{short description of image}

  1. 1 Friday, 26th February, 1999

    2 (Open session)

    3 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.

    5 Mr. Registrar, would you please have our witness

    6 brought in?

    7 (The accused/witness entered court)

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the

    9 interpreters. I hope that everybody is feeling fine

    10 today. It is Friday.

    11 Good morning to the Prosecution and to the

    12 Defence and good morning to the accused, who is our

    13 witness.

    14 Having said this, I think, Mr. Nobilo, that

    15 we can continue with the detailed examination-in-chief

    16 relating to the day of 16 April.

    17 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President. For

    18 orientation of the Trial Chamber, there are three

    19 dramatic days: the 16th, 17th, and 18th. We will try

    20 to provide a minute-by-minute reconstruction of those

    21 three days, and then after we leave April, we will just

    22 focus on particular issues and how they were resolved.

    23 I would like to go into very minute detail as to what

    24 happened during those three crucial days.


  2. 1 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:

    2 Q. Yesterday we left at 11.05, so now at 11.15,

    3 an attempt was made to establish communication with the

    4 main staff. Who tried to do this?

    5 A. I tried to establish contact with the main

    6 headquarters and inform them of the developing events

    7 and request that they mediate to achieve a cease-fire.

    8 Q. At 11.15, you received the first news of the

    9 death -- the first death of a commander in the area; do

    10 you recall this? If not ...

    11 From Donji Veceriska, one of the commanders

    12 called you, that is, one of the members of the

    13 Operative Zone command called you. Who was it, why

    14 wasn't he at the command post, and what was going on

    15 over there?

    16 A. He could not --

    17 Q. What was his name?

    18 A. His name was Mile Vinac. He could not reach

    19 the command post from Donji Veceriska, but he made a

    20 telephone call and reported that it was very

    21 critical --

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Just one moment, please. I

    23 would like to share what we just mentioned, my

    24 colleagues and I. I am saying this to the Defence.

    25 When you point out a fact, I do understand that you do

  3. 1 it minute by minute, but there has to be a certain

    2 consistency to it.

    3 Let me give you an example. At 11.15, the

    4 witness, that is, the accused in this case, said that

    5 he got in touch with the general staff. Now, in order

    6 to gain some time, we have to know what the answer to

    7 that was; otherwise, we're going to ask it at one

    8 point, what did they tell him at headquarters, because

    9 it is important to know that the accused called to the

    10 headquarters, but I think what's even more important is

    11 to know what he was told. We are at the very root now

    12 of the chain of command.

    13 I wanted to say this to you so that we would

    14 later avoid other problems, and then during the

    15 cross-examination, things will go more easily and more

    16 efficiently as well. If you agree. If you prefer not

    17 to do that, I really don't care.

    18 MR. HAYMAN: We agree, and we invite Your

    19 Honours to jump in and note points of interest, because

    20 I think Mr. Nobilo may indeed be trying to go too

    21 fast. These are very important events, and as the

    22 Court may observe --

    23 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, okay.

    24 MR. HAYMAN: -- I am constantly advising him

    25 to slow down so that these matters can be absorbed, and

  4. 1 I would encourage him to pose that question to the

    2 witness.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Very well.

    4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: May I add one little

    5 word? As the President has said and you would have

    6 observed, members of the Bench have not been

    7 intervening in the course of the testimony of the

    8 witness. This is because we appreciate that there is a

    9 need for you to adhere to a programme concerning the

    10 production of evidence. But in the case of this

    11 witness, who is a particular witness and whose

    12 testimony is expected to be of a certain duration and

    13 importance, individual members of the Bench would

    14 occasionally be throwing out questions for

    15 clarification purposes.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for that

    17 clarification, Judge Shahabuddeen. We don't like to

    18 interrupt, but there are points that we do like to

    19 indicate to you. But, of course, you are the one

    20 controlling your own strategy, and you should conduct

    21 your strategy the way you see fit.

    22 Mr. Hayman, do you want to say something?

    23 MR. HAYMAN: This presentation is for an

    24 audience of three, Your Honours. You are the

    25 audience. Judge Shahabuddeen is absolutely right. In

  5. 1 a month or five weeks of testimony, to keep a question

    2 in your mind and ask it in three weeks is almost

    3 Herculean. Even with a laptop computer, it is

    4 difficult to keep track of such information. So we

    5 really do invite and ask you to participate actively in

    6 the examination, both during the direct and the

    7 cross-examination. Please do.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. As for Mr. Nobilo,

    9 he has to understand that not only are the Judges

    10 supervising and watching what he's doing but his

    11 colleague is doing the same thing.

    12 MR. NOBILO: In any event, I am sort of torn

    13 between the need to speed the whole process along and

    14 to provide as much detail as possible. So let me

    15 second what my colleague has just said. We would

    16 appreciate if the Judges ask additional questions. I

    17 think we would not lose any quality; on the contrary,

    18 we would gain.

    19 Let me point out about this detail: The

    20 witness may have a very short note about this

    21 particular event. Then, if he only has just this short

    22 note, he will say so.

    23 Q. So let me just confirm with you: After you

    24 called the main headquarters, what did they tell you,

    25 if you recall it at all, what they told you when you

  6. 1 asked them to mediate in achieving a cease-fire?

    2 A. When I called them at 11.15, they only said

    3 that they would mediate.

    4 Q. Let's now go to 11.20 hours. You received a

    5 call from the member of the command. Who was this?

    6 A. This was Mr. Mile Vinac, and the call was a

    7 telephone call which came from Donji Veceriska.

    8 Q. What was his position? Where did he work?

    9 A. He worked at the Central Bosnia Operative

    10 Zone command. He was a staff member. He was one of

    11 the officers, that is, one of the assistants.

    12 Q. What did he report to you about?

    13 A. He reported that they had been attacked and

    14 that they did not have enough ammunition.

    15 Q. At 11.25, the military intelligence service,

    16 the VOS, V-O-S, which was monitoring communications,

    17 intercepted a communication which was coming from Stari

    18 Vitez. What was that information?

    19 A. I received information from Old Vitez that

    20 they had not received the signal which was supposed to

    21 have reached them at 0400 hours.

    22 Q. Did Sefkija Dzidic also say something about

    23 the possibility of withdrawal from Old Vitez, if you

    24 recall?

    25 A. No, I do not recall this.

  7. 1 Q. At 11.40, you had another contact with

    2 Kordic. What was that contact about?

    3 A. There was a new contact with Kordic, and it

    4 was an update about the operations and the situation on

    5 the ground.

    6 Q. Did you report to Kordic, or was it an

    7 exchange of information?

    8 A. No, I gave him information.

    9 Q. At 11.42, Pasko Ljubicic called for the first

    10 time. What information did he give you?

    11 A. Pasko said, at 11.42, "We are fighting. It

    12 is tough. They are resilient. They are throwing at us

    13 everything that they have. They are even using women.

    14 The most critical and the toughest situation is around

    15 the school building, around the mosque, and in

    16 individual homes."

    17 Q. Did you understand from this conversation

    18 where Pasko was located and where the fighting was

    19 going on?

    20 A. I know that Pasko called me on the telephone,

    21 and I assumed that he could have been calling from the

    22 Bungalow.

    23 Q. That is where he picked up the phone and

    24 called you from. But where his military police units

    25 were at the time, when you said he told you it's very

  8. 1 tough?

    2 A. I concluded from this report that he was in

    3 Ahmici.

    4 Q. At 11.47, you had contact with the

    5 artillery. Who initiated this contact?

    6 A. This contact concerned the drafting or

    7 compiling a plan for artillery fire.

    8 Q. At 11.50, again relating to the artillery

    9 fire, you had a conversation with Cerkez, commander of

    10 the Vitez unit.

    11 A. Cerkez was seeking artillery support against

    12 the BH army positions at Kruscica, and he informed me

    13 about the fire from Kruscica, Vranjska, Pezici, and

    14 Rovna.

    15 Q. Could you show on this model what was that

    16 front line which was being established, Kruscica,

    17 Pezici, Vranjska, and Rovna?

    18 A. I am pointing. Vitez, Kruscica, Vranjska,

    19 Pezici, Rovna (indicating).

    20 Q. Was this a line south of the road which you

    21 had anticipated in your previous orders as probably

    22 being the line of battle?

    23 THE WITNESS: Mr. President, just a second.

    24 I was switched to the French channel.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: That's not a problem. That's

  9. 1 not a failure there.

    2 THE WITNESS: It's my fault, Your Honour.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: We'll try to fix the problem.

    4 A. Yes. I understood the question. I heard it

    5 on the proper channel now. Yes, this is the line that

    6 was being established between Rovna, Pezici, Vranjska,

    7 and Kruscica (indicating).

    8 MR. NOBILO:

    9 Q. Was this the line which you anticipated in

    10 your orders?

    11 A. Yes.

    12 Q. At 11.55, the order was issued to open fire.

    13 Who issued it and what does it mean?

    14 A. This was following the request of Commander

    15 Cerkez. I issued it, and fire was opened by the

    16 combined artillery battery against the targets which

    17 were requested.

    18 Q. At 11.55, you released information for the

    19 public. What did it contain?

    20 A. It only -- it is hard for me to now give you

    21 the exact contents of this report, but it just provided

    22 information about the events.

    23 Q. Yes, I know, after six years, it's

    24 difficult. But what were you trying to achieve with

    25 this release of information?

  10. 1 A. We just wanted to inform the public.

    2 Q. How did you describe this? What did you say,

    3 who attacked whom?

    4 A. The press release said that we had been

    5 attacked by the BH army early that morning.

    6 Q. Could you remember some of the addressees of

    7 this report?

    8 A. I believe that it was sent to the UN

    9 representatives, to the European Monitoring Mission, to

    10 the address of the 3rd Corps, and to our associates.

    11 Q. What do you mean, your associates?

    12 A. To our subordinate units.

    13 Q. How about the media?

    14 A. Yes.

    15 Q. Do you know what media, if you recall?

    16 A. No, I do not recall that.

    17 Q. At 12.07, Cerkez gave you information about

    18 the situation on the ground, including several

    19 villages. Could you tell what locations were included

    20 in that information and what type of information was

    21 it? What did it contain?

    22 A. I remember that Mario informed me that we had

    23 a critical situation in Donji Veceriska, that there was

    24 intense fighting in the area of Kruscica, Gradina, and

    25 Kruscica, Sivrino Brdce, and that the Vitez Brigade did

  11. 1 not have a link with the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade

    2 in Donja Rovna. In other words, there was no contact

    3 between the two.

    4 Q. From this report where your attention was

    5 drawn to the flash points, in other words, when you

    6 received such a report, does that mean that you, as a

    7 commander, then direct your attention and your

    8 activities towards the locations which are at most

    9 risk? Is that your usual method of work?

    10 A. Yes. Cerkez said that the situation was very

    11 critical in this area, and I would like to mention also

    12 that he informed me that the situation was very

    13 uncertain in Poculica, so I focused my attention to

    14 these locations which were pointed to me by Commander

    15 Cerkez.

    16 Q. When the brigade commander says that the

    17 brigade is not linked up, what does it mean, to have a

    18 link or to be linked up?

    19 A. That meant that there was no physical or

    20 optical or visual contact or any other contact between

    21 the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade and the Vitez Brigade

    22 in Donja Rovna. In other words, the situation was

    23 completely unclear. So it could have meant that there

    24 was a breakthrough there, but the situation in the

    25 area, who controlled the area, and what the situation

  12. 1 was in that area was unknown to us.

    2 Q. At 12.10 hours, you called Grubesic,

    3 commander of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade. Could

    4 you tell us what prompted you to call him, and what

    5 instructions or what orders did you give him?

    6 A. I called Grubesic because when I received

    7 information from Cerkez that the situation was critical

    8 at several of his positions and that he had no contact

    9 in Donja Rovna, I asked Grubesic to attempt to

    10 establish contact with Cerkez in Donja Rovna, and I

    11 asked him to defend Kula, Kuber, and Prosje features to

    12 the last.

    13 Q. What type of defence did you order at Kuber?

    14 What type of defence is it and why?

    15 A. I ordered that we defend Kuber to the last,

    16 which meant that regardless of any withdrawal or any

    17 movements towards the main highway, Zenica-Vitez, this

    18 feature was not to be relinquished, abandoned, because

    19 the defence of these positions was an issue of our

    20 survival. Kula was also vital for Busovaca, but Kuber

    21 was vital for the entire area.

    22 Q. At 12.15, you received two calls regarding

    23 monitoring, and you received it from MTD.

    24 A. Yes, I received a call from the MTD officer,

    25 and I asked him to speed up the process of deploying

  13. 1 his spotters, and I asked that any information should

    2 be sent back to me, that is, wherever there was any

    3 shelling, any artillery activity, we wanted to identify

    4 the points of impact.

    5 Q. When you received this information about

    6 spotting, did you pay attention to the precision of

    7 artillery fire, and how did you go about the use of

    8 artillery, of the howitzers and guns?

    9 A. Yes, of course, we paid attention about the

    10 proper spotting, and we tried to gather information

    11 from the spotters in the field, that is, from the units

    12 which were supported by artillery but also from the

    13 spotters who were members of the artillery batteries.

    14 We then tried to compare the data, do proper

    15 corrections, and then proceed with fire based on this

    16 information.

    17 This is how we operated, but it was a

    18 time-consuming process. Sometimes it took hours. We

    19 targeted certain military targets based on the requests

    20 of certain commanders, and these were usually features,

    21 strategic features, where the BH army units were

    22 deployed.

    23 Q. Later on, we will see in this chronology that

    24 you had a lot of contacts with the artillery and that

    25 corrections were done and a lot of information was

  14. 1 exchanged that way. Can we draw a conclusion that you

    2 were trying to be selective and accurate? In other

    3 words, if you just shell something randomly, what would

    4 be the use of the artillery in that sense?

    5 A. If you just shelled randomly, the commander

    6 would call me or the artillery commander and ask for

    7 support without spotting or without taking into account

    8 all security measures which were due in such cases, and

    9 this would mean that you could respond with artillery

    10 fire immediately upon request.

    11 Q. At 12.20, you received information from

    12 Cerkez that Radio Sarajevo did not broadcast anything.

    13 What was that about? What was Radio Sarajevo supposed

    14 to broadcast?

    15 A. I think that they should have broadcast a

    16 statement for the public.

    17 Q. At 12.25, there were new negotiations in Nova

    18 Bila. Who went to these negotiations, with whom, and

    19 what was that about?

    20 A. They were negotiations that were initiated in

    21 the course of the morning by the UNPROFOR command, and

    22 the deputy head of the joint commission, Mr. Marko

    23 Prskalo, went to attend the meeting and Mr. Zoran

    24 Pilicic, and the meeting was to have been with the

    25 representatives of the 3rd Corps at the UN base in

  15. 1 Nova Bila.

    2 I gave instructions to Mr. Marko Prskalo to

    3 discuss a cease-fire, a cessation of hostilities and

    4 all combat operations and the immediate cessation of

    5 shelling and that the terrain be cleared up and that

    6 information be sought as to the missing officers from

    7 the Zenica Brigade and the Novi Travnik Brigade and the

    8 prisoners from the Frankopan Brigade.

    9 Q. When Prskalo, at 12.25, left, and at 12.25,

    10 you were worried about the ammunition situation, what

    11 did you do?

    12 A. I had been worried about this situation for

    13 quite some time because we did not have any logistics

    14 supplies for a long time, and I tried to find ways and

    15 means of having assistance in ammunition, having more

    16 ammunition and supplies, particularly for the Vitez

    17 unit where this lack of ammunition was a crucial point,

    18 and I also asked that the logistics base in Stojkovici

    19 monitor the ammunition situation and check it.

    20 Q. At 12.27, the civilian police and the chief

    21 of the civilian police contacted you. What happened

    22 there?

    23 A. The civilian police established contact, and

    24 there were two issues that were discussed: One was the

    25 question of sniper action from Stari Vitez and from

  16. 1 Sljibcice from the positions of the BH army, and the

    2 second issue discussed was the roads which could be

    3 used in communication towards the hospital in Nova

    4 Bila.

    5 Q. Could you tell us, if you remember, who you

    6 talked to at 12.27 and 12.30 from the ranks of the

    7 civilian police?

    8 A. I talked to Mr. Mirko Samija. He was the

    9 chief of the police station in Vitez.

    10 Q. Tell us whether he gave you information as to

    11 the situation in the town itself, and, if so, what was

    12 that information?

    13 A. He did give me information on the fact that,

    14 in town, there were numerous calls being made and that

    15 the situation in town, the security situation, was very

    16 difficult and precarious because there was sniper fire

    17 from all positions in town.

    18 Q. Mr. Samija, did he say from which positions

    19 there was sniper fire?

    20 A. He said from the position of Stari Vitez.

    21 Q. At 12.34, you talked to the commander of the

    22 Tvrtko to be placed at the disposal of the Vitez

    23 Brigade. What was that agreement about?

    24 A. That agreement came after a request made by

    25 the commander of the Vitez Brigade to be given backup

  17. 1 in Donja Veceriska, and I asked the commander of Tvrtko

    2 to see to extending assistance to the defenders of

    3 Donja Veceriska.

    4 Q. At 12.36, Kordic called you once again. Why?

    5 A. Kordic called again because of what was going

    6 on at Kuber and the unfavourable situation, and he

    7 asked me to give him information as to what was

    8 actually going on in that region from the direction of

    9 Zenica.

    10 Q. At 12.42, you called Pasko Ljubicic by phone,

    11 and what was the motive for that telephone call? What

    12 did you ask him to do and what did he tell you? What

    13 information did he give you?

    14 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to consult my

    15 colleagues on a point.

    16 You can continue, Mr. Nobilo. Excuse me. We

    17 had to speak for a moment.

    18 MR. NOBILO: No problem. Thank you, Your

    19 Honours.

    20 Q. You had a telephone conversation with Pasko

    21 at 12.42. Did you receive any fresh information?

    22 A. I asked for information from Pasko, and I

    23 received a report that he was holding his positions and

    24 nothing else.

    25 Q. The term "to hold his positions," what does

  18. 1 that tell you as a military man? What does that mean

    2 to you?

    3 A. It meant that he and his men were immobile,

    4 static, and that probably a front line had been

    5 established.

    6 Q. At 12.45, you gave an order for ammunition to

    7 be sent. Who did you send ammunition to?

    8 A. I sent ammunition to the Vitez Brigade.

    9 Q. At 12.50, once again Cerkez phoned. What was

    10 that about this time?

    11 A. Cerkez phoned again with respect to Donja

    12 Veceriska and the situation in Donja Veceriska.

    13 Q. Did he ask anything of you?

    14 A. He asked for help in the form of men for

    15 Donja Veceriska, and I told him that we were already

    16 working on sending backup and that they should hold on

    17 for a little while longer.

    18 Q. At 12.52, from Tomislavgrad, a member of the

    19 command phoned you. What was that about?

    20 A. From Tomislavgrad, the head of the engineers

    21 phoned and informed me that he was blocked and that he

    22 was not able to call in to report to the Vitez command.

    23 Q. At 13.02, you once again worked with the

    24 commander of the artillery and Cerkez. What was that

    25 about?

  19. 1 A. It was once again a request for backup, for

    2 support to forces, but now at the Kuber feature.

    3 Q. At 13.10, Cerkez informed you about the

    4 situation. Do you remember what he said on that

    5 occasion?

    6 A. He conveyed information to me that all the

    7 Croats in Poculica had been completely encircled and

    8 that there were wounded and that they were not able to

    9 evacuate the wounded. I told him that we would seek

    10 the engagement of UNPROFOR so that UNPROFOR, with its

    11 vehicles, could evacuate the injured from Poculica.

    12 Q. At 13.12, you informed the main staff. What

    13 information did you give the main staff?

    14 A. I sent out information on the situation and

    15 the number of killed, the figures that we had collected

    16 up until then. There were 15 killed soldiers according

    17 to the reports we had received by 13.12.

    18 Q. At 13.15, you had talks with Stjepan Siber.

    19 Could you tell us who he was and what you discussed

    20 with him?

    21 A. Stjepan Siber was the deputy chief of staff

    22 of the supreme command or army of Bosnia-Herzegovina,

    23 and I also discussed with him a cease-fire, a cessation

    24 to the fighting, and I asked that he act as a

    25 go-between and mediate with the 3rd Corps in Zenica so

  20. 1 as to ensure an immediate cease-fire.

    2 Q. At 13.20, once again a member of the command,

    3 Mile Vinac, called. Where was he calling from, what

    4 did he want, and what was his conduct?

    5 A. He said in a panic-stricken voice and through

    6 tears that he was calling from his home in Donja

    7 Veceriska. He said that they could not leave the

    8 house, that he had been left without any ammunition,

    9 and he kept repeating, "It's over. We're finished.

    10 We're finished." I tried to calm him, and I told him

    11 to hold out for a little while longer because help was

    12 on its way.

    13 Q. Was he at a combat position with his wife and

    14 children?

    15 A. He phoned me, and he said he was telephoning

    16 from his family house where he lived with his wife and

    17 his children and the other members of his family. I

    18 think his mother or his father lived with them.

    19 Q. Could you explain the emotional state that he

    20 was in?

    21 A. Well, it was the voice of a desperate man, of

    22 a man who was lost. He cried. He said what he said

    23 through tears while he was asking for my help. There

    24 was a feeling that he was absolutely -- he felt there

    25 was no hope and that he didn't know how he was going to

  21. 1 live. He kept repeating, "We're finished. We're

    2 finished. This is the end."

    3 Q. At 13.20, that is to say, right after that

    4 conversation, you checked to see whether help had

    5 arrived; is that true? Who was to send that aid and

    6 who was the aid being sent to?

    7 A. The aid and assistance was to be sent to the

    8 Vitez Brigade towards Donja Veceriska, and I asked that

    9 checks be made with the commander of the Tvrtko unit,

    10 and the information I received was that help was on its

    11 way.

    12 Q. At 13.22, you called UNPROFOR, the UN

    13 Why?

    14 A. I called UNPROFOR asking for their help for

    15 civilians in the village of Poculica. There were two

    16 of them stranded there. The duty officer answered. I

    17 don't know his name. At that point, I was told that

    18 they declined to provide assistance.

    19 Q. At 13.25, feature 916 was shelled. What was

    20 the significance of this feature and what was it

    21 shelled with?

    22 A. That feature was at Kuber and, in fact, it

    23 was a position and it was shelled in order to slow down

    24 the advance from Kuber to Vrana Stijene and Obla Glava.

    25 Q. What was it shelled with?

  22. 1 A. With a howitzer.

    2 Q. It was not clear who was shelling. Which

    3 side?

    4 A. It was the HVO.

    5 Q. Was it by your orders?

    6 A. Yes.

    7 Q. At 13.26, you had another contact with

    8 Cerkez. Why did you contact him then?

    9 A. It again concerned the situation in Donja

    10 Veceriska where he again asked that assistance be sent

    11 as soon as possible, and I asked him to wait a little

    12 bit longer.

    13 Q. Again, you talked to MTD regarding the

    14 targets in Poculica.

    15 A. Yes, that was a contact regarding targeting

    16 the feature, I think, 592 at Sljibcice.

    17 Q. What was there at Sljibcice?

    18 A. According to our information, there was an

    19 anti-aircraft gun stationed there and BH army units

    20 which were in combat positions.

    21 Q. At 13.32, you received a call from the main

    22 headquarters of the BH army. Do you recall that call?

    23 A. Yes, we received a call from -- I think that

    24 one of my associates received this call from the main

    25 headquarters of the BH army in Sarajevo, and we were

  23. 1 told that they are agreeing to a cessation of

    2 operations and that Dzemo Merdan would arrive in Vitez

    3 with a document.

    4 Q. At 13.35, you tried to reach Filipovic. Why?

    5 A. I wanted to confirm whether Filipovic had

    6 established contact with Commander Alagic in Travnik

    7 and whether he had established what the movements of

    8 the 17th Krajina Brigade in Travnik were.

    9 Q. Did you succeed in establishing contact?

    10 A. Yes. I established contact with Filipovic,

    11 but he had not yet established contact with Alagic by

    12 that time.

    13 Q. At 13.36, Slavko Marin called Cerkez and

    14 transmitted a message to him. What was that contact

    15 about?

    16 A. That contact was about the announced

    17 cessation of operations between the HVO and the BH

    18 army, and it was just really transmitting the message

    19 we had just previously received from Sarajevo.

    20 Q. At 13.39, you received another call from

    21 Donja Veceriska?

    22 A. Yes. The situation was identical to the one

    23 previously. Again, Vinac called sobbing, saying that

    24 the help was not there yet and that it was the end of

    25 him.

  24. 1 Q. So did he sort of try to say good-bye?

    2 A. Yes, he said something to the effect that he

    3 wanted to say good-bye and he said that they were close

    4 and this would be the last time that we spoke. He

    5 said, "The houses are burning around me. They will

    6 probably kill us all."

    7 Q. At 13.44, Kordic called again to transmit to

    8 you information which you received from the BH army.

    9 A. That was the information about the announced,

    10 as I said, announced cessation of fire between the HVO

    11 and the BH army.

    12 Q. Did you inform him of the situation on the

    13 ground?

    14 A. Yes. I told him that the most critical

    15 situation was at Poculica and Donja Veceriska, in that

    16 area.

    17 Q. At 13.48, you spoke to Grubesic. What did he

    18 ask of you?

    19 A. Grubesic informed me that the positions at

    20 Kuber which they had held were lost and that he could

    21 not see a way to stay at Kuber, and taking into account

    22 the situation of Croats in Poculica who were completely

    23 surrounded, I asked him to stay at Kuber at any cost

    24 and to try to establish contact with members of the

    25 Vitez Brigade.

  25. 1 Q. At 13.52, Pasko Ljubicic called. Can you say

    2 what he reported about and what instructions you gave

    3 him?

    4 A. He told me that they were still holding their

    5 positions, and I asked him to take into account that

    6 the crucial point was, and I quote, "Hold on up there,"

    7 meaning the slope above Ahmici and Nadioci.

    8 Q. Could you tell me, what did you order him?

    9 What did you see as most important in his sector of

    10 activity? What was the crucial point for him to do? I

    11 think this is a significant point.

    12 Perhaps, if you need to, you can remove some

    13 of these red pylons so we can see.

    14 First of all, based on what you understood

    15 from Pasko Ljubicic's report, where was he? First of

    16 all, where did he dig in?

    17 A. According to the reports I received, this was

    18 right here (indicating). It was in front of the mosque

    19 and the school. The front line, yes.

    20 Q. According to your information then, where was

    21 fighting going on?

    22 A. That location was in front of the school and

    23 mosque.

    24 Q. Where are the school and mosque in the

    25 village in relation to the road? Above the road?

  26. 1 Below the road? How far from the road are they?

    2 A. They are north, that is, above the road, up

    3 to 150 metres at the most.

    4 Q. So they were still in the area of the road.

    5 What did you ask of them? What was to be their task?

    6 A. I asked them to take the slope, that is,

    7 Vidovici, Barin Gaj, and farther on to Kratine.

    8 Q. In terms of the ground, would that be high

    9 ground or low ground?

    10 A. High ground exclusively because the road had

    11 already been cut off. So to hold the high ground.

    12 Q. Why was it important to hold the hill? Why

    13 is it wrong, in military terms, to be on the road in

    14 the village?

    15 A. It is important to hold the high ground, that

    16 is, a hill, because only in that way can you control

    17 the road for traffic, and the position in the village

    18 has absolutely no military significance.

    19 Q. As a soldier, what did you consider

    20 important? That the military be in the village or

    21 somewhere else?

    22 A. No, the village had no significance. For me,

    23 the most important thing was that we hold this high

    24 ground, Kratine -- hold on a second -- Barin Gaj, and

    25 to establish a line on that position, which would also

  27. 1 be defended to the last in order to prevent a link-up

    2 and to secure the road.

    3 Q. In military terms, how is a road defended?

    4 Do you stand on the road, on the pavement, or do you

    5 need to hold certain other points, locations?

    6 A. A road can only be defended if you control

    7 the high ground and positions and features around it.

    8 This is very clear on this model because whoever

    9 controls the high ground and features absolutely

    10 controls the communication line and traffic, because at

    11 any time, with the artillery and with fire, he can cut

    12 off the road and prevent traffic.

    13 Q. Would it have been extremely dangerous for

    14 you had the BH army taken the Barin Gaj slope?

    15 A. That was the only slope remaining at Kuber

    16 after the BH army had taken it and, of course, it posed

    17 the highest risk for the entire Operative Zone and for

    18 me personally.

    19 Q. When you, at 13.52, told Pasko, "You have to

    20 take that thing up there, this thing up here," what did

    21 you mean by "this thing up here"?

    22 A. I meant Barin Gaj and the slope between

    23 Vidovici Kuce and above Nadioci.

    24 Q. Does that mean that you basically are forcing

    25 him out of the village and uphill?

  28. 1 A. Yes. This is what I asked of him, out of the

    2 village, and I told him that he had to take this.

    3 Q. Thank you. You may go back to your seat

    4 now.

    5 At 13.55, Cerkez called again. What did he

    6 tell you? What did you tell him?

    7 A. Cerkez called again, and again these calls

    8 now kept pouring in from Poculica, Donja Veceriska, and

    9 from the area of Kruscica. So he informed me about the

    10 developments in that area, and he said that the

    11 critical situation continued to be in Donja Veceriska

    12 and that he had a problem with wounded in Poculica.

    13 I told him that they should hold out a while

    14 longer and that I had requested assistance from the

    15 UN forces to evacuate the wounded from Poculica.

    16 Q. If we were to sum up these reports from the

    17 early morning up to that point by Cerkez, what was the

    18 situation like? Was it going well or was it

    19 unfavourable?

    20 A. He said that the situation was especially

    21 difficult in Donja Veceriska and Poculica at that time.

    22 Q. At 14.00 hours, after a previous failed

    23 attempt, you reached Mirko Samija. What was that

    24 conversation about?

    25 A. I was trying to -- first of all, he is the

  29. 1 chief of the police station of the Vitez civilian

    2 police force, and the information that I was seeking

    3 was the condition of the roads in the town of Vitez

    4 with respect to snipers. I asked him whether there

    5 were any alternate roads to the hospital in Nova Bila.

    6 He informed me that from Stari Vitez, Old Vitez, and

    7 Sljibcice, all roads leading to the hospital in Nova

    8 Bila were controlled and that we were unable to

    9 evacuate the wounded to Nova Bila.

    10 Q. Who controlled these roads?

    11 A. It was controlled by the BH army through

    12 snipers and through fire.

    13 Q. At 14.05, you unsuccessfully tried to reach

    14 Kraljevic. Why were you trying to reach him? Had he

    15 been calling up until that point?

    16 A. No. I kept trying to reach him on the

    17 telephone. I was trying, but I still could not reach

    18 him at that point.

    19 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber, during that

    20 battle on the 16th, he had been attached to you in that

    21 moment, and you described what that means. He was

    22 subordinate to you at that moment. Can you tell me,

    23 was it usual that the superior officer is trying to

    24 reach a subordinate officer, or would it have been

    25 appropriate that the subordinate officer is trying to

  30. 1 reach the superior?

    2 A. It would have been appropriate that he called

    3 me, so I was concerned that Kraljevic was not

    4 reporting. I wanted to know what was going on with him

    5 and his men.

    6 Q. At 14.07, you again issued an order to the

    7 artillery?

    8 A. Yes, I did issue an order for artillery

    9 support upon request.

    10 Q. At 14.08, you had another conversation with

    11 the chief of police. What was that conversation

    12 concerning?

    13 A. It had to do with the security situation in

    14 the town of Vitez, and we also discussed ways of

    15 protecting ourselves from snipers.

    16 Q. Next, Dzemo Merdan called again.

    17 A. This was a call from the 3rd Corps, it was

    18 received by Slavko Marin --

    19 MR. NOBILO: Excuse me. My question was -- I

    20 didn't say that Dzemo Merdan called again, no, but that

    21 he finally called for the first time.

    22 Q. Is that correct, that he called at that point

    23 for the first time?

    24 A. Yes. He called regarding the calming of the

    25 situation, and we also asked that the fighting cease.

  31. 1 Q. Did you agree on anything further?

    2 A. No, I do not recall any further details.

    3 Q. At 14.20, Pilicic and Prskalo returned from

    4 negotiations. What information did you get from them?

    5 Who was present there and how did the negotiations

    6 proceed?

    7 A. Yes. Marko Prskalo first told me that no one

    8 from the 3rd Corps command was present, that is, from

    9 the BH army group in Zenica, and the negotiations were

    10 between the members of the Central Bosnia Operative

    11 Zone command and representatives of Sefkija, who was a

    12 member of the municipal staff in Vitez, and either the

    13 chief of staff of -- the deputy commander of the 325th

    14 Brigade of the BH army. It was Mr. Sivro, at any

    15 rate.

    16 Marko told me that the cease-fire had been

    17 agreed, that separation of forces was also agreed,

    18 release of all detained and captured individuals, care

    19 for the wounded, patrolling of the UN forces, and

    20 that a new meeting was called for 17th April at 9.00 at

    21 the UN base.

    22 Marko also told me that on the way back from

    23 the UN base, the UNPROFOR base, towards the Hotel

    24 Vitez, he saw a body of a civilian lying next to the

    25 road.

  32. 1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, it's a long

    2 morning. We suggest a 15-minute break, and then we

    3 will resume from 10.30 until 11.45, and the second

    4 break will be 30 minutes. Would that be all right for

    5 the interpreters? Very well. All right. We will

    6 suspend the hearing the until 10.30.

    7 --- Recess taken at 10.15 a.m.

    8 --- On resuming at 10.36 a.m.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the hearing.

    10 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.

    11 Q. We left off with the return of Prskalo and

    12 Pilicic from the negotiations, and they told you that

    13 they had seen civilian bodies lying by the roadside,

    14 that is, the body of one civilian lying by the road.

    15 Did they tell you whether there was any mention at the

    16 meeting about any civilian casualties?

    17 A. They did not inform me at the meeting. The

    18 meeting had discussed civilians but they just informed

    19 me of the items on the agenda and what I already stated

    20 here.

    21 Q. On the basis of the oral agreement that they

    22 reached on your behalf, did you issue any orders

    23 following that?

    24 A. Yes, I issued an order, and the registration

    25 number was 01-4-271/93, dated the 16th of April, 1993.

  33. 1 The order was to implement the agreement that had been

    2 reached.

    3 Q. You mean the cease-fire?

    4 A. Yes.

    5 Q. At 14.30, you once again had a talk with

    6 Kordic. What did you inform him of?

    7 A. I informed him of Dzemo's call from the

    8 command of the 3rd Corps and the offer regarding a

    9 cease-fire and the fighting.

    10 Q. At 14.32, Nakic called you. He was your

    11 chief of staff. Tell us what you talked about.

    12 A. He also informed me that he was blocked and

    13 that there was still fighting around his village, and

    14 he conveyed to me that he had talked to Dzemo Merdan

    15 and that they had discussed a cessation of

    16 hostilities.

    17 I also informed Nakic and he informed me, I

    18 asked him whether he had received any new information

    19 about Totic and the officers that had been kidnapped

    20 from the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade from Novi Travnik,

    21 and I conveyed, that is to say, Nakic told me --

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Is there a problem with the

    23 interpretation, Mr. Hayman?

    24 MR. NOBILO: No, we're just trying quickly to

    25 find a document, a Defence Exhibit, to show you, so

  34. 1 Mr. Hayman was making secret signs with our clerk.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Excuse me.

    3 MR. NOBILO:

    4 Q. What did Dzemo tell you? What else? Did you

    5 inform him of the situation you found yourself in?

    6 A. The chief of staff, Nakic, I informed him

    7 about the situation, and I told him that we had 15 dead

    8 but that we were still holding out.

    9 Q. You referred to one of your orders,

    10 01-4-271/93, it was Defence Exhibit D279, and so the

    11 secret negotiation that was going on was not very

    12 precise. We're going to repeat this then.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, you're only

    14 responding to instructions from the Judges. That's

    15 very good and congratulations. Did you find the

    16 document? We have it now.

    17 General Blaskic, this is the order of 16

    18 April. This is 01-4-271/93. Would you like to make a

    19 comment about that?

    20 MR. NOBILO:

    21 Q. You mentioned the registration number, and we

    22 remembered that we had the order and that it was

    23 Defence Exhibit D279, dated the 16th of April, 1993,

    24 the time is 16.00 hours, and you were ordering in point

    25 1: "All units in your zone of responsibility are to be

  35. 1 immediately ordered to discontinue and cease all combat

    2 actions against Muslim forces."

    3 You sent this order to the Vitez Brigade and

    4 to the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade. We're not going

    5 to read the whole order, but we should just like to

    6 clarify certain points. You sent this to the

    7 commanders of the two brigades, and you say, "All units

    8 in your zone of responsibility are to be immediately

    9 ordered to discontinue and cease all combat

    10 actions ..." What does that mean? Who did this refer

    11 to?

    12 A. It referred to all units which were engaged

    13 in the zone of Vitez and the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski

    14 Brigade area or, if we look at it in terms of space, it

    15 means all units of the Busovaca municipality and the

    16 Vitez municipality which were engaged in combat action.

    17 Q. In concrete terms, the Tvrtkovci, the

    18 military police, and the Vitezovi, and now looking at

    19 it from military terminology, in whose zone of combat

    20 action or zone of responsibility were they active?

    21 A. They functioned in the zone of responsibility

    22 of the Vitez Brigade.

    23 Q. Therefore, when you, in point 1 of your

    24 order, order Cerkez and Grubesic from the Vitez --

    25 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. I think,

  36. 1 Mr. President, I have sat for awhile, as we have sat

    2 while Mr. Nobilo testifies in part, and, with all due

    3 respect, I would ask, Mr. President, to allow

    4 Mr. Nobilo to ask a question and then allow the witness

    5 to say what he means by certain things and certain

    6 times, as opposed to counsel leading him along that

    7 path, if you will.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, do you have an

    9 answer to that?

    10 MR. NOBILO: I am trying to do that. I am

    11 trying to get the witness's views as to what he thinks,

    12 and I think he concluded what he was saying when I

    13 started my question. That was the impression that I

    14 gained, at any rate.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Thank you. Mr. Hayman?

    16 MR. HAYMAN: The alternative, and we can do

    17 it, is that for every point, Mr. Nobilo will need to

    18 ask, "At 14.20 hours, did you have a contact with

    19 someone? With whom did you have a contact? Did you

    20 contact him or did he contact you? What was said?"

    21 Next point, "At 14.25, did you have a contact," so

    22 there will be three or four questions just to establish

    23 the point in time and who is speaking. We can do that,

    24 but it will double the length of the examination.

    25 MR. KEHOE: There is an easy solution to that

  37. 1 and that takes place in many courts, Mr. President, and

    2 that is "When was your next contact and what

    3 happened?" I don't think that's a particularly

    4 difficult endeavour to undertake.

    5 The difficulty, Mr. President, and I don't

    6 mean to interrupt counsel's presentation here, is that

    7 over the past seven days, and obviously counsel thinks

    8 this is extremely important, there would appear to be a

    9 direction in the methodology of questioning that I

    10 think is something less than spontaneous for the

    11 witness, and I simply ask that counsel ask the witness

    12 an open question and allow the witness to provide the

    13 details, as opposed to the other way around. That's

    14 all I'm asking.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. This is a very relevant

    16 issue, and it is of concern to us. I would like to

    17 consult with my colleagues about it.

    18 The Judges have thought about this very

    19 important question, and this is their decision and the

    20 reasons for the decision: First of all, it is true,

    21 Mr. Nobilo, that the Defence witness has not been

    22 testifying spontaneously as of today, and the Judges

    23 would like him to testify spontaneously, all the more

    24 so because this is not a witness like other witnesses

    25 but rather one who is in contact with you on a

  38. 1 permanent basis.

    2 Therefore, in order to ensure the equilibrium

    3 of these proceedings, the Defence counsel has a whole

    4 log of things that he wants to have said, and he simply

    5 has to ask the questions so that the witness can

    6 answer, and the Judges would like the testimony to be

    7 spontaneous and free.

    8 The Judges have decided as follows: We are

    9 going to ask the accused to testify freely in

    10 large chunks. In other words, "General Blaskic, what

    11 happened on the afternoon of the 16th of April," and

    12 then, Mr. Nobilo, you can ask all the questions that

    13 you feel are necessary to specify certain points which

    14 were not specified in the testimony and which you want

    15 to have specified by the witness. Of course, he's

    16 going to have gaps in his memory, things he just does

    17 not remember, but you can put him back on the right

    18 track, you can, if necessary, interrupt him, but the

    19 Judges do not want any longer to have you start with a

    20 very specific background, a very specific plan that you

    21 have in mind. The Judges do no longer want to have the

    22 witness being guided in such a way that he's no longer

    23 testifying spontaneously.

    24 In all legal systems, a witness has to

    25 testify spontaneously, and that is why in all legal

  39. 1 systems there is a prohibition against witnesses making

    2 written testimony because that distorts the

    3 proceedings.

    4 We're now speaking about the 16th of April in

    5 the afternoon, and the Judges turn to the witness and

    6 ask him what happened on that afternoon, and then you,

    7 Mr. Nobilo, and no one is going to count your time, you

    8 will specify certain points but being very careful that

    9 you're asking questions, this is a very important

    10 point, and that you are not moving along through

    11 affirmations.

    12 Have I been clear? Mr. Hayman, would you

    13 like to make a comment?

    14 MR. HAYMAN: We will do as you request, but

    15 we object that you are prohibiting Defence counsel from

    16 putting specific questions to our client, and we think

    17 that is undue interference in the method of examination

    18 of the accused. We should be allowed to direct the

    19 witness's attention to specific events and points in

    20 time, but we will proceed. I simply want to preserve

    21 the objection.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, you're a very

    23 skilful attorney, but I'm also a skilful Judge. I

    24 understand what you're saying, thinking about the

    25 future of the proceedings, but we have Rules and we

  40. 1 have the power to question the witness as we like at

    2 any point that we want to question him, and I want this

    3 to be in the transcript: I have just said that the

    4 Defence will ask any specific questions it wishes to

    5 ask, but it should be noted, we are not trying to, in

    6 any way, prejudice the accused's rights, but we do not

    7 want, and this is a fundamental point in all legal

    8 systems, that is, a testimony -- this is not the case

    9 which might be remote-controlled which means that "At

    10 14.00 hours you did this, General Blaskic," and then

    11 General Blaskic, says, "Yes, at 14.00 hours, I did do

    12 this." That's Mr. Nobilo testifying, no longer General

    13 Blaskic, and this is why I'm responding to your

    14 objection, Mr. Hayman.

    15 If we follow all Rules, and we're all reading

    16 the same Rules, I'm sure that we would come to a

    17 meeting point in our interpretation of the text.

    18 Having said this clearly and having this marked clearly

    19 in the record, we are not, in any way, trying to have

    20 the witness not say what he wants to say but rather

    21 that he should say what he wants to say freely and

    22 spontaneously. He is the main player in all of this,

    23 first of all, because he is the accused and because he

    24 lived through all of the facts minute by minute, and,

    25 of course, at any point, including a moment when you

  41. 1 want to interrupt him, you can ask questions, but I

    2 want you to ask questions and not to proceed through

    3 affirmations and assertions.

    4 That's what the Judges want, if you look at

    5 the texts that are in force here at the Tribunal and to

    6 be sure that they are being properly interpreted, and,

    7 of course, this corresponds to all practices in all

    8 developed legal systems.

    9 Having said this, Mr. Nobilo, we are now at

    10 the point where you can resume the

    11 examination-in-chief, calling your witness's attention

    12 to the fact that he has to tell us about what happened

    13 during the day of 16 April.

    14 Mr. Nobilo, please proceed.

    15 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. Of

    16 course, we can do this. We can ask the questions in

    17 different ways. However, I would like to point out

    18 that within the last ten days, by this method, I edited

    19 out about 60 to 70 per cent of all the facts that I

    20 believe that General Blaskic would have otherwise

    21 testified to. General Blaskic keeps a wealth of

    22 details in his mind, and I just wanted to make sure

    23 that we came to the most essential ones but ...

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, I understand what

    25 you're saying very clearly, and you know the Judges do

  42. 1 not want to waste any time. It is self-evident that if

    2 the accused, who is now a witness, were to get lost in

    3 too many details or have trouble remembering certain

    4 points, you would be there to help him, and I suppose

    5 that with the contacts that you've had with your client

    6 for the past 20 months, you should know what seems to

    7 be essential for his defence and what's less

    8 essential. This is your mission, this is your

    9 assignment, and this is your monopoly, if you like.

    10 If you agree, we will now continue speaking

    11 about the afternoon of the 16th of April, but we will

    12 stop making affirmations, after which the witness will

    13 simply say, "Yes" or "No," "I did this" or "I did

    14 that." I repeat, it is not the Defence who is

    15 testifying but, rather, the accused, General Blaskic,

    16 and we are fully cognisant of his rights and we are

    17 protecting them.

    18 Mr. Nobilo, please continue.

    19 MR. NOBILO: Very well. Let me just go back

    20 to Exhibit D279 because I don't think we have finished

    21 and it is significant.

    22 Q. General Blaskic, can you explain what point 1

    23 means, when you say "in all areas of your zone of

    24 responsibility"?

    25 A. Point 1 reads: "All units in your zone of

  43. 1 responsibility are to be IMMEDIATELY ordered to

    2 discontinue and cease all combat actions ..."

    3 By that I meant the zone of responsibility of

    4 the commanders of the Vitez Brigade and Nikola

    5 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade. In the heading, I said that it

    6 was to be delivered directly to both of these two

    7 commanders, and point 1 implied all units which were

    8 operating in the zone of responsibility of either of

    9 those two brigades.

    10 Q. Did this also refer to the special purpose

    11 units and the military police units?

    12 A. Yes.

    13 Q. Let's go back to the sequence of events.

    14 What went on from 14.36 April 16th and onward?

    15 A. At 14.36, we had correction of the artillery

    16 fire and had communication with the commander of the

    17 artillery battery and Mr. Slavko Marin talked to him.

    18 Also, at around 14.40 hours, I inquired about the

    19 situation in Travnik, and I talked to the brigade

    20 commander from Novi Travnik, and after that, after this

    21 conversation, I was informed that Officer Lastro from

    22 Travnik was unable to report to the command post

    23 because he could not use the roads.

    24 Q. Before we move to the chronology with respect

    25 to this order, what was the reason for your issuing

  44. 1 such an order after about half a day of fighting?

    2 A. My motivation from the early morning of 16

    3 April was to stabilise the situation and effect a

    4 cease-fire.

    5 Q. Yes. Obviously we are referring to Exhibit

    6 279.

    7 A. Yes.

    8 Q. On the basis of everything you have just

    9 said, were you able to push back the BH army forces at

    10 any of the points?

    11 A. No. We were the side which was being pushed

    12 back.

    13 Q. Very well. Can you now please proceed with

    14 what happened next in the afternoon of the 16th of

    15 April?

    16 A. At 14.44 hours, I had another conversation

    17 with Franjo Nakic. I asked him what happened to the

    18 kidnapped officers of the Subic-Zrinjski Brigade

    19 command staff and with Commander Totic, and Nakic

    20 informed me that they, meaning the kidnapped officers,

    21 were in the barracks of the 7th Muslim Brigade.

    22 Q. Where was Nakic at that time?

    23 A. At that time, Nakic was at his family home.

    24 Q. Where did he live at that time?

    25 A. He lived in the village of Zabrdje.

  45. 1 Q. Continue from there.

    2 A. At 14.46, I called the main headquarters of

    3 the HVO and informed them about the agreement on

    4 cessation of combat operations and let them know that

    5 we were working on calming down the situation and that

    6 we had been promised that the army of Bosnia and

    7 Herzegovina was also going to issue orders on cessation

    8 of all further combat operations. I also informed the

    9 main staff that at that time Vitez was still being

    10 shelled from a tank of the BH army from the Preocica

    11 Samar feature.

    12 A bit later on, at 14.50, Mr. Pilicic called

    13 UNPROFOR regarding the evacuation of wounded in

    14 Poculica, and at that time he was given a promise that

    15 this evacuation would be carried out by UNPROFOR.

    16 At 14.57 -- yes, at 14.57, we conducted a

    17 check, that is, a correction together with the

    18 artillery battery. That was a correction of the

    19 artillery fire.

    20 At 15.00 hours, I received information from

    21 Commander Cerkez that a conversation between the

    22 commander of the BH army had been taped and that from

    23 this tape we could conclude that the BH army is moving

    24 from Zenica in the direction of Vitez.

    25 Following this information, I called the

  46. 1 commander in Zenica, Mr. Baresic, and inquired about

    2 what he knew about the movements of the BH army from

    3 Zenica. Commander Baresic informed me that he still

    4 did not have such information but that he would check

    5 on it.

    6 At 15.08, a report from Mario Cerkez arrived,

    7 number 02-125-13/93 of 16 April, 1993, at 14.50 hours.

    8 On the basis of this report, I called Cerkez and

    9 ordered him to hold and reinforce the positions which

    10 he currently held.

    11 At 15.10, I had further communication with

    12 the commander of the combined artillery battery and

    13 further correction of artillery fire.

    14 At 15.15, I sent a written report to the main

    15 headquarters of the HVO in Mostar and to the

    16 headquarters of the North-western Herzegovina Operative

    17 Zone in Tomislavgrad.

    18 Q. By what method did you send this report?

    19 A. This report was sent by packet communication

    20 network.

    21 At 15.22, I was informed that no subordinate

    22 unit from the Central Bosnia Operative Zone had any

    23 secret code names so that it was not possible to have

    24 communication in a secure way.

    25 Q. Secret code names. If you used those, what

  47. 1 method of communication would you use if you had those

    2 names?

    3 A. If we had secret code names, then we could

    4 have communicated by radio and even by telephone, but

    5 then we would not call each other by first and last

    6 names or by your position in the command structure,

    7 that every commander would have his code name by which

    8 he would be addressed. Also, in any combat activities,

    9 just as you make a plan of artillery fire, you also

    10 compile a similar plan of communications.

    11 Q. Is it a regular thing to make such a plan in

    12 the middle of a battle?

    13 A. No. Such a document is always drafted ahead

    14 of time, that is, before the start of combat activities

    15 and is usually part of the preparatory organisational

    16 documents.

    17 Q. Very well. Please move on.

    18 A. At 15.26, a report was sent for -- public

    19 information was released, and at 15.31, I had contact

    20 with the commander of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski

    21 Brigade, Mr. Grubesic, and I asked him to hold the

    22 positions at Kuber at any cost and to endeavour to

    23 regain the positions which he had lost in the course of

    24 the day. I believe that those positions were Obla

    25 Glava and Vrana Stijene.

  48. 1 Q. So he had lost those positions in the course

    2 of the day?

    3 A. Yes. They had been pushed back from those

    4 positions during the course of the day, that is, the

    5 Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade units.

    6 Q. Please go on.

    7 A. At 15.40, I called Mr. Samija, the chief of

    8 the civilian police in Vitez, in order to get an update

    9 on the security situation in the town of Vitez. I did

    10 not get him at that time, but at 15.42 hours, Samija

    11 called me and informed me that security in the town of

    12 Vitez at that point in time was under control, and I

    13 requested that he identify the positions from which BH

    14 army snipers were active and from which positions they

    15 were shooting at the Operative Zone command

    16 headquarters, that is, the Hotel Vitez.

    17 Q. General, who was in charge of the security

    18 for the town of Vitez in combat conditions?

    19 A. This was the competence of the civilian

    20 police authority in Vitez.

    21 Q. Did you receive any kind of information from

    22 the civilian police authorities whether any kind of

    23 violence was being committed against civilians?

    24 A. I took down and I wrote down all information

    25 that I received in the course of that day, and I

  49. 1 received no such information.

    2 Q. Please continue.

    3 A. At 15.50, I called the commander of the Vitez

    4 Brigade, Mr. Mario Cerkez, and asked for information

    5 about the situation in the village of Donja Veceriska.

    6 He informed me that the situation in Donja Veceriska

    7 was still critical.

    8 At 15.51, Slavko Marin talked to the

    9 commander of the combined artillery battery regarding

    10 correction of fire. I also received information on

    11 firing of our artillery on our targets, in other words,

    12 the HVO artillery was shelling our own positions.

    13 Dario Kordic transmitted this information to me, and

    14 following that, I checked the coordinates and I

    15 determined at 15.54 that the artillery of the BH army

    16 was shelling our positions or firing on our positions

    17 and that this fire was not coming from the HVO

    18 artillery on the HVO positions.

    19 At 16.00 hours, I talked to the commander in

    20 Travnik, Mr. Filip Filipovic, and inquired about the

    21 situation in the town of Travnik, and he told me that

    22 the situation was calm for the time being.

    23 I also had a conversation around 16.00 hours

    24 with the commander from Kiseljak, Mr. Mijo Bozic, who

    25 informed me that the situation was calm, and I told him

  50. 1 that for the time being, we were holding out,

    2 considering primarily the situation in Busovaca and

    3 Vitez.

    4 Then I had contact at 16.10 with Dr. Dzambas

    5 from the Franciscan hospital in Nova Bila who reported

    6 on the number of wounded they received and the

    7 situation in the hospital.

    8 At 16.15, I asked the commander of the

    9 artillery battery to report on the levels of ammunition

    10 with the artillery battery.

    11 At 16.18, I had a conversation with a

    12 commander who introduced himself by his nickname, which

    13 was Munja. He was with the 2nd Corps of the BH army

    14 which was headquartered in Tuzla. He transmitted

    15 information that he had personally talked to Brigadier

    16 Petkovic and that he had mediated in order to achieve a

    17 cease-fire, and he said that he personally was doing

    18 everything in his power in order to achieve a truce and

    19 cease-fire.

    20 At 16.47, I once again talked to the

    21 commander of the Vitez Brigade, Mr. Mario Cerkez, and

    22 the questions were the situation in the town with

    23 regard to Stari Vitez. Cerkez informed me that they

    24 lacked materiel, that they lacked barrels, rifle

    25 barrels, for the recruits, and also that they lacked

  51. 1 ammunition, and that they had a great deal of

    2 difficulty because of sniper fire and the effects of

    3 devices in Stari Vitez, machine guns from Stari Vitez.

    4 I told him that he should organise his defence with

    5 what he had available at that time. I had in mind

    6 resources, materiel, and weapons.

    7 At 17.08, Mr. Tuka called, the commander of

    8 the HVO Battalion in Fojnica, and he was interested in

    9 knowing what the situation was like in Vitez and

    10 Busovaca. He informed me that the situation in Fojnica

    11 was fairly tense but that there were no actual

    12 conflicts in Fojnica at that particular time.

    13 At 17.11, I tried to contact the main staff,

    14 and at 17.15, I managed to contact the main staff and

    15 told them that the situation had calmed down and that

    16 some of the roads, and I had in mind the main roads

    17 from Busovaca to Vitez and further on towards Travnik,

    18 that that main road was under the control of the BH

    19 army whereas part of the roads were under the control

    20 of the Croatian Defence Council.

    21 I also informed the main staff that we still

    22 did not have any information as to what had actually

    23 happened to the kidnapped officers, Zivko Totic and the

    24 four officers from the Stejpan Tomasevic Brigade of

    25 Novi Travnik, apart from the fact that we knew that

  52. 1 they were being held in the barracks of the 7th Muslim

    2 Brigade according to information that I was conveyed

    3 from the chief of staff. I also stressed that I

    4 assumed that the resources being used to fight us, to

    5 attack us, were probably taken from the convoy intended

    6 for eastern Bosnia between the 11th and 12th of April,

    7 1993.

    8 After that, Petkovic, Commander Petkovic,

    9 said, "Don't believe in the cease-fire alone but start

    10 fortifying yourselves."

    11 Q. What does that mean? What kind of activity

    12 is fortification? What does that imply?

    13 A. It implied that at the positions we held,

    14 that we undertake the engineering type of fortification

    15 for the terrain to defend. This is a defence activity.

    16 Q. You mentioned control of roads. It's not

    17 quite clear, according to the interpretation, who was

    18 controlling which roads.

    19 A. I conveyed the information that part of the

    20 roads -- and I'm thinking of the entire zone, all the

    21 roads in the zone, of the Operative Zone -- that we

    22 were in control of them whereas one portion of the

    23 roads were under the control of the BH army.

    24 Q. Please continue. What happened next?

    25 A. Petkovic, the chief of the main staff, told

  53. 1 me that manpower had been mobilised in Kiseljak and in

    2 Fojnica to the full and that it should be on the ready.

    3 At about 17.41, I talked to Darko Kraljevic.

    4 Q. Was that your first conversation on that

    5 particular day with Darko Kraljevic?

    6 A. Yes, it was my first conversation with Darko

    7 Kraljevic on the 16th of April, on that particular day.

    8 Q. What did he inform you?

    9 A. He informed me of the action coming from

    10 Stari Vitez, and I asked him to wait, not to go

    11 forward, and to keep the positions held under control,

    12 all the directions of combat activity from Stari Vitez

    13 towards the headquarters and towards the town of Vitez,

    14 and especially to bear in mind the civilians because we

    15 assumed that the civilians themselves could start

    16 moving out of Stari Vitez in the direction of Vitez

    17 town, and I particularly drew his attention to the fact

    18 that he should not just move forward but should bear in

    19 mind the civilians and look after the women and

    20 children.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, I suggest that we

    22 take a 30-minute break, and we will resume at noon and

    23 continue until 1.30.

    24 --- Recess taken at 11.29 a.m.

    25 --- On resuming at 12.10 p.m.

  54. 1 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the

    2 hearing. Mr. Nobilo and Mr. Hayman, think about

    3 keeping five or six minutes before the end of the

    4 hearing so you can give us an evaluation about the time

    5 that you're going to need. I will ask the registrar

    6 how much time has already been used for this testimony,

    7 the testimony of General Blaskic. We can ask him at

    8 that point.

    9 All right. Let's resume now.

    10 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.

    11 Q. I think we left off somewhere around 17.48

    12 hours onwards. What happened after that, after you

    13 warned Kraljevic not to touch the civilians and the

    14 women and children?

    15 A. I received a report on the casualties from

    16 the Vitez Brigade, the facts that they had collected up

    17 until then. There were six killed members of the Vitez

    18 Brigade and a number of members who were injured,

    19 lightly injured.

    20 At 17.48, I also asked the commander of the

    21 mixed artillery division to remain in a state of

    22 alert.

    23 At 17.55, I received a report from the

    24 military intelligence service that the BH army units

    25 were asking for assistance in the areas of Vranjska and

  55. 1 Kruscica and that there were problems there. I

    2 received information from the Vitezovi that three

    3 Vitezovi members had been killed, one civilian, and two

    4 other casualties, I don't know exactly where those

    5 casualties were, but that meant a total of six dead.

    6 At 18.02, I received information from

    7 Mr. Kordic who told me that Pasko's people were going

    8 up the hill and that he had done his part and that he

    9 had intercepted a telegram about panic in their ranks,

    10 and at 18.04, I called the commander of the mixed

    11 artillery battalion to prepare to fire along the 649

    12 feature, the 649 position or feature.

    13 At 18.07, I talked to Mr. Mario Cerkez, the

    14 commander of the Vitez Brigade, and asked him to

    15 reinforce security around the explosives factory and

    16 that he take care of the Kruscica and Vranjska

    17 situation.

    18 At 18.10, I received a call from Bugojno, and

    19 they were interested in knowing about the situation and

    20 state of affairs in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone,

    21 and we sent them information about that.

    22 At 18.25, Cerkez asked for assistance, to

    23 have auxiliary logistics supplies, for resupplies.

    24 At 18.29, I had a conversation with the

    25 commander of the Operative Zone of Northwest

  56. 1 Herzegovina, Mr. Zeljko Siljeg, and I told him, "Convey

    2 to your chief that everything has been sent to me,

    3 going through me, and that he should bear this in mind

    4 and extend assistance."

    5 Q. Who was the chief? Your terminology, the one

    6 you used, who was the chief you referred to?

    7 A. The chief was, in fact, the head of the main

    8 staff of the HVO.

    9 At 18.32, I asked reconnoitring of the points

    10 of impact in the Vranjska area by the commander of the

    11 mixed artillery battalion --

    12 Q. Before we continue, can we add a little more

    13 clarification on your talks about Siljeg? When you

    14 said "everything is turned towards me," what did you

    15 mean by that because in the interpretation, it was

    16 "sent to me" or "turned towards me." You said that

    17 everything was turned towards you. What did you mean

    18 by that?

    19 A. I thought that the bulk of the forces of the

    20 3rd Corps were being directed towards Vitez and part of

    21 Busovaca, that is to say, that there was movement

    22 present, a regrouping of troops and combat operations

    23 in the area of Vitez and Busovaca, and when I said

    24 "everything," I meant all mobile forces at that time

    25 were looking towards me and towards the defenders of

  57. 1 the Lasva Valley.

    2 Q. When you told Siljeg to convey to Petkovic

    3 that he should help, how did Petkovic, from Mostar, how

    4 was he able to help you in that kind of situation?

    5 What did you have in mind?

    6 A. In that kind of situation, Petkovic could --

    7 the only effective way of helping us was to call the

    8 head of the main staff of the army of

    9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sefer Halilovic, and to work with

    10 him towards a cease-fire agreement.

    11 Q. In the course of the day, you had already

    12 issued an order for a cease-fire. What information did

    13 you get from the ground in all the reports coming in to

    14 you? Was this being implemented? If not, why not?

    15 A. It is true that I issued an order for a

    16 cease-fire, but this order was probably not received by

    17 the units of the 3rd Corps because combat operations

    18 continued. There was a continued regrouping of forces,

    19 and fresh troops were being brought in so that,

    20 according to the reports that I received, it was not

    21 possible to establish and implement a cease-fire at

    22 that particular time, a truce.

    23 Q. Who brought in fresh troops?

    24 A. The BH army.

    25 Q. Let us continue and look at the events after

  58. 1 18.50 hours onwards.

    2 A. At 18.50, I had a telephone conversation with

    3 Dario Kordic, and he informed me that he had received

    4 information from Zenica about the movement of 350 to

    5 400 soldiers towards Kuber, soldiers of the BH army

    6 moving towards Kuber.

    7 I once again contacted, at 18.51 or 18.52,

    8 immediately after that, the commander of the mixed

    9 artillery battalion and asked them to be placed on the

    10 ready, to open fire in the direction of Kuber.

    11 At 18.58, I asked that preparations in the

    12 MTD be speeded up with regard to combat readiness.

    13 At 19.06, there was a momentary interruption

    14 of communications with the command of the Zenica

    15 Brigade, and I was not able to contact Vinko Baresic at

    16 that particular time, and at 19.08, I phoned the

    17 commander of MTD once again because the preparations

    18 had not been completed.

    19 Q. "MTD," what do you mean by that?

    20 A. It was the mixed artillery battalion, the

    21 commander of the mixed artillery battalion, MTD.

    22 At 19.10 or 19.11 hours, I talked to

    23 Commander Baresic from Zenica and checked with him the

    24 information that I had received about the movement of

    25 troops of the BH army from Zenica towards Kuber, and I

  59. 1 asked him that this movement of troops be stopped so

    2 that, if necessary, he ought to deploy all the manpower

    3 that he had at his disposal to achieve that goal.

    4 At about 19.12, I sent, via my associates, a

    5 request to the defence department of the Vitez

    6 municipality asking them to mobilise manpower for the

    7 shifts.

    8 At 19 --

    9 Q. What kind of shifts? What were these shifts?

    10 A. It was a question of mobilising recruits who

    11 were to replace, in the course of the night, recruits

    12 who had already been engaged in the fighting in the

    13 course of the day.

    14 At 19.14, I received a request from the mixed

    15 artillery battalion asking me whether they should still

    16 direct their attention towards Kuber, and I answered in

    17 the affirmative, I said yes.

    18 At 19.15, a report was drafted for the

    19 public, a public statement, and I also received

    20 information once again that, from Zenica, there were

    21 troop movements on the part of the BH army towards

    22 Vitez at 19.15.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. General Blaskic,

    24 you say that it was a statement that had been drafted,

    25 but very, very quickly, can you tell us what was in

  60. 1 it? We don't have the proof. We don't have the

    2 documents. You said that there was a public statement

    3 that had been drafted, that's fine, but what's in it?

    4 Otherwise, we've got a catalogue of all the things that

    5 you did all day long, but I think that what's

    6 interesting is in respect of what can be brought back

    7 to the accusations of the Prosecutor. What did it

    8 say? Were you being attacked? Were you being placed

    9 under siege? It will only take you a minute to tell

    10 us. Do you understand what I'm looking for, what I

    11 mean?

    12 A. No, Mr. President, not completely. I don't

    13 understand your thoughts.

    14 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps I didn't explain myself

    15 cleverly. You're giving a very detailed description of

    16 your schedule, but at some point, you have to tell us

    17 whether it's only on the basis of your memory or on

    18 military logs, but that's another question, and we can

    19 ask that at another time, but there are certain facts

    20 about all you say is the fact itself. For example, at

    21 10.15, there was a public statement which had been

    22 drafted. I have to say to you, "Well, yes, all right,

    23 but what was said in the public statement?" There's no

    24 point in reading it, there's no point in providing us

    25 with it, but what was the general sense of that public

  61. 1 statement, that is, your statement or the statement of

    2 the municipal authorities? Do you understand what I

    3 mean?

    4 A. Yes, I understand, Mr. President. The notes

    5 are notes that were made at the time, that is to say,

    6 when the events took place, and I said at the beginning

    7 of my testimony that I had asked an associate of mine

    8 to write down everything he heard and saw going on in

    9 the hall where there were only seven of us on that

    10 particular day, the 16th of April.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Are these your assistant's

    12 notes, the notes that you're using?

    13 A. No. In preparing, that is to say, when I

    14 decided to come to this Tribunal, I used all available

    15 documents at that time. When I say "that time," I have

    16 in mind 1995, it was November and December of 1995, and

    17 I did this, Mr. President, in such a way that I wrote

    18 down the chronology, copying from those notes, and on

    19 the basis of my own notes, the notes that I made then,

    20 I was able to write my first written statement. For

    21 this testimony, I just have an agenda and perhaps the

    22 name of the person who telephoned me and briefly the

    23 contents of that telephone conversation, so these are

    24 notes to remind me.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore, to go back to the

  62. 1 example, that was the reason I interrupted you, and I

    2 apologise again for having done so, at 10.15, there was

    3 a public statement which was drafted, and that means

    4 that you no longer remember what was in the statement.

    5 A. At this point in time, I cannot reproduce the

    6 contents of that public statement.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Thank you very

    8 much. You've explained it to me.

    9 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, perhaps it would

    10 be a good idea if the witness were to tell us when he

    11 no longer remembers the details but just has copied a

    12 fact from a document and one of the notes so that you

    13 know when he remembers the details himself and when he

    14 doesn't actually remember himself because, of course,

    15 six years have gone by.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: When the time is appropriate,

    17 and you are the one to decide when that is, you can

    18 mention, for example, "There is a public statement but

    19 I don't remember its contents." For instance, if you

    20 don't remember, you just tell us. All right? Please

    21 continue. Excuse me.

    22 A. Very well. Thank you, Mr. President.

    23 MR. NOBILO:

    24 Q. We stopped at 19.15 and the public statement,

    25 and after that, you had Zenica on the line and received

  63. 1 information on new troop movements of the BH army.

    2 That was the last thing you said.

    3 A. Yes. Once again, I contacted the commander

    4 from Zenica and received information about troop

    5 movements, and at 19.25, I had a telephone conversation

    6 with Mr. Dario Kordic who conveyed the same piece of

    7 information to me, namely, that BH army movements from

    8 Zenica were under way from Zenica towards Kuber and

    9 that we could expect the main onslaught to take place

    10 on that section.

    11 At about 19.30, I called the chief of the

    12 main staff in Mostar and informed him of this

    13 regrouping of forces which was taking place from the

    14 direction of Zenica towards Vitez, and I asked him once

    15 again, asked the chief of the main staff once again, to

    16 get in contact with the competent authorities in the BH

    17 army and to attempt to settle the problem of this

    18 influx of reinforcements, and I relied on this, on the

    19 agreement.

    20 Q. What agreement?

    21 A. I told the chief of the main staff that while

    22 some individuals were negotiating with us, others were

    23 attacking us, and I had in mind the agreement of the

    24 16th of April, 1993, that had been reached in Vitez at

    25 the UNPROFOR base there. I also emphasised that the --

  64. 1 I informed the chief of the main staff that most of the

    2 activity was from the direction of Zenica towards

    3 Vitez, and I reported to him about the state of affairs

    4 in the village of Poculica where the Croats had all

    5 been taken prisoner.

    6 Q. Did you talk about whether the Bosnian side

    7 was disseminating propaganda that a mosque had been

    8 demolished somewhere? Do you recall that during your

    9 conversation with General Petkovic?

    10 A. No, I do not recall that right now. But at

    11 19.35 hours, I was informed that members of the

    12 combined artillery battalion had carried out their

    13 task. At 19.40, I issued an order for withdrawal of a

    14 military police unit from Travnik to Vitez.

    15 Q. How was this carried out and what was the

    16 purpose of it?

    17 A. The purpose of it was to introduce a new

    18 shift of manpower at these positions and that this new

    19 shift would fortify the positions in the course of the

    20 night.

    21 Q. On whose request did you carry this order

    22 out?

    23 A. These men were supposed to report to me at

    24 the hotel, and the military police, actually the

    25 commander, Pasko, of the military police, sent me this

  65. 1 request.

    2 Q. Do you know why he did not do this on his own

    3 but asked that this be done through your office?

    4 A. This was a military police unit which had

    5 earlier been sent to Travnik, and I don't know whether

    6 at that time he had communication with them from the

    7 position where he was at the time.

    8 Q. So am I correct in concluding that you did

    9 this on request of Mr. Ljubicic?

    10 A. Yes. He requested that I write such an

    11 order, that his men be brought back to Vitez so that he

    12 could have a shift for the men which he already had

    13 deployed and who were fighting.

    14 Q. Very well. Please go on.

    15 A. At 19.45, I again received a call from

    16 Commander Mario Cerkez asking for assistance from the

    17 Busovaca Brigade and asking me to mediate in providing

    18 this assistance.

    19 I also, at 19.45, talked to Pasko, and asked

    20 him to start digging in and develop the defence

    21 further.

    22 Q. This is Pasko Ljubicic, commander of the

    23 military police?

    24 A. Yes.

    25 Q. Why, at that point in time, did you order him

  66. 1 to dig in? What was the reason for it?

    2 A. I had received information that his position

    3 was on the high ground, that is, on the slope of Barin

    4 Gaj and Kratine, and I believed that it was necessary

    5 to fortify this position and prepare for defence.

    6 Q. This is what you thought, but today, having

    7 heard everything that has been testified to in the

    8 Tribunal, was he up there in the high ground or was

    9 that incorrect information?

    10 A. I acted based on what he told me, but I

    11 believe that he was never at Barin Gaj because the HVO

    12 never held this position at Barin Gaj.

    13 Q. So you issued this order because you did not

    14 have the right information about this position?

    15 A. Yes, that is correct.

    16 Q. Please go on.

    17 A. At 19.50, I had another conversation with the

    18 commander of the Vitez Brigade, Mario Cerkez, and I

    19 asked that he start fortifying himself and get ready

    20 for the shift of his men at his position, in other

    21 words, to organise a shift at his position.

    22 At 19.55, I received a call from the

    23 commander of the Travnik Brigade, Filipovic, and he

    24 informed me that the roads via Han Bila and Ovnak were

    25 closed for any kind of traffic. Filipovic also

  67. 1 inquired about the situation in Vitez and Busovaca.

    2 MR. NOBILO: Exhibit D281, Defence Exhibit

    3 D281, please.

    4 Q. This is the Defence Exhibit D281 and is an

    5 order which you issued to the Busovaca Brigade on 16

    6 April, 1993, at 19.45. I will only read the first

    7 point. It is a combat order for the defence of Kuber.

    8 "1. Extremist Muslim forces are advancing

    9 from the direction of Gornja Zenica toward Kuber with

    10 the objective of completely capturing it and cutting it

    11 off."

    12 And then you task the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski

    13 Brigade further. Is this the order you just referred

    14 to?

    15 A. Yes.

    16 Q. Perhaps you could help us to clarify what is

    17 in the upper right corner. Something is written in

    18 handwriting.

    19 A. It is a warning for --

    20 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please read

    21 this again?

    22 MR. NOBILO: Let me read it one more time.

    23 Q. In the upper right corner, in handwriting, a

    24 sentence was added, and it reads as follows. Let us

    25 put it on the ELMO.

  68. 1 Somebody added this in handwriting and it

    2 reads as follows: "An oral advisement for the

    3 implementation and reporting on the combat orders

    4 received," and there is somebody's either initial or

    5 signature.

    6 Could you decipher who wrote this and who

    7 signed it?

    8 A. Yes, I recognise the signature, it is Slavko

    9 Marin's signature, and this advisement, I remember

    10 this, referred to the full implementation and detailed

    11 report on the combat order which had been issued.

    12 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber, is this a

    13 regular procedure, that a subordinate commander has to

    14 remind field commanders that they had to implement

    15 orders or carry them out?

    16 A. Whenever you have a well-trained and

    17 organised army, this would not be necessary, to

    18 specially emphasise such things, because it is

    19 something that is implicit in the order. But I was

    20 concerned, given the overall situation, and I tried to

    21 have as complete information as was possible about a

    22 given situation, and with respect to this order, as you

    23 see, we were still insisting on the defence of Kuber,

    24 and it is not clear who was holding which position at

    25 that point in time.

  69. 1 Q. This remark, does it show that the orders

    2 were not carried out completely and that you did not

    3 have full control of the situation? Is that the

    4 significance of the oral advisements?

    5 A. Yes, that is its significance, but also the

    6 fact that we were trying to get full information and

    7 that we tried to have the orders implemented in full

    8 and as they were issued or written.

    9 Q. Let us move on, follow the chronology of

    10 events.

    11 A. Around 19.55, a request to the defence

    12 department to carry out an additional mobilisation of

    13 the available manpower because we had received

    14 information that the previous requests were not

    15 honoured, and I'm referring here to the previous calls

    16 for mobilisation.

    17 Q. So was this an alarming situation or was this

    18 a regular situation?

    19 A. I talked to the chief of the defence

    20 administration because we were lacking in manpower, and

    21 I asked him to become involved and to mobilise whoever

    22 can carry a gun, even up to the age of 70, if there

    23 were still military recruits, because we had a severe

    24 shortage of manpower.

    25 Q. Again, based on your training and experience,

  70. 1 is it a normal thing to carry out mobilisation at the

    2 end of the first day of a war?

    3 A. That would depend upon the size of the unit,

    4 but you would need at least 48 hours before the start

    5 of combat operations; in other words, you need that

    6 period of time for preparation in order to be able to

    7 start combat operations.

    8 Q. So why didn't you carry out mobilisation

    9 before the beginning of war?

    10 A. We did not expect conflicts of this

    11 magnitude, and in the latter part of March, I was

    12 giving away supplies and ordinance for the 3rd Corps,

    13 and Mr. Prskalo, when he returned from negotiations,

    14 this is what the army is doing. They are returning the

    15 ordinance which we had given them, only they are

    16 sending them through the barrels.

    17 Q. I understand he was a bit sarcastic here.

    18 But let us move on with the chronology of events.

    19 A. At 20.22, I again talked to Commander Baresic

    20 from Zenica, and I requested that he check on any troop

    21 movements from Zenica in the direction of Vitez and to

    22 halt the forces that may be moving from Zenica in the

    23 direction of Vitez.

    24 At 20.45, I received information from

    25 Mr. Dario Kordic that the following day a meeting would

  71. 1 probably be organised in Zenica with Dzemo Merdan and

    2 myself.

    3 Q. Sometime after 20.00 hours, 20.25, together

    4 with Jozo Lozancic, you conducted a military manoeuvre

    5 which was supposed to fool the enemy?

    6 A. Yes. At that time, I asked Lozancic and I

    7 told him that he was going to receive a document. In

    8 this document, I explained that it was necessary that

    9 he was to fake that he was preparing an attack on

    10 Zenica. I informed him that my communication with him

    11 would be in the sense that it would have to do with the

    12 regrouping and bringing fresh forces from Zenica to

    13 Vitez, but I knew that our telephone conversations were

    14 being monitored, so in the spirit of that, I would ask

    15 Lozancic whether the forces were ready in Zepce even

    16 though at that time there were absolutely no troop

    17 movements in Zepce on the part of the HVO.

    18 Q. What was the meaning of it?

    19 A. The objective was to slow down the arrival of

    20 troops in Vitez and basically our survival in Vitez

    21 because I was afraid that the vast majority of the 3rd

    22 Corps troops would move in on the positions of the HVO

    23 against the Operative Zone command and create further

    24 enclaves; in other words, I wanted to alleviate the

    25 situation of the HVO positions in the Lasva Valley.

  72. 1 Q. Please continue.

    2 A. At 21.02, Pasko came to me, Pasko Ljubicic,

    3 the commander of the 4th Military Police Battalion, and

    4 he informed me that he needed urgently to replace the

    5 shift, and I agreed with him that as we had not had

    6 fresh troops, as we didn't have fresh troops, that he

    7 should take the entire staff from the Vitez Hotel and

    8 take them with him to effect this changing of shifts.

    9 So that sometime from 21.00 onwards or 21.02, the

    10 headquarters were left without any military policemen

    11 who were otherwise engaged to secure the hotel, provide

    12 security for the hotel.

    13 I had expected the unit that I had ordered

    14 from Travnik, that it might possibly arrive sometime in

    15 the course of the night, the military police unit, and

    16 that it would be able to take over the security of the

    17 hotel and the headquarters of the Operative Zone. This

    18 fresh manpower would probably be engaged by Pasko to

    19 take over the shift and to dig in the positions.

    20 Q. Before Pasko asked you to supply him with

    21 fresh forces for the shift, can you remember whether he

    22 came personally or phoned? Do you remember that? If

    23 not, we can move on.

    24 Do you remember a report to the 3rd Corps and

    25 a written report to the main HVO command?

  73. 1 A. A report to the 3rd Corps was sent at about

    2 21.00, and it referred to the lack of respect for the

    3 truce. It was a notice that we sent. This written

    4 notice to the main staff was also sent, but it was sent

    5 at 20.45.

    6 I have a note here saying that at 20.15, I

    7 ordered the commander of the mixed artillery battalion

    8 to ensure that firing positions were secured for the

    9 mixed artillery battalion.

    10 Q. Please proceed according to your chronology

    11 of events.

    12 A. At 21.20, I received a report saying that in

    13 the course of the night, the military police unit from

    14 Travnik would not be transported to Vitez.

    15 At 21.50 hours, I was called up by Mr. Nikola

    16 Krizanovic, he was the director of the explosives

    17 factory, and he informed me that there was strong

    18 shooting in the immediate vicinity of the explosives

    19 factory.

    20 At 23.50, I had a conversation with the

    21 deputy chief of civilian police of the Vitez police

    22 station, Mr. Slavko Jukic, and I asked him to extend

    23 assistance to us in order to ensure security for the

    24 hotel and the headquarters of the Operative Zone from

    25 the direction of Stari Vitez whereas -- in the course

  74. 1 of that night and the next day until the military

    2 police from Travnik were able to arrive.

    3 Q. This completes our chronology of events for

    4 the 16th of April, and we should now like to focus on

    5 some important documents that you received in written

    6 form and are not included in your chronology.

    7 I should like the witness now to be handed

    8 Defence Exhibit D280.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, the Judges are

    10 prepared to allow you to withdraw for a few moments if

    11 you feel tired so that you can rest for five minutes.

    12 Would you care to do that?

    13 THE ACCUSED: Thank you, Mr. President. I

    14 would welcome that. Thank you very much.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Five minutes.

    16 THE ACCUSED: Thank you, Mr. President.

    17 --- Recess taken at 12.55 p.m.

    18 --- On resuming at 1.03 p.m.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We can resume the

    20 hearing now.

    21 General Blaskic, do you feel better? Do you

    22 feel better? Are you all right?

    23 THE ACCUSED: I apologise, Mr. President. I

    24 wasn't tuned in to the channel.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: I just wanted to know if you

  75. 1 were all right, if you were feeling okay.

    2 THE ACCUSED: Yes. Thank you very much,

    3 Mr. President. I feel much better. Thank you.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: So do we. Okay. We can

    5 continue.

    6 MR. NOBILO:

    7 Q. Before the recess, D280 was handed round, and

    8 I'm going to briefly read this very important report.

    9 The commander of the military police, Pasko Ljubicic,

    10 was writing to you on the 16th of April, 1993, and he

    11 says:

    12 "Acting in accordance with your order number

    13 01-04-243/93 of the 16th of April, 1993, we hereby

    14 report: Muslim armed forces attempted to launch, in

    15 the early hours of the morning, an attack on the

    16 military police units located in the Bungalow. The

    17 attack met with response, and combat procedures and

    18 actions were undertaken to expel the same. Muslim

    19 armed forces barricaded themselves in a mosque in

    20 Ahmici and in the primary school from where they have

    21 been firing from small arms weapons and snipers. They

    22 have been opening light fire from the direction of the

    23 villages of Vrhovine and Pirici, and snipers have been

    24 constantly firing from the woods and clearings above

    25 the village. So far three policemen have been killed

  76. 1 and three were wounded, one of whom seriously.

    2 Personnel is in the field." The stamp is the command

    3 of the military police in Mostar, and it says,

    4 "Commander Pasko Ljubicic."

    5 Tell us now, what was the order of the 16th

    6 of April that was issued to Pasko Ljubicic, chief of

    7 military police, by you and why?

    8 A. It was an order to report to me in writing

    9 regarding the situation in the field because reports

    10 and information from the chief of the military police I

    11 generally received via telephone and orally, and he did

    12 not send reports in written form, in writing, as was

    13 done by the commander of the Vitez Brigade and the

    14 commander of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade. He did

    15 not send them to me.

    16 As the fighting had already started, I

    17 considered that it was necessary to caution him that,

    18 in future, he should send me reports as my immediate

    19 subordinates did.

    20 Q. What was your legal basis, military legal

    21 basis, for asking the chief of the military police, as

    22 you did from your own commanders, to ask him to send

    23 you written reports?

    24 A. Subordination or attachment, the attachment

    25 of the military police unit.

  77. 1 Q. Would you remind us what this term

    2 "attachment of units" implies and "subordination of

    3 units" implies?

    4 A. It means that during the implementation of

    5 assignment, a higher command for a certain unit can be

    6 placed within the composition of a lower command, be

    7 attached to it for performing certain assignments.

    8 Q. Does that mean that Pasko Ljubicic, as the

    9 chief of the --

    10 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Counsel. I think the

    11 proper question is "What does it mean?" and not telling

    12 the witness what it means.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Please continue, Mr. Nobilo. I

    14 think that we've said many things about the testimony.

    15 The Judges have expressed their opinion, they've said

    16 that they don't agree with the way it's being

    17 conducted, and you know, Mr. Kehoe, you always have to

    18 show some degree of flexibility, but we're being very

    19 vigilant here. As soon as Mr. Nobilo takes the place

    20 of the witness, we're going to interrupt him, but

    21 that's not what's happened here.

    22 Continue, Mr. Nobilo, but don't make too many

    23 suggestions, please.

    24 MR. NOBILO: Let me remember what it was that

    25 I was asking, first of all.

  78. 1 Q. On the 16th of April, was the military police

    2 subordinate to you or attached to you?

    3 A. Yes.

    4 Q. On the basis of what?

    5 MR. NOBILO: Once again, problems with

    6 interpretation. Let me repeat my question.

    7 Q. The military police, in the battle of the

    8 16th of April, was it attached to you?

    9 A. It was attached to me. Yes, it was.

    10 MR. KEHOE: If I may, Mr. President, that

    11 certainly was not the question that was initially

    12 asked.

    13 MR. HAYMAN: Well, let's talk to the

    14 interpreter's booth about that, Mr. President. Let's

    15 ask them and let's let them tell us what the question

    16 was, whether they were correcting themselves or whether

    17 Mr. Nobilo corrected himself. Let's ask them.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: You're going too fast because I

    19 haven't heard the end of the interpretation of the

    20 first question, and already things are coming out from

    21 all sides. Let's stay calm, please.

    22 Mr. Kehoe, what is your objection? Let me

    23 hear the objection, and then I promise you, Mr. Hayman,

    24 I will listen to you immediately after that. What is

    25 your objection, Mr. Kehoe?

  79. 1 MR. KEHOE: My comment is simply this,

    2 Mr. President, that one question was asked and then

    3 another question was asked according to the

    4 interpretation. Mr. Hayman maintains that the problem

    5 was, in fact, with the interpretation, which I find

    6 somewhat astonishing since he doesn't speak the

    7 language. Nevertheless, the question, it seems, coming

    8 from the interpreters at the outset was quite clear.

    9 MR. HAYMAN: Let's ask them, Mr. President.

    10 Let's ask them.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment. Mr. Hayman,

    12 Mr. Hayman, first I'd like to hear what your objection

    13 is. What is your objection? What is it? You don't

    14 agree with Mr. Kehoe; I think that's what you're

    15 saying.

    16 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. Kehoe is attempting to

    17 create doubt in Your Honours' minds as to the words or

    18 phrases used by Mr. Nobilo to suggest that Mr. Nobilo

    19 thinks that the military police were subordinate to

    20 then Colonel Blaskic on the 16th, and we commented on

    21 the same situation one or two days ago with respect to

    22 the interpreting booth correcting themselves with

    23 respect to a translation. I understand they spoke to

    24 Your Honours after that incident, and they told you

    25 that, in fact, they were correcting themselves, they

  80. 1 were not correcting Mr. -- I believe in that instance,

    2 it was not Mr. Nobilo, it was the accused, with respect

    3 to very important matters of phraseology.

    4 Once again, Mr. Kehoe is suggesting that

    5 Mr. Nobilo has performed some sleight of hand to switch

    6 the words "subordination" and "assignment" -- excuse

    7 me, "attached."

    8 I would ask Your Honours, please, we don't

    9 want any ambiguity or doubt in the record of this

    10 case. Let's ask the interpreter booth whether

    11 Mr. Nobilo used those terms interchangeably in his

    12 question or did they correct themselves and, in fact,

    13 Mr. Nobilo used the term "attached" and did not use the

    14 term "subordinated to."

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, thank you. We

    16 certainly want to hear what you have to say, and you

    17 are an extraordinary champion for Mr. Nobilo, as well

    18 as an excellent and fervent Defence attorney for

    19 Mr. Blaskic. If you had allowed me to finish, I would

    20 have said that I did not agree with Mr. Kehoe. I had

    21 understood that this was not an assertion by Mr. Nobilo

    22 but that, at least in the interpretation that I heard,

    23 it was simply that he was asking the accused whether

    24 the military police were subordinate to him at that

    25 point, pursuant to what order. That was your question,

  81. 1 was it not, Mr. Hayman, or am I wrong?

    2 MR. HAYMAN: Not in the English, not in the

    3 English, Mr. President, no, that was not the question.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: That's very simple. It's

    5 fourteen minutes after one, I'll do like the accused,

    6 at fourteen after one, the Presiding Judge is asking

    7 Mr. Nobilo to ask his question again; at quarter after

    8 one, Mr. Nobilo answered, and 30 seconds after that,

    9 the English interpreters were asked to interpret

    10 Mr. Nobilo's question correctly, and that will be the

    11 end of the incident.

    12 Mr. Nobilo, please speak slowly.

    13 MR. NOBILO: Let me rephrase the question in

    14 a neutral way so that it will be perfectly clear and

    15 the response be clear.

    16 Q. The question, General, is what was your

    17 relationship towards the military police on the 16th of

    18 April, 1993?

    19 A. On the 16th of April, 1993, when the fighting

    20 started, I was superior to the military police, in a

    21 position of superiority.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: I think you asked a different

    23 question. You asked pursuant to what order, on what

    24 basis that had happened. That's what I heard.

    25 MR. NOBILO: Let me just try to further

  82. 1 specify this.

    2 Q. What was the legal basis so that they were in

    3 such a position in relation to you?

    4 A. The legal basis was the order of the chief of

    5 the main headquarters on the 15th of April, 1993 and

    6 the start of the combat operations in the Lasva Valley.

    7 Q. Did the military police become permanently

    8 subordinated to you at that point or just for the

    9 duration of the combat?

    10 A. Only for the duration of the combat

    11 activities. It did not change its structure.

    12 Q. Was that the same basis under which the

    13 Vitezovi were involved in fighting?

    14 A. Yes.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: That was from the 15th of

    16 April; is that the date of the order? Mr. Nobilo, it

    17 was the order from General Petkovic dated the 15th of

    18 April; is that right?

    19 MR. NOBILO: As far as I understood, this was

    20 the order on the attachment of the military police.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: Have you finished with the 16th

    22 of April, Mr. Nobilo?

    23 MR. NOBILO: No. We have some documents. We

    24 are finished in terms of the chronology, but if we can

    25 just finish with this report from Ahmici, then we can

  83. 1 break off.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Continue, please.

    3 MR. NOBILO:

    4 Q. Next question: According to the overall full

    5 information which we have received to date, was this

    6 report accurate or did it mislead you? Did they

    7 mislead you about what had happened in Ahmici?

    8 A. This report on the events in Ahmici was not

    9 accurate.

    10 Q. Apart from this report and oral reports which

    11 you have mentioned today which you received from Pasko

    12 Ljubicic, did you have any other knowledge about what

    13 was happening in Ahmici?

    14 A. No. I received information from Pasko

    15 Ljubicic by telephone, and, in addition, I received

    16 this written report. I had no other information on the

    17 events there.

    18 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we have now

    19 finished with this report from Ahmici, and if you feel

    20 that we should not go into additional documents, we can

    21 break off here.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: I would like two

    23 clarifications. I didn't understand this and perhaps

    24 it was an interpretation problem. I turn both to the

    25 accused and to the Defence. You say that the report is

  84. 1 from Pasko Ljubicic and that it was not exact, was not

    2 precise. Have I understood you correctly?

    3 MR. NOBILO: Yes. He said that now --

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Why was it not accurate? In

    5 what way was it not accurate? Do you understand that?

    6 In what way was it not? We are speaking about this

    7 report that I've shown my colleagues dated the 16th of

    8 April and that we read a little while back, saying that

    9 the HOS had barricaded themselves at the Ahmici

    10 mosque. Where is it incorrect? I think it's on the

    11 ELMO. I think the English version is on the ELMO, and

    12 the registrar has given it to me in French. In what

    13 way was it not precise?

    14 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, as far as I

    15 recall, the question was whether this report reflected

    16 the actual military situation in Ahmici, and based on

    17 subsequent knowledge and information I have had since,

    18 I can say that, no, it was not correct.

    19 MR. NOBILO:

    20 Q. Let me ask you this question: Based on what

    21 you know today, who attacked whom in Ahmici?

    22 A. Based on what I know now, today, the military

    23 police attacked units of the BH army and villagers of

    24 Ahmici, that is, Bosniak Muslims.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: So this was the military police

  85. 1 under your orders. Otherwise, I don't understand.

    2 That is what you said, is it not? According to what

    3 you know today -- no, that's not right? Mr. Nobilo is

    4 saying "Yes" and -- Mr. Nobilo is saying "Yes" and

    5 Mr. Hayman is saying "No."

    6 All right. For the time being, we won't go

    7 any further.

    8 Before we move to another subject, with

    9 respect to the report, the order from the chief of the

    10 headquarters dated 15 April, who attached the military

    11 police to the Vitezovi; was it tendered as evidence?

    12 MR. NOBILO: We do not have this order

    13 because this was an internal correspondence between the

    14 military police and the Vitezovi, and as you can see,

    15 we have practically no documents which were produced by

    16 the military police, unfortunately.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, did you wish to say

    18 something before we moved to another subject?

    19 MR. KEHOE: Just this, Mr. President:

    20 Categorically, no, that has not been introduced into

    21 evidence.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Thank you. Okay.

    23 I think that we said we would stop a little before the

    24 end of the time, that is, at the beginning of the 17th

    25 of April.

  86. 1 Before we go our separate ways, I would like

    2 to turn to Mr. Dubuisson and ask him where we are. I

    3 think you gave me the numbers here with respect to the

    4 hours that we have spent here, but could you tell us?

    5 THE REGISTRAR: The examination-in-chief of

    6 the accused to date, since Wednesday, 17th February,

    7 which was the first day of the examination-in-chief of

    8 the accused, there have been 29 hours and 5 minutes,

    9 that is, five and a half hearing days out of a total of

    10 eight calendar days. There was one -- I remind that

    11 one hearing day is five hours and twenty minutes of

    12 questioning.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps the Defence could tell

    14 us -- I think originally we spoke about 35 hours. I'm

    15 sure it's going to take more than another six hours.

    16 But could you give us an evaluation of the time,

    17 because what you tell us is going to have an effect on

    18 the cross-examination. Could you give us an

    19 evaluation, Mr. Hayman, please?

    20 MR. HAYMAN: Gladly, Mr. President. We

    21 estimate that yesterday afternoon, when we finished the

    22 15th of April, which was roughly in the middle of the

    23 afternoon yesterday, we were at approximately the

    24 halfway point in the direct examination. If we take

    25 the amount of time -- and I just did a rough

  87. 1 calculation measuring days, not hours -- if we take how

    2 long it took us to get to yesterday at 3.00 and we

    3 double it in terms of the court schedule that I

    4 understand we have, that will take us to approximately

    5 the end of the first week of our next trial session,

    6 which is the 12th of March, 1999, for the completion of

    7 the direct examination.

    8 I note that is not a scientific estimate; it

    9 is our best estimate. I think the Court should assume

    10 plus or minus one day equivalent, perhaps, for planning

    11 purposes.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We will let

    13 Mr. Dubuisson do the calculations. So that takes us to

    14 the 12th of March. Looking at the schedule, we are not

    15 sitting next week; therefore, we will sit again the

    16 week of the 8th to the 12th; is that correct? So we

    17 will begin at 2.00 on the 8th and we will continue

    18 until the 12th.

    19 So you think that by Friday, 12 March, you

    20 will most likely be finished?

    21 MR. HAYMAN: That is our best estimate, plus

    22 or minus one trial day equivalent, Mr. President.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Does this allow the

    24 Office of the Prosecutor to know about how much time it

    25 is going to need?

  88. 1 MR. KEHOE: It's, of course, an estimate,

    2 Your Honour. Of course, that gives us an idea --

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, it gives you an idea. But

    4 the Judges, at the proper time, will tell you that you

    5 will have the same amount of time for the

    6 cross-examination as for the direct examination, so you

    7 can select your questions. Try to show some degree of

    8 flexibility, but you will have more or less the same

    9 time, the same amount of time. If you know in advance,

    10 you can organise yourselves accordingly. That also

    11 depends upon the length of the answers. But the

    12 principle is that you will have the same amount of time

    13 as was spent during the direct examination.

    14 MR. KEHOE: I understand, Mr. President.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We just should say

    16 good-bye now to one another. We won't see each other

    17 next week, but we will see one another on the week of

    18 the 8th of March. Is that not correct, Mr. Dubuisson?

    19 All right. Court stands adjourned.

    20 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at

    21 1.28 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,

    22 the 8th day of March, 1999, at 2.00 p.m.