1 Wednesday, 26th May, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.05 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, the proceedings
5 will continue. Please have the witness brought in,
7 (The accused/witness entered court)
8 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
9 interpreters. Good morning to counsel, Defence and
10 Prosecution, Mr. Nobilo, Mr. Hayman. Good morning to
11 the witness, General Blaskic.
12 Everybody is ready? General Blaskic, are you
14 A. Good morning, Your Honours. Yes, I'm ready.
15 Thank you. If I may --
16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe. Yes, did you want
17 to say something? Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.
18 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
19 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
20 MR. KEHOE: Good morning, Mr. President and
21 Your Honours.
22 Q. Good morning, General.
23 A. Good morning.
24 Q. Now, General, you told us that you received
25 the report from -- I'm referring to the truck bomb
1 incident. You received the report from SIS sometime in
2 May that the Vitezovi were involved in the truck bomb
3 incident and that you called Darko Kraljevic in to take
4 disciplinary actions. Now, General, did you also tell
5 him to immediately arrest those in the Vitezovi that
6 were involved in this incident and turn their names
7 over to the military police for prosecution?
8 A. I asked him to undertake measures vis-à-vis
9 the perpetrators linked to the incident and that
10 terrorist act, and I also told him to convey his
11 knowledge to the competent authorities and to tell me
12 what had been done.
13 If I may, Mr. President, I made a mistake
14 yesterday in answering the Prosecutor with regard to
15 the mistreatment of Bosniak Muslims temporarily
16 detained in the cinema. I made a mistake with regard
17 to the name of the individual who was mistreated. The
18 individual's name was Suad Salkic, and he was
19 mistreated by a member of the HVO, Mr. Marko from the
20 village of Zabilje, and measures were taken against
21 him. The mistreatment of Hasan Gerdijanovic was
22 outside the cinema. I assume it took place at the
23 checkpoint, in relation to the Bosniak Muslims that I
24 mentioned yesterday.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for that
1 clarification, General Blaskic, but I think after that
2 we had decided that was not the correct date; is that
3 correct? Prosecutor -- what you're talking about is an
4 incident that had taken place subsequently but thank
5 you for the clarification.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. General, with regard to the Vitezovi, did you
8 demand that they arrest, or that members in the
9 Vitezovi be arrested, and that warrants be delivered to
10 the military police as soon as possible?
11 A. I said that I requested the commander of the
12 Vitezovi to take steps vis-à-vis the perpetrators.
13 First of all, I had in mind measures to identify the
14 perpetrators, because in all the investigations the
15 greatest problem was to arrive at the names of the
16 perpetrators. That was the biggest problem in the
17 circumstances that existed during that time frame while
18 there was ongoing fighting. It was the most difficult
19 thing to arrive at names.
20 Q. Well, General, let me show you your orders at
21 defendant's 360 and 361. Now, General, defendant's 360
22 and 361 are two orders that you issued. Defendant's
23 360 is an order that you issued on the 23rd of April,
24 1993 to all subordinate commanders, and it discusses
25 the behaviour of HVO members and the level of military
1 discipline. On number 4 of this order, you forbid all
2 HVO units to carry out offensive actions, and this
3 order is to come into effect immediately.
4 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. Could we put the ELMO
5 on, please? The ELMO's not on. It's on over there.
6 The monitor we have is off, Mr. President, but we can
8 Q. In 361, General, which is an order of yours
9 dated the 28th of April, 1993 to commanders of all
10 units of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, and you're
11 discussing elimination of arbitrary acts by commanders
12 and individuals, you order:
13 "After an assessment carried out on in the
14 field, it is apparent that the lower commanders and the
15 units are acting outside of the chain of command."
16 In number 3 of this order you order:
17 "The individuals and groups who are
18 completely out of control are to be arrested
19 immediately and warrants are to be delivered to the
20 commander of the Military Police unit."
21 Now, these two orders, General, apply to the
22 Vitezovi and Darko Kraljevic, do they not?
23 A. Document 361, in the title says: "To the
24 Commanders of all the units in the Central Bosnia
25 Operative Zone," that is, to stop arbitrary acts by
1 commanders and individuals. It is a document addressed
2 to all the commanders.
3 Document 360 applies to all subordinate
4 commanders of the HVO, that is to say, within the
5 structure of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
6 Q. Well, General, the question is: These orders
7 apply to Kraljevic's unit, the Vitezovi, as well,
8 didn't it?
9 A. Order 361 applies to Kraljevic as well, I'm
10 certain of that. Order 360, as it was written at the
11 time, I'm not quite sure whether it was sent to that
12 unit because it refers to the subordinate units within
13 the HVO, that is to say, the units within the
14 structure. This particular order, that is to say, 361,
15 in point 1 appears to be absurd because I ordered that
16 an order be carried out. So it is an order to an
17 order, and it focuses on an attempt to introduce law
18 and order, which can be seen from point 4 and 5.
19 Q. Excuse me, General. The question is whether
20 or not it applies to Kraljevic and the Vitezovi. That
21 was the question.
22 A. Well, I've answered that. Document 361, I'm
23 quite certain, refers to that because it is addressed
24 to the commanders of all the units, that is. Whereas
25 document 360, I'm not quite sure whether it refers to
1 that because it mentions all subordinate officers of
2 the HVO, that is to say, within the Central Bosnia
3 Operative Zone.
4 Q. In response to a question by Judge
5 Shahabuddeen when you discussed these two exhibits, you
6 noted, in talking about Kraljevic:
7 "A I made him aware of that through my
8 order D360 and 361 and precisely to
9 avoid this sort of self-will, Your
10 Honour. I sent it to him as well, which
11 meant that it referred to his unit as
13 This is on page 19506, lines 12 through 15.
14 So you told Judge Shahabuddeen that these two
15 orders refer to Kraljevic's unit, the Vitezovi, didn't
17 A. Well, I said that document 361, from the
18 title, and it is about the elimination and suppression
19 of arbitrariness of commanders and individuals, but it
20 refers to all the units within the Central Bosnia
21 Operative Zone. Document 360, linked to the heading,
22 I'm not sure whether it was sent to the Vitezovi as
23 well, because it refers to units within the structure
24 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, but at all
25 events, there was arbitrariness of conduct of units not
1 within the structure. There was self-will and
2 arbitrariness on the part of groups including the
3 Vitezovi and the commander of the Vitezovi. So there
4 was arbitrary action.
5 Q. So, General, when you told Judge Shahabuddeen
6 that 360 and 361 applied to the Vitezovi, are you
7 saying you're mistaken, or you didn't know what you
8 were talking about, or you left something out? I mean,
9 what's your answer?
10 A. My answer is that I'm absolutely certain that
11 document 361, which speaks about the suppression of
12 self-will on the part of commanders and individuals
13 included all the units in the Operative Zone, that is
14 to say, I wanted to remind them of their duties,
15 whereas document 360, I said I'm not fully certain
16 whether it included units which were only added to the
17 Vitezovi and the military police. Perhaps it does,
18 because from the title, I'm looking at the head and it
19 says, "To all subordinate commanders," but in essence,
20 the documents are similar. Both documents are similar.
21 Q. Well, General, let us talk about your order
22 in 361. Did you demand that Kraljevic identify and
23 arrest members of the Vitezovi that were responsible
24 for this heinous crime involved with the truck bomb?
25 Did you do that? And do you have a written order to
1 support that?
2 MR. HAYMAN: Can we keep the question simple
3 and not compound, Mr. President?
4 MR. KEHOE: The question is very simple. If
5 he --
6 JUDGE JORDA: Well, I have to acknowledge,
7 Mr. Hayman, that frequently the questions are simple
8 and the answers are complicated. Let me also remind
9 you that you don't have any specific role to play here
10 because the witness is alone. The answers are
11 frequently simple and the answers are frequently
13 Please don't forget that we have noted a
14 change of answers in respect of an answer that was
15 asked by one of my colleagues in the Trial Chamber.
16 Therefore, Mr. Kehoe, please continue, because I could
17 also ask the question, Mr. Hayman, how is it that on
18 the 23rd of April General Blaskic addressed an order to
19 commanders except to Darko Kraljevic on the 23rd of
20 April, as I said, whereas, in fact, it was a unit that
21 acted in a particularly illegal way, that in any way --
22 we frequently ask very direct questions and that's what
23 we'll do. Let's not waste any time.
24 Mr. Kehoe, please continue. I ask General
25 Blaskic to try to answer directly.
1 MR. KEHOE:
2 Q. Did you hear my question, General, or would
3 you like me to repeat it?
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please repeat the question so
5 that the witness is sure to understand it. Thank you,
6 Mr. Kehoe.
7 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
8 Q. General, did you demand that Darko Kraljevic
9 arrest individuals in the Vitezovi who were responsible
10 for this truck bomb crime?
11 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. That seems to me to
12 be a simple question.
13 A. I demanded that he conduct an investigation
14 as to the truck bomb explosion, and this implied that
15 he would send in the names of the perpetrators, take
16 them into custody or send the list to the military
17 police for the military police to do so. But I
18 demanded that he conduct an investigation until he had
19 identified the perpetrators by name and surname.
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. General, to your knowledge, was anyone
22 arrested for this crime ever?
23 A. As far as I know, nobody -- I say, as far as
24 I know, nobody was arrested because the names and
25 surnames of the perpetrators were never uncovered, the
1 perpetrators of the crime, that is.
2 Q. I take it that nobody was ever disciplined
3 and removed from the HVO for committing this crime as
5 A. As far as my data and information goes, the
6 investigation did not result in uncovering the
7 perpetrators of the crime.
8 Q. General, how about during your sweeping
9 investigation known as Operation Pauk? Did your
10 sweeping investigation of war crimes launch an
11 investigation into this heinous acts to uncover the
12 names of the members of the Vitezovi who committed this
14 A. Operation Pauk implied an investigation of
15 all crimes committed in the area of the Croatian
16 Republic of Herceg-Bosna at that time.
17 Q. General, this crime took place 400 metres
18 from your headquarters in April of 1993. While you
19 were running Operation Pauk, did you conduct an
20 investigation of this terrible crime that your chief of
21 staff called a terrorist act?
22 A. I have already stated that Operation Pauk was
23 an operation of all crimes. It is true that this was
24 400 metres away, but it is also true that it was the
25 other side of the front line which was inaccessible to
2 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, I say this for
3 Mr. Hayman, this is typically the kind of answer that
4 doesn't match the question asked. I'm sorry,
5 Mr. Hayman, but now there are some questions being
6 asked twice. As part of Operation Spider, was there an
7 investigation ordered while the witness was in a
8 position to do so, that is, about the truck bomb? The
9 answer is always reminding us of what Operation Spider
10 was about. We know what it was about.
11 Please answer the question. The question
12 asked was: As part of Operation Spider, did you carry
13 out an investigation or try to collect information
14 about the truck bomb? The question is a very simple
15 one; "Yes," "No," or something else?
16 A. The investigation of Operation Pauk included
17 all crimes committed, including the truck bomb, and all
18 the crimes committed in the area of the Croatian
19 Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. This is the third
21 time that you're saying about the truck bomb. That's
22 what you've just said.
23 A. I don't know what the interpretation was that
24 reached you, but the investigation under Operation Pauk
25 which included war crimes included all crimes
1 committed, that is to say, including the crime
2 committed by the truck bomb explosion.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Among other things, that's what
4 you've said. All right. That's the answer. Now we
5 have an answer. Thank you.
6 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. In your investigation of the truck bomb in
9 Operation Pauk, was anybody ever arrested for their
10 involvement in the truck bomb incident in Stari Vitez;
11 "Yes" or "No"?
12 A. No, because, as I've already stated, a list,
13 a file of the investigation did not result in names,
14 except the Vitezovi unit.
15 Q. So the investigation by SIS in May didn't
16 result in any names and your investigation in Operation
17 Pauk in 1994 also didn't result in any names; is that
19 A. I have already stated that the investigation
20 within Operation Pauk was an investigation of all
21 crimes, including that particular crime, and it did not
22 result in any names.
23 Q. As a result of this terrorist act, if we can
24 conclude from your Operation Pauk, nobody was arrested,
25 nobody was convicted, and no soldier was ever
1 disciplined for this heinous act? That's the bottom
2 line, isn't it, General?
3 A. That is the bottom line, but I'd just like to
4 add that the results of the investigation did not
5 result in identifying the perpetrators.
6 Q. General, did your chief of staff, Slavko
7 Marin, know that you had launched SIS into an
8 investigation of the truck bomb in Stari Vitez?
9 A. I don't believe that at that particular
10 moment he knew, perhaps later, because the orders which
11 went towards the SIS assistant were something that
12 Slavko Marin need not have been aware of. So I don't
13 know whether he knew or not. Quite possibly he did,
14 but the order was, at all events, certainly sent to the
15 assistant for SIS.
16 Q. Let me read you two versions of his testimony
17 at page 13433, line 4:
18 "Q Brigadier, was there any order sent out
19 by Colonel Blaskic to ask anyone whether
20 HVO soldiers, any HVO soldiers, were
21 responsible for this explosion?
22 A I do not know whether an order of that
23 kind was sent out."
24 On the same page, line 17, referring to the
25 report from the Vitez Brigade:
1 "Q So this report that we see, Defence
2 Exhibit 304, after Blaskic received this
3 report from the Vitez Brigade, he was
4 satisfied that he had all information
5 about the bomb and took no further steps
6 that you know of to find out who was
7 responsible; is that right?
8 A I do not know what the commander was
9 aware of and what was undertaken
10 following that report."
11 So, General, it appears clear that your chief
12 of operations and then your acting chief of staff was
13 unaware of any investigation that you asked for with
14 respect to this truck bomb incident?
15 A. He was the chief of operations, Slavko Marin,
16 that we're talking about, and he was in charge of
17 combat activities specifically, whereas the SIS
18 security is a secret security working on its own
19 assignments. As far as I was able to understand, he
20 says that he was not aware of it, but I did issue an
21 assignment and required an investigation from the
22 security assistant.
23 Q. Do you have a written order that supports
24 what you just said?
25 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we have been
1 listening to this for at least the fifth time in the
2 last two days, whether there was a written order.
3 First of all, the witness has answered. Second, it is
4 not up to him to prove anything. Does the Prosecutor
5 have evidence that he did not do that? Because the
6 situation seems to be turning around. The same
7 questions are being posed and, in a way, the witness is
8 being maltreated, badgered, with the same questions,
9 and then it would appear as if the witness is not
10 answering correctly, has to repeat his answers. But
11 this is all an artificial product to gain an effect
12 which I don't think is the correct way to conduct a
13 examination. This question was answered at least five
14 times, that it was an oral order.
15 JUDGE JORDA: I'll give you an answer,
16 Mr. Nobilo. I believe that in all legal systems, the
17 Prosecutor has to prove what he's putting forth. From
18 that point of view, I render tribute to you, and you're
19 right. But in all legal systems throughout the world,
20 when the Prosecutor puts forth information which has to
21 do with a witness, in this example a witness, not an
22 accused, a witness who is giving answers by saying, "I
23 did this" or "I did that," in all legal systems, the
24 one who is putting forth the information has to at
25 least begin to provide some evidence for what he's
1 saying. Do you agree with what I've said on that
3 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President, but I don't
4 agree that every two hours the same thing should be
5 asked and to create the conviction that there is no
6 proof for that assertion, that is to say, I am against
7 having the same question repeated again and again.
8 These are effects to play to a jury but not to this
9 type of Tribunal, with professional judges.
10 JUDGE JORDA: We are not talking about juries
11 here. As you stated have correctly, we are
12 professional judges and we know, when the time comes,
13 how to sift through what is solid evidence and what is
14 an allegation made by the Prosecutor. I'm merely
15 saying to you that this is not a witness like other
16 witnesses but rather an accused who issued many orders
17 and about whom one could think that he had issued
18 orders that were issued in order to support his
20 You are not the one who cannot show me that
21 I'm wrong on that point, and perhaps that's a natural
22 thing. The witness, who is also an accused, has issued
23 orders, and having issued the orders, Mr. Nobilo, he
24 places himself into a situation in which the Judges
25 have all of the orders issued.
1 Are you following me in the way I'm
2 reasoning? I'm speaking slowly and I'm asking the
3 interpreters to be very careful about what I'm saying.
4 This is not a witness like other witnesses.
5 This is a witness who is also an accused and who, in
6 his own defence and with your competent assistance,
7 produced a number of orders. This is my first way of
9 When he tried to establish his defence in
10 respect of the production of orders, it is absolutely
11 natural for the opposing party or even for the Judges
12 to put themselves in the same perspective, that is, the
13 perspective of the orders that he issued. That's the
14 second part of my reasoning.
15 My third reason is the fact that the witness
16 himself is the one who said, "I gave an order to do
17 this," or "I gave an order to do that." Therefore, it
18 doesn't seem illegitimate for the Prosecutor to
19 say, "Do you have an order?" Now, if he doesn't have
20 it, Mr. Nobilo, that's not a reason for the Judges to
21 draw the most negative consequences that you could
22 imagine. The trial has been going on for two years and
23 many things have been said. But when we speak about
24 methodology, it does not seem illegitimate to me for
25 the opposing party, in this case, the Prosecutor, when
1 the witness says, "I gave an order to do this or that,"
2 for the Prosecutor to ask, "Do you have the order or
3 don't you?" If he doesn't, he doesn't. That's all
4 there is.
5 Do you agree with the way I'm reasoning,
6 Mr. Nobilo?
7 MR. NOBILO: Almost fully, Your Honour. I
8 almost fully agree with the logical sequence that you
9 have just presented. However, there are two premises
10 that you omitted to mention. One is that the witness
11 said that he issued an oral order. He said that at
12 least a few times yesterday. So if he issued an oral
13 order, that means that he could not have the order in
14 writing. That is one thing.
15 The second thing is that I do not agree with
16 the same question being repeated five or six times in
17 two days, and he has answered. But I do agree with
18 your logic.
19 Look at another effect. The witness said
20 that he gave an oral order to Kraljevic in May, and a
21 few minutes ago, the Prosecutor asked him, in Defence
22 Exhibit 366 from the 24th of April, 1993, he
23 said, "Where's your order to carry out an investigation
24 related to the truck bomb?" Well, he could have taken
25 any other order and asked where it was because it's not
1 there. He issued the order orally in May.
2 I'm objecting to this because all of this is
3 actually badgering the witness, and the witness has to
4 answer the same questions five times, and key questions
5 at that.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, thank you for your
7 contribution to this discussion. But it is very
8 important for the Judges, and the Prosecutor's
9 questions are important for the Judges, it could be
10 very important for the Judges, for example, to note
11 that the important orders which might come to support
12 what the witness is saying were always oral orders. Do
13 you see what I mean? What is important, in fact, is
14 oral. You, through the witness, produced written
15 orders which do not always have a numerical sequence.
16 Do you remember we had this discussion about the
18 For the Judges, therefore, it could be
19 important for the proceedings to note that many orders
20 are missing and that when the witness tells us that he
21 gave an order to carry out an investigation, we note
22 that it was an oral order. If this occurs frequently,
23 that is, that there are frequently oral orders, that it
24 might be important for the Judges to note that very
25 frequently very important orders about very important
1 subjects were given orally. All we will do is take
2 note of that.
3 MR. NOBILO: May it please the Court? I just
4 have one more sentence, and I thank you for having
5 opened this debate.
6 It is important to understand military
7 conduct. Never, absolutely never, does a commander in
8 any army issue command orders in writing to his
9 immediate associates, the members of his command.
10 Written orders are given to units outside headquarters,
11 but at morning briefings issues are given orally to
12 members of his command.
13 So that is to say that all orders to Ivica
14 Zejko, to the intelligence service, Nakic, all of them
15 are oral, and they would be oral in any army in the
16 world. If there is an order in writing, then that is
17 dramatic and that is why there are these two written
18 orders. You will never find them in any headquarters
19 in any army in the world that the members of one's
20 immediate command get orders in writing.
21 These are people who sit in an operations
22 room together. Their desks are right next to one
23 another. They would not write to one another to give
24 orders to each other.
25 JUDGE JORDA: First of all, I would answer by
1 saying that these crimes are not daily occurrences, the
2 most serious crimes. In the second place, your witness
3 said how upset he was by the crimes. He said that. He
4 repeated that. It appears -- remember that he gave
5 orders, orders that you were very pleased to show to
6 the Judges, written orders about Ahmici and orders
7 about the military offences including the truck bomb.
8 In the second place, your witness held
9 important responsibilities during Operation Spider. He
10 was very satisfied -- very pleased to say that to the
12 Mr. Nobilo, one cannot be satisfied with
13 presenting certain facts to the Judges and then to
14 protest when the opposing party or the Judges ask for
15 additions to those facts. It's like the alibi defence,
16 which you did not use, but in all legal systems
17 throughout the world, when a witness says something,
18 and here this is a witness, he does so under his own
19 responsibility, and his responsibility includes, even
20 if he might one day -- if he might even say, "Where is
21 the order?" The Judges have to point out and take note
22 of the fact that many of the orders issued were oral,
23 and frequently the orders that your witness wants to
24 show as support of his statements are not there and
25 this is an important thing for the Judges to know.
1 That is what I wanted to say to you. Thank you.
2 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, please proceed.
4 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. General, before we move away from this area,
6 I would like to read you one more short excerpt of
7 testimony of Lieutenant-Colonel Henk Morsink at page
8 9858, at line 15:
9 "Q In respect to the truck bomb that
10 occurred in Stari Vitez, when Mario
11 Cerkez said he was going to conduct an
12 investigation, when you were in theatre
13 did you ever receive an investigative
14 report from the HVO about the
15 circumstances of that truck bomb?
16 A. Never."
17 So, General, was the international community
18 made aware of the results of this alleged investigation
19 you launched as to who was responsible for the truck
21 A. First of all, the investigation was not an
22 alleged investigation, it really was carried out, so I
23 have to repeat once again that the report that I
24 received from the security service said that the
25 Vitezovi unit was behind this. This was not an alleged
1 investigation, this was an investigation that was truly
2 carried out.
3 Secondly, I never had an approval -- I never
4 had approval to acquaint the members of the
5 International Community with the results of the
6 investigation, and members of the international
7 organisations were not entitled to receive this kind of
8 information, because I had the law on military secrets
9 that I had to operate in accordance with. So I had to
10 keep these secrets, and these internal difficulties and
11 problems I usually -- nobody usually shared with
12 members of the International Community.
13 Q. Well, General, let us move ahead and stay
14 with the Vitezovi. We will move ahead chronologically
15 to the attack on Stari Vitez of the 18th of July,
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Kehoe?
18 MR. KEHOE: Yes. I'm sorry, Judge.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Just before you change
20 gears, may I can take the opportunity of asking General
21 Blaskic whether Exhibits 360 and 361 also applied to
22 the military police?
23 You know, General, we've been talking about
24 the Vitezovi and about SIS. I want to be clear about
25 the situation of the military police.
1 A. Your Honour, document 361 certainly pertains
2 to the military police too. Yes, it does. But
3 document 360, as I've already said, speaks about all
4 the subordinate commanders within the Operative Zone.
5 Perhaps it was supposed to be a reminder to the
6 military police too. Perhaps it pertained to them as
7 well, but I'm not 100 per cent sure. However, as far
8 as 361 is concerned, that I'm sure about.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So at that point of
10 time, you were taking the view that the military police
11 were subordinate to you?
12 A. The military police was not subordinated to
13 me in that period of time. It was attached to me. It
14 was subordinated to me only from the end of July, the
15 beginning of August, 1993.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, you spoke about
17 introducing or reintroducing the rule of law. Should I
18 take it that, therefore, you felt the need for the
19 assistance of the military police to help you in that
21 A. Well, certainly, Your Honour, because the
22 military police or, rather, one the tasks of the
23 military police is to discover the perpetrators of
24 crimes, making files about the perpetrators of crimes
25 and sending these files to the district military
1 prosecutor on the basis of the law on criminal
2 procedure, and I think the witness Tadic spoke about
3 that here too now.
4 However, when the military police is not
5 directly subordinated to me in terms of my direct
6 command, then it is not one of my direct instruments in
7 this regard and, therefore, I'm brought into an absurd
8 situation. In document 360, in item number 1, I ask
9 that the previously issued order be carried out. I am
10 absurdly repeating that my order should be carried
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see. Thank you,
14 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.
15 All right. You want to now speak about the Vitezovi,
16 Mr. Kehoe?
17 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, among other things
18 we are going to talk about the attack on Stari Vitez on
19 the 18th of July, 1993.
20 Q. Now, General, you told us that on the morning
21 of the 18th of July, 1993, I think you told us you
22 weren't in Vitez. Can you just tell us what you did
23 that morning, once again?
24 A. On the 18th I was in Busovaca. I attended
25 mass in the church there, and I was with the priest
1 from Busovaca. I had lunch at his place that
3 Q. So, General, just to clarify, did you go from
4 the Hotel Vitez to mass in Busovaca, attend mass and
5 then have lunch with the local parish priest?
6 A. I left my headquarters. I think it was in
7 Nova Bila. Yes, I left Nova Bila on the evening of the
8 17th. I went to Busovaca, to a place called Ravan. I
9 spent the night there with Petrovic family, the family
10 of Ivo Petrovic. They are my close relatives.
11 In the morning I attended holy mass and I had
12 lunch in Busovaca, in the town of Busovaca, at the
13 parish priest's home.
14 Q. What time did this attack commence in Stara
15 Bila [real-time error] on the 18th?
16 A. I will have to look this up in my
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Check what you need to
19 check. Were you able to find your chronology,
20 Mr. Blaskic?
21 A. No, not yet, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE JORDA: The time of the attack on Stara
23 Bila, I think that's what was translated here. You're
24 talking about Stara Bila?
25 MR. KEHOE: Stari Vitez. It should be Stari
1 Vitez. I apologise.
2 JUDGE JORDA: This shouldn't be too
3 complicated, General Blaskic. The Prosecutor is giving
4 you a specific date. You know, you gave all the
5 information minute by minute and it's in your
6 chronology. We're speaking about the 18th; is that
7 correct, the 18th of July, 1993.
8 At what time, Mr. Kehoe? Is this information
9 that the witness himself gave?
10 MR. KEHOE: I'm not positive he actually gave
11 it, Mr. President. He gave us an account of what
12 happened that day and his movements between Nova Bila
13 and in Busovaca, I believe, and the simple question I
14 had was: What time did this action begin in Stari
16 JUDGE JORDA: It was an operation that was
17 carried out by the HVO commander. I don't remember.
18 Could you refresh our memory, please while the General
19 is looking through his chronology.
20 MR. KEHOE: That was an operation carried out
21 by the HVO in Stari Vitez on the 18th of July, 1993.
22 Q. General, why don't you look at that at the
23 break and we'll move on with the questioning. General,
24 my next question -- if you can put that down and we can
25 move on to the break and you can look at that on the
2 When did you find out, what time of day did
3 you find out that there had been an attack on Stari
4 Vitez, do you recall? I'll remind you of your
5 testimony that you said at page 19496, that you
6 returned to Nova Bila at 18.00.
7 A. When I came back to Nova Bila, that is to
8 say, that afternoon, I found out that there had been
9 combat activity in Stari Vitez.
10 Q. You had no information about that combat
11 activity until you returned to your headquarters at
12 Nova Bila at 18.00; is that right?
13 A. I did not have any such information or
15 Q. Thereafter, did you learn any of the methods
16 employed during that attack, such as the use of
17 "babies" to be launched into Stari Vitez. That being,
18 of course, fire extinguishers being filled with various
19 types of munitions.
20 A. There were such stories too, possibly, but I
21 found out that the following method was used: To use
22 the fog for attracting BH army units into Stara Bila
23 and thus contributing to the surprise factor. That's
24 what the commanders talked about most of all. However,
25 this was an entire story saying that this was a major
1 victory of the BH army and there were major losses on
2 the HVO side and --
3 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. I think you've
4 answered the question. Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. But you realised -- you do know, as a
7 military commander, that the use of "babies," the
8 launching of these fire extinguishers, launches a
9 projectile which can't be controlled; isn't that
10 right? Certainly the direction can't be controlled.
11 A. It wasn't the way you are saying. It wasn't
12 only that. These were explosives, not only fire
13 extinguishers, and they were used at short range, and
14 usually at BH army positions.
15 There were stories, stories, rumours that
16 "babies" were used too, but I know that the artillery
17 of the Operative Zone was not used and that nobody
18 asked me to have the artillery used.
19 Q. The use of these "babies" is illegal under
20 the laws of war; isn't it, because they are fired and
21 land indiscriminately; isn't that correct?
22 JUDGE JORDA: This is your assertion,
23 Mr. Kehoe. Please ask your question.
24 MR. KEHOE: I will rephrase the question.
25 Q. Are the use of these "babies," which are fire
1 extinguishers stuffed with munitions, are the use of
2 those illegal in that they land indiscriminately?
3 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, our client is not
4 a lawyer. It calls for a legal conclusion. That's a
5 question for the Court, not the witness.
6 MR. KEHOE: I will rephrase the question.
7 Q. During your training --
8 JUDGE JORDA: I sustained the objection.
9 Don't ask legal questions unless they are questions
10 about something that a commander should really know,
11 but I agree with Mr. Hayman. Remember that the witness
12 said that as a military commander, he knew what was
13 lawful and what was not lawful, but it is true,
14 Mr. Kehoe, try not to draw the witness into legal
15 discussions that are too complicated. Let's continue.
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. General, these "babies," were they precise?
18 By "precise," I'm talking about can you specifically
19 direct their direction and where they are about to land
20 when they explode?
21 A. As far as directing them in a certain
22 direction, that was possible. As far as I know, this
23 was done by members of the BH army in the territory of
24 Zabilje or the positions of Brdo, Stozerak. They were
25 used at 150-metre, 200-metre ranges, and they were
1 precise to a certain extent.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Try to answer from a
3 technical point of view. It's not a legal issue. The
4 question was whether these weapons were precise and
5 whether they could be controlled, that is, relatively
6 possible to control them and be precise. Answer the
7 question, please.
8 A. Weapons can relatively be controlled, and
9 they are precise but they are used at shorter ranges,
10 150 to 200 metres. The few crews that are trained for
11 that can hit a military target with that. Yes, it can
12 be directed and controlled because military rules imply
13 the use of mortars without using sight devices, with
14 other things.
15 Q. General, based on your training as a military
16 commander, would you consider the use of these "babies"
17 a proper use in war or an improper use?
18 A. The situation that we were in then was such
19 that we simply did not have any other choice or any
20 other way out, but we certainly tried to reduce this
21 kind of use to a minimum and to keep everything under
22 control. There were many difficulties in this
23 situation of chaos. It would have been better had
24 there been no need to wage war in such an area.
25 Q. So, General, during your time as the
1 commander in the Central Bosnian Operative Zone, did
2 you authorise the use of these "babies" in combat?
3 A. I do not remember having authorised the use
4 of "babies" in combat, but I know that there was such
5 use. I had received all kinds of information or
6 rumours. There were improvised means that were used
7 from rifles to artillery guns practically. That's what
8 people did in the situation of self-defence. The
9 greatest difficulty was to keep all of this under
10 control, that is to say, to register all these weapons
11 and keep them under control.
12 Q. General, let us move back to the Stari Vitez
13 attack on the 18th where you told us you received no
14 information about that attack until 18.00 when you
15 returned to your headquarters. I'd like to show you a
16 photograph, Prosecutor's Exhibit 433/4.
17 General, who is the man to the left-hand side
18 of that photograph?
19 A. That is Darko Gelic, an officer in charge of
20 relations with UNPROFOR. He was an administrative
21 officer in the command of the Operative Zone.
22 Q. Let me read to you some descriptions that
23 have been given by some witnesses about Darko Gelic,
24 General. First, by Captain Lee Whitworth who noted
25 that, and this is a series of pages, at transcript page
1 10193, 10195, 10198, 10217, 10296, 10298, Whitworth
2 described Gelic as:
3 "A ... Blaskic's liaison officer and did
4 the speaking for then Colonel Blaskic
5 during this period of time. A good
6 number of meetings were with Gelic
7 rather than Blaskic."
8 At page 10341, Whitworth said he would
9 petition Blaskic, usually through Gelic, to make stuff
11 On page 10414, on one occasion when Whitworth
12 went to meet with Blaskic but met with Gelic instead,
13 Whitworth on page 10433 noted that he assumed that the
14 Blaskic/Gelic relationship was the same as the
15 Whitworth/Duncan relationship and that he was acting on
16 behalf of the Colonel, that is, with his authority and
18 Major Mark Bower noted about the relationship
19 with Gelic at page 9425 that Major Bower dealt with
20 Gelic at the Hotel Vitez when he needed access through
22 At page 9427, Bower spoke to Gelic to gain
23 access to Kruscica for a food convoy.
24 On page 9459, Bower noted that getting
25 convoys through generally was facilitated through
2 On page 9493, Bower noted that if he wanted
3 to evacuate casualties from Stari Vitez, he would
4 invariably have to go to Hotel Vitez and speak with
6 Brigadier Alastair Duncan, at 9164, described
7 Darko Gelic as the HVO Operative Zone Central Bosnia
8 Liaison Officer to BritBat, and the same, Lieutenant
9 Colonel Morsink identified Darko Gelic as Blaskic's
10 liaison officer, and that was at page 9935 and 9940.
11 General, Darko Gelic was the person who you
12 authorised to speak to the international
13 representatives and especially to BritBat during a
14 period of time when he was your liaison officer in
15 Central Bosnia; is that accurate, sir?
16 A. It is not correct that he was the officer who
17 could talk to international representatives, regardless
18 of which international representatives we're talking
19 about, because the question is what would he talk
20 about? He was an officer who could receive information
21 from liaison officers of the international
22 representatives, and then he could communicate this
23 information to me or to other persons in charge to
24 which this information was addressed, or he could also
25 convey our positions to the UNPROFOR officers or other
1 persons to whom this information was addressed to. So
2 he was the officer who was in charge of conveying this
3 information. He did not have any other powers, only
4 administration, that is to say, to receive information
5 and convey information related to meetings.
6 JUDGE JORDA: I think you've answered. The
7 person who both receives and transmits seems a lot for
8 a transmission officer. That's a subtle nuance, but I
9 thought that I understood that he received things and
10 that he was authorised to transmit things and then to
11 let people know what you had said. I'm not asking a
12 question. I'm just making a comment.
13 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
14 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
15 Q. Let us move to a document, General, if we
17 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
19 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, Your Honours, this
20 is a military information summary of the British
21 Battalion dated the 18th of July, 1993. The
22 designation on the top is "1 PWO Milinfosum," that is
23 the abbreviated description of 1 Prince of Wales Own
24 Regiment of Yorkshire, who was, of course, the
25 successor British battalion after the Cheshire
2 Q. I would like to refer to the first two
3 paragraphs, the "General Situation" and "Vitez," and I
4 will read it slowly for you, General, as it's in
5 English. Again, this is dated 18 July, 1993:
6 "In the Lasva Valley, the HVO have launched
7 an attack on the Muslim pocket of Stari Vitez ..."
8 MR. KEHOE: Can you pull that down, please,
9 Mr. Usher? Thank you.
10 Q. "... The outcome is presently unknown as
11 fighting is ongoing and access into the area is being
12 denied. An HVO attack on the Vrbas valley has not yet
13 materialised but there are signs of mounting
14 tension ..."
15 If we could move to Vitez.
16 "2. BritBat echelon report that Vitez had
17 its busiest night since the arrival of 1 PWO. A human
18 intelligence source claimed last night that the HVO
19 were about to attack Stari Vitez," and it gives a grid
20 reference. "During the night there was the normal
21 small arms and HMG fire punctuated by mortar fire but
22 on the 18th at 04.45 an intensive barrage of the Muslim
23 area began and involved occasional MBRL and artillery
24 fire as well as mortars. The fighting has continued
25 throughout the day. 3 Corps BiH have stated that there
1 were 15 casualties in Stari Vitez but it is unclear
2 whether this is a total figure or merely those
3 requiring evacuation. Pero Skopljak, HDZ mayor of
4 Vitez, has also spoken to ops concerning the evacuation
5 of wounded. All access into Vitez has been denied by
6 HVO checkpoints located at," two grid references,
7 "225935 and at grid 243923. Both checkpoints have
8 mines laid across the road and troops with cam cream
9 were noted in the area of the first checkpoint. Darko
10 Gelic, the Operative Zone Central Bosnia liaison
11 officer to BritBat, has confirmed that the HVO are
12 attacking Stari Vitez and that the artillery barrage
13 was the preliminary phase. At 181459, echelon reported
14 that the Croat village of Veceriska was coming under
15 small arms, HMG and mortar fire. Similarly, at 182031
16 mortar fire was reported on the Croat village of
17 Jardol. At the time of the writing the fighting is
18 ongoing. Comment. The HVO have frequently in the past
19 threatened action against Stari Vitez. That they are
20 apparently actioning this threat now is testimony to
21 their current confidence in their position. Whether
22 this confidence is justified remains to be seen as the
23 BiH are undoubtedly in the stronger position throughout
24 the area. The HVO may be merely exploiting the fact
25 that 3 Corps' attention is apparently elsewhere.
1 Comment ends."
2 In portion 3:
3 "3. Darko Gelic also confirmed the
4 helicopter flight into the Vitez area reported
5 yesterday and stated that it was bringing in 'some
6 piece of very important equipment.' He also claimed
7 that the helicopter had 2 pilots, one for day and one
8 for night."
9 Now, General, here is your liaison officer
10 discussing this barrage or this attack with a liaison
11 officer in the British Battalion, and he notes that the
12 artillery fire, the artillery barrage was the
13 preliminary phase of the attack. Was this man speaking
14 on your behalf, sir?
15 A. First of all, he's commenting on the activity
16 on Stari Vitez. He was a liaison officer, but I'd like
17 to underline that the HVO did not launch an attack on
18 Stari Vitez but this was done by the members of the PPN
19 Vitezovi, special purposes.
20 According to my chronology, on the 17th of
21 July, the night before, there was artillery fire on the
22 part of the BH army in the centre of Vitez and other
23 areas of Vitez. The artillery that I commanded did not
24 fire at Stari Vitez at any time, and the result of the
25 attack on the 18th of July by the Vitezovi was general
1 condemnation sent to me because it was claimed that I
2 had not allowed the artillery of the HVO to fire on
3 Stari Vitez. Nobody even asked me or informed me about
4 that attack and those activities.
5 Darko Gelic comments on the arrival of
6 helicopters. According to my notes, we arrived only at
7 the beginning of August 1993 and not in July 1993.
8 Q. General, this military information summary
9 notes that the artillery barrage began at 04.45 in the
10 morning. Is it your testimony that between 04.45 in
11 the morning and 18.00 --
12 JUDGE JORDA: The interpreters are not
13 following. I am now at the end of General Blaskic's
14 answer. All right. What's your question? I can read
15 it, but I want to be sure that the witness has time to
16 answer the question.
17 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
18 MR. KEHOE:
19 Q. This military information summary reflects
20 that the artillery attack on Stari Vitez began at 4.45
21 in the morning. Is it your testimony that throughout
22 that whole day until 18.00 you heard nothing about this
23 attack that had commenced some 13 hours prior to that?
24 A. I did not receive information about any kind
25 of attack on Stari Vitez while I was in Busovaca. As
1 far as the beginning of the artillery fire goes, I
2 maintain that the artillery that I commanded did not
3 open artillery fire at all on Stari Vitez.
4 JUDGE JORDA: You said that. You said that
5 you didn't know that there was an attack.
6 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe. Ask your
8 MR. KEHOE:
9 Let me turn to the next exhibit, sir, which
10 is a map with the grid references referenced in the
11 military information summary.
12 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
14 JUDGE JORDA: All right. That's the map.
15 Ask your question before the break, Mr. Kehoe.
16 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
17 Q. Now, General, these two grid references that
18 are set forth in the map reflect the two places that
19 checkpoints were is set up by the HVO according to the
20 military information summary. Now, General, the
21 setting up of checkpoints in this fashion would reflect
22 a degree of coordination and planning, wouldn't it?
23 A. No. Checkpoints were always there. As far
24 as I can see from the map, this is a checkpoint by the
25 church and I'll read it, it says GR 225935, and it was,
1 for the purpose of civilians coming to the church who
2 were there, who lived there, should know how far they
3 can go and where they were entering territory
4 controlled by the BH army, whereas the checkpoint at
5 the grid reference GR 243923 was also a checkpoint on
6 the main access from Zenica to town of Vitez, and they
7 always were checkpoints.
8 There was another one which doesn't seem to
9 be introduced here. I don't know why. It was the
10 checkpoint by the bus station, which was almost at the
11 front line itself, up at the line itself, the front
12 line itself controlled by the HVO. It was only in that
13 way that we were able to warn civilians living in the
14 region or coming to the region not to enter territory
15 controlled by another army. But despite the
16 checkpoints that existed, at night individuals under
17 the effects of alcoholic beverage, would pass this line
18 and become prisoners, taken prisoner by the other side.
19 Q. Well, General, this military information
20 summary notes that all access into Vitez has been
21 denied by the HVO at these two checkpoints. Was that a
22 normal course of events for the HVO, to deny access
23 into Vitez at these checkpoints?
24 A. As far as the checkpoint is concerned, at
25 GR 225935, that grid reference, that particular
1 checkpoint was at the very front line itself. As far
2 as the other checkpoint in the other position, they
3 never received orders from me of that kind, that is to
4 say, to block the area and to prevent anybody from
5 entering the area of Vitez.
6 So quite certainly they did not receive an
7 assignment from me of that kind, and I hear for the
8 first time that blocks of this type existed.
9 MR. KEHOE: I can continue on this,
10 Mr. President, or take a break. I can continue on.
11 JUDGE JORDA: It depends. You know I like to
12 take breaks when there's a coherent point that's been
13 finished. If you have nothing further to say about
14 that attack we can take a break, but if you have a few
15 more questions --
16 MR. KEHOE: Yes, I do.
17 JUDGE JORDA: What would you prefer?
18 MR. KEHOE: I'd prefer to continue on,
19 Mr. President, just for a few more minutes.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Let me ask the interpreters to
21 be a little bit patient, even one who doesn't seem to
22 be in the best form today. Let's finish with the
23 attack on Stari Vitez. Thank you.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. General, given the fact that both these
1 checkpoints denied access to Vitez, and as the
2 milinfosum -- both checkpoints had mines laid across
3 the road, and the troops had cam cream on their faces
4 at the checkpoint, those would reflect a degree of
5 planning and coordination to this attack, would it
7 A. I have already stated that the control point
8 located in the north-westerly position had mines and it
9 was a checkpoint at the front line, that is to say, the
10 point is GR 225935. It had mines in the area, and they
11 were right up at the front line. They either cautioned
12 people or sometimes prevented passage, because the
13 mines were an obstacle themselves, and for -- the
14 problem that was to ensure passage despite the snipers
15 and the BH army positions.
16 The checkpoint at GR 243923 quite possibly
17 had mines but the assignment of the checkpoint was, and
18 I think this is clearly defined in one of my documents,
19 never received instructions to me linked to blocking
20 passage, denying passage.
21 The GR 243923 checkpoint never received
22 orders of that kind, and so the HVO did not launch an
23 attack. That is erroneously stated. The attack was
24 launched by the PPN Vitezovi. The home guards who were
25 in their trenches I'm quite certain did not advance one
1 metre. There were 15 victims and they were killed and
2 they were HVO victims, HVO soldiers.
3 Q. General, just to define, cam cream that the
4 milinfosum is talking about is the green and black
5 cream that soldiers often put on their face; isn't that
7 A. The soldiers were at the control point, the
8 checkpoint GR 225935, as well as the checkpoint at the
10 Q. Excuse me, General. I'm sorry. I'm just
11 trying to get a clarification for the Judges as to what
12 cam cream is, and cam cream is a black and green cream
13 that soldiers put on their hands and faces to
14 camouflage themselves; isn't that right?
15 A. Soldiers use that to camouflage themselves,
16 to mask themselves. Sometimes it's their image, but
17 with professional soldiers it should be only used to
18 mask, to camouflage, but there were other --
19 JUDGE JORDA: General, let's stay with the
20 first part of your answer, please. Let's not speak
21 about looks or improvisations by soldiers.
22 One would think that each person was looking
23 into the mirror to see whether the green cream was
24 nicer than the black cream. Let's be serious here and
25 go on.
1 Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.
2 MR. KEHOE:
3 Q. Was it normal for the soldiers at these two
4 checkpoints that we've been talking about, was it
5 normal for those soldiers to be wearing cam cream on
6 their faces?
7 A. Soldiers at the checkpoints that we're
8 talking about, GR 225935 could have had all types of
9 appearance, could have looked different. At the
10 GR 243923 checkpoint I do believe that they were
11 members of the police, and one would not expect the
12 members of the police to have that kind of paint, but I
13 repeat, the checkpoints are never -- did not receive
14 extraordinary instructions from my command.
15 MR. KEHOE: I'm going to stay on this point
16 but a different aspect of this attack, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE JORDA: I know that Judge Rodrigues
18 wants to ask a question. I suggest that we take a
19 20-minute break, about 20, 25 minutes.
20 --- Recess taken at 11.27 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.52 a.m.
22 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
23 hearing. Please be seated. Judge Rodrigues wants to
24 ask the witness a question. Judge Rodrigues, please
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I would
2 like to go back to document 708 and ask you whether
3 I've read it correctly. I read it as follows: Darko
4 Jelisic -- Gelic, rather, seems not only to be aware of
5 the entire operation but also seems to be in agreement
6 with the operation. Do you think that I've read this
8 A. Your Honour, I do not have that document and
9 I do not recall everything that was stated in the
10 document, that is to say, document 708 to which we are
11 referring, but I expressed my views publicly to the
12 government, the civilian authorities of Vitez, that we
13 cannot undertake any operations whatever on Stari Vitez
14 because we have to guarantee security and safety to the
15 population in Stari Vitez. That position on my part
16 was common knowledge to all the representatives of
17 power and authority in Vitez.
18 I would just like to have a look and see what
19 Darko Gelic is says in document 708 if you want to ask
20 any more questions.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I don't think it's
22 necessary to reread the document, but Darko Gelic knew
23 about the helicopters, and when he spoke with the
24 UNPROFOR officer -- well, perhaps you remember that
25 conversation. From my reading, he seems that he knew
1 that there were helicopters which had brought in some
2 large pieces of equipment, and in the conversation with
3 the UNPROFOR officer, he seems to be in agreement.
4 So I merely wanted to know whether you agreed
5 with this way of reading the document. We don't have
6 to go back to it.
7 A. It is possible that Darko Gelic told the
8 UNPROFOR officer what he did connected with the
9 helicopters, but Darko Gelic, as a liaison officer, did
10 not have, as far as I remember, access to the contents
11 of that. That is a logistical affair. If he had
12 commented about this, he would have left an impression
13 on the UNPROFOR officer.
14 Helicopters began to arrive into the Lasva
15 Valley at the beginning of August, so I'm not quite
16 clear about how Darko Gelic was able to make comments
17 about helicopters at all. As far as the activities are
18 concerned, he was in Vitez at the time of the attack,
19 when the attack took place, that is. Quite possibly he
20 heard -- because, you know, there was sporadic
21 operations daily. The forces of the BH army were at a
22 distance of 15 to 20 metres. Sometimes the distance
23 between them was a distance of 100 metres.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, General. Thank you,
25 Judge Rodrigues. Mr. Kehoe, please continue.
1 MR. KEHOE:
2 Q. General, just to clarify the point you had
3 with Judge Rodrigues, you noted during the course of
4 your testimony that you objected to an attack on Stari
5 Vitez, and your objection was in May of 1993, not in
6 July 1993; isn't that correct?
7 A. Yes. At the end of May they invited me to
8 attend a government meeting, the civilian
9 representatives, and raised the three questions
10 including Stari Vitez including a military solution. I
11 publicly let it be known that I was opposed to that
12 type of solution.
13 Q. Now, General, what units in Central Bosnia
14 have a multi-barrelled rocket launcher in their
15 possession, what HVO units?
16 A. What calibre do you have in mind for the
17 multiple rocket --
18 Q. Any calibre.
19 A. For a time the command of the mixed artillery
20 division had a MBRL. This was up until the 8th of
21 January, 1993. The calibre was 122 millimetres. After
22 that, the command of the artillery battalion had a
23 128-millimetre MBRL, and quite possibly some of the
24 brigades had lower calibre multiple-barrelled rocket
25 launchers, but I cannot tell you offhand, I haven't got
1 the notes, but this was always at the level of the
2 brigades and it was the artillery under the command of
3 the commanders of the home Guards Brigades.
4 Q. Well, did the Viteska Brigade have a
5 multi-barrelled rocket launcher in July of 1993?
6 A. For a time it had an improvised MBRL,
7 handmade. I don't know how it came into being and who
8 masterminded it, but it was an improvised VBR, which
9 had a far smaller range and less capability than the
10 classical VBR. I know that this kind of device the
11 Vitez Brigade had and it was workers from the weapons
12 factory, whether from Novi Travnik or Vitez, that
13 produced it.
14 Q. Did the Vitezovi have a multi-barrelled
15 rocket launcher?
16 A. As far as I know, they did not have one. I
17 do not have information, nor did I ever have
18 information that they had one of these devices.
19 Q. Now, General, when the milinfosum reflects
20 that at 5.45 in the morning there have an occasional
21 multi-barrelled rocket launcher and artillery fire, you
22 conclude that this multi-barrelled rocket launcher came
23 from a unit other than the Vitezovi, is that
24 accurate? "Yes" or "No".
25 A. As far as I know, the Vitezovi, within their
1 composition, did not have MBRLs. So perhaps they came
2 from another unit, although there were improvised types
3 of MBRLs, improvised devices used with -- electricity
5 Q. I could then give the witness, Mr. Registrar,
6 the two exhibits that we spoke of, Defence Exhibit 250
7 as well as Defence Exhibit 345. 250.
8 Now, General, the first exhibit that we have,
9 Defence Exhibit 250, is the Vitezovi report that we
10 refer to frequently.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. In the insertion that we have for the 18th of
13 July, the document reflects the death of three Vitezovi
14 soldiers, Marinko Plavcic, Miroslav Jankovic, and Ivo
16 Now, let us move to the next document which
17 is Defence Exhibit 345, and we will refer to the
18 individuals that were killed. The first one killed in
19 Vitez on the 18th is number 95, Vlado Ivankovic, which
20 has no designation of being in the Vitezovi; number
21 137, Joze Andrija Krizanac; number 202, Veska Zlatko
22 Nakic; number 302, I'm not sure if it's the first one,
23 Zoran Sero, killed on the 18th; the next one is number
24 436, an individual from the regional police, Nikica
25 Saric; the next one, 439, an individual from the Tvrtko
1 II Brigade, Ive Zoran Dzandara; the next death is on
2 444, Roko Vukovic, also from Tvrtko; the next three
3 dead are from the Vitezovi, and they are 446, 455, and
4 470, which reflect the three Vitezovi names that are in
6 Now, this document, General, reflects that
7 there were deaths of members of the Vitezovi, during
8 this attack, Tvrtko, the regional police, and the
9 Viteska Brigade. So there are at least four different
10 units involved in this offensive; isn't that correct?
11 A. The document about the death that we
12 mentioned a moment ago speaks of the units where these
13 individuals who lost their lives came from. I did not
14 find in the document the locality of their death, but I
15 know, according to the information that I later
16 gathered, that between 13 and 15 members lost their
17 lives in an operation of this kind belonging to the
18 HVO, that one of the mines fell directly on the defence
19 positions of the HVO, and everybody in that position
20 was killed. These were perhaps six or seven members.
21 In this document, the list of casualties, that is,
22 document 345, I was able to find the date, but I was
23 not able to find the place of death.
24 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, the document
25 speaks for itself. The document itself, which is a
1 Defence Exhibit, notes the place of death, and on all
2 those dates, it notes that it is, in fact, Vitez.
3 Q. General, more than the Vitezovi were involved
4 in this, isn't that correct, "Yes" or "No," more units?
5 A. I do not have data of that kind, that is to
6 say, that more units took part in that attack. I do
7 have information that the commander of the attack was
8 the commander of the special purposes units, Mr. Darko
10 Q. General --
11 MR. KEHOE: Sorry, counsel.
12 MR. NOBILO: I apologise. Mr. President, I
13 have an objection to a previous question --
14 JUDGE JORDA: You can exercise your right to
15 redirect at the proper time. This is the kind of
16 information that you can challenge when you redirect,
17 Mr. Nobilo. The witness is alone ordinarily. Let me
18 remind you of that.
19 MR. NOBILO: Yes, that is true. But when, in
20 the question, an incorrect piece of information is
21 given, and then the witness is not a professional
22 individual to be able to think of all this at the same
23 time, it's not the place -- the document does not speak
24 about the place of death but the place in which they
25 were buried.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, he is the one who
2 chose to be a witness. It's true he's not a witness
3 like all the other witnesses, but I have to maintain
4 balance. Having said that, you will have enough time
5 to clarify all of this.
6 Mr. Kehoe?
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. In this attack on the 18th, there was an
9 artillery barrage that began at 4.45 in the morning
10 using artillery and multi-barrelled rocket launchers,
11 checkpoints were set up, several units were involved,
12 and your liaison officer was the spokesperson about
13 this attack to the British battalion. This would
14 appear to be a highly organised attack that you
15 maintain you knew nothing about; isn't that right?
16 A. First of all, as regards the artillery
17 barrage, I continue to maintain that the artillery
18 under my command did not function, and possibly there
19 was an exchange of gunfire, but the artillery that I
20 commanded quite certainly did not operate.
21 Second, the checkpoints were always at the
22 same points, but one of them is not included in your
23 exhibit, and probably they tried to prevent access or
24 leaving the area, but I was not informed of the attack
25 and I did not receive information about the attack.
1 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, let us move to two
2 more exhibits which will be a milinfosum of the 19th
3 and the 20th of July.
4 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
6 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Usher, I also have the other
7 one. We're going to do them together, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
10 MR. KEHOE:
11 Q. The first is a military information summary,
12 Exhibit 710, from the 19th of July, 1993, just the area
13 of Vitez.
14 MR. KEHOE: You will see in this document,
15 Mr. President, Your Honours, that the military
16 information summary is talking about a conversation
17 with Sefkija Djidic, commander of Stara Bila town
18 defence, and I think that the record reflects to date
19 that Mr. Djidic was the commander of Stari Vitez. I
20 don't think there's much question about that in the
22 Q. I will read this just briefly:
24 2. An attempt by the BritBat area LO to
25 negotiate a cease-fire to stop the HVO attack on Stara
1 Bila," it should be Stari Vitez, "was successful and
2 came into effect on the 19th 10.30. It will end on the
3 20th at 22.00.
4 3. A conversation with Sefkija Djidic
5 commander Stara Bila town defence, revealed the
6 following unsubstantiated information regarding
7 yesterday's HVO attack on the Muslim sector:
8 a. The HVO attack began on the 18th at
9 04.00 and petered out at
10 approximately on the 18th at
11 16.00. During this period,
12 approximately 300 impacts (mainly
13 rifle grenades and 60/82/120
14 millimetre mortars) were made in
15 the Muslim sector.
16 b. During the period approximately
17 100 HVO infantry troops attempted
18 to attack from all directions
19 surrounding the enclave but were
20 unsuccessful and no ground was
21 gained. The HVO sustained at least
22 6 dead, 3 of whom they claim were
23 HV. The remaining HVO injured
24 personnel were extracted during
25 their own arrangements last night.
1 The BiH claim that during the past
2 2 days they have sustained 20
3 casualties, one of whom has died.
4 8 of these casualties were
5 extracted by ICRC, call sign, with
6 BritBat, call sign, to Zenica
8 Comment. Whether the HVO will attack Stari
9 Vitez again is difficult to assess after this initial
10 failure. Significantly, despite their successful
11 defence the morale of the BiH in the pocket is reported
12 as being low. The large expenditure of ammunition by
13 the HVO in the context of the overall situation
14 (cut-off) suggests that they possess large stockpiles.
15 Comment ends."
16 On the 20th, Exhibit 711, top of the page,
17 and this is the military information summary of 20
18 July, 1993:
19 "1. The cease-fire brokered yesterday was
20 broken by both factions in the town earlier this
21 morning. At the last count, 7 impacts were made in
22 Muslim Stara Bila and five impacts in the Croat sector
23 resulting in at least one death.
24 2. Darko Gelic, the 3 Ops Zone HVO LO
25 claimed that if the BiH attack Vitez then the HVO will
1 retaliate by shelling Zenica. He claimed further that
2 90 per cent of those casualties sustained by the HVO in
3 Central Bosnia since the beginning of the conflict had
4 been the result of fighting with the BiH."
5 Now, General, Darko Gelic, as your liaison
6 officer, told a liaison officer for the British
7 Battalion that if the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
8 attacked Vitez, then the HVO would retaliate by
9 shelling Zenica. Did you authorise him to make that
10 statement to the British Battalion, General?
11 A. First of all, I already said that Darko Gelic
12 was a communications officer. He never received such
13 authorisation from me, but I wish to say that the HVO
14 of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia was attacked by
15 the BH army, but it never shelled Zenica or any town,
16 and that was a clear position. In any negotiations,
17 never did I start speaking that way. I mean --
18 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, that was not
19 the question. The question was whether you had
20 authorised Darko Gelic to make that statement. I
21 suppose that you're answering "No"?
22 A. No, and it's the first time I've ever heard
23 of it. Today is the first time I've ever heard of it,
24 and he never informed me of having presented such a
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Thank you. I think
2 that's an answer to the question.
3 All right. Mr. Kehoe, you have an answer.
4 MR. KEHOE:
5 Q. General, with regard to this attack itself,
6 you responded, during your direct examination, that
7 this attack without your authorisation on Stari Vitez
8 was a gross violation of discipline and perhaps even a
9 criminal act. What type of criminal act were you
10 contemplating that this was?
11 A. Arbitrariness of a commander and acting in
12 contrast to my orders. He did not inform me and he did
13 not seek my approval, but no one from the army of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina or from the monitoring mission ever
15 talked to me until I came to this court, and nobody
16 ever told me that there was a war crime. The only
17 piece of news was that this was a major victory on the
18 part of the BH army and a terrible disaster and defeat
19 for the HVO.
20 Q. Well, General, again referring to your order
21 361 which you said applied to Kraljevic and his units,
22 did you order, again in your paragraph 3 of Exhibit
23 361, that: "Individuals and groups who are completely
24 out of control are to be arrested immediately and
25 warrants to be delivered to the commander of the
1 military police."
2 Did you order that these people who violated
3 your orders and conducted this attack be arrested and
4 that warrants be delivered to the military police? Did
5 you do that?
6 A. As concerns what these people did, I informed
7 the chief of the main staff about that, because not in
8 a single point in time was I in charge of taking
9 disciplinary or any other action against the PPN
11 As regards this extraordinary incident, I
12 told the chief of the main staff of the HVO about
13 everything I thought about this, also that I thought
14 that this was a major infraction of discipline on the
15 part of the commander of the PPN Vitezovi.
16 Q. General, given the fact that you thought this
17 was perhaps a war crime, did you refer this to the
18 military district prosecutor so that he may investigate
19 further and conduct an investigation to see if there
20 were crimes involved?
21 A. I said that I thought that this was a
22 criminal offence. As regards this being a war crime,
23 that's what I heard about here in the courtroom. I
24 thought that this was a violation, and I informed about
25 this the chief of the main staff of the HVO, Brigadier
1 Milivoj Petkovic.
2 Q. Did you or did you not refer this matter to
3 the military district prosecutor for his
4 investigation? "Yes" or "No"?
5 A. The district military prosecutor? No, I did
6 not refer this matter to him. I referred it to my
7 superior who was in charge of taking further action.
8 Q. And once again during your Operation Pauk
9 matter, nobody was ever arrested, or convicted, or
10 disciplined as a result of this gross violation of
11 discipline or possible criminal conduct, were they?
12 A. That unit was disbanded totally, among other
13 things, because of these measures, and it was
14 reorganised into a different unit but not all of the
15 members of this unit. This was before Operation Pauk.
16 It ceased to function as a unit on the 15th of January,
17 1994. In addition --
18 Q. Excuse me, General. That's not my question.
19 I'll read you my question again. Regarding the Pauk
20 matter, nobody was ever arrested, or convicted, or
21 disciplined as a result of this gross violation of
22 discipline or possible criminal conduct, were
23 they? "Yes" or "No"?
24 A. In Operation Pauk there was a different
25 mandate. It did not deal with violations of military
1 discipline, it dealt with matters related to criminal
2 offences and with the extended mandate with war crimes
3 too. Military discipline was -- action related to
4 military discipline was not taken within the Pauk
5 operation at all.
6 Q. Well, General, let's move ahead. After you
7 received this information --
8 JUDGE JORDA: I'll ask the operation that --
9 the expression -- that you say operation Spider,
10 "araignee" in French. I'm not supposed to know what
11 the word "Pauk" is. Mr. Kehoe doesn't say operation
12 "araignee," but he says "Pauk." I want to hear in
13 French, "araignee," Operation Spider. Thank you very
15 MR. KEHOE: I can say the word "Spider" too,
17 Q. Now, General, before you did your Grbavica
18 attack in September of 1993, did you find out the names
19 of the soldiers in the Vitezovi who were responsible
20 for this gross act of insubordination that took place
21 on the 18th of July?
22 A. Well, as concerns the 18th of July, the
23 commander himself said that this was an action he had
24 carried out at his own initiative with his soldiers.
25 So the commander said this clearly, and we can see this
1 from document 250, that he commanded that action.
2 Q. Okay. That was Darko Kraljevic?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. This person, Darko Kraljevic, who committed
5 this act of insubordination, was the same person who
6 selected the soldiers for you in the Vitezovi that took
7 place -- that conducted the Grbavica attack in
8 September; is that right?
9 A. No. No, that is not right. These persons
10 were chosen by Mr. Dragan Vinac and he subscribed to
11 their behaviour and everything else. He was the deputy
12 of Darko Kraljevic, and he was in charge of that
13 particular activity. I think that he is the signatory
14 of this document 252.
15 Q. So there were Vitezovi involved in -- we're
16 moving to the Grbavica attack that you yourself
17 planned. There were members of the Vitezovi involved,
18 and you don't know whether or not those members of the
19 Vitezovi that were involved in the Grbavica attack were
20 involved in Ahmici, or the truck bomb, or the Stari
21 Vitez attack on the 18th of July; isn't at that right?
22 A. I do not have any knowledge of the Vitezovi
23 taking part in Ahmici, except for information
24 concerning certain individuals that I heard here in
25 this courtroom. However, the unit of Vitezovi had no
1 business there, nor did they receive orders to be
2 there, including the village of Ahmici.
3 As for Grbavica, I already said I asked the
4 commanders to select personnel and to sign this in
5 addition to a guarantee in terms of their conduct in
7 Q. Now, in addition to the Vitezovi, another
8 unit that was involved in the attack on Grbavica, on
9 the 7th and 8th of September of 1993, was the Light
10 Assault Battalion, which Mr. Nobilo reminded us on
11 several occasions was the ancestor to the Jokeri; isn't
12 that right?
13 A. The members of the military police took part,
14 as far as I remember, in this action.
15 Q. Well, sir, let me read you some testimony in
16 Exhibit 457, which is the 3 years of military police.
17 Pasko Ljubicic notes on page 65 of his note: "Here I
18 can mention Grbavica, Sivrino Selo, Kruscica, Ahmici,
19 and several other places which I am sure and can prove
20 they were successfully protected through the
21 involvement of the military police."
22 And your appointee, Marinko Palavra,
23 testified on this point and he noted that: "My parts
24 of the military police were not engaged in the Grbavica
25 operation." That page is on -- that is page 16793, at
1 line 17.
2 So the part of the military police that you
3 selected to be involved in the Grbavica attack was the
4 Jokeri, who was then being called the Light Assault
5 Battalion; isn't that right?
6 A. I asked to have personnel given to me from
7 the ranks of the military police. That was my
8 request. There is a plan and an elaborated paper on
9 the participants in this respect, and there were 15 or
10 20 such individuals.
11 Q. General, you told us, at page 19676, at line
13 "A We took parts of certain units, taking
14 into consideration that these would be
15 soldiers whom we could control and who
16 would carry out the orders that were
17 given in full."
18 The soldiers that you selected, General, were
19 the Jokeri, wasn't it?
20 MR. HAYMAN: Counsel is suggesting that he's
21 quoting from the transcript but he stopped quoting from
22 the transcript. Could that be made clear, Mr.
24 MR. KEHOE: Counsel, you can read the whole
25 thing on redirect.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman is right. Indicate
2 the separation between what you're quoting from the
3 transcript and what is your own comment or observation.
4 MR. KEHOE:
5 Q. "Q Can you tell us what were the criteria
6 which you used..."
7 And this is Mr. Nobilo's question.
8 "Q Can you tell me what were the criteria
9 that you used to identify those who
10 would participate in this operation?
11 A As far as the participants are
12 concerned, we selected certain
13 resources. We took parts of certain
14 units, taking into consideration that
15 these would be soldiers whom we could
16 control and who would carry out the
17 orders which they were given in full.
18 Since these were already known from
19 before, I specifically ask that a list
20 be compiled by each of the commanders
21 which would be signed by them, and they
22 would be a guarantee that these soldiers
23 would carry out the orders as they were
25 Q Did you control these lists and manpower
1 which were put at your disposal?
2 A Yes, I did that together with my
3 subordinate commanders and I conducted
4 a review of the soldiers. I talked to
5 them about the responsibilities that
6 were involved in the task, because this
7 was a unique opportunity for us to carry
8 out this action, given the limitations
9 in ordinance and ammunition which we
11 Now, General, in your selection of the
12 individuals who were involved in the attack on
13 Grbavica, you selected members of the Jokeri who now
14 call themselves the Light Assault Battalion, didn't
16 A. No. I got a list of 20 participants from the
17 overall ranks of the military police. At that time I
18 know that the Jokeri did not exist at all as a unit.
19 There was the Light Assault Battalion which had a
20 larger number of personnel. Perhaps there was an
21 individual or two, but I thought they were members of
22 the military police.
23 Q. Well, General, you said that you were working
24 on a daily basis, training and discussing matters with
25 Marinko Palavra. So you knew that none of Marinko
1 Palavra's men were involved in the Grbavica attack,
2 isn't that correct? "Yes" or "No"?
3 A. I knew that there were members from the
4 military police. I don't know what Marinko Palavra
5 meant by those words, that none of his members were
6 engaged. I don't know whether he referred to the
7 company of the military police that was still in the
8 process of formation. It's not clear to me.
9 Q. Didn't you testify, General, that the Light
10 Assault Battalion of the military police was not under
11 the command of Marinko Palavra? Didn't you testify to
13 A. Yes, the Light Assault Battalion was not
14 under the command of Marinko Palavra, it was under the
15 command of the assistant of the chief of administration
16 of the military police and under the direct command of
17 the military police, Mr. Valentin Coric.
18 Q. So is Valentin Coric the individual who gave
19 you the list of names for you to use in the Grbavica
21 A. No, not Valentin Coric. I'm not sure whether
22 this list was signed by Marinko Palavra himself or
23 whether somebody else signed it on his behalf, but
24 Valentin Coric did not give such a list of individuals
25 who would participate.
1 Q. Well, General, if these soldiers did not come
2 from Mr. Palavra's troops, where did these military
3 policemen come from?
4 A. If these were individuals who were not from
5 Palavra's ranks and belonged to the military police,
6 nevertheless, they could have been from the Light
7 Assault Battalion because this battalion had about 300
9 Q. Now, in this Light Assault Battalion, and
10 focusing on the individuals that you selected, were
11 these soldiers that you selected for the attack on
12 Grbavica, had they been involved in the atrocities in
14 A. I'm afraid that your question was not fully
15 interpreted to me. Could you please repeat the
17 Q. Certainly, General. Of the soldiers that you
18 selected from the military police for the Grbavica
19 action, how many of those military policemen had been
20 involved in the atrocities in Ahmici?
21 A. Well, first of all, the question is being put
22 in the following way here: Which are the soldiers whom
23 I selected? I wasn't the one who selected the
24 soldiers, it their immediate commanders who selected
25 them. I do not even know these soldiers.
1 Secondly, I did not get the ultimate findings
2 of the investigation so that I would know the names and
3 surnames of the perpetrators of the crime in Ahmici.
4 However, I know that these individuals who took part in
5 the Grbavica action did carry out orders and were fully
6 under control.
7 Q. My question is this: Were the military
8 policemen that you selected for the Grbavica attack,
9 were one, two, or any of them involved in the attack on
10 Ahmici? "Yes" or "No"?
11 MR. HAYMAN: He's answered the question,
12 Mr. President.
13 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, he said during his
14 direct testimony, in response to questions from
15 Mr. Nobilo, that he personally selected these people
16 and went --
17 JUDGE JORDA: The men were chosen by General
18 Blaskic. I think that your question is somewhat
19 tendentious, leading. I think that you have to ask the
20 witness whether among the men that he chose he
21 remembers whether there were people who might have been
22 in Ahmici. I think that that would be a more fair
24 MR. NOBILO: I agree, and I wish to say
25 something in this context, namely, the witness has been
1 saying all the time that the names of the perpetrators
2 of Ahmici were not identified, and these questions are
3 what --
4 JUDGE JORDA: Don't suggest an answer for
5 your client, Mr. Nobilo. If there are any tricks being
6 used, the Judges are here in order to spot them. Your
7 witness is old enough to answer as a witness. He chose
8 to be a witness, but I do have to safeguard the fact
9 that there is equanimity and equality of arms in these
10 proceedings, and that that was not absolutely fair. I
11 think that in the meantime, the witness understood what
12 the Prosecutor was asking.
13 When you asked for men for the Grbavica
14 attack, were there or might there have been people from
15 the Military Police Battalion among them who had
16 participated in Ahmici? It seems to me a simple
17 question and the answer should be simple as well.
18 Either you know or you don't, or you were not in a
19 position to know. Please answer, General Blaskic. At
20 least answer the Judges if you don't want to answer the
22 A. Your Honours, I don't know which group
23 carried out the attack on Ahmici. I did not get a list
24 of names, so I can only say what I believe in. I
25 believe, on the basis of their behaviour in the action
1 of Grbavica, that there were not any such individuals
2 with that kind of behaviour. However, I do not have
3 the list of perpetrators of the attack or the crime
4 committed in Ahmici.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. General, when you got the list of members of
8 the military police to be used in Grbavica, did you ask
9 their commander whether or not any of them had been
10 involved in the attack in Ahmici?
11 A. I cannot remember all the details of the
12 conversation. I just know that I requested that the
13 commanders of these activities, since this was an
14 action taking place in a built-up area, that they had
15 to guarantee for the behaviour of those soldiers, and I
16 wanted them to be the most responsible soldiers and
17 those who upheld the highest criteria.
18 Q. Let us move ahead, General, and just turn our
19 attention to a military information summary for the
20 date 8 September, 1993.
21 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
23 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. Usher, we have one
24 for the French booth and for the B/C/S booth.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Exhibit 712, did you say?
1 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, just to go back to
2 some previous testimony, this attack, of course, takes
3 place right next to the British Battalion base in
5 Q. Again, this is a military information summary
6 from the 1st Battalion of the Prince of Wales Own
7 Regiment of Yorkshire, dated 8 September, 1993.
8 Reading from the top:
9 " General:
10 1. The HVO offensive in the area of BritBat
11 main has been extremely successful and has resulted in
12 the capture of the Stara Bila feature and Grbavica.
13 There has been a slight increase in the level of
14 activity in the Gornji Vakuf area but as yet, no ground
16 Moving to the Vitez portion in 2:
17 "2. After a relatively quiet night, this
18 morning at 1000 hours, the HVO offensive on the Stara
19 Bila feature and the village of Grbavica continued.
20 Call signs observed at least 100 HVO troops firing and
21 manoeuvring with suppressing fire support up the
22 feature and through the village. A fire extinguisher
23 mortar plate was established at the southern end of the
24 feature, and mortar AAMG direct fire weapons were
25 observed firing from at least four separate positions
1 at grid squares," and gives the grid coordinates. "The
2 BiH counteroffensive which was expected at first light
3 this morning obviously did not materialise, and it
4 would appear that the remaining BiH troops offered
5 only," can't read that word, "what defence they could
6 and then probably made a tactical withdrawal. There is
7 at present no information regarding casualties. At
8 1600, the entire feature and the village of Grbavica
9 had been captured. The HVO flags have replaced those
10 BiH ones that were in position some 48 hours previous.
11 The majority of the houses (approximately 50) in the
12 village are at present ablaze and HVO troops are on the
13 streets celebrating. The BritBat Vitez area LO reports
14 that elements of the extremist 'Jokeri' unit were also
15 involved in the attack. The main MSR that had
16 previously been denied to them is now open with normal
17 civilian vehicle and foot movement noted and the BiH
18 Chickanes previously positioned on that route have
19 since been removed. The HVO now appear to be
20 consolidating their position on the top of the feature,
21 and there has still been no retaliatory action by the
22 BiH. The local Muslims that surrendered last night to
23 BritBat were this evening extracted to Travnik for
24 their own safety.
25 "3. The BritBat Travnik area LO spoke with
1 Beba Salko and reported that Beba was visibly shocked
2 as a result of the HVO's recent gains. Mehmed Alagic,
3 his ops commander, and Kelestura in a separate
4 conversation with BritBat LO stated that action would
5 be taken within the next 72 hours. Comment. It is
6 clear that the BiH leadership have underestimated the
7 offensive capability of the HVO in the Lasva Valley and
8 that consequently the gains now made by them may result
9 in further losses by the BiH if more concerted action
10 is not taken by them. This high ground dominates the
11 BiH held areas of Sadovace, Bukve, and the ground
12 recently seized at the base of the Brdo feature.
13 Should the HVO now wish to capitalise on these recent
14 gains and use the Bila as a fire base, then this area
15 could very quickly become untenable," and then it reads
16 on to complete the comment.
17 General, let me show you first a photograph
18 which is part of Exhibit 82, Prosecutor's 82, and also
19 433/28 as well. This is 82. Excuse me, Mr. Usher.
20 It's 82 slash what?
21 THE USHER: 82/5.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. We're going to put 82/5, General, on the
24 ELMO, and that, General, is a "baby," is it not?
25 A. Possibly. At first, they were such. But I
1 saw this kind here in the courtroom. The one that was
2 used over there was different. So what is called a
3 "baby" in Vitez is not this. In the entire Vitez
4 region, a "baby" is similar to this, but it's not
6 Q. What is it, sir?
7 A. The casing was used from former artillery
8 projectiles, and it was made in a similar way, that is
9 to say, there was a casing and then a certain amount of
10 explosive would be put in, and this was used between
11 the front lines on both sides, and it was fired. It is
12 metal casings that were used and certain amounts of
13 explosive that were fired between the front lines, and
14 it was called "babies" in the town of Vitez and
15 throughout this area. However, as far as Operation
16 Grbavica is concerned, "babies" were not used. I'm
17 certain of that; absolutely. The artillery was in a
18 limited fashion and for the purpose of precision, but
19 "babies" were not used in Grbavica.
20 There were no combat operations in Stara
21 Bila, no combat operations in Stara Bila. This action
22 took place around point 532, and Stara Bila was a
23 settlement, and there was nothing there, no movements
24 of personnel, nothing.
25 Q. General, let us address your comment that no
1 "babies" were used.
2 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Usher, if we could put 433/28
3 on the ELMO.
4 Q. We will discuss this particular exhibit,
5 General, in conjunction with the testimony of Captain
6 Lee Whitworth at page 10282, and this is a photograph
7 that he testified that he took.
8 MR. KEHOE: This was a series of questions,
9 Your Honours, as we were going through a series of
11 Q. It reads:
12 "Q 433/28?
13 A That's actually a picture capturing
14 the HVO using babies in their
15 infantry assault the morning of the 8th
16 of September.
17 Q Can you point to that baby in there?
18 A Yeah. That black mark is actually a
19 fire extinguisher tumbling through
20 there, and you can't actually make it
21 out very clearly on the screen --"
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, it's a little bit
23 difficult for the interpreters to follow this. If I've
24 understood this correctly, you are going back to a part
25 of the transcript of Captain Lee Whitworth; is that
2 MR. KEHOE: That's correct.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Could that be repeated so that
4 the interpreter can follow?
5 MR. KEHOE: I apologise to the interpreters
6 for moving too quickly.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Are the interpreters in the
8 French booth prepared? You're saying "Yes," but I
9 don't think you are. I hear you're having trouble with
10 your voice. Can you hold out? All right. Very well.
11 We still have another nine minutes. I think you can
12 hold out for the nine minutes.
13 Perhaps you can speak a bit more slowly,
14 Mr. Kehoe.
15 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
16 Q. This is on page 10282, line 6, referring to
17 this photograph:
18 "Q 433/28?
19 A That's actually a picture capturing the
20 HVO using babies in their infantry
21 assault the morning of the 8th of
23 Q Can you point to that baby in there?
24 A That black mark is actually a fire
25 extinguisher tumbling through there, and
1 you can't make it out very clearly on
2 the screen, but on here there's a white
3 flash. This photograph actually was in
4 colour, and that was an orange flash.
5 That was the detonation point which
6 launched the baby through the area."
7 Now, with regard to these "babies," General,
8 let me read you the testimony of Major Mark Bower on
9 page 9381, talking about "babies." Excuse me. Make
10 that 9380, line 22:
11 "A The blast injuries were caused by
12 indirect fire weapons such as mortars,
13 and in the summer, there was a home-made
14 mortar bomb which we in BritBat called
15 the fire extinguisher bomb. It was the
16 canister of a fire extinguisher that
17 was ballistically thrown 100, 200 metres
18 over the front lines. It could be
19 fuelled with petrol, something to ignite
20 a fire, so it was incendiary, or a
21 low-level explosive to create a blast.
22 Q How indiscriminate were these weapons in
24 A The people at the firing point of these
25 weapons would not be able to see where
1 the round would land because it was
2 going over houses.
3 Q When you're talking about a round,
4 you're now talking about a fire
6 A A fire extinguisher bomb or a mortar
7 round, it is termed indirect. It
8 doesn't travel in a straight line. It
9 will go over the area, the ground it
10 wishes to travel. The home-made device
11 such as this fire extinguisher bomb was
12 very unstable. It had no guiding fins
13 like a plane to stabilise it in its
14 flight. It was crude and inaccurate,
15 and because it takes time to travel from
16 the firing point to the detonation
17 point, maybe as long as 10 to 15
18 seconds, no guarantee could be made of
19 who would be in the target area when the
20 bomb detonated, and because the firers
21 could not see physically who was in that
22 area when they fired it, it was
23 indiscriminate and it caused a number of
24 civilian non-combatant casualties."
25 For accuracy's sake, Mr. Bower, at that
1 point, when he's describing the use of these fire
2 extinguisher bombs, is talking about the events in
3 Stari Vitez.
4 In fact, General, the HVO soldiers under your
5 command did, in fact, use these fire extinguisher bombs
6 known as "babies" during the attack on Grbavica; isn't
7 that right, sir?
8 A. During the attack on Grbavica, no "babies"
9 were used, and I never permitted "babies" to be used in
10 built-up areas. The artillery was high precision
11 operation, that is to say, on military targets.
12 I would also like to say, as far as I know,
13 for any "baby" to be fired, you must have a space in
14 front of you, so you target it directly and need an
15 empty space in front of you. If this is a projectile
16 at all, then it is far too high for a "baby" to have
17 this kind of trajectory. It has as lower trajectory.
18 Usually the distances are 150 to 200 metres.
19 In the operation at Grbavica, a complete plan
20 of military action was compiled with a list of all the
21 participants, and no "babies" were used in that
22 operation at all. Some chosen artillery was used with
23 high precision on military targets, and the whole
24 operation ended in a few hours' time.
25 Q. You would agree, would you not, General, that
1 the firing of these fire extinguisher bombs is very
2 dangerous because an attack with the use of such
3 weapons would be indiscriminate because they can't be
4 guided and directed; isn't that right?
5 A. It can be guided but with not enough
6 precision for it to be used in built-up areas,
7 settlements, and it is used as a last resort from the
8 front line, when you have two sides on the front line,
9 for example, the BH army and the HVO. So if there was
10 no ammunition left, then this was used as a last resort
11 to refute an attack or to defend one's positions.
12 Q. Now, General, if I can move ahead --
13 MR. KEHOE: I am going to move to another
14 topic, Mr. President, within the Grbavica attack, but
15 it is another topic.
16 JUDGE JORDA: I'd like to make a point or ask
17 for some clarification.
18 In your last answer, you said that the HVO
19 was able to use those "babies," is that correct,
20 according to the sentence I see in front of me? That
21 might have happened?
22 A. It could have happened but not in the
23 Grbavica operation. Not a single "baby" was used in
24 the Grbavica operation and not a single "baby" was used
25 in built-up areas. I tolerated, and there were times
1 when this was used up at the front line --
2 JUDGE JORDA: I wanted to be sure that I
3 understood correctly when you said that there were
4 times when troops under your command were able or would
5 have been able to use those weapons; is that correct?
6 A. I never authorised it in writing, but I heard
7 that there were moments of that kind.
8 JUDGE JORDA: It's a little bit difficult.
9 I'm reading these translated sentences here. There are
10 changes that are made constantly. It seems to me that
11 the last sentence of the transcript which has now been
12 scrolled up read that it could have happened outside of
13 Grbavica, that troops could have used them. I wanted
14 to know whether on other occasions, troops under your
15 command were able or had been able to use those
16 weapons? Now you're answering, "Well, I heard about
17 that," but you were the commander of the Operative
18 Zone, and loud and clear, you state that you were the
19 commander of that Operative Zone.
20 I have a very simple question and it was a
21 comment on your own answer: I heard that you were
22 saying that outside of Grbavica, aside from Grbavica,
23 when they didn't have any other weapons, other
24 munitions, the troops were able to use "babies."
25 That's what I heard. Is that correct?
1 A. Outside built-up areas, at the front lines
2 where the two sides were confronted, opposed each
4 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for the
6 All right. We will resume at 2.30, and I ask
7 the interpreters to try to rest.
8 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.02 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: We'll now resume the hearing.
3 Please be seated. Mr. Kehoe, you may proceed.
4 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. Now, returning to this Grbavica attack that
6 you planned, let me read you some testimony concerning
7 the events towards the end of hostilities on the 8th of
8 September, and this is an excerpt of the testimony of
9 Major Mark Bower of the British Battalion at page 9402,
10 line 21:
11 "Q Now, immediately after the attack had
12 been completed, the people cleared out,
13 did looting commence?
14 A Yes.
15 Q By whom?
16 A Initially it was by HVO soldiers. They
17 were taking electrical items,
18 furniture. And shortly after Croat
19 families moved into those houses that
20 were now unoccupied, and there seemed to
21 be a redistribution of the property of
22 those houses, and that was being done by
24 Now, General, I would like you to look on the
25 ELMO at Exhibit 433/24, which is a photograph that was
1 taken, Your Honours, again by Captain Lee Whitworth
2 from British Battalion, on the 8th of September, 1993.
3 He testified initially on this issue on page 10279, at
4 line 3:
5 "A I saw numerous instances of soldiers
6 removing items from the houses. I think
7 I actually photographed one of them
8 removing a tape recorder, and there was
9 a lot of looting that took place
10 immediately afterward by the local
11 population, in fact, who started turning
12 up in large numbers with flatbed trucks,
13 et cetera, to reclaim whatever they
14 could quickly before the place was burnt
15 to the ground."
16 With reference to this particular exhibit,
17 433/24, question on line 22 on page 10280:
18 "Q What about this next photograph,
19 433/24, the one on the ELMO?
20 A That's a picture I took of some of the
21 soldiers who had been looting in the
22 area. One of them got a cassette, the
23 other one's carrying what, in fact, was
24 a large butcher's axe, a large chopping
1 Q The other has a radio in his hand?
2 A He has indeed, sir, yes."
3 General, contrary to your testimony, a
4 significant amount of looting was, in fact, done by
5 these HVO soldiers that were specifically selected for
6 this attack, isn't that a fact, sir?
7 A. No. The soldiers that took part in the
8 operation did not loot and the operation was concluded
9 at about 14.30. The civilian police took over the
10 security of the village. It is true, as these reports
11 state, that not the local population but the refugee
12 civilians, and I believe among those refugees there
13 were also some soldiers but not those who took part in
14 the operation, that they attacked the village and
15 looted it, took windows, doors, stoves, and anything
16 necessary for survival. At that time, there were some
17 35.000 refugees in the Lasva pocket. So with the
18 winter coming on, they took away what they needed to
20 They did not accommodate themselves in the
21 houses. Perhaps in some of them they did take up
22 residence, and it's not true that houses were looted
23 before they were burnt. The houses were burnt over a
24 longer period of time, sometimes one, two, or three
25 houses, and in 1994 as well. This usually took place
1 at night when the house was left empty, and then
2 unknown individuals would set fire to them.
3 Q. So, General, when Captain Whitworth, on page
4 10279, said and I quote: I saw numerous instances of
5 soldiers removing items from the house," you believe
6 that Captain Whitworth, the officer for the British
7 Battalion, was mistaken; is that correct?
8 A. You asked me about the soldiers that I had
9 selected for action, that they had looted the houses
10 subsequently. If Captain Lee Whitworth had seen
11 civilians wearing uniforms, the question remains what
12 civilians they were.
13 So soldiers taking part in the operation did
14 not loot a single house after the operation was
15 concluded. They remained in their positions. Lootings
16 were done by civilians, refugees. Perhaps there were
17 individual members of the HVO amongst them but that's
19 Q. Well, let's turn to this photograph on the
20 ELMO, 433/24. Are those soldiers or are those
21 civilians, the ones carrying the rifles over their
22 right shoulders, and the one in the left with the radio
23 and the other one with the axe?
24 A. Well, judging by this photograph, if I looked
25 at the photograph and didn't know the context and
1 circumstances, I would ask who these people were,
2 because there are no insignia on them, neither on the
3 left or right shoulder. They are armed individuals,
4 and this soldier is wearing a civilian jumper. So it
5 is very difficult to judge and assess what it's all
7 If I know the context and the circumstances
8 and know the village, then here we have two armed
9 soldiers, that is true, but the civilians that stormed
10 the place, there were hundreds of them, perhaps
11 thousands of them, and they would just take windows,
12 and stoves, and carry them off with their tractors or
13 anything else that they had at hand to ensure that they
14 would be able to survive the oncoming winner.
15 Q. General, were you in the village after the
16 operation ended?
17 A. I saw, and that was the agreement reached
18 earlier on, I saw the arrival of the civilian police
19 which took over the security of the village and which
20 was in charge of the internal security of the enclave.
21 I went to my headquarters to carry on my work there.
22 When I saw all this and this taking over, there was no
23 looting. The police had set up its control points, its
24 checkpoints, the civilian police, that is, and its
25 patrols, and it surveyed the area in classical police
1 fashion as nightfall came on.
2 Q. Well, General, is there any doubt in your
3 mind that the two individuals that are depicted in the
4 photograph on the ELMO, Exhibit 433/24, had looted some
5 of the houses in Grbavica?
6 A. I can see what the photograph shows. I did
7 not say the photograph is as it is. It speaks for
8 itself. I did not say that perhaps they didn't loot.
9 I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that looting
10 occurred when a mass of refugees stormed the region and
11 when the police opened fire and killed one of them. It
12 was a situation in which, as I have already said,
13 stoves, windows, doors were pulled away, and anything
14 that served the refugees' survival.
15 Q. Now, let us turn to the burning that took
16 place, General. Again, we have testimony from various
17 individuals, the first being from Sefkija Dzidic on
18 page 1262, on line 18:
19 "A The attack went on for two days. On
20 the first day there were artillery
21 attacks using explosive devices,
22 so-called babies. We saw them flying
23 through the air. On the second day I
24 saw houses burning. At first I thought
25 that they were set on fire by
1 ammunition, flammable ammunition, but it
2 was a mistake. I looked more closely
3 and saw soldiers, and not only soldiers
4 but also civilians who were looting
5 houses in Grbavica, probably even then.
6 As early as then, the army had.
7 retreated from Grbavica.
8 When they took whatever they wanted
9 to take from the houses, they set them
10 on fire. At one point I could see over
11 a hundred houses on fire. All of the
12 houses belonged to the Muslims. Only a
13 few houses belonging to Muslims escaped
14 this fate in a village which had over
15 200 houses. I think that on that day
16 the mosque also burnt in Grbavica but
17 the minaret survived until the end of
18 the war. It is not demolished but it
19 was eventually demolished and destroyed
20 in '94 when a truce had already been
22 Q Was the burning of the houses in
23 Grbavica consistent with the pattern of
24 burning Muslims houses throughout the
25 Lasva Valley?
1 A It seemed so. Houses would first be
2 looted and then set on fire."
3 Let me turn to the next bit of testimony,
4 sir, which is Major Roy Hunter of the Prince of Wales'
5 Own Regiment of Yorkshire, on page 5088, line 1:
6 "Q What happened in September of 1993?
7 A In September of 1993, I think
8 6 or 7 September, there was quite a
9 large-scale HVO assault using artillery,
10 and mortars, and infantry which secured
11 the hill feature Grbavica. After that,
12 the entire village of Grbavica was
13 burnt, by which time there were very few
15 If I can just briefly go into private session
16 to read a closed session transcript. It's only about
17 15 lines, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, very well. Wait until
19 we've set up the private session and then read what you
20 need to read.
21 (Private session)
13 Page 22661 redacted – in private session
13 Page 22662 redacted – in private session
20 (Open session)
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. General, you noted for us that on the 7th of
23 September, approximately ten houses were burning, and
24 on the 8th of September, between five and eight houses
25 were burning, and that was your testimony on page 19684
1 through 19695.
2 Let me put Exhibit 433/21 on the ELMO. This
3 is another photograph taken by Captain Whitworth in the
4 early afternoon of the 8th of September, and his
5 testimony concerning this photograph is on page 10279,
6 line 23:
7 "Q Let us go to 433/21, the next
8 photograph. What is that, sir?
9 A That is a photograph I took as I left
10 Vitez on the way back to BritBat,
11 approaching Grbavica. You can make out
12 the mosque which is on the Vitez side as
13 I'm approaching it, and basically all
14 the buildings are on fire."
15 In cross-examination by Mr. Hayman, we
16 focused in on that time frame, and he narrowed that
17 time frame as to when this occurred. On page 10414,
18 line 17 of Captain Whitworth's testimony, I might as
19 well start from line 14:
20 "A For the morning of the 8th, I spent in
21 the offices mess with a pair of
22 binoculars, taking photographs as the
23 HVO troops went up to point 3 on the
24 map, which was their launch point for
25 the assault. And then around lunchtime,
1 I drove through in an armoured vehicle,
2 observed troops crossing the road, small
3 arms exchanges taking place. I went
4 down to the Hotel Vitez to speak to
5 Colonel Blaskic, but spoke to Darko
6 Gelic. Colonel Blaskic was unavailable
7 at the time. I stayed down there for
8 half an hour and then drove back up in
9 the afternoon, after lunch sometime. I
10 can't remember when it was. That's when
11 I took the photographs showing the
12 extent to which the buildings were
13 burning as I returned up. That must
14 have been afternoon, early afternoon,
15 afternoon time."
16 Mr. Hayman asked on page 10416, line 23:
17 "Q How many houses were burning then when
18 you came back in the afternoon, at mid
20 A Quite a few. I would have said about
21 half of them.
22 Q Half of the total that you saw burning
23 on the 8th or half of all the houses on
25 A Yes, I would have said a good half of
1 the houses. It certainly presented a
2 great wall of smoke that looked as if
3 there was a fair number. As I drove
4 through and took photographs, I would
5 say that half the houses were on fire."
6 Now, General, according to the testimony of a
7 British Battalion liaison officer, by early afternoon,
8 when you were still conducting this operation, half the
9 houses in Grbavica were on fire; isn't that a fact?
10 A. Are you saying half of 200 houses; is that
11 what you're saying?
12 Q. I'm saying half of the houses in Grbavica,
13 sir, are on fire.
14 A. That's not true. It is a complete fallacy.
15 I still maintain that the houses in Grbavica were burnt
16 at the end of 1993, in October, November, and December,
17 and in the course of 1994, and this particular
18 photograph, I don't see any house on fire there. You
19 can't see anything clearly. You can't see houses on
20 fire. I still maintain that the mosque, behind which
21 you can see this smoke, was untouched. It was not even
22 damaged in that operation.
23 Q. Let us turn to a videotape, if we can,
24 Exhibit 443, which is a BBC --
25 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry, Judge Shahabuddeen.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, have you got a
2 theory to offer to the Court as to why the houses were
3 allowed to be standing and then burnt in October,
4 November, December? Why would that be?
5 A. Your Honour, that they were not even
6 remaining standing afterwards, the idea was that the
7 chief of the regional civilian police for the whole
8 enclave, that is to say, that he should ensure the
9 protection of those houses. It is my personal belief
10 that we could not have ensured and supervised about
11 30.000 refugees, which was the number that lived in the
12 enclave at the time, and we couldn't offer them
13 conditions for survival. They even looted Croatian
14 houses in Krizancevo Selo at the end of December 1993
15 and set fire to them, people of that kind.
16 So what was important for them was that they
17 found the means for survival in these houses and that
18 they could come by those means for survival to ensure
19 biological survival in the area, their own lives. The
20 houses were set fire to after the looting, in the
21 course of the night, one by one. It wasn't that
22 somebody came today and set fire to everything once he
23 had looted all the houses.
24 In the combat activities and operations, as I
25 said, as a result and as a consequence of the fighting,
1 there were facilities that were set fire to afterwards,
2 here and there, but that was after fighting on both
3 sides because there are no trenches or dugouts or
4 anything on the photographs near houses and so on.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: But what is puzzling me
6 is this: There was some fighting originally, some
7 houses, according to you, were burnt but not all, most
8 were left standing, and they were left standing for
9 some time, and then in October, November, and December,
10 they were burnt. Why would they be burnt, having been
11 left standing for some time?
12 A. Your Honour, I can only assume that -- that
13 is to say, I feel that there were two reasons for
14 that: One of the reasons was that once the looting had
15 been completed and everything had been taken away from
16 the house of any value, then that house would have been
17 burnt, and they were a sorry sight because everything
18 had been taken away from them, the tiles, the portals,
19 the windows, everything that could be carried off.
20 The other reason, the second reason was that
21 once the Washington Agreement had been signed, then in
22 the area under the control of the BH army, houses were
23 burnt which were owned by Croats. The Croats were
24 expelled and then lived in the enclave, and then when
25 he sees that his house is on fire, then he would react
1 in turn and then burn a Muslim house belonging to a
2 Bosniak Muslim, even in his neighbourhood. That is the
3 other reason.
4 I believe that this burning was the result of
5 trying to cover up the looting that had been going on
6 and that it was a very difficult situation which the
7 civilian and military police had to contend with, and
8 they couldn't arrive at the perpetrators. But I issued
9 orders for this kind of action to be stopped, to be
10 halted, but there were a lot of reactions of that type,
11 in order to prevent this from happening.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.
14 Mr. Kehoe?
15 MR. KEHOE: Let us turn to the videotape
16 which is Prosecutor's 443.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. President, I'd like to
18 point out to the parties that this exhibit was given to
19 the technical booth, but it was not admitted.
20 JUDGE JORDA: It was part of the exhibits
21 that were not admitted, and the Trial Chamber will
22 decide what to do with them after having heard the
23 comments of both parties.
24 Just a moment, please.
25 (Trial Chamber confers)
1 MR. KEHOE: In the video booth, if we could
2 move ahead with this tape. As I said, this is a BBC
3 tape, Mr. President, taken on the 8th of September,
5 (Videotape played)
6 MR. KEHOE: If we could wind that back about
7 ten seconds, please, I'll tell you where to stop. Just
8 keep going forward now, please. A little bit further.
9 The next series of houses. Stop right there, please.
10 Q. General, that particular photograph is a
11 photograph or film of an HVO soldier walking past a
12 house that's on fire underneath.
13 MR. KEHOE: That particular item was captured
14 in an exhibit, Mr. President, which is Prosecutor's
15 446. It has been lifted off this particular video.
16 Q. General, I would like to read to you the
17 testimony of Captain Whitworth about this particular
19 "A That's the woodpile underneath the
20 house that's been deliberately --"
21 Excuse me. I apologise. This is on page
22 10277 at line 4, referring to this scene:
23 "A That's the woodpile underneath the
24 house that's been deliberately set on
25 fire to make sure it's levelled to the
1 ground or uninhabitable, at least, by
2 anybody who wants to live in it. So
3 that's not been set on fire by artillery
4 or small arms fire or anything like
6 That was the testimony of Captain Whitworth
7 who testified on the purposeful setting fire to of that
8 house while your troops were clearly still in that
9 village, General.
10 So it is true, General, is it not, that the
11 houses in Grbavica were deliberately set ablaze by your
12 troops while the attack was going on, isn't that right,
13 and thereafter?
14 A. No. While the attack was ongoing quite
15 certainly that was not done, apart from combat
16 activities. The film itself shows the flag. The flag
17 was posed once the operation was over. I think it
18 could have been around 14.00 or 14.30.
19 After that, in this concrete case, I cannot
20 see from the film what actually happened and how that
21 particular house was set on fire, but I still maintain
22 on the first day ten houses were set fire to, on the
23 second day, eight. When the refugees stormed the
24 village and began looting, whether any more houses were
25 set fire too, I really don't know, but the burning of
1 the houses in Grbavica went on throughout 1993.
2 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, I understand
3 that everything can be talked and discussed, and that's
4 your right to do, although, I would like to remind you
5 that you are a witness with obligations of a sworn
6 witness. That's my first comment.
7 I would like to ask you a question. You can
8 refresh my memory. Am I wrong in having noted down on
9 the 25th of March, during the hearing, during the
10 examination-in-chief, that on the 9th of September you
11 demanded the disciplinary measures be applied and that
12 they were, even if that were to cut down on the number
13 of people at the front, which would leave one to think
14 that you had considered taking disciplinary measures?
15 Did I invest that?
16 I don't want to go back to the transcript.
17 If we have to we will, but in my own notes, during the
18 discussion on the attack, you spoke about your concern
19 for professionalism, your constant concern to protect
20 the civilian populations, and you said that the houses
21 that were attacked were attacked only because they were
22 in military positions. I noted that.
23 I also noted that on the 9th of September,
24 you demanded that disciplinary be taken even if they
25 had to cut down on the numbers of people at the front.
1 Was that intended for any possible looting during the
2 attack on Grbavica or am I wrong?
3 A. Your Honour, Mr. President, you're right when
4 you say that I asked for disciplinary measures to be
5 taken. However, this is a meeting I had with my
6 commanders of brigades where I asked for all military
7 disciplinary measures that are taken are not taken only
8 formally but are actually carried out in practice.
9 That is to say if this kind of measure is meted out,
10 then the person has to go into custody, for example,
11 even if the front line is jeopardised.
12 JUDGE JORDA: But were you referring
13 specifically to Grbavica, because it was the 9th of
14 September. Were you referring to the attack on
16 A. No, because I had information that it was not
17 only that the refugees came to Grbavica on the 8th in
18 the evening, that the action at Grbavica had ended from
19 a military point of view without any torching of
20 houses. The action went on until 14.30 on the 8th.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Then why ask for disciplinary
22 measures on the 9th of September if you were sure that
23 your soldiers didn't commit any wrong acts, since you
24 were sure?
25 A. I asked the brigade commanders that
1 disciplinary measures to be carried out in practice,
2 that is to say, not only to have them taken in a
3 declarative sense but if a measure was taken, then it
4 should be carried out in practice. That was the
5 general position. If a disciplinary measure is to be
6 taken, then the soldier concerned is supposed to go to
7 custody and that's it, not to have it all on paper
9 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for that
10 clarification. At the proper time the Judges will go
11 back to the transcript on this particular point. Thank
12 you very much for your answer.
13 Judge Rodrigues?
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, if we go
15 back to the photograph on the ELMO, if the smoke did
16 not come from the house that is were burning, how can
17 you explain the smoke? Could you tell us, please?
18 A. Your Honour, in the area where there is
19 combat action, that is to say, from both sides, the
20 smoke could have come from explosions, explosions of
21 projectiles, or from shells, regardless of whether
22 these are artillery shells or RPGs, that is, infantry
23 weapons. It could have been from a house.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me for interrupting
25 you, General, but I'm asking the question in the full
1 context. The photograph was taken by an individual at
2 a specific date, at a specific place. That's the
3 context. Within that context, how do you explain the
4 smoke, within that context?
5 A. I explain it as a consequence of combat
6 operations, and I do not preclude the possibility of
7 having some of these buildings being torched. I do not
8 preclude that possibility. I said during my testimony
9 that on the first day up to ten houses were burnt and
10 the second day up to eight. So there were about 20
11 houses that were ablaze.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I have another question.
13 In the video we saw soldiers firing into the air in
14 celebration. From your point of view, is that
15 disciplined behaviour or is that not disciplined
17 A. That was not disciplined behaviour, but I
18 believe that not all can keep their emotions under
19 control equally. This was a very difficult situation
20 in which some kind of a small victory was achieved over
21 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but this is a lack of
22 discipline and it also shows that this is not a
23 well-established army.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Rodrigues.
1 Mr. Kehoe, you may continue.
2 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. General, let me read you the testimony of
4 Brigadier Alistair Duncan. This is at page 9213:
5 "Q When you came back, Brigadier" --
6 At that time, just for reference purposes, then Colonel
7 Alistair Duncan, who was the commander of the British
8 Battalion in Stara Bila right next door to this, then
9 at the time he testified he was a Brigadier:
10 "Q When you came back, Brigadier, all the
11 houses were burnt, weren't they?
12 A Yes. The house on the top of the hill,
13 instead of being put into a state of
14 fortification and used as a defensive
15 area, had been burnt and flattened.
16 Q You were in the Lasva Valley for some
17 seven months. Was that consistent with
18 the way the HVO attacked villages up and
19 down the Lasva Valley?
20 A That is the standard, if you like, modus
21 operandi of those forces. They would
22 attack and they would also raze the
23 buildings, set fire to them.
24 Q You noted, in response to questions on
25 cross-examination, that there was no
1 military purpose to destroy those
3 A There wasn't. In fact, it was to the --
4 I believe it would have been to their
5 advantage to have kept those buildings
7 Q Prior to this time, Blaskic told you,
8 did he not, that he was going to have to
9 attack Grbavica and clear the Muslims
10 out of there; right.
11 A Right.
12 Q Houses are burnt for no legitimate
13 military reason, consistent with houses
14 being burnt throughout the valley. What
15 message do you think Blaskic and the HVO
16 were trying to send to the Muslims?
17 A Sending a very clear message that there
18 is no house to come back to. 'Don't even
19 think about coming back.'"
20 Captain Whitworth on page 10285:
21 "Q What message do you think the HVO is
22 sending to the Bosnian Muslims in
23 burning every house in the village?
24 A It was a message that I saw repeatedly
25 throughout the year, one that -- they
1 did not want to encourage the return of
2 the Muslims to the area. They
3 weren't -- they didn't want to and they
4 weren't happy to co-exist as such. They
5 were determined to make the place
6 unliveable for anybody but themselves."
7 Now, General, that is the testimony of the
8 commanding officer of the British Battalion, in theatre
9 for six months, as well as the liaison officer for the
10 British Battalion to you and your staff in the Hotel
11 Vitez, and the testimony that they gave is consistent
12 with what happened, i.e., that your soldiers burnt
13 those homes so the Muslims simply would not come back.
14 Isn't that the fact, General?
15 A. No. First of all, I already said that the
16 action had been completed at 14.30 and that houses were
17 being burned over a longer period of time.
18 Secondly, I did tell Colonel Duncan that I
19 would be forced to take that action because the
20 agreement on demilitarisation of the area had not been
21 observed because numerous civilians, children included,
22 would harmed by Bosnian Muslim snipers at well-known
24 There was a problem with the 3rd Battalion of
25 the 325th Brigade of the BH army. Not of the Muslims
1 as such. My soldiers had clear-cut instruction that
2 there was no possibility to operate against civilians,
3 that this was prohibited.
4 In the evening, the members of the U.N.
5 evacuated civilians, that is to say, during the entire
6 previous day of fighting, there were no civilians who
7 were attacked, or wounded, or harmed in any way. I am
8 pleased, because they return. Today they live in
10 There's one more thing I wish to say. Until
11 the attack on Grbavica, 35.000 Croats had been expelled
12 from Zenica, from Novi Travnik, 100 per cent. Then
13 from Vitez, from 65 per cent of the area of this
14 territory, the BH army expelled them because they made
15 the HVO withdraw. So if anybody was expelled there, if
16 anybody had to leave, it was the 30.000 Croats who were
17 refugees before the BH army. The Grbavica action, had
18 the agreement on demilitarisation been carried out and
19 had the demilitarisation of Grbavica taken place, then
20 there would be no need to carry out the Grbavica
21 operation. Had the sniper positions been withdrawn and
22 also the military positions of the BH army.
23 Q. General, was any member of the HVO
24 disciplined, arrested, or prosecuted for the
25 intentional burning of houses? Grbavica?
1 A. I did not receive reports from any one of my
2 subordinates that an HVO soldier had torched Grbavica.
3 I already said how this burning took place, and this
4 was mainly done by persons unknown, during the night
5 and while there was looting.
6 MR. KEHOE: Let us turn to the final exhibit
7 in this area, Mr. President, if I may.
8 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution
9 Exhibit 713.
10 MR. KEHOE: This, Mr. President and Your
11 Honours, is another -- Exhibit 713 is another military
12 information summary from the Prince of Wales' Own
13 Regiment of Yorkshire, dated the 9th of September
14 1993. If we could put the portion concerning Vitez on
15 the ELMO. Thank you, Mr. Usher. Reading under
16 "Vitez": "The area that has been extremely quiet
17 during the period with no indications of a BiH
18 counterattack. A callsign in the burnt out village of
19 Grbavica discovered the body of a dead BiH soldier
20 which had been decapitated and disembowelled. It would
21 appear that a certain number of the troops involved in
22 the fighting originated from Busovaca. This was
23 confirmed when a Dutch transport battalion callsign
24 observed the parading of a decapitated head in that
25 area by troops that had returned from the Bila area.
1 Comment: The only grouping of HVO forces in the
2 Busovaca area held by this cell is the Nikola
3 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade. As reported last night,
4 elements of the Jokeri extremist unit, the unit that
5 was allegedly involved in the Ahmici massacre, is also
6 thought to have been involved during this recent
7 attack. It is possible that this unit is now relocated
8 at Busovaca."
9 Q. Now, General, let me read you Article 34 of
10 the Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions which notes
11 that: "The remains of a person who has died related to
12 occupation or in detention resulting from occupation or
13 hostilities, and those are persons not nationals of the
14 company in which they have died as a result of
15 hostilities, shall be respected."
16 So the point of Article 34 is the remains of
17 a person who died in hostilities shall be respected.
18 Now, General, the mutilation, and beheading,
19 and disembowelment of a body of the enemy is a
20 violation of the Geneva Conventions; isn't it?
21 A. Yes, and in my orders related to the code of
22 conduct, I always spoke of respect for the wounded and,
23 generally speaking, the enemy's side.
24 Q. General, this disembowelment and beheading
25 was done by troops that you, with your subordinates,
1 personally selected for the attack on Grbavica; isn't
2 that correct?
3 A. I never received this information, although
4 the civilian police had searched the entire area, and
5 they took video footage of this entire area. I never
6 received such information, that somebody had massacred,
7 mutilated a corpse of members of the BH army.
8 As for the Jokeri, that unit did not even
9 exist at that time. This was a unit of 15, 20 soldiers
10 at maximum, and it had been disbanded before that. So
11 at that time it did not even exist.
12 Q. General, you didn't receive information that
13 HVO soldiers were parading around Busovaca on the
14 evening of the 8th with the decapitated head; is that
16 A. I did not receive such information. Also,
17 that BH army soldiers' corpses were mutilated there,
19 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to ask you a
20 question, General Blaskic. You frequently tell us that
21 you didn't receive information. One could wonder how
22 the commander of the Operative Zone didn't receive
23 information. You frequently seem to be an uninformed
24 commander. But could one risk interpreting things, as
25 you do, by saying that you don't receive information --
1 all right. You don't receive information. Wouldn't
2 that mean that you were not being informed because it
3 seemed natural for the chief of the Nikola
4 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade not to send you information
5 simply because the HVO troops were used to working in
6 that way? Could that be an interpretation?
7 Do you see what I mean? I'm trying to follow
8 your way of reasoning. I'm trying to understand the
9 way you're thinking, and I believe you, and I say,
10 "Yes, General Blaskic didn't receive any information,"
11 but didn't you receive information because you were a
12 poorly informed General or, and this is my point that
13 I'm asking you about, you didn't receive information
14 because, at the end, the entire system of the HVO was
15 based on the fact that it was natural? "Why should I,
16 as the commander of the Jokers, go to inform the
17 General who is going to write a report saying that we
18 set houses on fire?" Because wasn't it natural to set
19 houses on fire once a village had been conquered?
20 A. Mr. President, first of all, I shall try to
21 answer this. I'm talking about specific information
22 that is here on the ELMO now. I did not receive such
23 information. I personally believe that had something
24 like that occurred in Busovaca, that the commander of
25 the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade would have informed
1 me, if not in his regular report then in an
2 extraordinary report. That is my belief.
3 Secondly, I stick to my original assertion.
4 I was watching Grbavica, and I was at a position where
5 I could see it all clearly, and I was there until 14.30
6 when the action was completed, and then the civilian
7 police came. It is true that houses were burned, but
8 it is also true that not more houses were burnt than
9 those that I saw with my very own eyes.
10 The civilian police searched the area of the
11 village and they took video footage of it, I know they
12 did that, and I know that the civilian police archives
13 have this kind of footage of the civilian police. They
14 told me that they did not find any mutilated bodies,
15 and they took pictures with a video camera showing the
16 actual state of affairs as they saw it.
17 JUDGE JORDA: You didn't really answer the
18 question that I asked you, but I don't want to insist.
19 I simply wanted to ask whether the message or the
20 policy message of the HVO was that the Muslim
21 population should not return and that for your brigade
22 chiefs, "Why inform Colonel Blaskic?" Because it
23 appeared natural to set fire to a village, since the
24 policy of the HVO was that there should be no possible
25 return, and, therefore, you were not informed. In
1 fact, you were not.
2 A. Mr. President, allow me, please. How could
3 there be a policy of non-return when three times more
4 Croats were expelled than Bosniak Muslims, when Muslims
5 until the present day keep under their control 65 per
6 cent of the territory of the municipality of Vitez? So
7 Croats in Central Bosnia are interested in having
8 everyone to return to his own home. It is the Croats
9 who were the victims of expulsions.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for asking me
11 questions, but I'm not a witness in this case, and I
12 was simply wondering about several points.
13 The Judges, in fact, really are having
14 trouble understanding how it can be that as a witness
15 here, we have to deal with testimonies which agree on
16 several points, and we're trying to find various
17 interpretations, and what I was trying to do here was
18 to find an interpretation which would follow your line
19 of reasoning, that is, "I was not informed." I'll stop
21 Judge Rodrigues?
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Following up on Judge
23 Jorda's question, I would like to offer you another
24 interpretation. Knowing that you were opposed to the
25 practice of that type of act, because they were
1 familiar with your orders, they didn't want to inform
2 you. This is a possible explanation. Did you
3 understand my question?
4 A. I did understand your question, Your Honour.
5 Perhaps there were such individual cases where they did
6 not want to; however, it defies explanation, as far as
7 I'm concerned, that if somebody was expelled from
8 Travnik, 15.000 Croats; from Zenica, perhaps 10.000
9 Croats, and in Novi Travnik, perhaps 3.000 or 4.000
10 Croats, that somebody would torch a house so that a
11 Muslim could not come back. Because that Croat, who is
12 a refugee, is aware of his interest, that he should go
13 back too because he has a house of his own too which is
14 unfortunately under BH army control.
15 So I myself cannot come to the bottom of
16 this, whether it is despair that drove them to this
17 kind of behaviour and this kind of destruction, I mean,
18 these refugees. But if we look at the ratio of
19 expelled persons in that area, it is certainly in the
20 interest of the Croats to return, until the present
21 day, to return to Travnik, Zenica, Novi Travnik, and
22 also the areas of Vitez from which they were expelled
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Another possibility. I
25 don't know if I am being pretentious in what I'm saying
1 here, but what I am getting from you is that you don't
2 seem to me to be a passive person; I think that you're
3 an active person. As such, I have some trouble
4 understanding how, in this situation which one could
5 qualify as more important in respect of incidents, if I
6 can say it that way, in respect of important events,
7 your answer is always a passive one: "I didn't receive
8 information." That's always your answer. I would
9 expect you to have been in a more active position.
10 Therefore, my perception of you as an active
11 individual doesn't really fit in with the position of
12 you as a passive person. Could you help me by
13 explaining that?
14 A. I'll try, Your Honour. Perhaps the problem
15 is that within the enclave, all the internal security
16 was in the hands of the civilian police force or the
17 police force as such. There was a head of the civilian
18 police throughout the war at the same level, that is to
19 say, the civilian police force at the level of the
20 entire region, and they tried to work all the time and
21 to carry out investigations. How successfully, that's
22 another matter, but they did, and I focused on the
23 front line. I focused on the struggle for survival in
24 that area. That was my priority and that was my
25 preoccupation, the front line. Internal security of
1 the enclave was within the scope of the chief of the
2 civilian police, of the military police. If I were to
3 receive a file saying that the perpetrators were
4 discovered in terms of their name and surname, then I
5 certainly would react.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
8 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. We are going
9 to shift gears at this point.
10 Q. General, we are going to talk about trench
11 digging, and I would like to give the following
12 exhibits to the accused: D373 and P387.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Hayman?
14 MR. HAYMAN: We haven't been asking for
15 breaks because we don't want to have any role in
16 interrupting proceedings or lines of questioning, but I
17 can tell, our client having answered for 10 to 12 weeks
18 now every day, I think a break is a good idea, and we
19 had to ask a long time ago that breaks every 45 minutes
20 might be good for his psychological state, and I make
21 that comment.
22 Thank you.
23 JUDGE JORDA: We're going to take a break. I
24 didn't have us take breaks every 45 minutes or every
25 hour, but I do understand that your client must be
1 tired as a result of all the questions being asked of
3 We'll take a break, but this is the
4 Prosecutor's time, and the Prosecutor has to deal with
5 all the subjects that were dealt with during the
6 examination-in-chief. For instance, we were expecting
7 that the Prosecutor -- I don't know if he's going to do
8 this or we may have to do it ourselves -- we expect him
9 to explain the problem of the distribution of powers.
10 Because one is somewhat uncomfortable when
11 one is in the midst of war, we Judges are a bit
12 confused, since, according to what the witness has been
13 saying to us, that in the midst of the war, the
14 civilian police continued to work, the military police
15 continued to work, the special units, and that the
16 witness was at the head of the army which was well
17 organised and disciplined, and I have to say that the
18 example of Grbavica is an important one, that is, the
19 witness is telling us that the civilian police came in,
20 that it had its role to play and that it was
21 responsible for carrying out the investigations that
22 had to be carried out. I don't know whether, in the
23 midst of war, these things should go that way.
24 But having said this, which involves only
25 myself, I suggest that we take longer than a 20-minute
1 break so that the witness can rest.
2 --- Recess taken at 3.42 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 4:15 p.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
5 hearing. We hope that the witness was able to rest.
6 In agreement with my colleagues we gave him a longer
7 break, and I hope that the Defence won't hold it
8 against us if at some point the Prosecutor's completely
9 finished, we give him a little extra time.
10 I see there are a number of people in the
11 public gallery. On behalf of my colleagues, I would
12 like to say good afternoon, and we do each time, we
13 would like to explain that this is now part of the
14 trial of General Blaskic, General Blaskic who decided
15 to testify. Therefore, he is under the obligations of
16 a witness. He is in the courtroom. He's testifying,
17 and this is the cross-examination.
18 Mr. Prosecutor, you may proceed.
19 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Q. General, I would like to address myself to
21 the two exhibits we talked about just before the break,
22 D273 and P387 -- 373, and P387, I'm sorry?
23 JUDGE JORDA: Let's be careful, that is, as
24 soon as these documents are on the ELMO they're public
25 documents and they should be on the public screen as
2 MR. KEHOE:
3 Q. Now, General, let us look at these two
4 exhibits. The first exhibit is your order of the 21st
5 of June, 1993, where you order, or you forbid using
6 prisoners of war to dig trenches. This order, of
7 course, is it not, is based on the meeting that you had
8 at the joint command earlier that day, which is
9 depicted in Prosecutor's Exhibit 387? So after you
10 received instructions at the joint command meeting,
11 General, you went back to your headquarters and you
12 issued the order which is 373; isn't that right?
13 A. I have that document, document 373, but
14 document 387 I don't have.
15 Q. Well, let's go to the bottom of the page.
16 It's in English, unfortunately. I'll read to you the
17 bottom of page. If we can push all the way down,
18 Mr. Usher, to number 4.
19 This is the meeting on the 21st of June,
20 1993, the joint command meeting chaired by Ambassador
21 Thebault and Brigadier Duncan. It says: "Release of
22 prisoners. Ambassador Thebault thanked all for their
23 assistance with the release of prisoners. It was
24 agreed that:
25 "a. All would support the future activities
1 of the ICRC and the work of the joint commission.
2 "b. If not already issued, commanders are to
3 issue precise orders on the treatment of prisoners and
4 the punishment of those commanders who disobeyed these
5 orders. Commanders who disobeyed these orders were to
6 be removed from command. Specific orders are to be
7 issued forbidding prisoners being asked or made to dig
9 Now, after that meeting of the joint command,
10 General, you went back to your headquarters and issued
11 defendant's Exhibit 373, which is the order of the 21st
12 of June at 20.15 hours, isn't that correct, General?
13 A. I'm not quite sure. It says that I attended
14 the meeting of the joint command but, of course, this
15 order, order 373, is an order in which I wish
16 preventively to stop actions of that kind. It wasn't
17 the only order. There were similar orders issued
18 previously. Quite possibly this emanated from the
19 meeting of the joint command, but in my chronology I do
20 not have a note saying that I was there. Perhaps there
21 was -- Mr. Merdan and Mr. Nakic attended, perhaps.
22 Q. General, you knew, as early as 1992, that it
23 was illegal to force prisoners or civilians to dig
24 trenches, isn't that right, sir?
25 A. That it was illegal to force prisoners of
1 war. I knew that, and I cautioned my subordinates by
2 means of written orders and oral orders at meetings
3 with my subordinates.
4 Q. You also knew that it was illegal to force
5 civilians and civilian detainees to dig trenches; isn't
6 that correct?
7 MR. HAYMAN: Compound.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Try to break your
9 questions up, although, from the legal point of view,
10 Mr. Hayman, I should say when I read paragraph 3 of the
11 order D373, Colonel Blaskic even alludes to the
12 establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal
13 and, therefore, seems to have understood the legal
14 problems of this crime, but having said this, you're
15 right, and questions have to be separated.
16 Please separate your questions, Mr. Kehoe.
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. Was it illegal to force civilian detainees to
19 dig trenches, "Yes" or "No"?
20 A. Illegal, against the law to force civilian
21 detainees, and generally detainees, to force them to
22 dig trenches and undertake engineering work.
23 Q. Now, sir, let us turn to some of the events
24 that we had been discussing prior to April of 1993.
25 Now, you noted for us, General, in a meeting on the 5th
1 of February, 1993, in a meeting, and I'm referring to
2 page 18267, you noted that in a meeting attended by
3 Brigadier Merdan and others that, on line 12 of that
4 page, that Merdan said that civilians were being taken
5 to do trench digging. The question was:
6 "Q Where? What place?"
7 You answered:
8 "A To Busovaca."
9 On that same day, you had a meeting with Iris
10 from ICRC, and I'm referring to, again, the 5th of
11 February, and your testimony on page 18269, where you
12 note on line 16:
13 "A I had a separate meeting with
14 Mrs. Iris in the same hall of the Tisa
15 Motel, and we discussed just one topic
16 and that topic was the involvement of
17 prisoners in trench digging. Mrs. Iris
18 told me that she had received a report
19 that prisoners were being used to dig
20 trenches in the Busovaca municipality."
21 Now, General, when you received that
22 information on the same day from Merdan and from Iris
23 of the International Red Cross, did you talk to anybody
24 such as the warden at the Kaonik prison,
25 Mr. Aleksovski, to find out what was going on?
1 A. Immediately when I received that information
2 I promised Mrs. Iris, the official, that I would check
3 this out, but I was not in a position to do it myself
4 personally because, I was taken to the meeting and from
5 the meeting by UNPROFOR. But I called the chief of
6 staff and the commander of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski
7 Brigade and checked out these allegations.
8 At the same time, I told the chief of staff
9 that he should prohibit this kind of activity once
10 again, but the report that I was given said that war
11 prisoners were not being used for trench digging.
12 Q. Well, General, the warden of the Kaonik
13 Prison at the time was Zlatko Aleksovski, and you told
14 us that you previously had meetings with him. My
15 question to you is: As you called your chief of staff,
16 did you attempt to contact Mr. Aleksovski to find out
17 if HVO soldiers were taking prisoners, detainees, out
18 to dig trenches? Did you do that?
19 A. I do not recall this and, as far as I know, I
20 did not talk to Mr. Aleksovski, but I do know that I
21 called the commander of the brigade from Busovaca, and
22 the chief of staff of the military district of Vitez.
23 Q. Well, who was the commander of the Nikola
24 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade in Busovaca at that time?
25 A. At the time the commander was Nicko Jozinovic
1 and his deputy was Dusko Grubesic.
2 Q. Well, did you talk to both men and ask them
3 about this allegation of forced trench digging?
4 A. I talk to Grubesic and asked him about those
5 allegations. Not only did I ask him, but I warned him
6 that this was prohibited and that it must not be done.
7 Q. Did he concede that people had been taken out
8 to dig trenches and that Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade
9 soldiers had taken them out to do so?
10 A. No, he did not give me that kind of
11 information. He said that his commanders were not
12 taking prisoners to dig trenches and that acts of this
13 kind were not taking place. At that time, I found
14 myself isolated in Kiseljak.
15 Q. Now, General, let us move ahead to the 12th
16 of February. On the 12th of February, Iris from ICRC
17 told you that two Bosnian Muslim women had been killed
18 while they were being forced to dig trenches, and that
19 is in your testimony, General, on page 18286.
20 A. I apologise. I think there was an error in
21 the interpretation, that is to say, the interpretation
22 received was that Mrs. Iris said that two Muslim women
23 had died trench digging.
24 Q. Mrs. Iris told you that two women were killed
25 trench digging in Busovaca on the 7th of February
2 A. That two women had been killed. She did not
3 tell me that. Mrs. Iris did not tell me that. What
4 she told me was that two Muslim men had been forcibly
5 taken from the prison and that they had been killed
6 during trench digging. That is what she told me, two
7 men, not women. Perhaps the interpretation I was
8 receiving was wrong.
9 Q. I don't want to quibble with you General.
10 I'm reading your testimony which came out as female,
11 and it reads as follows, on page 18286, at line 11:
12 "A I had a meeting on the 12th of
13 February, 1993 in Kislejak with
14 Mrs. Iris, the representative of the
15 International Red Cross, informed me
16 there had been a killing of Mrs. Sejovic
17 and Iljivoc on the of February 1993 in
18 the Busovaca area."
19 A. I never received such information, and I
20 never testified to that. Perhaps the translation was
21 wrong. I know that there were two men, Sehovic and
22 Elezovic who were killed, and I discussed that case on
23 the 12th of February, 1993 in Kiseljak with Mrs. Iris,
24 who was at that time the head of the International Red
25 Cross for the Zenica region.
1 Q. The record will reflect that correction,
2 General. It really is of no consequence if they're
3 male or female. I was just reading what the transcript
4 reflected. If it is incorrect, it is incorrect.
5 Nevertheless, let us move ahead, General, to
6 the 18th of March when you, on page 18365, told us that
7 Sliskovic informed you that the case of the two killed
8 trench diggers in Busovaca had been referred to the
9 military prosecutors. General, these two perpetrators,
10 what brigade or unit were they members of?
11 A. I don't know which two perpetrators you
13 Q. The two individuals that were involved in the
14 killing of Elezovic and Sehovic that Iris had discussed
15 with you.
16 A. She informed me that a killing had taken
17 place, and she asked me to conduct an investigation,
18 and I --
19 Q. Excuse me, General. I apologise. The
20 question is: The two perpetrators that SIS told you
21 had been arrested for the death of these two trench
22 diggers, what brigade were these two individuals who
23 were arrested a member of, the two HVO soldiers? What
24 brigade? Was it the Viteska Brigade? Was it the
25 Busovaca Brigade? Was it an independent unit? What
1 was it?
2 A. I believe that they belonged to the Nikola
3 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade in Busovaca, but I'm not 100 per
4 cent certain of that because I focused on launching an
5 investigation and prosecuting the case with the
6 district military court.
7 Q. General, when you found out that they had, in
8 fact, been killed on the front lines, did you also
9 conclude that Grubesic had been lying to you about
10 taking civilians out and forcing them to dig trenches?
11 A. I received information that those same people
12 had taken these two war prisoners and that they had
13 carried out the killing; however, later on, when I
14 undertook certain measures, individual groups took out
15 prisoners of war forcibly once again. So it was
16 difficult for me to assess whether Grubesic had been
17 lying to me on that occasion or not.
18 Q. General, when you got back to Vitez on the
19 3rd of March, 1993, did you order Grubesic into your
20 office and demand an explanation from him about these
21 two HVO soldiers who were involved in this killing?
22 Did you do that?
23 A. Those two soldiers were prosecuted and
24 detained by the military district court, and they were
25 in that criminal process --
1 Q. Excuse me, General. My time is very short.
2 My question for you is this: Did you bring Grubesic
3 in? It's not about the soldiers. Focus on my
4 question. Did you bring Grubesic in and demand an
5 explanation, and if you did, what did he say to you?
6 A. On the 4th of March, I had a meeting with all
7 the commanders of the brigades, or about the 4th of
8 March, and then I focused on that question as well,
9 that is to say, the question of informing me that
10 people were not being taken out, whereas something like
11 that had taken place in the Busovaca Brigade. I
12 reacted at that time, it was a complete, full meeting,
13 and I once again issued strict warnings that acts of
14 that kind were prohibited, and Grubesic attended that
16 Q. Did you discipline Grubesic as the commander
17 of these two soldiers who took these individuals out to
18 dig trenches?
19 A. No, I did not at the time because the
20 statement that I received and the investigation told me
21 that this group had stormed the prison forcibly and
22 taken out -- this group had stormed the prison, they
23 were not following orders, and had taken out the
24 prisoners. So they stormed the prison, took away a
25 certain number of detainees and took them out to do
2 Q. General, let us stay with these two
3 individuals who stormed the prison and took these
4 people out. What happened to them? Were they
5 convicted? What sentence did they receive?
6 A. I know that they were prosecuted at the
7 military district court, but I had no insight as to the
8 punitive policy of the military district court. So I
9 don't know what punishment they received and what the
10 decision made by the president of the military district
11 court was. This was not my area of competence.
12 Q. Did you ensure, General, that those two
13 soldiers were immediately removed from the HVO pursuant
14 to the rules on military discipline?
15 A. If they did commit a crime, and they did,
16 then they were arrested immediately.
17 Q. That's not my question, General. My question
18 for you, as the commander of Central Bosnia, was: Did
19 you ensure that these two people, these two HVO
20 soldiers were removed from the HVO military ranks;
21 "Yes" or "No"?
22 A. I can only answer in the following way: The
23 commander of the brigade has the same powers as I do,
24 and he is the individual who sorted those affairs --
25 JUDGE JORDA: General, please focus on all of
1 the answers that you are giving to the Judges. This is
2 a question of methodology. I think three years ago we
3 read the famous decree about the disciplinary powers
4 and the powers of military justice; do you remember
5 that? I think it was Article 29; do you remember
6 that? Do you remember the degree? It was an important
7 decree which dealt with the organisation of military
8 justice and so forth; do you remember? That included
9 disciplinary powers.
10 Please focus on the question that the
11 Prosecutor is asking. The Judges would like to know.
12 Because the other day you said that you couldn't take
13 any disciplinary sanctions when the perpetrators were
14 not identified. Do you remember that? You said that
15 you had to wait for an investigation, that you were not
16 competent for that investigation, and that the tribunal
17 was competent, that is, the prosecutor, but it was
18 self-evident that if the perpetrators were identified,
19 then you would have disciplinary powers.
20 Let me bring you back into a certain logical
21 way of thinking relating to the entire answer. In this
22 case, there were identified perpetrators.
23 They were identified; is that not correct,
24 Mr. Kehoe?
25 MR. KEHOE: Yes, they were, Mr. President,
1 according to the witness's testimony.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore, you had all of those
3 powers. Focus on the answer. Did you or did you not
4 issue sanctions? I don't think that the question calls
5 for long comments. Think about it, and if necessary,
6 consult your notes. If you need to take a little time,
7 do so. Could you give us an answer?
8 A. Yes, Mr. President. I personally asked for
9 an investigation to be conducted into this particular
10 case, and I was informed that the military district
11 prosecutor had taken over the case and the
12 prosecution. I personally did not issue disciplinary
13 measures towards those perpetrators of the crime.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, please go back to
15 your question because I don't think that our concerns
16 were really addressed. You have to provide the
17 evidence, Mr. Kehoe. We are here to listen and to get
18 an idea of what's happening.
19 MR. KEHOE:
20 Q. General, the question is very simple and it
21 is this, sir: Did you ensure that these two HVO
22 soldiers were removed from the HVO? Did you do that?
23 The answer is "Yes" or "No."
24 A. What I did was that a criminal prosecution
25 was unleashed, and they were placed in the military
1 district prison.
2 Q. So the answer to the question is that you did
3 not take any steps by yourself through the military
4 disciplinary function to remove these soldiers from the
5 HVO; is that correct?
6 A. Military disciplinary function, no, because
7 that same measure was taken by means of the criminal
9 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, General. I have to
10 tell you that I no longer understand. It seems to me
11 that we're going round and round. If there are two
12 soldiers who you are convinced committed the crime, it
13 seems to me that the question is very simple. As the
14 commander with disciplinary powers, did you take
15 measures? I thought that you had said that you sent
16 them to a military prison after an investigation; is
17 that correct?
18 A. Mr. President, at the time when the military
19 district prosecution launched an investigation, they
20 were placed in the military district court for
21 investigation and they were no longer members of the
22 HVO at that point.
23 JUDGE JORDA: You've just said that you asked
24 that an investigation be carried out. I have the
25 impression now that there are a great many
1 investigations. You just said that you asked for an
2 investigation. Who was doing the investigation? You?
3 The prosecutor? Who? I don't understand. Help us.
4 A. I did not conduct the investigation. The
5 investigation was conducted by the military district
6 prosecutor from the military district court of Travnik
7 and the assistant for security, that is to say,
8 together. They cooperated.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, please continue.
10 MR. KEHOE:
11 Q. General, were they convicted, these two
13 A. I know that they were taken to the district
14 military court, but I don't know what the outcome was,
15 what the final decision and ruling of the district
16 military court was. I believe that these two persons
17 were convicted.
18 Q. If you believe that they were convicted, what
19 kind of sentence did they receive?
20 A. I don't know. What kind of a sentence do you
21 mean? I mean, they spent time in the military prison.
22 What else? Or perhaps they had their sentences
23 suspended. I don't know. I was not in charge of
24 this. I did not have any insight into the sentencing
25 policies of the district military court.
1 Q. General, if they had their sentences
2 suspended, were they taken back into the HVO and into
3 the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade?
4 A. My position was the following: It was quite
5 clear to all the commanders, that is to say, that all
6 persons who were perpetrators of criminal offences
7 should be taken over by the department of defence and
8 that they should get work duty, and these were general
9 rules issued to all the commanders, that is to say,
10 that all persons who are perpetrators of criminal
11 offences should be assigned to work duty by the
12 department of defence, not military duty. So in line
13 with these instructions, these persons had to be
14 assigned to work units with work duty.
15 Q. But you don't know one way or the other what
16 happened to these guys, do you?
17 A. I believe that they were taken away after
18 having served their sentence, and I believe that they
19 were never mobilised by the defence department as
20 military duty.
21 Q. Let us talk about trench digging and --
22 JUDGE JORDA: General, just a moment,
23 please. When you say, "I believe," are you telling us
24 today that you believe or were you concerned about that
25 at the time?
1 A. I do not have specific data here, but I know
2 that they are orders that I issued, and they are here
3 also at the Tribunal, that is to say, about sending
4 persons who committed criminal offences from the HVO
5 units. So this was standing practice, and it was quite
6 clear to all commanders that these persons, weapons had
7 to be taken away from them and that they should be sent
8 to the defence department where they would be issued a
9 reassignment. I do not have any information of their
10 return to HVO units.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. General, let me read to you part of an
14 MR. KEHOE: I'm referring, Mr. President, to
15 Exhibit 514. It's in English, so I can just read a
16 portion of that exhibit.
17 Q. This is an ECMM report of the 6th of
18 February, 1993. The report is dated the 6th of
19 February, and it notes, General, that:
20 "There was a significant increase in the
21 amount of digging in by HVO forces mainly using Muslim
22 labour, some of whom had been forcibly abducted from
23 their homes."
24 The chairman of the Busovaca joint commission
25 notes that he observed the use of Muslim labour to dig
1 HVO trenches, and this is in the Busovaca area.
2 In Exhibit 677, Prosecutor's 677, which is a
3 military information summary dated the 6th of February,
4 1993, in the area designated "Busovaca," the British
5 Battalion writes:
6 "At Podjele, a 50 to 60-metre trench system
7 was sighted at grid," I believe, "325898 with
8 approximately 15 to 20 civilians digging and three HVO
9 soldiers looking on."
10 Moving down at Katici, and giving the grid
11 reference, there were again reported to be civilians
12 digging positions on the eastern edge of the village
13 under the supervision of HVO soldiers.
14 "Comment. These positions were in clear
15 view of BiH positions; however, the BiH soldiers did
16 not engage the civilians and the HVO soldiers. This
17 leads us to believe that the civilians may have been
18 Muslims under HVO guard. Comment ends."
19 Let me turn to another British Battalion
20 milinfosum, which is a new exhibit, Mr. Usher.
21 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
23 MR. KEHOE: I have a few for the booths so it
24 might be a little easier, Mr. Usher.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Usher, go ahead, please.
1 At the end of this trial you're going to be in great
2 physical shape.
3 MR. KEHOE:
4 Q. Now, General, Exhibit 714 is another military
5 information summary of the 7th of February, 1993, this
6 by the Cheshire Regiment. I'm interested in the bottom
7 of that page, talking of comments of the BiH
8 commander. It notes:
9 "The commander stated the following: The
10 HVO has been using Muslim civilians to dig in the HVO
11 offensive positions in the areas of the villages of
13 It notes it's: "(Believed to be in the control of
14 the BiH?)" "Kula, Skradno, and Podjele."
15 Moving down to the -- skipping a paragraph,
16 final report from Zenica, dated 7 February, 1993,
17 stated that: "Once again, the HVO had broken the agreed
18 cease-fire. These included the following:
19 "A. HVO snipers in the village of Podjele,"
20 grid reference, "Bakije," grid reference, "were
21 reported to be engaging the Muslim villages of Putis,"
22 grid reference, "and Merdani," grid reference. "The
23 arrested Muslim civilians in Podjele have been forced
24 to dig trenches for the HVO.
25 "B. HVO snipers were also reported to have
1 been shooting at civilian vehicles travelling on the
3 "Comment: Many of the statements made by the
4 two BiH commanders have some credence, especially with
5 respect to the accusation of Muslim civilians being
6 forced to dig HVO positions. However, it must be
7 remembered that it is only giving one side of the story
8 and the HVO made many accusations against the Muslims
9 also breaking the cease-fire."
10 Now, General, you would agree, would you not,
11 that the use of Muslims and forcing Muslims to dig
12 trenches in the Busovaca area in late January and early
13 February 1993 was widespread, was it not?
14 A. The only thing I can say is that during that
15 period I was isolated in Kiseljak, and during that time
16 in Kiseljak, where I had insight, not a single Bosniak
17 Muslim was detained or was digging trenches in Kiseljak
18 where I was.
19 As for the area of Busovaca, the only insight
20 I had was the information I received from my immediate
21 subordinates or at the meetings that were held in
22 Busovaca, the meetings of the joint commission on the
23 5th of February, for example. This commander, Dzemo
24 Merdan was commenting on this and making assertions,
25 and I asked him to be specific in terms of these claims
1 that Bosniak Muslims were being used for digging
2 trenches. Whenever I received any information, I would
3 check it out and I would prohibit that kind of work.
4 Q. Well, General, let me read you some other
5 testimony of an HVO soldier.
6 MR. KEHOE: I need, Mr. President, to briefly
7 go into private session, because this was a closed
8 session testimony.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. What's going to be read
10 by the Prosecutor was covered by protective measures.
11 The Prosecutor is going to read a short passage, and
12 we're going to move into a private session before we go
13 back into public session. I'm saying this so that
14 everybody is informed.
15 Mr. Registrar, we're going to move into
16 private session now.
17 (Private session)
13 Page 22712 redacted – in private session
13 Page 22713 redacted – in private session
13 Page 22714 redacted – in private session
3 (Open session)
4 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We're moving back
5 into public session. Now, ask your questions. And I'm
6 saying this for the witness and the Prosecutor, be
7 careful not to mention the name of that individual who
8 testified. Be careful.
9 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Because you're asking questions
11 about the trenches. All right. Ask your question.
12 MR. KEHOE:
13 Q. General, your testimony is that your chief of
14 staff, or no one in your headquarters, or none of your
15 brigade commanders either in Vitez or in Busovaca, none
16 of those individuals told you about these large number
17 of Bosnian Muslim detainees who were taken and forced
18 to dig trenches, is that your testimony? You knew
19 nothing about this; is that right?
20 A. I've already said that I received this
21 information from the International Red Cross, from
22 Mrs. Iris, and as regards this unfortunate incident of
23 the 7th of February, I received information about that
24 only on the 12th and I did not receive any information
25 about that because I was isolated in Kiseljak and I was
1 cut off from any possible communication.
2 Q. Yes. Well, let's move ahead to the period of
3 time on the 16th and thereafter, and I'll try to move
4 through this quickly, General.
5 Now, on the 16th of April, on page 18577, you
6 told us that, on line 14, that Petkovic told you that,
7 "We should undertake the engineering type of
8 fortifications." That means that Petkovic is telling
9 you to dig trenches; is that correct?
10 A. Undertake the building of shelters and also
11 adjusting them for combat operations.
12 Q. And you noted to us that on the same day, and
13 this is on page 18590, on line 19, "I also, at 19.45,
14 talked to Pasko and asked him to start digging in and
15 develop the defence further."
16 Now, Pasko Ljubicic's subordinate was Vlado
17 Santic, wasn't it?
18 A. Yes. And this digging meant that soldiers
19 who were at the front line were supposed to dig their
20 own shelter.
21 Q. On the 16 the of April, what role did Vlado
22 Santic have? What position within the military
24 A. As far as I know, he was commander of
25 security. His role in the military police was
1 commander of the first active company of the military
2 police, although he changed roles. But specifically I
3 do not know from which time until which time he was at
4 which post.
5 Q. On the 16th of April, 1993, he had an office
6 in your headquarters in the Hotel Vitez, did he not,
7 and I'm referring, of course, to Vlado Santic?
8 A. He had an office before that too. His office
9 was at the Hotel Vitez.
10 Q. Now, General, when you gave this order to
11 Pasko Ljubicic, which I take it you would assume would
12 be passed down the line, this order to start digging
13 in, did you admonish Pasko that his troops should not
14 use civilian labour or detainees to dig those
15 trenches? Did you do that?
16 A. This was always readily understood. This is
17 something related to prisoners of war that was
18 prohibited by law, and in 1992 I issued an order to
19 have the territory set up, and it was readily
20 understood this would be done by the soldiers and
21 possibly by work units.
22 Q. Well, General, knowing that civilians had
23 been taken out to dig trenches during February, with
24 that knowledge in your mind, did you or did you not
25 specifically tell Pasko, "Do not use civilians to dig
1 trenches." Did you do that?
2 A. I've already said that at the first meeting
3 on the 4th of March, I made it known to all persons
4 present there that prisoners of war could not be used
5 for digging trenches, and this was a clear instruction
6 on my part. As for this specific action, no, I didn't
7 tell Pasko that because I thought that this was a
8 lawful action, well-known to all or, rather, it was
9 unlawful to engage prisoners of war in trench digging.
10 Q. Let's move ahead then and talk a little bit
11 about the testimony of Sulejman Kavazovic. Sulejman
12 Kavazovic was one of the Bosnian Muslim men arrested in
13 Vitez and taken to dig trenches. He was originally
14 detained at the SDK building. How far is the SDK
15 building, by the way, from your headquarters, do you
16 know? In downtown Vitez?
17 A. I don't know how far away it is. Perhaps if
18 you show me a photograph I may remember but I can't
19 remember where the SDK building is at all.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Shed some light on this SDK,
21 what is that.
22 MR. KEHOE: SDK was another government
23 building in downtown Vitez approximately 100 to 150
24 metres from the Hotel Vitez, maybe a little bit more,
25 where there were Bosnian Muslim detainees kept where
1 they were taken out to dig trenches. I refer Your
2 Honour to the testimony of Sulejman Kavazovic who
3 testified --
4 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Excuse me for
5 interrupting. I made you lose some time. There is a
6 witness and you're going to read the relevant excerpts
7 from that testimony.
8 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
9 Q. Let me read you a bit of Mr. Kavazovic's
10 testimony, General, starting at page 2321 at line 22:
11 "Q. How long did you remain at the SDK
12 building until you left?
13 A I remained there 3 days. From the 19th
14 until the 22nd I was at the SDK until I
15 was sent to dig trenches."
16 At line 4:
17 "A In Vitez and all the camps that were
18 there, some of the military policemen
19 and even members of the HVO, they would
20 come into the camps with vans and they
21 would select the people that were
22 supposed to go out and dig trenches.
23 That day when they took me away, this
24 same colleague of mine came along with
25 Zabac, a military policeman, who said he
1 needed nine people to go to Rijeka to
2 dig trenches."
3 On page 2326, on line 4, and he talks about
4 going to the Bungalow:
5 "Q When arrived at that location ...",
6 Referring to the Bungalow,
7 "... tell the court who you saw and what
8 you saw.
9 A We got out of the van. There was a
10 restaurant there and a terrace in front
11 of it, a concrete terrace with steps
12 leading to it. On the terrace I saw
13 Vlado Santic, who told me, as soon as I
14 got out of the van, he said, 'It's you
15 again.' Next to him I saw 13 Jokeri
16 standing there, fighters belonging to
17 the Jokeri unit formation."
18 2327, line 1:
19 "A After that, on the orders of Vlado
20 Santic, he ordered five Jokers, he said,
21 "You, you, you, and you," and Zabac
22 and those two policemen from the van,
23 they took us to Kratine."
24 He notes on page 2329 that he took him to
25 Kratine, to Miroslav Bralo, Cicko. Line 19 of that
1 page he says:
2 "A I remained in Kratine from the 22nd
3 until the 28th or 29th, seven or eight
4 days. I cannot remember. Our stay in
5 Kratine was strenuous. We had to dig
6 dugouts where they could not dig. We
7 were exposed to fire, HVO fire, even
8 army fire too, because at that part
9 where dugouts were supposed to be dug,
10 where they as soldiers could not dig, we
11 had to dig them all day, and we would
12 clear the forest for them. So when they
13 could not go through the forest we would
14 have to cut it for them. We carried
15 timber boards. It this was heavy
16 physical labour. We dug trenches. We
17 carried out their orders."
18 This on page -- I can move ahead. We can
19 move quickly. In conclusion, on page 2347:
20 "Q When you arrived at the SDK building,
21 what did you see?
22 A When I got to the SDK building, the
23 people whom I had left behind were
24 there, and then I met with people who
25 had also been digging trenches like me.
1 So we talked to each other, where we had
2 been, where we had done the digging, and
3 I was waiting for the exchange.
4 Q Where were the people you talked to say
5 they had been digging trenches?
6 A During the conversation we had and
7 judging from the people who came to
8 Kratine, I learned that people had been
9 digging trenches at Krcevine, Dubravica,
10 Sivrino Selo. From all the camps in
11 Vitez people were rounded up and taken
12 to dig trenches."
13 Now, General, Mr. Kavazovic testifies to the
14 ordering of his forced trench digging by a member of
15 the military police, Vlado Santic, who had an office
16 down the hall from yours in the Hotel Vitez. Did you
17 know that Mr. Santic was participating in these
18 forced -- in this forced trench digging with the
19 military police and other HVO soldiers or were you
20 ignorant of that as well?
21 A. I heard the testimony here for the first time
22 before this Court. I did not receive any information
23 related to these activities, and the orders that I
24 issued made the opposite behaviour necessary, and these
25 activities are in complete contrast to that. I'm
1 talking about 116, 162,2, 364,2, 365,1, 370,9, 376,1,
2 373, and 378, all of this evidence shows that I took
3 measures and I prohibited such action. When I would
4 receive such information, I would react to this
6 Q. Now, General, let us just shift subjects for
7 a bit.
8 MR. KEHOE: I ask, Mr. Registrar, if the
9 witness can be given Defence Exhibit 298 with Defence
10 Exhibit 314, shown together, and also shown together
11 Defence Exhibit 301 together with Defence Exhibit 325.
12 Q. Now, General, does this first pair of
13 documents, 298 and 314, reflect your order and response
14 from Dusko Grubesic?
15 Taking them singly, 298 is your order of 17
16 April, 1993 with a number of 014393/93, and in number 4
17 of that order, you say:
18 "To dig in on the front lines and prepare a
20 The response comes back referring to your
21 order, and that's in Defence 314, and Dusko Grubesic
22 says in point 4:
23 "Entrenchment has been carried out on all
24 defence lines in order to organise the defence from the
25 enemy as efficiently as possible."
1 Now, General, this order that goes to, among
2 other units, the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade, you
3 have included no admonition in this order against using
4 civilians to dig trenches, have you?
5 A. I said a moment ago, I mentioned numerous
6 documents a moment ago which spoke about the
7 prohibition of using prisoners of war for trench
8 digging, whereas order 298 -- may I have a look at it,
9 please, just have a few minutes to peruse it?
10 Order 298 refers to --
11 Q. Excuse me, General. I'll ask the question.
12 Referring to Exhibit 298, knowing that members of the
13 Busovaca brigade had forced Bosnian Muslims detainees
14 to dig trenches, you did not include any admonition in
15 that order to prevent such a thing from happening
16 again; isn't that correct?
17 A. I have already enumerated all the orders that
18 were issued concerning the treatment of prisoners of
19 war. This particular order, order 298, has its
20 specific topics that it deals with. In Busovaca,
21 everything had already been done. Busovaca was in
22 combat since January 1993. The trenches had not been
23 filled in, and they had nothing to do --
24 Q. Thank you, General. The answer to the
25 question is, no, you did not include that admonition;
1 is that correct?
2 A. In this order, this order did not admonition,
3 but I quoted the documents that referred to the
4 behaviour towards prisoners of war.
5 Q. Now, take a look at Defence Exhibit 301 and
6 325, 301 being your order to dig trenches to the
7 Viteska Brigade and 325 a response back from the
8 Viteska Brigade.
9 Again, General, in this series of documents,
10 you order in 301, in point 3, you tell the Viteska
11 Brigade to carry out engineering works, and in Exhibit
12 325, the Viteska Brigade responds back that "new
13 trenches and reinforcements are continuously being
14 created on all defence lines."
15 Again, General, despite the fact that you
16 knew that HVO troops had forced Bosnian Muslims to dig
17 trenches, you did not include any admonition in that
18 document either; "Yes" or "No"?
19 A. Just let me have a look at the documents,
21 Q. I see you've finished the document, or have
22 you not? I'll let you finish the document, General.
23 A. Not yet. Just one more minute, please.
24 Q. Certainly.
25 A. Document 301, in point 3, talks about the
1 first degree of engineering work which implies that the
2 soldier should dig his own shelter within 60 minutes --
3 Q. I'm sorry. My time is very short. My
4 question to you was --
5 A. I know, but it was not ordered here. This
6 was not an order to dig communicating trenches,
7 bunkers, trenches, and so on. This document limits
8 what engineering work is to be done, that is to say, a
9 soldier's shelter which he uses for standing up, and it
10 takes him 30 minutes to one hour. I'm quoting from
11 point 3 which limits the level of engineering work to
12 be done.
13 Q. General, in fact, you did tell us that on the
14 16th of April, 1993, and this is at page 18591:
15 "A At 19.50, I had another conversation
16 with the commander of the Viteska
17 Brigade, and I asked that he start
18 fortifying himself and get ready for a
19 shift of positions."
20 A. Just tell me what time, please.
21 Q. At 19.50.
22 A. That is true. But it says to order, that the
23 commander of the brigade, Cerkez, order his soldiers to
24 dig in, that is to say, to order his soldiers to dig
25 in, fortify.
1 Q. Now, General, let me move to the testimony of
2 one of your officers, Ivica Zeco, who, on page 11717,
3 noted at line 7, concerning the ratio of BiH soldiers
4 to HVO soldiers, in response to a question by
5 Mr. Nobilo:
6 "Q So if we could simplify the proportion,
7 it would be ten to one in favour of the
8 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
9 A Yes."
10 Now, General, given your testimony that the
11 ABiH attacked the HVO and given your need to dig
12 defensive positions and that you told us that you
13 didn't have enough time to defend the pocket, enough
14 men to defend the pocket, who was digging your
15 trenches? Who did you believe was digging this
16 extensive trenching system around the pocket?
17 A. I'm going to try and explain. If you're
18 asking me about shelters, then this can be seen from my
19 order of the 16th of April at 19.50 where I ordered
20 that soldiers of the Vitez Brigade dig shelters,
21 whereas as far as the shelters go that are not on the
22 front line, then this was done predominantly by the
23 work platoons or units, that is to say, shelters,
24 approaches. But in front of those shelters were
25 trenches from which soldiers were defending their
2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo?
3 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I think that we
4 should look at the interpretation for a moment because
5 we had the same word used for "zaklon" and "skloniste,"
6 that is to say, shelter, whereas they are two words, at
7 least in Croatian, which have different meanings.
8 "Zaklon" is where the soldier stands up at the front
9 line and shoots, whereas the shelter is towards the
10 rear. I think that we ought to make a distinction here
11 in English and try to have two different terms for the
12 two words used; otherwise, there will be confusion. So
13 shelter is in the rear and zaklon is up at the front
14 line like a trench.
15 JUDGE JORDA: I'm not very competent when it
16 comes to settling that issue.
17 Mr. Prosecutor, try to find two different
19 MR. KEHOE: I don't even know how it came up,
20 to be honest with you, at this point.
21 JUDGE JORDA: I thought that you were not
22 aware that you were missing information. Obviously, in
23 this area, Serbo-Croatian is a richer language than
24 English. Let's try to translate the nuance.
25 Mr. Nobilo, there is a difference between a
1 shelter -- well, you really have to explain. A
2 shelter ...
3 MR. NOBILO: It's not just a nuance: I was
4 in the army, it was a long time ago, but I remember
5 that my back hurt, because in the space of 60 minutes,
6 we had to dig out a hole in frozen ground where I would
7 stand as a soldier with my rifle. So the zaklon is the
8 hole in which a soldier stands to shoot, whereas a
9 shelter is behind, is a safe place where I can rest,
10 eat, sleep, and so on. Between this front post and the
11 shelter behind, there are communicating trenches that
12 have been dug in, communicating trenches between the
13 front hole where the soldier is standing and shooting
14 and the back shelter where he eats, sleeps, and rests.
15 So these are different terms.
16 JUDGE JORDA: If there's an offensive shelter
17 from which one fires, then there's a refuge where,
18 between shooting, people could take shelter. I hope
19 your back doesn't hurt now.
20 MR. NOBILO: That's right. They are two
21 different terms, two different levels of digging, but
22 essential for safety purposes.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Perhaps dugout.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for explaining that
25 nuance to us.
1 MR. KEHOE: I'll go back to the initial
3 Q. General, you said you were attacked on the
4 16th, that you were surprised, that you had a
5 ten-to-one ratio of soldiers against you, that you
6 didn't have enough people to defend the pocket. On the
7 front lines, who did you think was digging these
8 trenches for the HVO on the front lines?
9 A. I do not have the document with me, but I
10 think it was document 301, and from that document, we
11 can see that orders are being issued for the digging of
12 these trenches, and they don't even have to be dug out
13 often. But natural facilities are used for protection
14 purposes, everything that is not open space and can be
15 used as protection. But over a longer period of time,
16 whenever the soldiers are not shooting, they use a pick
17 and axe to dig and fortify the terrain.
18 In a later period, once this first attack was
19 repelled and once we had established our positions, we
20 mobilised work platoons --
21 Q. Excuse me, General. I'm sorry. Who was
22 digging the trenches on the front lines? Given that
23 this was a surprise attack, given that you said you
24 didn't have enough people and were down ten to one, who
25 was digging these trenches on the front lines?
1 A. At that time, nobody dug them, but natural
2 shelters were used for the protection of soldiers until
3 this order of mine. Everybody fended for themselves.
4 They made due with what they had, the natural
5 barriers. Sometimes it was a house, sometimes it was a
6 ditch, sometimes it was a tree trunk, or anything of
7 that kind.
8 But once I issued the order at 19.50 on the
9 16th of April to the commander of the Vitez Brigade, it
10 was clear that I told him in precise terms to order his
11 soldiers to dig in, because night was coming upon them,
12 there would be a lull in the fighting, and these
13 soldiers could make use of this time to fortify. To
14 the best of my knowledge, the soldiers dug these
15 fortifications for themselves, and this is seen in
16 document 301, where I issue orders to soldiers to
17 affect digging on a first level, that is to say, this
18 trench which is dug out in the space of one hour, and
19 that is standard practice.
20 Q. General, you told us yesterday about Bosnian
21 Muslim men coming and going from the cinema. Were they
22 being taken to dig trenches on the front lines?
23 A. I have already said, and we heard from the
24 testimony, that there were individual cases where
25 people were taken out to the front lines for
1 fortification purposes, but I profoundly believe that
2 these cases were for the purposes of shelters, digging
3 shelters. But I did not receive information. I always
4 said that when I heard of this, I reacted to it.
5 Q. So you, in fact, did hear that soldiers were
6 bringing prisoners, detainees, from the cinema to the
7 front lines to dig trenches or to dig fortifications.
8 You did hear that?
9 A. I did not receive reports of that kind. I
10 received reports in May from the International Red
11 Cross officials that work platoons were being taken to
12 dig trenches at the Busovaca positions, and this was on
13 the 9th of May, I think, when an official, Clare
14 Podbielski of the International Red Cross, informed me
15 about this.
16 Q. General, let me understand you, that you gave
17 an order to dig trenches on the 16th of April. The
18 Viteska Brigade reacts to that order and takes Bosnian
19 Muslim civilians from the cinema up to dig trenches,
20 but you don't know this is going on when it's
21 happening, is that accurate?
22 A. Well, as far as I know -- first of all, I
23 issued an order, and this can clearly be seen here, at
24 19.50 on the 16th of April, that the commander should
25 order his soldiers to entrench. That is a precise
1 order on the 16th of April at 19.50.
2 I do not know that instead of ordering his
3 soldiers, he took the civilians from the cinema and
4 took him to do this. I have no information of that
5 kind, nor did I ever receive information of that kind.
6 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I can continue
7 on. I don't know if --
8 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Go on for a few more
10 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
11 Q. Now, General, did you visit the front lines?
12 A. Yes. I visited practically all the front
13 lines at different periods of time, and I spent a long
14 time at the front lines in different periods, as I
15 say. At some points, depending on where the focus of
16 our defence was, I would spend 15 or 20 days at some
18 Q. For instance, did you visit the front lines
19 at Bobasi in September 1993?
20 A. I would have to have a look, because you're
21 asking me for a concrete date and a concrete time. So
22 I would have to take a look at my chronology to see
23 what I was doing in September, whether I visited them
24 in September, because we lost one of these lines.
25 JUDGE JORDA: We're going to stop at this
1 point and that will allow, General Blaskic, who must be
2 tired, to look at his chronology. We will resume
3 tomorrow morning at 10.00.
4 Is that correct, Mr. Registrar?
5 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour, that's
7 JUDGE JORDA: Court stands adjourned.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
9 at 5.35 p.m., to be reconvened on
10 Thursday, the 27th day of May, 1999,
11 at 10.00 a.m.