1 Friday, 18th June, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.09 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Registrar,
5 please have the accused brought in. Good morning to
6 the interpreters. Make sure that they're there. I
7 hope they're in great shape. Let's have the witness
8 brought in as well.
9 (The accused entered court)
10 (The witness entered court)
11 JUDGE JORDA: Colonel Stewart, can you hear
13 THE WITNESS: Yes.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Are you rested? Are you okay?
15 THE WITNESS: Yes. Thank you.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. Well, good morning to
17 both parties, and without further ado I'll now give you
18 the floor, Mr. Hayman. You have another half hour,
19 Mr. Hayman.
20 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, Your Honour. Good morning.
21 WITNESS: ROBERT STEWART
22 [A witness called by the Trial Chamber]
23 Examined by Mr. Hayman:
24 Q. Good morning, Colonel Stewart.
25 A. Good morning, Mr. Hayman.
1 Q. I don't have a lot of questions but I have a
2 lot of questions to ask in 30 minutes because there are
3 a few documents that I'd also, in the course of this
4 half hour, ask you to review, so if you'll help me in
5 that regard, I think we'll finish on time.
6 Was the HVO, during your tour of duty
7 comparable, in your judgment, to a professional NATO
8 army in terms of its capabilities?
9 A. No, it was not.
10 Q. Can you explain?
11 A. It didn't have -- it did, for a start -- I've
12 already explained in my testimony, Your Honour, that to
13 start with it didn't have the rank structure that a
14 normal professional NATO army would have, and from that
15 also, of course, it didn't have the command and control
16 that was exactly the same as ours. For example, I'm
17 quite sure the communications were not as good as our
18 own, although I have to say, in Central Bosnia word got
19 round much quicker via the HVO net than it sometimes
20 did on my own command information centre.
21 Q. Did they have the type of equipment that a
22 professional NATO army would have in terms of
23 transport, weaponry, trained personnel to operate those
24 types of things?
25 A. No, they did not, but they were better than
1 the BiH.
2 Q. What about the level of training and
3 discipline of the soldiers? Could you equate them to a
4 professional NATO standard?
5 A. Of course I could not because many of the
6 soldiers hadn't been soldiers. But Colonel Blaskic
7 had, of course, and some of his officers had, but the
8 rank and file, most certainly the majority of them had
10 Q. Would you agree, to this day, to the
11 statement in your book and, again, when I refer to your
12 book, I'm referring to "Broken Lives," a book authored
13 by Colonel Stewart after the war, at the top of page
14 319 and I quote:
15 "Even the differentiation between military
16 and civilian is impossible. Bosnia is undergoing a
17 classic civil war fought by civilians against
18 civilians. A civilian one point is a soldier the
20 Do you agree?
21 A. Yes, I do.
22 Q. What is the effect on the ability of an army
23 to pass commands down the chain and send reports up if
24 you have untrained civilians filling in some, at least,
25 of those various positions in the chain? Can you
2 A. Well, not easily. If they're untrained
3 civilians, they might be very well trained in
4 telecommunications. Certainly if you're suggesting
5 that it was very difficult for commands to be passed
6 between the Hotel Vitez and subordinate headquarters, I
7 would dispute that. I would say that that was
8 relatively easy to do for the HVO.
9 Q. What happens though when an order gets
10 communicated or if an order is supposed to be
11 communicated to the brigade, to the company, to the
12 platoon, to the squad, to the group, if you don't have
13 trained officers passing those commands down the line?
14 What can happen?
15 A. Well, of course, it could happen, but you
16 wouldn't necessarily need trained officers, you need
17 people who can communicate. Just because you're an
18 officer doesn't mean you can't pass on information.
19 But under the circumstances at the time, as I've
20 already indicated, the HVO state of training, in my
21 opinion, was not as good as the North Atlantic Treaty
22 Organisation troops normally were.
23 Q. Now, you testified that on the 15th of April
24 you were in Zenica. On the evening of the 15th of
25 April you were in Zenica; correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Is it fair to say that you were not expecting
3 a conflict of the type that occurred on the 16th of
4 April as of the evening of the 15th?
5 A. That is correct, because the point of my
6 being in Zenica was because I anticipated that unless
7 the problem in Zenica was resolved, there could be
8 serious repercussions, and I suppose I was right,
10 Q. Had Colonel Blaskic or the HVO otherwise, to
11 your knowledge, made any threats or ultimatums against
12 the BH army that were set to expire on the 15th or the
13 night of the 15th, morning of the 16th of April, '93?
14 A. Do I not recall, so I cannot answer that
16 Q. None that you recall, is that --
17 A. None that I recall. It may be in my diary
18 but at the moment I cannot recall it in my mind.
19 Q. Do you believe that the violence on conflict
20 on the morning of the 16th of April was largely the
21 result of an escalation of incidents between Muslims
22 and Croats, whether BH army or Mujahedin on the Muslim
23 side and HVO or extremists on the Croat side?
24 A. Yes, I think so, and I think the report that
25 you pointed out to me yesterday, I'm not exactly sure
1 how things started on the morning of the 16th. There
2 were certainly indications on the 15th that there was a
3 huge tension. It was for that reason that I personally
4 was in Travnik on the afternoon of the 15th. I was
5 talking to soldiers on the ground, soldiers of the HVO,
6 soldiers of the BiH right at the front lines, trying to
7 convince them not to take to arms. So I was perfectly
8 aware that there was huge tension in the area.
9 It was for that reason that I was reluctant
10 to leave the area, which was my primary command
11 responsibility, and move to Zenica. However, I was
12 invited to do so by the Ambassador of the European
13 Union. He had no direct command responsibility over
14 me, I was almost independent in that respect, but I had
15 great respect for him and I liked him. When he asked
16 me to do something, I would normally do it.
17 But, equally, the fact that Totic had been
18 captured or had been kidnapped in Zenica sent huge
19 alarm bells in my head, and that had to be resolved.
20 It would be the spark. It could be a spark that would
21 cause the real problems, but tension was there on both
22 sides, I have to say.
23 Q. I'm pausing for the interpretation to catch
24 up. As a result of your contact with the HVO Brigade
25 commander in Zenica, the one who was not kidnapped, on
1 the 15th, 16th, and indeed, I think, on the 19th of
2 April, 1993, are you able to say whether the HVO in
3 Zenica, were they prepared for a conflict with the BH
4 army to begin on the morning of the 16th of April or
5 were they not prepared?
6 A. I don't know the answer, but I can give an
7 opinion. My opinion was that the kidnapping of the man
8 called Totic came as a severe shock to the HVO, and the
9 HVO Brigade commander, the second one, was extremely
10 concerned. So I suspect that my opinion was the answer
11 is no.
12 Q. That they were not prepared; is that
14 A. That is correct. It's an opinion, it's not
15 my fact.
16 Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether, on the
17 16th of April, 1993, did Colonel Blaskic want a war
18 with the BH army or would he have not wanted a war
19 between the HVO and the BH army?
20 A. I don't know. I don't have an opinion on
22 Q. Would you agree that if there were to be a
23 war, it was reasonably foreseeable, on Colonel
24 Blaskic's part, that he would be encircled in the Lasva
25 Valley by the BH army?
1 A. No, I wouldn't agree with that. I would
2 think that always you could get -- the difficulty for
3 Colonel Blaskic seemed to be to get to Kiseljak, but I
4 think he could get out apart from that. But I wasn't
5 fully aware of exactly every single position of the HVO
6 and the BiH.
7 Q. Well, there's been other testimony on that,
8 so we needn't belabour the point.
9 Would you agree that the HVO in the Lasva
10 Valley were outnumbered to a great extent by the BH
11 army in the region?
12 A. I'm not sure that in the Lasva Valley that
13 was accurate. I suspect if you put Zenica into the
14 equation, the answer is "Yes," only with the addition
15 of Zenica that was almost separated.
16 Q. Would you agree that it was reasonably
17 foreseeable, as of the 16th of April, 1993, that if
18 there were a Muslim-Croat war, the Croats would be
19 expelled, for example, from the town of Travnik?
20 A. It is my opinion that the Croats had
21 abandoned the town of Travnik largely.
22 Q. Before April?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And why was that?
25 A. I don't know, but I suspect it was because
1 they thought it would fall.
2 Q. On the morning of the 16th of April, you said
3 that you went -- this is yesterday in your testimony --
4 you said that you went to the Hotel Vitez and you were
5 told that there was no one there to speak with you,
6 words to that effect. Were you told that by an
7 officer, someone on the staff, or by a sentry? And if
8 you need to refer to any aid, I would direct you to
9 your prior statement at page 5.
10 A. I remember going to the Hotel Vitez. I don't
11 need to look in my book. Whatever it says in my book
12 is the authority, but I seem to get the impression that
13 I didn't get beyond the lobby.
14 Q. In your written statement, it states:
15 "I told a sentry that I wanted to see
16 Blaskic or someone in charge, and he told me there was
17 no one there in charge to see me."
18 Do you agree with that?
19 A. I think I do.
20 Q. Where was the command of the Operative Zone
21 at that time, in your opinion?
22 A. I don't know.
23 Q. If there was shelling directed at the Hotel
24 Vitez and other fire and if you had been in the Hotel
25 Vitez on the morning of the 16th, would you have gone
1 into the basement for better security?
2 A. I might have done, but I was there anyway, so
3 we could get through there. One thing about Colonel
4 Blaskic is he doesn't lack valour, so I don't suspect
5 he would go to hide somewhere. That's my opinion, of
7 Q. Well, you had Warriors and other armoured
8 vehicles. Did he have any that he himself controlled,
9 any armour?
10 A. I don't think so.
11 Q. Do you remember what kind of a vehicle he did
12 have when he was travelling on his own means, if you
14 A. Probably a car.
15 Q. A light-skin, not even an armoured car;
17 A. No, of course not. There were very few
18 armoured cars. But, of course, I travelled around in a
19 Land Rover and a light-skinned car too most of the
21 Q. At times.
22 A. And at that time, I think -- I can't remember
23 whether I went in an armoured vehicle or in my
24 Discovery Land Rover. I'm not saying anything -- I
25 can't recall exactly what Colonel Blaskic did.
1 When he required protection to get somewhere,
2 I sometimes gave him a lift, which was against my
3 orders, of course. But then, you know, these things
4 happen. You've got to change orders sometimes.
5 Q. Colonel Blaskic has testified that he
6 attempted to make contact with BritBat on the morning
7 of the 16th and that two negotiators were sent, and
8 indeed there were cease-fire negotiations at BritBat,
9 overseen by your 2-I-C, Bryan Watters; are you aware of
11 A. I cannot recall it, but I wasn't present in
12 my battalion base for most of the morning because I was
13 on the ground, and I am perfectly willing to accept
14 that Colonel Blaskic would have done such a thing if he
15 could have done.
16 You've no doubt spoken to Major Watters, now
17 Colonel Watters, and I'm sure you have asked him that
18 question and he would have given you the answer, but I
19 can't recall it in my mind.
20 So much was happening, you see, Your Honour,
21 at the time. My diary was written only the next day
22 and normally at about 6.30 to 6.45 in the morning when
23 I was hardly awake, but I wrote it on the instructions
24 of Lieutenant-General MacKenzie who told me I had
25 better get something down on paper right from the
1 start. My diary was meant to be just a rough record of
2 what I had done because the General told me, "For
3 goodness' sake, make sure you personally have got a
4 record, and don't rely on operational situation reports
5 and things like that. In case any of this sort of
6 thing comes to trial or anything like that, you've got
7 your own personal record." It is for that reason that
8 I started my diary, nothing else. The book I wrote
9 came because the British army asked me to write a book.
10 Q. And we thank you for keeping a diary. I'm
11 sure all of us join in that thanks.
12 Let me ask you about the opinion you
13 expressed yesterday that Colonel Blaskic must have
14 known about Ahmici at a certain point in time prior to
15 the 22nd of April, 1993. I would like to elicit some
16 details concerning your opinion.
17 Is it your opinion that he was present in
18 Ahmici on the 16th of April?
19 A. It is my opinion that I certainly hope he was
21 Q. Do you have any information for this Court
22 suggesting that he was present?
23 A. No, I do not.
24 Q. Is it your opinion that he knew in advance of
25 a plan or an order to commit a massacre of civilians in
2 A. It is my opinion that he must have known in
3 advance of the operation in Ahmici. I am of the
4 opinion that I hope he had no knowledge of the massacre
5 until it happened, but certainly he must have known
6 what was going on. It was clearly within his
7 operational area of responsibility, and the troops that
8 took part in it must have been troops that responded to
10 Q. So your opinion is that he must have known
11 that there was a military action of some sort in the
12 area on that morning that was to occur; is that right?
13 A. If he did not, he was incompetent, and he
14 clearly is not incompetent. He's a professional
15 military officer.
16 Q. Do you know what orders he gave for any such
17 activity on the morning of the 16th of April?
18 A. No, I do not, Your Honour.
19 MR. HAYMAN: If D267 could be provided to the
20 witness, please?
21 The registrar has these exhibits in advance.
22 If they could be provided, please, to the witness?
23 Q. I would like to direct your attention,
24 Colonel Stewart, to this order. It is an order dated
25 15 April, 1993, at 10.00 a.m.; therefore, it is after
1 news of the Totic kidnapping came out. It is an order
2 from Colonel Blaskic to various units. Paragraph 1
3 describes the situation, and it's not material to my
5 Paragraph 2.1 is material to my question.
6 Have you found paragraph 2.1?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. "Battalion of the Military Police:
9 "The commander of IV battalion of the
10 military police is directly responsible for the
11 security of IZM Vitez --"
12 I believe that's a reference to the
14 "-- he must carry out an assessment," and so
16 "The road Busovaca-Vitez-Travnik must be
17 free," and so forth.
18 And then I will quote directly the remainder
19 of this sub-paragraph:
20 "In the event of a rather strong attack by
21 the Muslim extremist forces from the direction of the
22 villages Nadioci-Ahmici-Sivrino-Pirici, inform me; and,
23 if the fire is opened directly at you, return the fire
24 and neutralise the attacker."
25 Have you ever seen this order before?
1 A. No, I have not.
2 Q. Would you agree, based on 2.1, this is an
3 order to secure the road that runs from Vitez to
4 Busovaca; it is not an order to attack Ahmici, it is
5 not an order to kill civilians in Ahmici, is it?
6 A. This is a written order, Your Honour, and
7 written orders are fine. But in military situations, a
8 written order doesn't last longer than the first shot.
9 From then on, it's verbal command and control. I am
10 perfectly willing to accept this order in the same way
11 as I gave written orders to my soldiers.
12 Q. Are you saying that once fighting starts, you
13 have to have realtime information and realtime
14 communication with your subordinate unit for a
15 commander to be able to control that unit?
16 A. I'm saying that once fighting starts, the
17 situation, the facts on the ground, are changed, and
18 the units on the ground often have to operate and
19 change the way they were going to behave, and that it
20 is important, of course, for commanders to be able to
21 know what's happening on the ground. So communication
22 between headquarters is important.
23 Q. Do you know, on the 16th of April, in the
24 morning, when Colonel Blaskic got his first report from
25 the commander of the military police, the unit that had
1 been assigned to secure the road below Ahmici?
2 A. No, I do not.
3 Q. Would you agree that a commander relies on
4 subordinate commanders to pass accurate information up
5 to them so that they can exercise control and command
6 over those subordinate units?
7 A. Yes, but the best commanders get to where
8 the -- what the Germans call the Schwerpunkt, the point
9 of concentrated effort is, and assess the situation for
10 themselves. If I had been in Colonel Blaskic's
11 position and this particularly vulnerable area --
12 Q. Colonel Stewart, I don't have much time
13 left. I'm sorry. I only have a few minutes --
14 MR. KEHOE: Counsel --
15 MR. HAYMAN: No. Counsel --
16 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Counsel.
17 MR. HAYMAN: Counsel, excuse me --
18 MR. KEHOE: If counsel doesn't like the
19 answer that's given and wants to interrupt the
20 witness --
21 MR. HAYMAN: If it's not responsive, if it's
22 not responsive, I am going to ask the witness to focus
23 on the question because I have eight minutes left,
24 Mr. President, and we all remember how many times my
25 colleague across the well interrupted my client during
1 his testimony, hundreds and hundreds of times, and I
2 would ask that I be allowed to elicit responsive
3 answers to the few questions I have time left to put to
4 the witness.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, please express
6 yourself quickly, quickly.
7 MR. KEHOE: If counsel doesn't like the
8 answer that the witness is giving, the witness should
9 be able and permitted to explain his answer about what
10 a commander is doing. Counsel is eliciting questions
11 and answers about what a competent commander would do
12 in the field, and the witness is giving an answer
13 possibly counsel doesn't like. Nevertheless, the
14 witness should be able to express his opinions.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Well, listen, listen. The
16 Judges would like Colonel Stewart to ask
17 comprehensively because, anyway, that question was cut
18 off. So we'll have it again. We'll use it for our
19 time. Please, let's try and gain some time. Let
20 Colonel Stewart express himself and this way we're
21 likely to get the answer.
22 MR. HAYMAN:
23 Q. Please continue, Colonel, and I do apologise
24 for interrupting you, but you can appreciate, as I see
25 the minutes dribbling away, that it causes some anxiety
1 on my part because I don't know if I'm going to be
2 given any additional time or not.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, this trial has been
4 going on for two years. I guess you've got to know the
5 Presiding Judge and the Judges, not just the Presiding
6 Judge, and you know that we always have quite a loose
7 interpretation of our Rules. You are trapped in a
8 frame because these are court witnesses. But this
9 being said, of course, the Judges' prime concern is to
10 establish the truth, which we're asking today of
11 Colonel Stewart. Anyway, there might be additional
12 questions if this question is not answered.
13 Please, Colonel Stewart, answer as it pleases
15 A. Can I know the question again, Your Honour?
16 JUDGE JORDA: Of course. I was going to ask
17 the same question as you. Please go ahead,
18 Mr. Hayman.
19 MR. HAYMAN:
20 Q. The question, Colonel Stewart, was: Does a
21 commander necessarily rely on accurate reports from
22 subordinate commanders to be able to exercise control
23 over those subordinate units?
24 A. It's part of the picture but the decision is
25 made by the commander based on all information he
1 receives, and the best kind of commander moves to where
2 the point of action is to make his decision. In this
3 situation, I would have expected Colonel Blaskic to be
4 on the ground. So I was not surprised he was not in
5 the Hotel Vitez.
6 Q. What if there are 10 or 12 points of action,
7 as you put it, at the same time? Should a commander
8 tour among them or should a commander be where the
9 commander has maximum information about all the serious
10 points of action so that he can exert maximum control
11 over the totality of the area?
12 A. The commander makes his decision and only he
13 can make that decision. That's why he's chosen.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. HAYMAN: If D280 could be provided to the
16 witness, please.
17 Q. This is a report, Colonel Stewart, dated the
18 16th. There's no time on it. Colonel Blaskic
19 testified that the reference at the beginning of the
20 report, "Acting in accordance with your order," is a
21 reference to an order that Colonel Blaskic gave to this
22 commander of the military police to submit a written
23 report as to what was going on in Ahmici on the 16th,
24 and this is the report that Colonel Blaskic received.
25 "Report. Muslim armed forces attempted to
1 launch an attack on the military police units located
2 in the Bungalow in the early morning hours. The attack
3 met with some response and combat procedures and
4 actions were undertaken to expel the same.
5 "MOS barricaded themselves in a mosque in
6 Ahmici and in a primary school from where they have
7 been firing from small arms weapons and snipers. They
8 have been opening light fire from the direction of the
9 village," and so forth.
10 "So far, three policemen have been killed and
11 three were wounded, one of whom seriously.
12 "Personnel is in the field."
13 The reference to the "Bungalow," for your
14 assistance, I believe is the Swiss chalet you discussed
16 Now, would you agree that in this report
17 there is no information provided to Colonel Blaskic
18 concerning the deaths of civilians, the razing of the
19 village, the burning of every Muslim home? Would you
21 A. Yes. I don't trust the report. I can tell
22 you why I don't trust the report. Because I don't
23 believe any soldiers would barricade themselves into a
24 mosque or primary school. That's not the way a soldier
25 behaves. It's a stupid act in which you'll get cut
1 off. So right away I would throw dispute on this
2 report, and I would suggest it was written after the
3 event, but I don't know. That is my opinion.
4 Q. You would agree that it is inaccurate and
5 incomplete; correct?
6 A. I would suspect that it is inaccurate and
8 Q. Well, you know from what occurred in Ahmici,
9 that if, in fact, civilians were killed and houses were
10 burned on the 16th prior to the writing of this report,
11 then this report was inaccurate and incomplete;
13 A. To the best of my knowledge, I understand the
14 attack of Ahmici took place from 0530 in the morning.
15 Q. First thing in the morning on the 16th;
17 A. Yes. So I would assume that this report was
18 written after it. I don't know.
19 Q. Is it your opinion that the massacre of
20 civilians in Ahmici was something that could be seen or
21 heard from the town of Vitez or the Hotel Vitez?
22 A. I don't think it was, because the Dutch
23 transport battalion that was close at Busovaca did
24 notice the shooting in the area and, to their shame,
25 did nothing about it. In my opinion, they should have
1 done something about it. That was much closer than the
2 Hotel Vitez.
3 In my opinion, from Hotel Vitez you would be
4 able to hear the firing. You'd certainly be able to
5 hear mortars. You would not be able to directly see
6 it, of course.
7 Q. If there was mortar fire and firing in a
8 number of locations around Vitez at the same time, you
9 would hear those same sounds from many directions;
11 A. Yes, that is correct.
12 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, how much time do
13 I have?
14 JUDGE JORDA: Which topic are you going to
15 tackle now, because if you want to go back over the
16 whole war, I mean, Colonel Stewart has got so much
17 experience on this that I think that his testimony
18 mainly dealt with Ahmici. Have you finished about
19 Ahmici, Mr. Hayman? Would you like to have another ten
20 minutes or so?
21 MR. HAYMAN: I think I can finish the very
22 abbreviated cross-examination I prepared, in ten
23 minutes. I can't finish in five, but I think I can
24 finish in ten minutes. Thank you.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Please go ahead. Try to have
1 ten minutes and focus on the main points.
2 MR. HAYMAN: If D284 could be provided to the
4 Q. This is another order that I'd like you to
5 look at very quickly. It is an order from
6 Colonel Blaskic on the 17th of April, 1993, at 0400.
7 You can see that up in the upper left-hand corner, "To
8 the Busovaca and Vitez brigades." At the bottom of
9 page 1 you can see to the Busovaca Brigade, he tells
10 them the focus of the defence is on Kuber, the
11 strategic feature. Then at the top of the second page,
12 he tells the Vitez Brigade what their assignments are
13 in terms of blocking and possibly seizing certain
15 I'd like to draw your attention to the last
17 "We have accomplished 80 per cent of our
18 task and still need to do our utmost today. Soldiers
19 are to be specifically cautioned about how to treat
20 civilians, the elderly, women, and children who are not
21 to be killed because that is a CRIME."
22 If you look in the original -- could the
23 original be provided to the witness, the Serbo-Croat
25 If you look at that, you'll see the word
1 "crime," is in all caps, as it is in the translation.
2 Was Colonel Blaskic sharing with you his
3 orders on the 15th, 16th, 17th of April or were those
4 confidential matters within his armed force?
5 A. He certainly wasn't sharing those orders with
6 me, Your Honour, but I wouldn't expect him to. That's
7 the case.
8 Q. And that's the case in any army; correct?
9 A. Well, it's normally the case. I mean, I had
10 no problem sharing my own orders with Colonel Blaskic
11 or anyone else if requested, but I was not -- you know,
12 I was not meant to be in the war.
13 Q. You were not a warring party?
14 A. Most certainly not. I was meant to be
15 neutral and, therefore, why should I do something that
16 would be against the interests of one?
17 MR. HAYMAN: Could you show the witness the
18 all capped reference? It's there at the bottom of the
20 Q. If Colonel Blaskic issued orders such as this
21 to protect civilians, do you think, based on what you
22 know about him, that he meant it?
23 A. Yes, I do. Based on what I know about him,
24 he meant it. But my question would be -- I only have
25 one thing to say. I don't know the authenticity of
1 these orders because I have not seen them before.
2 Q. I think we'd all agree the court understands
3 that it is the court that will judge these and other
4 documents in the case.
5 A. Good, sir. That's fine.
6 Q. You said yesterday something that I was
7 pondering last night, that Colonel Blaskic was the
8 effective commander in the Operative Zone for Central
9 Bosnia, and as such, "He must be held responsible for
10 the actions of HVO soldiers."
11 What do you mean he must be held
13 A. Every commander is responsible for the
14 actions of his soldiers. He may not be at fault for
15 their individual actions but he is responsible for what
16 they do in overall terms, and General Blaskic knows
17 that as well as I do because he was a professional
19 So if soldiers of the HVO carried out what I
20 would term genocide, in a location within 4.000 metres
21 of his headquarters, he is responsible for the actions
22 of those soldiers, and the actions of those soldiers
23 must have been known in that headquarters. It is
24 incomprehensible to me that a commander would not know
25 what was happening when so many people were killed, so
1 many people were killed and HVO soldiers, in large
2 groups, were on the ground.
3 Q. I'm trying to sort out your opinions and
4 conclusions, Colonel Stewart, so please bear with me.
5 First of all, when you say he must be held responsible,
6 are you referring to military responsibility or
7 criminal responsibility or do you make a distinction?
8 A. I think there is a distinction but I mean
10 Q. Do you base then the conclusion that he must
11 be held criminally responsible based on your belief
12 that he knew a massacre was planned in Ahmici or he
13 knew it was occurring at the time? What do you base
14 that on?
15 A. I base it simply on the fact that he was the
16 commander in Central Bosnia and HVO soldiers carried
17 out the massacre, in my opinion.
18 Q. That's helpful. So your concept is one of
19 strict liability. If you are the commander and your
20 soldier commits a crime, you are criminally responsible
21 for that crime; is that correct?
22 A. I don't want to get into a word game here,
23 because I'm not as competent as you are on this
24 matter. I put it simply: A commander is responsible
25 for the actions of his soldiers. There is a difference
1 between responsibility and the actual crime itself, but
2 overall responsibility rests with that commander. It
3 is clear to me that the actions carried out in the
4 Lasva Valley that started on The 18th of April must
5 have been known by the commander.
6 I'm sorry, but I'm not prepared to wriggle
7 around on words. I'm trying to be as plain as I can.
8 Q. So you agree or you don't agree that your
9 concept of criminal responsibility is one of strict
10 liability or do you not understand the term?
11 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. Excuse me. The
12 question was just asked of the witness. The witness
13 gave an answer to that specific question.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Well, the question has been
15 asked, Mr. Hayman. I know this is a very intricate,
16 complex issue for you.
17 MR. HAYMAN: Well, when a witness opines on a
18 matter of law --
19 JUDGE JORDA: Try and rephrase your sentence,
20 trying to make a step forward. Try to change it
21 somehow. This is only in respect -- because I respect
22 the fundamental rights of the accused that I take this
23 decision, but try not to ask the same question.
24 Otherwise, I'll have to grant the objection to
25 Mr. Kehoe. So make the discussion move forward.
1 MR. HAYMAN: I will, Mr. President, but it's
2 hard when an answer is not responsive and doesn't focus
3 on the specifics of the question. Sometimes the most
4 efficient thing to do is to repeat the question.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Well, you were betrayed by your
6 words. You said that it's difficult when the answer
7 doesn't suit you. Of course, if the answer doesn't
8 suit you I can understand but then you've got to try
9 and change the question. Try and just alter it
10 somehow, but you remember that the witness is under
11 oath. Go ahead.
12 MR. HAYMAN:
13 Q. So is it correct, Colonel, that when you
14 stepped into this courtroom yesterday, you had already
15 concluded that Colonel Blaskic is guilty of war crimes
16 and should be punished for war crimes? Is that right?
17 A. No. Most definitely not. I have my own
18 opinion --
19 JUDGE JORDA: Can the question be formulated
20 in a dignified manner? You have a witness who is under
21 oath. This witness took part in the operations. I'd
22 like you to rephrase this question with more dignity.
23 We must believe that when he came into this courtroom,
24 the witness was going to testify in a very loyal way.
25 MR. HAYMAN: I'm not suggesting to the
1 contrary, Mr. President, but the witness did make a
2 statement yesterday that is more in the nature of a
3 closing argument by a Prosecutor, yet he's a witness.
4 So I'm trying to understand why he made the statement
5 and what he meant by it.
6 Q. When you said yesterday in your own voluntary
7 statement, which you've now clarified to mean that
8 Colonel Blaskic must be held criminally responsible for
9 the actions of HVO soldiers, is that something you had
10 already concluded before you even entered the
12 A. I think that was my opinion because I have
13 been living with this for six years.
14 I have already said what my personal feelings
15 towards Colonel Blaskic are, and I find it very
16 difficult, set against those feelings of loyalty to
17 someone I considered a friend, to actually come to any
18 kind of conclusion. But I believe that commanders are
19 responsible for the actions of their soldiers, and
20 therefore, what happened at a location close to Colonel
21 Blaskic's headquarters was something that he bears
22 responsibility for. I do not want to say criminal or
23 anything else; straight responsibility. It should not
24 have happened and it did, and the commander was Colonel
25 Blaskic. He was the man with whom I dealt as the
1 commander of the HVO in Central Bosnia for six months.
2 What else am I to conclude?
3 Q. Would you agree, Colonel, that with respect
4 to criminal responsibility, the entity that makes the
5 decision on criminal responsibility should consider all
6 the available evidence?
7 A. Of course.
8 Q. Thank you. I have one more question. Do you
9 continue to believe what you wrote in your book at page
10 318, and I quote:
11 "Bosnia is certainly complex beyond anyone's
12 dreams. There are far more than three sides - Serb,
13 Croat and Muslim - we hear about in the media. There
14 are factions within groups and groups within factions.
15 And without an established order, these different
16 elements had created a situation as close to anarchy as
17 I have yet witnessed."
18 A. I agree with that, but I still say commanders
19 have responsibility even in that situation.
20 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you for coming to The
21 Hague, Colonel.
22 I have no further questions, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. How about we have a
24 short break, a 10-minute break, if you don't mind,
25 before Judge Shahabuddeen asks his questions.
1 We shall therefore resume around five past
2 ten. The hearing stands adjourned.
3 --- Recess taken at 9.54 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 10.08 a.m.
5 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
6 be seated.
7 I remind you once again of the fact that you
8 were summoned by the Court. Thank you for coming to
9 The Hague. This is the reason why we are now going to
10 have the last leg of your testimony, and without
11 further ado, I give the floor to Judge Shahabuddeen.
12 You have the floor, sir.
13 Questioned by the Court:
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Good morning, Colonel.
15 A. Good morning, sir.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I appreciated your words
17 towards the end to the effect that you didn't wish to
18 wriggle with words, which I understood to mean that you
19 didn't want to enter into legal technicalities; is that
21 A. Yes, sir.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You were giving your
23 views of the responsibility of a commander from the
24 point of view of a soldier.
25 A. That's correct.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, the words have
2 disappeared from the screen, but my recollection is
3 that you were moving towards a distinction between the
4 responsibility of the commander, qua commander, and the
5 responsibility of the individual soldier for the actual
6 crime; is that correct?
7 A. Yes, sir. May I say a little more?
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes.
9 A. I have been an officer or I was an officer
10 for 26 years. I did many tours in Northern Ireland. I
11 use an example of what I mean.
12 When I lost soldiers on operational service
13 under one tour as a Major, I lost six killed and 35
14 wounded out of 100. I always went to see the parents
15 of the boy that was killed. I always told them that
16 the responsibility for their son's death lay with me.
17 The fault may not have been mine, but the
18 responsibility for where he was at a certain time on a
19 certain day lay with me, and I bore that responsibility
20 as the commander and I apologised for being responsible
21 for their son's death in that way.
22 I was not at fault, and therein lies the
23 difference -- now I start talking words -- I was not at
24 fault because I did not shoot the person, but I was
25 responsible, and that responsibility I have always felt
1 keenly, and that is what I mean. The responsibility
2 for where soldiers are at a certain time on a certain
3 day rests with the commander of those soldiers. That
4 is what I mean.
5 Am I clear on that, sir? Is that an answer?
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes, yes. I appreciate
7 that, Colonel. Should I translate what you have been
8 saying this way, that you were speaking of the
9 responsibility of a commander for operating the system
10 efficiently, according to military standards, which
11 would include applicable ethical norms?
12 A. Yes, you are right.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now let us turn a little
14 to the references which have been made to NATO.
15 Would I be correct, Colonel, in supposing
16 that the NATO armies are amongst the best-equipped and
17 the best-trained armies in the world?
18 A. In my opinion, they are.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. Would I also be
20 correct in supposing that your view is that it is
21 nevertheless possible to have command and control in
22 other armies throughout the world?
23 A. Of course.
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: And you maintain what I
25 collected as your position, that it was possible to
1 have effective command and control over the HVO forces?
2 A. The answer to that question is, "Yes, in
3 part." And this is the problem. Colonel Blaskic was,
4 in my opinion, the real commander of the HVO in Central
5 Bosnia. I never ever thought that Kordic was the
6 commander. I never ever referred to Kordic as the
7 commander or anyone else. Colonel Blaskic was the
8 natural point of contact for me.
9 When Colonel Blaskic said something, it
10 happened lower down; and therefore, I felt it
11 reasonable to assume that he had effective command and
12 control in that particular respect.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. Thank you very
15 Now, let us turn a little to the position in
16 Vitez and Stari Vitez on 16th April. Did you, Colonel,
17 personally have occasion to witness any exchange of
18 firepower between those two areas on that date?
19 A. I passed through the area, sir. I was shot
20 at on that date.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes.
22 A. I suspect it was by the HVO, but I don't
23 know. Someone fired an RPG-7 at my soft-skin Land
24 Rover, but they missed, I'm pleased to say.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Well, I'm pleased too.
1 I think we're all pleased that that was so.
2 A. So the answer to the question I think is
3 "Yes," but I don't know what was going on.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. And did you also
5 receive reports from members of your team about what
6 was going on as between Vitez and Stari Vitez?
7 A. Sir, it was such a mess at the time. There
8 was clearly a BiH enclave around Stari Vitez. The
9 exact extent of the perimeter of the defensive line was
10 unclear to me. We also had, I think, 'round about that
11 date, a lot of people came for protection to our
12 logistics camp which was at the garage in Vitez, and I
13 gave instructions that we were to protect those people
14 at all costs and that those people were to be protected
15 by my soldiers. And that was not easy because I
16 remember that we talked to the people that seemed to be
17 firing at them, and they didn't seem to be prepared to
18 stop firing. So I gave them instructions that if they
19 fired at people protecting -- that we were protecting,
20 I would kill them. I'm sorry to be blunt, but it was
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: That's clear.
23 A. I'm glad it's clear, sir.
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, do tell me, can you
25 help the Trial Chamber with your appreciation of the
1 comparative strength of the firepower being exchanged
2 as between Vitez and Stari Vitez?
3 A. I don't think I can.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: No. Then I shall pass
5 that --
6 A. I'm sorry, but I --
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: No, no.
8 A. -- said it was a muddle. I don't think I
9 can. I really don't want to pass a silly judgment on
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. Thank you very
12 much. Now, if you were in the Vitez Hotel on 16th
13 April, 1993, would it have been possible for you to see
14 any smoke emanating from Ahmici or to hear any sounds
15 of gunfire or explosions coming from that quarter?
16 A. Yes, sir. Certainly we would hear the
17 gunfire and certainly we would hear [sic] smoke. I
18 saw -- I came over the mountain road at 7.30 that
19 morning in my Discovery Land Rover, and I most
20 certainly heard the end of the attack on Ahmici,
21 although I didn't realise what I was listening to. I
22 was also engaged with fire on that journey probably
23 three times. That included mortars and sniper fire.
24 But I was travelling fast. Very fast.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, Colonel, do forgive
1 me for stretching you out on another hypothetical
2 point. Again, if you were in Vitez on that day, in the
3 Vitez Hotel more particularly, and you were hearing
4 sounds of firepower coming to you from different
5 directions, would it have been possible for you, as a
6 military man, to identify some of that firepower sounds
7 as coming from Ahmici or would you have been too
8 confused to be able to identify particular sounds with
9 particular sources?
10 A. It is my judgment that between about 5.30 and
11 7.30 in the morning thereabouts on the 16th of April,
12 the majority of firing would have come from the area of
13 the Ahmici vicinity, the majority of it, it wasn't
14 alone, and it would be concentrated. Therefore, the
15 answer would be, in directional terms, you would
16 roughly have an idea of where the major ordinance was
17 being used, yes, sir.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Am I correct then in
19 appreciating your answers to mean this: That if you
20 were the military commander in Hotel Vitez during those
21 times, you would have been able to appreciate that
22 action was proceeding in Ahmici?
23 A. I think the answer -- always the commander is
24 the man on the ground, and it's always difficult to say
25 what someone else would have done, but assuming I had
1 heard a lot of shooting, and it wasn't just shooting,
2 there were mortars fired too, I would have a good idea
3 of where the major action was, and I would probably, if
4 I didn't have good communications, get there to see
5 it. There was no problem with getting to Ahmici from
6 the Hotel Vitez because the only blockade, to the best
7 of my ability, was an HVO one, possibly one or two on
8 the route, but there was not a BiH one towards Ahmici
9 from the Hotel Vitez.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, Colonel, you
11 visited Ahmici. You saw the signs of destruction, and
12 I expect you were able to make a judgment, as a
13 military man. What judgment would you have made as to
14 whether it was necessary or not to have any preplanning
15 exercises relating to what you saw had been done at
17 A. When I arrived at Ahmici, I made the
18 immediate, instantaneous judgment that it was likely to
19 have been an attack on the Bosnian Muslims because the
20 mosque was destroyed. That's a simple sign.
21 At the time I found Ahmici, and it was on the
22 22nd of April that I found it, and it is to my shame
23 that it happened in my area of responsibility, at the
24 time I found it, I made no judgment on how it
25 happened. I was too busy, in the whole complex
1 situation of the 22nd of April of trying to get things
2 under control. It was only later, when I had a chance
3 to assess the situation in Ahmici and when I had had
4 reports, particularly from the U.N. Centre for Human
5 Rights who took many records, that I was able to make a
6 judgment as to what the plan for attack on Ahmici may
7 have been.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Colonel, would you like
9 to share with the Trial Chamber your conception of what
10 the plan of attack on Ahmici might have been?
11 A. Yes, I would. It is opinion, of course.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes.
13 A. I believe that approximately 40 to 70 people
14 may have taken part in this. I believe that the
15 weapons used were mortars and small arms, and petrol
16 and Zippo lighters. I believe that each house was
17 visited systematically. I believe that it was visited
18 by small squads of men who determined who was in the
19 house and by their ethnic origin determined whether
20 they lived or they died. I believe that probably
21 cut-off groups were deployed and that the start line was
22 probably the Lasva Valley road or thereabouts, using
23 the axis of the road through the village to follow up,
24 or it had gone directly in from the Swiss house, from
1 I believe that in the aftermath there was
2 considerable excitement, which I saw evidence of,
3 although it wasn't obvious to me at the time I passed
4 by around about 10.30 on the 16th of April, when I
5 passed by the Swiss cottage and there was much
6 agitation of the people there and extreme, it seemed to
7 me, aggression shown towards me.
8 I know soldiers. I know when they've been in
9 operational service from the way they act. The
10 soldiers I saw around the Swiss cottage at 10.30 had
11 the excited look of soldiers that have just been on
12 active operations from the way they walked, from the
13 way they stood, and the way they were bombed up and
14 they were hyped up.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You're speaking,
16 Colonel, of the 16th?
17 A. I'm talking of the 16th.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. Yes.
19 A. Forgive me, sir. May I? On the 16th I
20 passed by but I was unknowing. On the 22nd I was no
21 longer unknowing. I found the place.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: That is why I asked you
23 whether you were speaking of the 16th when you spoke of
24 the Swiss chalet. Was it the Bungalow?
25 A. Yes, sir.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, in your judgment,
2 Colonel, what time period would have been required for
3 the planning of an operation of that kind with that
4 kind of force, an hour, a night, a day, or what?
5 A. I would have -- not that I would do such a
6 thing, but for an operation, it's possibly what you
7 call a cordon-sweep operation, half a day.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Half a day?
9 A. Roughly half a day to get the forces ready,
10 give orders and go in. It's an adapted cordon and
11 sweep operation. You cordon the location, you put
12 firepower down on the flanks, you prepare what you go
13 in, and then you go in from a baseline position, if
14 it's done in an effective military way. Equally, if
15 it's done in a haphazard way it could be done much
16 quicker. I don't think it was haphazard.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, Colonel, taking
18 into account what you knew of the military system of
19 the HVO, would you say that it was possible or not
20 possible for decisions relating to the planning and
21 execution of that operation to be made entirely at the
22 local level or would central approval had to have been
24 A. If you mean local within the Vitez
25 principality, with the kind of people that were there
1 as well as Colonel Blaskic, particularly Valenta, whose
2 book he gave me a copy of --
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Colonel, can I be a
4 little more helpful to you? I had in mind the
5 relationship between Colonel Blaskic in the Vitez Hotel
6 and the commander in the Ahmici area, the HVO commander
7 in the area.
8 A. I considered that Colonel Blaskic was the HVO
9 commander in the area.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Inclusive of the Ahmici
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see.
14 A. Overall commander. He didn't command the
15 detachment there but he was overall commander.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me try to be a
17 little more specific. Was it conceivable that the
18 decision relating to the preplanning and execution of
19 an operation of that kind could have been made without
20 Colonel Blaskic's concurrence?
21 A. It is conceivable but I don't think that
22 would have happened. There is doubt. There is some
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, when you went to
25 Ahmici, an HVO soldier said to you words to the effect
1 what right you had to be there. Now, did any HVO
2 soldier complain to you that the events of Ahmici took
3 place in response to a BiH attack?
4 A. I cannot recall that ever happening, and as
5 the events of Ahmici are fairly well evidence in my
6 mind, I don't think that happened.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. Now, did you see,
8 in the course of your visit to Ahmici, evidence of any
9 signs of defensive works on the ground? I'm not a
10 military man. I have in mind things like trenches,
11 foxholes. Did you see that?
12 A. No.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you, again as a
14 military man, see any signs of any combat, any exchange
15 of firepower as between two warring parties?
16 A. I did not, but that would not necessarily be
17 evident in that area.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see. Now, Colonel, we
19 referred awhile ago to Defence Exhibit 280A, a report
20 committed to Colonel Blaskic by Major Ljubicic on 16th
21 April, 1993. Perhaps you might recollect the substance
22 of that report as being this, that Mr. Ljubicic was
23 saying there that there had been an attack on the
24 military police in the Bungalow and that elements of
25 the other side had barricaded themselves in the mosque,
1 the primary school, and so on.
2 If you had been the commanding officer of the
3 HVO and you had received that document, would you have
4 regarded it as credible?
5 A. I don't think so because mosques are rotten
6 places to defend.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes, yes. What would
8 have been your reaction as between yourself and
9 Mr. Ljubicic? Would you have sent for him? Would you
10 have asked for clarification?
11 A. He was the commander of the HVO in the Swiss
12 cottage; is that correct?
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes, yes, I think so.
14 A. I'd have gone and visited him rapidly.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. And it should have
16 been possible to visit?
17 A. Yes. Yes, it was possible.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: How long would the
19 journey take?
20 A. Less than fifteen minutes.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes, yes. Now, you have
22 affirmed repeatedly your personal liking for Colonel
23 Blaskic. This may embarrass you, but may I ask whether
24 it was your impression that he also respected you?
25 A. I think so.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes, yes. Now --
2 A. May I just add that I find it very difficult
3 to give evidence against a man like this because I have
4 this personal feeling, but nonetheless, I have to. I'm
5 under orders to do so.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. You're, as it
7 were, defending a principle as you understand a
9 A. Of course.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: The Court may agree, the
11 Court may disagree, but that is your position.
12 A. That's the position of the Court. I
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, you spoke with
15 Colonel Blaskic at some first point about Ahmici, and I
16 think you said he was upset.
17 A. Yes.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, help me with your
19 impression a little further. Was it your impression
20 that he was upset to learn that grave crimes had been
21 committed in Ahmici, or was he upset by the
22 circumstance that you, a person whom he respected, was
23 telling him this and demanding action?
24 A. I think he was upset by what had happened.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: By what had happened.
1 Thank you.
2 Now, was it your impression that he didn't
3 know then, before, about what had happened?
4 A. He said he, you know -- I can't recall
5 exactly what he said, but my impression was that he
6 said he did not, about these things, but by this time,
7 my confidence had been shaken.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: If you had been in his
9 position, as a senior military commander, would you
10 have known by then?
11 A. Oh, yes. I'd have known on the day, less
12 than that, you know, within minutes, and I'd have
13 probably been there.
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, I'm a little
15 unclear here and the fault is mine, so will you help
16 me? You spoke of a suggestion by Colonel Blaskic that
17 there should be an investigating commission and he
18 asked for some help.
19 A. I think -- I don't know who brought it up,
20 but I thought -- I was under the impression that it was
21 me that insisted.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I did preface my remarks
23 by saying I might not recall exactly.
24 A. And the other condition was that the BiH
25 should have representation on this investigating
1 committee. Indeed, we had used the model, using the
2 European Community Monitoring Mission, before, where
3 Colonel Blaskic's second-in-command had gone around
4 with someone who -- I can't recall the name, from the
5 BiH, to try and calm down the situation.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, Colonel Blaskic
7 wrote a letter proposing or asking for assistance to
8 mount such an inquiry; am I correct?
9 A. I have seen the letter. To be honest, I
10 can't recall -- I'm quite prepared to accept that it
11 had arrived.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, what I'm getting at
13 is this: Would it lie within your memory now as to
14 whether you would have been prepared to offer
15 assistance or to request assistance for the mounting of
16 such a commission of inquiry if you had been convinced
17 of the sincerity of the request for assistance?
18 A. Most definitely. In fact, we had, you know,
19 a standby plan for this, that the European Monitoring
20 Mission would lead on it, because they were more
21 neutral than us, in a way, and that actually we would
22 provide vehicles and security because it would be
23 anticipated that the members of the commission would
24 require it, require absolute security, and I would have
25 used my armoured vehicles and my soldiers to protect
1 that commission as it went about its duties. That was
2 what we anticipated, but the call-to-arms never came.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Colonel, in the course
4 of your meeting with Colonel Blaskic -- I think
5 Mr. Alastair Duncan was present -- you had occasion to
6 say, have scribbled some words down, to Colonel Blaskic
7 that one day he would appear in court.
8 A. I think I did say that.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. Now --
10 A. Forgive me, sir, but may I ask: Have you had
11 Alastair Duncan here to give evidence? Is that fair
12 for me to ask?
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I turn to the parties
14 because my own recollection is in disrepair.
15 MR. KEHOE: Judge Shahabuddeen, Brigadier
16 Duncan did testify
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Both sides agree that
18 the answer is in the affirmative.
19 Now, at the time when you used those words to
20 Colonel Blaskic, was it the position that there was
21 talk in the media about the establishment of an
22 international war crimes court of one kind or another
23 to investigate the happenings in Ahmici?
24 A. There may have been, but I didn't read the
25 newspapers or see anything very much at the time. I
1 mean, what happened, there was some discussion with the
2 U.N. Centre for Human Rights, you know, with their
3 investigators, and we were immediately aware that there
4 were, in my view, war crimes, but it wasn't just
5 restricted to the HVO.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. I appreciate
8 Now, you were talking to Colonel Blaskic
9 about the possibility of his being required to answer
10 before a court. Did he then or at any other time say
11 to you, "But I have given instructions to my troops,
12 reminding them of the need to conform to applicable
13 standards of behaviour"?
14 A. I cannot recall.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Colonel, you have been
16 helpful. Thank you.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.
18 I am now turning to Judge Rodrigues. You have the
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Good morning, Colonel Stewart. I believe
22 that most of the major questions have already been
23 asked. I only have to go over your statement and ask
24 you for some short explanations.
25 So if we are indeed at the Cafe Grand, we can
1 see Kordic there, and the circumstances you are
2 familiar with, but I'd like to go back to those
3 circumstances. You said about them that, following
4 that day, I'm going to read out in English:
5 "After this day, I had the distinct
6 impression that Blaskic was the military commander but
7 Kordic was the political commander."
8 So my question is as follows: What were the
9 indicia or what was the information or what did you
10 perceive which prompted you to make this decision,
11 saying Blaskic was the military commander and Kordic
12 was the political commander?
13 A. Your Honour, Kordic always spoke in political
14 terms. He always talked, you know, of destiny and, you
15 know, the sort of grand picture. Colonel Blaskic spoke
16 my language. Maybe I naturally gravitated towards
17 him. Mr. Kordic I did not like; Mr. Blaskic I did.
18 It seemed to me, when I first met Kordic,
19 that he talked too much. It seemed to me that people
20 did listen to him but had not much respect. Certainly
21 the soldiers naturally followed Colonel Blaskic, not
22 Kordic, to whom I give no rank because I don't think he
23 had one.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Therefore, Colonel, if we
25 were to return to the issue of how the HVO was
1 organised, was there, in the HVO and in its
2 organisational charts, a political side and also a
3 military side, especially so, you know, in relation to
4 the HDZ?
5 A. I think that would be -- it was not like the
6 way the British army was organised. It seemed to me
7 there was a political side in common with the old
8 system of Tito and Communism generally, and it seemed
9 to me that Kordic was on that political side, the same
10 way as Valentin [sic] was as well, and so the answer in
11 short is: Yes. I think so.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I think as well that you
13 stated that you were firmly convinced about the fact
14 that Kordic was the HVO commander in Busovaca. So he
15 was a commander in the military sense, was he?
16 A. This is so difficult. You know, we had
17 difficulty working this out. He seemed to be the
18 political commissar, if you like, and then when there
19 was a real threat in Busovaca, he suddenly became the
20 military commander there, and I assumed it was only for
21 the Busovaca immediate area. He was not a good
22 military commander. When I visited him on a couple of
23 occasions, he had panic in his eyes, which is not a
24 good way to proceed. But that is an impression.
25 Forgive me. That is an impression, it's not fact.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So there was no actual nor
2 real separation between the military and the political;
3 is that the conclusion that can be drawn? I'm not so
4 sure. But I'd like to ask you the following: Did
5 General Blaskic share also the political objectives of
6 the HVO or was he a military man in the strict
7 professional sense, was he only a military man?
8 A. I do not know. I do not know the answer to
9 that question.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But at least what is your
11 impression regarding the question whether Blaskic knew
12 the political objectives of the HVO?
13 A. Yes, he knew the political objectives of the
14 HVO. He had close enough ties to these people like
15 Kordic and Valentin to know that as well.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Then from the point of view
17 of the organisation, if one looks at the strategic and
18 at the tactical level, did General Blaskic have the
19 tactics to achieve the strategic objectives of the
21 A. Now I have to go into wordplay. Forgive me.
22 "Strategy" and "tactics." There is political strategy
23 and there is military strategy. The military strategy
24 of the HVO would be linked to the political strategy
25 and the tactics on the ground would come from the
1 military strategy. I'm sure the two were linked. They
2 are all linked very closely. So the answer to the
3 question is: In any opinion, yes, he did.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You also said,
5 Colonel Stewart, that you came to the conclusion, and
6 I'm referring to the 12th of January, 1993, that you
7 came to the conclusion that Blaskic was the military
8 authority of the HVO in Central Bosnia. Before that
9 date did you have any doubts about that?
10 A. No, I did not. In fact, the point was up to
11 that time I had no doubts, but then we started to see
12 again the sort of clouding of the issue.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Colonel. I have
14 another question. The 10th of January, 1993, you went
15 to the HVO headquarters in Novi Travnik, and there you
16 referred to the fact of the presence of a Croatian
17 soldier there belonged to the Croatian army, not the
18 HVO, and you referred to that with Malbasic, who was
19 rather embarrassed by the presence of that soldier.
20 Could you tell us something more about the
21 presence of that soldier and whether you found, in
22 Central Bosnia, soldiers of the Croatian army in
23 Central Bosnia?
24 A. There was problems in Novi Travnik, and I
25 went there guided by my liaison officer for the area.
1 His name was Captain Martin Forgrave. He had briefed
2 me, as we drove, about the possibility of an HV Major
3 being present, a Croatian army Major.
4 Malbasic was there and this character was
5 present too. Now, I cannot recall that he was wearing
6 HV designation on his arm, but he was a young man of
7 about 22, 23, and he was a so-called Major.
8 He talked in really radical terms, and I was
9 alarmed that this man could have any authority at all
10 because what he was talking about was disgusting. You
11 know, sort of attack on -- you know, "All of them are
12 animals," and that sort of thing. I can't remember
13 exactly, but I remember feeling repelled by the man and
14 by the way he was talking.
15 I don't know whether he was HV really, to be
16 honest. So if my statement before said he was
17 definitely HV, forgive me. With the passage of time,
18 I'm not so convinced, but he seemed to be.
19 What we were trying to do was just to try and
20 defuse the tension there by being there, getting people
21 to talk. Again, he was one of the sort of people that
22 I had deep distrust for, and I had the impression that
23 Malbasic was embarrassed and was disturbed by the
24 presence of this individual.
25 That is all I can remember, except that it
1 was dark.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But you used the term
3 "radical." What did you mean by using it, "really
5 A. Yes, I did. He seemed to be the sort of guy,
6 I won't mince my words, who would actually carry out
7 atrocities, hated people that much, and I didn't want
8 him in the area. I wanted him to go away.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: We spoke of the presence of
10 the Croatian army. What is your opinion, what is your
11 information regarding the presence of the Croatian army
12 in Bosnia in general and in Central Bosnia in
13 particular? Do you have any information about the
14 presence of the Croatian army and the possible or
15 supposed interests of Croatia in Bosnia?
16 A. This is the only instance I can recall where
17 I thought there might be the HV there. We generally
18 thought that they were not present in Central Bosnia.
19 Of course, some individuals would have joined the HVO
20 from the Croatian army but most -- generally, this is
21 the only instance I can recall where I thought that the
22 HV might have been present in Central Bosnia and it was
23 in Novi Travnik. I only saw one character, one man.
24 That's my own personal experience. There
25 were other intelligence indications that they might
1 have been further south but, as far as I was concerned,
2 they weren't there.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You also said,
4 Colonel Stewart, that on the 16th of April, around
5 9.00, you went to the Vitez Hotel to look for
6 General Blaskic to attend a meeting in Zenica. My
7 question is, and you have already spoken about this in
8 respect to questions put by my colleague Judge
9 Shahabuddeen, my question is: Before you came to look
10 for Blaskic, to take him to Zenica, was there an
11 agreement? Was Blaskic waiting for you to go with you
12 or not?
13 A. I don't think he knew about it. I think it
14 was because I couldn't contact him maybe, but I think
15 the agreement was that, with the European Community
16 Ambassador, I would try and bring Colonel Blaskic with
17 me to that meeting. If you recall the difference
18 between the 15th and the 16th of April, was that on the
19 15th of April there was great trouble, started in
20 Zenica with the kidnapping of Totic and there was
21 tension in the Lasva Valley. Overnight fighting
22 erupted in the Lasva Valley and, therefore, you know,
23 in the same way as I would stay where my point of main
24 effort should have been, I'm sure Colonel Blaskic would
25 have had to stay where his major problem was and,
1 therefore, in a way, I was unsurprised by the fact that
2 he was not present, but I had made a prior agreement
3 with the Ambassador that I would try and bring Tihomir
4 Blaskic with me to the meeting in Zenica because he was
5 crucial to calming down and stabilising a situation
6 that I thought to be extremely volatile.
7 It is clear to me that the kidnapping of
8 Totic, probably by Mujahedin, on the 15th was a
9 catalyst for the fighting that took place in the days
10 that followed.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: In your opinion, Ahmici can
12 be seen as in reprisal for the kidnapping of Totic?
13 A. I haven't thought of it like that before but
14 it is possible. Equally, it's possible that it was a
15 way of actually getting rid of the Bosnian Muslim
16 inhabitants of a village on the route up to the top of
17 the hill where at the top of the hill, on the mountain
18 road, I'm sure that there were BiH positions, you know,
19 and for that reason, you know, it is possible that a
20 Muslim village in effectively no-man's-land should be
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Another question,
23 Colonel Stewart. On the 24th of April you visited
24 General Blaskic in Vitez, and you confronted him by
25 asking whether he was responsible for the HVO in the
1 area, in the area of Ahmici, and his answer was yes,
2 that he was responsible for the acts of HVO soldiers in
3 the area of Ahmici.
4 My question: Was it your understanding that
5 Blaskic assumed responsibility for the events in
6 Ahmici, being fully conscious that crimes had been
7 committed and that he accept responsibility for them at
8 the time.
9 A. I choose my words carefully here. I believe
10 he knew about the massacre that had occurred in Ahmici
11 by that date most certainly. Of course, I had told him
12 myself. I make the assumption that as the commander,
13 he held responsibility throughout for what happened,
14 and it was natural for me, if he accepted that he was
15 responsible for the HVO in that area, that he would
16 assume responsibility for it.
17 So when you say that he had assumed
18 responsibility, it might imply that actually someone
19 had told him to take the blame for it. I don't think
20 that happened.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Another question, Colonel.
22 I have taken note of the small questions of mine. You
23 spoke of Kordic regarding Ahmici, and his answer was
24 the Serbs were responsible for Ahmici. Do you remember
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You said that -- you
3 reacted normally. You said that was an insult for a
4 military, but there was another answer for a real
5 military man. What would have been that proper
7 A. I cannot remember. He gave me a list of
8 reasons. I remember that he told me that it was a
9 long-range Serb patrol that had penetrated, massacred
10 Muslims so that Croats would take the blame, which is,
11 of course, a variation on a theme put in some Croatian
12 newspapers that I had carried out the massacre and
13 blamed it on the Croats. So I just was incredulous and
14 just was in a way amused that he could be so stupid as
15 to tell me such a stupidity.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I'm going to ask you a
17 question which is not a play on words, but, still,
18 there are words which are used here in the courtroom,
19 and we must see whether there is a correspondence
20 between words or are we having a dialogue of the deaf.
21 My question is: Was artillery used in
23 A. I don't think so. I think it was mortars.
24 But I'm not certain.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Another question is as
1 follows: When, on the 16th of April, you passed by the
2 Swiss chalet, and you concluded, by noticing soldiers
3 there, that they had participated in an operation, my
4 question is: Those soldiers, were they soldiers of the
5 HVO, regular units, or were they elements of the
6 military police or some others?
7 A. I really wish I could give an honest,
8 straightforward, definitive answer to that question.
9 The answer is: I don't know. They were soldiers, and
10 they didn't like me passing by. So me, I didn't stay
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But those soldiers could
13 have been members of the military police or not?
14 A. They could have been members of the military
15 police, but I didn't know. They were soldiers in
16 combat uniforms with packs, fighting packs, you know,
17 pouches with ammunition in flak jackets, you know, the
18 sort of -- and the agitation of soldiers that have just
19 done something.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: And, in your view as a
21 military man, Colonel Stewart, the appearance they had,
22 was it more suited to a soldier or a member of the
23 military police?
24 A. The military police often looked like
25 soldiers in Bosnia. They looked more like soldiers,
1 but I am not absolutely certain that they could not
2 have been military police. They were soldiers and they
3 were soldiers who were equipped for operations, and the
4 military police often looked like soldiers.
5 I didn't get close enough to see the patches,
6 if they had them; but you have to remember, sir, that
7 when people do things that are crimes, they often do so
8 anonymously. Patches were frequently taken off and
9 masks were worn. These soldiers were not wearing
10 masks, but I couldn't see the patches, and anyway, I
11 was too far away.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Colonel Stewart, in his
13 testimony, General Blaskic presented the thesis that
14 the crimes committed in Ahmici were committed by the
15 military police and that the military police was not
16 under his command. Does this piece of information
17 change your opinion? Is it something new for you?
18 A. No, that is something I would anticipate and
19 expect. But the Swiss house was occupied normally by
20 soldiers. Are we suggesting that these soldiers
21 disappeared? Are we suggesting that the soldiers that
22 stopped me when I went to the village of Ahmici on the
23 22nd were not soldiers? They were soldiers. They were
24 HVO soldiers, not military police.
25 So I am quite prepared to accept that
1 military police might have been there, but so too were
2 normal soldiers of the HVO.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Another question, and my
4 last one, Colonel: When did you learn about the
5 formation of this Tribunal?
6 A. I can't remember. I cannot remember. But I
7 made the -- it was shortly after I left Bosnia, and I
8 was pleased.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: After leaving Bosnia,
10 perhaps talking with representatives of the U.N., the
11 human rights organisations, did they tell you then
12 about the establishment of the Tribunal? I do not wish
13 to infer anything, but it was assisted by a Security
14 Council resolution in February, which means about two
15 months before the events in Ahmici. So at the time of
16 Ahmici, the Tribunal had already been established. It
17 was established in February 1993.
18 No? I beg your pardon.
19 JUDGE JORDA: No, there were two resolutions.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I'm sorry, it is Resolution
21 808, adopted on the 22nd of February, 1993. So the
22 Security Council decided to establish an international
23 tribunal to judge persons assumed responsible for grave
24 breaches of international humanitarian law on the
25 territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991.
1 Therefore, two months before Ahmici, the Tribunal had
2 been formed.
3 That raises a number of questions because you
4 had some reticence as to the authenticity of a series
5 of orders. There is another aspect which we must bear
6 in mind. The first verbal -- I'm sorry, written order
7 by General Blaskic carries the date of the 10th of May,
8 the same day that you left Bosnia. There is
9 coincidence there. What is your view?
10 A. I don't know. I don't have a view, sir. I
11 remember I took the Security Council to the site of the
12 village of Ahmici when they visited. The date is in my
13 diary. I have no particular -- when the Security
14 Council set up the war crimes tribunal is totally
15 irrelevant to me. I mean, I wasn't arguing for a war
16 crime tribunal, I was just dealing with the situation
17 on the ground, and I was not thinking towards some kind
18 of trial in The Hague in 1999, I was thinking of, how
19 should I carry out my duty in accordance with my
20 instructions from the Security Council, which were
21 very, very vague at the time.
22 But one thing was clear to me, that the
23 saving of human life, whoever's it was, was very
24 important to my mission. So when people took life, and
25 they took it in such a bestial way, it was important
1 for me to actually put a marker down that this was
3 I have to say that my conversations with
4 Colonel Blaskic, which, when reported to my own
5 government, I was given a hard time for that, but I
6 would still stand and do it again because I was told
7 that my responsibilities in Central Bosnia were simply
8 to assist in the escorting of humanitarian aid. I
9 personally disagree that it just stopped at that. My
10 responsibilities in Central Bosnia were to do with the
11 saving of life, and that's why I was sent there.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Colonel, perhaps this
13 really is my last question: Regarding a certain number
14 of exhibits which have been shown to you, you provided
15 an incomplete and inaccurate commentary of them. Why
16 did you come out with this reaction? On what basis did
17 you say -- I'm sorry, that they were incomplete. What
18 is the basis for this assessment of yours?
19 A. I'm so sorry, but I don't understand -- the
20 comment I can recall saying is that documents can be
21 produced after the event, and in Bosnia, there was a
22 war of documents and the war of what was happening on
23 the ground. Documents can sometimes appear later and
24 documents don't necessarily bear any relation to what
25 is happening on the ground.
1 In my own experience in Bosnia, my orders
2 were given verbally, and my orders were given verbally
3 in a set way at 5.00 each night, and they were adjusted
4 as necessary whenever it was required at whatever
5 time. I did not give many written orders as such
6 beyond a general directive when we started, and, if
7 necessary, for specific operations, I would then write
8 orders. But even so, those orders were delivered
9 verbally by me.
10 So my comment was that I don't necessarily --
11 I am in no position to judge the authenticity of these
12 documents, but I am really pleased -- I have just
13 placed on record I'm really pleased if Colonel Blaskic
14 gave orders to stop crimes against civilians. It is in
15 keeping with what I think he is.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Colonel, I appreciate very
17 much your contribution, for helping us to understand
18 all these matters. Thank you very much.
19 A. Thank you, sir.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. I also appreciate
21 your contribution even though I say it in French. I
22 won't have many questions because my colleagues have
23 covered most of the area of your testimony, and they're
24 thereby facilitating my task.
25 One question or two or three regarding Ahmici
1 that I have for you. Regarding the list of names,
2 Colonel, did you know them? Did you know them when you
3 met them? That is, you had some sympathy for Colonel
4 Blaskic, you liked him; not being your enemy but you
5 recognised him as being a soldier like you. You
6 told us -- a person who appears to us to be a person of
7 deep conviction and who is still living through the
8 suffering of Ahmici. I'm asking: Why didn't you
9 communicate to him the names?
10 A. Sir, I'm delighted to hear you speaking in
11 French because my wife is French and I have to listen
12 to French a lot with my children. Forgive me for that
13 aside. French is lovely.
14 I can't recall exactly, to be honest, why we
15 didn't give those names to Colonel Blaskic. It might
16 have been a mistake. But it equally might have been
17 the wrong thing to do.
18 The names came from the United Nations Centre
19 for Human Rights. They were my source. In particular,
20 the man, Thomas Osorio, gave me those names. I
21 remember discussing with Thomas Osorio what I should do
22 with those names, and I remember that we agreed to give
23 them to the European Community Monitoring Mission
24 possibly, in the end, so that the U.N. could get them
25 properly. But I cannot recall why we didn't give the
1 names to Colonel Blaskic beyond my assumption that I
2 was concerned that the people that were so named might
3 simply disappear, and that is a fairly legitimate
4 worry. But, you know, as I say, I think that was
5 probably the decision made. And also, of course, I was
6 conscious that these names were not generated from
7 within my own intelligence organisation, they came from
8 the United Nations, and I did want to make sure that a
9 record of these names was made.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Colonel. I don't
11 have the luck to have an English wife, so if I may, I
12 will continue in French.
13 Whether soldiers of the HVO or other units --
14 perhaps you cannot answer that question -- did
15 Mr. Osorio elaborate, saying that they could have
16 belonged to the military police of the HVO?
17 A. I don't recall, Your Honour, that Osorio gave
18 me any description of what they were. At the time, I
19 didn't care whether they were military police or HVO
20 soldiers proper; I just was given the names. And I
21 thought that the names would identify where they came
22 from, and no doubt, they possibly will, because I don't
23 have the intelligence to be able to -- intelligence
24 organisation any more to identify exactly where they
25 came from.
1 I just wanted to make sure that the names
2 were placed on record and placed on record outside the
3 British military; not that I distrusted the British
4 military but so that they were placed with the proper
5 authorities. I wanted the U.N. to note -- after all,
6 it was the U.N. Centre for Human Rights -- but the U.N.
7 Centre for Human Rights might not necessarily be
8 connected to the war crimes tribunal, if there was to
9 be one -- forgive me, sir. I wasn't sure when it
10 started -- and I wanted to make sure that they were
11 logged before I left Bosnia.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. I should like to go
13 back to a question put to you by Judge Rodrigues
14 regarding the military police units. For a military
15 professional of your rank, is it conceivable that the
16 military police can be detached from the operational
17 command, separate from the operational command?
18 I'm talking about a military police which
19 wear white belts, white helmets, and exist in all
20 armies of the world. Is it conceivable that in these
21 operational activities they can be -- that they can
22 participate in operations but be separate from the
24 A. It is inconceivable in NATO armies, and
25 bearing in mind the Balkans factor, it is conceivable
1 in the Balkans. I'd explain that by reference to
2 Kosovo. What is happening in Kosovo seem to be
3 military police units with a separate chain of command,
4 but I don't believe that that separation of command was
5 evident in Central Bosnia at the time. It must have
6 come together. The area was too close.
7 JUDGE JORDA: But supposing there wasn't a
8 single command, which is partly the thesis of the
9 accused. Therefore, the engagement of the military
10 police did take place in Ahmici. Is it conceivable
11 that the commander of the Operational Zone was not
12 aware of the involvement of the military police?
13 This is a hypothesis that has been
14 presented. The military police was there. Is it
15 conceivable that the supreme commander of the Operative
16 Zone was not aware of the presence of those units on
17 the ground?
18 A. No. That cannot have been the case because
19 HVO soldiers proper were present. They had a command
20 headquarters there, and the first thing any commander
21 would do, if some organisation arrived and started
22 pushing his unit around, would be to inform his
23 superior commander immediately. I would do it, and so
24 would any professional officer, and so would any
25 officer even if he wasn't professional.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Does your reply apply also to
2 special units like the Jokers, the Vitezovi? Supposing
3 they had a distinct command, would your observations be
4 the same?
5 A. My observation would be that they may act on
6 their own but they would not act without being known
7 that they were there by the commander. What they do on
8 the ground might be something that they do themselves,
9 but their presence on the ground would have been
10 reported to the operational commander.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Let us suppose, Colonel, that
12 the operations in Ahmici and other villages, let us not
13 forget those attacks, that they were systematically
14 planned within the framework of a very precise military
15 plan. Under that hypothesis, is there any feedback in
16 the form of reports, a feedback to the commander?
17 A. Under that hypothesis the commander would
18 have been very much part of the process. For a
19 systematic large-scale operation in an area that was
20 very close to an operational headquarters, the
21 commander must have been part of the planning process.
22 It is inconceivable to me that he would be ignored. It
23 is inconceivable because there would be a requirement
24 for his support from his forces and probably
1 JUDGE JORDA: How could you explain that the
2 commander, Colonel Blaskic, who appeared to you as an
3 experienced and competent professional military man,
4 how could you explain that the next day, the day
5 following the attack, he had no reports about the
6 attack except for the exhibits, mentioned a moment ago,
7 by Mr. Pasko Ljubicic? Is that conceivable or were
8 these reports made verbally?
9 A. I find it inconceivable because of the
10 closeness of Ahmici to Hotel Vitez. I find it
11 inconceivable that reports were not made and most
12 definitely verbal reporting would be the way you
13 command and control any operation that's fluid.
14 You do not have time to write orders down in
15 the middle of a battle. I only think back to the
16 Charge of the Light Brigade, 1854. It ended up the
17 people went up the wrong valley. I think it has to be
18 done verbally. It's the best way, and normally in
20 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Colonel. Thankfully
21 the Tribunal is not responsible for these operations of
22 the last century, but what is important for me is to
23 know whether that attack, having a criminal
24 connotation, whether it had been planned as such.
25 Could it have been done without anything being written
1 down? Is that conceivable?
2 A. It is conceivable that it could have been
3 done without anything being written down.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. I have my last
5 question. If Colonel Blaskic, who appeared to you to
6 be extremely shocked and hurt by the operation in
7 Ahmici and he appeared to you to be sincere about it,
8 did he clearly disassociate himself from that operation
9 and would it have been even more pronounced if he had
10 taken disciplinary or legal action?
11 So my question is: If Colonel Blaskic, who
12 was shocked, had taken resolute action, disciplinary
13 and judicial action, could he have risked his position
14 as commander, knowing the political circumstances and
15 especially the position of Dario Kordic?
16 A. I think that is a possibility. I think that
17 is a distinct possibility, but I would like to answer
18 and say that I asked him if he took operational
19 responsibility for the actions of the soldiers in the
20 Ahmici area and he said yes, he did. So my belief
21 remains that he was the operational commander for what
22 happened in Ahmici.
23 If he wasn't and if something did go wrong
24 and if, you know, some other unit did come along, under
25 any kind of law he should have taken immediate and
1 effective action, disciplinary action, against those
2 responsible, and he did not do so, to the best my
3 knowledge, in the time that I was there.
4 Paper is fine, but my experience on the
5 ground in the Balkans is that paper is meaningless
6 until you see people doing something, and I didn't see
7 anything being done. Most certainly, we would have
8 supported it with the European Community Monitoring
10 JUDGE JORDA: I'm going to ask you a serious
11 question, Colonel, and if you do not wish to answer, I
12 will understand. Being in a position as you were,
13 noting crimes committed perhaps by troops under your
14 command, would it be a hypothesis to offer one's
15 resignation under those circumstances?
16 A. Not only your resignation but to be expected
17 to be charged for responsibility for the operation that
18 went wrong. You cannot just walk away from something
19 that is done by your own soldiers.
20 That is the way it works in the British
21 army. You can't just walk away from it. I know that
22 it is a different circumstance though, but I'm just
23 talking from my own experience.
24 JUDGE JORDA: But placed in the position they
25 were, because one cannot compare armies, but in view of
1 the situation in which Colonel Blaskic found himself
2 in, would you have thought of leaving the command?
3 A. Most definitely. Yes.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Before concluding,
5 I know that Judge Shahabuddeen has another question for
6 you and I should like to give you the floor, Judge.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Colonel, do bear with
8 me. I have one little question to ask you. It relates
9 to your answer to President Jorda when you said that
10 you asked Colonel Blaskic if he took operational
11 responsibility for the actions of the soldiers in the
12 Ahmici area and he said yes, he did. The question I
13 would like to put to you is designed to solicit your
14 help on the negative side of that statement.
15 Did Colonel Blaskic ever say to you that the
16 events at Ahmici had been caused by the actions of the
17 military police but that the military police, at that
18 time, were not subject to his command and control?
19 A. I don't think he did, and I think I would
20 have remembered if he had have done, because you will
21 recall that I had respect for this man and I would be
22 trying to find a way out where I would not put blame on
23 him. That is the way I thought. When I saw Tihomir
24 Blaskic, I did not want to blame him. I wanted to find
25 some other reason. So when I say I cannot recall, I
1 can't, but I think I would have done if such an answer
2 had been given me, because I was looking for a way out
3 for Colonel Blaskic.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Colonel, I repeat the
5 appreciation which I have already expressed for the
6 assistance you have given to the Trial Chamber.
7 A. Thank you, sir.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Colonel Stewart, as I said
9 yesterday regarding another government and another
10 country, through you I should like to thank your
11 government for assisting us by this testimony which the
12 Chamber wanted to have from a major actor of this drama
13 we have to judge. I say it again and in a public
14 hearing so that it be made clear that this Tribunal,
15 fortunately, does benefit from the assistance of the
16 big powers that are supporting us, but beyond that I
17 wish to thank you on behalf of my colleagues for
18 coming, for having testified with a great deal of
19 conviction and courage and personal courage, because
20 Blaskic was your friend. That is what I wanted to tell
21 you. Thank you.
22 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
23 JUDGE JORDA: We're going to ask you to leave
24 to see whether there may be any other questions by the
25 Defence and the Prosecution. If not, then the Judges
1 will retreat. We will now adjourn. We will resume
2 on --
3 THE REGISTRAR: Monday, 2.00 p.m., with a new
4 witness for a closed hearing.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
7 at 11.43 a.m., to be reconvened on
8 Monday, the 21st day of June, 1999
9 at 2.00 p.m.