1 Friday, 7th May, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.07 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed.
5 Mr. Registrar, can you ensure that the witness is
6 brought in, please?
7 (The accused/witness entered court)
8 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
9 interpreters. Good morning to counsel for the
10 Prosecution, counsel for the Defence. Good morning to
11 the witness, the accused; the witness, now as he's
12 testifying. I'm informing the public of this. He's
13 been testifying now for some time.
14 Mr. Kehoe the floor is yours. We are sitting
15 until 1.30. We'll manage to take some breaks as we do
16 not want to forget that the interpreters have been
17 working since 9.00 this morning. We'll take that into
18 account, of course.
19 MR. KEHOE: Good morning Mr. President, Your
20 Honours, counsel. Good morning, General.
21 THE WITNESS: Good morning, Mr. Prosecutor.
22 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I will tell you at
23 the outset, Your Honours, that consistent with Your
24 Honour's comments yesterday, Mr. Harmon and have I
25 consulted and we have attempted to put our examination
1 on a diet and curtail it to some degree and present it
2 in a more abbreviated fashion.
3 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
4 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
5 Q. General, let's just cover a few more matters
6 and move on. Just by way of reference, yesterday we
7 talked about the decision in Prosecutor's Exhibit 315
8 for the HVO to take over the Kiseljak barracks. I
9 simply refer Your Honours to Prosecutor's Exhibit 38,
10 tab 2, page 14, in the English, where the HVO ruled on
11 3 July, 1992, to take all JNA property that existed or
12 was present on the territory of the Croatian Community
13 of Herceg-Bosna.
14 Now, General, you indicated to us yesterday
15 in your order of 11 May, 1993, that the Territorial
16 Defence that you were outlawing by your order was the
17 Territorial Defence of the former JNA.
18 I would like to show you a document at the
20 MR. KEHOE: If I may, Mr. President.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 632, 632A
22 for the English version.
23 MR. KEHOE:
24 Q. Now, General, this is a copy of a decision
25 from 8 April, 1992 from Sluzbeni List, which is the
1 Official Gazette of the Republic of Bosnia and
3 MR. KEHOE: If it would assist the
4 interpreters, we have a few extra copies that we might
5 hand up to the booths, if need be.
6 There is, unfortunately, no French copy at
7 this juncture, Mr. President. So I will endeavour to
8 read it quite slowly.
9 Q. This is the Official Gazette of the Republic
10 of Bosnia and Herzegovina and it notes as follows:
11 "On the basis of point 3" --
12 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps you could give us the
13 title and then focus on the point, and if the witness
14 challenges it in the context, then we can look at it
15 again. It's up to you.
16 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. What this is
17 is a copy of the Official Gazette of Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina, signed by the president of the presidency
19 of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Alija
20 Izetbegovic, dated 8 April, 1992.
21 The focus of this, Mr. President, will be the
22 regulation and simply Articles 1 and 2. If I might
23 just briefly refer to those two Articles as opposed to
24 the whole document.
25 Q. "The regulation on cancelling the previous
1 headquarters of the Territorial Defence and
2 establishing the headquarters of the Territorial
3 Defence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4 "Article 1: The previous republic
5 headquarters of the Territorial Defence are being
6 cancelled and the headquarters of the Territorial
7 Defence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina are
8 being established.
9 "Article 2: The Presidency of the Republic
10 of Bosnia and Herzegovina will bring decisions about
11 the use of units of the Territorial Defence of the
12 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Ministry of
13 national defence of the Republic of Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina, through the headquarters of the
15 Territorial Defence of the Republic of Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina is operating and commanding the structures
17 of the Territorial Defence."
18 Now, General, we're going to move into
19 another document but before we do that, I ask you to
20 take a look at Article 4 and look at the -- excuse me.
21 We'll briefly go through the whole article. I think it
22 will clarify some matters.
23 "Article 4: The previous commander of the
24 republic headquarters of the Territorial Defence of
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina, General Lieutenant-Colonel
1 Drago Vukosavljevic, and the chief of the republic
2 headquarters of the TO of Bosnia-Herzegovina General
3 Lieutenant Fikret Jakic are being released from duty.
4 "Colonel Hasan Efendic has been appointed for
5 the commander of the headquarters of the Territorial
6 Defence of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
7 Colonel Stjepan Siber has been appointed to the chief
8 of headquarters of the TO of the Republic of
10 Now, the individual that we refer to here,
11 Stjepan Siber, he is a Croat, isn't he, General?
12 A. Yes. Stjepan Siber is a Croat.
13 Q. Now, the date of that document is the 8th of
14 April, 1992.
15 MR. KEHOE: If I can refer the General to the
16 document we were talking of yesterday, Prosecutor's
17 Exhibit 583. While we're talking of 583,
18 Mr. Registrar, if we could also pull out 584 and
19 Prosecutor's Exhibit 502, those three documents and we
20 will be able to move through all three rather quickly.
21 Q. Now, focusing on Exhibit 583, let us go to
22 the second paragraph. This is the order of Mate Boban,
23 declaring that only the HVO shall be the legal military
24 formation on the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and
25 all other military formations are illegal or hostile.
1 Let me direct your attention, General, to the
2 second paragraph.
3 "The decision of the presidency of Bosnia
4 and Herzegovina on the Bosnia-Herzegovina Territorial
5 Defence, also taken on 8 April, 1992 is politically
6 ill-considered at this moment. That same presidency
7 has remained silent about crimes against Croats since
8 the beginning of the attacks against the Croatian
9 people. Even now, it speaks insufficiently loudly
10 about the tragedy of Croatian settlements and people
11 from Ravno, Nuem, Kupres to Mostar. For all these
12 reasons, the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna will
13 not accept the compromised Territorial Defence as its
14 military structure."
15 Now, General, let us move to the next
16 document, which is the General Roso document of 8 May,
17 1992, and that will be Prosecutor's Exhibit 584.
18 Now, when Boban, in 583, says all other
19 military formations in the territory of the Croatian
20 Community of Herceg-Bosna are either illegal or
21 hostile, that is then translated into this order by
22 General Roso on the 8th of May, 1992.
23 General Roso orders that:
24 "1. The only legal military units in the
25 territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna are
1 units of the HVO.
2 "2. All other military units in the above
3 territory must join the single defence system and
4 recognise the main HVO as their supreme command.
5 "5. This order supersedes all orders of the
6 Territorial Defence command which shall be considered
7 illegal in this territory."
8 Now, General, let us turn to your order,
9 which is Exhibit 502, where you reference the Ante Roso
10 order by number.
11 Consistent with the General Roso order, you,
12 in Exhibit 502, you refer back to Roso's order by
13 number, 01331/92, and you order, in point 1:
14 "1. The only legal military units in the
15 area of Kiseljak municipality are HVO units.
16 "5. By this order, all orders of the
17 Territorial Defence are rendered invalid and the TO is,
18 in this area, considered illegal."
19 Now, General, look at these four documents in
20 conjunction. The 8 April, 1992 order of the presidency
21 of Bosnia-Herzegovina establishing the TO; Boban's
22 order declaring the TO illegal on 10 April, 1992;
23 Roso's order to you on 8 May, 1992 declaring those
24 formations illegal --
25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, don't repeat
1 yourself, please. You've explained yourself
2 sufficiently clearly.
3 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Now --
4 JUDGE JORDA: You are not yet now in your
5 final arguments. That time will come. We've seen the
6 documents. They've been translated. They are on the
7 ELMO. Please can you put the question to the witness.
8 Please let us move forward.
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. Now, General, the Territorial Defence that
11 you are outlawing on the 11th of May of 1992 is the
12 Territorial Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina and not
13 the Territorial Defence of the JNA; isn't that right?
14 A. Your Honours, I'm going to try to answer in
15 the orders. When you line them up in this way, then
16 that could be what you deduce from them. However, I
17 did not encounter this document 632 previously, and I
18 know what the situation was like in the field.
19 Here it says that the Territorial Defence in
20 the Kiseljak municipality is illegal. It functioned
21 throughout. As I said yesterday, it had its
22 headquarters across from the HVO, in the same building
23 of the municipal secretariat for defence of the
24 municipality of Kiseljak. It had its positions along
25 the front line towards the Serbs, together with the
2 The fact that this document of the 9th of
3 April, '92, that is to say, document 632, but on the
4 9th of April the Yugoslav People's Army had its
5 garrison in Kiseljak and, of course, all military
6 conscripts from the territory of the Kiseljak
7 municipality had to fulfil their military duties as
8 members of the reserve formations attached to that
10 The situation was one of transition, so I can
11 tell you of the situation that existed in the field. As
12 far as the documents are concerned, I did issue the
13 order of the 11th of May, that is to say, I copied it
14 out, it is document 502, on the basis of document 584,
15 but I never saw -- the Territorial Defence of the
16 Kiseljak municipality was pushed back, and I am talking
17 about the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, it functioned
18 throughout, and the offices were in the same building,
19 that is to say, across the road from the HVO offices.
20 I said yesterday that the problem lay in the fact that
21 the military recruits from the Kiseljak municipality
22 had to fulfil their military service and duty in other
23 municipalities, because the JNA was not a municipal
24 army, it was a state army, and the system of filling up
25 the prelacies free with recruits was complicated.
1 Let me just add with this decision to take
2 over all the facilities of the former JNA within the
3 composition of the HVO, which the Prosecutor said, the
4 3rd of July, 1992, I would like to say something very
5 briefly in that regard. It was true that that order
6 was issued, but it was never implemented in practice.
7 The HVO distributed weapons, that is to say, it shared
8 weapons with the Territorial Defence in Kiseljak --
9 JUDGE JORDA: What order? The 3rd of July?
10 What are you talking about? Which order of the 3rd of
12 MR. KEHOE: At the outset, Mr. President,
13 when I referenced the exhibit that discussed the
14 Kiseljak HVO taking over the JNA barracks, I also
15 referenced, Your Honour, to a portion of the Narodni
16 List , I believe it's Prosecutor's Exhibit 38, tab 2,
17 page 24 -- that's in the English version -- where the
18 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna orders all JNA
19 property to come within the authority of the Croatian
20 Community of Herceg-Bosna.
21 JUDGE JORDA: That's quite right. I'm sorry,
22 yes. But yesterday you told us, General, what you
23 thought about this document. We're not going to repeat
24 ourselves, are we? You had said something about this
25 document yesterday, hadn't you?
1 A. I did not, Mr. President, because I wasn't
2 asked the question nor did I listen yesterday to
3 anything about the document by the Prosecutor. This
4 document has been brought up for the first time today.
5 I would just like to say that the document was enacted,
6 that is, on the 3rd of July -- I'm not questioning
7 that. I'm just questioning the actual state of affairs
8 in the field as existed in reality, where that decision
9 was not implemented. So it was not only -- the HVO did
10 not only enter the barracks, there was the Patriotic
11 League, as I said yesterday, and the HVO, and the
12 weapons were distributed by the HVO and Territorial
13 Defence at the level of the Kiseljak municipality. It
14 was shared. The Territorial Defence headquarters had
15 its offices where the same structure of the HVO had its
16 offices, in the same building.
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. Now, General, 502, your exhibit, your order
19 outlawing the Territorial Defence, is, of course, based
20 on an order received from the main headquarters. So
21 you would agree with me that there was, in fact, a
22 structure in place when you issued this order; isn't
23 that correct?
24 A. That a structure was in place, had a
25 structure been in place, then this order would have
1 gone to the Operative Zone or to somebody immediately
2 above me. I received this kind of order and copied it
3 out, but in practice, I was not able to implement a
4 decision of this kind because then I would be working
5 against myself had I done that and I couldn't change it
6 either --
7 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We've often heard
8 about this particular problem. I want to hear
9 something about this order of April 10th that you've
10 mentioned. Do you have that, Mr. Kehoe?
11 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Blaskic says that on
13 Exhibit 502, there is a reference made to the order of
14 April 10th. What is that kind of structure that you're
15 talking about? Maybe there was a structure in terms of
17 MR. KEHOE: If I may, Mr. President? If Your
18 Honour examines Prosecutor's Exhibit 584, which is the
19 General Roso order, the number on that document is
20 01-331/92. If we then look at Exhibit 502, which is
21 the accused's order, the accused references that order
22 and he notes at the outset, "On the basis of the orders
23 received from the main staff," and he references the
24 number 01-331/92 of 8 April. So in this order that he
25 issues on the 11th of May, Blaskic references Roso's
1 order of the 8th of May.
2 JUDGE JORDA: It's clear now. All right. It
3 seems at least to be clear. Here we have the structure
4 that was above yourself and the structure of which you
6 All right. So, Mr. Kehoe, what is your
7 question? Was it a question you had, in fact, or were
8 you making a statement?
9 MR. KEHOE: I have a question. I will move
10 to my next question.
11 Q. Now, General, with regard to the Territorial
12 Defence that you are outlawing, this is the same time
13 where you are telling the reporter in Agence France
14 Presse in Prosecutor's Exhibit 545 that the
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina government in Sarajevo "it has no
16 legitimacy here." It's the same exact time, isn't it?
17 A. Well, I was probably speaking about the
18 effective or ineffective influence of the BH government
19 in the area where there really was sometimes no
20 communication at all; at times, there were only
21 telephone links. Now, how the journalist understood me
22 and how what I said was translated, I cannot say for
23 sure now, but I did discuss August with the Minister of
24 Defence from the BH government, that is to say, a
25 member of the same government, Mr. Jerko Doko and
1 Mr. Sefer Halilovic and the others, I discussed -- I
2 had talks, and so the words "that it had no
3 legitimacy," I don't remember having said that.
4 Perhaps I said it had no effect -- that it wasn't
5 effective in these turbulent times because we had the
6 JNA and, as I say, these were just the beginnings of
7 HVO organisation and the armed forces of
9 Q. So, General, let us move back to Prosecutor's
10 Exhibit 631, the Sead Sinanbasic order, that
11 information dated 15 May, 1992, which he sends to the
12 TO staff in Sarajevo.
13 Now, quite clearly, moving back to paragraph
14 1 of this document, which notes that:
15 "On 14 May, 1992, the HVO command banned the
16 work of the command of the Kiseljak municipal
17 (Territorial Defence) on the premises of the former JNA
18 Hall and threatened to ban its work completely because
19 only the HVO command existed on the territory of the
20 municipality. The order was issued by Tihomir Blaskic,
21 the commander of the Kiseljak Municipal Headquarters."
22 It is quite clear, General, from this
23 sequence of events, that the commander of the
24 Territorial Defence, Sead Sinanbasic, understood your
25 order as outlawing and banning the Territorial Defence
1 in Kiseljak; isn't that right?
2 A. No, because Mr. Sead Sinanbasic, in this
3 information of his about the situation on the territory
4 of the municipal assembly of Kiseljak, in point 1 only
5 spoke of one segment. He did not write what happened
6 on the 14th of May, that is to say, that part of the
7 command headquarters of the Territorial Defence was
8 dislocated from one building, which was never the
9 building of the Territorial Defence headquarters, into
10 another building, a building which had always been the
11 headquarters of the Territorial Defence. So he did not
12 speak about the circumstances in which this move was
13 made; he just extracted one action.
14 This order too shows that at least on the
15 14th of May -- and I maintain further on the
16 Territorial Defence headquarters was functioning in
17 Kiseljak despite the order that we looked at a moment
18 ago dated the 11th of May, 1992, which I wrote and
19 signed. Whereas the circumstances were such that this
20 move was designed to protect -- for purposes of
21 protection and to avoid a further conflict after one of
22 the commanders of the HVO was wounded.
23 Q. Well, General, let's take a look at
24 Prosecutor's Exhibit 319.
25 Now, this is an order of the crisis staff on
1 the 25th of May, 1992, and they rendered a decision,
2 signed by Josip Boro, and number 1:
3 "1. With regard to the Presidency Decree
4 No. 01-011-33/92, dated --"
5 And it's illegible.
6 "-- April 1992, the Crisis Staff hereby
7 cancels the giro account of the Municipal Territorial
8 Defence Staff and nullifies the use of the seal of this
10 General, after you issue an order outlawing
11 the TO, the crisis staff closes their bank account;
12 isn't that right, sir?
13 A. No. You can see here that the decision --
14 just one moment, please. This is a decision of the
15 municipal crisis staff, that is to say, the staff in
16 which the representatives of Bosniak Muslims and the
17 representatives of the Croats took part, and from this
18 part of the document, although I was not at the
19 meeting, neither was I a member of the municipal crisis
20 staff, I don't know which giro account is being
21 cancelled, whether it is the giro account of the
22 municipal staff of the Territorial Defence of the
23 Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina or the
24 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So what does this
25 refer to? Which cancelling of which giro account? But
1 it is a decision of the civilian organs of power and
2 authority and which the Croats took part as did the
3 Bosniak Muslims, and at that forum, this decision was
5 Q. Well, General, are you seriously stating that
6 the Muslims moved for or voted for a closing of their
7 own bank account on the Territorial Defence?
8 A. I am not claiming that because I wasn't
9 present at the meeting. All I am saying is that this
10 was a decision of the civilian authorities and that
11 this shows that the civilian authorities were, as I
12 have said in my testimony, engaged in both military and
13 civilian matters. They regulated both. But I was not
14 a member of the municipal crisis staff and I don't know
15 what they had in mind when reviewing this issue and
16 taking such a decision.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Maybe there's a small
18 translation problem because further up in the
19 transcript, I heard from the interpretation that you
20 were a member of the crisis staff.
21 A. No.
22 JUDGE JORDA: No. I'm so sorry. Please
23 continue. What was the composition of this crisis
24 staff? Who had the majority?
25 MR. KEHOE: The crisis staff was nine Croats
1 and six Muslims, so any vote would be won by the
2 Croats, assuming the parties voted along ethnic lines.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Continue, please.
4 Thank you.
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. Now, General, you received a copy of this
7 order, didn't you?
8 A. I testified about this, that I did receive
9 most orders from the municipal crisis staff, that I
10 submitted most of my reports to the municipal crisis
11 staff or to my immediate superior, the commander of the
12 HVO municipal staff. In those days, it was
13 Mr. Tomislav Trutina.
14 Q. General, have you ever had your bank account
15 closed by someone else, your own personal bank account?
16 A. I had an account in the former JNA.
17 Unfortunately, I was unable to close it. But the
18 former JNA closed it when I abandoned the JNA, and I
19 didn't receive the earnings owed to me. This did
20 happen when Yugoslavia broke up and the JNA. This
21 wasn't a bank account but a post office account.
22 Q. Well, General, when your bank account was
23 closed by the JNA, you were not allowed to access your
24 money, were you?
25 A. Of course, when my personal account was
1 closed, but I would like to mention, in connection with
2 this decision, that this was a decision of the civilian
3 authorities. I am not challenging whether the decision
4 was taken or not. I just said that I wasn't familiar
5 with all the details because I didn't participate in
6 the work of the municipal crisis staff of Kiseljak
8 Q. General, let us to this entire sequence of
9 events surrounding your order and some events that took
10 place afterwards, and referring back to 631, there is a
11 discussion by Sead Sinanbasic of your refusal to allow
12 the 77th Rijeka Brigade to travel through Kiseljak to
13 resupply Bosnian troops in Sarajevo; isn't that right?
14 A. No, it is not right. I didn't ban the Rijeka
15 Brigade passage. Anyway, I don't have that document,
16 unless you're referring to 631.
17 Q. 631, sir.
18 A. I beg your pardon. What point are you
19 referring to? Which paragraph?
20 JUDGE JORDA: Paragraph 4, isn't it,
21 Mr. Prosecutor?
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Paragraph 2 and paragraph 4.
24 A. That is not correct. Regarding the Rijeka
25 Brigade, it arrived on the 4th of June, 1992, in
1 Kiseljak. The members of that brigade, when coming to
2 Kiseljak from the direction of Fojnica, destroyed all
3 the checkpoints along the road. They didn't stop
4 anywhere, nor would they allow any checking to take
6 When they reached Kiseljak, they captured the
7 Dalmatia Hotel, threw out about 300 Bosniak Muslim
8 refugees, mostly from Rakovica. They ate their meals
9 for that day and created a chaotic situation in
11 If that is the event you're referring to, I
12 can explain it in detail. We had a great deal of
13 trouble to avoid an all-out conflict in Kiseljak, if
14 this is in connection with the commander, Mr. Porobic,
15 and that brigade.
16 But in any event, the brigade entered
17 Kiseljak, but not to go to Sarajevo, but as Mr. Porobic
18 said, to accommodate themselves in the Hotel Dalmatia
19 and stay there for some time to prepare for lifting the
20 blockade of the town of Sarajevo.
21 The position of the civilian authorities of
22 Kiseljak municipality were that they had no place to
23 put the Bosniak Muslim refugees. They requested that
24 the brigade be moved out of the hotel so that the
25 refugees could go back in. Whole families from
1 Rakovica were living there.
2 I spoke to their representative. His name
3 was Hasan Begovic. That night, that is, the 4th of
4 June, about 11.00 at night, personally, I fed mothers
5 with children who came to the barracks to see me,
6 because they had been deprived of food throughout the
7 day because of these problems.
8 That brigade ended up in Pazarici. So it
9 continued from Kiseljak and ended up in Pazarici.
10 Q. General, I'd like to share some testimony
11 with you from closed session.
12 MR. KEHOE: If I can briefly, Mr. President,
13 go into private session just to discuss these two
15 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, private session briefly.
16 (Private session)
13 redacted pages 21210-21212 – private session
17 (Open session)
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, continue,
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. General, at the same time this convoy is not
22 allowed to go to Sarajevo according to Mr. Sinanbasic,
23 and you're saying the Serbs had no designs on Kiseljak,
24 there had been an agreement reached between Karadzic on
25 behalf of the Bosnian Serbs, Mate Boban on behalf of
1 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, to dispense
2 with all their differences and not to fight any more;
3 isn't that right?
4 A. When was this agreement reached not to fight
5 each other?
6 Q. We'll address that right now if I can take a
7 look at this. For reference purposes, unfortunately,
8 this was in English, but I can tell that you the
9 agreement was signed on the 6th of May, 1992.
10 MR. KEHOE: If I may, Mr. Usher. This is a
11 two-page document received from the European Community,
12 Mr. President. The first is a press release coming
13 from TV Croatia, and the second is an English version
14 of the copy of the agreement between Radovan Karadzic
15 and Mate Boban.
16 I will read it very slowly, the first page,
17 so the witness can -- I'm sorry. I apologise,
18 Mr. Registrar.
19 THE REGISTRAR: It is an exhibit of the
20 Prosecution, 633.
21 (Trial Chamber confers)
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. The first document is an internal
24 correspondence in the EC Monitoring Mission, which
25 references a TV Croatia report and it notes as
2 "Boban, HDZ, and Karadzic, SDS, have reached
3 an agreement at a meeting concerning the resolution of
4 all differences between the two nations through
5 conciliatory means, including the territorial
6 delimitation under the auspices of the European
7 Community. They reassured firmly the agreement of the
8 principles defined in the conference in Lisbon. There
9 is no further reason for the continuation of armed
10 conflicts between the Serbs and the Croats. The
11 territorial delimitation between the nations will be
12 made until the 15th of May. Ceasefire will be decreed
13 from today, 24.00."
14 If we could turn to the next document, which
15 is the agreement itself.
16 "Our intention being to resolve peacefully
17 and by agreement all outstanding issues, including the
18 borderline between the two constituent units, the
19 Croatian unit, and the Serbian unit in
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The representatives of the
21 Croatian and the Serbian national communities have
22 established the existence of the following specific
23 differences as regards the Working Demarcation Map:
24 "1. In the city of Mostar, the Serbian side
25 considers the Neretva River to be the borderline while
1 the Croatian side considers the entire city to be
2 within the Croatian constituent unit.
3 "2. South of Mostar, the Croatian side
4 considers the entire area delineated in 1939, that is,
5 the boarders of the Hrvatska Banovina, to be within the
6 Croatian constituent unit. The Serbian side considers
7 the Neretva River to be the borderline between the
8 Croatian and Serbian constituent units.
9 "3. Both sides agree that in defining the
10 borderline between the two constituent units in the
11 areas of Kupres as well as Bosanska Posavina (Derventa,
12 Bosanski Brod, Bosanski Samic, Odzjak, Orasje, Modrica
13 Modradica and Brcko) account should be taken of the
14 compactness of areas and communications.
15 "4. Both sides are resolved in the adherence
16 to the principles adopted at the European Community
17 conference on Bosnia-Herzegovina. Consequently, they
18 are agreed to respect the agreed upon criteria for
19 defining ethnic territories under EC arbitration and
20 the matter of defining areas at issue in other areas.
21 "5. This agreement makes invalid the reasons
22 for the suspension of the EC conference of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina, so both sides ask for an urgent
24 resumption of the conference. We insist that
25 demarcation under arbitration be implemented by agreed
1 upon date of May 15th, 1992.
2 "6. In view of the agreement outlined above,
3 no more reasons obtain for an armed conflict between
4 the Croatians and the Serbs in the entire area of the
5 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. A general and
6 permanent truce controlled by the European Community is
7 hereby proclaimed to be in force from today,
8 May 6, 1992 at 22.00.
9 "Signed by the representative of the Serbian
10 state community, Radovan Karadzic, and representative
11 of the Croatian national community, Mate Boban."
12 In conjunction with this document, we would
13 also like you to take a look and discuss, General, a
14 document that was issued by the Serb publicists in
15 London discussing this particular document, and if we
16 could also hand this out.
17 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecutor's Exhibit
19 MR. KEHOE:
20 Q. Now, just reading the first page of this
21 document, because the second page is essentially the
22 same as what we just read, and this is a press release
23 coming again from the Bosnian Serb publicist operating
24 from London, press release dated 7 May, 1992, "Serb and
25 Croat leaders Sign Peace Deal."
1 "At a meeting late on Wednesday, 6th May in
2 the town of Grax in Austria, the leader of the Bosnian
3 Serbian Democratic Party, Mr. Radovan Karadzic, signed
4 a peace agreement with Bosnian Croat leaders.
5 "The agreement, which includes a ceasefire,
6 will form the basis for the division of Bosnia into
7 three separate states.
8 "The agreement overturns the mandate of the
9 Bosnian independence referendum for self-determination
10 for a Bosnian state. Instead the mandate will be
11 reversed. Bosnia will be divided and in its place
12 three separate states will be formed.
13 "Mr. Karadzic is available for interviews in
15 Now, General, when you noted to Agence France
16 Presse that the Serbs had no designs on this land and
17 when you ordered the outlawing of the Territorial
18 Defence on the 11th of May, 1992, and when you refused
19 to allow a convoy to pass through Kiseljak to resupply
20 Sarajevo, you were aware of this agreement between
21 Karadzic and Boban, weren't you?
22 A. Your Honours, I only knew that there was the
23 Lisbon agreement. I was not familiar with the details
24 of that agreement. I knew that the agreement had been
25 signed by all the participants. I never previously saw
1 any documents referring to that agreement. I never
2 spoke with Mr. Boban about this agreement. I met
3 Mr. Boban for the first time on the 27th of June, 1992,
4 and even then he did not share with me any opinions
5 about this issue. But he did tell me that I should
6 establish cooperation with the Territorial Defence
7 wherever that is possible.
8 As for the participants in these agreements,
9 I never spoke to any one of them about these subjects.
10 I know that there were many agreements for
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, I heard from the media about that,
12 and those negotiations and talks went in various
13 directions under the auspices of the International
14 Community. But I know that, as a commander, we had
15 lost territory to the Serbs in Komusina at the
16 beginning of August 1992, which means after this
17 agreement, which means that the fighting continued, the
18 ceasefire was not respected, and I wish to state once
19 again --
20 JUDGE JORDA: But that's another question,
21 Mr. Blaskic, that's another question. The territory
22 was lost; that is a factual matter, which is important,
23 of course. But I think that the question put to you
24 was whether you were familiar with this agreement or
25 not. All right. You knew that there were many
1 agreements and this one not in particular detail.
2 That's your answer.
3 Please continue, Mr. Prosecutor.
4 MR. KEHOE: Well, Mr. President, if I could
5 just follow up on that particular agreement.
6 Q. You knew, General, that this agreement was
7 executed from public statements in the media, didn't
9 A. I just know that there was euphoria in the
10 media at first when the Lisbon agreement was signed
11 because all people wanted peace. I wanted peace too.
12 And we hoped that a war would be avoided, a highly
13 uneven war between the Croats and the Muslims, on the
14 one hand, and the Serbs on the other, who were far
15 better armed. I was not familiar with the details of
16 that agreement because I didn't have anyone to inform
17 me about them.
18 As regards the Lisbon agreement and -- these
19 documents are in my hands for the first time.
20 Q. Put aside the details, General. You were
21 aware, shortly after the 6th of May, that an agreement
22 had been signed between Karadzic and Boban to cease
23 fighting; isn't that right? This particular agreement,
24 without knowing the details.
25 A. Without details, I knew that an agreement
1 existed between three representatives, between Alija
2 Izetbegovic as the representative of the Bosniak Muslim
3 people, between Mr. Radovan Karadzic as the
4 representative of the Serb people, and Mr. Mate Boban
5 as the representative of the Croatian people. I knew
6 about that agreement between those three
7 representatives. The date, the 6th of May, means
8 nothing to me connected to this meeting, and as I've
9 already said, I really did not know any of the
10 details. The Lisbon agreement I knew existed while I
11 was in the Kiseljak municipality.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. Well, General, taking into consideration your
15 statements to Agence France Presse that the Bosnian
16 government has no legitimacy in Kiseljak and taking
17 into consideration your outlawing the Territorial
18 Defence in Kiseljak, would you agree that those steps
19 by you had a negative impact on relations with the
20 Bosnian Muslims in Kiseljak?
21 A. With the Bosniak Muslims in Kiseljak, during
22 the time I was on duty there, I never felt that there
23 were any negativities. Quite the contrary. As I have
24 already said, in Kiseljak, the Bosniak Muslims were
25 there as refugees. The leaders of the Bosniak Muslims
1 would come to me from Rakovica, Hadzici, the
2 municipality of Visoko. We cooperated at the front
3 lines together. I went to the region and I did not
4 feel any kind of negative impact at all.
5 Q. Well, General, let's examine your own
6 testimony in response to some questions by my learned
7 colleague, Mr. Nobilo, and, counsel, I'm referring to
8 page 17902, where, in your chronology, you talk about
9 the events of 11 May and 12 May.
10 Now, before I ask you these questions, in the
11 chronology of events that you told the Judges about,
12 you did not tell them anything about your order of the
13 11th of May, declaring the Territorial Defence illegal,
14 did you?
15 A. Well, quite possibly I did not say anything
16 about it because the order was not put into practice
17 and the Territorial Defence cooperated throughout. I
18 endeavoured to focus my attention on preparations I had
19 with my attorney as to the details that I thought were
20 vital. And I repeat once again, we were only divided
21 by a corridor, the Territorial Defence, that is to say,
22 and myself personally as representing the HVO.
23 Cooperation existed throughout.
24 Q. Now, General, let us focus on your testimony
25 from 17902, and, counsel, I'm referring down to the
1 bottom of the page when we begin to discuss the events
2 in Medvjednica on the 11th of May, and Mr. Nobilo reads
3 as follows beginning on line 22:
4 Q But on the 11th of May, part of
5 Medvjednica sent in an ultimatum. Would
6 you explain the circumstances of that
7 ultimatum and who it was addressed to?
8 THE INTERPRETER: Please slow down.
9 MR. KEHOE: Yes. I'm sorry.
11 A The ultimatum was, in fact, just a
12 continuation of a larger conflict or
13 a larger friction which was going on at
14 the time which had to do with the
15 lifting of the siege of Sarajevo. This
16 ultimatum was sent to all Croats living
17 in the area of Medvjednica village to
18 the effect that they should surrender
19 their weapons and turn them over and the
20 equipment, and even though this village
21 is at the front line against the army of
22 Republika Srpska.
23 The Territorial Defence consisted
24 mostly of the Bosnian Muslims, and they
25 sent this ultimatum to the Croats in the
1 village of Medvjednica."
2 Let us move down to line 16, beginning with
3 another question by Mr. Nobilo:
4 Q So this was on the 11th of May. As
5 early as 12 May, the TO started
6 shooting. Who were they shooting at?
7 A The village of Sotnice is in the commune
8 of Brestovsko, and in the course of the
9 11th of May, there was automatic rifle
10 fire and the Croats were shot at.
11 Croats were a minority in this village
12 which was in the Kiseljak municipality.
13 My question for you, General, is: Based on
14 your conduct, your public statements concerning the
15 legitimacy of the Bosnia-Herzegovina government and
16 also the outlawing of the Territorial Defence, do you
17 think your actions had any impact on hostilities
18 between the Territorial Defence and the local Croat
20 A. There was a long introduction. If I have
21 understood correctly, whether my actions had any impact
22 on hostilities. I believe profoundly, deeply, that I
23 worked to prepare the terrain for its defence, and
24 during those two months I did everything in my power to
25 protect the region to a maximum extent, and in a
1 chaotic situation, to prevent the outbreak of a
2 conflict, although there were incidents daily taking
3 place in the territory of the municipality, and that
4 for the greatest possible part, I succeeded in doing
6 I do not think that I was the source of any
7 kind of problems between the Croatian and Bosniak
8 Muslim population because I was well accepted in the
9 region and had good cooperation. At all times I was
10 either at the front line touring the soldiers, I was
11 with the soldiers of the Territorial Defence and the
12 HVO; and as far as Medvjednica is concerned, in that
13 operation there, I'm going to try and be as brief as
14 possible and say that the command of the strategic
15 group or operative group which was to have launched the
16 operation was in a soldier in the former JNA. That was
17 his military training. Otherwise, he was a linguist by
18 profession, by trade, and he was appointed as
19 commanding the overall tactical group for the lifting
20 of the siege of the town of Sarajevo, which is at the
21 rank of a corps commander or even above that rank
22 because the depth is 40-odd kilometres or even more.
23 Therefore, a man of this kind, a man with that kind of
24 professional training, was entrusted with the
25 deblockade of Sarajevo. There were many attempts to
1 lift the siege of Sarajevo, but I was never informed of
2 all the analyses into the attempts made to lift the
4 Q. So if I understood you well, General, it is
5 your testimony to this Court that your steps to outlaw
6 the Territorial Defence and to publicly note that the
7 Bosnian government has no legitimacy in Kiseljak, those
8 particular steps had no impact on the escalation of
9 tensions between the Territorial Defence and the
10 Bosnian Croat population; is that your testimony?
11 A. I maintain that my actions, my concrete
12 actions, what I personally did in the Kiseljak
13 municipality did not cause tensions between either
14 population, either the Romanies, Gypsies, the Bosniak
15 Muslims, the Croats, or the Serbs in the Kiseljak
16 municipality. My actions were not orders that I
17 received and that I was duty-bound to copy out as I had
18 received them. I already said that I did not authorise
19 the interview, I did not have an opportunity of
20 authorising the interview, and I just want to say here
21 that the government truly did not have any influence.
22 It was practically not functioning in the area at the
23 level of the republic because the municipalities had
24 taken over the functions, and the presidency issued an
25 order for a mobilisation. Every state issued orders of
1 this kind for mobilisation to take place.
2 Q. Let us move to the next exhibit,
3 Mr. Registrar, which is Prosecutor's Exhibit 318.
4 General, this is a document which is an order
5 from the crisis staff signed by Josip Boro, again a
6 copy goes to you, which notes that:
7 "1. Complete manpower, material assets and
8 technical equipment of the reserve structure of the
9 Public Security Station are to be put at the disposal
10 of the HVO."
11 Now, General, that was an entity, the reserve
12 structure of the Public Security Station, that was an
13 entity that was both a Muslim and a Croat entity,
14 wasn't it?
15 A. Yes, the Public Security Station had a chief
16 who was a Croat, deputy chief who was a Muslim, the
17 commander of the police station of the civilian police
18 was a Muslim, and his deputy was a Croat.
19 Q. This particular order by the crisis staff was
20 a step taken by the crisis staff based on order issued
21 by you, and I would ask you to take a look at Defence
22 Exhibit 199, focusing your attention on paragraph 8.
23 JUDGE JORDA: What number was that,
24 Mr. Kehoe?
25 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, this is Defence
1 Exhibit 199, it is an order issued by the accused on 10
2 May, 1993, and I am talking about paragraph 8 there,
3 Mr. Usher.
4 Q. In paragraph 8 of this order, it notes that:
5 "8. All reserve forces are placed under the
6 command of the HVO, either individually or by transfer
7 of complete units to the HVO."
8 That is then enacted two days later by the
9 crisis staff which orders that reserve structure to be
10 given to the HVO.
11 Now, this particular order issued by you,
12 General -- I'm sorry.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Give the witness some time,
14 Mr. Kehoe. He needs to go over the document, although
15 it's a rather short document.
16 Mr. Blaskic, have you had enough time to go
17 over this document?
18 Before we take a break, maybe, Mr. Kehoe, you
19 can put your question.
20 THE WITNESS: Yes, thank you, Mr. President,
21 I have.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Now, General, this again, your order ordering
24 that all reserve forces be brought within the HVO, was
25 another order that came from the main headquarters that
1 came down to you and that you issued in the chain of
2 command and that order was enacted; isn't that sequence
3 of events correct?
4 A. Here we have an order issued, an order that I
5 issued; however, this order was never implemented in
6 the field completely because the reserve forces of the
7 police from Gromiljak, Bilalovac, Bukovci -- Bukovice,
8 Zabrdze, Rotilj never became subordinated and that was
9 at the level of the republic --
10 JUDGE JORDA: General, one has to be very
11 clear here. Try to answer the questions precisely.
12 You can surely feel the difference there is between --
13 at least for the Judges there is a difference between
14 the fact that the order is issued, whether you feel
15 responsible for it, and whether or not the order has
16 been executed, and, of course, it would be legitimate
17 for you to say, "I knew. I emitted this order because
18 it wouldn't be executed, I knew it would be difficult
19 to execute this order," you would be entitled to say
20 that. But here the question is different, and try to
21 answer the questions put to you by Mr. Kehoe.
22 The order has been issued by you. The
23 question is: Is it part of a hierarchical structure
24 and is it something that comes from the other orders
25 that have been mentioned, the references of which were
1 given by Mr. Kehoe?
2 A. Mr. President, perhaps there was some
3 problems with the interpretation. I understood you.
4 Yes, I did issue that order. I said so. I issued that
5 order on the basis of the obligations I had to issue
6 it. So I did issue the order. But I added that that
7 particular order was never executed --
8 JUDGE JORDA: It was not executed, fine. But
9 you surely feel the difference that exists between
10 these two notions. Intellectually speaking, morally
11 speaking, conscientiously speaking, you are issuing an
12 order, that's one thing, but it is another thing to
13 know whether or not it was executed. Maybe we'll go
14 back on that particular issue, but for now, I want you
15 to answer the questions that are put to you. You have
16 until now tried to answer the questions put to you by
17 Mr. Nobilo; try to do the same with Mr. Kehoe.
18 Mr. Kehoe, do you have another question on
19 that order or do you want a break of 20 minutes?
20 MR. KEHOE: We'll take a break at this
21 point. The witness answered that it was part of a
23 JUDGE JORDA: Fine then. We will suspend the
24 hearing for 20 minutes.
25 --- Recess taken at 11.19 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 11.45 a.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
3 be seated. Mr. Prosecutor?
4 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. At
5 this juncture I'm focusing on the day 15 May, 1992. I
6 simply refer Your Honours to, again, the Nadrodni List,
7 and this is in Exhibit 38, tab 2, page 6, specifically
8 Article 14 which notes as follows:
9 "That the HVO shall supervise the work of
10 its departments and municipal HVOs. The HVO may use
11 its supervisory power to annul or abolish individual
12 illegal acts passed by the bodies referred to in the
13 foregoing paragraph."
14 In the similar document, this is on page 9,
15 passed on the 15th, concerning the municipal HVOs, in
16 Article 1, page 9, tab 2 in the English:
17 "Article 1: The executive authority that
18 falls within the rights and obligations of the
19 municipality shall be exercised by the municipal
20 Croatian Defence Council, hereinafter the municipal
22 "Article 6: The Croatian Community of
23 Herceg-Bosna HVO shall supervise the legality of the
24 municipal HVO's work. The Croatian Community of
25 Herceg-Bosna shall instruct the municipal HVO in the
1 field of its competence."
2 I simply refer to that, Mr. President, on the
3 position of hierarchy coming from the main HVO down to
4 the municipal staffs.
5 Q. General, at this juncture I'd like to --
6 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, first of all, I
7 object to this manner of cross-examination. This is
8 not a cross-examination, this is closing argument. To
9 make things worse, it is misquoted. All this has to do
10 with the civilian executive authorities, not the
11 military structures.
12 First of all, there is no question there.
13 Secondly, it is misquoted within the wrong context.
14 JUDGE JORDA: I'm not at all in agreement
15 with you, Mr. Nobilo. The HVO was both the civilian
16 and a military body. On the other hand, does the
17 witness have this text before him, Mr. Prosecutor?
18 MR. KEHOE: I did not --
19 A. I don't have the text, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE JORDA: In that sense, I share the
21 opinion of the Defence, and that is the witness must
22 have the text in Serbo-Croat if you have one.
23 Do you have it?
24 MR. KEHOE: We do, Mr. President. It's
25 Exhibit 38.
1 JUDGE JORDA: I know that you were trying to
2 save time, Mr. Prosecutor.
3 MR. KEHOE: I was, Judge. I can't win here.
4 That was part --
5 JUDGE JORDA: Your President is here to save
6 time but at the same time fully respecting the rights
7 of the parties.
8 What is the reference, please?
9 MR. KEHOE: The reference -- unfortunately, I
10 just have the English version, which is page 5 in tab
11 2. I will go through a full explanation, given my
12 learned colleague's dispute concerning what this
13 applies to.
14 Q. If, General, you could look at that first
15 document, on page 5, look at Article 7 where we talk
16 about the composition --
17 JUDGE JORDA: At page 5?
18 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. It should be
19 Article 7, the statutory decision on the temporary
20 organisation of the executive authority and
21 administrative authority in the territory of the
22 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
23 JUDGE JORDA: I'm not quite sure that this is
24 classified, probably because this doesn't seem to
25 match, number 5.
1 I think we're more or less ready. I beg your
2 pardon, Mr. Prosecutor. Could you specify once again?
3 I have the French version. You're talking about
4 Article 7?
5 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, Article 7
6 which discusses the composition of the HVO.
7 "The HVO shall be comprised of the president,
8 vice-presidents, department heads, and other members.
9 The Presidency of the Croatian Community of
10 Herceg-Bosna shall appoint and dismiss the other
11 members at the proposal of the HVO president."
12 Q. Now, General, the president of the presidency
13 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, at this
14 time, was Mate Boban; isn't that correct?
15 A. Yes. The president of the presidency of the
16 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was Mate Boban.
17 Q. Now let us move to Article 14, under the
18 heading "Special rights and duties of the HVO to its
19 departments and other executive and administrative
20 bodies." That reads:
21 "The HVO shall supervise the work of its
22 departments and municipal HVOs. The HVO may use its
23 supervisory power to annul or abolish individual legal
24 acts passed by the bodies referred to in the foregoing
1 Now, from this we see, General, that the HVO
2 can annul decisions of the municipal HVO.
3 A. Your Honours, I am not a jurist but, as far
4 as I understand, these are all provisions relating to
5 the civilian structures of authority. I did not
6 function as part of the civilian authorities and what
7 is stated here applies to those authorities.
8 Q. General, didn't you tell the Judges that you
9 answered to the municipal HVO in Kiseljak? Didn't you
10 tell the Judges that?
11 A. Of course I did answer to them, but I told
12 Their Honours that I didn't act within the structures
13 of civilian authorities. I was not a part of those
14 structures. I did not engage in those activities.
15 In Kiseljak, I performed the duties of the
16 commander of the military segment of the HVO, that is,
17 the armed units of the HVO. This article relates to
18 the executive civilian authority at the level of the
19 municipality, dating to the month of September in 1992
20 when already at municipal level twofold authorities
21 were being formed, one set of authorities by Croatian
22 representatives and a separate authority by Bosniak
23 Muslims. But I repeat again, I was not a
24 representative of those civilian authorities.
25 Q. So at this juncture you took orders from
1 General Roso; is that right?
2 A. Several orders, a very few of them I did
3 receive from General Roso and, as such, I executed
4 them, but as one of the commanders, in the military
5 sense, apart from these organisational and
6 administrative orders, I didn't receive operative
8 MR. KEHOE: Now, Mr. President, the other
9 document that I referenced at the outset from the
10 Nadrodni List, another document executed on 15 May,
11 1992 is on page 9 in the English. Unfortunately, I do
12 not have the French. However, it is a statutory
13 decision on municipal executive authority and municipal
15 JUDGE JORDA: It's the decree on the
16 executive municipal authority and the municipal
17 administration, is that what you mean?
18 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Again, page 9. It is also page
20 9 in the French version. Probably adapted to the
21 English. Please continue, if you will.
22 MR. KEHOE: I think that page 9, Judge, is a
23 reference to the B/C/S version. So I think the English
24 and the French are adapted to that.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. What is your
1 question, your observation, and your question?
2 MR. KEHOE: The observation, simply to allow
3 the witness to look at it, is Article 1, which notes
5 "Article 1: The executive authority that
6 falls within the rights and obligations after
7 municipality shall be exercised by the municipal
8 Croatian Defence Council."
9 Then Article 6 simply notes that, once
11 "Aritcle 6: The Croatian Community of
12 Herceg-Bosna HVO shall supervise the legality of the
13 municipal HVO's work. The Croatian Community of
14 Herceg-Bosna HVO shall instruct the municipal HVO in
15 the field of its competence."
16 Q. So, General, my question, based on your
17 statement that these are particularly civil functions,
18 we previously looked at your orders coming from Boban
19 to Roso to you, and it would appear that by the 15th of
20 May, 1992, there was a fully functioning structural
21 hierarchy within the HVO on both the civil and the
22 military level going from Mate Boban through the
23 respective military and civil authorities down to you
24 on a municipal level; isn't that right?
25 A. Your Honours, I repeat, I am not a lawyer.
1 My answer and comments can be made on the basis of the
2 situation as it was and on the basis of my
3 understanding of these two chapters.
4 From the heading of this document, we see
5 that it is a statutory decision of the municipal
6 executive authority and the municipal administration.
7 Your Honours, these are civil authorities and those
8 authorities have nothing to do with the military
9 control and command.
10 It is true that I received very few orders,
11 only a few, from General Roso, as an officer of the
12 main staff. We saw ourselves that those were
13 administrative and organisational orders. But there
14 was another structure that needed to be established and
15 that was the military structure. That was about to be
16 established. What we spoke about from the official
17 gazettes had to do with the civil authorities, not the
19 That is my understanding. Perhaps I'm wrong,
20 but that is how I understand it.
21 Q. Well, General, as we move from May of 1992
22 into June of 1992, the HVO solidified control over the
23 municipal authorities in Kiseljak and marginalised the
24 Muslim authorities; isn't that so?
25 A. I'm not quite sure what period you're
1 referring to. I beg your pardon, Mr. Prosecutor, I
2 didn't hear the date.
3 Q. May and June of 1992.
4 A. May and June '92, as far as I know, at that
5 time there was the municipal HVO staff and, as far as I
6 know, the civil authority functioned partially jointly
7 and partially separately.
8 The Bosniak Muslims went ahead with the
9 formation of their war presidency or the committee for
10 the protection of Muslims, whereas the Croats formed
11 their own sections within the civilian authorities
12 linked to the HVO. But I must repeat again that I did
13 not take part in those structures and what I'm saying
14 is based on my understanding on what happened in May
15 and June 1992.
16 Q. General, the reason why -- I'm sorry.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please. Judge
18 Rodrigues has a question.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, how will
20 you read Article 4 that you have in your hands, of the
21 document that you have in your hands?
22 A. Article 4 on page 9 of the Official Gazette
23 that I have in my hands relates to the regulation of
24 economic and other social relations at the level of the
25 municipality. Regarding the economy, it virtually
1 didn't function at the municipal level, but I know that
2 there was a mixed or balanced composition of the
3 managers of enterprises which were not operational at
4 that time in '92. The municipal HVO is obliged to
5 implement the decrees issued by the HVO of
6 Herceg-Bosna. This is the hierarchy of the civilian
7 authorities. The higher-level body obliges lower-level
8 organs to implement the decrees that it has issued
9 regarding the civil authorities.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General, normally decisions
11 regarding the economy and social life are taken by
12 civil authorities, not by military authorities.
13 A. That is what I am claiming, Your Honour.
14 That's what I'm saying all the time, that this document
15 applies to the civilian authorities, not the military.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But in the final analysis,
17 one could infer that the HVO had either military
18 authority or civil authority.
19 A. My understanding is that there is one
20 authority but with various structures, and the HVO
21 should be viewed from the standpoint of the military
22 structure and the civil structure. That is my
23 understanding. There is the civil structure of the HVO
24 that is regulated by these Official Gazettes, which is
25 something that I am not at all challenging, and then
1 there is the military structure of the HVO.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Can we conclude then that
3 the civilian authorities were militarised in a certain
5 A. That the civil authorities in the initial
6 stage did engage in military matters and decided on all
7 aspects of life was true. They did concern themselves
8 with all aspects of civil authority of both parties.
9 When I say "both," I mean both Croats and Bosniak
10 Muslims in virtually all the municipalities.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Rodrigues.
13 Mr. Prosecutor, continue, please.
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. Now, General, you just noted, prior to the
16 question of Judge Rodrigues, that the Muslims set up
17 various organisations, such as the war presidency.
18 Those organisations, General, were set up by the
19 Muslims because they believed, did they not, that they
20 thought they had to protect themselves, didn't they?
21 A. It's hard for me to answer as to what
22 prompted the Bosniak Muslims to form war presidencies,
23 but wherever there were Bosniak Muslims, there were war
24 presidencies. Whether the SDA had won in the
25 municipality, that is, whether they had relative or an
1 absolute majority, or if the HDZ had won, there were
2 parallel war presidencies being formed even regardless
3 of the results of the elections. It is possible that
4 this could have been prompted by the overall war
5 situation. I cannot say what all the reasons were
6 behind it, but it is a fact that a war presidency was
7 formed in Vitez, Busovaca, Kiseljak, as well as
8 civilian structures of authority of the HVO.
9 Q. Now, General, you noted for the Court that,
10 at the end of June, the 27th of June, you were
11 appointed the commander of the Central Bosnian
12 Operative Zone, and as of the end of June, when you
13 received --
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And as of the end of June, when you received
16 that appointment, the municipality of Kiseljak was
17 under the total control of the HVO, wasn't it?
18 A. Kiseljak municipality, as far as I know, had
19 both the TO and the HVO and the Patriotic League and
20 the police station composed in the same way as before I
21 came. The chief of police was a Croat, his deputy was
22 a Bosniak Muslim, the commander of the police station
23 was a Bosniak Muslim and his deputy was a Croat. This
24 is in the civilian police. So that that's as much as I
1 As for the composition of the HVO itself, I
2 know that certain positions in the municipal
3 administration under the HVO were performed by Bosniak
4 Muslims. What the ratio was in the civilian bodies, I
5 don't know, but I do know that they did participate in
6 those bodies.
7 Q. General, let us examine their participation
8 and the participation of the Muslims in Prosecutor's
9 Exhibits 323, 324, and 325.
10 Do you have those, General?
11 A. Exhibit 323, I do have.
12 Q. Now, without going into them at length, 323
13 is a decision by the crisis staff to introduce the
14 Croatian dinar, the dinar from the Republic of Croatia,
15 into the territory of Kiseljak; 324 is a decision by
16 the crisis staff that all commercial and service
17 companies are obliged to display the prices of products
18 and services in Croatian dinars.
19 During this same period of time, General, the
20 Croatian language was imposed on the schools as well as
21 a curriculum emanating from the Croatian Republic or
22 the Republic of Croatia was also imposed on the
23 schools, wasn't it?
24 A. I'm sorry. As for the Croatian language, I
25 have no document here. I don't have the exhibit. I
1 don't know which one you're referring to.
2 Q. Well, General --
3 A. I don't have the decision of the crisis
4 staff. I could comment on these two exhibits, but I'm
5 just asking.
6 Q. Well, General, you were living in Kiseljak in
7 June of 1992, weren't you?
8 A. Until the 27th of June, 1992, I was living in
9 Kiseljak, in the barracks in Kiseljak where I had my
10 office, and I've already testified as to my
11 activities. But I would like to comment very briefly
12 on Exhibit 323.
13 Q. You can comment, but let me ask you a
14 question first, General. In 323, we see the imposition
15 of the Croatian dinar into Kiseljak and in 324 we see
16 that prices have to be imposed in the Croatian dinar.
17 My question for you is: Other steps, such as the
18 imposition of educational curriculum from the Republic
19 of Croatia was also imposed on the Kiseljak
20 municipality during this time frame; isn't that
22 A. I am not disputing it may have been imposed,
23 but I personally never saw that decision. The same
24 applies to these too. I personally never participated
25 in the taking of these decisions.
1 But allow me to say regarding 323, the
2 situation was such that payments ceased and the most
3 widespread currency was the German mark, and that was
4 the functioning currency, and in Article I, where the
5 Croatian dinar is being introduced, it goes on to say,
6 "and as a means of payment, other currencies may also
7 be used." Currency -- as far as I know, the currencies
8 were also the dinars of the Socialist Federal Republic
9 of Yugoslavia. So there was the problem of the
10 collapse of the payment traffic, and it is true that
11 these decisions were taken by the municipal crisis
12 staff, which means a staff in which the ratio was
13 9-to-6 between Croats and Bosniak Muslims.
14 Q. Now, General, the Kiseljak municipal assembly
15 had been a multi-ethnic democratically elected body;
16 isn't that right?
17 A. The assembly was formed on the basis of the
18 parliamentary elections held in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
19 I believe that they were democratic and that that was
20 how the assembly was elected.
21 Q. Let us turn to the decision of the 25th of
22 June of 1992 by the municipal crisis staff, that
23 decision "On renaming the executive committee of the
24 Kiseljak municipal assembly," and the pertinent portion
25 is item I.
1 "The Executive Committee of the Kiseljak
2 Municipal Assembly is hereby renamed the Croatian
3 Defence Council of Kiseljak."
4 Now, let me read you a portion of some
5 testimony. Again, Mr. President, if I could just go
6 briefly into private session on this?
7 (Private session)
13 pages 21247-21248 redacted – private session
5 (Open session)
6 THE REGISTRAR: We are now in open session.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. Let us examine, General, the response of the
9 Muslims to the steps taken by the Bosnian Croats to
10 form the HVO in Kiseljak. If I can show this first
11 document dated 8 July, 1992.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 635, 635A
13 for the English version.
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. General, let us look at this. This is a
16 document sent by the Muslims from Kiseljak to the
17 crisis staff which reads as follows:
18 "In an effort to preserve the traditionally
19 good relationship between Croats and Muslims in the
20 area of Kiseljak municipality, and in the fear of the
21 possible disruption of this relationship and potential
22 conflicts like those that have already occurred in the
23 territories of the municipalities of Busovaca, Novi
24 Travnik, Vitez, Gornji Vakuf, and Bugojno, where these
25 relations are partially disturbed and damaged, we
1 request the following:
2 "All misunderstandings and disagreements
3 must be resolved through agreement in joint sessions
4 and meetings with no outvoting.
5 "A session of the Kiseljak SO assembly must
6 be urgently called to assess the crisis staff of the
7 Kiseljak SO so far, accept or annul its decisions and
8 establish a war presidency.
9 "No authority established by force which
10 might by the same means dismiss the existing legally
11 elect the authority shall be accepted. We should form
12 a joint command of armed forces and rename the existing
13 Territorial Defence and HVO formations as the armed
14 forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina Kiseljak
15 while recognising their existing insignia.
16 "The command should be responsible for the
17 joint defence of the municipality. Joint command
18 implies joint financing and logistical support for all
20 "The decision to levy a war tax and
21 distribute the tax among all members of the OSBH,"
22 which is the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, "in
23 Kiseljak should be reconsidered.
24 "The collection and distribution of taxes
25 must be carried out by legal organs of the Kiseljak
1 municipal assembly in accordance with the legal
2 regulations and under no circumstances directly by
3 military structures whether in kind or any other way.
4 "Any decisions taken outside the legal
5 institutions of the Kiseljak municipal assembly shall
6 not be accepted.
7 "Normal flow of goods and money should be
8 ensured within the territory of the Kiseljak
9 municipality for all its people regardless of religion
10 and ethnic origin. No regionalisation shall be
11 accepted under the existing circumstances because only
12 the people can take such a decision by referendum or
13 some other form of democratic decision-making.
14 "We fully respect all political options for
15 the internal organisation of Bosnia-Herzegovina which
16 are taken in peaceful conditions by legal institutions
17 and by democratic means."
18 So, General, it would be quite clear that the
19 Muslims, as of this juncture, and the date up in the
20 right-hand corner, the date-stamp is 8 July, 1992, are
21 calling upon the Bosnian Croats to act with a degree of
22 accommodation and act in a democratic fashion. Would
23 you agree with that assessment, General?
24 A. May I just have another look at the document,
25 because it's rather a long one, and I haven't had the
1 chance of seeing it beforehand.
2 Q. Certainly, General.
3 A. I did not discuss this document with anyone,
4 neither did I know personally of its existence. It is
5 an appeal which stresses what I mentioned a moment ago
6 in my testimony, that is to say, that relationships
7 were good, and this calls for maintaining the
8 traditionally good relations between Croats and
9 Muslims. It also stresses the problems of mixing
10 civilian authority and military authority, and
11 logistics, financing, so on and so forth, with regard
12 to military matters, military structures, formations,
13 and everything that we had throughout the entire time
14 in the Central Bosnia region, that is to say, civilian
15 and military structures and how they overlapped, and
16 supplying the municipality with logistics and
17 everything else that the army needed.
18 This, of course, is an invitation to settle
19 differences through negotiation at joint meetings as is
20 stipulated in the document.
21 Q. That didn't happen; did it? The HVO
22 continued to remain in control and in power in Kiseljak
23 to the detriment of the Muslims; isn't that right?
24 A. Well, this is July -- August, July. I know
25 that there was dual authority in the Kiseljak
1 municipality as is mentioned here in the call to set up
2 a war time presidency. It was formed. The Bosniak
3 Muslims had a war time presidency. The Croats had the
4 HVO, I'm speaking about the civilian structures, and it
6 Now, how much, I don't really know. What
7 ratio, I cannot comment on that. I don't know the way
8 in which civilian authorities functioned.
9 Q. Well, General, at the latter part of this
10 page, this document calls for a joint command operating
11 together, recognising each side's existing insignia.
12 This refers to military matters, matters under your
13 command and control.
14 A. Of course, and Mr. Boban, at the first
15 meeting that I had with him, told me that we must
16 endeavour to establish cooperation and to retain good
17 relations with all the members of Territorial Defence
18 and that is what I did do personally.
19 In Maglaj, I was there with the commander, as
20 I was in Jajce with members of the Territorial Defence,
21 and HOS, and the Patriotic League, and the HVO.
22 Wherever possible I tried to establish cooperation in a
23 joint command and it did function. In Maglaj there was
24 a joint command, in Zavidovici as well. In Jajce this
25 was partially true.
1 It was my impression that the nearer we came
2 to the front line, our joint command functioned better,
3 that is, the front line against the Serbs. Between the
4 HVO and the Territorial Defence, this joint command
5 functioned very well the nearer we were to the front
7 Q. Clearly, General, as of the 8th of July of
8 1992, there is no joint command with the Muslims; is
10 A. From the 8th of July, the joint command
11 functioned as I have already said. It was the
12 Patriotic League and the HVO.
13 But in January 1993, a detachment of the
14 Territorial Defence from Bilalovac, I think, had
15 reached an agreement, that is, the Territorial Defence
16 units, with the command of the Josip Ban Jelacic
17 command as to their joint functioning and activities.
18 This was dynamic. It existed for a time and did not
19 exist for a time. So there were different periods, as
20 indeed existed in the whole of Central Bosnia. There
21 were different periods of our community, so to speak,
22 in this overall situation.
23 Q. Let's go to the next document, General, which
24 is the 13th of July, 1992, which is a document again by
25 the Muslims to the crisis staff discussing the
1 municipal HVO and the establishment of the municipal
2 HVO. This is a one-page document.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 636, 636A
4 for the English version.
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. Let us read this very brief document. Again,
7 the date is in the stamp up in the right-hand corner in
8 the B/C/S copy, 13 July, 1992, and this particular
9 document discusses the appointment of the municipal HVO
10 in Kiseljak.
11 "At a meeting of the crisis staff of the
12 Kiseljak municipal assembly, its members were presented
13 with a decision on the appointment of the municipal HVO
14 in Kiseljak.
15 "In view of the fact that this decision has
16 not been passed by the legal authorities in Kiseljak
17 municipal assembly, it is considered invalid and not
18 binding, and we reject it as such.
19 "All decisions passed in the same manner are
20 not and cannot be accepted, either to us as the
21 representatives of the Muslim people, or to the whole
22 of the Muslim people. Therefore, those decisions shall
23 be considered not binding.
24 "We continue to respect the authorities
25 which are legally elected in the democratic elections.
1 In order to clear all uncertainties and problems and
2 avoid all possible conflicts or the disruption of
3 relations between Croatia and Muslims in Kiseljak, we
4 demand that a session of the Kiseljak municipal
5 assembly, the highest government body in the territory
6 of our municipality, be called urgently.
7 "In case of continued attempts to impose
8 decisions in an illegal way and without the consent of
9 the Muslim representatives, we shall be forced to form
10 a parallel authority which will function until the
11 legal authorities begin to function properly again."
12 Now, General, from this particular
13 statements, would you agree that the Muslims are of the
14 belief that the decision on the establishment of the
15 municipal HVO was presented to them as a completed
16 decision? Would you agree with that assessment of this
18 A. First of all, this is the first time that
19 I've seen this document here today. I did not have
20 occasion to discuss the document with its authors,
22 It says in part one that at a meeting of the
23 crisis staff of the municipality of Kiseljak, the
24 members of the crisis staff were faced with a document
25 and decisions to appoint the municipal authorities of
1 HVO Kiseljak.
2 I was not a member of the municipal crisis
3 staff ever, and I agree with what it says in the first
4 part of this document and in the document in general.
5 But as I say, I'm not a legal man so I don't know how
6 to interpret documents of this kind.
7 Q. Well, in your layman's sense of interpreting
8 this document, would you agree that the Muslims were
9 unhappy with the decision to set up this municipal
11 A. Well, quite certainly they were not satisfied
12 with the decision, at least not the signatories here,
13 but for me to speak on behalf of the Muslim people in
14 the Kiseljak municipality as a whole, I have no
15 specific information on that because I was already
16 functioning as commander of the Operative Zone. So I
17 spent less and less time in Kiseljak. I was only there
18 on rare occasions and spent much more of my time in
19 other areas.
20 JUDGE JORDA: General, please. If you don't
21 mind, please concentrate on the question that is put to
22 you by Mr. Kehoe.
23 You were asked if those who signed the
24 document were satisfied or not. Take your time if you
25 want to read it. You don't need to be a legal expert
1 to understand it. This document is a democratic
2 document, if I can characterise it that way. I'm sure
3 you can understand it, and I'm sure you can answer the
4 question put to you. Concentrate a little, please.
5 A. Perhaps I didn't understand the question
6 properly but, Mr. President, I answered that I believed
7 that they were not -- the Muslim Bosniaks were not
8 satisfied with the decision. At least the signatories
9 of this document were not satisfied, but I never
10 discussed this with them, nor did I have occasion to do
11 so ever.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Continue, Mr. Kehoe.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. General, you lived in the Kiseljak
15 municipality. You were born in the Kiseljak
16 municipality, weren't you?
17 A. Your Honours, I have already stated and I can
18 count on the fingers on one hand the number of times
19 that I was in the town of Kiseljak proper. I lived in
20 the municipality of Kiseljak until I was fourteen and a
21 half years old, in the Brestovsko local community, but
22 I did not --
23 JUDGE JORDA: Concentrate on the question,
24 General Blaskic. At that time, were you living in the
25 municipality of Kiseljak?
1 We know that for 17 years you hadn't been in
2 Kiseljak. We know that. Concentrate on the questions,
3 please. We are all trying to save some time. The
4 question is: At the time when the decision was taken
5 in Kiseljak, were you living there?
6 A. I apologise, Mr. President, I did not
7 understand the question in that way. The question was
8 whether I had lived in Kiseljak.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, please repeat your
10 question in such a way that the witness can understand
11 it very clearly and concentrate on his answer to it.
12 MR. KEHOE:
13 Q. General, in May, June, July of 1992, did you
14 live in Kiseljak?
15 A. Up until the 27th of June, 1992, I lived in
16 the barracks of Kiseljak for the most part of the time,
17 from the time that the barracks were taken, and I slept
18 there in my office.
19 JUDGE JORDA: The Kiseljak barracks is in the
20 town of Kiseljak, isn't it, General Blaskic?
21 Concentrate on the questions put to you. The Kiseljak
22 barracks is in the town of Kiseljak; isn't it?
23 A. Yes, Mr. President, but the Prosecutor was
24 asking me for three months, not just one month. He
25 said May, June, and July, and I am trying to answer the
2 Of course, May and June I lived, up until the
3 27th of June, in the barracks in Kiseljak. The rest of
4 the time I lived, for the most part, in Kruscica, in
5 Vitez. I would spend a month or more than a month in
6 Jajce while it was under control, but not in Kiseljak.
7 So in Vitez, a little bit in Gornji Vakuf, some two
8 weeks there, and so on.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for giving these
10 details. Mr. Kehoe, you may continue.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. General, after you moved to the Vitez
13 municipality, you came back to visit your family in the
14 Kiseljak municipality from time to time, didn't you?
15 A. From time to time, yes, but only when my
16 family returned from Austria, because my wife did not
17 come to Kiseljak with me. She stayed to live in
18 Austria for a time. So I did from time to time go,
19 perhaps once a month, perhaps once a week. It depended
20 on my duties. But that was a family visit to the local
21 community of Brestovsko. I would also go into Kiseljak
22 but for a very brief period of time.
23 Q. Sir, going back to my initial question. You
24 were aware, in the summer of 1992, that the Muslim
25 people in Kiseljak were very unhappy with their
1 political role in Kiseljak; isn't that right?
2 A. In the summer of 1992 -- is that what you're
4 Q. That's what I'm asking, General.
5 A. I only knew full well and had information as
6 to the cooperation between the Bosniak Muslims at the
7 level of the TO of the HVO, that is to say, the
8 soldiers. I do not even know some of the signatories
9 of this document today from the civilian authorities.
10 I know some of them, but with others, I never exchanged
11 a single word. I did not contact the civilian
12 authorities nor did I discuss this matter with them.
13 If anybody complained to me of the Bosniak Muslims, I
14 believe that I reacted, but I have no specific
15 information as to the situation of the Bosniak Muslims
16 in that area for me to make an assessment, an
17 evaluation. I can on the basis of this document, the
18 one I am looking at here today.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: If I may ask you a
20 question, General? Putting aside the question of the
21 opportunities which you had to relate to people, were
22 you in a position to form an objective assessment of
23 this issue? Did it appear to you that the new
24 arrangements represented a revision of the previous
25 arrangements, and if so, did it appear to you that that
1 revision meant that the previous position of the
2 Bosniak Muslims was being eroded?
3 A. Your Honour, I shall try and answer your
4 question on the basis of my very limited knowledge
5 about those events because the sphere of civilian
6 affairs did not preoccupy me in those days. I noticed
7 that there were differences from one municipality to
8 another, and even within a municipality, from one local
9 community to another. This applied also to Kiseljak
10 municipality. In some cases, regardless of these
11 decisions, those relations were good; in other cases,
12 they were impaired; in others, they were so bad that it
13 was impossible to access certain areas within Kiseljak
14 municipality. So that those relations were diverse, as
15 was the overall situation. It varied from one area to
17 The document we saw a moment ago, the leaders
18 of the Bosniak Muslims say that they wish to preserve
19 good relations so as not to cause the kind of
20 disruptions that have occurred in Busovaca, Novi
21 Travnik, and so on. So the picture was not even
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understand. Thank
25 JUDGE JORDA: Before the break, I should like
1 to ask you, General Blaskic: Kiseljak, in those days,
2 how many inhabitants did it have? Five hundred
3 thousand? One million? A hundred thousand? Ten
4 thousand? Fifteen thousand?
5 A. I don't know which period you are referring
6 to. If you mean July '92 --
7 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. This period here, the
8 period when the Muslims felt that there was a certain
9 change that Judge Shahabuddeen commented on, whether
10 objectively you viewed any change in their condition.
11 So I'm asking you if you lived in a town of 1 million,
12 500.000 or 10.000 inhabitants.
13 A. Mr. President, in the town of Kiseljak, I
14 hardly ever lived. I did live in the municipality of
15 Kiseljak, in a village, and the municipality of
16 Kiseljak has a total of about 25.000. There were some
17 refugees from Rogatica, Foca, Rakovice, Gorazde, and
18 large groups of refugees would pass through Kiseljak.
19 All the people who were exiled from other parts of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina passed through Kiseljak.
21 JUDGE JORDA: So 25.000 inhabitants. And you
22 lived in the barracks in Kiseljak, a town of 25.000
23 inhabitants, and you became a rather important person
24 because, in fact, you took care of the whole of the
25 defence of Kiseljak, you were in a town in which the
1 currency had just been changed. That's quite a big
2 event. It doesn't happen every day. It took the
3 European Commission 50 years to change the currency.
4 You changed the school books.
5 So I am asking you again what Judge
6 Shahabuddeen asked, whether, objectively, in your
7 conscience, you felt that the position of the Muslims
8 was degraded or did you not notice that or you felt
9 that it had not degraded?
10 A. Mr. President, I did not consider myself a
11 major figure in Kiseljak. If I had been, I would have
12 perhaps been the first commander of the HVO. I was one
13 of the commanders of the HVO.
14 As for the change of the currency and all the
15 other changes that occurred, I understand that as an
16 attempt to put some order into chaos. In those days,
17 you couldn't buy soap in Bosnia-Herzegovina if you were
18 to rely on products coming from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
19 All the goods coming were from the Republic of Croatia
20 or via the Republic of Croatia. There were no major
21 disruptions of relations. I think the situation in
22 Kiseljak, generally speaking, was good --
23 JUDGE JORDA: I'm not speaking about
24 relations. I was talking about the objective
25 degradation of the position of Muslims, if their
1 currency is being changed, their school textbooks,
2 don't you think that this affected the economic and
3 social position of the Muslims? I'm not talking about
4 relations. I'm not taking sides. I am asking for your
5 objective judgment. I am, in fact, rephrasing the
6 question put to you by my colleague.
7 A. Objectively viewed, that position changed,
8 and it did deteriorate in a certain sense, but I am
9 trying to tell you the circumstances under which that
10 happened, in a condition of chaos and the total
11 collapse of the system.
12 JUDGE JORDA: It is absolutely your right to
13 place a decision within a certain context, and I think
14 both the Defence or perhaps the Prosecutor will talk
15 about the context. But in this case, we were just
16 talking about this decision.
17 Judge Rodrigues, no further questions? Judge
18 Shahabuddeen, no more questions? I suggest we have a
19 10- to a 15-minute break now.
20 --- Recess taken at 12.50 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 1.11 p.m.
22 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
23 be seated. Mr. Prosecutor?
24 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Now, General, in the summer of 1992 up until
1 the beginning of August of 1992, there were conflicts
2 between the Muslims and Croats in the Kiseljak
3 municipality, weren't there?
4 A. I don't know what period you have in mind.
5 The summer, yes, but what period in the summer? Can
6 you tell me the months?
7 Q. You talked during your testimony of various
8 conflicts in June, July, up through until August.
9 Before the Duhri incident, there were various
10 conflicts, were there not?
11 A. There were a number of incidents and
12 conflicts, but I'd like to know which month you have in
13 mind for me to be able to answer your question. Which
15 Q. General, we're not going to talk about the
16 specific incidents, we're just talking about June, July
17 of 1992, and what I would like to refer you to is your
18 testimony in light of the discussion that we have been
19 having this morning concerning the marginalisation of
20 the Muslims, and I would like to direct your attention
21 to page 7908 of your testimony, where Mr. Nobilo asked
22 you this question and you gave this answer:
23 Q What about the political power and
24 authority in Kiseljak, both military and
25 civilian? What was its relationship
1 towards these conflicts and was
2 government power and authority one of
3 the generators of the incidents up until
4 August of 1992?
5 Your answer, General:
6 A The political rule of the day, and I
7 have in mind the municipal crisis staff
8 of the Kiseljak municipality firstly,
9 for the most part dealt with the
10 consequences of these incidents. The
11 motives or the causes leading up to the
12 incidents were usually for economic
13 reasons, they broke out for either
14 economic or social reasons. That was
15 what triggered them off.
16 The political powers-that-be were
17 not the generators of those divisions at
18 that time.
19 Do you recall giving that testimony, General?
20 A. I recall giving that testimony and I spoke
21 about the conflicts between Muslims and Muslims,
22 Croatian villages and Croatian villages, Croats and
23 Croats, that is to say -- and between Muslims and
24 Serbs. There were different actors, different
25 participants in the conflict, and I said that at the
1 very start of these conflicts, that they were generally
2 caused for economic and social reasons. First of all,
3 the motives were to accrue some sort of benefit and so
5 Q. Is it still your position, General, that the
6 marginalisation of the Muslims in Kiseljak that took
7 place had nothing to do with the various incidents and
8 divisions that took place in Kiseljak?
9 A. With the incidents that we spoke about, yes,
10 I maintain that they were incidents which later on grew
11 and there was a greater separation and the rift was
12 greater gradually, and from July, the wartime
13 presidency of the Bosniak Muslims was functioning and
14 the political leaders themselves became divided and
15 separated, but the causes of the conflicts, to begin
16 with, were economic and social, and they were not
17 specifically those of Muslims and Croats but there were
18 conflicts in which different actors took part.
19 Sometimes there would be conflicts between two Croatian
20 villages, sometimes a Muslim and Croat village,
21 sometimes a Muslim and Serbian village.
22 Q. Now, General, let us move into August of
23 1992. You noted earlier today that the police force
24 was both a Muslim and a Croat police force, and I'm
25 talking about the civilian police force; is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, General, that changed too in the first
3 week of August of 1992 when the HVO took over the
4 civilian police headquarters and erected HVO flags and
5 changed the sign designating that that particular
6 police force was now a police station of the Croatian
7 Community of Herceg-Bosna; isn't that right?
8 A. What you said is right. The flag was erected
9 and the sign was changed, but the actual situation in
10 the field was such that the reserve formation of the
11 police, that is to say, the civilian police, was not
12 subordinate but -- remained subordinate to the wartime
13 presidency of the Kiseljak municipality, and most of
14 the members were Bosniak Muslims. In the area of
15 Bilalovac, Gromiljak, Rotilj, I think Bukovice as well
16 and Zabrdze, so in certain regions, certain areas, this
17 was not applied.
18 Q. So as of the first week of August, we have
19 yet another institution, this being a civil police
20 force in Kiseljak, is taken over by the HVO; isn't that
22 A. That civil police in Kiseljak, that is to
23 say, the municipal civil authorities, erected a flag
24 and sign and public insignia of the Croatian Community
25 of Herceg-Bosna, so the civilian police force, civil
1 police force, but it had the same structure in its
2 composition. The chief was a Croat, the deputy was a
3 Bosniak Muslim, the commander of that police was, once
4 again, a Bosniak Muslim, and the deputy was a Croat.
5 Q. Now, General, shortly after this event of
6 taking over the police station, we had an eruption of
7 hostilities in and around the Duhri area which
8 ultimately led to the arrest of Sead Sinanbasic who was
9 the commander of the Territorial Defence; isn't that
11 A. Yes, but we're talking about the conflict in
12 Duhri which erupted on the 7th of August when Sead
13 Sinanbasic, the commander of the Territorial Defence,
14 was arrested.
15 Q. And he was held in custody for approximately
16 25 days, wasn't he?
17 A. He was held in custody for a certain period
18 of time, I do not know exactly how many days he was in
19 detention, I do not have any precise facts on that, but
20 he was arrested by the civil police and was detained,
21 as far as I know, in detention in a civil police
22 detention unit.
23 Q. Well, General, he was in detention for
24 approximately 25 days, wasn't he?
25 A. I said that quite possibly that is correct.
1 I'm not contesting that, but I don't have any sure
2 certain facts on the length of time.
3 JUDGE JORDA: You've already asked that
4 question, Mr. Prosecutor, and the witness has
5 answered. So go on to your next question, please.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. Now, the effect of arresting Sead Sinanbasic
8 was that the Territorial Defence no longer had their
9 commander in chief present in the Kiseljak
10 municipality; isn't that so?
11 A. Well, each of the commanders in the military
12 hierarchy has his deputy and quite certainly at that
13 time the Territorial Defence did not have its commander
14 but it did have its chief of staff who performed the
15 duty of commander until the commander was set free.
16 Q. Now, General, you were given the assignment
17 to resolve the arrest of Sead Sinanbasic on the 8th of
18 August, 1992, and you were given 24 hours to resolve
19 that situation, weren't you?
20 A. Yes, that's true. It was 24 hours, according
21 to a decision of the municipal civil authorities and
22 structures, but the situation was such that Sead
23 Sinanbasic had not been arrested by military organs and
24 detained in the Kiseljak barracks, because then I would
25 not even have needed one hour to do so. It was done,
1 rather, by the civil police, that is to say, the police
2 which was not directly subordinate to me, and that is
3 why the problems arose as to his release.
4 Q. What was Sead Sinanbasic arrested for?
5 A. I personally do not know why he was
6 arrested. I know that there were rumours that I had
7 issued an order to that effect, but I maintain that I
8 never issued any kind of order and that the arrest was
9 done by members of the civil police.
10 Q. Well, let us look at a document, General, if
11 we could.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 637 and
13 637A for the English version.
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. This is:
16 "Protocol from the talks held on 8 August
17 1992, in the premises of the former JNA hall in
18 Kiseljak, starting at 1550 hours and attended by:
19 "a) representatives of the Muslim people in
21 "1. Ejup Mujic
22 2. Senaid Durakovic, SDA President
23 "b) representatives of the Croatian people
24 in Kiseljak:
25 "1. Josip Boro.
1 2. Marko Frankovic.
2 3. Vinko Antunovic.
3 4. Jozic Kristic
4 "The meeting was held in the presence of
5 Franjo Boras, member of the presidency of
7 "The subject of the talks was the conflicts
8 between the Territorial Defence and the TO on
9 7 and 8 August 1992.
10 "It was an agreed:
11 "I. A mutual suspension of hostilities will
12 take place at 1730 hours on 8 August, 1992.
13 "II. Both parties agree that the present
14 military and civilian situation must be restored to
15 what it was four days ago, on 4 August, 1992.
16 "I. All barricades in the area of the
17 Kiseljak municipality which obstruct free traffic of
18 persons, goods and other traffic are to be removed by
19 1900 hours, on 8 August 1992 at the latest.
20 "III. During further talks, both sides will,
21 in a civilised and peaceful manner and in the spirit of
22 the Agreement on Friendship and Cooperation signed by
23 the republics of Croatian and Bosnia and Herzegovina in
24 Zagreb on 21 July, 1992, reach the agreement on the
25 following matters within three days at most:
1 "- the number of checkpoints and their
2 mixed composition.
3 "- a mixed commission to visit the whole
4 municipal area to determine the military activities of
5 both parties.
6 "- agree on the display of emblems in public
8 The next paragraph talks about the next
9 meeting. Let us move to paragraph V.
10 "V. The issue of the arrest of the commander
11 of the Kiseljak municipal defence headquarters, Sejo
12 Sinanbasic, should be resolved within 24 hours by HVO
13 commander, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, and the commander
14 of the Bosnia-Herzegovina armed forces, Sefer
16 "Signed for the Bosnia-Herzegovina
17 presidency, Franjo Boras."
18 It is signed by the Croat members and then
19 there is an another paragraph by the Muslim members
20 where it says:
21 "Representatives of the Muslim peoples named
22 in the protocol agree with this protocol and demand the
23 release of the arrested municipal headquarters
24 commander, Sead Sinanbasic, who should, together with
25 the commander of the municipal HVO headquarters, Ivica
1 Rajic, be responsible for this implementation of this
3 Now, General, Sead Sinanbasic, the commander
4 of the Territorial Defence, was taken to a prison in
5 Busovaca, wasn't he?
6 A. Yes. I later learned that he was taken -- I
7 think it was a detention unit in Busovaca, not a
8 prison, in fact, but he was taken to Busovaca. As far
9 as I know, he was detained within the frameworks of the
10 police station in Busovaca, but I'm not quite sure.
11 Q. Did you go to Busovaca and demand his
12 release, and if you did so, to whom did you speak to?
13 A. First of all, I tried to implement the
14 agreement on a ceasefire. It was a very difficult
15 thing to do because although we had the agreement, the
16 conflict did not stop. It did not stop on the 8th of
17 August either, until in the evening, around 23.00
18 hours, Mr. Ivo Komsic turned up --
19 Q. Excuse me, General. With all due respect, my
20 question was simple. My question was: Did you go to
21 Busovaca and demand the release of Sead Sinanbasic and,
22 if you did so, to whom did you speak?
23 A. My answer is that on that day, I did not go
24 to Busovaca, that is to say, on the 8th, because I
25 concentrated my efforts on implementing this particular
1 agreement on a ceasefire. The fighting was still
2 ongoing. On that day, the 8th --
3 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, you have a
4 question. You have answered it. Please continue,
5 Mr. Prosecutor. You didn't go to the prison in
6 Busovaca for the reasons which you have given.
7 Next question, please, Mr. Prosecutor.
8 MR. KEHOE:
9 Q. General, within the 25 days that Sead
10 Sinanbasic was in custody, did you ever go to Busovaca
11 and demand the release of Sead Sinanbasic and, if you
12 did, to whom did you speak?
13 A. I had already talked, I think it was about
14 the 10th of August, with the authorities -- people from
15 the civilian police in Busovaca to see the reason and
16 to release Mr. Sinanbasic. They told me that they
17 would do so in the near future, that they were just
18 waiting for some informative talks to be held with
19 Mr. Sinanbasic. That was my first contact. It was
20 around the 10th of August.
21 On the 8th of August, as I've already said, I
22 focused my attention on the ceasefire, an end to the
23 hostilities between the HVO and the TO in the village
24 of Duhri and Potkraj.
25 Q. So is the answer to my question you never
1 went to Busovaca to demand the release of Sead
2 Sinanbasic; is that correct?
3 A. As far as I know, I said a moment ago that on
4 the 10th of August, I did go to Busovaca. I went to
5 Busovaca, and I talked to the chief of the civilian
6 police concerning that problem. I didn't say that I
7 never went to Busovaca.
8 Q. Who did you speak to? Who was the chief of
9 police that refused to release Sead Sinanbasic?
10 A. I think he did not refuse to release him, he
11 just informed me that they were having an informative
12 interview with Mr. Sinanbasic, and I think his name was
13 Cosic, his surname. I'm not sure what his name was.
14 Cosic was his surname, because there were different
15 chiefs of civilian police in Busovaca. The chief of
16 the police head office for the civilian police was
17 Mr. Ivo Rezo at that time.
18 Q. Well, during these informative discussions,
19 was Sead Sinanbasic beaten?
20 A. I really have no information of that, and
21 neither did I ever receive any reports of that kind,
22 that he was beaten while he was in detention and held
23 there by the civilian police. I have no knowledge of
25 Q. Well, when you went up there to get his
1 release, did you tell the chief of police, Mr. Cosic,
2 that you had the order from Franjo Boras to get the
3 release of Sead Sinanbasic?
4 A. I asked the chief of the civil police that
5 this process of interviewing be completed as soon as
6 possible and that Mr. Sinanbasic be released as soon as
7 possible. After a certain amount of time had elapsed,
8 it was the 11th or 12th, I asked my deputy for security
9 to look into the matter, because on the 12th I went to
10 the front in Jajce and I was to remain in Jajce up at
11 the front line there.
12 Q. So after the 10th of August, you never went
13 back to Busovaca to ensure that Sead Sinanbasic was
14 released; did you?
15 A. I have already said that on the 10th, I
16 informed myself as to the problem, and that I was told
17 by the civil police that he would be detained for an
18 informative discussion.
19 Up until the 12th of August, I travelled to
20 Busovaca every day via Kacuni and to Vitez as well, but
21 from the 12th of August I went to Jajce. As far as I
22 was able to I kept abreast of the situation, and I know
23 that after a certain amount of time, perhaps 20 days
24 had elapsed, Mr. Sead Sinanbasic was released, because
25 at that time there were other incidents and conflicts
1 which I spoke about during my testimony, such as the
2 arrest of commanders in Sarajevo, and when fire was
3 opened on me, and an ambush organised, and a series of
4 other incidents, but I quite certainly told the officer
5 for security to speed up the process as much as
6 possible. So the problem was in competencies between
7 the civil police and me as the commander.
8 Q. Well, General, did you, after you realised
9 that Mr. Boras's order was not being obeyed, did you
10 inform the appropriate authorities that the police
11 chief in Busovaca should be punished, or did you do
13 A. After I learnt that the order had not been
14 implemented to the extent to which I had hoped, that is
15 to say, implemented in the space of several days, I
16 asked the chief of the police administration of the
17 civil police of Travnik to speed up the process and to
18 bring it to an end as soon as possible, and I was
19 informed orally by the chief of the police head office
20 that they had conducted the informative discussion with
21 Sead Sinanbasic. The contents of that discussion I
22 never had in my hands nor a report about what they had
24 Q. Well, General, was anybody punished for their
25 refusal to follow Mr. Boras's order?
1 A. I have no information about that, I do not
2 know whether anybody was punished, but nobody refused
3 to carry out my order. It was just not possible to put
4 them into effect within the space of 24 hours because
5 the conflict in Duhri was still ongoing, and I was
6 convinced that Sead Sinanbasic was in the Kiseljak
7 civil police station, so I had to check where he was
8 being detained, first of all, because during the
9 conflict, he was -- the commander was arrested during
10 the conflict, that is to say, where the fighting was
11 taking place, and it would be logical to suppose that
12 he had been taken to the barracks in Kiseljak. Had
13 that been so, then my decision would have been
14 superfluous, because the soldiers that had been
15 arrested, when the data about them -- records were
16 taken, they were released immediately.
17 Q. One last question on this subject, General --
18 JUDGE JORDA: Last question on this point
19 because I think that we have heard all the witness's
20 answers. Your last question, and then I give the floor
21 to the registrar.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. General, who is the deputy chief of security
24 that you sent to resolve this matter on the 12th of
25 August -- or the 10th of August or the 12th of August,
1 1992. Who was it?
2 A. The deputy chief of security in the Central
3 Bosnia Operative Zone was Mr. Ante Sliskovic.
4 Q. The same man that you gave the Ahmici
5 investigation to in the spring of 1993; is that right?
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Let me ask the
9 registrar where we stand regarding the
10 cross-examination so that we can establish a timetable
11 for the completion of our work.
12 In relation to the examination-in-chief,
13 Mr. Registrar ...
14 THE REGISTRAR: The examination-in-chief
15 lasted 14 days and 100 minutes. Since we started the
16 cross-examination, today we have spent five days and
17 140 minutes.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore, another eight days
19 remain? So about nine days then we have left.
20 Very well, Mr. Prosecutor. You're probably
21 interested in these figures.
22 MR. KEHOE: Yes, thank you, Mr. President, I
23 am. I appreciate that, Mr. Registrar.
24 JUDGE JORDA: This will allow you to focus
25 your questions and your subjects on the points which
1 you consider to be the most important so that we may
2 finish within the time limit.
3 In view of this, I think we can adjourn. We
4 resume on Monday at 2.00 p.m., don't we?
5 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is adjourned.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
8 1.40 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
9 the 10th day of May, 1999, at 2.00 p.m.