23 that was sort of a momentary position?
24 A. We believed that this was a firm position
25 because the release of prisoners was part of the
1 responsibility of the International Red Cross, so, no,
2 it was not something that was a kind of improvisation
3 on her part.
4 Q. I don't know whether we need to go into
5 further details of what some of the other discussions
6 there were, but I want to take you to the conclusions
7 of this meeting expressed by Mr. Flemming. What were
9 A. The meeting took almost a full day to
10 complete, and Flemming eventually came up with the
11 following conclusions: The withdrawal of the troops
12 that had been brought from the outside, the filling in
13 of all the ditches, removal of all the barricades from
14 the roads, the release of all of the imprisoned, and
15 the visit by the joint commission of all the points,
16 the flash points, and determining the causes and
17 consequences of the conflict, to determine the level of
18 responsibility of individuals and units, either of the
19 HVO or the BH army, in the area of the conflict, to
20 gather all information on local activities in the area
21 of conflict, to implement all joint conclusions which
22 would be reached by Mr. Hadzihasanovic and me at any
23 cost, even by use of force, as Mr. Flemming emphasised,
24 and to report in the next meeting whether any of these
25 tasks were not implemented.
1 Also it was said that everybody should be
2 able to use the roads and that the freedom of movement
3 should be complete, also that all weapons and military
4 equipment which had been taken or captured on both
5 sides should be exchanged between the HVO and the 3rd
6 Corps, and that the deadline for the withdrawal of
7 forces would be extended by one day to 14th February,
8 1993 by 1200 hours.
9 Another conclusion was also that the
10 artillery be withdrawn, that separate commissions which
11 would investigate incidents would be set up, and that
12 starting with 15 February, 1993, all transports would
13 have full freedom of movement.
14 In the end, a meeting was called of the joint
15 commission, that is, presided over by Nakic and Merdan,
16 for 14 February at 1300 hours, and the following
17 meeting of the commanders of the Operative Zone and the
18 3rd Corps of the BH army was to be held on the 16th of
19 February, 1993 at 1200 hours.
20 Q. On that occasion, that is, after this
21 meeting, the following day, together with Enver
22 Hadzihasanovic, commander of the 3rd Corps, you issued
23 a number of joint orders.
24 I would like you to look at Defence Exhibits
25 351, 352, 353, 355, and 356.
1 First, let's go to Exhibit D351. On 13
2 February, 1993, Hadzihasanovic and Blaskic issued an
3 order to pass through the convoys and transports, and
4 at 1, you order "Immediately enable all convoys that
5 had been stopped to depart for their destinations with
6 all of their cargo."
7 Is this an order which you signed as a result
8 of the conclusions reached at the meeting which we have
9 just discussed?
10 A. Yes, this order was also drafted following
11 this meeting on the 13th of February.
12 MR. NOBILO: Yes. Can I see the next
13 document, D352, please?
14 Q. D352 is also an order issued jointly by you
15 and Hadzihasanovic, it bears the same date, 13
16 February, 1993, and in item 1, you order: "The
17 immediate withdrawal of units from lines of contact.
18 All units from other municipalities shall immediately
19 return to the territories of these municipalities. The
20 deadline for the withdrawal of units is 14 February,
21 1993 by 1200 hours."
22 Is this also an order which you drafted
23 jointly with Hadzihasanovic?
24 A. Yes, we drafted it on that day during the
25 meeting in Busovaca.
1 Q. Next is Exhibit D353. It was also drafted or
2 issued on the 13th of February, 1993. The heading is
3 "The Return of the Population to their Homes." It was
4 drafted by the commander of the 3rd Corps of the BH
5 army, Enver Hadzihasanovic, and you as the commander of
6 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone for the HVO, and it
7 says: "That conditions be created for the return of
8 the refugee population to their homes, that the
9 population returning to their homes be guaranteed
10 complete security; third, that unimpeded and safe
11 movement be ensured for the whole population throughout
12 the free territory. The deadline for compliance with
13 this order is 14 February at 1200 hours," and I'm not
14 going to read the rest of the order.
15 I have the same question: Was this order
16 also drafted based on the conclusions after the meeting
17 in Busovaca of the 13th of February, 1993?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. The next exhibit is D355. This is an order
20 which you drafted on your own, so this is not a joint
21 order which was drafted on the basis of the meeting and
22 the joint obligations. The top is not very legible,
23 but it has to do with the situation in the prison. It
24 is dated the 19th of February, 1993, and it is
25 addressed to the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade in
1 Busovaca and to the commander of the 4th HVO Military
2 Police Battalion, Pasko Ljubicic.
3 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Counsel. That is 354,
4 not 355.
5 MR. NOBILO: I apologise. That is correct.
6 Yes, this is 354. You are correct.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, perhaps there has
8 been a mistake.
9 MR. NOBILO: I apologise. My intention was
10 to read the document which was 355 and, by mistake, I
11 was reading 354.
12 JUDGE JORDA: It seems that the order is one
13 that was drafted by the witness himself.
14 MR. NOBILO: It was my mistake because I
15 referred to a wrong document. What I intended to do
16 was to show Exhibit 355, which is another joint order
17 of Enver Hadzihasanovic and Tihomir Blaskic. In other
18 words, my mistake.
19 Q. This was a joint order also of 13 February,
20 1993, by which you and Hadzihasanovic order:
21 "1. That all imprisoned and detained persons
22 be released ... immediately by 1200 hours on 15
23 February 1993 at the latest.
24 2. That only persons from your own
25 formations who have breached rules, regulations, and
1 laws may continue to be held in detention - prison.
2 3. That all released persons be guaranteed
3 complete freedom and security, to be provided by the
4 municipal defence headquarters and the municipal
5 defence office.
6 4. That on behalf of the Army of the
7 Republic of BH, the Deputy Commander of the 3rd Corps,
8 and on behalf of the HVO, the Deputy Commander of the
9 HVO of Central Bosnia Operative Zone be responsible for
10 ensuring compliance with this order/command."
11 Again, my apologies, and I'm thankful to my
12 colleague for the Prosecution for correcting me.
13 My question to you, General, is: Did you,
14 together with Hadzihasanovic, issue this order for
15 immediate and unconditional release of all the
16 prisoners following the meeting in Busovaca?
17 A. Yes. I would also like to enter a correction
18 myself because where the place of meeting was, it was
19 the UN base in Kakanj, not in Busovaca. I think it
20 was near the power plant in Kakanj. So the venue, the
21 place of meeting, was not in Busovaca but in Kakanj.
22 Q. But it was a UN base, in any event?
23 A. Yes, it was another UN base, and they
24 provided transportation to their base from Kiseljak,
25 and in terms of -- the way the transportation was
1 carried out was the same.
2 Q. Very well. Let's move on to Exhibit number
3 356. It is another document of 13 February, 1993, also
4 in Kakanj.
5 Yes, this is another Defence Exhibit, D356,
6 again an order drafted jointly by you and
7 Hadzihasanovic where you ask:
8 "That all barricades and obstacles be
9 removed from all communication routes to ensure an
10 unimpeded flow of two-way traffic.
11 "The deadline for complying with this
12 order/command is 1200 hours, 15 February, 1993."
13 Is this another in a series of joint orders
14 which you drafted following the meeting?
15 A. Yes, this was another joint order drafted by
16 myself and the commander of the 3rd Corps at that
18 Q. Now, tell me, the next day, 14 February,
19 1993, certain information reached you about the burning
20 of houses in Nezirovici. Can you tell me what occurred
21 and what you knew about it?
22 A. I received information ...
23 JUDGE JORDA: One moment, please.
24 Please continue.
25 A. I received information that the burning of
1 Croatian houses in the village of Nezirovici which had
2 been militarily taken by the BH army on the 27th of
3 January, 1993, and I would like to add that such
4 information on the torching of houses was received on a
5 number of occasions, not only on that day.
6 MR. NOBILO:
7 Q. In Nezirovici, whose houses were burned?
8 A. These were Croatian houses of the Croats who
9 had been expelled.
10 Q. That same day, on the 14th of February, you
11 held a new meeting on the road to establishing this
12 cease-fire, but this time, it was in Vitez. Can you
13 tell me what the topic was of this event, this meeting?
14 A. The chief of the European Monitoring Mission,
15 Mr. Thebault, was present at that meeting, as well as
16 Colonel Stewart, myself, commander of the 3rd Corps,
17 Enver, commander of the North-western Herzegovina
18 Operative Zone, that is, the HVO, his name was Zeljko
19 Siljeg, and the topic of the meeting was the transfer
20 of 305th Mountain Brigade of the BH army from Gornji
21 Vakuf to Zenica.
22 Q. Let's just establish whether you agreed to
23 that and whether this was implemented.
24 A. Yes, I agreed with this position, and this
25 transfer was also carried out later.
1 Q. The next day, 15 February, the army of Bosnia
2 and Herzegovina in Gomionica in the Kiseljak
3 municipality was celebrating a victory. What happened?
4 A. That day, there was a general celebration in
5 Gomionica. There was some shooting, and what was
6 celebrated was a victory at Gornji Vakuf, that is, a
7 victory of the BH army against the HVO in Gornji Vakuf.
8 Q. When you went to Vitez from Kiseljak and
9 return, was it carried out in the same way as the
10 previous ones?
11 A. Yes. It was organised by UNPROFOR. They
12 transported me there and brought me back to Kiseljak.
13 I was taken to the base in Nova Bila, and also on the
14 way back, I was brought directly in front of the
15 Kiseljak barracks.
16 Q. Did you pursue your inquiry into the death?
17 A. Yes. I asked the assistant for security for
18 an update on the investigation of Sehovic and Elezovic.
19 Q. At one point, the refugees from Konjic
20 arrived in Kiseljak. What did that mean for the
21 population in Kiseljak and why did they arrive in
22 Kiseljak to begin with?
23 A. The refugees from the village of Pozetva,
24 which is in the Konjic municipality, were rotated by
25 the BH army members, and a part of them arrived in
1 Kiseljak and another part in Fojnica. The village of
2 Pozetva is in the territory of Konjic municipality. It
3 is this village (indicating), and it's from this
4 village that Croats were expelled. One ended up in
5 Fojnica and another one in Kiseljak. They were
6 expelled by the units of the army of Bosnia and
8 Q. Did their arrival raise tensions, the
9 inter-ethnic tensions in Kiseljak?
10 A. Yes, of course, their arrival raised tensions
11 and complicated the relations between Croats and
12 Muslims in the Kiseljak municipality and nudged the
13 situation further along the way where it became more
14 difficult to control it.
15 Q. Did the police patrols perform duties in
16 securing homes of the prominent Muslims?
17 A. Yes, it was necessary at that time because
18 some of these new arrivals also brought their weapons
19 with them.
20 Q. On the 16th of February, new soldiers, fresh
21 soldiers were brought in and deployed along the new
22 lines in order to reinforce them?
23 A. Yes. These were the soldiers of the
24 operative group in Visoko, that is, the 1st Army Corps,
25 and the line which they occupied was from Lisovo Brdo,
1 which is in Kiseljak municipality, via Grabovci, the
2 area above the village of Svinjarevo and above
3 Gomionica, which is this line here (indicating).
4 Q. How many soldiers were deployed along this
5 new line?
6 A. About 150 fresh soldiers from the Visoko
7 operative group were brought and deployed along these
9 Q. However, part of those soldiers, the Croatian
10 soldiers who were at the Travnik front line but who
11 were originally from Brestovsko and Bilalovac, came
12 back. Can you say how many of them came back?
13 A. Yes, that is correct. On that day, a part of
14 the soldiers from the Kiseljak municipality who had
15 been deployed at the Travnik front, somewhere up to 150
16 soldiers came back but without weapons and military
18 Q. Did you receive the agreement of the BH army
19 to bring them back?
20 A. Yes, that was one of the items we discussed
21 during our meeting at the Vitez UN base, and there I
22 received agreement that the BH army would allow the
23 return of soldiers from Travnik to Kiseljak and the
24 UNPROFOR forces would escort the transport and provide
25 security on the condition that no soldier could have
1 weapons or military equipment.
2 Q. The next day, on the 17th of February, there
3 was a serious incident and an attack on the Kiseljak
4 barracks. Who attacked it and why?
5 A. This was a serious attack which was carried
6 out by a group of armed criminals. Among this group
7 there were members of the HVO, members of the Devil's
8 Division, as it was called, HOS members. The guards
9 were disarmed at the gate of the Kiseljak barracks, the
10 headquarters in Kiseljak was blocked, the keys were
11 taken from the detention unit, and part of the detained
12 persons were released, and the detained persons were,
13 as we said before, the gang numbering 15 to 20
15 Q. Which you said had been arrested previously,
16 and it was this multi-ethnic gang?
17 A. Yes. The attackers issued an ultimatum that
18 this multi-ethnic gang, criminal gang, be released.
19 Q. The next day, 18 February, 1993, you received
20 information from the police in Fojnica of a certain
21 regrouping of forces?
22 A. Yes, I received information from the civilian
23 police forces in Fojnica that new forces had arrived in
24 Fojnica, new forces of the army of Bosnia and
25 Herzegovina, and that they moved on from Fojnica to
1 Pogorelica with the purpose of training these forces at
2 Pogorelica to carry out a new attack on Busovaca. This
3 is the information that I received.
4 Q. On the 19th of February, 1993, you sent an
5 order, and I would like that to be shown now. This is
6 the order which I, by mistake, started reading before.
7 This is Defence Exhibit D354.
8 This is the document which you drafted and
9 sent via packet communications network?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. On the 19th of February, 1993, at 1955 hours,
12 it was addressed to the commander of the Busovaca
13 brigade and the chief of the military police. I'm only
14 going to read one part.
15 "Submit a detailed report on the break-in by
16 your members into the Busovaca Military Prison on 2 and
17 16 February 1993 at 2200 hours respectively, when the
18 group committed the following:
19 (a) forcible entry into the Military Prison
20 under the threat of the use of arms;
21 (b) forcible taking of prisoners from their
23 So on and so forth. I'm not going to read
24 the rest of the document.
25 Could you tell me what this was about and how
1 this information reached you?
2 A. This was a break-in by the reconnaissance
3 unit from the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade into the
4 district military prison, an attack on the security and
5 forcible removal or taking of prisoners from their
6 cells; and as it is stated here, this happened on two
7 occasions, on the 2nd and the 16th of February. I
8 asked for a more detailed report on this extraordinary
10 Q. On the 20th of February, in spite of all
11 agreements and joint orders, the traffic between
12 Kiseljak and Busovaca was not re-established, even for
13 the humanitarian aid convoys. Can you tell us, what
14 information did you receive on that day?
15 A. On that day, I received information that new
16 forces had been brought, that is, the forces of the BH
17 army, were brought at Bilalovac.
18 Q. Do you remember whether Caritas was trying to
19 reach Busovaca?
20 A. Yes, I remember that Caritas was trying to
21 deliver food for the parish of Busovaca, I was informed
22 of these incidents, and we also forwarded the
23 information to the UNPROFOR headquarters in Busovaca.
24 Q. On the 21st of February, 1993, new BH army
25 checkpoints were set up in Smajlovici, Bukovci,
1 Bilalovac. Can you comment on those?
2 A. It is this checkpoint on the road to
3 Fojnica. This was Smajlovici (indicating). It was set
4 up, and I have to say that myself and the commander of
5 the 3rd Corps, at the meeting in Kakanj, had drafted a
6 joint order to remove all the checkpoints and
7 barricades on the roads. This checkpoint was set up
8 when the civilians were expelled from Busovaca and they
9 were driven to Kiseljak, and they attempted to use that
10 road to go back via Sebesic and reach Busovaca again.
11 They were stopped at Smajlovici, at the checkpoint, and
12 the checkpoint Oseliste-Bukovice was especially
13 worrisome for us because it was also set up after the
14 joint order was issued, and there was an anti-aircraft
15 20-millimetre calibre gun set up at that checkpoint,
16 which was a rarity at that time to use anti-aircraft
17 machine gun at the checkpoints.
18 Q. You just sat down, but if you can just again
19 come to the model and point for the Trial Chamber where
20 the positions, that is, the front lines between the
21 army of BH and the HVO, were and to point how you
22 placed the flags to mark that front line?
23 A. I think that I can make it much more
24 precisely on the map --
25 Q. So why don't you first show it on the map and
1 then we will move to the model?
2 A. As of January 1993, the front line in
3 Busovaca was as follows: I am pointing to the town of
4 Busovaca due north, the Kuber range, the Saracevic
5 feature 957, the village of Putis, Katici, via
6 Bobovisce to Mejdani, Solakovici, that is Kula,
7 Bilalice, Donje Polje, Prosje, Modri Kamen, Pridolci,
8 Luske Staje, Busovacke Staje, Rog, Kovacevac, Rovna --
9 that is Donja Rovna. That was the line, and the forces
10 were -- and now I'm moving to the forces in the village
11 municipality. I'm pointing at Kiseljak town. This was
12 the deployment: Pobrdze, Demici, Dugo Polje, Medovici,
13 Dundjeri, and the village of Badnje.
14 On the model, this is Busovaca (indicating),
15 forces at Kuber, Saracevica, and feature 957, the
16 village of Katici, then Kula, Milavice, Prosje,
17 Modrikamen, Pridolci, Luske Staje does not appear on
18 the model, Busovacke Staje does not appear on the
19 model, the Rog feature, and further Donja Rovna.
20 Q. For the record, please, the green flags are
21 the BH army line, and facing them, the blue flags are
22 the HVO lines; is that correct?
23 A. Yes. In the territory of Kiseljak
24 municipality, the forces were deployed along the lines
25 of Pobrdze, Demici, then Dugo Polje, Dundjeri, Badnje,
1 and the area from the Kacuni local commune to
2 Bilalovac, and perhaps it would be better if I used
3 paper here, I can use this small piece here. So this
4 area was an area without any Croatian presence. Those
5 who had stayed behind, the elderly people, like
6 Grubesici, Ljoljo, and others, were killed.
7 Q. When you say -- did no Croats live there or
8 they were driven out of there, they were expelled,
10 A. I am talking about the Croats who were
11 expelled during this conflict. This area of Dusina,
12 Lasva, and Visnjica belonged to the Zenica
13 municipality, and from these villages, Croats were also
14 ethnically cleansed.
15 Q. Would you now sit down again, and while we're
16 at ethnic cleansing, the joint commission --
17 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Counsel.
18 MR. NOBILO: Sorry.
19 Q. Therefore, the joint commission for Busovaca,
20 the HVO, and the BH army went all over the majority of
21 this area, and they ascertained together figures on the
22 destruction of Croatian houses, civilian property, and
23 the Croatian casualties, so could you give the facts
24 and figures of that joint commission?
25 A. They are the figures which were not the final
1 figures but were figures sent to us by the joint
2 commission at a meeting held on the 21st of February,
3 1993, and all these figures --
4 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. If there are figures
5 coming from a document that has been sent by the joint
6 commission, I would ask if the Court and Prosecution
7 can see that documentation.
8 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we don't have
9 that document. We don't have that document. All we
10 have are the personal records and notes of Mr. Blaskic
11 and his recollections, but we haven't got a document.
12 JUDGE JORDA: I share the opinion of
13 Mr. Nobilo. The witness will tell you of the figures.
14 He will say whether they were figures that he received
15 officially or whether they were figures that he,
16 himself, assessed.
17 Where did the figures come from, Mr. Blaskic?
18 A. Mr. President, they are not my assessments.
19 They are official findings by a joint commission
20 composed of the European Monitors under the direct
21 command of the head of the European Monitoring Mission
22 for the Zenica region, and the meeting, at which I
23 heard these figures from the joint commission and took
24 note of this information, was under the organisation of
25 the European Monitoring Mission, and present at the
1 meeting were UN officers.
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. So can we clarify this matter? You were told
4 this information orally at the meeting, were you not?
5 A. Yes, this information was reported to us by
6 the joint commission, and Enver and myself, together
7 with Mr. Flemming and Mr. Stewart, we accepted the
8 report provided by the joint commission and set out at
9 that meeting.
10 Q. But the report was orally submitted, was it
12 A. Yes, we did not receive a written document
13 from the joint commission, it was orally submitted, and
14 probably the European Monitoring Mission compiled this
15 document for its own purposes, for itself.
16 Q. Well, continue. According to the best of
17 your recollections and your notes, what were the
18 findings of the European Commission?
19 A. The findings of the European Commission were
20 as follows: A total of 548 families were expelled of
21 the Croatian ethnicity, and the figure of 2.101
22 individuals, 2.101 individuals. From the village of
23 Oseliste, 51 families, households, 273 individuals;
24 from the village of Bukovci, the figures are as
25 follows: 28 families, 103 individuals; the village of
1 Gusti Grab, 57 families, 285 individuals; the village
2 of Prosje, six families, 26 individuals; the village of
3 Milavice, four families, 20 individuals; the village of
4 Gornji Solakovici, 18 families, 85 individuals; the
5 village of Nezirovici, 45 families, 131 individuals;
6 the village of Kacuni, 53 families, 203 individuals;
7 the Kiseljak municipality, 240 families; from the
8 Bilalovac local community, 800 individuals; the
9 municipality of Zenica, 46 families, 175 individuals;
10 from the villages of Dusina, 12 families, 45
11 individuals; the village of Visnjica, 20 families, 80
12 individuals; the village of Lasva, 14 families, 50
14 Those were the findings of the joint
15 commission of the 3rd Corps of the HVO of the European
16 Monitoring Mission.
17 Q. At that meeting, did you take note of the
18 fact that all the prisoners were released? Was that
19 noted, if you can remember? If not, never mind.
20 A. I don't remember whether that was taken,
21 whether we were able to observe that at that meeting.
22 Q. Very well. Let us now move on to the 23rd of
23 February when the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina brought to
24 Gomionica some concrete blocks or devices. Can you
25 tell us what they were, what that was all about?
1 A. They were facilities which were used by the
2 former Yugoslav People's Army manufactured to type, and
3 they were armoured concrete bunkers composed of various
4 elements, prefabricated elements, that could be
5 transported to different locations where they were
6 built in as fortification for combat operations and for
7 protection purposes, so they are the classical standard
8 type of military bunkers offering high-grade protection
9 and highly conducive to combat operations.
10 Q. The Kiseljak-Busovaca road, 40 days from when
11 it was blocked, was it free?
12 A. No, the road was not deblocked. It remained
13 blocked to members of the HVO and the Croats.
14 Q. On the 25th of February, 1992, once again,
15 you were at the United Nations -- the 25th of February,
16 1993, you were, once again, invited to attend a meeting
17 at the UNPROFOR base in --
18 A. No, it was a meeting in Kiseljak at the
19 headquarters of UNPROFOR there, and I was invited to
20 attend the meeting which was chaired by Brigadier
21 General Cordy-Simpson, and the meeting was attended by
22 General Prado, I think that he was from the Spanish
23 UN battalion, Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic was present,
24 the chief of the main staff of the Croatian Defence
25 Council, I was there, and the topic of the meeting was
1 sending humanitarian aid by parachute. This was a
2 mission, an operation, which was a fledgling one, it
3 had just begun, and there were discussions as to the
4 duties of the HVO linked to that humanitarian mission.
5 At one part of the meeting, Mr. Simpson asked
6 why the road from Busovaca to Kiseljak, why the road
7 was still blocked, and he directed his question at
8 Brigadier Petkovic. Petkovic answered, "It would be a
9 good idea for you to discuss that matter with
10 Halilovic," and he had in mind Sefer Halilovic, the
11 chief of the main staff of the Bosnia-Herzegovina
12 army. Petkovic indicated that Busovaca had been
13 blocked for 32 days and that without humanitarian aid,
14 the convoy of the BH army for the Bosniak Muslims, that
15 they were passing via the territory of Busovaca on
16 their way to Zenica and further on towards Tuzla, and
17 Petkovic also emphasised that the people of Busovaca
18 were hungry but had to let the convoys pass through.
19 Cordy-Simpson answered Brigadier Petkovic and
20 said that it would be a good idea for Brigadier
21 Petkovic to contact the representatives of the UNHCR
22 who were supplying humanitarian aid.
23 Q. When mentioning General Petkovic, he appeared
24 at different places at meetings with you. How was he
25 transported from Mostar? In what way did he get there?
1 A. It was only under UN organisation, and on
2 this occasion too, I know that the Spanish battalion
3 from Mostar, with its two combat vehicles, had brought
4 General Petkovic to Kiseljak.
5 Q. On the 27th of February, 1993, the Muslims
6 forbade the Croats to enter certain villages. Can you
7 say a few words about that?
8 A. Yes, they were the villages of the Kiseljak
9 municipality, the Lepenica local community, and we
10 spoke at some length about that when we discussed the
11 conflict in Duhri. I am pointing to the village of
12 Bukovica (indicating), the village of Zabrdje
13 (indicating). In Bukovica, a checkpoint was set up,
14 and there was no entry to Croats to the region of these
15 villages, Zabrdje, Bukovica, Koscan, and so on.
16 Q. Thank you. On that day, there were talks
17 with the representative of the HVO for information in
18 Kiseljak about radio terms.
19 A. I asked a representative of the HVO to talk
20 to the municipal ...
21 Q. There seems to be some problem with the
22 interpretation. Let me repeat: You had contacts with
23 the officer in charge of information within the HVO; is
24 that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Please explain to us what you tried to
2 achieve on the basis of those talks?
3 A. Well, I told this information officer to
4 contact the municipal civilian officers of the Kiseljak
5 municipality to find ways and means of obtaining time
6 on the airwaves for the members of the army of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina from the Kiseljak area who could
8 address, via the local radio, the Bosniak Muslims in
9 the Kiseljak municipality, to address them on the
10 radio, because tensions in the municipality of Kiseljak
11 were still increasing, and I wanted to calm the
12 situation in the area.
13 Q. On the same day at 10.00 with the European
14 Monitors and with Merdan, you had talks and received
15 information about the burning of houses.
16 A. Yes, I had a meeting on the 28th of February,
17 1993 at 10.00, and Merdan, himself, said that the road
18 from Busovaca to Kiseljak at the Kacuni-Bilalovac
19 region had been blocked and that they had seen, in
20 coming to the meeting, that houses were being set on
21 fire, Croatian houses in Bilalovac and Kacuni.
22 Dzemo stressed at the meeting that the
23 barricades were of a political nature and that they
24 were the consequence of different political decisions
25 by the government of the Croatian Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna and the government of the Republic of
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were in contradiction to
3 each other.
4 At that meeting, Mr. Nakic made a report and
5 stated that the barricades had also been set up in
6 Vitez and that, in Novi Travnik, it was not possible to
7 hold a meeting of the joint commission and the local
8 commission for Novi Travnik with the representatives of
9 the HVO and the BH army because the representatives of
10 the BH army did not wish to come to the meeting,
11 although Dzemo Merdan had sent an invitation to the
12 representatives of the BH army to respond and to come
13 to the meeting in Novi Travnik.
14 Q. On that day, you received information on the
15 release of the well-known criminal in Vitez who, once
16 again, through use of force and violence was liberated?
17 A. Yes. I received information that Ferad
18 Gazibaric or Gucanin had been freed from the district
19 military prison in Busovaca, that he had been freed by
20 an attack launched on the police and the headquarters
21 of the military police and the military district court
22 as well.
23 MR. NOBILO: We have completed February, so,
24 without wishing to start on March now, we can do this
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We're going to adjourn
2 the meeting. I should like to remind you that on
3 Wednesdays we begin at 1.30, 1.30 p.m., and we shall be
4 ending at 5.30.
5 The hearing is adjourned, to be resumed
6 tomorrow at 1.30.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
8 5.32 p.m., to be reconvened on
9 Wednesday, the 24th day of February,
10 1999 at 1.30 p.m.