1 Thursday, 13th May, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.27 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
5 Mr. Registrar, can you make sure 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. Good morning to counsel for Defence.
11 Good morning to you, General Blaskic.
12 I am just reminding the public that General
13 Blaskic is now a witness. Mr. Blaskic has chosen to be
14 a witness in his own trial. He is under oath, and he
15 is in the middle of cross-examination.
16 Mr. Registrar, we have noted this morning
17 again that there was some delay in the transport of the
18 witness. What happened?
19 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honour.
20 There has been a slight problem, it is true, but it is
21 not the security service of the Tribunal which is
22 responsible for this delay.
23 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Then I was wrong
24 then. I'm so sorry I said that, and I see it's a huge
25 secret what actually happened to the witness on his way
2 Good morning, Mr. Kehoe, and the floor is
4 MR. KEHOE: Good morning, Mr. President.
5 Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning, Counsel.
6 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
7 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
8 Q. Good morning, General.
9 A. Good morning.
10 MR. KEHOE: If I could ask that the witness
11 be given 456/8 back. Mr. President, this is the
12 cease-fire order of the 27th January, 1993, and with
13 the assistance of the usher, I believe we have a
14 corrected translation in the record now which carries
15 with it the time on the order of 17.40, and that's in
16 both the English and the French.
17 JUDGE JORDA: All right. So it's 17.40 on
18 January 27, 1993; is that correct?
19 MR. KEHOE: That's correct, Mr. President.
20 THE REGISTRAR: These two new exhibits which
21 were used yesterday and which bear the right time will
22 be Prosecution Exhibit 456/8A and 456/8A bis so that we
23 can take into account what corrections have been
24 brought to them.
25 JUDGE JORDA: All right. 456/8A bis. Thank
1 you very much.
2 MR. KEHOE:
3 Q. General, these particular negotiations that
4 you were engaged in on the 27th of January, 1993, where
5 did they take place?
6 A. Your Honours, these negotiations took place
7 at the UNPROFOR headquarters for Bosnia-Herzegovina in
8 Kiseljak. May I just correct myself --
9 Q. No, please, General -- well, if you want to
10 correct yourself, that's fine.
11 JUDGE JORDA: No, please. General, please
12 answer the question. The question is very precise.
13 Let's not start to make comments on what has been put
14 to you. You are the witness. A question is put to
15 you. You can give a very clear and precise answer to
16 that question. Either you remember or you don't.
17 Either you know or you don't. We are not each time
18 going to go through a series of comments. You know
19 that time is very precious to the Prosecution right
20 now, so please try to give a very clear answer.
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. General, how far is the U.N. headquarters in
23 Kiseljak from the Kiseljak barracks?
24 A. It is about 600 to 700 metres away, not more
25 than that.
1 Q. The Kiseljak barracks is where the
2 headquarters of the Ban Jelacic Brigade was; isn't that
4 A. In the barracks, it was the command of the
5 Ban Jelacic Brigade which would be mobilised according
6 to need, so it wasn't a live brigade, so to speak. But
7 people would live at home and, if necessary, they would
8 be mobilised. When they weren't mobilised, they were
9 civilians, farmers, et cetera.
10 Q. The document that you have before you,
11 Exhibit 456/8, has a deadline for the implementation of
12 the cease-fire of 28 January, 1993 at 00.01.
13 A. Yes. That was the document, and that was the
14 deadline which had been reached by agreement between me
15 and the 1st and 3rd Corps with the mediation of
16 Brigadier Simpson.
17 Q. Let us turn, General, to Prosecutor's Exhibit
19 A. Mr. President, while we're waiting for this
20 Prosecutor's Exhibit, may I just say a word?
21 JUDGE JORDA: Please do, General.
22 A. It was not my intention a moment ago to
23 expand my answer to the question. Yesterday, I made a
24 mistake when I spoke about the shifts leaving from the
25 municipality of Travnik to the front line against the
1 Serbs. I looked through my chronology more carefully,
2 and in the chronology, it states the 27th of November,
3 1992, and I said yesterday that it was the 17th of
4 November, 1992. That was the answer I gave yesterday.
5 So it was a ten-day difference, and I merely wanted to
6 correct that error and say that it was the 27th of
7 November, 1992, that is my chronology, when the units
8 from all the municipalities went to the Travnik front
10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, General, for
11 correcting this error. It will be taken down in the
12 transcript anyway, so you are quite right to correct
13 what you said yesterday.
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. General, this is an order that is issued by
16 the commander of the Ban Jelacic Brigade, Mijo Bozic,
17 on the 27th of January, 1993, and it is an order for
18 offensive combat operations.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Could the ELMO be switched on,
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. In the first paragraph of this document, the
23 commander, Mijo Bozic, orders the 1st Company and the
24 1st Battalion to be "mobilised immediately, reinforced
25 with the anti-sabotage platoon and transferred to the
1 village of Datici by APC where they shall be deployed
2 in combat positions." It gives the various villages to
3 be disarmed and notes:
4 "After completing fire preparations, proceed
5 to disarm the villages of Radeljevici, Pobrdze,
6 Markovici, Maslinovici.
7 "Be ready time at initial positions at 16.00
9 "Be ready to open MB /mortar fire/ at 16.00
11 "Fire preparations to be carried out from
12 16.00 to 16.30 with 10 82mm and 120mm MB shells each,
13 selecting targets within the villages.
14 "2. After the preparation has been
15 completed, the local population is to be called to
16 surrender unconditionally all weapons; otherwise the
17 village will be burnt to the ground. In case of
18 refusal to surrender arms open strong and concentrated
19 fire on all targets with PAT /anti-aircraft gun/,
20 PAM /anti-aircraft machine-guns/, and MB /mortars/ and
21 proceed with mopping up the area.
22 "3. After these villages have been taken the
23 enemy is to be pushed back toward Bukovci with the aim
24 of crushing and destroying that village and enemy
25 forces in it. The Bukovci village must be taken by
1 nightfall on condition that we burn anything standing
2 in our way."
3 Now, these two sentences, General, in
4 paragraph 2 that the villages will be burnt to the
5 ground and in paragraph 3 that the Bukovci village must
6 be taken by nightfall on condition that "we burn
7 anything standing in our way," taking those two aspects
8 of this order, General, this is an illegal order, isn't
10 A. Of course, this was an illegal order, and I
11 saw this order for the first time in the courtroom
12 here, but this order was not carried out and it was not
13 executed. I know the terrain very well and each of the
14 villages mentioned here, and there are villages in
15 which there was never any fighting at all. So this
16 order was not carried out, as I say, and point 1 of
17 this order shows that, despite the fact that there were
18 combat activities in the municipality of Busovaca for
19 two days, that in Kiseljak, not even mobilisation of
20 soldiers had taken place.
21 Q. The man who issued this order, Mijo Bozic, is
22 a man that you personally appointed to command the Ban
23 Jelacic Brigade; isn't that right?
24 A. Yes, and I really don't know the
25 circumstances because I never discussed this document
1 with Mijo Bozic, nor did I ever see this document
2 before I was confronted with it here in this
3 courtroom. But Mr. Mijo Bozic, as far as I know him,
4 would never have been capable of implementing a
5 document of this kind. He's not that kind of man, and
6 I think I know him well enough to be able to say that.
7 As I say, this order was not implemented because in
8 some of the villages, I know each and every house.
9 Q. Well, General, your chief of operations,
10 Brigadier Slavko Marin, identified both the stamp and
11 the signature on this document as belonging to Mijo
12 Bozic and the stamp as belonging to the Ban Jelacic
13 Brigade in Kiseljak; isn't that right?
14 A. I don't remember what he identified, but I
15 don't bring into question the fact that this is the
16 stamp. It is, in fact, the stamp of the Ban Jelacic
17 Brigade. That's quite true. It is the signature of
18 the Commander Mijo Bozic, Your Honours. But I'm
19 surprised there is no signature or initials by the
20 author of the document, in fact.
21 In the left-hand corner there should be the
22 initials of the author of this document. It should be
23 an initialled document, but in view of the villages
24 that are quoted, which I know very well because they
25 are from my own local community, then I believe that
1 the person writing this order did not take into
2 consideration all the facts.
3 Q. This order was issued, General, on the 27th
4 of January, 1993, on a day that you yourself were in
5 Kiseljak; isn't that right?
6 A. On the day too when I was at the UNPROFOR
7 headquarters at the negotiations in Kiseljak, yes. I
8 was at the U.N. headquarters attending the
9 negotiations. But this order was never acted upon.
10 Q. After the negotiations, you went back to the
11 Kiseljak barracks where Mijo Bozic and the Ban Jelacic
12 Brigade were, and you said that you drafted
13 Prosecutor's Exhibit 456/8, this cease-fire that was to
14 go into effect at midnight; isn't that right?
15 A. Yes. The cease-fire referred to the combat
16 activities in the area where they were going on, in
17 fact, that is to say, part of the Zenica-Busovaca
18 municipalities and everything that we had agreed upon
19 with the commander of the 3rd Corps of the BH army and
20 the 1st Corps of the BH army, but for the area of
21 Kiseljak there were no combat activities whatsoever.
22 There were no incidents there either. There was not a
23 single Muslim house that was destroyed, let alone
25 Q. Now, General, given that the cease-fire was to
1 come into effect at midnight on the evening of the
2 28th, this order seeks to have the HVO accomplish its
3 tasks by nightfall, before the cease-fire comes into
4 effect; isn't that right? I refer you to the last
5 sentence in paragraph 3:
6 "The Bukovci village must be taken by
7 nightfall on condition that we burn anything standing
8 in our way."
9 JUDGE JORDA: Let's be careful here,
10 Mr. Kehoe. There might be a translation problem. In
11 order 456/8A bis, I find that the French version
12 deadline --
13 MR. KEHOE: Midnight.
14 JUDGE JORDA: I find 12.00. Paragraph 6.
15 MR. KEHOE: It's paragraph 1, "Cessation of
16 hostilities," Mr. President.
17 "The cessation of hostilities be implemented
18 and that all weapons of calibre cease firing."
19 The deadline for that is 28 January, 1993 at
20 00.01. So that would be midnight of the evening going
21 from the 27th going to the 28th.
22 JUDGE JORDA: All right. But there is
23 another deadline which appears at paragraph 6 but
24 that's not the deadline you're speaking of.
25 MR. KEHOE: No, it's not, Mr. President.
1 That has to do with the unblocking of the road. There
2 are several deadlines in this -- several issues
3 covered. That is yet a different deadline.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Well, I do apologise,
5 Mr. Kehoe. Please go on.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. So, General, going back to Prosecutor's
8 Exhibit 510, Bukovci village was ordered to be taken by
9 nightfall, and this order to take Bukovci or burn it
10 had to be accomplished before the cease-fire came into
11 effect; isn't that right?
12 A. No, it's not, because you can see point 3 is
13 a conditional provision. It is clear, if you read it,
14 that the individual writing the order says that after
15 these villages have been taken, the enemy is to be
16 pushed back toward the village of Bukovci, that is to
17 say, on condition that we have accomplished point 1.
18 Then it says "by night," not by midnight.
19 "By nightfall" means when night falls and not
20 midnight. So the author could not have envisaged a
21 cease-fire at all, because I myself did not know when
22 the cease-fire would come about. I think and believe
23 that it was proposed by Brigadier Cordy-Simpson at the
24 meeting linked to the cease-fire, that is to say.
25 But point 3 is quite clear. It is
1 conditional. That means that if point 1 is
2 implemented, then point 3 can go on and be implemented
3 in turn. But, I repeat, this order was not
4 implemented. It was not carried out.
5 Q. So, General, you agree with me that the
6 Bukovci village had to be taken by nightfall, and that
7 event was prior to the time when the cease-fire would
8 come into effect?
9 A. Point 3 is quite clear here. Therefore,
10 point 3 is conditional. If point 1 is implemented,
11 then point 3 would be put into effect, as it is stated
12 here, by nightfall, as it states, not by midnight. But
13 as I say, none of the points of this order were, in
14 fact, ever carried out.
15 Q. Now, General, during the course of the
16 conflict in Kiseljak and Busovaca -- but we'll focus on
17 Kiseljak first. During the course of the conflict in
18 Kiseljak in 1993, numerous Bosnian Muslim houses were
19 burnt by HVO troops, weren't they?
20 A. Just a minute. We're talking about the
21 conflict in January 1993. So tell me one house that
22 was burnt, of a Bosniak Muslim, that is. Quote one
23 house, because I claim that not a single house was.
24 Q. General, the question is 1993. The question
25 is 1993. Focus on the question.
1 During the conflict with the Muslims in 1993,
2 numerous Bosnian Muslim houses were burnt by HVO
3 troops, and you sat here during the testimony of many
4 of the witnesses that attested to that; isn't that
6 A. If you are talking about the conflict from
7 April onwards, then at that time I was blocked in Vitez
8 and I was isolated, cut off from Kiseljak. I do know
9 that there were features which were burnt as a result
10 of combat operations, and I believe that in the weeks
11 to come and months to come there were buildings that
12 were burnt by the crime groups, groups of criminals, to
13 cover up looting and pilferage that took part in the
14 numerous villages of the Kiseljak municipality, but
15 this was done successfully over a longer period of
16 time, almost up until the signing of the Washington
17 Agreement. It was very difficult to ascertain whether
18 the houses were burnt by civilians or whether they had
19 been burnt by soldiers, because the greatest problem,
20 and that can be seen from this particular document,
21 that is to say, document 510, that all the military
22 conscripts on the territory of Kiseljak were civilians
23 until they were called up to join the units. On an
24 average, he would be a civilian for 21 days and then a
25 soldier for the rest of the period.
1 Q. Excuse me, General. Let us move to the next
3 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 677.
4 MR. KEHOE: Prosecution Exhibit 677 is a
5 military information summary of the Cheshire Regiment
6 dated 6 February, 1993. Mr. Usher, I am interested in
7 page 2. At the top it starts, "Two, Gornji Vakuf."
8 That's it, sir.
9 Q. As I just noted, General, this is Exhibit
10 677, a military information summary from the British
11 Battalion, dated 6 February, 1993. It receipts as
12 follows under "Gornji Vakuf":
13 "B company reported that Gornji Vakuf was
14 somewhat quieter than yesterday. There was a lot of
15 small-arms fire exchanges coming from the town at
16 approximately 09.00 hours. At 14.00 hours, three to
17 four mortar rounds landed on the Muslim part of town
18 with two T-55s also engaging the town. One of the
19 T-55s was at," and it gives a grid reference.
20 "Last night it was reported that the HVO
21 commander Zrenko Topcic issued an ultimatum to the BiH
22 forces to surrender their weapons to the HVO. If they,
23 the BiH, refused he would burn the town to the ground.
24 The next morning two petrol tankers were sighted on the
25 high ground accompanied by a T-55 at grid reference,"
1 and it gives a grid reference.
2 "Comment. This incident has obviously added
3 weight to the HVO commander's threat. However, it is
4 difficult to assess if and how he will carry out his
5 threat. Comment ends."
6 Now, General, it is a fact, is it not, that
7 the HVO did burn numerous Muslim houses in Gornji Vakuf
8 during 1993; isn't that right?
9 A. You're asking me about February 1993, are you
11 Q. I am asking about 1993. With this
12 information given by the British Battalion, I am asking
13 you, as you sit here now, it is a fact, is it not, that
14 the HVO burned numerous Bosnian Muslim houses in the
15 Gornji Vakuf area in 1993?
16 A. Throughout that time and especially on the
17 6th of February in Kiseljak. I'm not questioning what
18 happened in Gornji Vakuf but it is also a fact that we
19 had two completely different situations, one in
20 Kiseljak where I was isolated from my command and the
21 other was in Gornji Vakuf.
22 In Gornji Vakuf, quite obviously the conflict
23 was ongoing and there was certain activities being
24 performed there. In Kiseljak in June 1992 -- no, in
25 1993, the Bosniak Muslims were afforded every
1 protection and there was no maltreatment at that time,
2 abuse at that time. I do not have any precise data as
3 to what was going on, but I do not bring into question
4 what has just been read out from the milinfosum, that
5 is to say, the milinfosum from the BritBat battalion.
6 I was not in a position to have proper information
8 Q. Well, General, in 1994, when you took the
9 office of the deputy chief of staff and, thereafter,
10 when you took the office of chief of staff, you learned
11 about the methods employed by the HVO in Kiseljak and
12 that those methods employed the burning of Bosnian
13 Muslim houses? You learned that fact, didn't you?
14 A. I have already said what was a general
15 phenomenon. I did not receive information from my
16 subordinates that the brigade had been given orders to
17 burn a village or that the battalion had received or a
18 company or platoon had received orders of that kind,
19 but I did see that there were some burnt facilities,
20 and this burning took place over a longer length of
21 time, practically two years, in fact. The
22 investigations that were conducted by the civilian and
23 military police had difficulty in identifying whether
24 the burning had been done by military persons or
25 civilians, because for a time everybody was both a
1 military individual and a civilian, depending on the
2 period. It was the most difficult thing to identify
3 the perpetrator.
4 I think that there were a great many -- as
5 there were a great many refugees at the time and the
6 authorities were not able to see to them, they had to
7 ensure a means of livelihood for themselves. This
8 often included, unfortunately, looting. After looting,
9 they would set fire to the buildings.
10 Q. Let us return just briefly to Defence Exhibit
11 347, if we may. As we stay on this burning issue.
12 Now, General, this is the order that we
13 discussed, I believe, yesterday, or maybe prior to that
14 time, which is the Defence exhibit from the 5th of
15 November of 1995, where you command that all measures
16 shall be taken to prevent setting fire to houses of
17 eminent citizens of Muslim nationalities. All
18 available means shall be employed to carry out this
19 assignment and most rigorous measures shall be taken
20 against transgressors in accordance with the military
21 discipline regulations.
22 Let me read to you the testimony on this
23 score by your chief of operations, Slavko Marin, who,
24 in October of 1993 (sic), was, in fact, stationed at
25 HVO headquarters in Novi Travnik, wasn't he?
1 A. I apologise. Are you talking about October
2 1993? What did you say?
3 Q. October of 1992 -- if I misspoke, I
4 apologise, General. In October of 1992, during the
5 conflict in Novi Travnik, Slavko Marin was at the HVO
6 headquarters in Novi Travnik; is that right, sir?
7 A. I know that he was at the headquarters in
8 Novi Travnik. I can't remember the exact date, but
9 quite possibly that is correct, yes.
10 Q. Let me read you his testimony about these
11 burnings that are depicted in Defence Exhibit 347. It
12 begins on page 13165 and the question on line 15:
13 "Q ... Houses of prominent Muslims are
14 being burned in your municipality.
15 A Mr. President, Mr. President, this is
16 what I have to say regarding this
18 This is concerning Defence Exhibit 347.
19 "A ... This document was compiled on the
20 basis of the agreement of General Merdan
21 and Mr. Tihomir Blaskic and as a result
22 of the cessation of hostilities between
23 the HVO and the BH army, and it was
24 within that conflict, which was in
25 October, sometime around the 20th, that
1 these houses were being burned. Muslim
2 houses were not being set on fire if
3 there were no combat operations there."
4 According to Brigadier Marin, it is in the
5 course of the conflict in Novi Travnik that HVO troops
6 burnt Muslim houses; is that right?
7 MR. NOBILO: Objection, Mr. President. What
8 is contained in the question that my colleague said is
9 not contained in Slavko Marin's quotation. He didn't
10 say that the HVO burnt houses but that houses were
11 burnt in the area where there was fighting, and that's
12 a difference. It's the territory where there was a
13 conflict. He never said that the HVO forces burnt the
14 houses, so that is an assertion that does not emanate
15 from Slavko Marin's statement.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Well, it seemed to me that the
17 quote taken from General Slavko Marin's testimony
18 implicitly said that houses had been burned. But,
19 Mr. Kehoe, maybe you could rephrase your question.
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. Well, Slavko Marin's quote notes or did you
22 understand it to mean that houses are being burnt and
23 those houses are burnt during the conflict?
24 A. Would you please read me that quotation once
25 again and a little more slowly, please --
1 Q. Certainly, General.
2 A. -- because it's too fast. I'm getting the
3 interpretation very fast.
4 Q. I'll read it as slowly as I possibly can,
5 General, and if it's too fast for you, just ask me to
6 slow down and I'll do that for you.
7 A. Thank you.
8 Q. I quote:
9 "A Mr. President, Mr. President, this is
10 what I have to say regarding this
11 document. This document was compiled on
12 the basis of the agreement of General
13 Merdan and Mr. Tihomir Blaskic and as a
14 result of the cessation of hostilities
15 between the HVO and the BH army, and it
16 is within that conflict, which was in
17 October, sometime around the 20th, that
18 these houses were being burned. Muslim
19 houses were not being set on fire, if
20 there were no combat operations there."
21 Now --
22 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, have you
23 understood that? Is it clear enough for you and was it
24 read slowly enough for you?
25 A. Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Mr. President, Your Honours, this comment made by
2 Slavko Marin is quite clear to me where he says that
3 houses were burned where there were combat operations
4 and where there was a conflict, that is to say, where
5 fighting was during combat operations.
6 However, I wish to say one thing in
7 connection with the conflict in Novi Travnik and the
8 burning of houses and all the crimes that were
9 committed. Your Honours, according to the decision of
10 the Minister of Defence of the Republic of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, a joint commission was set up to
12 establish the causes and consequences of all crimes and
13 all problems that came into being during the conflict
14 in Novi Travnik. That commission worked until the 4th
15 of November, 1992, that is to say, to investigate the
16 burning of houses, the killings, et cetera.
17 Then on the 4th of November, 1992, I received
18 information in writing that the members of that
19 commission from the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina were
20 refusing to continue work on the investigation of the
21 causes and consequences of the conflict in October 1992
22 in Novi Travnik. The commission was, therefore, forced
23 to stop its work. I received information in writing
24 about this, and I told Dzemo Merdan about this at the
25 meeting on the 4th of November, 1992, asking that the
1 members of this commission return and that the
2 commission fully establishes what is the cause of the
3 conflict in Novi Travnik and what the consequences of
4 the conflict in Novi Travnik are, including all the
5 burned buildings during that conflict.
6 Regrettably, the commission did not complete
7 this. I was informed in writing by Mr. Marko Prskalo
8 about this problem, that they did not want to
9 participate in resolving this problem, that is to say,
10 the representatives of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. It's clear, is it not, General, that
13 Brigadier Marin believes that these houses, these
14 Muslim houses were being burnt during the course of
15 combat operations; isn't that right?
16 A. Yes, and that is what it pertains to, but
17 this order pertains to the houses of businessmen,
18 prominent people, rich people. This order relates to
19 what Mr. Dzemo Merdan was asking me to do, that is to
20 say, people who have enough money. Because criminal
21 groups were guided by profit. Ethnicity was not
22 important for them. They were only concerned about who
23 had money on him.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen has a
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Kehoe, I know that
2 you're focusing on a certain point, but may I, General,
3 take you back to the explanation which you gave as to
4 the non-completion of the work of the commission of
6 I gathered that your position was that the
7 BiH refused to continue participation in the work of
8 the commission. You spoke to Dzemo Merdan. Did he
9 explain to you or did you, from other sources,
10 understand why the BiH refused to continue
11 participation in the work of the commission of inquiry?
12 A. Your Honour, I told Dzemo Merdan about this
13 as well, that is to say, that the members of the
14 commission refused to go on working, and the priority
15 of this commission was to establish what the causes and
16 consequences of the conflict were. Perhaps it is quite
17 clear from the very task of the commission why the
18 representatives of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
19 refused to continue working on this commission. They
20 were supposed to go to the very end. They were
21 supposed to give an answer to everything that was going
22 on in Novi Travnik, the killing of the commander in
23 Novi Travnik, and I believe that there are reports of
24 the commission to that effect.
25 We saw a document yesterday, the letter of
1 President Izetbegovic, in which he is a priorio saying
2 who started the conflict in Novi Travnik. Perhaps he
3 did not receive information from Dzemo Merdan on who
4 stopped the work of the commission, but I certainly
5 discussed this with Dzemo Merdan. It was in my
6 interest for this commission to complete its work
7 entirely, that is to say, to establish the causes and
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Judge
10 Shahabuddeen, please.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understand you to be
12 saying that you know that the BiH refused to continue
13 participation in the work of the commission of
14 inquiry. My question was whether you understood the
15 reasons why the BiH refused to continue participation?
16 Do you think you have given me that answer?
17 A. Your Honour, I did not have the opportunity
18 of sharing views with the members of that commission.
19 I did not manage to hear from them why they did not
20 wish to continue their work, but I imagine that
21 throwing more light on all events in that town and
22 establishing the truth did not suit someone after all.
23 I see no other reason, because the commission was
24 working in Novi Travnik, the security was the same for
25 both groups of members, and there was no reason why
1 their work should be stopped.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: All right. I understand
3 this, that you were not given any reasons, but the
4 reasons which you have now provided are the results of
5 your own reflection; is that correct?
6 A. That is correct, Your Honour. I did not
7 receive any direct reasons for that, except for the
8 information in writing that the members of the
9 commission from the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina were
10 refusing to continue working on this joint commission
11 for Novi Travnik.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.
13 Mr. Kehoe, I return the matter to you.
14 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.
15 Q. General, in April of 1993 until you left the
16 Central Bosnian Operative Zone, Mario Cerkez was the
17 commander of the Viteska Brigade; isn't that right?
18 A. From April, it was Mario Cerkez, but it
19 changed. For a certain period of time, he was replaced
20 by Vlado Juric. I think this was sometime in December
21 1993, and I left in '94, sometime in May. So Mario
22 Cerkez was there from the establishment of the Vitez
23 Brigade, the end of March or beginning of April until
24 December '93.
25 Q. In April, May, and June of 1993, Mario Cerkez
1 was your subordinate as the brigade commander of the
2 Viteska Brigade; correct?
3 A. Yes. That was a brigade that was still in
4 the process of establishment. We started establishing
5 it in April, May, June '93. These were the very
6 beginnings of the Vitez Brigade.
7 Q. General, let me read you the testimony of
8 Colonel Henk Morsink, who is now a Colonel in the army
9 of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. At that time,
10 during 1993, I believe that Colonel Morsink was a
11 Major. Nevertheless, he served in Bosnia at this time
12 as part of the European Community Monitoring Mission.
13 Let me read you a page or two of Colonel
14 Morsink's testimony, General, beginning on 9901 with
15 the question of my colleague, Mr. Harmon, commencing on
16 line 10:
17 "Q ... how were the majority of Muslim
18 houses damaged, in your opinion?
19 A The majority of the houses was damaged
20 by severe fire, maybe lit with petrol or
21 gasoline, but they were damaged by fire
22 and definitely not by artillery fire or
23 something else.
24 Q Now, did you base your opinion on any
25 conversations that you had with HVO
1 commanders as well?
2 A I remember a conversation quite well
3 which happened at the joint commission
4 Vitez with the brigade commander HVO
5 Vitez president, Mr. Mario Cerkez, and
6 he was very upset that the army of BiH
7 was trying to get in new forces into
8 Kruscica through the mountains, there's
9 a small goat trail through the
10 mountains, and he said that that should
11 be stopped, and if not, he was willing
12 to burn down all Kruscica. And I was
13 really surprised by an outcry like that
14 because he was an HVO officer, he was
15 the brigade commander in the area, he
16 was wearing his uniform, and I didn't
17 expect an officer at all to make a
18 statement like that.
19 Q Was that statement made on the 24th of
20 May, 1993, a matter of weeks after the
21 burning of Ahmici and other villages in
22 and around Central Bosnia?
23 A I do not recall the exact date, but it
24 was made several weeks after all the
25 villages in the area had been burnt.
1 Q Did you take that threat of Mario Cerkez
3 A Well, he said it in a very clear way,
4 and he was on duty when he said it. He
5 was an active member of the local joint
7 Q Now, in your opinion, could all the
8 burning that you've just described that
9 you saw been committed --"
10 Excuse me. Let me reread that again.
11 "Q Now, in your opinion, could all the
12 burning that you've just described that
13 you saw been committed by uncontrolled
15 A I do not believe that all the burning
16 was done by uncontrolled elements since
17 it was done in a systematic way all more
18 or less in the same time.
19 Q In your opinion, Colonel Morsink, was
20 Colonel Blaskic aware of this illegal
21 HVO practice?
22 A He must have been aware of it since it
23 was in his area of operation, and it
24 was -- it was mentioned in several
25 meetings where his people were present.
1 Q So complaints were made about it at the
2 joint commissions where his designees
3 were present?
4 A That's correct.
5 Q Did you ever, at any time while you were
6 in Central Bosnia, ever hear of any HVO
7 soldier being punished or disciplined
8 for burning down a Muslim house?
9 A None whatsoever.
10 Q In your opinion, Colonel Morsink, why
11 did the HVO engage in this practice?
12 A I think it was one way to clear the area
13 of all Muslims."
14 Now, General, based on that testimony from
15 Colonel Morsink, we have before the Court at least two
16 of your brigade commanders, one issuing an order and
17 one making a statement concerning the burning down of
18 Bosnian Muslim houses; isn't that right?
19 A. It is possible that he made such a statement,
20 but Muslim houses in Kruscica were not burned, never.
21 From the very first day of the conflict, Kruscica was
22 under the control of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 If any houses were burned, then it was only Croat
24 houses that were burned in that area. But allow me to
25 say in connection with that zone that only one village
1 was burned by a military unit and that is the village
2 of Ahmici.
3 The other burning went on for weeks, months,
4 even throughout the year, and mostly at night by
5 perpetrators unknown, where it is very difficult to
6 establish whether the perpetrator was a civilian or a
7 member of the military.
8 In that area, there were 35.000 refugees who
9 were looting these houses so that they could make a
10 living for themselves. Usually after this looting
11 these houses were burned.
12 I personally issued orders not only in
13 accordance with document 347, let me just mention
14 document 318, document 338, 359, 361, 370, 371, and
15 376. So I even issued orders that may be absurd.
16 In 359, I forbid the burning of houses. I
17 forbid something that is forbidden bylaw, but the
18 problem was that the situation that we were in, that is
19 to say, of a total encirclement, that I focused on the
20 front line and security affairs were left to the
21 civilian police, the military police, and the security
23 At Grbavica, a refugee was killed only
24 because he tried to steal some goods that he needed
25 perhaps in order to survive that particular day, but it
1 was impossible to stop a mob. You could only start
2 shooting at all of them now, the police or whoever. I
3 know that I had said in another village there should be
4 protection, but this protection was not efficient
5 enough. I know that houses were systematically burnt
6 throughout this period but by perpetrators unknown in
7 order to conceal looting. Those were the rumours that
8 were going around most of the time.
9 Q. You say it was done "by perpetrators
10 unknown," General. Well, let me direct your attention
11 to the 17th of April of 1993, a day after Ahmici was
12 burnt, and you told us during your direct-examination,
13 to questions by Mr. Nobilo, that the HVO had troops in
14 Loncari. If you don't recall that, check your
16 A. I shall. The 17th of April, is that what you
18 Q. Please do. I refer you to your testimony, if
19 that would be of any assistance, which is at page
20 18727 -- I apologise. Excuse me. That's right, 18727,
21 where you note that Marin is to ask Cerkez to contact
22 the soldiers of the Busovaca Brigade in Loncari. Do
23 you see that in your chronology, General? Again this
24 is, of course, on the 17th of April.
25 My colleague has just noted for me the
1 specific hour that this message was sent and it was at
2 18.48 -- excuse me, 18.58.
3 A. Yes, I found that part.
4 Q. So the troops from the Busovaca Brigade or
5 the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade were in Loncari on
6 the 17th of April, 1993; is that right?
7 A. I believe that it is so, because we asked
8 that contact be established with these soldiers from
9 the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade in Loncari.
10 Q. This particular brigade is a brigade that is
11 in your direct chain of command; isn't that right?
12 A. Yes. That brigade was under my direct
14 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I don't know if
15 you wanted to break now or just continue on? I'll
16 continue on. I thought you were looking at the clock.
17 JUDGE JORDA: It's true, I often look at the
18 clock during this trial, but not particularly today or
19 right now. We've started a bit late, so I see on the
20 other hand that Judge Rodrigues has a question to put
21 to the witness. We can go on for a few minutes. Maybe
22 if General Blaskic had wanted to look for a number of
23 documents I would have taken a break now, but we can
24 work for another ten minutes, if that's agreeable to
1 MR. KEHOE: Yes, as long as Your Honour wants
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, you told
4 us that you had become aware of the fact that some
5 Muslim houses had been burnt. You also said that
6 criminal groups had been responsible for those acts,
7 not your soldiers. You also told us that you issued a
8 number of orders. Is that what you said? Have I
9 understood you well?
10 A. Yes, Your Honour. The burning of houses, I
11 said that that took place most often in order to
12 conceal looting.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But is that true? I mean,
14 have you actually said what I have tried to put to
15 you? Are you in agreement with what I've said?
16 A. I did not preclude the possibility of there
17 having been a single soldier who looted a house and
18 burned it. There were perhaps soldiers or perhaps
19 there were civilians, but that was the major problem,
20 whether a house was burned by soldier or civilian.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: My question is the
22 following: What was the use of issuing orders meant
23 for your soldiers when you knew that these soldiers
24 were not responsible for the burnt houses?
25 A. The greatest problem was to establish who was
1 responsible for the burning. I issued orders in order
2 to warn them that this should not be done and that this
3 was a criminal act to commit such acts. I issued
4 orders so that these orders would go down the chain of
5 command to each and every soldier. Most of these
6 burnings took place at night.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Did you think about sending
8 your troops on the ground in order for them to prevent
9 these burnings to take place, because it seems to me
10 that at the end, your troops were much more powerful
11 than those criminal groups that we're talking about.
12 A. Sometime around the end of October 1993, the
13 soldiers were stronger and then there were hardly
14 burnings but until that time these groups were
15 stronger. Of course I thought about it.
16 Well, in Donje Veceriska it was at my request
17 that a guard was placed to guard houses, and it was at
18 my request that the civilian police secured Grbavica
19 and took care of the houses so that they would not be
20 looted and burned.
21 Krizancevo Selo, which is a Croat village,
22 Your Honour, it was burnt in December 1993. It was
23 burnt by Croats, not Muslims.
24 The problem was that there was a large number
25 of refugees who could not be taken care of, from a
1 social point of view. Thirty thousand refugees is a
2 problem for a state, and to make it possible for them
3 to survive the winter. There was famine as well.
4 Looting was there to conceal -- burning was there to
5 conceal the looting of houses.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe.
8 MR. KEHOE: General, you noted for us that
9 the troops of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade were in
10 Loncari on the 17th of April, 1993, and I would like to
11 read to you some excerpts from the testimony of
12 Witness Q.
13 This testimony, Mr. President, was given in
14 open session. However, there were certain measures
15 taken to protect the identity of Witness Q, but we can
16 read this transcript in open court.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. If it was done within a
18 public hearing, there's no reason for us to go into
19 private session. I see that the witness was
20 protected. The only measure we have to take is not to
21 the witness, of course.
22 MR. KEHOE: Yes. This starts at line 6.
23 This individual is from Loncari and living in Loncari,
24 talking about the events of the 17th.
25 MR. HAYMAN: Counsel, do you have a page?
1 MR. KEHOE: Sorry, counsel, 5158, line 6:
2 "I saw the HVO military approaching the
4 Carrying down to line 14:
5 "I carried out my 11-month-old child and I
6 was barefoot. I was holding my daughter with my other
7 hand. They ordered us then to go to my sister-in-law's
8 house, and that is where we were standing, in front of
9 her house, and an HVO soldier entered into my
10 sister-in-law's house. He had a canister in his hand
12 Excuse me. It says in his "house."
13 "He had a canister in his house. There was
14 fuel, maybe some petrol, in it. I heard him banging
15 around the house, turning things over, breaking
17 Turn to the next page, 5159, beginning on
18 line 1.
19 "He said that I could but I had to come back
20 right away. So I went in, and I took them, and I came
21 right out, and I already saw that he had taken the
22 canister and he was pouring whatever it was, it could
23 have been oil or fuel, but he set my sister's house on
24 fire. Then he also did it to my mother-in-law's
25 house. I saw it burning.
1 "Then the HVO soldiers told us to go in front
2 of them. We went to the mekteb and there were a lot of
3 people there."
4 Completing this going down to line 25:
5 "After awhile we saw that everything was on
7 Now, General, this burning was done by troops
8 under your direct command, weren't they?
9 A. This burning was committed by an individual
10 who has his name and surname. Troops under my control
11 never received approval or an order to do something
12 like that. On the contrary. They received opposite
14 Already on the 17th of April, I ordered, in
15 document 318, I think under point 4: "Collect
16 information about the protagonists of house burning and
17 other facilities."
18 So I'm already issuing an order that I be
19 given information. I assert that there is not a single
20 information of this kind that I received without my
21 having reacted to it in keeping with my
23 Q. Now, General, this particular event, the
24 burning of Loncari, took place a day after the village
25 of Ahmici was completely burnt; isn't that right?
1 A. That is right, but we are talking about a
2 specific event and a specific building, and Loncari was
3 a front line. It went through half of the village.
4 This was in the later period. So the front line went
5 through the village.
6 I asked that measures be taken and that this
7 be prevented, but I also asked for them to report back
8 to me. 318, 359, all these documents, these are
9 documents that are evidence here.
10 JUDGE JORDA: I must say I don't understand
11 your answer, General Blaskic. You speak of strategy in
12 the village of Loncari. Do you want to say that if the
13 houses were burnt it was within the framework of a
14 combat operation?
15 A. No. The house that the Honourable Prosecutor
16 spoke of a few moments ago was not burned down in
17 combat operations, but he said that the village of
18 Loncari was burned down and that's what I'm referring
19 to, that the front line went through half of the
20 village of Loncari. That's what I'm saying.
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. General, when Ahmici was burnt down there was
23 no front line through the village of Ahmici, was there?
24 A. I have already said that the only village
25 that was burnt down by a military unit was Ahmici.
1 That is a crime, and that was committed by a military
2 unit. It is certain that this cannot be said as it was
3 done in other areas, one house by one within an entire
5 Q. Well, General, the village of Loncari was
6 burnt to the ground on the 17th of April, wasn't it?
7 A. I do not have such information that it was
8 burnt to the ground, but I do know that this was where
9 the front line was, and I already said that in these
10 various documents that are evidence, I asked for
11 information to be sent by subordinates to me on the
12 burning of these houses.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, let's try to be
14 clear so that the witness can give us a useful answer.
15 Loncari was completely burned or was it the witness's
16 house that was completely burnt? What is it you're
17 putting to the witness?
18 MR. KEHOE: The witness testified, on line
19 25, Mr. President, page 5159: "After awhile we saw
20 that everything was on fire."
21 JUDGE JORDA: Okay. Right. So it's on the
22 basis of this testimony, General Blaskic, that
23 Mr. Kehoe is putting to you that it was not a single
24 house that was burnt but the whole village.
25 MR. HAYMAN: Well, Mr. President, on the next
1 page the witness then describes how the witness went
2 back into the witness's house --
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, may I remind you
4 that General Blaskic is now a witness. He is the
5 accused but also the witness. I was putting the
6 question to him, please.
7 MR. HAYMAN: Please, Your Honour --
8 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, this is not a
9 contradictory debate right now. You will have your
10 right to rejoinder and you will put your question then.
11 MR. HAYMAN: That's fine, but I object to
12 counsel stating that the record is something, in a
13 language the witness cannot review or consult, when it
14 is wrong and it is misleading. That is what I object
16 A. Mr. President?
17 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, General Blaskic.
18 A. The Prosecutor read a text to me where the
19 witness speaks about his house that was burned down. I
20 did not get anything else. The question was related to
21 that text, to the best of my understanding. Perhaps
22 the interpretation I got was not right.
23 JUDGE JORDA: May I remind you, General, that
24 it was -- I want everything to be very clear to you,
25 General Blaskic. May I remind you that I was the one
1 to ask for that detailed explanation by the Prosecution
2 because I wanted things to be clear. It will be the
3 responsibility of your Defence counsel, within their
4 right to rejoinder, to make further statements on that
5 particular issue and, also, you will have more time to
6 look at that particular testimony.
7 Right now I'm concentrating on what Mr. Kehoe
8 has been saying, i.e. that the village of Loncari was
9 completely burned down.
10 Right now I think it would be a good idea to
11 take a 15-minute break, because we have a long morning
12 of work before us. This will enable us, among other
13 things, to take good notice of what the witness said so
14 that we can go on in a useful manner. We'll have a
15 15-minute break.
16 --- Recess taken at 10.40 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 10.58 a.m.
18 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
19 be seated.
20 Mr. Kehoe, I hope that the witness has had
21 enough time to go over the document we were looking at
22 a moment ago. Would you like to put your question to
23 him once again?
24 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Before I do
25 that, in light of comments made prior to the break, I'd
1 like to continue on just briefly with Witness Q's
2 testimony concerning Loncari on the 17th of April, and
3 I am referring to page 5160, beginning on line 7.
4 "A I went to my house to see whether there
5 was anything I could find him so that
6 they --"
7 Talking about her children
8 "-- could eat. I went with my
9 sister-in-law, we were in great fear
10 because everything was on fire, terrible
11 shooting. I went to my house which had
12 already been burnt down. There was
13 nothing that I could find there.
14 I went to my mother-in-law's, to
15 her house, and that house was also on
16 fire, but a found a T-shirt which I put
17 over my nose and my mouth so that I
18 could enter the house, even though it
19 was on fire, it was filled with smoke,
20 but I had to go in and see if I could
21 find anything for my children, for the
22 other children, but no, there was
23 nothing there either. Everything had
24 burned down. There was just a bag with
25 clothing which had started to burn. I
1 took that and I brought it out. I then
2 returned to the mekteb, because
3 everything had burned down and there was
4 nothing to be found there.
5 So for awhile, we were there in
6 fear, and after that, we decided to go
7 in the direction of Vrhovine, and then
8 whatever the fate would give us,
9 whatever would happen to us, because
10 there was nothing for us there, it was
11 over, everything had burned down."
12 Q. Now, General, those were your troops under
13 your command that burnt down that village. Did you go
14 and visit Loncari and see the damage and the burning
15 that they had wrought on that village?
16 A. I did not receive this particular piece of
17 information that I have just heard here. I learnt of
18 it here in the Tribunal for the first time. The
19 information that I received from my subordinate
20 commanders was that there was fighting in the village
21 of Loncari. I never received this kind of information.
22 Q. My question for you was did you go to Loncari
23 after the 17th of April, 1993?
24 A. I did not because I received information that
25 there were combat operations, and I went where I was
1 given information that the fighting was the strongest
2 and that I was most needed. I never got any
3 information until I came here to the courtroom. Had I
4 known about these events and had I received reports
5 about that from my subordinates, quite certainly, I
6 would have gone there.
7 Q. How far is the village of Loncari from the
8 Hotel Vitez?
9 A. I can give you an approximation, perhaps 10
10 to 12 kilometres. Although with combat operations
11 going on, in wartime, that is, the distance doesn't
12 mean a great deal because it depends, first of all,
13 whether you have information and what the priorities
14 are. I behaved according to the information that I
15 would receive from my subordinates, and the reports I
16 received told me that there was fighting not only in
17 Loncari but at almost 25 or 30 other places as well.
18 Q. Now, Loncari is in the Busovaca municipality,
19 isn't it?
20 A. Yes. Loncari is in the Busovaca
22 Q. General, let us move ahead. On the 19th of
23 April, were the military police still attached to you
24 for combat activities?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Let us turn to the testimony of Ibrahim
2 Nuhagic from the village of Ocehnici in Busovaca. I
3 read to you from page 5217 concerning the events of the
4 19th, starting on line 14:
5 "A We were there until February, and then
6 we were let go, we were allowed to go
7 back home and most of us decided to
8 return to our homes. We were told that
9 nobody would bother us. Until April
10 1993, it was like that and so we even
11 started to work on our fields. Sometime
12 in the afternoon, the HVO soldiers
13 simply walked in the village. We had
14 nothing at that time and there was
15 nobody to put up any resistance and we
16 could not do anything, because we were
17 under HVO control. They started burning
18 and killing whoever they could reach."
19 On page 5222, the witness, on line 3, notes
20 that this event took place on the 19th of April, and on
21 page 5235, line 20:
22 "Q Mr. Nuhagic, did you also learn that
23 the actual attack on your village was
24 ordered by Pasko Ljubicic?
25 A I learned that Pasko Ljubicic was the
1 leader of the group."
2 Now, Pasko Ljubicic, General, is the same
3 commander of the 4th Military Police Battalion who
4 participated with his troops in the attack on Ahmici;
5 isn't that right?
6 A. Yes, but that military police was attached to
7 me. I did not issue the order for attack on the
8 village of Ocehnici. According to information received
9 by me for the 19th of April, the combat activities were
10 taking place in the Busovaca municipality region, and
11 we were exposed to the strongest possible attack in the
12 whole of the war. It was the day when we had the
13 greatest losses and the heaviest fighting. I spoke
14 about the system of attachment, that that meant
15 retaining a dual line chain of command.
16 Q. Well, the whole village of Ocehnici was burnt
17 to the ground, wasn't it, General?
18 A. I heard the testimony here in the courtroom.
19 I do not bring that testimony into question, but on the
20 19th of April, I did not receive any information about
21 the burning of the village of Ocehnici. What I did
22 receive was information about combat activities in the
23 Busovaca municipality.
24 Q. This village was burnt to the ground by
25 troops that were under your command; isn't that right?
1 A. Well, the troops, if you're talking about the
2 military police, were attached to me. Therefore, I did
3 have the right to give them assignments, but I never
4 issued an assignment of that kind. They could have
5 received an assignment of that kind from their direct
6 superiors, which was the head office of the military
7 police and their superiors in Mostar. When a unit is
8 attached, it retains its structure.
9 Q. Let us return to another report, and we are
10 going to focus back and go back to Busovaca.
11 MR. KEHOE: If I can, Mr. Usher, I'd like to
12 hand this report out.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 678, 678A
14 for the English version.
15 MR. KEHOE:
16 Q. General, this is a report dated the 2nd of
17 March, 1993, some six weeks prior to the events that
18 took place in Ahmici and elsewhere.
19 JUDGE JORDA: What is the precise date of
20 that document, Mr. Kehoe? Sorry.
21 MR. KEHOE: The 2nd of March, 1993.
22 JUDGE JORDA: March. I see. Thank you very
23 much. I'm sorry.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. This is a mixed committee from both the
1 Bosnian Muslims and from the HVO concerning -- this is
2 a "Mixed Committee for the Registry of Destroyed and
3 Damaged Buildings" concerning the Municipality of
5 "Report: On 28 February 1993 and 1 and 2
6 March 1993, the Mixed Committee for the Registry of
7 Destroyed and Damaged buildings /illegible/ war
8 operations visited the territory under HVO control and
9 concluded the following:
10 "1. In the inspected territories (D.
11 Solakovici, town of Busovaca, Buselji, Podkula,
12 Sajkovici, Kovacevac) the Committee noted the damage of
13 112 buildings. Of that number, 53 were burned down and
14 the rest were damaged and destroyed. /several words
15 illegible/. 17 buildings can /illegible/ minor
16 repairs /illegible/. Destroyed and damaged business
17 premises /illegible/ can be repaired promptly."
18 The first section, and let us go through
19 this, General, deals with torched facilities. The
20 first name is illegible, but the last name "Causevic,"
21 is that a Muslim name, General?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. "Ekmescic," is that a Muslim name?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. "Hamdo Ibreljic," a Muslim name?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. To the bottom of that page, looking at all
3 those names that you can recognise, all of those are
4 Muslim names, aren't they?
5 A. Well, yes of course, because it was probably
6 a Muslim village in which the committee went to visit.
7 Q. Let us turn to the next page and start from
8 the top. Virtually all of those names are Muslim
9 names, aren't they, if not all of them?
10 A. Not all of them are those names, but most of
11 them are Muslim names, as far as I was able to look
12 through them, but did you have any other question?
13 Q. Yes. How many are not Muslim names? Tell us
14 the names.
15 A. Safradin Anto, Satradin Anto once again,
16 Safradin Milenko, a weekend cottage owner Branko.
17 Q. Now, the Safradin name could very well be a
18 mixed-marriage name; isn't that right?
19 A. Safradin is a name -- that is to say, it is a
20 surname. The name is Anto and the second first name is
21 Anto, so I was guided by the first name. The third
22 Safradin Milenko, that is true, that name again.
23 Q. Well, continue on that sheet. We have three
24 potentially non-Muslim houses burnt. Just continue on
25 that list on page 2.
1 A. On page 4 I see a property owned by Bilic
2 Boro from Busovaca. I think that the name "Boro" is
3 not a Muslim name.
4 Q. Now, General, those four names that you talk
5 about being Croat names, the rest of these properties
6 that were destroyed, burnt, and destroyed in part and
7 whole, and burnt, virtually all of these properties
8 Bosnian Muslim properties in the municipality of
9 Busovaca; isn't that right?
10 A. In this document that is right. In point 1
11 it says: "In areas where the committee checked the
13 I'm looking at this document for the first
14 time. I never had occasion to see it previously. It
15 is a document written by the civilian authorities. But
16 the mixed committee of the 3rd Corps and the Operative
17 Zone of Central Bosnia, led by international monitors
18 and UNPROFOR, also sent out their own reports and
19 listed -- made up lists of the properties destroyed or
20 damaged. I insisted that this work be continued for us
21 to be able to ascertain the real state of affairs and
22 the consequences of the January conflict.
23 Also on page 4, it is stated that the
24 committee did not complete its work and that it would
25 continue in the course of March 1993.
1 The only other thing, the stamp is once again
2 a civilian authority stamp.
3 Q. Now, the stamp that is on there is an HVO
4 stamp; isn't it?
5 A. Yes, yes. It is the civilian authority.
6 That's precisely what I said. The civilian
7 authorities, which after every conflict, set up
8 parallel committees of their own which would go and
9 make lists of the facilities and repair the properties
10 for people to be able to take up residence there,
11 because all those who were left had to live somewhere.
12 The civilian authorities functioned
13 throughout. They would make up lists of this kind and
14 repair destroyed properties. Parallel to that was the
15 mixed commission of the 3rd Corps and the Operative
16 Zone, with Mr. Nakic and Mr. Merdan.
17 Q. Now, General, you noted that this is a
18 civilian document but the heading of this document,
19 does it not say the "HVO command of the Central Bosnia
20 Operative Zone"? Does it not say that at the top of
22 MR. HAYMAN: That's the fax line.
23 MR. KEHOE: That's what I'm talking about.
24 The fax, the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, with your
25 fax number. I'm talking about -- maybe I wasn't clear
1 enough. I apologise, counsel.
2 Q. The fax number at the top is the Central
3 Bosnia Operative Zone, with your telephone number. Now
4 you've noted that you've never seen this document
5 before but it was, in fact, either sent from --
6 apparently sent from your headquarters.
7 A. I said that I had not seen this document and
8 I say that again. I never saw the document. It is a
9 document of a civilian service, and I believe it was
10 received by Mr. Franjo Nakic, who was a member on
11 behalf of the Operative Zone, a member of the joint
12 committee. We can see that the document was sent to
13 the 3rd Corps and received by the 3rd Corps. It states
14 exactly the number.
15 I can see this is a correspondence between
16 Franjo Nakic and Dzemo Merdan, in fact, who were the
17 representatives of the joint committee. This is a
18 partial -- these data were combined by Dzemo Merdan and
19 Franjo Nakic, and was presented to me, and the
20 commander of the 3rd Corps, Mr. Thebault, and Colonel
21 Stewart at the meetings of the joint committee and the
22 joint command in March 1993.
23 Q. Now, General, aside from this report are you
24 aware of any other reports that deal with this
25 destruction of buildings, homes, and businesses in
2 A. I spoke about the documents at the meetings
3 that I attended when they were presented to us, when
4 this kind of information was presented to us.
5 Everything that happened in the villages of the
6 Busovaca municipality, the joint committee would
7 collect information and data. It would systematise
8 that and at the meetings of the joint command those
9 data were presented by Franjo Nakic and Dzemo Merdan.
10 I never saw this document before.
11 JUDGE JORDA: I don't think any of this is
12 contested, so I think you can move forward, Mr. Kehoe.
13 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
14 Q. General, with regard to this particular
15 document, of course, we are talking about damage to
16 buildings and destruction of buildings, as it notes in
17 the outset, in territory under HVO control.
18 This morning, starting in Busovaca or, excuse
19 me, in Kiseljak with the Mijo Bozic order to burn, and
20 in Gornji Vakuf with a record of the commander there to
21 burn, and then with Mario Cerkez's threat to burn, and
22 with all the burning that was going around the Central
23 Bosnia area, my question for you, General, is: It
24 would appear clear that there was a concerted policy of
25 the HVO to burn down the houses of Bosnian Muslims,
1 isn't that right, sir?
2 A. I have already said that there was never an
3 order issued to any single unit, nor did I receive
4 information that a unit had come to a village in an
5 organised fashion and burnt down the buildings.
6 The situation in Gornji Vakuf was fighting in
7 a populated area. I do not have information on that.
8 In Kiseljak, the commands issued by Bozic was
9 not put into effect. I myself, unfortunately, did not
10 receive information apart from the information related
11 to Ahmici when I did, in fact, react.
12 As far as this kind of report is concerned,
13 they were dual reports, that is to say, the members of
14 the joint committee would submit reports to us, and
15 according to the chairman dictating the tempo, that is
16 how I and the commander of the 3rd Corps reacted, most
17 frequently by issuing orders that there be a cessation
18 to actions leading to destruction and so on.
19 Q. General --
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I understand
21 the question to be this: Apart altogether from the
22 question what orders were given to what units and
23 whether any orders were given to burn houses, do you
24 know, as a fact, whether Muslim houses were being burnt
25 by the HVO? If you knew that, would you say that there
1 was a coherent or concerted policy for the HVO to burn
2 down Muslim houses?
3 That's how I understand the question.
4 A. I am not aware of the fact that an
5 orchestrated policy existed for Muslim houses to be
6 burnt down because, Your Honour, in January 1993 when I
7 was in Kiseljak, there is not a single Muslim -- there
8 was not a single Muslim house that had been burnt but
9 Croatian houses had been burnt in Bilalovac, but that
10 was no reason for an HVO soldier to burn down a single
11 Muslim house in Kiseljak.
12 We do not have any report of this kind from
13 Bilalovac because the joint committee led by Dzemo
14 Merdan and Franjo Nakic, that is to say, the supreme
15 committee, was not able to enter Bilalovac. But the
16 houses were, nevertheless, burnt. So that no policy
18 I had my doubts that among those burning
19 houses there were soldiers too, but I did not receive
20 information. For example, the concrete case of Loncari
21 mentioned and the event that is profoundly moving, the
22 testimony by Witness Q, I had heard Witness Q here in
23 this Tribunal, I did receive information there was
24 fighting there, combat operations there, and at
25 meetings -- I believe that the minutes exist of this,
1 of the 25th of February, asked that a joint committee
2 go to tour all the villages and to collect information
3 of this kind for us to be able to ask the assistance of
4 the civilian authorities to put things right.
5 Sometime around the 5th of February, there
6 was some ten properties that had been burnt. In the
7 period later on, there was more burning. This went on
8 for days, and weeks, and even months. As I said, the
9 burning usually took place during the night.
10 Apart from that, we had 35.000 refugees
11 without anything in the world to their name. I was
12 watching the Kosovo reports. They didn't come with
13 tractors. They came carrying little bags in their
14 hands. They had to withdraw with because of the civil
15 war between the HVO and the TO.
16 The Gornji Vakuf area is quite different from
17 the Vitez and Kiseljak regions. In each environment,
18 completely different things were going on all the
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: All right. Thank you,
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Now, General, during the course of the time
24 when you were the commander of the Central Bosnia
25 Operative Zone, can you give us the name of one HVO
1 soldier who was arrested for burning down a Muslim
2 house, one?
3 A. Well, you see, several days ago I discussed
4 this question. I spoke about the issue. There is no
5 commander of the Operative Group who in his notebook
6 had the name jotted down of one particular soldier.
7 In the former JNA, that is to say, I had to
8 work several levels lower. I had to see what
9 commanders of the battalions were doing. But I was
10 setting up a system by which to prevent that burning.
11 First all, by prohibiting activities of this kind and
12 been cautioning people that this was --
13 JUDGE JORDA: General, you've told us about
14 all this, but here the question is very direct. Can
15 you give us the name of one HVO soldier who was
16 arrested for burning down a Muslim house? That is the
17 question. Can you answer it?
18 A. Soldiers. If -- that is to say, if
19 information was received, then that particular soldier
20 was prosecuted. A criminal report would come in and
21 then he would be prosecuted.
22 JUDGE JORDA: General, could you please try
23 to answer the question put to you? Can you name one
24 HVO soldier who was arrested for burning down a Muslim
25 house? Maybe you know. Maybe you don't know. Maybe
1 the system did not imply that you would not be informed
2 of such an act. But this is not semantics. Could you
3 try to answer the questions put to you?
4 Can you give us the name of one HVO soldier
5 who was arrested for burning down a Muslim house?
6 That's it. That's all we're asking of you for the
7 moment being, at least.
8 A. At the moment I don't have the name and
9 surname of any soldier for me to be able to answer that
10 question, but I do know that disciplinary measures were
11 taken and that perpetrators were punished, but I don't
12 have a list of all the soldiers and conscripts here
13 with me.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. Then, I guess, during
15 their right to rejoinder your Defence counsels will
16 make that point once again.
17 All right. Mr. Kehoe, you can move on.
18 MR. KEHOE:
19 Q. General, you mentioned a different issue, and
20 that was the issue of the discipline. You, as the
21 commanding officer of the Central Bosnia Operative
22 Zone, had had overall responsibility over the military
23 disciplinary courts, didn't you?
24 A. Over the military disciplinary courts? I did
25 have powers over them, and in the Operative Zone of
1 Central Bosnia, I believe throughout the HVO, I believe
2 it is -- or, rather, if you look at the entire HVO, I'm
3 sure that military disciplinary courts were first
4 formed in Central Bosnia.
5 I always sought the advice of lawyers, and I
6 wanted my superior -- my subordinate officers to become
7 familiar with the work of military disciplinary
8 courts. We studied this together, and we had lectures
10 Q. General, we have received numerous documents
11 from the Defence concerning the imposition of military
12 discipline, and none of those documents contain any
13 discipline meted out to a soldier for burning of a
14 Muslim house. Isn't that a fact?
15 A. But I think that in the rules on military
16 discipline it says quite clearly when disciplinary
17 action is taken and who takes disciplinary action.
18 I think that this is something that is quite
19 clear in the rules and regulations or, rather, burning
20 houses is not a disciplinary offence. This is a
21 crime. The way we were trained, the way I was trained
22 at the military academy, that is a far graver thing and
23 one is subject to the law on criminal procedure,
24 whereas disciplinary action is taken by platoon
25 commanders, company commanders, battalion commanders,
1 brigade commanders, and commanders of Operative Zones,
2 and they have a certain span, depending on the
3 disciplinary offence committed.
4 It's not a disciplinary offence if a soldier
5 comes up and burns a house down. That is a crime, and
6 there is a crime investigation service within the
7 military police to take care of that. They are
8 supposed to submit a criminal report to the district
9 military court.
10 I do not have jurisdiction in criminal
11 procedure, according to the law on criminal procedure,
12 unless I get the name and surname of the soldier.
13 JUDGE JORDA: What department, what criminal
14 department, are you talking about, General, please?
15 A. Mr. President, if the perpetrator of a crime
16 is a soldier, then it is the crime department of the
17 military police that looks into this, that is to say,
18 that this kind of a department exists within the
19 military police, and they prevent and investigate
20 crime. It is a disciplinary offence if a soldier gets
22 JUDGE JORDA: Where can this department be
23 found? Where is it located?
24 A. It was attached to the 4th Battalion of the
25 military police. The commander of the 4th Battalion of
1 the military police had a co-worker of his who is head
2 of the department of the crime investigation service,
3 and he only deals with crimes, whereas the discipline
4 of soldiers is something that the platoon commander is
5 supposed to deal with. He has a book, we called it the
6 report book.
7 That is where it says that Marko Markovic, a
8 soldier, got drunk, and the consequences were not very
9 grave, that is to say, the soldier got drunk.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, can we try to make
11 this as clear as possible? We, the Judges, are relying
12 on your questions and maybe also on the Defence
13 counsel's questions to well understand this issue,
14 because the witness is putting to us a very theoretical
15 theory, and what we, the Judges, are interested in is
16 the translation, in fact, of this theory when a house
17 is burnt by a soldier who is under the orders of a
18 certain commandment, we want to know exactly what is
19 supposed to happen. Can you try to put a very precise
20 question to the witness on that, please?
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. General, it is a fact, is it not, that if a
23 soldier commits a crime, there are two available
24 punishments he can receive: He can receive a criminal
25 punishment and he can receive a military disciplinary
1 punishment from you, which includes removal from
2 military service. He can receive both of them, can't
3 he? If you want to examine the Narodni Lists on the
4 issue, we can do that as well.
5 A. I was trained and I worked in a different way
6 all my life. I can give a brief answer to that. If a
7 soldier commits a crime, and if I have the name and
8 surname of this person, Marko Markovic, a soldier,
9 committed a crime, then I inform the crime service of
10 the military police or I, myself, file a criminal
11 report with the district military prosecutor at the
12 district military court. Then it is the prosecutor in
13 the military court who decides, irrespective of me,
14 whether he is going to prosecute or not. If he is not
15 going to initiate criminal proceedings, then the
16 prosecutor takes this file and returns it to me and
17 says, "This soldier, Marko Markovic, is supposed to
18 receive disciplinary punishment of 60 days," but that
19 is the decision of the prosecutor, if he committed a
21 Just one more thing. What would it be like
22 if a soldier burned a house down, committed a crime, if
23 his platoon commander gave him three days in custody?
24 I've never heard of anything like that.
25 MR. KEHOE: Your Honours, I refer Your
1 Honours to Article 29 of the Narodni Lists -- this is
2 not the Narodni Lists; this is the Rules on Military
3 Discipline of the Narodni Lists which reflect
4 that: "When an officer establishes that a breach of
5 military discipline is also a punishable act, the case
6 shall be handed to the authorised prosecutor through
7 official channels. If it is in the interest of the
8 service, the officer shall also undertake measures to
9 initiate proceedings," disciplinary proceedings.
10 Q. Now, General, you would agree that removing
11 soldiers who burn Bosnian Muslim houses from military
12 service is in the interests of the HVO, isn't it?
13 A. Well, certainly. As far as the removal of
14 soldiers who burn down houses are concerned, you have
15 my orders of the 17th of January when I'm asking for
16 names, I want names to be identified, and I want to get
17 rid of such soldiers. But, Your Honours, it is very
18 important to understand this, to see what a
19 disciplinary infraction is, what a disciplinary offence
20 is, and what a crime is. What I heard in the
21 Honourable Prosecutor's question, he was talking about
22 a disciplinary infraction. I'm not a lawyer, that is
23 different from a crime, but I've been trained between a
24 disciplinary offence, a disciplinary infraction, and a
25 crime. There are three kinds of offences.
1 Q. General, give us the name of one HVO soldier
2 who was removed from military service, in any fashion,
3 removed from military service for burning Bosnian
4 Muslim houses. Give us the name of one.
5 A. I already told this Honourable Court that I
6 was at the level of commander of an Operative Zone. I
7 did not have an inventory of names. I already said
8 that if I look at the first three months, I can only
9 see the figure of 92 crimes having been committed in my
10 Operative Zone. Among these 92 crimes, I believe that
11 there might have been such crimes too, but I didn't
12 look into that because this was up to the district
13 military court.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
15 MR. KEHOE:
16 Q. Let us continue, General. In June of 1994,
17 you took command of an operation called Operation Pauk
18 which you say you wanted to expand to investigate and
19 prosecute war crimes. Do you recall that testimony in
20 response to questions by my learned colleague,
21 Mr. Nobilo?
22 A. Yes, I remember that statement.
23 Q. During your zealous investigation and
24 prosecution of war crimes, give us the name of one HVO
25 soldier who was prosecuted under Operation Pauk for the
1 burning of Bosnian Muslim houses in the Central Bosnia
2 Operative Zone. Give us the name of one.
3 A. You see, again, you're putting a question to
4 me that pertains to a name. I was head of the
5 operation called Pauk, and we were looking into all
6 forms of unlawfulness. We also wanted to have a
7 broader basis for looking into war crimes. I had
8 assistants who each had their own line of work, and
9 they worked as best they could under the
10 circumstances. But I did not have a list of individual
11 names concerning these details. This is a big file and
12 everybody has work of his own. Because military courts
13 are not under military commanders.
14 Q. Let us complete our analysis of the state of
15 affairs in Busovaca as we move into late January 1993.
16 Leaving off from the Mijo Bozic order from the 27th of
17 January, let us turn finally to Prosecutor's Exhibit
19 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, this is an
20 under-seal document. It should not be placed on the
21 ELMO. Is this a Defence exhibit or Prosecution?
22 MR. KEHOE: Prosecution. Excuse me, Counsel,
23 if I can ask for a clarification. Your records reflect
24 that this is an under-seal document? For us, it does
1 MR. HAYMAN: D472 is under seal. We'll check
3 MR. KEHOE: Okay. Our records don't reflect
4 it as such, Judge, but it's better to check, and if we
5 can just check one more time.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Let's make sure.
7 THE REGISTRAR: No. This is a public
9 JUDGE JORDA: If this is a public document,
10 then we will remain in open session. Can we see this
11 document, please? I have your document, Mr. Registrar,
12 your copy. All right.
13 Mr. Kehoe, does the witness have the document
14 before him?
15 MR. KEHOE: I believe so, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Very well.
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. General, this is a document that was written
19 to you by your chief of staff, Franjo Nakic. Let us
20 reflect on the state of affairs in Busovaca, and if we
21 could turn to the second page, Mr. Usher, under
23 "Implementation of conclusions from
25 "Mr. Stewart said that he did not blame any
1 side for the violation of the cease-fire, but the
2 reports he received indicated that it was the HVO who
3 were the ones who started it."
4 The comments of Mr. Fleming:
5 "When attempting to stop the fighting,
6 Mr. Fleming was denied access Busovaca by the HVO; he
7 had to remain outside as he was not allowed to enter
8 the town.
9 "His vehicle was shot at an HVO checkpoint.
10 "The BH Army gave him its full cooperation.
11 "Mr. Stewart made the comment that God had
12 saved him from a mortar shell fired by the HVO (it came
13 from the HVO side).
14 "Mr. Fleming was full of praise for the 3rd
15 Corps Command, I quote: 'They are doing great things
16 for peace.' He has evidence, even in writing as they
17 send correspondence in English and meet him on a daily
18 basis. The BH Army has submitted lists of Croatian
19 prisoners held in Zenica and Kacuni. They have also
20 given him permission in writing to visit prisoners
21 while the HVO has not done anything and will not allow
22 visits to prisoners."
23 General, you were aware of these facts while
24 you were in Kiseljak on the 30th of January, 1993,
25 weren't you?
1 A. I believe that I received this report, but it
2 is quite clear from this report that I was isolated,
3 blocked in Kiseljak and that I was not meeting
4 Mr. Fleming every day. On the 30th of January, I
5 didn't even know him, that is to say, I was sealed off
6 in Kiseljak. But in my order, already from the 27th of
7 January, I ordered that all prisoners be released in
8 keeping with the regulations of the International Red
10 However, may I comment on this document? On
11 page 2, where Mr. Merdan is mentioned in relation to
12 the shelling of Zenica, because yesterday we talked
13 about the shelling of Merdani and another village --
14 Q. Excuse me, General. We can discuss those
15 during redirect examination. My next question on this
16 score is this: You were informed on the 30th of
17 January that your troops were not cooperating with
18 international agencies and also were preventing them
19 from visiting prisoners; isn't that right?
20 A. No, that is not right. Already on the
21 26th -- on the 25th of January in the morning, I asked
22 the UNPROFOR headquarters for Bosnia-Herzegovina in
23 Kiseljak to mediate in the organisation of a meeting
24 between myself and the commander of the 3rd Corps, and,
25 indeed, that is what they did. But on the 26th of
1 January, 1993, instead of the commander of the 3rd
2 Corps, Dzemo Merdan arrived. The problem was that I
3 believed that Mr. Fleming did not even know that I was
4 isolated and cut off from my command and that I could
5 not give operative orders to the forces in Vitez and
6 Busovaca. I did not have any communications. I was
7 totally cut off in Kiseljak. I believed that I would
8 have been at this meeting in Vitez, not my chief of
9 staff, had I been in a position to come or had I been
11 Q. During this period of time, you were in
12 contact with Dario Kordic, weren't you?
13 A. In telephone contact with the commander of
14 the brigades in Busovaca and with Dario Kordic, yes, I
15 was. In that period, yes.
16 Q. Let us reflect once again on Prosecutor's
17 Exhibit 629. This is a document that we spoke of
18 previously, General, of 2 February, 1993, a press
19 release by the Party for Democratic Action, the Muslim
20 party in Vitez. We'll reference the date. The date is
21 2 February, 1993, and it notes that:
22 "In an interview with Dario Kordic, the
23 vice-president of the so-called HZ /Croatian Community/
24 of Herceg-Bosna, aired on HZ Herceg-Bosna TV for Studio
25 Vitez on 1 February 1993, it was stated among other
1 things that both the Muslims and Bosnia and Herzegovina
2 will cease to exist."
3 I'd like to direct our attention to the
4 actual video and translation of those particular
5 comments as elicited or enunciated by Mr. Kordic.
6 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Registrar, this, of course,
7 is the tape that was placed with the video booth.
8 THE REGISTRAR: As for the tape, it will be
9 Prosecution Exhibit 679, and the transcript of that
10 same tape will be Exhibit 679/1 for the B/C/S version
11 and 679/2 for the English version.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Do you want to have this tape
13 played, Mr. Kehoe?
14 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. It's just
15 several minutes long.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. Mr. Kehoe, do the booths
17 have a transcript of this tape?
18 MR. KEHOE: I have some extra copies,
19 Mr. President. I can do that.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. I think it's best to
21 proceed in that way before playing the tape.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. I would also like to
23 correct what I said. Exhibit 679/1 is the B/C/S
24 version, 679/2 for the French version, as I have just
25 seen that there's a French version, and 679/3 for the
1 English version.
2 MR. KEHOE: In the booth, if we could rewind
3 that, please, just to start from the beginning, I would
4 appreciate that.
5 JUDGE JORDA: I will remind everybody that I
6 do have a French version of what is about to be played,
7 and I thank you for that, Mr. Kehoe, but I think it
8 will also allow the interpreters to go about this more
10 All right. I think every booth now has its
11 own copy of the transcript, so do the Judges, so the
12 technician's booth can start playing the tape. Thank
14 (Videotape played)
15 THE INTERPRETER: (Voiceover)
16 "JOURNALIST: In Central Bosnia and Busovaca
17 "DARIO KORDIC: Today, while we are talking,
18 General Morillon is discussing several
19 issues with the two highest commanders
20 for Central Bosnia in Vitez: HVO
21 Commander of the Operations Area in
22 Central Bosnia, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic,
23 and the war criminal, Commander of the
24 3rd Muslim Corps, Enver Hadzihasanovic.
25 The HVO is asking that the cease-fire
1 agreement signed two days ago be
2 respected, roads for humanitarian
3 convoys opened, which have already been
4 agreed. The HVO is asking that
5 telephone lines for Busovaca which the
6 Zenica local authorities have
7 disconnected be reconnected. The HVO is
8 asking power be turned on. Other
9 agreeable issues are being discussed. I
10 am certain that our side will be
11 cooperative, and our men have been given
12 the order not to fire a single bullet.
13 Furthermore, we will not return fire if
14 our positions are shelled. Should there
15 be infantry attacks, we will certainly
16 defend ourselves. However, I have to
17 express my personal suspicions as
18 regards Muslim forces. I am not certain
19 that the Muslim forces will not attempt
20 to play the same scenario - if not in
21 Busovaca, then in some other area -
22 within the next ten or fifteen days.
23 The reason is that, apparently, they
24 have chosen a war option by refusing to
25 negotiate in Geneva under the given
1 conditions. They want to seize as much
2 territory as possible to the detriment
3 of the Croatian population because they
4 realised they failed to seize territory
5 from the Serb aggressor. They believe
6 it is easier with the Croats and that
7 this is feasible. To their deep regret,
8 I am once again warning the Muslim
9 population: 'Do not play with fire. If
10 you attack other municipalities, not
11 only that there will be no
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but there will be no
13 Muslims left.'
14 "JOURNALIST: Mr. Kordic, thank you
15 "MR. KORDIC: Thank you too."
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. Now, General, this conversation or this
18 interview with Kordic is taking place while you are in
19 Vitez at the British Battalion talking to General
20 Morillon; isn't that right?
21 A. That is right. But may I just explain how
22 this came about, how come I was in Vitez and how come
23 the meeting was called with General Morillon chairing
24 it? That is an essential point. When I saw that the
25 agreement of the 27th of January, 1993 was not being
1 implemented, I personally requested and demanded that
2 General Morillon extend his assistance to me and to
3 mediate between me, as the commander, and the commander
4 of the 3rd Corps, to hold another meeting so as to
5 agree upon the implementation of what we had previously
6 agreed upon, that is to say, the agreement of the 27th
7 of January, 1993. I asked for and initiated that
8 meeting and I was taken to the meeting, transported by
9 the U.N. forces to the U.N. base in Vitez.
10 Q. General, at this time, Dario Kordic is the
11 senior political official in Central Bosnia; isn't that
13 A. Yes, Dario Kordic was the top political
14 official in Central Bosnia.
15 Q. He issues a threat to the Bosnian Muslims
16 that if there is any additional attack on other
17 municipalities, there will neither be any Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina, nor will there be any Muslims. My
19 question for you is, General, these are not comments
20 that would promote peaceful negotiations, would they?
21 A. Of course, they are not comments which it is
22 pleasant to hear or which are desirable. But you see
23 here, we have one situation in Busovaca where there is
24 a conflict. In Vitez, from the document you gave me,
25 629, a joint government is being talked about and a
1 unified MUP, and the Muslims have every protection. So
2 in three municipalities, with a space of ten kilometres
3 between them, we have different situations. In one,
4 fighting; in another, complete protection; in the
5 third, an agreement to transcend tensions in Busovaca.
6 So three municipalities within a range of ten
7 kilometres and radically different situations in each
8 one of them.
9 Q. General, once again, we have a situation
10 where one arm of the HVO is negotiating for the
11 cessation of hostilities and the other arm
12 simultaneously is threatening the entire elimination of
13 the Bosnian Muslim population in the area; isn't that
15 A. The civilian part and the message we heard, I
16 already said that that is a sort of threat but that it
17 was not -- that I was not bound by any statements made
18 by politicians. I had my chain of command from the
19 main staff.
20 However, from the entire context, talks are
21 mentioned here and everything else, what was happening
22 in Vitez and so on in the document that you gave us.
23 The document is number 679/3. As I say, there were
24 different statements made by different politicians.
25 Q. Well, let us go and continue on in Busovaca
1 and study the condition of the Muslims shortly after
2 this statement in mid-February.
3 MR. KEHOE: If I can go to this next
4 document, Mr. Usher. This is a military information
5 summary, Mr. President, Your Honours, of the British
6 Battalion --
7 JUDGE JORDA: One question, General Blaskic.
8 Mr. Kordic is not any political leader, and you were,
9 in a sense, subordinated to him, weren't you?
10 A. No, Mr. President, I was not subordinated to
11 him at all.
12 JUDGE JORDA:
13 Q. But when we listen to you, we have the
14 impression that Mr. Kordic, the political leader is
15 saying something whereas you, the military man, you are
16 doing much as you please.
17 A. Mr. President, I was working exclusively
18 according to the commands of the chief of the main
19 staff of the HVO.
20 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Thank you very
21 much. Mr. Kehoe, you may continue.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 680.
23 MR. KEHOE:
24 Q. Now, General, this is a military information
25 summary of 11 February, 1993, and if I could go to the
1 third page, Mr. Usher, under "Busovaca."
2 Now, General, this is ten days after Kordic's
3 statements, and I read you as follows, in point 5,
5 "The HVO Brigade in Busovaca is now
6 commanded by Dusko Grubesic. The previous commander is
7 reported to have moved to the HVO Brigade in Zepce.
8 Reports from 1 Cheshire LO," that means liaison
9 officer, "indicates that the Muslims living within
10 Busovaca are subject to a strict curfew and are
11 basically housebound within their own community."
12 Is that true, General?
13 A. I have already stated that I was not in a
14 position, operationally speaking, to issue commands and
15 monitor the situation in Busovaca because I was
16 isolated. It was not the commander of the HVO Brigade
17 from Busovaca that was replaced. He could not take up
18 his duties at all.
19 That is to say, on the 21st of January, 1993,
20 after a regular meeting, the commander of the brigade
21 from Busovaca asked me for him to go to visit his
22 family, to go off on a weekend. He went to Zepce. And
23 you go to Zepce via Zenica. When the conflict broke
24 out, he was not able to return to take up his duties in
25 Busovaca again. He was not able to do so because the
1 BH army would not have allowed him to do so, and it was
2 in control of Zenica. That is an indicator of the
3 extent to which we find ourselves caught up by all the
4 events in Busovaca.
5 So the commander of Busovaca was isolated in
6 Zepce, where I myself was isolated in Kiseljak.
7 Q. General, you were getting information from
8 your chief of staff, Franjo Nakic, that we saw in
9 Prosecutor's 472, were you not?
10 A. I was receiving daily reports, but I don't
11 see a stamp here when this was received. Sometimes
12 they would be as much as two days late. And I said
13 operative command, in real-time, I was not able to carry
14 out in the Busovaca and Vitez areas.
15 I did receive a report on the 26th of January
16 which spoke about the lack of communication between
17 Kiseljak and Vitez.
18 Q. So my question for you, General, is: For the
19 Muslims population as of the 11th of February or
20 thereafter, were the Muslims subject to a strict curfew
21 and basically housebound in their own community?
22 That's a fact; isn't it?
23 A. I have said that information of this kind did
24 not reach me except for summaries of daily information
25 on combat activities.
1 Q. Well, let's turn to information that you told
2 us about. You told us, General, that on the 2nd of
3 March of 1993, you were informed that 60 per cent of
4 the Muslims wanted to leave the Kiseljak municipality.
5 Do you recall telling us that?
6 The page reference, for record-keeping
7 purposes is 18339.
8 Do you recall that, General?
9 A. Of course I recall that. It was a report
10 from the civilian authorities and the council for
11 national defence of Kiseljak. I believe that the
12 reason for the concern on the part of the Muslims was
13 that on the territory of the Kiseljak municipality and
14 the local community of Bilalovac, there had been a
15 persecution of Croats, and in the area a new
16 municipality was being set up which was under the
17 leadership of the wartime presidency composed of
18 Bosniak Muslims from the Kiseljak region.
19 I believe that the Bosniak Muslim people in
20 the Kiseljak municipality became worried as to how the
21 civilian and other HVO authorities would react to
22 conduct of this kind when in one municipality another
23 municipality was, in fact, being formed, but, luckily,
24 those 60 per cent of Bosniak Muslims did not leave.
25 Q. General, let us shift gears for one moment
1 and take a look again at Prosecutor's Exhibit 657.
2 That is the order of President Jadranko Prlic of the
3 15th of January, 1993.
4 Now, we have looked at this document
5 previously, General, and I want to focus your attention
6 on paragraph 1 especially. I take that back.
7 Paragraph 1 and 2, where it reads:
8 "1. All units of the Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 army currently in regions 3, 8, and 10, which were
10 proclaimed Croatian in the Geneva agreements, are
11 subordinate to the command of the main headquarters of
12 the HVO armed forces.
13 "2. All units of the HVO armed forces
14 currently in regions 1, 5, and 9, which were proclaimed
15 Muslim in the Geneva agreements, are subordinate to the
16 command of the General staff of the Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina army command."
18 Now, with regard to those two provisions,
19 what does this order contemplate?
20 A. I have already spoken about this decision,
21 and especially this order in document 657. I said that
22 I had seen it for the first time in the courtroom. It
23 never reached me.
24 For me it has no importance. I acted
25 according to orders from the chief of the main staff.
1 Q. Sorry. General, I understand that. I'm
2 talking about what does this order contemplate? As you
3 read this order, as a military man, what does this
4 order contemplate?
5 If you don't understand that question, I will
7 A. Both sides subordination of HVO units and the
8 BH army, that is to say, that the units of the BH army,
9 in provinces 3, 8, and 10 should be subordinated to the
10 command of the main staff of the armed forces and that
11 the units of the armed forces of the HVO in provinces
12 1, 5, and 9 be subordinated to the command of the
13 General staff of the BH army. However, for my
14 Operative Zone that could not be implemented. There is
15 no commander who, under such circumstances, would be
16 able to implement such a thing.
17 Q. So, General, suffice it to say that the
18 bottom line is that this order contemplates that BH
19 army units in regions 3, 8, and 10 would be placed
20 under HVO command and HVO units in 1, 5, and 9 would be
21 placed under BiH command. Is that your understanding?
22 A. Yes. With the proviso that this is on the
23 basis of the order of the Minister of Defence of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Bozo Rajic.
25 Q. This particular order is a subordination
1 order; isn't it?
2 A. Yes. This order is about subordination and
3 not attachment.
4 Q. Now, let us discuss -- we talked about the
5 events during January of Busovaca, and we talked about
6 the events in Gornji Vakuf in January. Let us talk
7 about what is taking place in another locale in the
8 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna at the same time,
9 and that is Mostar.
10 MR. KEHOE: I would like to move to the next
11 exhibit, Your Honours.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 681, 681A
13 for the English version.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, let us work until
15 12.25, for another ten minutes, and then we'll have a
16 20-minute break, and we can have 45 minutes after that
17 to work until the end of the hearing.
18 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Is everybody ready?
20 Mr. Prosecutor, could you tell us briefly what it's
21 about and may we have your questions, please?
22 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. This is an
23 information circular that was produced by the commander
24 of the 4th Corps, Arif Pasalic, the commander of the
25 4th Corps of the army of Bosnia-Hezegovina, where he
1 describes what is taking place during January of 1993,
2 the same time frame that we've been talking about,
3 except this particular issue deals with Mostar,
4 Mr. President.
5 "Information about the situation and the
6 problems which the HVO of the Croatian Community of
7 Herceg-Bosna is causing for members of the army of
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Muslim people.
9 "The purpose of this text is for the world
10 to find out the real truth about the various kinds of
11 pressures exerted by the HVO of the so-called Croatian
12 Community of Herceg-Bosna. The text is brief for
13 practical reasons and everything we say in it is
14 supported by evidence which can be produced for
15 inspection at any time.
16 "During the first days of the war, when
17 battles were being fought for liberation from the
18 aggressor, the HVO took overpower, promising to
19 cooperate with the units of the former Territorial
20 Defence. On the night of fighting to liberate the left
21 bank of the Neretva River in Mostar, not a single HVO
22 unit crossed over to the left bank of the Neretva River
23 to help the soldiers of the independent battalion (of
24 the then Mostar Territorial Defence).
25 "With the take-over of power by the HVO,
1 gradual inclusion into the Croatian Community of
2 Herceg-Bosna began. From that time on there was
3 pressure, slight at first but stepped up at certain
5 "First, the replacement of directors and
6 leading local figures was carried out on a mass scale.
7 Only people from the HVO and ethnic Croats were
9 "There was a ban on receiving and
10 accommodating refugees and an order was issued that
11 they should go to the area of Zenica (and the reason
12 for this has now become evident). All important
13 buildings were taken over by force and property was
14 plundered, appropriated and taken to Western
15 Herzegovina. The city was decked out in Croatian
16 flags, while flags of the Republic of Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina were taken down. Justice and
18 administration were placed at the service of HZ HB and
19 a parallel system of justice and administration was set
20 up which led to parallel authorities in this region.
21 Everything that was enacted by the legal bodies of the
22 recognised state of the Republic of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina was set aside and could not be
24 implemented. Real anarchy has been created in this
1 "Internal affairs and the police were taken
2 over in a surprise move and placed in the service of
3 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Regulations
4 were enacted in this domain which ran counter to the
5 regulations of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
6 officers of Croatian nationality were appointed. In
7 this way, the security of citizens and their property
8 was undermined because the commission of criminal
9 offences in the city and the surrounding area was
10 permitted and the perpetrators were put under the
11 protection of the HVO.
12 "Education was discontinued, although most
13 schools could have been adapted for reaching relatively
14 quickly. This culminated in the recent establishment
15 of a Croatian university. In Mostar in Zagreb the
16 university is called..." and the rest of the page is
18 The next page, Mr. Usher.
19 "In all domains of life and work the HZ HB
20 is looking for solutions outside the existing
21 legislation of the Republic of BH, and all official
22 documents bear the Croatian coat of arms and not the
23 coat of arms of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. As
24 regards cultural institutions, nothing has been done
25 except for the establishment of Croatian associations
1 (the Zrinski football club) and the renaming of Mostar
2 streets with Croatian names.
3 "The issue of refugees has not been
4 adequately dealt with. There are about 18.000
5 refugees, mostly from Eastern Herzegovina. They are
6 accommodated in a way that is below human dignity and
7 many of them are staying with relatives. During the
8 summer, the HZ HB issued an order that they should be
9 moved to the Zenica area.
10 "Health care is organised through the war
11 hospital of the HVO HZ HB, and the staff were pressured
12 into taking an oath. Those who did not take the oath
13 did not receive their salaries. The head people are of
14 Croatian nationality.
15 "At first there was an information blockade
16 in Mostar, and the HVO imposed a biased system of
17 information. Members of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
18 started their own media, but we were hindered in
19 various ways ranging from censorship to a forcible
20 cutting off of power at one time.
21 "All means are used to prevent people from
22 watching the TV programmes of the Republic of BH,
23 although the conditions for this are in place.
24 "The economy is in chaos. The procedure for
25 appointing government commissioners and authorised
1 representatives in companies was established by a
2 decision of the HVO government, while decision and
3 decrees of the Republic of BH are not respected.
4 "The financial and monetary system is the
5 Croatian dinar. According to the decision issued by
6 HZ HB, the legal currency of the Republic of BH is not
7 valid here. An attempt was made to introduce the legal
8 currency of the Republic of BH but this was
10 "The traffic system is practically
11 paralysed. About 60 buses belonging to the Autoprevoz
12 company in Mostar were taken to Siroki Brijeg, and
13 these assets were stolen at the order of the HZ HB and
14 given to private entrepreneurs to transport passengers
15 and goods on the Western Herzegovina-Germany route for
16 their own profit and the profit of the HZ HB. Besides
17 this plunder, the government of the HVO HZ HB illegally
18 replaced the traffic administration.
19 "In parallel with these other pressures, the
20 post and telecommunications system has been disrupted,
21 although the switchboard (six-digit) is not out of
22 order. Only a few select people from the HVO HZ HB
23 have telephone connections.
24 "All the conditions exist for the building of
25 Mostar and for traffic and railway transport but the
1 HVO HZ HB refuses to allow work on the bridges, for
2 reasons known only to them.
3 "They are also preventing town planning and
5 "Besides all this, other kinds of pressure
6 are being exerted on the people, including HVO identity
7 cards for civilians, permission to leave the city and
8 to go to the Republic of Croatia. Everything has been
9 put under HVO HZ HB control. Documents have to be paid
10 for and documents of the army of the Republic of BH are
11 not recognised.
12 "Objects, personal property, weapons,
13 ammunition, and vehicles are confiscated, and Muslims
14 who are members of the army of the Republic of BH are
16 "Housing problems are solved only for members
17 of the HVO. In spite of numerous pleas, on 18 January,
18 1993 they gave only a few flats to the members of the
19 army of the Republic of BH who had been killed.
20 "Out of the 705 flats abandoned by members of
21 the former JNA, the First Mostar Brigade is given 73
22 flats for the families of those killed and 10 for the
23 seriously disabled. The HVO is giving the other flats
24 to families of the HVO members who have been killed,
25 the wounded officers, soldiers, and other members of
1 the HVO. This partial way of resolving housing issues
2 is leading to chaos and is causing one of the burning
3 problems in the brigade, i.e., the eviction of the
4 members of the First Mostar Brigade of the army of BH
5 and many Muslim refugees and citizens whose refugee
6 housing status has not yet been resolved. Citizens and
7 soldiers alike are being thrown out on to the street.
8 All the abandoned flats in Mostar are at the disposal
9 of the HVO.
10 "So far, many members of the army and the
11 Muslim people have been arrested and dozens of them are
12 still in prison. Besides this, foreign nationals
13 working on providing aid to everyone, and not only
14 Muslims, are being arrested. The foreign nationals
15 Hasan Ebu and Galib Esafi, officials of Igasa, have
16 been in prison since November. When they were
17 arrested, their vehicle and more than 800.000
18 Deutschmarks (and in various currencies) was
19 confiscated from them. There are four members of the
20 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina from Prozor and one from
21 Mostar in prison in Grude. We have been requesting
22 their release several times. Their names are Mirsad
23 Vugdalic, Ramo Bektes, Mirsad Gorancic, Sofet Sefer,
24 and Nedir Pejzic.
25 "The property of members of the army of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina and of the Muslim people is being
2 plundered and looted daily. All weapons, ammunition,
3 food, personal belongings, and money are being seized
4 and all this is taken to Western Herzegovina and the
5 HVO barracks.
6 "They have confiscated eight mortars, 90.000
7 pieces of ammunition of various calibres, a large
8 quantity of rifles, pistols, and ammunition for these,
9 and 2.000 shells of various types.
10 "Dozens of vehicles have been confiscated
11 together with their cargo. Besides that, death threats
12 have been made daily against certain leading figures in
13 the army of the Republic of BH.
14 "In recent days, these pressures have
15 culminated in the order issued about the HZ HB that the
16 units of the army of the Republic of BH are to be
17 resubordinated to the HVO and the order for the total
18 blockade of the borders of the so-called HZ HB. On
19 that occasion, numerous convoys of trucks carrying
20 humanitarian aid to Bosnia were stopped. These trucks
21 are now in Posusje, Grude, Ljubuski, and Mostar. The
22 goods on the trucks are being looted.
23 "At the moment, there are over 40 trucks at
24 the Heliodrom, with humanitarian aid and with the
25 documents in order. The drivers have been released but
1 they were mistreated in various ways when the trucks
2 were being confiscated. The goods from the trucks are
3 being looted on a large scale.
4 "As of January 1993, the following vehicles
5 have been confiscated."
6 In the original there is a list of numerous
7 vehicles here that have not been re-translated here but
8 are in the original document.
9 "These are only some of the instances of
10 pressure, and we reiterate that all this is documented
11 and can be made available.
12 "To make matters worse, all logistical
13 support to members of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
14 has been cut off by the HVO since midsummer 1992.
15 "Commander of the 4th Corps of the army of
16 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Arif Pasalic."
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe. I assume you have a
18 number of questions to put to the witness on that
19 document. We'll take a 20-minute break and then we'll
20 resume our work and do so until 1.30. The hearing is
22 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 1.02 p.m.
24 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
25 be seated.
1 Mr. Kehoe, just before the break, you read
2 this very long document which comes from the 4th Corps
3 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Would you now like
4 to go on to the questions you want to put to the
5 witness about this document?
6 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
7 Q. General, based on what you know of the events
8 in Mostar, the HVO, up through this letter in January
9 of 1993, took control over all of the municipal
10 authorities in Mostar, didn't they?
11 A. As far as I know, there was only one
12 municipality in Mostar. Perhaps there were more, but I
13 don't know. The question was put to me in the
14 following way, whether the HVO took control over all
15 the municipal authorities in Mostar.
16 Q. That's correct. The municipal authorities in
17 Mostar, as of January of 1993, were controlled by the
18 HVO; isn't that right?
19 A. I do not have any direct information, apart
20 from what I heard here from this document, and I did
21 not discuss this situation with the author of the
22 document. He speaks of an entire spectrum of civilian
23 issues. I do not have any knowledge about this, but I
24 would like to comment on the document, if possible.
25 Q. Well, General, do you have any --
1 JUDGE JORDA: No. I think the question was
2 very precise. You are not aware of that, it was a
3 civilian matter, you had no knowledge about it, so I
4 think, Mr. Kehoe, you can go on to the next question.
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. To your knowledge, General, did, in fact, the
7 HVO take control of the entire spectrum of civilian
8 life in the Mostar municipality by January of 1993? To
9 your knowledge, did they do so?
10 A. I know that the situation was rather chaotic
11 and that it varied from one environment to another. We
12 heard all about Mostar from this document, and all of
13 this can be said of Sarajevo as well. I imagine that
14 in this kind of chaotic situation, the civilian
15 structures wanted to take over as many functions as
16 possible. Where extremist individuals were in power,
17 they tried to strengthen their own authority as much as
18 possible and to accomplish their objectives as much as
19 possible, but this is, generally speaking, a chaotic
20 situation which varies only to the extent to who is in
21 a dominant position. In Sarajevo, it was the Bosniak
22 Muslims, but there was a state of chaos.
23 Q. Mostar was declared to be the capital of the
24 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, wasn't it?
25 A. Yes. That is just what I've been saying,
1 that these problems were a general phenomenon which
2 depended on who was dominant. In Mostar, there was a
3 situation, but there was a similar situation in
4 Sarajevo, depending on whether the HVO or the BH army
5 was predominant.
6 Q. General, you noted for us, in looking at the
7 orders of Jadranko Prlic, that his order contemplated
8 that there would be a resubordination of BH army units
9 to the HVO and the HVO units to the BiH in various
10 cantons. Let's take a look at the second or third
11 paragraph on page 4, if we can, Mr. Usher, and in the
12 English version, it is the bottom of page 3. On the
13 bottom of your page -- excuse me. On the top of your
14 page 4, General, the third paragraph down, again, this
15 is the bottom of page 3 in the English, it notes:
16 "In recent days, these pressures
17 have culminated in the order issued by HZ HB that units
18 of the army of the Republic of BH are to be
19 resubordinated to the HVO and the order for the total
20 blockade of the borders of the so-called HZ HB."
21 I would ask you to examine the
22 word "resubordinate," and if we could take a look at
23 Exhibit 666 once again.
24 General, the word that General Pasalic uses
25 for resubordination is the same word that Milivoj
1 Petkovic uses to describe the Vitezovi's relationship
2 to you, isn't it?
3 A. Yes, the word is the same.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, pursuant to your
6 request, the Office of the Prosecutor, as well as with
7 the assistance of counsel, have attempted to resolve
8 the questions pertaining to Exhibit 657, 658, and 659
9 which were the sequential orders. We have two articles
10 from Oslobodenje, a periodical from Sarajevo, and then
11 an article that was provided by counsel which is a
12 British Broadcasting summary excerpt from Croatian
13 Radio. If we can go through those in seriatim, we will
14 provide the Chamber with as much information as we have
15 at this particular juncture. If we can start with the
16 first article which is the Oslobodenje article of the
17 18th of January, 1993. I do have some for the booths
18 as well.
19 MR. HAYMAN: We would ask, Mr. President,
20 that the translation on Prosecutor's Exhibit 681A be
21 corrected, just as the translation yesterday was
23 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Counsel. I think we
24 can address this during your cross-examination. But,
25 Mr. President, the fact remains that the witness
1 testified this morning that what was contemplated by
2 Prlic's order was a subordination, not an attachment, a
3 subordination. Low and behold, what we see in this
4 particular document from Pasalic is the word
5 "resubordination," which is the same word that is used
6 in the document that Milivoj Petkovic uses on the 19th
7 of January in Exhibit 666.
8 MR. HAYMAN: But not in the original,
9 Mr. President. You can translate a document anyhow you
10 please, but this is the same word we were discussing
11 yesterday and we referred to the translators.
12 JUDGE JORDA: You will address this issue
13 within your right to rejoinder, Mr. Hayman. We shall
14 go on. Yes. What is this exhibit?
15 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 682, Prosecution
16 Exhibit 682, 682A for the English version.
17 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, this is again some
18 attempt to clarify some of the chronology here by these
19 two articles in Oslobodenje. This one first is dated
20 the 18th of January, 1993 entitled "Open Attempt at
21 Annexation." "Subject: 1993 HVO order to take over
22 territories under BH army control."
23 I will read it very slowly, Mr. President.
24 The booths do have a copy.
25 "The Staff of the RBH OS /Armed Forces of
1 the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina/ and the Supreme
2 Command was informed on 15 January 1993 about the
3 unilateral and in no way provoked decision of the
4 HVO /Croatian Defence Council/ of the so-called
5 "Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna" and the order of
6 the head of the HVO department in Mostar. The
7 above-mentioned decision orders that units of the RBH
8 Army which are in the areas designated in the Geneva
9 agreements as the possible provinces 3, 8 and 10 should
10 be subordinated to the command of the HVO Main Staff.
11 By prejudicing and interpreting in a separatist manner
12 the Geneva negotiations, an attempt is being made to
13 set up these possible provinces militarily and define
14 them as a separate Croatian territory within the
15 internationally recognised and sovereign State of
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
17 "The ultimatum-like attempt to treat these
18 legal units of the RBH Army as paramilitary formations
19 in the unified territory of the republic if they refuse
20 this subordination is completely at odds with the
21 common struggle against the Chetnik aggressor, as well
22 as with the thousand-year-old tradition of the tolerant
23 coexistence of the Muslim and Croatian peoples. The
24 risky and in the long term very dangerous attempt to
25 take military possession of areas which are the subject
1 of the negotiations in Geneva is a serious attack on
2 the talks about the future order in Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina and at the same time represents an open
4 attempt to annex its territories for the sake of
5 expansionist concepts and ideas.
6 "Bearing in mind that attempts are being
7 made to misuse and manipulate the negotiations in
8 Geneva before they are even over, the Staff of the RBH
9 OS Supreme Command is of the opinion that the
10 above-mentioned decision of the HVO Main Staff is a
11 direct threat to the territorial integrity of the BH
12 State and truly contrary to the collective wishes and
13 interests of the Croatian population which lives in
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina and which is predominantly
15 pro-Bosnian in orientation.
16 "Therefore, the Staff of the RBH OS Supreme
17 Command also considers as completely unacceptable the
18 order of the yet-to-be officially inaugurated Defence
19 Minister Bozo Rajic wherein he treats units of the RBH
20 and the HVO in the same way as the aggressor's Chetnik
21 army, and incompetently orders them to retreat
22 individually to the lines of the imagined provinces,
23 i.e., to the imagined State borders of the three States
24 within the only recognised State of Bosnia and
25 Herzegovina. For the Staff of the RBH OS Supreme
1 Command and for all the fighters who are fighting for a
2 single, sovereign, indivisible, equal and democratic
3 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Rajic's order
4 is a non-binding act and a manipulation of the
5 collective misfortune of the Muslims and Croats, caused
6 by the same aggressor.
7 "Therefore, it is quite logical that
8 immediately after the statement by the HVO of the
9 'HZ /Croatian Community/ of Herceg-Bosna,' the Chief
10 of Staff of the RBH OS Supreme Command issued the
11 following order to all commands, staffs..." and then is
12 the particular order given by Sefer Halilovic, which
13 I'll gladly read, Mr. President, but -- I will continue
14 to read it.
15 "1. Commands, staffs, units and
16 institutions of the RBH Army must not accept decisions
17 of the HVO of the 'HZ Herceg-Bosna'" "... but must act
18 exclusively on the decisions of the Staff of the RBH OS
19 Supreme Command.
20 "2. In the zones of responsibility measures
21 should be taken to implement further cooperation with
22 HVO units and to prevent conflicts between HVO and the
23 BH Army. Extremist behaviour by individuals and groups
24 in the BH Army directed at HVO members must be
25 prevented. In the event of threats to RBH Army members
1 and units by extremist HVO members, a warning should be
2 issued first, and energetic action to protect the lives
3 of individuals and units taken afterwards. At the same
4 time, care should be taken not to weaken defensive
5 positions towards the aggressor.
6 "3. An assessment of the present situation
7 and possible conflicts relating to the decisions by the
8 HVO of the so-called 'HZ Herceg-Bosna' should be
9 carried out and all measures taken to prevent such
10 conflicts, says the order of the Chief of Staff of the
11 RBH OS Supreme Command Sefer Halilovic, which concludes
12 the press release of the RBH Army Press Centre."
13 MR. KEHOE: The next document, Mr. President,
14 is a follow-up chronologically, and this document again
15 is an Oslobodenje document, much shorter in length, of
16 the 20th of January.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 683, 683A
18 for the English version.
19 MR. KEHOE: As I noted, Mr. President, this
20 is, again, an Oslobodenje article from 20 January,
21 1993. It's concerning a joint session of the BH
22 presidency and government. The date is Sarajevo, 19
24 "The HVO continues," there is some question,
25 "building up strong forces from Western Herzegovina in
1 the Gornji Vakuf area, and provocations and clashes
2 show no sign of abating.
3 "This was concluded at today's joint session
4 of the presidency and the government of Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina. In addition, a statement from the session
6 pointed out that the aim of the HVO activities was to
7 prejudice by military means, i.e., by force, decisions
8 of the Geneva conference and to present its
9 participants with a fait accompli.
10 "'Unless the HVO promptly eases armed
11 operations, the BH government proposes that the BH
12 presidency take appropriate measures in the U.N.
13 Security Council to establish the responsibility of the
14 Republic of Croatia for its evident involvement in the
15 escalation of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina,'
16 the statement from the joint session emphasised.
17 "The BH presidency and government offered
18 their full support to the army of Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina to persist in its struggle and appeal to
20 all citizens who hold Bosnia and Herzegovina dear to
21 join in these efforts.
22 "At the same time, the BH presidency and
23 government have announced that the order of Bozo Rajic
24 on the resubordination of the BH army units to the HVO
25 in certain areas of BH has absolutely no basis in law
1 and as such is null and void. Decisions of this kind,
2 under the constitution of the Republic of Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina, fall exclusively within the jurisdiction
4 of the presidency of the republic, not of the Minister
5 of Defence. Furthermore, the newly appointed Defence
6 Minister in the BH government has not taken the oath or
7 assumed office.
8 "In view of the political and military
9 situation in the Republic, the presidency and
10 government have requested that BH Prime Minister Mile
11 Akmadzic to return immediately to Sarajevo and assume
12 his duties."
13 The last media report on this subject, in our
14 possession at this time, is a media report that
15 Mr. Hayman offered to the court, and that has to do
16 with a media report on the 16th of January -- actually,
17 it's published on the 18th but it refers to Croatian
18 radio on the 16th.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 684.
20 MR. KEHOE: This, unfortunately, is just in
21 English, Mr. President. There is no B/C/S copy. It
22 is, as I noted, a summary, a BBC summary of world
24 The summary is dated 18 January, 1993, and it
25 reflects a broadcast that came on the Croatian radio in
1 Zagreb at 18.00 on 16 January, 1993. That's 18.00
2 Greenwich Mean Time. I'm not sure what the time
3 difference is between Zagreb and Greenwich Mean Time.
4 In any event, the body of the text of the report:
5 "The Defence Minister of the Republic of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bozo Rajic, today issued an order
7 which says, among other things:
8 "All units of the HVO which at the moment are
9 positioned in provinces one, five, and nine, which the
10 Geneva negotiations proclaimed to be Muslim provinces,
11 will come under the control of the main headquarters of
12 the Bosnia and Herzegovina army. All units of the
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina army, which at the moment are
14 positioned in provinces three, eight, and ten, which
15 the Geneva negotiations proclaimed to be Croatian
16 provinces, will come under the control of the main
17 headquarters of the HVO. All units of the Serbian
18 Republic and the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina are to
19 withdraw their personnel and equipment into provinces
20 two, four, and six, which the Geneva negotiations
21 proclaimed to be Serbian provinces. All units of the
22 HVO, the Bosnia-Herzegovina army and the Serbian army,
23 which are at the moment positioned in province ten
24 (sic), for which the Geneva negotiation" -- province 7,
25 excuse me, "in province seven, for which the Geneva
1 negotiations envisaged special status must
2 unconditionally cease all hostilities.
3 "All points in this order will remain in
4 force until the final agreement is signed and a new
5 decision on the implementation of the Geneva peace
6 agreement reached."
7 So from the sequence of these documents we
8 have, 687, 688 and 689 -- excuse me, 657, 658, and 659
9 signed by Prlic, Stojic, and Petkovic on the 15th, and
10 this particular document reflects the announcement by
11 Bozo Rajic on the 16th, one day after.
12 Q. By way of clarification, General, Bozo Rajic
13 ultimately became the Minister of Defence for the
14 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, didn't he?
15 A. Bozo Rajic, as far as I know, did not become
16 Minister of Defence of the Croatian Community of
17 Herceg-Bosna. The Minister of Defence of Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina, rather, that's what he was. I do not know
19 of him ever being Minister of Defence of the Croat
20 Community of Herceg-Bosna or was he ever.
21 Q. Was Bruno Stojic replaced in 1994 as Minister
22 of Defence of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna?
23 A. Sorry, could you please repeat the date? I
24 didn't get the date.
25 Q. In 1994, was Bruno Stojic replaced as the
1 Defence Minister for the Croatian Community of
3 A. Yes, he was replaced. He was replaced, Bruno
4 Stojic was replaced too, and other cadre. That's what
5 President Boban decided.
6 Q. Did Bruno Stojic have another position in
7 that government, in the Croatian Republic of
8 Herceg-Bosna government at that time?
9 A. I don't know whether he did at that time
10 because this is the civilian sector, but I do know that
11 for a certain period of time he was director of the
12 news agency. It was called Habena. Then during that
13 period whether he had a post or not, I don't know. But
14 he did have a post in the government but, at any rate,
15 he was never Minister of Defence of the Croatian
16 Community of Herceg-Bosna.
17 Q. Bozo Rajic was a Croat; is that correct?
18 A. Yes, Bozo Rajic is a Croat. I already spoke
19 of the division of various ministries and posts in the
20 government, and I said that in the government of the
21 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina the Minister of
22 Defence was a Croat.
23 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, by way of
24 clarification, that is the information we have at this
25 time on the sequence of events involving 657, 658, and
1 659. If we have any other information that we can
2 gather, certainly we will bring it to the court's
4 I will acknowledge the assistance of
5 Mr. Hayman in providing the last article which he did
6 provide for the court for its review.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Very well then. Well, the
8 Judges do thank the Defence counsel for their
9 explanation on this particularly important issue.
10 It is now 1.32. We will adjourn the hearing,
11 the last hearing for this week. We will resume our
12 work on the 17th at 2.00 in the afternoon. The hearing
13 is adjourned.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
15 1.32 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
16 the 17th day of May, 1999 at 2 p.m.