1 Tuesday, 25th May, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.05 p.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
5 Registrar, ask to have the witness sent into
6 the courtroom, please.
7 (The accused/witness entered court)
8 JUDGE JORDA: I would like first to say good
9 afternoon to the interpreters and to the court
10 stenographers and be sure that everybody can hear me
11 properly, be sure that the booths are working right.
12 Good afternoon to Prosecution and Defence
13 counsel, and good afternoon to General Blaskic.
14 General, have you rested? Do you feel all
16 THE ACCUSED: Good afternoon, Mr. President,
17 Your Honours. Yes, I have had a rest, and I feel quite
18 well. Thank you.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Since you feel good, the
20 Prosecutor can now continue with the
22 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Good
23 afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours, counsel.
24 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
1 Q. Good afternoon, General.
2 A. Good afternoon.
3 Q. General, we left off with the 20th of April,
4 1993 concerning individuals from Gacice who were
5 downtown in the town of Vitez, and just to cover a few
6 things that we left off with.
7 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Registrar, if I could give
8 the witness Prosecutor's Exhibit 158.
9 Q. General, so the record is perfectly clear,
10 I'd like to give you the opportunity to examine 158 and
11 again to get your bearings on 158, as it is an
12 enlargement of Exhibit 45. So if you could take that
13 exhibit and just compare it to Exhibit 45 so that
14 you're comfortable in stating that the area designated
15 "B" is, in fact, the Workers' University. Because
16 when we spoke last on Friday, you expressed some
17 reservation in that regard. If you could stand up and
18 just take a look.
19 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Usher, let the witness hold
20 that exhibit in his hand so that he's comfortable with
21 that assessment.
22 Q. Now, General, as you can see in the
23 comparison of these photographs, the area designated
24 "A" is, in fact, the Hotel Vitez, whereas "B," some 30
25 to 40 yards behind it, is, in fact, the Workers'
1 University where the cinema is; isn't that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You noted for us, General, that -- let me
4 return to the testimony of Brigadier Marin where he
5 said on page 13554, at line 12, and he's talking about
6 the village of Gacice, we can move to line 11:
7 "A The village of Gacice is right next to
8 the town of Vitez, and as far as I know,
9 these civilians were in town, and I
10 cannot say what the exact location was,
11 I cannot say at this point. However,
12 the town of Vitez is not a very big
13 town, so it could have been between the
14 post office, the municipality building,
15 the cinema building, et cetera."
16 Now, is it your testimony, sir, that while
17 your chief of operations and your chief of staff at
18 that time, Brigadier Marin, knew that these civilians
19 were in downtown Gacice, that you did not -- excuse me,
20 that these civilians were in downtown Vitez from
21 Gacice, that you did not?
22 A. I have already stated that Brigadier Marin
23 had stayed to replace me when I had gone to Zenica to
24 attend a meeting in the afternoon of the 3rd Corps. I
25 believe that Marin during that period had received some
1 reports from which he could deduce that there were
2 civilians, whereas at that time I was at Zenica at a
3 meeting involved in other activities altogether. I did
4 not receive any information of that kind while I was at
5 the headquarters.
6 Q. Well, did you receive that information after
7 your return from headquarters?
8 A. When I returned late at night, quite possibly
9 some of the reports might have contained information
10 about combat activities in the Gacice area and the
11 status of the civilians in the region, and
12 specifically, I can't quite remember, but I believe
13 that some information contained reports of that kind
14 from the Vitez Brigade commanders or other commanders.
15 Q. Let us be clear from your prior testimony,
16 General, you did not leave the Hotel Vitez to go to
17 Zenica until 16.30 on the 20th; isn't that right?
18 Well, after 16.30. Excuse me.
19 A. Yes. About 16.30, I left the Vitez Hotel and
20 started out at about 16.30 for Zenica, transported by
21 UNPROFOR vehicles.
22 Q. Now, General, did you get information when
23 you returned from the meeting in Zenica that civilians
24 from Gacice had been brought to downtown Vitez?
25 MR. HAYMAN: Asked and answered.
1 JUDGE JORDA: When was that question asked,
2 Mr. Hayman?
3 MR. HAYMAN: It's on the top of the screen
4 now. "Well, did you receive that information after
5 your return from headquarters?" It's referring to the
6 exact same content of what Mr. Kehoe put in his
7 question a moment ago.
8 MR. KEHOE: Then the witness said, "... I
9 can't quite remember, but I believe that some
10 information contained reports of that kind from the
11 Vitez Brigade commanders or other commanders," and I'm
12 following up on that specific information, what
13 information the accused received concerning civilians
14 from Gacice coming to downtown Vitez.
15 Q. Now, what information, General, did you --
16 JUDGE JORDA: Well, it's almost the same
17 question, a little bit different, but perhaps the
18 witness can give us a very rapid answer.
19 MR. KEHOE:
20 Q. General, did you understand my question or
21 would you like me to repeat it, sir?
22 A. Would you repeat the question, please? Yes.
23 Q. Certainly. What information did you receive
24 when you came back from Zenica about civilians from
25 Gacice being brought to downtown Vitez?
1 A. I don't remember receiving information that
2 civilians from Gacice had been brought to downtown
3 Vitez, but as I said, the possibility did exist, that a
4 report of the Vitez Brigade contained data on combat
5 activities in Gacice and that in that report or in
6 reports of that kind, possibly there was reference to
7 relationships with the civilians. If I were to see any
8 report, this would refresh my memory because I'm
9 talking according to what I remember.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Let's move on now.
11 The question has been answered.
12 MR. KEHOE:
13 Q. General, let me show you Defence Exhibit
14 364. General, this is a document that you signed on
15 the 24th of April -- in fact, an order that you signed
16 on the 24th of April, 1993, and in the preamble of this
17 order, you refer to the basic principles of
18 international humanitarian law. In this order, you
19 demand in point 1:
20 "1. Respect for and protection of the
21 civilian population affected by the fighting;
22 civilians, by definition, play no active part in these
23 conflicts and therefore cannot be the target of
25 Now, General, I think you told us in direct
1 examination that you had had -- excuse me. I'm
2 receiving a signal from the booth. Okay.
3 General, you told us during direct
4 examination that you had had some training in the
5 Geneva Conventions; is that correct?
6 A. You mean my own personal training when I went
7 through military academy or do you mean training in the
8 HVO that we organised?
9 Q. I'm talking about your training in the
10 military academy and training while you were an officer
11 in the JNA. What I'm trying to focus on, General, is
12 your knowledge of the Geneva Conventions in April of
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. You knew, General, that in this period of
16 time, the Geneva Conventions strictly prohibited human
17 shields -- using either civilians or prisoners of war
18 as human shields was a war crime. You knew that, did
19 you not?
20 A. I knew that the use of human shields was a
21 war crime not only at that time in April of 1993, but I
22 knew that from before, and I never allowed any
23 activities of this kind, nor did I receive any
24 information or reports that there was such conduct from
25 my subordinates. I never received information of that
2 Q. General, let me read to you a portion
3 Article 51(7) of Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions.
4 This is the 1977 Geneva Protocol 1, Article 51
5 Subdivision (7), which notes as follows:
6 "The presence or movements of the civilian
7 population or individual civilians shall not be used to
8 render certain points or areas immune from military
9 operations, in particular, in attempts to shield
10 military objectives from attack or to shield favour or
11 impede military operations. The parties to the
12 conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian
13 population or individual civilians in order to attempt
14 to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield
15 military operations."
16 So, General, you would agree that not only
17 can civilians not be used to protect your troops,
18 civilians cannot be used as shields to protect military
19 facilities? Would you agree with that, sir?
20 A. I agree with that, and I should like to add
21 that I undertook everything in my power to protect
22 civilians, to enforce the protection of civilians and
23 not to use civilians to protect the army.
24 JUDGE JORDA: And your question, Mr. Kehoe?
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. General, my question to you is: Do you know
2 of anybody in the HVO, in any capacity, that was
3 punished, disciplined, arrested, convicted for using
4 individuals as human shields around the Hotel Vitez on
5 the 20th of April, 1993?
6 A. I never received any information that a live
7 shield was used for the Hotel Vitez, and information of
8 that kind never reached me or my headquarters. So no
9 measures were undertaken as far as I know.
10 Q. But you would agree, sir, that on the 20th of
11 April, 1993, your chief of operations and your chief of
12 staff was Brigadier Marin, was it not?
13 A. Yes, he was the chief of staff, that is to
14 say, he replaced the chief of staff at that time.
15 Q. General, during the course of the rest of the
16 war, do you recall any other instance where civilians
17 were brought to downtown Vitez and were placed in the
18 vicinity around the Hotel Vitez? Do you recall any
19 other instance where that occurred?
20 A. That they were brought. I don't remember
21 that. I know that throughout that time, in the
22 situation of a civil war, civilians lived in the area
23 together with soldiers, and all the families lived in
24 their own homes along the very front line itself. So
25 this was the same area, ten by six kilometres, where
1 over 70.000 people lived, 35.000 of them refugees,
2 mixed civilians, et cetera. We had no where else to go
3 from that region.
4 Q. Well, you would agree, sir, that if civilians
5 or prisoners of war were put in harm's way that would
6 be a war crime?
7 JUDGE JORDA: I agree with Mr. Hayman here.
8 The question was asked. I don't think that the witness
9 is denying the contents of the Geneva Conventions.
10 Let's move forward, please.
11 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
12 Q. Let's move ahead if we can, General, and I'd
13 like to show you a series of photographs, starting with
14 Prosecutor's 33. The ones that I'm looking for here
15 are the ones that have the designations on it PH203,
16 PH197, and PH198. I think that's 33/6, 33/7, and
17 33/8. If we could place those on the ELMO. Why don't
18 we just leave that on there, please. That will be
19 33/8. Thank you very much.
20 Now, General, this is, in fact, the cinema,
21 which is also called the Workers' University, that you
22 noted is 30 to 40 yards behind the Hotel Vitez; is that
23 correct, sir?
24 A. Yes. It is 30 to 50 metres away. So it's
25 the cinema and the Workers' University building. It is
1 two buildings combined.
2 Q. And in that building, sir, contains the
3 headquarters of Mario Cerkez, the commander of the
4 Viteska Brigade; isn't that right, sir?
5 A. Yes. In the Workers' University section was
6 where Mario Cerkez's headquarters were located.
7 Q. Now, General, you noted for us on Friday that
8 prisoners -- well, you found out that prisoners and
9 civilians had been taken into custody in various
10 locations in the Vitez area, and you found this out on
11 the 16th or the 17th; is that right?
12 A. I don't think it was the 16th. Possibly it
13 was the 17th. I can't remember the date exactly, but I
14 think that possibly it was the 17th, after the return
15 of the negotiators. Those questions were brought up as
17 Q. General, how many prisoners, Bosnian Muslims,
18 did you know on the 17th were in custody in the
19 cinema/Workers' University building?
20 A. I don't remember the exact data, how many
21 there were. I think the report, that is to say, some
22 documents that I saw at the trial here, by a European
23 Monitor, a figure was mentioned, but I know that there
24 were individuals who came during that street fighting
25 to seek shelter there. Some of them were brought in,
1 others came of their own free will, and others left the
2 cinema building.
3 Q. General, let me read you some of the
4 testimony that has come into evidence, and we will
5 discuss it after I read a few excerpts. General, first
6 I will refer to the testimony of Mr. Sefik Pezer on
7 page 1568, at line 2:
8 "A At 2.00, HVO soldiers entered the
9 staircase of the building, and they
10 fired a burst of fire on the ground.
11 They ran up the steps and said, 'All the
12 Muslims come out.' What else could I do
13 but go out, I and my wife?"
14 Moving down to line 12, this is a quote:
15 "A 'Do not be afraid. There will be
16 no problems, you are just going to the
17 cinema for an interview there and you
18 will be released. Do not panic, do not
19 be afraid.'
20 There were seven or eight Muslims on
21 my entrance. We all headed toward the
22 cinema; my wife was one of the groups.
23 When we reached the cinema they took us
24 into the cellars of the cinema. There
25 were already 20 or 30 people in there,
1 Muslims, of course, who had been
2 arrested, and there were two or three
3 women among them."
4 On page 1569, at line 4:
5 "A I already said that there were 20 or
6 30 of us, and they kept bringing in
7 more, and that night, that is 16th
8 April, in the evening in the cellar
9 where the boiler room was of the cinema,
10 there were about 70 or maybe even 80 of
11 us. It was too cramped. People could
12 not lie down; we could hardly sit, never
13 mind lie down. All day they kept
14 bringing in people; this was on the
15 16th, in the afternoon and in the
17 Line 22:
18 "A I went to the cinema hall, and I
20 there until the 30th of April.
21 Conditions were more favourable there
22 than in the cellar."
23 This is now page 1575, line 17:
24 "Q Mr. Pezer, you said previously that you
25 were held in the cinema building until
1 30th April. Can you tell us about your
2 release, exactly what happened on the
3 30th and where you went after you were
5 A On the 30th April in the afternoon, we
6 heard from the HVO -- from the policemen
7 that there would be some kind of an
8 exchange, and on that day, Sefer
9 Halilovic the army commander came,
10 Sulejman Kalco, and another one, let me
11 remember -- it doesn't matter, maybe I
12 will remember later, on the side of the
13 HVO there was Petkovic, who I did not
14 know, and Mario Cerkez, and apparently
15 they had a meeting."
16 He notes on page 1577, at line 15 that he was
17 released that evening and:
18 "A We went home and the others stayed
20 So this document reflects that he was in
21 custody until the 30th.
22 If we could just briefly touch upon
23 Dr. Mujenznovic's testimony as of the 19th, and this is
24 page 1705, on the 19th, at line 22:
25 "A They asked for me and I went with them
1 to Vitez, to the "Dom Kulture", the
2 cultural centre, we called it the
3 Workers' University, "Radnic
4 Univerzitet", and a cinema hall was
5 there, offices, and headquarters of all
6 the political parties were also in that
8 Line 12 on 1706:
9 "A In one office, Mario Cerkez was sitting
10 in that office with Zvonko Cilic, Boro
11 Jozic, Stipo Dzigonjam, Zeljko Rebac,
12 and Zeljko Sajevic.
13 Q Were those people you identified all
14 members of the HVO?
15 A All of them were in uniform with HVO
17 The next page Cerkez notes -- excuse me,
18 Muhamed Mujezinovic notes the conversation with
20 "A He asked me whether I had heard about
21 Ahmici. I said that I had heard about
22 it. Mario Cerkez repeated that I had to
23 do whatever he ordered me to do. First,
24 he said that the HVO lines in Vitez were
25 broken through, as he said, in the
1 village of Dubravica from the direction
2 of Zabrdje, and that the BH army was
3 advancing, was entering the town towards
4 the chemical factory and was getting
5 into town."
6 On line 15 Cerkez noted that:
7 "A They have 2.223 captured Muslims. He
8 emphasised women, children, and that he
9 would kill all of them."
10 Going on to 1709 at the bottom of the page on
11 line 25 and over to 1710:
12 "A Mario Cerkez said, 'No. You have down
13 here in the basement about 300 people.
14 Choose whomever you want.'"
15 On line 8, Dr. Mujenznovic notes that some of
16 them were pensioners who were sick. Again on page 1711
17 at line 9:
18 "A There was about 300 people there. I
20 told that I could choose from among
21 these 300 a group for negotiations."
22 So, General, the testimony indicates that
23 there were approximately 300 prisoners in that building
24 that were kept from the 16th of April until the 30th of
25 April, 1993. Does that square with your recollection,
1 sir, of the events?
2 A. Let me put it this way: I don't remember the
3 exact number. I know the number oscillated. So there
4 were those coming into the cinema during the night and
5 would go home during the day. I know of this kind of
7 What I want to emphasise is that I did not
8 allow, permit, or order in any way the detention of
9 Muslim Bosniak civilians in any of the facilities.
10 When I learned that they had been taken into custody, I
11 ordered that humane treatment be exerted and wanted to
12 effect a cease-fire and ensure that security measures,
13 safety measures, and release according to the protocols
14 of the International Red Cross.
15 Because of the security situation and safety
16 situation, I was not able to release them without an
17 insight by the International Red Cross, and I know that
18 the civilian commission, after negotiations in Zenica,
19 had exact records on the number of detainees. I know
20 that they were active under the Chairmanship of the
21 International Red Cross and that the International Red
22 Cross always kept precise records on the number of
23 detainees, the way in which they were released, and the
24 way in which safety and security measures were effected
25 for these civilians to be set free.
1 Q. General, let me read you some testimony from
2 your chief of operations and then chief of staff,
3 Brigadier Marin. This is on page 13447 at line 18:
4 "Q Now, that's the command headquarters of
5 the Vitez brigade, approximately 100
6 metres from the Hotel Vitez, and on the
7 backside of this building was a
8 connecting building where prisoners were
9 being kept, Bosnian Muslim prisoners;
11 A Behind this building, that is to say, on
12 the other side, that is where the cinema
13 should be, and I said that as far as I
14 know, around that building or in that
15 building there were some prisoners, that
16 they were there.
17 Q Now, based on your experience as an
18 officer in the military, a military
19 headquarters is a legitimate military
20 target for the enemy, isn't it?
21 A Yes."
22 So you would agree, would you not, General,
23 that the Viteska Brigade headquarters was, in fact, a
24 legitimate military target for the army of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, wasn't it?
1 A. Yes, the building in which the headquarters
2 of the Vitez Brigade was located is a legitimate
3 target, and the building where the prisoners were
4 located is another building, and none of the
5 international representatives of the Red Cross ever
6 asked for the detainees to be dislocated or informed me
7 up until the 30th of April that we were behaving badly
8 with them.
9 Q. General, let me read to you a question by
10 Judge Shahabuddeen of Brigadier Marin and his answer on
11 page 13964, line 16. Judge Shahabuddeen asked:
12 "JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: ... Suppose the enemy
13 wanted to shell Mr. Cerkez; do you, as
14 a military man, estimate that there
15 might have been a risk of a shell either
16 falling on the part of the building
17 occupied by the women or children, or
18 falling hard nearby?
19 A It was possible."
20 So the shelling of the headquarters, sir,
21 given the proximity to the prisoners, could very well
22 put them in harm's way; isn't that right?
23 A. I have already said that they're two
24 buildings side by side. They could have been in harm's
25 way, but I think that they would have been subject to
1 much greater harm in the town of Vitez, because there
2 was street fighting there in downtown Vitez, and it
3 wasn't safe. As far as I know, from the protocol of
4 the International Red Cross, a precondition for any
5 freeing of the people who had been detained, arrested,
6 was that there should be a cease-fire, that the
7 situation should be safe, and that the protocol of the
8 International Red Cross be respected.
9 Q. General, let us deal with an exhibit to just
10 elaborate on your last answer about the safety for
11 these individuals.
12 MR. KEHOE: Again, Mr. President, this is
13 just simply an enlargement of Exhibit 45 which is on
14 the easel which will make it a little easier to deal
15 with than just dealing with the enlargement.
16 THE REGISTRAR: This is a new Prosecution
17 Exhibit which will be given reference number
18 47H (sic).
19 MR. KEHOE: This is 45. I think it should be
20 45H. This is an enlargement of 45.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, 45H. I thought that's
22 what I said.
23 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry. I must have heard it
25 Q. General, this is, of course, the similar
1 enlargement to that which we discussed previously.
2 Now, the point here that is designated as point A is
3 the Hotel Vitez, your headquarters, point B being the
4 Workers' University and headquarters of the Viteska
5 Brigade, and point C being the PTT building.
6 Now, General, during the course of the 16th,
7 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, until the cease-fire, the area
8 depicted in this exhibit was shelled regularly by ABiH
9 forces, was it not?
10 A. The area was shelled on the 16th and 17th.
11 On the 18th, there was infrequent shelling, very
12 infrequent on the 19th, but the fighting was taking
13 place on the northerly reaches, the approach to the
14 town of Vitez, Krizancevo Selo, Dubravica, from the
15 Zenica direction and from Zabrdze and Pintra. But this
16 particular area from the 18th or 19th onwards was not
18 Q. Now, let us talk just about some of the
19 testimony that you just discussed with us about not
20 being told by the international community about moving
21 those particular prisoners. Let me show you, while
22 you're looking at this exhibit, if we could also refer
23 to Prosecutor's 529.
24 General, let me read to you paragraph 6, if
25 we can move that up, Mr. Usher, please, paragraph 6
1 deals with humanitarian -- no, it's on that page.
2 Thank you. It notes as follows in A:
3 "The team visited 62 male Muslim prisoners
4 held in a prison under the HVO brigade headquarters in
5 Vitez. The prisoners were treated well, although they
6 were in a small space for such a large group. The
7 location formally is a violation of the Geneva
9 With that in mind, General, I would also like
10 you to take a look at a document you received from the
11 Viteska Brigade, Defence 327, which is an operations
12 report from the Viteska Brigade.
13 General, before we look at this particular
14 exhibit, you told us that on the 16th of April, the
15 hotel, the post office, the municipal building, and
16 private homes were shelled. In your testimony, that's
17 at 18513. In this exhibit, Defence 327, you are
18 informed by the Viteska Brigade, about the second
20 "Around 1600 hours from the region of
21 Vjetrenica, probably from the road, saddle
22 Vjetrenica-Kuber, Muslim forces shelled the town area
23 of Vitez from a tank (probably a T-34). The
24 municipality building was hit, and the enemy was
25 probably targeting the buildings of the Post Office,
1 the Hotel, Workers' University, as well as the civilian
2 facilities in town."
3 General, moving back, and if we can put 45H
4 back on the ELMO, you knew, General, did you not, that
5 the area of the hotel, designated "A," of the PTT
6 building, designated "C," and the Workers' University,
7 designated "B," were being shelled by the army of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina; isn't that correct, sir?
9 A. I've already stated that they were shelled on
10 the 16th and 17th. From document 327, we can see that
11 the municipality building was hit, and it states that
12 probably, that is, they assess, that the targets were
13 other facilities as well, but these were not hit.
14 Let me just add that sometime from the 17th
15 or 18th, I ordered that civilians be treated humanely,
16 and you can see that from this report, that there were
17 62 individuals detained in the cinema. So the number
18 oscillated, and the treatment of those prisoners,
19 according to the assessment of the international
20 representatives, was good. We achieved a cease-fire on
21 the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 20th of April, but the
22 problem was that the BH army did not respect the
23 cease-fire, and it was not possible to have a halt in
24 the hostilities. That would have solved the problem of
25 releasing civilians and all the other questions related
1 to that.
2 Q. Preliminarily, General, let me refer you
3 back, and I will refer to this in English, of course,
4 this is Prosecutor's Exhibit 529, and the ECMM monitors
5 note: "The team visited 62 male Muslim prisoners held
6 in a prison under HVO brigade headquarters in Vitez."
7 Now, General, "under the brigade
8 headquarters" means underneath what you describe as the
9 Workers' University; isn't that right?
10 A. No. They were held in the cinema, as far as
11 I was able to understand, and that is what it said in
12 the report you read out to me, 62 prisoners in the
13 cinema building, not the Workers' University building,
14 but the cinema building. They are two buildings and
15 were always two buildings.
16 Q. General, let me read this to you again.
17 Mr. Usher, if you could put Prosecutor's 529
18 on the ELMO, again, the humanitarian section:
19 "The team visited 62 male Muslim prisoners
20 held in a prison under HVO brigade headquarters in
22 Now, General, this report reflects that they
23 were, in fact, under Cerkez's headquarters, in the
24 basement under Cerkez's headquarters. Now, General --
25 A. I know that they were in the cinema
1 building. I don't know that they were in the
2 basement. I don't know the layout of the building
3 well. I know that there's a hall downstairs and a big
4 restaurant. So I understand this as being in the
5 cinema building, the 62 that you mentioned.
6 Q. General, isn't it a fact that this building
7 which is connected was a legitimate military target for
8 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
9 JUDGE JORDA: I think you've already asked
10 that question, Mr. Kehoe.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. General, knowing that this building was a
13 legitimate military target and knowing that there were
14 Bosnian Muslim civilians kept under the headquarters,
15 did you order these civilians removed so they were not
16 in harm's way?
17 A. Had I had any better solution, that is to
18 say, had I had any safer building, I would quite
19 certainly have issued an assignment like that, to
20 change the accommodation. But the fact that nobody was
21 hit there shows that it was the least bad solution, and
22 it wasn't a bad solution because nobody was harmed,
23 although it was not the best, of course.
24 I talked to a representative of the
25 International Red Cross sometime around the 20th or in
1 between meetings, perhaps it was the 21st, and nobody
2 ever asked me to have the civilians moved. But in a
3 situation, a chaotic situation, with ongoing fighting
4 and general insecurity, I still firmly believed that
5 they were safest there, and some of them even came
6 there of their own free will to take shelter, and
7 others were taken by commanders of the Vitez Brigade.
8 For example, the chief of staff took one of the
9 civilians to his own home, and so on.
10 Q. I take it, General, from your answer that you
11 did not order these civilians removed; is that correct?
12 A. I had no better option at that time because
13 what I wanted to effect was a cease-fire and general
14 safety and security for the entire region, and that
15 building was one of the safest buildings in Vitez.
16 Q. General, is it your testimony that you had no
17 other alternative in all of Vitez, in all of the
18 buildings in Kolonija or anywhere else in Vitez, to put
19 these prisoners except in the basement of the Viteska
20 Brigade headquarters; is that your testimony?
21 MR. HAYMAN: I think he's answered the
22 question, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE JORDA: I think that he's answered. He
24 said what he wanted to tell you. He said that perhaps
25 it wasn't the best solution but it was not necessarily
1 the worst either.
2 MR. KEHOE:
3 Q. Well, General, let me ask you this, sir: Did
4 not the Bosnian Croat civilians remain in their
5 apartments, or did you put all the Bosnian Croats in
6 the basement as well?
7 A. I have already stated that I never ordered,
8 either orally or in writing, anybody to be detained,
9 any civilians to be detained, but I did issue orders on
10 the 16th in the morning, it was around 6.00 in the
11 morning, to sound the general alarm.
12 Vitez was a town that was shelled beforehand
13 by the JNA, and I suppose that the civilians were in
14 the basements and cellars of their own buildings once
15 the sirens had sounded, and that they all expected
16 hostilities to cease, and the creation of safer -- a
17 safer situation for civilians to be set free. So I had
18 no right, apart from the Red Cross, to bring in my own
19 decision and to tell the civilians to go out in the
20 streets. I think that would have been a far worse
21 solution than the solution -- situation in which the
22 civilians found themselves.
23 Q. General, let me read you my question. If you
24 didn't understand it, I'll repeat it again. Did not
25 the Bosnian Croats remain in their apartments, or did
1 you put all the Bosnian Croats in the basement as
2 well? Did you do that?
3 A. I have already said that the siren had
4 already sound off and there was general danger. Where
5 they went, I imagine everybody was in the basement.
6 Where was where, that I don't know. Everybody tried to
7 make do. There was general chaos. There was an
8 all-out attack. There were combat operations in 22
9 different place and this is a very, very insecure
11 At that point in time, I did not have precise
12 information as to whether everybody was in the basement
13 or where they were. There were civilians in Stari
14 Vitez who were protected in a similar way, that is to
15 say, Croats by Muslim Bosniaks, that is to say, members
16 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. There were
17 civilians in Kruscica who were protected in a similar
18 way, also in Vranjska, also in Vitez, but the situation
19 then was one of general chaos.
20 Q. Well, General, the reality of the situation
21 is that it was only Bosnian Muslim civilians who were
22 arrested and put in the basement of this building;
23 isn't that right?
24 A. I've already said that this went both ways.
25 At that time it was very difficult to see who was
1 detaining who. I think that there is a Prosecution or
2 Defence Exhibit, but I remember it, in relation to
3 private arrests.
4 For example, if a father sees that his son is
5 missing, then he is going to carry out a private
6 arrest. He's going to arrest the first person who
7 comes along so that he could get his son back.
8 The situation was very, very complex, and I
9 focused on that, that is to say, protect civilians who
10 were already detained or who had already been put away,
11 to bring about a cease-fire and create safe conditions
12 so that civilians could be released in accordance with
13 the mandate of the International Red Cross, but the
14 precondition was to have a cease-fire and to stop all
15 combat activity.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, are you saying
17 that for the reasons which you have given, you cannot
18 tell whether any Croats were held in the cellars?
19 A. Your Honour, I already said that I believe
20 that there were Croats in basements, perhaps in the
21 basements of their own buildings or someplace. I
22 already said that there were Croats. Everybody tried
23 to do his best, what they could do. Some of these
24 Muslim Bosniaks came to the cinema on their own because
25 they were afraid and they believed there was safety
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I'm talking about the
3 cinema. There were people held there. Were any Croats
4 held there, "Yes" or "No"?
5 A. In the cinema, I believe that there were no
6 Croats there.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.
9 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
10 MR. KEHOE:
11 Q. General, you had responsibility for the
12 Bosnian Muslims who were being held captive in the
13 basement of the Workers' University and the cinema;
14 isn't that right?
15 A. What do you mean? In what sense
16 responsible? As commander of the Operative Zone I was
17 responsible for the entire area, but I already said
18 that I did not issue any orders, nor did I approve, nor
19 did I receive any information to the effect that they
20 would be detained or arrested.
21 Q. When you as the commander of the Central
22 Bosnia Operative Zone knew that these Muslims had been
23 arrested and placed in the basement of the cinema and
24 the Workers' University, you, as the commander, could
25 have walked the 30 to 40 yards to that facility or
1 given an order to one of your subordinates to release
2 those people and allow them to go back to their homes;
3 isn't that accurate?
4 A. That is not so, and in this way I would have
5 broken a fundamental rule of the International Red
6 Cross, which envisaged that each individual, at least
7 that was our understanding and that's the way it was
8 explained to us, perhaps I didn't understand it
9 properly, that every detained individual had to be
10 reported to the representatives of the International
11 Red Cross, and by abiding to the mandate of the
12 International Red Cross these persons should then be
14 There was a person who was intermediating and
15 who was deciding on this mutual release. That is not
16 to say that I had competence over one side to release
17 any detainee or did I ever do that. If there were any
18 kind of detentions or arrests, then we would report all
19 of this to International Red Cross. That is what the
20 practice was on both sides, the HVO and the BH army, in
21 the Operative Zone and in the 3rd Corps. This was
22 during the January conflict as well.
23 I remember when we agreed on the release of
24 civilians. When the International Red Cross
25 representatives disagreed, then we had to stop
1 releasing civilians, because they had said that the
2 situation was not safe enough to have them released.
3 Q. So, General, are you saying that you could
4 not release prisoners from a potential military target
5 until they, the civilians, were registered by the Red
6 Cross? Is that what you're saying, sir?
7 A. The practice and the rule, to the best of my
8 understanding, was that releases had to take place
9 through the intermediation of the International Red
10 Cross. But there's one more thing I wish to mention,
11 not only because of that but also because we did not
12 manage to have a cease-fire, and we did not manage to
13 create a safe environment so that all preliminary
14 actions could be carried out by the International Red
15 Cross and then the detainees could be released.
16 Q. General, when did you find out that the
17 civilians from Ahmici were being held in the Dubravica
18 school? When did you find that out?
19 A. I've already said that I do not remember the
20 dates exactly, because I know that sometime around the
21 20th, from the meeting in Zenica, all authority related
22 to detained persons went to the civilian authorities,
23 that is to say, the civilian commission of the civilian
24 HVO government, that is, and of the army of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina through the International Red
1 Cross. They had all the specific information about
2 civilians. The chairman of this commission for release
3 was working on this. It was Mr. Skopljak on behalf of
4 the HVO, and they were working on the releases and
5 everything else.
6 Q. When did the area around Dubravica become a
7 front-line position?
8 A. Well, the area around Dubravica, a bit to the
9 north of Dubravica, the beginning of the conflict --
10 well, I'd have to look this up in my chronology when
11 this area was a battlefield. Sometime from the 16th,
12 but if you need a precise date I can look it up in my
14 Q. No, sir. Just sometime after the 16th will
15 do. Did you ever issue an order, General, to evacuate
16 those civilians from this front-line position so they
17 wouldn't be in harm's way? I'm talking about
18 evacuating them from the Dubravica school. Did you
19 ever issue such an order?
20 A. The front line was not in the immediate
21 vicinity of the school in Dubravica, it was a bit to
22 the north. I already said that none of the
23 international intermediaries had asked me to issue an
24 order to relocate the prisoners. Had anybody asked for
25 that I would have done so, but the greatest problem was
1 that we were in such a situation that there was no safe
3 Q. General, my question to you is this: Did you
4 issue an order to evacuate the civilians from the
5 Dubravica school, "Yes" or "No"?
6 A. I did not issue any orders because I had no
7 place to relocate them, and nobody had asked me to do,
8 that. None of the international representatives who
9 were in contact with me had asked me to do that. At
10 that time we were working on a cease-fire and we were
11 working on the creation of safe conditions for the
12 mutual release of civilians.
13 Q. Now, General when, did the shelling in Vitez
14 stop between the 20th and the 30th of April? What
16 A. I would have to look this up in my chronology
17 to see when this happened exactly because the shelling
18 was expressed in different ways. Sometimes the command
19 was the artillery target and then a large number of
20 projectiles were fired, and then sometimes only one or
21 two shells were fired, and there was an effect to that
22 too, of course, but, of course, there was no point to
23 do that. But I'd really have to look this up if you're
24 interested in the period from the 22th to the 30th,
25 because I cannot remember.
1 Q. General, take a look at your chronology
2 briefly and let's get a date as to when the shelling
3 stopped in that area, if you can't recall, and we'll
4 use the benchmark as the 30th of April and the frontal
5 part being the 20th of April. So between the 20th and
6 the 30th, when did it stop?
7 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, were you able
8 to look at your chronology?
9 A. Mr. President, just a minute, please, because
10 I have to look at ten days.
11 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We're going to take
12 a break and give you the time to consult your
13 chronology quietly. For 20 minutes.
14 --- Recess taken at 3.12 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 3.37 p.m.
16 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume now. Please be
17 seated. I want to say for the public that this is the
18 cross-examination of General Blaskic who chose to
19 testify and is under oath.
20 Mr. Kehoe, you can continue with your
22 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I believe we had
23 an outstanding question on the floor of when the town
24 of Vitez ceased being shelled.
25 A. I have looked through my notes, and sometime
1 from the 20th to the 30th, I haven't got any notes
2 there on any more intensified shelling in the urban
3 area of Vitez, but I do have notes saying that there
4 was repeated sniper fire by the BH army and that there
5 was shelling of the northern and southern lines of the
6 front, so that the shelling increased on the northern
7 and southern front lines of the Vitez municipality.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, General Blaskic.
9 There's your answer, Mr. Kehoe.
10 MR. KEHOE:
11 Q. During the period of time from the 20th to
12 the 30th when there was no intense shelling of downtown
13 Vitez, the Bosnian Muslim prisoners continued to remain
14 in the basement of the Workers' University and the
15 cinema; is that right, sir?
16 A. They were in the cinema, and from the 20th
17 onwards, from the period that you asked me about, that
18 was the time when we worked towards establishing a
19 joint command and a cease of hostilities and the work
20 of joint commissions, according to the agreements of
21 the 20th and 21st of April. At that time, we tried to
22 stop all combat activities and to separate the forces
23 and everything else following on from the Zenica
25 Q. So if these prisoners were being used as
1 human shields, the tactic worked, didn't it?
2 A. They were never used as human shields, nor is
3 there one single order or document of any kind issued
4 by me or my immediate subordinates on that. As far as
5 I remember, I ordered in an order of the 18th of April
6 that all prisoners be freed immediately but on the
7 condition that the fighting had ceased and that the
8 situation had been brought back to a safe one. I think
9 that it would have been a far worse solution if all the
10 people were turned out into the streets when fighting
11 was still ongoing and when the situation was not safe
12 which would enable these detained persons to be freed.
13 Q. General, you just said to us that "They were
14 never used as human shields, nor is there one single
15 order or document of any kind issued by me or my
16 subordinates on that." There is also not one single
17 order issued by you, after you knew that these
18 civilians were in custody in the Dubravica school and
19 in the Workers' University, to remove them from harm's
20 way; isn't that correct?
21 A. Already on the 17th of April, I issued an
22 order, an express order of the 17th of April that
23 civilians must be protected. On the 21st of April, I
24 issued an order that my subordinates must, along with
25 signatures of their subordinates, issue an order for
1 full guarantee and protection of all civilians and that
2 they must feed this information back to me, that is to
3 say, that I receive it from the level of battalion
4 commanders that they had received this order, that they
5 are to issue full guarantee and protection to
6 civilians. My order of the 18th of April was also
7 along those lines, to free the civilians, but the
8 problem was to ensure a cease-fire, to ensure that the
9 situation was safe and secure.
10 Let me say that one battalion of any army,
11 for it to be able to take up defence positions, it
12 needs three to six kilometres in depth. The broadest
13 enclave was six kilometres, and then we could say -- we
14 could put it this way: The position for the defence of
15 the battalion, there is 75.000 people living there, if
16 we look at the in-depth situation, that is to say, we
17 are all in this position, and it wasn't safe for any
18 civilian. I'm not thinking of any particular ethnicity
19 but for all civilians living there. A brigade takes up
20 positions in a depth of 35 kilometres, and we didn't
21 have that depth.
22 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, I understand
23 that the people who were in the Vitez cinema, I've
24 understood you saying that these people in the cinema
25 were saying that you would protect them. Did you
1 consider that you were responsible for their safety
2 when they were in the Vitez cinema, or that's what
3 you're telling us?
4 A. Your Honours, Mr. President, I consider that
5 it was not possible and that it was far less secure to
6 leave these people out in the streets in conditions
7 where there had not been a halt to the fighting --
8 JUDGE JORDA: But did you give them that
9 choice? Did you ask them the question? Did you give
10 them a choice? Are you the one who decided that their
11 safety would be ensured by going into the cinema; is
12 that what you're saying?
13 A. In the course of the day, Mr. President, they
14 went home, some to have a shower, some to change
15 clothes, some to have something to eat, but I ordered
16 on the 18th of April that they all be set free;
17 however, this order of the 18th of April had two
18 preconditions: the cessation of hostilities and the
19 creation of safe positions. So I don't maintain --
20 JUDGE JORDA: So you made a choice for them;
21 you set the conditions. You made choices for them; you
22 set conditions for their being released?
23 A. Mr. President, those were the conditions that
24 I knew about from the International Red Cross, that is
25 to say, any individual can be freed only if there is no
1 more fighting and if the situation is safe for them to
2 be released.
3 JUDGE JORDA: But let's not have the
4 International Red Cross speak, and it's not here to
5 speak for itself. Perhaps it would have been satisfied
6 if you did release them. Let's not put words into the
7 mouth of the International Red Cross. You set those
8 conditions. It seems to me that you are the one who
9 set those two conditions.
10 A. I received this kind of order from General
11 Petkovic on the basis of an agreement reached between
12 President Izetbegovic and Boban. So they had received
13 a military and political agreement, and I received an
14 order for a cessation of hostilities and the release of
15 civilians and all the rest.
16 JUDGE JORDA: That's all I wanted to ask.
17 Judge Rodrigues?
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I hear you
19 speaking about safety or security when you speak about
20 detention. If we're speaking about security, were the
21 security conditions different for the Croats and the
22 Muslims? In other words, the Muslims were in the Vitez
23 cinema and the Croats were at home. From the point of
24 view of security, could you tell us why?
25 A. Your Honour, I already said that I found out
1 that the Muslims were being brought in, that is to say,
2 I did not order it and I did not ask that they be
3 brought into custody. But then when I was surprised to
4 hear that they were being kept at the cinema, then I
5 thought that the best thing would be to work for a
6 cease-fire, for creating safe conditions, and then for
7 their release.
8 The situation was similar where the army of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Vitez was in charge of a
10 particular area. I imagine that it was the same.
11 Muslim Bosniaks were deployed in certain places, and
12 Croats were brought to certain buildings and
13 temporarily kept in these buildings because in that
14 kind of a situation, it's difficult to have control
15 over everything that goes on in town.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But in respect of the
17 conditions that you're speaking about, were those
18 conditions transmitted to the army of
20 A. The agreement was reached by the two top men,
21 Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Boban. I think this was on the
22 17th or 18th of April, the agreement on the cessation
23 of hostilities and releases and everything else that
24 was supposed to take place. I received orders from
25 General Petkovic, and I sent a copy of the order that I
1 had written to the 3rd Corps, and I read the order
2 issued by General Petkovic to the duty officer of the
3 3rd Corps over the telephone. I'm sure that he wrote
4 down all the conditions because I heard his voice. But
5 these were orders issued by the two commanders, that is
6 to say, the chief of the general staff of the army of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO respectively.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, if the
9 agreement was reached on the 17th, why was detention
10 extended until the 30th?
11 A. Your Honour, the first agreement was on the
12 16th of April, and it was not observed; then on the
13 17th of April, it was not observed; on the 18th, it was
14 not observed; on the 20th in Zenica, it was. Then the
15 decision was that the release of all persons would be
16 handled by civilian commissions under the leadership of
17 the International Red Cross.
18 I can give you my assessment, why so much
19 time had to go by. There are three reasons, in my
20 opinion: One is to have a cease-fire and safe
21 conditions, and the second reason was that the
22 International Red Cross asked to have some kind of an
23 interview or test or discussion with each detainee so
24 that they could get the personal details of the
25 detainees and also hear where these persons wanted to
1 go after they were released. So there were problems in
2 obtaining lists, but these were problems related to the
3 commissions for release.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But if you say, General
5 Blaskic, that only you released the prisoners if there
6 was an agreement, at the end you used the detainees in
7 order to put pressure on the agreement.
8 A. No, Your Honour. I'm not saying that I would
9 release the prisoners. I never conditionally issued
10 such an order, nor did I ever think in that way.
11 I'm just saying that in the January conflict,
12 I was a witness of the attitude and conclusion of the
13 International Red Cross in which the International Red
14 Cross defined the conditions and possibilities for the
16 I think that the order from the 18th of April
17 is there, and I never put forth as a precondition a
18 cease-fire so that I would release all the prisoners as
19 if it were my own precondition, no, and I was never the
20 creator of any agreement, no. My superiors were
21 discussing this.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I'm getting a
24 little lost here. I wonder if you can help me. Do I
25 understand you to be saying that the position is this:
1 No decision by you for the release of any detained
2 persons could be implemented without going through
3 certain Red Cross procedures? Was that the position?
4 A. Yes, and that's what we did from the January
5 conflict onwards, Your Honour. I never thought that I
6 had the sole right to write an order saying that
7 persons could simply be released just like that without
8 having full insight by the International Red Cross,
9 that is to say, that they could register these persons,
10 interview them, take their personal details, see where
11 they wanted to go afterwards, et cetera, and then when
12 the Red Cross officers thought that the conditions had
13 been created for that, at a meeting this person would
14 take the floor and say, "Yes, these conditions have
15 been met," and there's going to be release under such
16 and such conditions. That's the way we always did it.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So that if you decided
18 today that certain people should be released, and if it
19 took another six weeks to go through the Red Cross
20 procedures, that person could not be released until
21 those procedures had been completed?
22 A. In my notes, Your Honour, I certainly have
23 this written down very precisely. I think that this
24 was Mr. Fleming's viewpoint, from February 1993, when
25 he decided that the release, mutual release, of
1 detained persons be carried out immediately. Then this
2 conclusion was presented to myself and Mr. Merdan, I
4 After that, Mrs. Iris called. She was a
5 representative of the International Red Cross. She had
6 an office in Zenica, and she was in charge of the
7 Zenica region. She said that she believed that not all
8 the conditions had been created for the release to take
9 place. Then we bowed to the attitude of the lady
10 representative of the International Red Cross.
11 Whenever there were releases, it was the
12 International Red Cross that dictated the conditions,
13 when and how the release would take place, and they
14 intermediated and everything else.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understand you. Thank
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe.
18 MR. KEHOE:
19 Q. General, let me show you the Defence 316,
20 please, and if we could also pull out Defence 318,
22 Now, General, in Defence Exhibit 316, you
23 were ordered by Milivoj Petkovic, on the 18th of April,
24 1993, to -- can you put that on the ELMO, please,
25 Mr. Usher?
1 You were ordered to:
2 "2. The exchange of prisoners, both
3 soldiers and civilians, shall start immediately."
4 In Defence Exhibit 318, we have the English
5 version of the order that you sent copying Petkovic's
6 order which is based on an agreement between Mate
7 Boban, between Boban and Alija Izetbegovic.
8 MR. KEHOE: If we could put 318 on the ELMO
9 now, Mr. Usher.
10 Q. So, General, you had the authority on the
11 18th to release civilians from custody, didn't you?
12 A. I already said how I understood this
13 authority. If necessary, I can repeat that. On the
14 17th already an agreement had been reached, on the 17th
15 or 18th, I'm not sure, concerning the exchange of
16 detainees. However, the problem was the cease-fire, and
17 the creation of safe conditions and --
18 Q. Excuse me, General. Excuse me, General. The
19 question is: Did you have the authority to release
20 prisoners as of the 18th of April, to release them so
21 they could go back and live with their Bosnian Croat
22 neighbours? Did you have that authority?
23 A. I had to honour the protocol of the
24 International Red Cross, and I asked my subordinates to
25 do that too. That is what the prevailing practice was,
1 that is to say, although I had issued an order, the
2 attitude of the International Red Cross had to be
4 JUDGE JORDA: But that's not what it says in
5 the order. Well, continue, Mr. Kehoe. I don't think
6 that's what it says in the order.
7 MR. KEHOE: That's exactly the point,
8 Mr. President.
9 Q. That's not what the order says, does it,
10 General, neither Petkovic's order, nor your order?
11 A. I've already said that there is a procedure
12 and a protocol for the release of prisoners, and I was
13 duty-bound to honour the protocol of the International
14 Red Cross. I worked in the faith that I was observing
15 that protocol.
16 In this order that you're asking me about --
17 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, I'm not saying
18 that you didn't do it. I'm not taking sides. In
19 respect to the Prosecutor's question, I just simply
20 wanted to point that in number 2 in the paragraph it
21 says that an exchange of prisoners must be effected
22 immediately. That's what your superior said, Milivoj
23 Petkovic. The word "immediately" there should be an
24 exchange of military and civilian prisoners he did not
25 add, "In accordance with an agreement we take, get into
1 contact with the Croats." That's all I'm saying. I'm
2 not saying anything beyond that. I'm not asking any
3 questions. The Prosecutor has to prove what he's
4 putting forth, but in order to save some time, I would
5 like you to answer the questions very specifically.
6 Is says in Petkovic's order that an exchange
7 of civilian and military prisoners should be carried
8 out immediately. That's all it says, "Yes" or "No"?
9 Then, of course, you can say what you like.
10 A. Mr. President, I'll try to be as brief as
11 possible. That's what it says in the document and
12 that's what it says in document 318, I believe.
13 However, we always observe the protocol of the
14 International Red Cross.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. That's your
16 answer. I respect your answer, but I wanted to be sure
17 that we had both read the same document.
18 All right. Mr. Kehoe, please continue.
19 MR. KEHOE:
20 Q. General, we heard the testimony of Sefik
21 Pezer that was released on the 30th of April, 1993, but
22 there were other Bosnian Muslims that were kept in
23 custody until the 8th or 10th of May of 1993; isn't
24 that so?
25 A. I already said from the 20th of April the
1 release of all detainees was taken over by the
2 commission consisting of two representatives. On the
3 one side was a Croat, on the other side was a Bosniak
4 Muslim, and it was chaired by a representative of the
5 International Red Cross.
6 How fast persons were released, that I don't
7 have information about because the commission was not
8 subordinated to me but to the governmental commission
9 that belonged to the civilian authorities of
11 Q. How long were they held in custody, General?
12 How long were these civilians, these Bosnian Muslim
13 civilians, kept in custody?
14 A. I don't know. I don't have the exact
15 information on how the exchange took place, because I
16 already said that the commission on releases and
17 exchanges was under the authority of the civilian
18 authorities and this was carried out in accordance with
19 the International Red Cross. Releases were two sided,
20 that is to say, of Bosniak Muslims and of Croats.
21 Q. General, is it your testimony that the
22 Bosnian Muslims in the cinema and in Dubravica school
23 were free to leave when they wanted to? Is that your
25 A. I know that Bosniak Muslims from the cinema
1 would go home to take a shower. Somebody would go to
2 take lunch at home and others had their lunch brought
3 to them and, also, some members of the Vitez Brigade
4 would take some of them home by car. There were such
6 So what the conditions were like, well, I did
7 not receive any information concerning inhumane
8 treatment of these persons. I never received such
10 JUDGE JORDA: We agree that some would go
11 home to take a shower and come back in the evening
12 voluntarily? Do we agree that's what you're saying?
13 A. That is what I was being told, that some of
14 them would go home to have lunch at home, or some had
15 their lunch brought to them at the cinema. So there
16 were such cases too.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, why would they
18 return from their homes to the cinema? Would they
19 return voluntarily or would their return because they
20 were told that they had to return? Do you know?
21 A. Well, it's hard for me to assess this now. I
22 can only assume that probably every one of them was
23 perhaps warned that they should come back. Perhaps
24 there were cases when they thought that they were safer
25 there, it was safer to stay there than at home.
1 It's hard for me to judge that, because
2 high-quality safety conditions had not been created yet
3 to guarantee the full safety of all.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, please continue.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. Well, General, the situation was, was it not,
8 that the men periodically were told to go home and come
9 back, while their wives remained at their homes in
10 Vitez while they were in custody in the cinema; isn't
11 that right?
12 A. There were such cases too, or their wives
13 would bring them food from home. There were such cases
14 too. Or some of the people from headquarters would
15 take some of their neighbours from there to their own
16 homes. So I heard of such information, and I didn't
17 hear of any inhumane treatment of these detainees.
18 Q. Well, let's talk about that, General. I
19 mean, you would agree, based on what you just told us
20 and told Judge Shahabuddeen, that these Bosnian Muslim
21 civilians were not free to come and go and do as they
22 pleased; isn't that right?
23 A. To do as they pleased? Well, they certainly
24 weren't free in the proper sense of the word, but they
25 were -- but it was on the way to have mutual release
1 both ways, but the situation was such that for a given
2 period of time it was perhaps the safest to be there.
3 Q. Well, General, while these civilians were
4 kept in the cinema, which is 30 and 40 yards away from
5 your headquarters, and kept in the Dubravica school,
6 the Bosnian Muslim men were taken out to dig trenches
7 by HVO troops under your command; isn't that right?
8 A. I already said that I never approved of such
9 activity, nor did I ever order it. I was aware of
10 individual cases of such activity, and I reacted by way
11 of investigations and by way of prohibiting direct
12 orders that would entail such behaviour.
13 On the 20th of April, and even earlier, an
14 order had been issued that detainees had to be
15 respected and had to be treated in accordance with the
16 Geneva Conventions.
17 Q. Well, the reality or the fact is, General,
18 that you knew that Bosnian Muslim civilians were being
19 taken from the cinema and brought to the front lines to
20 dig trenches, and they were brought to the front lines
21 to dig trenches by your troops; isn't that right?
22 A. I've already said that there were individual
23 cases when persons were taken out, and there was
24 information to that effect. This was as far back as in
25 February, and that is when I started an investigation
1 in this respect. I prohibited this kind of activity,
2 and I prohibited it in the same way in April, on the
3 20th of April I prohibited this, and my position was
4 that a soldier had to dig his own shelter, and that can
5 be seen from my documents from September 1992. There
6 were individual cases when people were taken out, and I
7 tried to stop this because this was in contravention of
8 my orders.
9 Q. General, did you ever take the 30-yard to
10 40-yard trip from your headquarters and go examine the
11 conditions under which those Bosnian Muslim civilians
12 were kept in the cinema? Did you do that?
13 A. I had many meetings. I did not go simply
14 because I had never received any information from the
15 International Red Cross or from my associates that they
16 were being treated inhumanely, that is to say, I did
17 not have such information. At that time, I was working
18 on activities related to the cease-fire and the
19 implementation of the agreement that we had reached in
21 Q. So you never personally examined whether or
22 not these civilians were being mistreated or misfed,
23 nor did you ask any of them if, in fact, they had been
24 forced to do labour on the front lines for the HVO; is
25 that correct?
1 A. I personally did not carry out investigations
2 because I had assistants who would take care of that,
3 and I also had my subordinates who would inform me
4 about this, that is to say, that I did not receive
5 information that they were being treated inhumanely,
6 and I did not go to visit them and I did not react. I
7 only did in situations, as I already said, when I had
8 received such information, and then I would request an
10 Q. Let me show you Defence 365, General, which
11 is your order of the 27th of April, 1993.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, before you turn
13 to that exhibit, could you help me with one area of
14 some perplexity to me? I gather from what you said
15 that some Bosnian Muslim men who were detained at this
16 cinema would go home for a shower and would then return
17 to the cinema out of a preference for the greater
18 security which the cinema afforded them, but they would
19 leave their wives at home. How do you reconcile the
20 latter with the former? How do you reconcile their
21 preference for the security of the cinema with their
22 leaving their wives behind at home exposed,
23 presumably? Could you help me with that problem?
24 A. Regrettably, Your Honour, at that time, there
25 were quite a few private arrests as well that I have
1 already spoken about, that is to say, that if an HVO
2 member had been arrested, then a group or the relatives
3 of that person would take into their own custody a
4 member of the BH army or a conscript or someone, and
5 then they would engage in these private exchanges, I'm
6 sure that there was that problem, and then the
7 existence of units that were out of control and others
8 that could also engage in such efforts, that is,
9 private exchanges.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
11 JUDGE JORDA: We've now received D365 from
12 the registrar.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. Now, General, in D365, you send an order to
15 the Viteska Brigade commander, and in number 1, you
17 "1. I prohibit any treatment of temporarily
18 detained civilians which is contrary to the basic
19 provisions of the Geneva Convention."
20 Now, General, if there was no mistreatment of
21 these prisoners, why did you specifically send this to
22 Mario Cerkez, the commander of the Viteska Brigade?
23 A. I've already said that it is possible that
24 there were individual cases. This order is not the
25 first order of this kind. I think that my first order
1 was issued before that, and there's a document from the
2 21st of April, 1993 where I asked for full safety to be
3 provided for civilians in the territory of the
4 municipality of Vitez. This was the 21st of April.
5 Then this is a supplement to the order issued on the
6 24th of April, so ...
7 Q. General, the individual cases that you just
8 discussed of mistreatment of prisoners, did you punish
9 those violators? If you did, what did you do and to
10 whom did you mete this punishment out?
11 A. Let me just look it up in my notes, please.
12 If the information reached me and if it was under my
13 competency, I did discipline.
14 Q. General, let us narrow the question then. Do
15 you have the name of one HVO soldier that you
16 disciplined for abusing a civilian who was detained at
17 the cinema? One name.
18 A. I received information, I think it was from
19 the Vitez Brigade, on the 14th of May, 1993, an
20 incident that took place previously towards Hasan
21 Gerdijanovic, and this incident was caused by the
22 members of the HVO, Vlado Lesic, Bozo and Zeljko Babic
23 and Zvonko Bilic. They were the perpetrators.
24 Q. Excuse me, General. That was not the
25 question I asked you. The question I asked you is do
1 you have the name of one HVO soldier who was
2 disciplined for abusing Bosnian Muslim civilians who
3 were held at the cinema?
4 JUDGE JORDA: You didn't let the witness
5 finish, Mr. Kehoe. I suppose that the witness wanted
6 to mention an incident that happened in May, not in
8 I think that now you're going to tell us that
9 after the incident, you took some sanctions against
10 somebody, and I suppose you're going to give us the
11 name; is that right, Mr. Blaskic?
12 A. Yes, Mr. President. On that occasion, I was
13 informed about an incident which had taken place
14 previously, so that particular individual, Hasan
15 Gerdijanovic, was imprisoned, and this group of men
16 provoked him, the group that I named earlier on. I
17 demanded that they be sent away from the unit and that
18 disciplinary measures be taken. The group was
19 identified, that is to say, they were Vlado Lesic, Bozo
20 and Zeljko Babic, and Zvonko Bilic. Those were the
21 perpetrators, and that was what I did on the basis of a
22 report that I received from the commander of the Vitez
24 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. My question goes back to prisoners that were
2 held in custody in the cinema, and my question for you
3 is this: Were any HVO soldiers disciplined for abusing
4 Bosnian Muslims who were held captive in the cinema?
5 That was the question.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Did you understand the
7 question, General Blaskic? Try to answer it, about the
9 A. I am saying, on the basis of my
10 recollections, that probably there was a meeting
11 between one prisoner in the cinema, that is to say,
12 Mr. Hasan Gerdijanovic, and this incident when one of
13 these individuals mentioned either pushed him away or
14 cursed him or --
15 JUDGE JORDA: Are you sure that's in the
16 cinema? Are you sure that that took place in the
18 A. Yes. Yes.
19 JUDGE JORDA: You're under oath, I remind
20 you, General Blaskic. You just added that yes, it was
21 in the cinema. Are you sure that it was in the
23 A. I am sure -- I am sure that I received
24 information that it was an incident that had taken
25 place in the cinema. So that is the information that I
1 received from my subordinates. That is what I'm
2 certain of.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, ask your question,
4 please. Let's move things forward.
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. My last question on the cinema, General. Was
7 any HVO soldier disciplined for taking Bosnian Muslim
8 civilians to the front lines to dig trenches from the
10 A. That kind of activity represented a criminal
11 act, and in concrete terms, the cinema, I know that an
12 investigation was undertaken in one particular case,
13 but I do not know the punishment and the course the
14 proceedings took of that particular case. I think it
15 was a case where somebody ended up dead and people who
16 had taken this person trench digging were disciplined.
17 Q. Now, sir, you, of course, are referring to
18 the incident in February, and I am referring to the
19 trench digging in April and May. Do you have a name of
20 an HVO soldier disciplined or punished by the courts
21 for forcing Bosnian Muslims to dig trenches at the
22 front lines when they had been incarcerated in the
24 A. I have already stated that it was my position
25 that I ban such acts and that I remember that an
1 incident had taken place where they had been taken from
2 the cinema to trench digging and that one individual
3 died, one prisoner ended up dead, and that that case
4 was investigated and proceedings taken at court. I
5 haven't got the names of the individuals in question
6 responsible for the incident and what the results of
7 the punishment meted out by the military district court
9 Q. That's fine, General. Thank you. We will
10 move on to another subject. I would like to move back
11 to the individuals, the civilians from Gacice. We had
12 talked about those civilians previously being taken
13 down to the Hotel Vitez, and I'm talking about the 247
15 MR. KEHOE: If I can just go into private
16 session briefly on this matter, Mr. President, because
17 there is some testimony I would like to refer to that
18 was taken in closed session.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Will that take a long time?
20 MR. KEHOE: No, Mr. President. It's very
22 JUDGE JORDA: I wanted the public to know
23 that sometimes there are closed sessions which take
24 quite a bit of time. All right. We're going to go
25 into private session now.
1 (Private session)
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2 (Open session)
3 MR. KEHOE: General, I'd like to review with
4 you briefly these 12 photographs which you can examine
5 on the ELMO, and if we can, Mr. Usher.
6 These are photographs taken by the British
7 Battalion several days after the truck bomb explosion
8 in Stari Vitez. This is, of course, 525/1. The next
9 one. This is 525/2. The next one, please. 525/3.
10 General, you can examine them on the ELMO if you want
11 to, sir. 525/4, 525/5, 525/6, 525/7, 525/8, 525/9,
12 525/10, 525/11, and 525/12. Thank you, Mr. Usher.
13 Now, General, this is an explosion in Stari
14 Vitez that took place approximately 400 metres from
15 your headquarters at the Hotel Vitez; is that right?
16 A. Perhaps that was the distance but I don't
17 know exactly. Perhaps that was the distance.
18 Q. I would like to read you a portion of the
19 testimony of Brigadier Slavko Marin, on page 13433 and
20 434. The question was asked on line 24 of page 13433:
21 "Q Would you agree with me, Brigadier,
22 that what happened in this truck bomb
23 was an act of terrorism, wasn't it?
24 A Yes. This is a very ugly act and an act
25 which no army could resort to in its
2 General, do you agree with the sentiments
3 expressed by your chief of staff at that time and your
4 chief of operations?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, General, let us examine the level of
7 this detonation first. If I could give this exhibit
9 THE REGISTRAR: This is 706, Prosecution
10 Exhibit 706.
11 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, just by way of
12 explanation on this exhibit and the legend annexed
13 thereto, the various statements that we have of witness
14 Colonel Martin Thomas, Captain Tudor Ellis, Lieutenant
15 Colonel Henk Morsink, and Advija Hrustic are designated
16 by the letters on the maps A through D respectively,
17 but it's also the location in which they were, as well
18 as the lines of the transcript that verify their
19 location when the explosion actually took place.
20 Q. Now, General, just examining this particular
21 map, the first location is Colonel Thomas, now Colonel
22 Thomas, who is at location A which is the British
23 Battalion camp, and the question asked him by my
24 colleague Mr. Cayley, on page 2589, at line 14:
25 "Q I think you returned to the Stari Bila
1 camp and now I want to take you forward
2 in time to the 18th and 19th of April.
3 I think it was whilst you were in the
4 camp at Stari Bila that you heard a very
5 large explosion; is that right?
6 A Yes. I think it was Sunday evening,
7 getting dark, and we heard an enormous
8 bang coming from the centre of Vitez
9 and, again, as we were at that time the
10 Ops Company, I was sent down -- at that
11 time I went with 2 Platoon, so we went
12 down with five Warriors."
13 Moving to the next person on the map, who is
14 Captain Tudor Ellis, who was in Sivrino Selo, and he
15 notes at page 3011, line 13:
16 "Q What did you feel?
17 A I was in my vehicle and we had stopped.
18 We had seen the green car disappear, and
19 I remember feeling that this big force,
20 this shock wave hit me. At the same
21 time a huge bang, a massive explosion.
22 I looked down to where the bang had come
23 from and there was a huge plume of smoke
24 rising from the town of Vitez. I
25 remember at the time we had a patrol in
1 the town who reported that there had
2 been a massive explosion. There were
3 large amount of casualties, and they
4 needed callsigns in the town as quickly
5 as possible.
6 Q How far were you from Vitez at the
8 A I was about two kilometres again, in
9 the village of Sivrino Selo."
10 The next locale is the locale of Colonel
11 Morsink who was in Gornja Rovna, and he is in locale
12 3 -- excuse me, C. He is on page 9820, who notes that,
13 on line 23:
14 "A When the bomb exploded, I was with the
15 ECMM team in a place that was called
16 Gornja Rovna which was five kilometres
17 away from the centre of Vitez. Gornja
18 Rovna is on the hill and from it you can
19 see Vitez very clearly. When we would
20 have a discussion with the local
21 commanders on the front line, we could
22 see that there was artillery fire on the
23 neighbouring hills, and all of a sudden,
24 I think it was at the end of the
25 afternoon around 5.00, when I heard an
1 enormous explosion in Vitez. We saw
2 that there was smoke, there was a huge
3 cloud of smoke that was rising, and at
4 that time we did not react."
5 The last person on the list is Advija
6 Hrustic, at point D in Gacice, who notes on page 4805,
7 line 13:
8 "A We heard the shelling, the fire, and
9 there was a very powerful explosion.
10 One had the feeling that the house was
11 coming down. On my house the glass,
12 together with the frame, came down and
13 a balcony door also fell to the floor
14 from the explosion. The house was
15 shaking as if it was going to tumble
16 down. All glass panes in the
17 surrounding houses were broken."
18 That is point D. So, General, you would
19 agree, would you not, that this was the most powerful
20 explosion that took place in the Vitez area during the
21 course of the hostilities; isn't that right, sir?
22 A. This was the most powerful explosion,
23 although there was another explosion in October, I
24 think it was, 1993, but not in the town of Vitez, in
25 the position at Zabrdze, it was.
1 Q. You would agree, sir, that what happened in
2 Stari Vitez at approximately 5.00 on the 18th of April,
3 1993, was a war crime?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, let us talk about some other testimony,
6 if we can, beginning with the testimony of
7 Dr. Mujenznovic. If I may hand out another exhibit
8 prior to that.
9 MR. KEHOE: This, Mr. President -- I will
10 wait until the copies are handed out before an
12 JUDGE JORDA: You know that we're going until
13 6.00 this evening. We should take another break. When
14 would you like to take the break? What seems to be the
15 most consistent with what you're doing in your
17 MR. KEHOE: Any time, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Well, perhaps we should take a
19 15-minute break now then.
20 --- Recess taken at 4.47 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 5.03 p.m.
22 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
23 hearing. Please be seated. I think that the break
24 could be used in order to distribute the Prosecutor's
25 documents which means that the Prosecutor can begin
1 immediately and continue until 6.00, please.
2 MR. KEHOE: Actually, that was my negligence
3 with one exhibit that I didn't give, unfortunately, to
4 the registrar, and I apologise to the registrar for
5 that, but it was a larger exhibit which is an expansion
6 of the particular exhibit that we have. So I do
7 apologise for not doing that promptly.
8 THE REGISTRAR: The big map will be 707 as a
9 Prosecution Exhibit and it will have a copy in reduced
10 form which will be 707/1. We're going to distribute
11 that now.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Are you going to use the same
13 method, that is, these are excerpts of reports of
14 testimonies; is that correct?
15 MR. KEHOE: That's correct, same methodology,
16 Mr. President. On these five locales, we will just go
17 through them briefly.
18 JUDGE JORDA: You tried to summarise things
19 so that we can move along more quickly. Thank you.
20 Please proceed.
21 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. This has to
22 do with those who knew of this truck bomb explosion
23 prior to the actual explosion taking place, and we will
24 be moving in chronological order from top to bottom.
25 Q. The first individual is Dr. Fuad Zeco who was
1 in custody in the veterinarian station on the 18th of
2 April, 1993 at approximately 5.00. His testimony
3 reflects that:
4 "A ... But at that point, the same person
5 came in, this person who organised this
6 prison of ours, Zeljko Matkovic --"
7 By the way, I'm reading, I'm sorry, at page
9 "A ... Zeljko Matkovic, and he said, 'all
10 of you, each and every one of you should
11 go to the basement and that is it.
12 Something is going to happen now.' He
13 said that we had to go to the basement.
14 We were curious, we were surprised,
15 wondering what it was. It was not clear
16 at all, but he specifically asked us to
17 hurry and to go down to the basement.
18 The staircase was narrow, and those
19 people who got downstairs had to make
20 room for others, so we were not moving
21 at the speed they wanted. Nevertheless,
22 we all did manage to get down and
23 we huddled in there, it might be a room
24 3 metres by 6 to 7 metres, and a few
25 moments after we got down there, we felt
1 an explosion which was really strong.
2 There had been explosions until then
3 too, but none of them matched this one.
4 It was long, it was strong, and to the
5 best of our knowledge, it was pretty far
6 away, but it was something big."
7 The later question on page 2869, this is at
8 line 25:
9 "Q Zeljko Matkovic who, as you said, was
10 some kind of a commander, to which unit
11 did he belong to in the HVO?"
12 The witness didn't know what unit and said:
13 "A I do not know ..."
14 The next one we have as we move down,
15 Mr. President, is number 2, and this is Dr. Mujezinovic
16 who, in Exhibit 45B circled the area that he lived, and
17 that's in the area of Vitez called Kolonija. That is
18 designated as number 2 on the map. He notes on page
19 1697, question on line 15:
20 "Q At some point in time, while you were
21 in your apartment building, did you
22 receive a warning of some kind?
23 A Yes, on Sunday around 5.00, Katava
24 Marinko warned us we were not allowed to
25 go out anywhere, because in the hallway
1 there were local people with arms. They
2 were mostly wearing civilian clothes,
3 some of them were in camouflage uniforms
4 with rifles, and we did not move
5 anywhere. Then Marinko Katava warned me
6 and my neighbours, or rather my wife, my
7 children, my in-laws -- he did not talk
8 much to me -- that we should not be
9 afraid, that a strong explosion would be
11 Turning to page 1698, line 14:
12 "Q Was there, in fact, a powerful
13 explosion that occurred shortly
15 A It was dusk. First there was a powerful
16 light and then a very strong explosion.
17 We did not know what it was and then
18 Marinko Katava said, 'Do not be afraid.
19 We have hit Djuda's ammunition depot,'
20 as he put it, and Dzevada Topcic,
21 known as Djuda, held in Stari Vitez a
22 warehouse, and he claimed that an
23 ammunition depot in Stari Vitez had been
24 blown up and that that was the
1 The next one is C, and that is Sefik Pezer.
2 Mr. Pezer testified that when the explosion went off,
3 he was in the Vitez cinema building as a prisoner.
4 That is on page 1573, line 19:
5 "Q Mr. Pezer, after you were in the cinema
6 for several days, did you have a
7 conversation with any military policemen
8 concerning an explosion or shelling that
9 he said was going to take place, and if
10 that did happen, can you explain it to
11 the judges?
12 A Are you thinking of the cistern that
13 went off in Stari Vitez?
14 Q Yes, sir.
15 A On that day, a soldier, an HVO soldier,
16 came to the basement. I was in the
17 basement at the time, and we used the
18 toilet which was on the ground floor of
19 the building, and as there were a lot of
20 us we would come and go. We would go
21 to the hall where the toilet was, and
22 then the soldier came and said, 'No one
23 should go out because we are expecting
24 some heavy shelling', so that nobody
25 would get hit. Only a little while
1 after that, we heard a powerful
2 explosion. We knew immediately that it
3 was not any shelling, because the
4 explosion was very powerful. It was
5 nothing like a grenade or any other
6 device of that kind."
7 The next person is Witness E, and Witness E
8 did have protective measures, Mr. President, but she
9 did testify in open session. She testified concerning
10 the warning, and she is living at point 4, which, as we
11 can see from the exhibit on the right-hand side, was
12 depicted in Prosecutor's Exhibit 45E. This begins on
13 page 2912, line 21, she noted:
14 "A ... We were terrified for our husbands
15 and our fathers. One day there was some
16 sort of an alert in the basement.
17 Women, Croat women, were talking and one
18 woman whose husband, a Croat, had to go
19 to another part of the Kolonija. She
20 called me and another neighbour, a
21 Muslim, and she was closer to the
22 telephone because in the meantime all
23 the telephones were cut."
24 If we move down on line 4 of page 2913:
25 "A ... she said that something was being
1 prepared, an explosion or something, and
2 she had left her keys so that we could
3 use them and that we should open the
4 windows, because there might be an
6 Line 14 of the same page:
7 "A Anyway, when I entered the corridor
8 of my apartment, I do not know what came
9 first, the sound of the explosion or the
10 dust that was choking me in my nose and
11 mouth. So I ran down to see whether the
12 children were alive, whether there was
13 any destruction. At first, we did not
14 know what it was. Later on, when I went
15 to visit my husband, as women were
16 coming from all over Kolonija, we learnt
17 that there had been an explosion in
18 Stari Vitez."
19 On page 2914 at line 8:
20 "A She said that, if we could, we should
21 go to her apartment and to our own
22 apartment to open the windows, because
23 something terrible was in the offing,
24 that we should not risk anything and
25 that we should stay in the basement
1 because something would happen."
2 Question on line 20 of 2914:
3 "Q What had these Croat women learned from
4 the radio and the TV?"
5 If I can back up on line 13:
6 "Q In the basement, were the Croat women
7 talking to one another about something
8 during this period of time?
9 A Yes, they were talking. I later learnt
10 that they had also heard on the radio
11 and the TV, because in the meantime a
12 TV set and a radio had been brought down
13 to the basement, because we spent eight
14 nights and nine days in the basement.
15 Q What had these Croat women learned from
16 the radio and the TV?
17 A I do not know exactly. I think their
18 husbands could have told them too,
19 because another neighbour had moved away
20 to another building. She also called up
21 another neighbour saying that something
22 was going to happen, that her husband
23 had told her that and her husband
24 was a HVO soldier.
25 Q But it clear, Witness E, that all of
1 these people knew that some type of
2 large explosion was going to take place
3 before it happened?
4 A Yes, maybe even two hours before it
5 happened. I do not know exactly how it
6 happened, we were all very afraid, but
7 much earlier, anyhow."
8 The last witness is a Defence witness,
9 Mr. President, Marijan Strukar, which is at number 5,
10 who lived south of Stari Vitez, and it is in the area
11 of number 5. Mr. Strukar, on page 16833 notes that --
12 excuse me, on that page, he notes the approximate
13 location of his home, and on page 16884, at line 21, he
15 "Q Yes, and would you please explain the
16 symbols you used to denote the Croat
17 houses and the Muslim houses?"
18 And he picks his house, saying:
19 "A This is my house here (indicating), and
20 the Muslim houses I have marked in the
21 following way."
22 [Page 16933]:
23 "A ... houses where civilians were housed.
24 We would go and have something to eat
25 and drink. At one point in the house in
1 which I was located, one of the men up
2 there came into the house and told us to
3 take refuge because there would be a
4 loud explosion.
5 Q Who told you this?
6 A Somebody, that man that came to the
7 house. There was information from all
8 sides, and at this particular point, a
9 man walked in and told us not to leave
10 the house, not to leave the premises,
11 because there would be a strong
12 explosion. And, yes, indeed, three to
13 four minutes later, there was a terrible
14 explosion which shattered the windows of
15 the houses."
16 The question on cross on page 16991 of
17 Mr. Strukar, line 9:
18 "Q My question was: Who was it who
19 warned you about the bomb?
20 A I can't remember because, as I say, we
21 weren't just sitting there and somebody
22 came up to us to tell us something. It
23 was just somebody shouting. For
24 example, I would like to say something
25 that isn't appropriate for this court,
1 and they would just say, 'Get the hell
2 out of there. Get inside. Get
3 inside.' So that they thought that
4 something might be happening."
5 Now, General, you noted for us that you had
6 no knowledge about the detonation of the truck bomb
7 prior to that detonation; is that right?
8 A. It's not only that I didn't know about it
9 before the detonation took place, but I didn't even
10 know about it during the detonation itself. I know
11 that at that time I recorded this as the hotel being
12 hit, and we thought that the hotel had been hit with a
13 122 millimetre mortar, and we were in the basement of
14 the hotel.
15 Q. General, we had testimony that some of the
16 information came from HVO soldiers and other
17 information came from an individual by the name of
18 Marinko Katava. Do you know Marinko Katava?
19 A. Well, I met him when he arrived in
20 detention. I didn't know him before that. I never
21 knew him before that. I never met him before that. I
22 first met him here in The Hague detention unit, but if
23 I heard about his testimony well, then that coincides
24 with what I received from the Vitez Brigade, that is to
25 say, that the warehouse was hit, either Vitkom Borac.
1 That is a warehouse of ammunition and explosives.
2 Q. Was Marinko Katava a member of the HVO?
3 A. I don't know whether he was a member of the
4 HVO, because there were perhaps 10.000 members of the
5 HVO. I never knew him before. I had never heard of
6 him before he came to The Hague detention unit.
7 Q. General, how is it possible that the HVO
8 soldiers at the cinema, guarding prisoners, HVO
9 soldiers guarding prisoners at the veterinary school,
10 individuals in apartments in Kolonija, both north and
11 south Kolonija, and we're talking about
12 Dr. Mujenznovic, and Witness E, and even a Defence
13 witness, Marijan Strukar, all these people knew that
14 this detonation was going to take place and you didn't?
15 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, that's not a
16 question, that's argument. It's not a question, it's
17 just argument.
18 MR. KEHOE: It's not argument at all, Judge.
19 JUDGE JORDA: No, I don't agree with you at
20 all, Mr. Hayman. It is a question. I don't agree with
22 First of all, the form is a question, it is
23 interrogative. That is, how is it that some people
24 know? That's a question. I'm sorry. The Prosecutor
25 has the right to ask it, and I would invite the witness
1 to answer.
2 A. Your Honours, at that time I was in the
3 basement and the only communications I could have was
4 via the telephone and it was only on the telephone that
5 I could receive information. I did not receive such
6 information at any point in time, even that there would
7 be an explosion. When the explosion actually took
8 place, I know we recorded it as the hotel being hit by
9 artillery fire. Later, when we contacted the Vitez
10 Brigade, we heard that the warehouse in Stari Vitez was
11 hit. This is on the other side of the front line, that
12 is to say, under BH army.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. So, General, was this publicised on the TV
15 and the radio in Vitez that, in fact, an explosion like
16 this was going to take place?
17 A. No. At that time I was in the basement of
18 the hotel. I didn't watch television. I didn't listen
19 to the radio. I don't know about this at all, because
20 at that time -- well, my activities were there from one
21 minute to another, and I didn't really hear such
22 information. I didn't even listen. This is the first
23 time I ever hear of this, this claim of yours. I don't
24 know if any of my associates knowing about it either.
25 Q. Well, General, you were in communication with
1 Mario Cerkez and other individuals in the Vitez area
2 during this period of time, were you not?
3 A. I communicated with Mario Cerkez on the
4 telephone most often, and every one of these
5 communications is in my operative diary.
6 Q. As a military man, would you also assume that
7 Mario Cerkez was in communication with his
9 A. Well, to the extent possible, that is to say,
10 as much as he could have under the circumstances. I
11 believe that he was in communication with his
13 Q. So the bottom line, General, is that women
14 and children in the basement of a building in Kolonija
15 were better informed about the situation than you
16 were. Is that accurate?
17 A. I received information from my immediate
18 subordinates, and I acted on the basis of that
19 information. Whether somebody had more or less
20 information than I did, I cannot be the judge of that,
21 but on the basis of the information I received, I could
22 act only on that.
23 Q. Well, let's look at the information you
24 received from the Vitez Brigade. Exhibit 304. Defence
25 Exhibit 304, excuse me.
1 Now, General, this is your report that we
2 have discussed. You discussed this at some length on
3 direct-examination with my colleague Mr. Nobilo.
4 General, this reflects that it was the detonation of a
5 quantity of explosives in Stari Vitez that caused the
7 Now, General, when were you informed that it
8 was, in fact, a truck bomb that went off in Stari
10 A. I do not remember exactly when this took
11 place. At any rate, I remember that later on,
12 information -- we received information that it was a
13 truck bomb, but I cannot remember when this was.
14 Q. Well --
15 JUDGE JORDA: If you'd like to look at your
16 chronology you can, but it's a very specific question.
17 When did you receive the information about the truck
19 A. I cannot recall. I don't know whether this
20 is entered in my chronology. I can look it up, but I
21 cannot remember exactly when I received that
23 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Continue, please,
24 Mr. Kehoe.
25 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
1 Q. Let me read you some testimony by
2 Mr. Morsink -- Lieutenant Colonel Morsink, questions by
3 my colleague, Mr. Harmon. This is on page 9822
4 "Q Now, Colonel Morsink, the next day, the
5 19th of April, 1993, was the matter
6 raised? Was the issue of the truck bomb
7 and the explosion in a civilian area of
8 Stari Vitez raised with local military
9 and political figures?
10 A In the morning of the 19th of April, the
11 HVO Vitez Brigade commander, Mr. Mario
12 Cerkez, in his office I brought up the
13 subject together with my monitor
14 colleague, Pedersen. I remember that
15 Mr. Pedersen said that this was not a
16 normal thing that one would do in a war,
17 that it was really a terrorist act, and
18 I remember that shortly afterwards
19 somebody from the meeting came who was
20 outside the meeting. He introduced
21 himself as Mr. Anto Valenta. He had a
22 political function in the region, I
23 don't quite remember which one exactly
24 it was, but I think that it was -- it
25 was the -- he was the vice-president of
1 the HDZ.
2 When Mr. Valenta came in, we went
3 back to the issue of the truck bomb, and
4 Mr. Valenta, like Mr. Cerkez, recounted
5 the event as they saw it.
6 I remember Mr. Valenta said that
7 there had been a munitions depot which
8 had been hit by a shell and that was why
9 the truck exploded.
10 Mr. Cerkez explained the things to
11 us somewhat differently. He said that
12 the truck had been hit by a grenade or
13 by firing, and I remember my colleague,
14 Pedersen, insisted on the fact that this
15 was not a sufficient explanation. He
16 insisted by saying that an investigation
17 needed to be carried out, and Cerkez
18 stated that he would do so."
19 Now, General, you would agree, would you not,
20 that the information that Mario Cerkez gave to Colonel
21 Morsink on the 19th was significantly different than
22 the information that he gave to you in a report that we
23 have, Defence Exhibit 304?
24 A. Well, yes, because this is the 18th of April,
25 1993 at 18.45. So Mario Cerkez probably gave
1 information on the 18th of April, 1993 at 18.45, that
2 is to say, the kind of information that he had. On the
3 19th of April, he probably learned new things and I
4 imagine that's the way it was. But on the basis of
5 this report that he gave on the 18th of April, 1993, it
6 is quite obvious that he speaks about the explosion of
7 the warehouse. I think that Katava mentioned this too,
8 if I listened carefully.
9 Q. Well, General, did Cerkez tell you about this
10 truck bomb on the 19th? Did he give you the
11 information that he gave to Lieutenant Colonel
13 A. I cannot specifically remember who told me
14 that it was a truck bomb, but I know that after that,
15 after having received such information, I requested an
16 investigation from the security service about this
17 truck bomb.
18 Q. Now, General, this was a terrorist act 400
19 metres away from your headquarters, and is it your
20 testimony you do not specifically recall when someone
21 told you what the source of this terrorist act was?
22 A. It is correct that this is 400 metres away
23 from my headquarters, but it is also correct that it is
24 on the other side, that is to say, behind the front
25 line. This position was held by the BH army, and I
1 cannot specifically recall the details, who told me,
2 but I know at one point in time I found out too that
3 this was a truck bomb. I didn't learn about all the
4 details, and I asked the security service to carry out
5 an investigation.
6 Q. Well, General, what was your reaction when
7 you heard about this terrorist act?
8 A. Well, I already said that I asked the
9 assistant for security to start an investigation and to
10 provide me with all the information that he had about
11 this activity, that is to say, about everything that
12 had happened and everything else, under which
13 circumstances this happened and who the suspects were.
14 Q. Well, let me narrow that question a little
15 bit more, General. Were you angry? Were you upset?
16 Were you outraged at this terrorist act? What was your
17 reaction as a human being?
18 A. Well, of course I was surprised by this
19 activity, and I was astonished by this activity.
20 Q. Well, let me read you some testimony from
21 Colonel Morsink on page 9824. Question on line 4:
22 "Q Let me ask you, the next day, on the
23 20th of April, 1993, were you at a
24 meeting with Colonel Stewart, Clare
25 Podbielski, who was from ICRC, and
1 Colonel Blaskic, where the incident of
2 the truck bomb was raised?
3 A Yes, I was present. I was in the
4 headquarters. It was at the Hotel
5 Vitez, and I remember it was the first
6 time that I was in that particular
7 headquarters building. I also remember
8 quite well that Mr. Bob Stewart was also
9 quite excited. He was furious. He was
10 furious to see that the HVO were not
11 reacting after this truck exploded. He
12 was also furious because the Croats had
13 accused the British of having
14 participated or to have been active in
15 that event because there were only
16 Muslims that were wounded and also --
17 only the Muslims, rather, were being
18 evacuated by them. He protested very
20 Q What was Colonel Blaskic's reaction to
21 those protests?
22 A I recall he was listening but he didn't
23 make any objections. He simply listened
24 to the statements made by Stewart, nor
25 did he exclude the possibility of an
1 investigation, but nor did he really
3 Line 18, 9825:
4 "Q Was Colonel Blaskic fully aware of the
5 truck bomb explosion, where it had
6 occurred and that there was a demand
7 for an investigation into that event?
8 A Yes. That happened a few days earlier,
9 not more than a kilometre from his
11 Q So the explosion could be heard from
12 five kilometres away?
13 A Of course, yes."
14 Now, General, you were informed of this truck
15 bomb at least by Colonel Stewart on the 20th of April,
16 1993, were you not?
17 A. I've already said that I did not meet with
18 Mr. Morsink, with Colonel Stewart, and with Clare
19 Podbielski from the International Red Cross on the 20th
20 of April, 1993. I do not have this date recorded at
21 all in any of my notes, and I know that had I met any
22 one of these officials, I would have recorded that. On
23 the 21st I had my first meeting in Zenica in relation
24 to negotiations.
25 Secondly, I first saw photographs of the
1 explosion here in this courtroom, and that's the first
2 time that I tried to recognise where this had happen.
3 Before that I only had information that it was on the
4 other side of the front line, under BH army control,
5 but on the 20th of April I have all the meetings that I
6 had recorded, at least the date and the contents, but I
7 did not meet these officials. Later on there was a
8 meeting with Colonel Stewart and Clare Podbielski.
9 Q. Well, General, when did you give this
10 investigation to SIS?
11 A. Immediately after I realised that this was a
12 truck bomb, I asked the SIS assistant to find out
13 exactly what had happened. Possibly this was the 19th,
14 or the 20th, or the 21st, or the 22nd. I'm not sure of
15 the exact date.
16 Q. So to your recollection, the time when you
17 learned about the truck bomb was somewhere between the
18 19th and the 22nd of April; is that correct?
19 A. Possibly so.
20 Q. Now, General, had you given this
21 investigation to the military police, the military
22 police, of course, would have been obliged to give you
23 their final report, isn't that right, as this was a
24 routine police matter?
25 A. I did not understand the question. I said
1 that I asked the assistant for security to provide me
2 with a report.
3 Q. Listen to my question. Had you asked the
4 military police for a report on the facts, the military
5 police would have been obliged to give you that report?
6 A. Most of the investigations that I requested I
7 requested from the security assistant, because the
8 military police is directly subordinated to the
9 military police administration, and they submitted most
10 reports according to their own line.
11 Q. Listen to my question and I will repeat it
12 again. My question is: Had you asked the military
13 police for a report on the facts, the military police
14 would have been obliged to give you that report; isn't
15 that right?
16 A. A report on the investigation, on the
17 findings of the investigation, the military police
18 submits to the administration of military police, as
19 far as I know, and if the case has been closed, then a
20 criminal report is filed with the district military
21 court. They are not directly subordinated to me, and
22 they didn't have to submit that report to me, that is
23 to say, that this report did not have to be submitted
24 to me, to the best of my knowledge at least.
25 Q. Is it now your testimony that the military
1 police is not subordinated to you for routine police
2 tasks? Is that your testimony?
3 A. Daily operative police tasks, yes, the
4 military police is subordinated to me for that.
5 However, when crimes are concerned and investigations
6 of crimes, then also this is done on the basis of the
7 Law on Criminal Procedure, and the military police
8 cooperates together with the civilian police and the
9 district military prosecutor.
10 Q. In the normal course of business, you get a
11 copy of this report as the commander of the Operative
12 Zone, and you can decide whether or not you're going to
13 discipline a particular soldier or you're going to
14 possibly refer this information to the district
15 military prosecutor; isn't that right?
16 A. If it is a crime, then it is compulsory to
17 submit a criminal report if the names of the
18 perpetrators are known. The district military
19 prosecutor decides whether there are going to be
20 criminal proceedings or disciplinary proceedings.
21 JUDGE JORDA: We've already spoken about
22 Article 29 of the decree. The Judges are familiar with
23 your interpretation. Let's move forward. Who was
24 asked to do the investigation, your assistant, your
25 assistant for security?
1 A. Yes, the assistant for security who was in
2 charge of this investigation.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I would
4 only like to ask you whether your assistant for
5 security was your subordinate or not.
6 A. Not directly subordinated to me. He's
7 subordinated to the security administration from
8 Mostar. Also, the chief of military police is not
9 directly subordinated to me but to the administration
10 from Mostar.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Thank you, Judge
12 Rodrigues. Are we going to know who was asked to carry
13 out the report and whether there was an investigation?
14 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
15 MR. KEHOE:
16 Q. Now, General, who was it in SIS that you
17 asked to assist to carry out this investigation?
18 A. The security assistant, Ante Sliskovic, who
19 was at that time assistant commander for security.
20 Q. When did Sliskovic tell you that he found out
21 it was the Vitezovi who were behind the truck bomb and
22 that the information had been sent to Mostar? When did
23 he tell you that?
24 A. That was a few days later, but I do not know
25 the exact date.
1 Q. Can we have approximation? Would it be the
2 24th, 25th, 26th of April? Would it be prior to May
3 1st, just to give us approximation?
4 A. This was approximately in May.
5 Q. Can you give us a little bit closer? The
6 early part of May, the latter part of May?
7 Approximately when?
8 A. I can't. I could not remember the exact
9 date. I don't remember.
10 Q. Now, General, this is the same Ante Sliskovic
11 to whom you gave an order to investigate Ahmici and who
12 responded to you in a report dated the 25th of May,
13 1993; isn't that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So when he got this report concerning the
16 Vitezovi, did you demand a copy of that report?
17 A. He informed me about this orally. I think, I
18 think he also gave me a copy of this report, but he did
19 make it clear to me that he sent the entire report to
20 his superiors in Mostar, and about that I informed the
21 chief of the main staff of the HVO.
22 Q. So Sliskovic did, in fact, give you a copy of
23 the report concerning the Vitezovi being involved; is
24 that right?
25 A. I'm not sure, but I assume that he gave me a
1 copy of the report.
2 Q. At the time this crime took place, the
3 Vitezovi was attached to you; isn't that correct?
4 A. Well, this problem of attachment was always
5 there as far as the Vitezovi were concerned. It was
6 selective. They interpreted it one way and I
7 interpreted it another way. Attachment related to
8 battle and it would be over as soon as that particular
9 operation was over.
10 JUDGE JORDA: The question was whether you
11 were attached -- whether he was attached, in your
12 opinion, whether that person was attached, in your
13 opinion. That's the question.
14 A. Yes, they were attached, but I never had
15 legal authority over them in terms of punitive
16 measures, et cetera.
17 JUDGE JORDA: All right. For the time being,
18 we can say that he was attached.
19 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. General, when you received this report
22 concerning this war crime, did you give the report to
23 the military district prosecutor so that he could file
25 A. I probably put the report in the archives,
1 and I informed the chief of the main staff about this.
2 I did not directly cooperate with the prosecutor, but
3 had I had the names of the suspects or the
4 perpetrators, I certainly would have filed a criminal
5 report with the military district prosecutor.
6 Q. General, wasn't that your obligation as the
7 commanding officer, to ensure that the military
8 district prosecutor had as much information in your
9 possession about this horrific crime?
10 A. I've already said that it was not specified
11 individually who was the suspect and who was the
12 perpetrator. Had I had that, I certainly would have
13 provided the names to the district military prosecutor,
14 but there wasn't anything like that in the report,
15 except that the Vitezovi was behind this.
16 Q. When you got this report from Sliskovic and
17 you saw that it didn't have names, did you demand names
18 from Sliskovic, just like you wanted names on the
19 Ahmici investigation?
20 A. I certainly did ask for the investigation to
21 be extended and to be continued. I did not get any
22 subsequent reports from him, but I did receive
23 information from him that he sent his report to the
24 security administration in Mostar.
25 Q. That's not my question, General. Listen to
1 my question. My question is: When you got this report
2 from Sliskovic and you saw that it didn't have names,
3 did you demand names from Sliskovic, just like you
4 wanted names on the Ahmici investigation? Did you
5 demand the names or did you not?
6 A. I've already said that I asked and that I
7 expected to receive this, but I did not receive these
8 names from him.
9 Q. Were there names in any of the files? Did
10 Sliskovic tell you that there were names that were sent
11 to Mostar?
12 A. He told me that the details concerning this
13 were sent to Mostar, but it was not my impression that
14 he sent the names. In my conviction, there were no
15 names in the report.
16 Q. Did you send him back out, in your zeal to
17 find out facts about this crime, to gather information
18 concerning names of the Vitezovi who were involved?
19 A. I asked the commander of the Vitezovi for
20 that too, that he insist on it personally and that he
21 gather information about this and that he take
22 measures, because he was in charge in terms of
23 discipline, and I was not in charge in terms of
24 discipline. I insisted on the names, that is to say,
25 who was behind this; however, I did not receive such a
1 report from the commander of the Vitezovi or from the
2 security assistant.
3 Q. My question concerning your dealings with
4 Sliskovic: General, after you received the report from
5 Sliskovic, did you send Sliskovic back out to
6 investigate this horrific crime so you could have the
7 names of those members of the Vitezovi who were
8 involved? Did you do that; "Yes" or "No"?
9 A. He continued to do so, and I requested that
10 the investigation be continued, but every investigation
11 which never ended and did not turn up with names and
12 surnames was supposed to continue.
13 Q. What happened, General? Did you continually
14 ask for the names while you were chief of staff and
15 until you went to Croatia in November of 1995? What
16 did you do? Do you have any paper to show us as to
17 what you did?
18 A. I did not receive the names behind the crime
19 at any time, but I received information that the
20 perpetrators were the members of the Vitezovi, so I got
21 that kind of information.
22 Q. General, the Vitezovi were involved in the
23 attack on Grbavica in September of 1993, weren't they?
24 A. Not the whole unit, but part of the unit,
25 yes. They took part according to a list of chosen
1 soldiers, and it was their duty to send me a list of
2 all the participants in the operation before the
3 operation had begun, that is to say, in the preparatory
4 stage of the operation. There were between 15 to 20
5 members of the Vitezovi, a maximum of 20 who took
7 Q. You noted for us, on page 19676, in your
8 testimony concerning the Vitezovi to my learned friend,
9 Mr. Nobilo:
10 "A We took parts of certain units taking
11 into consideration that these would be
12 soldiers whom we could control and would
13 carry out the orders which they were
14 given in full."
15 Were the Vitezovi soldiers that you picked
16 for the attack on Grbavica involved in the truck bomb
17 attack in Stari Vitez on 18 April, 1993?
18 A. I cannot answer that, whether they took part
19 or not, but I know that I demanded of the commanders to
20 select soldiers and that the soldiers that took part in
21 the Grbavica operation fulfilled the orders they had
23 Q. So when you told us that you personally
24 selected these soldiers for the Grbavica attack because
25 they'd follow orders, you don't know whether or not
1 these same soldiers were involved in this horrific
2 crime in Stari Vitez, do you?
3 A. I never received a list of participants, the
4 people who took part in the crime in Stari Vitez, the
5 names of the Vitezovi, but for the Grbavica operation,
6 I did demand that each commander should write and sign
7 a guarantee for the soldiers selected. So the
8 commander commanding the Vitezovi had to have a list of
9 20 or 15 soldiers, whatever the number, and he had to
10 sign his name guaranteeing that they would perform
11 their military duties, and there is a whole elaborated
12 report on the Grbavica operation.
13 Q. General, had you demanded the names of the
14 perpetrators of this crime, you would have known
15 whether or not the soldiers selected for the Grbavica
16 attack in September had participated in this crime;
17 isn't that a fact?
18 A. I asked, on several occasions, the commanders
19 of the Vitezovi to conduct an investigation vis-à-vis
20 his soldiers and everything related to the truck bomb
21 and the crime committed, and for the Grbavica
22 operation, I demanded that they be selected soldiers
23 and that their commanders should guarantee their
24 conduct and steps. Judging by their conduct, I judged
25 that there were no soldiers of that kind in September
2 Q. How do you know that, General?
3 A. I followed the operation that took part in
4 September 1993; I followed the conduct. I saw what the
5 soldiers were doing and what the commander was doing,
6 and it was a purely military operation which was
7 attended by the offices of UNPROFOR as well, and a
8 Major by rank came to congratulate them for the
10 Q. The fact is that you don't know one way or
11 the other what Vitezovi soldiers were involved in the
12 Grbavica attack who may have committed criminal acts in
13 Stari Vitez; isn't that right?
14 MR. HAYMAN: Asked and answered.
15 MR. KEHOE: We'll move on, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Continue.
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. You told Darko Kraljevic, for him to take
19 disciplinary measures against his soldiers; is that
21 A. Not only him, but I informed the chief of the
22 main staff of the HVO about everything that had taken
23 place. I sent out an extraordinary report to him, and
24 I asked him to undertake measures, of course, because I
25 was not in the power to do so, to issue disciplinary or
1 any other measures vis-à-vis these units who were
2 independent and set apart from the structure of the
3 Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
4 Q. I'm sure that you demanded that Darko
5 Kraljevic be disciplined as well, is that right, for
6 this crime?
7 A. I did not demand that Darko Kraljevic be
8 punished. I just sent a report as I received it from
9 the assistant for security, and I sent an extraordinary
10 report to the chief of the HVO main staff. In that
11 report, it did not say that he was the perpetrator. It
12 said that it was the Vitezovi unit, and that is the
13 report I sent out to the chief of the main staff.
14 Q. General, as the commander in chief of the
15 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, did you send any request
16 or demand to your superiors that members of the
17 Vitezovi be punished?
18 A. Could you repeat the question, please?
19 Q. As the commander in chief of the Central
20 Bosnia Operative Zone, did you send a demand or a
21 request to your superiors that members of the Vitezovi
22 be punished for this terrible crime?
23 A. I sent the information which I had about the
24 crime, and I know that the assistant for security sent
25 the administration for security information about that
1 crime which he had gathered. I could not ask
2 individual punishment because I did not have the names
3 of the perpetrators of that crime.
4 Q. General, do you have one piece of paper --
5 one piece of paper -- that will demonstrate that you,
6 in fact, sent this information to the main staff?
7 A. Unfortunately, I do not have many papers
8 which would show a lot of things. I have no single
9 operative report. The only paper I have is the one I
10 received from you on the 24th of April, the report or
11 my report to the chief of the main staff. But there
12 were many, many such reports, at least three a day and
13 sometimes more, but I haven't got them with me.
14 MR. KEHOE: Just to be accurate,
15 Mr. President, the report that the witness is talking
16 about on the 24th of April came from the HVO. The HVO
17 gave it to us, and then we gave it to the Defence just
18 to make the record accurate.
19 It is 6.00, Mr. President. I'm about to go
20 on to another area.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. That's where we
22 will leave things for this evening.
23 Tomorrow, we will resume at 10.00; is that
25 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. That's
2 JUDGE JORDA: The court stands adjourned.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
4 6.03 p.m., to be reconvened on
5 Wednesday, the 26th day of May, 1999, at
6 10.00 a.m.