1 Friday, 30th July, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.03 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
5 Mr. Registrar, you can have the accused
6 brought into the courtroom, please.
7 (The accused entered court)
8 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
9 interpreters. Everyone is ready, the counsel for the
10 Prosecution, the counsel for the Defence, the accused
11 also, I believe. Without further delay, Mr. Hayman,
12 you have the floor.
13 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President and
14 good morning. Good morning, Your Honours. This is a
15 day we've all been looking forward to greatly, not
16 because the Defence is arguing but, of course, because
17 it is the last day of the trial.
18 I concluded yesterday at 5.30 in the morning
19 on the 16th of April. Blaskic had issued the three
20 orders, the written orders, we've discussed, and at
21 roughly 5.30, we know the BH army shells the Hotel
22 Vitez and the military police attack Ahmici. Exactly
23 what the timing there is, we don't know. The evidence
24 isn't clear. But both of those events appear to have
25 occurred around the same time. It is not illogical,
1 Your Honours, that when fighting broke out, chaos broke
2 out, because all of these locations around Vitez are
3 within earshot. You can hear detonations.
4 We ask you to think about the minds of
5 particularly the militia men, the men conscripted into
6 the Vitez Brigade in the prior few weeks, and think
7 about their reaction when they heard gunfire, they
8 heard shells, they'd seen the TV reports of Totic's
9 kidnapping and the murders, they'd seen the bodies, and
10 then the firing starts. There was a lot of fear and
11 there was certainly some panic on the part of both BH
12 army soldiers and HVO militia. What happened in Ahmici
13 with respect to the military police was different. But
14 in and around Vitez, those appear to be the themes that
15 bind events in and around Stari Vitez and Vitez.
16 What happened in the hotel? You heard in
17 excruciating detail from General Blaskic about what
18 happened on the 16th, 17th, and 18th and so forth of
19 April, as recorded in the operative diary of the
20 Operative Zone which General Blaskic had a chance to
21 review in late 1995 before he voluntarily came here to
22 The Hague, and he took notes from that operative diary,
23 and he provided you with all that detail.
24 Indeed, I think he testified for three
25 months, the better part of three months. He gave a
1 great amount of detail, Your Honours, and the
2 Prosecution had every opportunity to come in in their
3 rebuttal case and impeach and contradict General
4 Blaskic's testimony with evidence. They chose not to
5 do that. They chose instead to launch verbal assaults
6 on his honour and his credibility in their argument. I
7 will address every one of those assaults when I'm done
8 with the chronology of events. But we ask you to keep
9 in mind that he gave a great amount of detail so that
10 his account could be checked, could be confirmed, or
11 proven otherwise. You will have to decide. Have they
12 proven his detailed minute-by-minute account to be
13 inaccurate in any material respects?
14 In the basement of the hotel, there were two
15 regular telephones, as he described, and of course he
16 could get packet communications from the PTT building.
17 They had to be sent and opened and walked across, or
18 whatever was going on in terms of courier deliveries at
19 the time, but those were his lines of communication.
20 And as he described, beginning at the first moment, the
21 Hotel Vitez began to receive panicked calls from all
22 kinds of people, civilians, political figures, other
23 military units, and so forth.
24 You have the reports he received. You have
25 his verbal description of the oral reports he
1 received. You have the written reports he received.
2 They're in evidence. There is no evidence, based on
3 all those reports, that he failed to act during the
4 period 16 April to 20 April, based on any information
5 he received of crimes that were ongoing or crimes that
6 were likely to be committed. And that is why the
7 Prosecution asserts in their argument that Blaskic
8 wasn't in the Hotel Vitez on the 16th of April. They
9 assert now in argument that he was out in the field,
10 not in the hotel, not in the basement operations room,
11 and they do that because they have to get him out of
12 the hotel because it's apparent that if you're in the
13 basement of the hotel, you're entirely dependent on
14 information that's coming in. You have no ability to
15 make your own observations.
16 What is the basis of that assertion? They
17 say that Stewart went to the hotel at 10.00 in the
18 morning and was told Blaskic was not there. That is
19 what the Prosecutor told you. But if you look in the
20 reporter's transcript at 28830, lines 2 to 19, Stewart
21 says he spoke to a sentry, a guard, and was told that
22 there no one was available to see him. He was not told
23 that Blaskic was not in the headquarters, as Mr. Kehoe
24 told you. He was told that there was no one available
25 to see him. He was not told whether Blaskic was there
1 or not.
2 The Prosecutor also asserts that an EC
3 Monitor was also told on the 16th of April, when his
4 colleague, another EC Monitor called the hotel, that
5 "Blaskic was not in his headquarters." That's a quote
6 from the Prosecutor's argument. Is that true? The
7 quote they provided is that of Lars Baggesen. Baggesen
8 did not make the call. Remi Landry made the call.
9 They were together. Remi Landry testified in this
10 case, and I asked him exactly what he was told when he
11 called the hotel, and here's what he said.
12 (Videotape played)
13 "A We tried to communicate with the HVO
14 headquarters in order to speak with the
15 people in positions of authority, and
16 according to my notes -- my notes
17 indicate that I tried to communicate
18 with the HVO commander, Colonel Blaskic,
19 but I was told that he was not
21 MR. HAYMAN: So both of the witness accounts
22 are that they called -- either they spoke to a sentry
23 or they called the main number on the morning of the
24 16th. They were not told that Blaskic wasn't there.
25 They were told that he wasn't available to speak with
1 you now. What do you expect in the middle of combat?
2 We don't know if the message was even relayed to then
3 Colonel Blaskic. We do know that he wanted to
4 communicate and make contact with UNPROFOR because he
5 sent two negotiators to the Bila base at noon on the
6 16th to try and negotiate a cease-fire. That's in the
7 record in this case. Marko Prskalo and Zoran Pilicic,
8 they went on the 16th, they went again on the 17th and
9 were shot by snipers from Stari Vitez as they were
10 re-entering the Hotel Vitez.
11 The Prosecution asks you to speculate and
12 disregard the evidence concerning where then Colonel
13 Blaskic was on the morning of the 16th of April. Is
14 there any evidence that he was in the field? After two
15 years of scrutinising witness testimony, documents, is
16 there any evidence he was in the field on the 16th,
17 17th, 18th, or 19th of April? Not even Cicko says he
18 was in the field, the one person we know who's out to
19 get Colonel Blaskic. No one says he was in the field.
20 There is no evidence he was in the field. As
21 professional Judges, you know what it means when the
22 facts are scrutinised, facts regarding any event, are
23 scrutinised with as much detail as they have been in
24 this case involving years of trial and decades of
25 attorney time and investigative time. There isn't any
1 evidence that he was out in the field during those
2 days. You know what that means. It means he wasn't
3 out in the field. He was in the basement of the Hotel
4 Vitez, which is the responsible place for him to be at
5 the time, given his responsibilities and the danger,
6 which I will speak about, that existed in the region
7 during that period.
8 On the 16th, he was told that the HVO had
9 lost their positions on Kuber. He was told that the
10 position of the HVO in Zenica was desperate and
11 chaotic. Those were the reports he was getting. Your
12 Honours know from Defence Exhibit 194 that the BH army
13 was, in fact, advancing from Zenica towards Vitez on
14 the 16th. That's a BH army order at the brigade level
15 which recounts an order from Hadzihasanovic on the
16 morning of the 16th, sometime prior to noon, to move,
17 to move towards Vitez. Defence Exhibit 194, BH army
18 order to advance on Vitez on the 16th of April. Was it
19 in reaction to the attack in Ahmici on the morning?
20 Perhaps. We're not suggesting we know exactly what the
21 chronology there was. But the point is, on the 16th,
22 Blaskic is receiving information that the BH army, with
23 their 30.000 troops in Zenica, are moving towards
24 Vitez, and they were, and you know that because, among
25 other things, of Defence Exhibit 194.
1 What did he hear from the military police in
2 Ahmici? He heard from them at 11.42 a.m. He's able to
3 give you that level of detail because of his notes. As
4 you recall, the main staff had told then Colonel
5 Blaskic that the military police and the Vitezovi would
6 be attached to him in the case of an all-out BH army
7 attack. Such attachment occurs when the subordinate
8 commander first notifies the superior commander. In
9 that phone call, Pasko Ljubicic told Blaskic that the
10 fighting with the BH army was fierce in Ahmici and
11 centred around the school, the mosque, and individual
12 homes. There was no mention of any attack by the
13 military police on Ahmici, no mention of any civilian
14 casualties, and no mention that the village had been
16 The Defence position is that this report was
17 intentionally false, it was incomplete, and it was
18 wholly misleading. Why is that? Because Colonel
19 Blaskic would not have condoned in any way the
20 intentional killing of civilians, the burning of
21 civilian structures without military necessity, and
22 Pasko Ljubicic knew that. He also knew he had
23 disobeyed Blaskic's order, Defence Exhibit 267. So he
24 had strong motives to give a false report to Blaskic.
25 You are fully aware of the falsities in the report.
1 The Prosecutor's case did show that by mid morning on
2 the 17th, within two or three hours of the attack on
3 Ahmici, the military police had already moved through
4 much of the village, executing civilians, killing
5 prisoners, and setting fire to houses. There was some
6 continued fighting going on but most of the killing, if
7 not all, appeared to have occurred in those first few
8 hours. Now, they attack Blaskic's testimony for saying
9 that, but what he said is that what he heard in this
10 courtroom. You heard the same evidence. You judge.
11 Is that what the Prosecutor demonstrated?
12 In the afternoon of the 16th, Blaskic issued
13 a written order to Ljubicic demanding more information
14 about what the military police activities were in
15 Ahmici. Yesterday, you saw the responsive report,
16 D280, which has a reference line and references
17 Blaskic's request. Again, does that fit in with the
18 Prosecutor's theory? He did receive a written report
19 later, that is D280, it was also false. Was the
20 falsity of that report apparent on its face? Should
21 the seven members of the headquarters staff, including
22 Colonel Blaskic, who got that report on the late
23 afternoon or evening of the 16th, D280, should they
24 have said, "This obviously is untrue" and taken other
1 Now, Colonel Stewart said that he thought
2 that they should have or perhaps they should have
3 perceived that it was false because he thought that it
4 was unlikely that the school and the mosque would be
5 areas of fighting because the mosque is a poor
6 defensive position. Colonel Stewart, we respect his
7 opinion, he's entitled to his opinion, but he didn't
8 have any specific information about the fact that there
9 were BH army units in Ahmici. He didn't know that they
10 had plans to form defensive lines, where those lines
11 were, and what weapons they had and so forth, and you
12 know now from the diary, D197, that all those things
13 existed and that hence Exhibit D280 was not prima
14 facie, unrealistic or incredible in any way.
15 For now, I'd like to follow the trail, as
16 Colonel Blaskic followed it, of that false report,
17 D280. Given the resources that Colonel Blaskic had at
18 the time, he stayed in the hotel during the period 16
19 to 19 of April. The Prosecutor doesn't claim, at least
20 not after the morning of the 16th, that he was anywhere
21 else, and they haven't presented any evidence that he
22 was anywhere else, nor do they claim that he avoided
23 knowledge or failed to make reasonable efforts to
24 acquire information during that time period. The fact
25 is if you look at his chronology, and perhaps you want
1 some of your staff to outline it for you, you will see
2 that he was active during the period trying to acquire
3 better and more information so as to keep himself
4 informed of what was going on in the many different
5 locations where there was combat and conflict. That is
6 the duty and responsibility of a commander.
7 On the afternoon of the 16th, he was told by
8 those two negotiators, HVO negotiators, who were
9 returning to the hotel, that they saw a body, not in
10 uniform, who appeared to be civilian in the street in
11 Vitez while driving back through the window of a
12 Warrior. This was not in Ahmici. It was in Vitez
13 itself. Did Blaskic respond to that information or did
14 he not care because CNN had not broadcast about it? He
15 responded as he worked in the early morning hours of
16 17th April. He was concerned about the fall of Kuber,
17 he was concerned about the deteriorating HVO positions,
18 but at 4.00 in the morning on the 17th of April, in
19 Defence Exhibit 284, he still took time to tell his
20 units the following:
21 "Soldiers are to be specifically cautioned
22 about how to treat civilians, the elderly, women and
23 children who are not to be killed, because that is a
24 CRIME," with "crime" in all caps. He wrote that at
25 4.00 in the morning on the 17th of April and sent it to
1 all units.
2 He also sought a cease-fire on the 16th. He
3 ordered a cease-fire at 16.00 on the 16th, that is
4 Defence 279. It did not hold. He sent his two
5 negotiators back to the Hotel Vitez on the 17th to try
6 and implement the cease-fire, and they were shot while
7 trying to reenter the Hotel Vitez, which reduced the
8 number of staff in the hotel from seven to five.
9 When you're considering whether it was
10 reasonable and prudent for Colonel Blaskic to stay in
11 the basement of the hotel during that dangerous time,
12 please keep in mind that two of his seven staff members
13 were shot on the 17th on the steps of the Hotel Vitez.
14 On the 18th, there was a cease-fire agreement
15 between Izetbegovic and Boban, and they ordered, as
16 part of that cease-fire, that information should be
17 gathered as to the protagonists of the conflict and the
18 killing of captured soldiers and civilians. That's
19 Defence 316. Those orders went to all units in all of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina and contained no specific
21 information about any crimes or misconduct in the
22 Central Bosnia Operative Zone. Blaskic repeated that
23 order, as he was duty-bound to do. The cease-fire still
24 did not hold, and the HVO position continued to
1 On the 20th of April, the first high level
2 cease-fire meeting occurred in the Lasva Valley, and it
3 was in Zenica. To help Your Honours track the process
4 of the discovery and investigation of Ahmici, we have
5 made a timeline, and I'd like to hand out copies of
6 that timeline, please. I won't be referring to all of
7 the images on this timeline, but we will be referring
8 to some. There are also some entries, Mr. President,
9 that refer to either closed-session testimony or
10 under-seal documents, so I won't put all of the slides
11 up on the monitor. I think I can do this in open
12 session by simply not referring to certain entries and
13 not putting certain slides up on the monitors. There
14 may be a few parts which I will need to refer to in
15 private session.
16 First, on the top of the package, you have a
17 timeline spanning the entire period from April until
18 October of 1994, and I'll come back to that. It
19 provides a bit of an overview. The second slide which
20 I also have on your monitors now, is April 1993. If
21 you track from left to right, you see on the 20th of
22 April, Colonel Blaskic leaves the Hotel Vitez to go to
23 the meeting in Zenica.
24 What happens in Zenica? There's a meeting.
25 The cease-fire is the topic. But in the course of the
1 meeting, outside of the formal discussions, Dzemo
2 Merdan makes the comment that there are 500 dead
3 civilians in a canal down by the road near Vitez. That
4 is the comment according to the evidence. Merdan did
5 not mention Ahmici.
6 Every witness to testify about that meeting
7 has told you that Ahmici was not mentioned in any form
8 in the 20th of April meeting. You can refer to
9 Witness ZZ at reporter's transcript 10924, and you can
10 refer to a protected court witness at reporter's
11 transcript 93983 (sic). Blaskic responded to Merdan
12 that if that was true, there should be a joint
13 investigation immediately, but there was no discussion
14 at the meeting either of Merdan's claim or of Blaskic's
15 proposal. It appears that Merdan's comment, if it was
16 even made to international observers present, it
17 appeared to them it was a negotiating tactic, not a
18 serious accusation. Still, Blaskic did not ignore it.
19 He was concerned about it, and when he come back to the
20 hotel late that night, he asked his staff to check for
21 any reports that might tend to even substantiate
22 Merdan's claim. He was told there were none. That's
23 in his testimony at transcript 18880.
24 Now, if he ordered an attack on Ahmici, why
25 would he ask his staff to check the documents to see if
1 there were reports of civilian casualties in the area
2 of Vitez?
3 The next day, the 21st of April, there was
4 another meeting to implement the cease-fire held at the
5 ECMM house in Nova Bila. That's not on our timeline
6 because, again, the witnesses indicate there was no
7 mention whatsoever made at that meeting, including by
8 the BH army, of any civilian casualties in the region.
9 No mention whatsoever of Ahmici. You can see
10 Mr. Watters testimony at transcript page 3496, as well
11 as a protected court witness at transcript page 23615.
12 What happened then? We all know very well
13 what happened. On the 22nd of April --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Hayman, could you slow
15 down, please?
16 MR. HAYMAN: My apologies to the
18 Colonel Stewart, while policing the buffer
19 zone that was trying to be established found BH army
20 troops who refused to pull back from the buffer zone,
21 and with good reason, Your Honours. They were enraged
22 and outraged because they had heard of murdered
23 civilians in Ahmici. Gasoline had been poured on the
24 fire of conflict, tension, and hatred in the Lasva
25 Valley. That was the effect of the Ahmici massacre.
1 Gasoline was poured on the fire.
2 Stewart went to Ahmici, and after a careful
3 inspection, he found eight bodies, two outside of a
4 structure and six more in a cellar of a burned and
5 collapsed house. It was a tragedy, what he found, but
6 again, even after this careful inspection, he found
7 eight bodies. He didn't find 100 or 50 or 75. He
8 didn't find visible evidence of an immense massacre, he
9 found eight bodies. He sent a letter on that same day
10 to Colonel Blaskic, which you know, telling him again
11 that he has found eight bodies, again a terrible
12 tragedy, even those eight, but it's significant what he
13 found, and asking for help in investigating this
15 Has the Prosecution proven that Blaskic
16 received this information before the 22nd of April?
17 You need to decide that to judge this case. From the
18 makeshift command post in the basement of the Hotel
19 Vitez, could he make visual or oral observations,
20 indicating that there was a crime in Ahmici ongoing on
21 the 16th of April? The basement of the Hotel Vitez,
22 Your Honours, is still there to this day. It is
23 available for scientific or forensic analysis and
24 inspection, sound tests, visual tests. That evidence
25 could have been presented to you. The Prosecutor made
1 no effort, no attempt, or perhaps -- well, we assume,
2 in good faith, they simply made no attempt to determine
3 what could be heard or seen from that basement.
4 Instead, they offered general opinions that, from a
5 distance of five kilometres, yes, you can see smoke,
6 and smoke means there's a crime ongoing.
7 When witnesses were asked the relevant
8 question, namely, what could you detect from the
9 basement about the nature of combat or other violence
10 in the Vitez area? The answer was uniform from each
11 one of them, and this is a very telling passage that
12 I'm going to play for you now, Your Honours. Sefkija
14 (Videotape played)
15 "Mr. Kehoe:
16 Q So if you were in the Hotel Vitez, you
17 could see virtually all of the activity
18 taking place on the attacks of these
19 villages and hear the gunfire and the
20 shelling on those villages; is that
22 A The shooting would be heard. From a
23 hotel room, it could be seen, but it
24 could neither be heard nor seen if a
25 person would -- if a person had been in
1 the cellar, but only in that case could
2 they fail to see and hear."
3 MR. HAYMAN: The Prosecutor asked Mr. Dzidic
4 about the Hotel Vitez, from the Hotel Vitez. He didn't
5 mention the cellar. Why did Sefkija Dzidic volunteer
6 his comment about the cellar, that you couldn't hear or
7 see anything from the cellar? It wasn't in the
8 question. The Court can review the entire transcript
9 at page 1268.
10 For Judge Rodrigues's benefit, Sefkija Dzidic
11 was the Territorial Defence commander in Stari Vitez.
12 He spent the whole war in Stari Vitez. Why did he
13 immediately go to the cellar in his answer? Because he
14 lived through the war in Vitez. He knows that when
15 there's shelling and sniper fire, you go in the
16 cellar. You want to live? You go in the cellar. And
17 that's why he volunteered, even though it was
18 unresponsive to the answer, that you couldn't hear
19 anything or see anything from the cellar of the Hotel
20 Vitez. Dzidic knew where he'd be if he was in the
21 Hotel Vitez during that conflict. He would have gone
22 to the cellar, clearly.
23 Now, the Prosecutor relies on a visit to
24 Ahmici by Mr. Jozic on the 21st of April, and
25 statements by Cerkez and Valenta on or about the 19th
1 that involve vague references to Ahmici, did you hear
2 about Ahmici, and that sort of thing. None of these
3 facts established that any of these persons knew there
4 had been a massacre on the 19th or 20th of April, and
5 they certainly do not establish that Blaskic knew that
6 was the case.
7 We know, Your Honours, that the Dutch
8 Battalion was located at Santici across the road from
9 Ahmici. The Dutch Battalion, you haven't heard very
10 much about them. They were not co-located with
11 BritBat. They were not in Vitez. They were not in
12 Busovaca. They were in Santici, across the road from
13 Ahmici. You can look at the maps in this case, and you
14 can see exactly where that base was. And the British
15 Battalion, of course, had dozens and dozens of patrols
16 out from the 16th of April onwards. Did any of those
17 patrols or did the DutchBat troops, that had a
18 permanent location across the road from Ahmici, did
19 they hear the sounds or see the images of a massacre on
20 the morning of the 16th of April from their vantage
21 points, or were those sounds and images
22 indistinguishable from those of combat operations,
23 operations which, in fact, were ongoing at the time in
24 more than a dozen locations around, as well as inside,
25 Vitez itself?
1 The question was answered by the BritBat
2 witnesses. They didn't see a massacre. And with
3 respect to DutchBat, the question is answered by the
4 Prosecution's failure to call a single DutchBat witness
5 to testify on that subject.
6 In your packets, Your Honour, there is
7 another table which I think is the last page, if this
8 isn't clear on the screen -- oh, I'm sorry. We need to
9 go into private session to look at this chart. My
10 apologies. Yes, I think we need private session, I
11 think that would be best, just for a moment, and we
12 need the video monitor in the public gallery turned
14 (Private session)
13 page 25181 redacted – private session
1 (Open session)
2 MR. HAYMAN: We return then to Colonel
3 Stewart's letter. What did Blaskic do? He responded
4 the next day to Colonel Stewart's letter, and he also
5 ordered his staff to collect all documents within the
6 Operative Zone, orders and reports, from the 16th to
7 the 22nd of April, so that they would be available for
8 an investigation, and his letter you have. You are
9 familiar with it. He asked for Stewart and for Stewart
10 to enlist Thebault's help in convening the chiefs of
11 staff of the BH army and the HVO to address the
12 situation and build support for a joint investigation
13 of the crime in Ahmici.
14 The fact is a joint investigation into Ahmici
15 was a very good idea, both on Colonel Stewart's part
16 and with respect to Colonel Blaskic's support for it.
17 Only UNPROFOR and the ECMM could pressure the chiefs of
18 the main staff to give support to an investigation.
19 Only UNPROFOR had secure transport to move the joint
20 commission members around safely, and only the U.N. or
21 the BH army could effectively interview the survivors,
22 the surviving victims who were either in Zenica or were
23 certainly in no emotional condition to be interrogated
24 by HVO military policemen or SIS representatives.
25 Was Colonel Blaskic's request for an
1 investigation sincere? The Prosecution has to argue
2 that it wasn't because otherwise their theory falls
3 apart. What other evidence is there of his state of
4 mind at the time?
5 On the 24th of April, he met with Colonel
6 Stewart, and Stewart personally briefed him on what he
7 had seen on the 22nd and, I believe, on the 23rd when
8 he returned with Martin Bell to Ahmici. Stewart
9 described Blaskic's reaction at that meeting to the
10 news, to his description, and he said, "Blaskic was
11 absolutely horrified" at what had taken place in
12 Ahmici, absolutely horrified. That was quoted in the
13 press, Defence Exhibit 592, and confirmed by Colonel
14 Stewart's testimony at transcript page 23815. While
15 Colonel Blaskic still hoped for a joint investigation,
16 he didn't wait for that support, and on the 24th of
17 April, he gave a verbal order to SIS to investigate
19 Why SIS? Why not the military police? They
20 were the body that had a whole department dedicated to
21 criminal investigation? The military police could not
22 be entrusted with investigating themselves. That's a
23 basic principle, if one wishes to seek integrity for an
24 investigation. You do not entrust a suspect to
25 investigate him or herself. Those of us that have had
1 prosecutive or other criminal, judicial experience or
2 inspector general experience in any agency of any
3 national government, we know that that is a fundamental
4 principle. There were no entities, other than the
5 military police and the SIS, that had any investigative
6 skills or experience.
7 What if Blaskic had ordered the Vitez Brigade
8 to investigate Ahmici. Militia men, villagers, could
9 they do that job, or would he be on trial now for
10 incompetence in trying to follow-up and cause an
11 investigation? Only SIS, other than the military
12 police, had any expertise in criminal investigations,
13 and only SIS had the authority to investigate the
14 military police because SIS had authority for security
15 matters over all entities within the structure of the
16 Ministry of Defence. Blaskic had no option other than
17 to ask SIS to investigate. There was no one else. The
18 Prosecutor has not suggested that he had any other
20 Within three days of ordering SIS to
21 investigate, Blaskic himself toured Ahmici on the 27th
22 of April, and after his inspection, he attended a press
23 conference in Busovaca and made a clear statement
24 denouncing the crime and calling for public support for
25 an investigation. His exact words were recorded in
1 contemporaneous notes by Martin Bell, and you heard
2 from the honourable Mr. Bell in this courtroom.
3 (Videotape played)
4 "Mr. Hayman:
5 Q Did then Colonel Blaskic address the
6 subject of the massacre in Ahmici at
7 this press conference?
8 A Yes, he did. I made some notes at the
9 time which I, with the agreement of the
10 Court, will read. He said he was
11 horrified, he was going to do something
12 about it, that a commission is being set
13 up to investigate the atrocities.
14 Whoever did it, did it in an organised,
15 systematic way. It was an organised
16 group of people operating to a plan and,
17 therefore, controlled by someone. The
18 culprits must be identified and brought
19 to justice, and Colonel Blaskic said he
20 was appalled."
21 MR. HAYMAN: Now, if we could turn off the
22 monitor in the public gallery, Your Honour, I can
23 proceed in open session and without referring to
24 certain portions of these charts which contain
25 private-session or under-seal material.
1 May I inquire of the technical booth? We can
2 turn off the monitor in the public section, but
3 otherwise keep them open to our audio signal. I will
4 wait to see if the monitor has gone off. Thank you. I
5 think it has.
6 Colonel Blaskic --
7 THE REGISTRAR: Just a moment, please. In
8 switching off the screens in public gallery, then we
9 are necessarily in private session. Therefore, we are
10 already in private session.
11 MR. HAYMAN: May I inquire, can they hear?
12 Do they have the audio signal or no?
13 THE REGISTRAR: No.
14 MR. HAYMAN: I'll move quickly through this,
15 Mr. President.
16 (Private session)
5 (Open session)
6 MR. HAYMAN: On the 9th of May, Colonel
7 Stewart came to the Hotel Vitez to bid farewell to
8 Colonel Blaskic and to introduce his successor, Colonel
9 Alistair Duncan, whom you also heard from in this
10 case. This is the encounter in which Duncan attributed
11 to Blaskic the statements that either the Serbs
12 committed the crime in Ahmici or the BH army did it or
13 the BH army did it dressed up as the HVO. Do Your
14 Honours remember? I hope you do, because it was
15 testimony that the Prosecutors read to at least a dozen
16 other witnesses, and they said, "Colonel Duncan said
17 that Blaskic blamed Ahmici on the Serbs or blamed it on
18 the BH army. Wouldn't you agree that that is absurd
19 and that he was lying?" They did that to at least
20 twelve witnesses to try and convince Your Honours that
21 our client is a liar, is a dishonourable man, is a
22 deceitful man.
23 Colonel Duncan, that was his recollection,
24 that Colonel Blaskic said those things. Fortunately,
25 Colonel Stewart was also present at this meeting, the
1 9th of May, 1993, and we asked Colonel Stewart whether
2 this was said by Colonel Blaskic at this meeting or on
3 any occasion, and he was very, very clear because he
4 knew, he knew Tihomir Blaskic, he knew him well, and he
5 remembered what Blaskic had told him about Ahmici, and
6 this was his answer.
7 (Videotape played)
8 "Mr. Hayman:
9 Q In your book at page 310, you recounted
10 a meeting with Dario Kordic in which
11 Mr. Kordic had suggested that the Serbs
12 had been responsible for Ahmici. Do you
13 recall that?
14 A I do.
15 Q I take it you find that an incredible
17 A Yes. I've been laughing myself sick.
18 Q And would you agree that Colonel Blaskic
19 never made such an explanation to you
20 for Ahmici?
21 A I would definitely agree that Colonel
22 Blaskic never made such a statement to
23 me, that the Serbs were responsible for
24 that action."
25 MR. HAYMAN: Colonel Stewart was at the
1 meeting on the 9th of May, and Colonel Blaskic never
2 made that statement, never made it to Colonel Stewart,
3 never made it to Colonel Duncan. If you look at the
4 testimony, on the 9th of May, there was another meeting
5 on the 9th of May with Colonel Stewart and Colonel
6 Duncan with Dario Kordic. The same day, the same two
7 men met with Dario Kordic. Stewart recorded in his
8 book, "Kordic blamed Ahmici on the Serbs," et cetera.
9 Blaskic never, ever said that.
10 What would those ten witnesses have said,
11 those ten witnesses who were confronted with Duncan's
12 accusation, how would there testimony have been charged
13 perhaps different if their minds hadn't been polluted
14 by this misinformation and disinformation?
15 When a man is on trial for war crimes, it
16 doesn't make much to inflame witnesses, to cause
17 witnesses to truly believe that the world is black and
18 white and that their duty is to help put this man away
19 for the rest of his life, and if people believe that,
20 it can affect their testimony. It certainly affects
21 their perception and their tone.
22 There's one other important aspect to the 9th
23 of May meeting which I need to address. On the 4th of
24 May, before that meeting, Colonel Stewart met with
25 Payam Akhavan and Thomas Osorio of UNHCR, and a
1 decision was made that although four suspects had been
2 identified as actual direct perpetrators in the Ahmici
3 killings, that neither the four suspects' names nor any
4 other details would be shared with Colonel Blaskic.
5 UNHCR insisted on that and Stewart agreed. But Stewart
6 said he would confront Blaskic, and he did, with the
7 fact that they had names but that they weren't going to
8 share them with him.
9 We know that on the 9th of May, Stewart tells
10 Blaskic, "We have the names. We're not giving them to
11 you. What are you going to do?" Is it any surprise
12 that by the 10th of May, Blaskic was very impatient
13 with the lack of demonstrable progress in the SIS
14 investigation into Ahmici, and on the 10th of May, he
15 issues the first written order to SIS, and he tells
16 them to complete the investigation by the 25th of May.
17 Two of my colleagues don't have a video
18 monitor of this. I don't know if others do. I think
19 we may have lost it. There we go. Thank you.
20 So we have the 10th of May, the written order
21 to SIS is given. This is a copy of the order. It sets
22 a deadline for the investigation of May 25. It
23 designates the assistant for SIS to complete the
25 Is Blaskic papering the file, or is he
1 reacting to what must have been a disturbing
2 development on the 9th of May? Someone he considered
3 he had a good working relationship with, Colonel
4 Stewart, had told him that the International Community
5 had names of perpetrators but they weren't sharing them
6 with him and that Blaskic was on his own. If Blaskic
7 ever knew, if there was a turning point where he knew
8 there was going to be no joint investigation, that
9 certainly was the 9th of May, when the International
10 Community told him, "We're not sharing with you what we
11 have. You do it yourself."
12 Blaskic did receive a written report on the
13 25th of May from the SIS assistant, but it was
14 unsatisfactory, for all the reasons that you have
15 heard. The report was sent to Mostar as well, a copy
16 of it.
17 Blaskic recognised that the power and
18 influence of the military police was potentially
19 impeding the investigation into Ahmici, and he
20 testified that on the 29th of May, he briefed General
21 Petkovic and insisted that the 4th Military Police
22 Battalion be reorganised, be subordinated to him, and
23 that the commander, Pasko Ljubicic, be removed.
24 Approval for this was finally received on the 4th of
25 August, which, given the way in by bureaucracies work,
1 was actually pretty good. In fact, Ljubicic was
2 removed as commander of the 4th Military Police
3 Battalion. That removal was the direct result of
4 Colonel Blaskic's efforts. There is no evidence --
5 there has been no effort to show that that removal was
6 due to any other fact or influence.
7 Blaskic then moved forward to take full
8 advantage of Pasko Ljubicic's removal. On the 10th of
9 August, after getting Marinko Palavra installed as the
10 new military police commander, he verbally instructed
11 SIS to continue with their investigation, and on the
12 17th of August, he issued a second written order for an
13 investigation. The Prosecutor faults Blaskic for
14 waiting. There was a reason for the timing of this,
15 and the Court, I think, understands. You must
16 understand. I'm sure you understand, that the military
17 police, the reorganisation of the military police, the
18 removal of the commander that had previously lied to
19 Blaskic about Ahmici, made possible potentially a more
20 meaningful investigation into the Ahmici events, and
21 Blaskic issued a second written order to take advantage
22 of that.
23 If you look at this order, there's something
24 interesting, it fits in with what my colleague,
25 Mr. Nobilo, was describing to you earlier in this
1 argument. In paragraph 1, he orders the SIS assistant
2 to unify all the materials and provide the bodies of
3 district military court that are in charge with those
4 materials. Why did he say that? Why did he want a
5 file prepared and given to the district military
6 court? Because it had the authority to bring criminal
7 charges, not Blaskic. Let's face it, Ahmici was a
8 criminal matter and is a criminal matter.
9 Pasko Ljubicic, whom he knew, had at least
10 covered up the crime, had been removed from his
11 position and was shortly thereafter removed from the
12 HVO. That is the testimony. But who the shooters
13 were, who the arsonists were, Blaskic didn't know, he
14 still did not know, but he was pressing and he
15 continued to press for their identification and that
16 that information be given to the district military
17 court to make possible criminal prosecutions.
18 Then he was blocked. On the 30th of
19 September, the SIS assistant informed him that the
20 entire report, including names, had been forwarded to
21 the SIS administration in Mostar. When Blaskic asked
22 for a copy of the report, the SIS assistant told him
23 the matter was outside of his authority. The SIS
24 administration had taken it over for reasons apparent,
25 I think, to us all that we mentioned yesterday.
1 We, of course, now have come full circle back
2 to the concept of a dual line of command over the
3 Security and Information Service in Central Bosnia.
4 Now we do need a short private session, Your
5 Honour, so I can explain the final piece of this
7 (Private session)
13 page 25195 redacted – private session
13 page 25196 redacted – private session
10 (Open session)
11 MR. HAYMAN: I will not go through the
12 Operation Spider events. I would just like to mention
13 that as a result of Operation Spider, Ivica Rajic and
14 other members of the Maturice gang, in Kiseljak, were
15 arrested and put on trial in Mostar. The Prosecutor,
16 in his argument, has blamed Blaskic for the fact that
17 apparently those individuals were acquitted by the
18 judge or jury or Judges that heard that case. Now,
19 Your Honours know that Blaskic had no role or powers
20 over the prosecutors involved in those trials. Who
21 knows what intrigue is behind those events? But the
22 fact is it should be apparent to all that the
23 Prosecution seeks to blame Blaskic, even for those
24 verdicts, and that for them, Blaskic is a symbol for
25 everything they find fault with in Herceg-Bosna and the
2 If you look back, and I won't put it on the
3 screen because it's not public material. If you look
4 back at the first page of your packet, of all the
5 entries in the timeline, all the meetings, many of
6 which have been confirmed by international observers,
7 all the documents, both documents that were generated
8 at the time and that Colonel Blaskic saw and other
9 documents that we've been able to obtain since, you
10 have a good basis, Your Honours, to ask the question,
11 "Was this all a ruse? Was Blaskic papering the file?
12 Was he reacting to CNN? Or was he trying to get at the
13 truth regarding Ahmici?
14 We submit strongly that he wanted to know who
15 had done this, who had misled him, who had disobeyed
16 his orders, and who had committed this crime, but,
17 quite frankly, from a legal perspective, Your Honours,
18 it doesn't matter. The Prosecutor is confusing motive
19 with intent. Why Blaskic wanted to investigate Ahmici
20 is legally irrelevant. The fact that he did, the fact
21 that he wanted to and the fact that he took steps,
22 reasonable steps, under what were very difficult
23 circumstances to do so means that he lacked the mens
24 rea necessary to commit the crime alleged of failure to
25 punish and failure to prevent, because motive has
1 nothing to do with mens rea. Mens rea is intent,
2 criminal intent.
3 Now I return to the Vitez area, back to the
4 16th of April. What else happened in Vitez and what
5 can you infer from that? You know what happened in the
6 hamlets of Ahmici, Nadioci, Santici, and Pirici. They
7 are all one collection of hamlets within a kilometre or
8 two from each other. The military police were active
9 in this entire area.
10 Apart from that area, what actually happened
11 in the Vitez municipality? In Kruscica, there was an
12 armed conflict between the BH army and the HVO. The
13 HVO and Croat residents were attacked and encircled in
14 the Motel Lovac. There's no charge in the indictment
15 concerning any activities in Kruscica.
16 What about Gacice? There's no charge of any
17 attack in Gacice on the 16th of April, no attack in
18 Gacice on the 16th of April. The evidence is that for
19 three days, the villagers at the local level in Gacice
20 negotiated with each other over who would surrender
21 weapons to the other. And on the 19th of April, those
22 discussions broke down and there was a conflict in
24 What about Donja Veceriska? There was a
25 military conflict there, and you need go no further
1 than the statement of Midhat Haskic, one of the
2 combatants on the Territorial Defence side, to find
3 some of the details. There's no attack on civilians in
4 Donja Veceriska charged in the indictment. Houses were
5 burned, both Croat and Muslim, and that is charged, but
6 there's no attack on civilians charged in Donja
7 Veceriska. Where is the master plan? Why is Donja
8 Veceriska so different from Ahmici? Why is Gacice so
9 different from Ahmici? Why is Kruscica so different
10 from Ahmici?
11 In Vitez, there are attacks alleged on
12 persons and property, and the evidence is that those
13 attacks occurred around approximately six houses near
14 the yellow building on the Vitez side of Stari Vitez
15 and also by the Vitezovi -- by the Vitezovi in that
16 area, and that also on the other side of Stari Vitez,
17 members of Zuti's gang went to the side by the Catholic
18 church, became involved with some fighting, lost a man
19 or two, and may well have executed and killed one or
20 two individuals, and we saw some pictures of, I think,
21 a middle-aged man lying on that street by the Catholic
23 Fairly small scale, sad, tragic, and criminal
24 perhaps, but small scale events in the scheme of all
25 the conflict, all the violence, all the fighting that
1 was going on on the 16th, and radically and
2 fundamentally different from what was going on in
4 The Prosecution wants you to draw an
5 inference that what happened in Ahmici and all these
6 other places, the common thread is Blaskic because he's
7 the commander of the territory. But if you look at
8 what happened in these different places, you see that
9 the common theme is local variation, local factors,
10 local influences, events of retaliation, events of
11 revenge, looting for personal gain.
12 What about other municipalities? The
13 Prosecutor said in his opening statement that on the
14 16th of April, there were concerted attacks in Vitez,
15 Busovaca, and Kiseljak.
16 What attacks occurred in the Kiseljak
17 municipality on the morning of 16th April? None.
18 There were none. Zero. It was later. There were
19 attacks, there was conflict, there were battles on the
20 18th, based on the fact that the Vitez enclave was
21 collapsing and there was a need to draw some of those
22 BH forces away from Vitez. On the 16th, there were
24 What about Busovaca? In the indictment,
25 there's only one alleged attack on civilians or
1 civilian property in the Busovaca municipality in or
2 around April, and it's an attack that's alleged to have
3 occurred in Ocenici. This is Ocenici if you see the
4 small, yellow location. It's below Busovaca and it's
5 off the main road. There was one witness who testified
6 about Ocenici and I believe that was in open session,
7 Mr. Nuhagic. He was a resident of this small hamlet
8 which consisted of eight houses. There were nine
9 families living there, and according to Mr. Nuhagic, an
10 attack occurred on this hamlet on the 19th of April,
11 not on the 16th. This is in the transcript at 5235.
12 According to this same witness, the attack was by the
13 military police, led by their commander, Pasko
14 Ljubicic. Please check the transcript. You don't have
15 to take my word for it. Reporter's transcript 5235.
16 In the attack, five members of Mr. Nuhagic's family
17 were killed, and he said in his testimony that the
18 military police accused the residents of Ocenici of
19 shelling them the prior day and that they came out
20 there to exact revenge.
21 What's the common thread, Your Honours,
22 between the killing of civilians in Ocenici and the
23 killing of civilians in Ahmici? Is it Colonel Blaskic
24 or is it the 4th Battalion of the military police?
25 What's the common thread? What's the nexus?
1 There are no other attacks on civilians or
2 civilian property alleged in the indictment to have
3 occurred in Busovaca on the 16th of April. None.
4 You have to ask yourself whether the patterns
5 of violence support the kind of grandiose, criminal,
6 master scheme planned and implemented by Colonel
7 Blaskic that the Prosecutor urges or whether the world
8 is more complex and less black and white, and if you
9 look at the details, you see other common themes and
10 threads that do not run to our client.
11 There are two other incidents I wish to
12 discuss regarding the mid April conflict in Vitez. The
13 truck bomb and the shelling of Zenica. The truck bomb
14 went off on 18 April on the BH army side of the front
15 line that was encircling Stari Vitez at the time. The
16 Prosecution alleges that Blaskic must have planned the
17 bomb because "the explosives needed were necessarily
18 under the control of Blaskic."
19 Let's look at that allegation. Did Blaskic
20 control all the explosives in Vitez? That is not what
21 their own witnesses said. What did Captain Whitworth
22 say about that issue?
23 (Videotape played)
24 "Mr. Hayman:
25 Q The entire population of the region were
1 armed; was it not?
2 A Absolutely.
3 Q Not just with small arms but there were
4 explosives to be found among the general
5 population, et cetera; correct?
6 A Correct."
7 MR. HAYMAN: Other international observers
8 confirmed that it was a significant problem and that
9 the authorities in Vitez were constantly complaining of
10 the problem that many, many private citizens had
11 explosives. What did Charles McLeod say about this?
12 (Videotape played)
13 "Mr. Hayman:
14 Q Turning to the next page of this
15 statement, did Mr. Santic also tell you
16 that because there was an explosives
17 factory in Vitez, I believe he said
18 every tenth man has too much explosives
19 or explosives in his private custody.
20 Did he tell you that?
21 A Yes."
22 MR. HAYMAN: Of course, this is due to the
23 fact that the SPS factory was located right next to
24 Vitez and that it was the primary source of employment
25 for people in Vitez. So the citizens of the area had
1 access to the factory, and given the fear and paranoia
2 that existed at the time, it appears that many, many
3 citizens had their own cache of explosives, and you can
4 be sure that Darko Kraljevic had more than a small
5 cache of his own private explosives. He liked the big
6 bang events, and as we saw in a BBC film, which Darko
7 Kraljevic orchestrated, a large explosion on a hillside
8 for BBC to record.
9 Alternatively, the Prosecutor alleges that
10 Blaskic must have known about the truck bomb, he must
11 have heard about it from rumours in the town, and that
12 he failed to prevent it. This is inconsistent with the
13 argument that he ordered it, but, nonetheless, it's
14 their fallback position, I suppose. If you look at
15 Defence Exhibit D280, the Vitezovi report to the main
16 staff, you will see that the Vitezovi regularly acted
17 on the orders of Darko Kraljevic and not higher orders
18 and that even when they made formal reports, they
19 didn't send them. So if you look at that report,
20 there's no evidence of any hand or any knowledge on the
21 part of Colonel Blaskic in that event.
22 What about these vague warnings? The
23 Prosecution witnesses spoke of vague warnings, such as
24 an explosion or something, "stay away from the window,"
25 "close your window, something is going to happen," and
1 we heard that from three or four people. There is no
2 evidence that such rumours reached the Operative Zone
3 headquarters or Colonel Blaskic. If these warnings
4 came from Vitezovi members themselves, as presumably
5 the Prosecutor contends, then the evidence is Blaskic
6 would have been the last person the Vitezovi would have
7 wanted to inform of their pending attack, because
8 Blaskic would have objected. He would have tried to
9 stop it.
10 What about the Zenica shelling? This has
11 been a moving target for the Defence, if there has been
12 one, Your Honour. In their case in chief, they
13 contended that Bosnian Serb artillery from Mount Vlasic
14 could not reach Zenica, and thus we knew, we all should
15 have concluded from that that the shelling in Zenica
16 had to be HVO. This is Major Watters.
17 (Videotape played)
18 "A ... from our own artillery experts that
19 the position of his heavy-calibre
20 artillery was not in range of Zenica.
21 It was in range of us in Vitez but it
22 wasn't in range of Zenica. So we
23 deducted from that that it was, indeed,
24 Croat artillery that had fired."
25 MR. HAYMAN: Major Watters is referring to
1 the Bosnian Serb position on Mount Vlasic as not being
2 within range of Zenica, and you can check that. It's
3 in the transcript at 3410. But, in fact, and we need
4 to go into private session for just 20 seconds. In
5 fact, this case is replete with examples --
6 JUDGE JORDA: May I stop you there,
7 Mr. Hayman, because you have been speaking for a long
8 time, and we have to take into account the
9 interpreters, and we will take a good 20-minute break,
10 especially for the interpreters, because, after all,
11 the Judges do have occasion to relax.
12 --- Recess taken at 11.20 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 11.49 a.m.
14 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
15 bring in the accused and please be seated.
16 (The accused entered court)
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, continue with your
18 closing arguments, please.
19 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 If you will recall, before the break, we saw
21 Major Watters drawing the inference that because the
22 Serb artillery on Mount Vlasic could not reach Zenica,
23 then it was concluded that the HVO must have done the
25 The next piece of evidence, it will only take
1 a moment, needs to be presented in private session,
3 (Private session)
23 (Open session)
24 MR. HAYMAN: The next argument we heard was
25 that the shell came directly west from Zenica, from a
1 known HVO artillery position, and that this was
2 confirmed by BH army spotters. This evidence came,
3 first of all, from Witness W, who testified with face
4 distortion, but I think it was otherwise open, so you
5 can hear his testimony in this regard.
6 (Videotape played)
7 "Mr. Cayley:
8 Q To conclude on this, what was the
9 bearing of the direction of fire of the
10 artillery piece?"
11 JUDGE JORDA: The face is distorted but not
12 the voice, I think.
13 MR. HAYMAN: I think those were the
14 protective measures requested and that otherwise it was
15 in open session with only face distortion. If there's
16 any concern there, we can go into private, but I think
17 not. I apologise for the volume. The tapes we
18 received were of different volumes, and so now I think
19 we have adjusted the volume, and we will replay it,
20 with Your Honours' permission.
21 JUDGE JORDA: I have no interpretation. Yes,
22 it is all right now. I'm sorry. Yes, it was me who
23 turned it down. It's my fault.
24 Please continue.
25 MR. HAYMAN: This again is Witness W, the
1 Prosecution's expert, describing the direction of the
2 shell's flight to Zenica.
3 (Videotape played)
4 "Mr. Cayley:
5 Q To conclude on this, what was the
6 bearing of the direction of fire of the
7 artillery piece?
8 A The bearing was westerly in relationship
9 to the city of Zenica."
10 MR. HAYMAN: That passage is at reporter's
11 transcript 6025. The Prosecution, however, had already
12 presented expert testimony from Major Baggesen.
13 By the way, the direct westerly trajectory,
14 that's the Puticevo location that you heard about it.
15 Major Baggesen, though, testified that the
16 shell came from Bila, which is to the southwest, not
17 the west.
18 (Videotape played)
19 "Mr. Cayley:
20 Q Now, where do you estimate that the
21 shells came from? Where did you analyse
22 and estimate that the shells were being
23 fired from?
24 A From the area over here.
25 Q Can you specify what that area is on the
2 A That is the Bila area.
3 Q The Bila area?
4 A Yes."
5 MR. HAYMAN: Now, there's a big difference
6 between west and southwest, Your Honours, a big
7 difference. Also, by the way, southwest is closer to
8 the direction of the Vlasic feature, the known Serb
10 Now, in argument, they took a third tack, the
11 Prosecution, and claimed that everyone agreed that the
12 shell that fell on Zenica that day and did so much
13 damage and destruction was a 122-millimetre shell.
14 That was the proposition advanced in argument.
15 Now, Major Baggesen did say that he thought
16 it was a 122-millimetre shell, but the Prosecutor's
17 witnesses could not agree on the calibre of the shell.
18 The investigating judge entered into the official
19 record that it was estimated to be a 155-millimetre
20 shell, and my records reflect that this individual
21 testified in open session, Mr. Veseljak, and so we'll
22 hear that testimony now.
23 (Videotape played)
24 "A So by examining this fragment on the
25 spot and imagining what it would look
1 like if it was in one piece, they said
2 that it could be a shell of
3 155-millimetre calibre, and that is what
4 I entered in the record, but with the
5 reservation that this was just an
7 MR. HAYMAN: That is at transcript 5950.
8 Then a military commission from the BH army arrived on
9 the scene, looked at the same shell fragments, and
10 pronounced the shell to have been 120 millimetres.
11 This is, again, Mr. Veseljak.
12 (Videotape played)
13 "A ... only to be expected that they would
14 too appear on the spot, as people
15 responsible for military security, and I
16 know that they did that because, while I
17 still felt -- believed that it was
18 155-millimetre calibre, the military
19 body said it was 120-millimetre
21 MR. HAYMAN: Suffice to say that what has
22 been demonstrated is that three different people will
23 have or, in this case, had three different opinions
24 concerning the calibre of the shell depending on the
25 particular fragment they picked up and based on
1 differences in judgement. This is not a science. It
2 is not a science.
3 Perhaps the most significant problem, Your
4 Honours, is that the shell fragments are gone. That's
5 what the witnesses said. They no longer have them in
6 the file or in the custody of the judicial
7 authorities. The fragments were taken home by EC
8 Monitors as souvenirs, and they're gone. The Defence
9 had no opportunity to have them examined
10 scientifically, the Prosecution didn't, Your Honours
11 didn't via court witnesses or what have you. So that's
12 the state of the record.
13 In our case, we called Professor Jankovic,
14 who was a ballistics engineer, and he took the
15 calculations of Witness W, the Prosecution expert,
16 which had been designed to show that the shell, alleged
17 to be 122 millimetres, could have made the trip from
18 Puticevo to Zenica, given the distance of 16
19 kilometres. What Professor Jankovic found was that if
20 you took the data posited by Witness W, you found that
21 it was mathematically impossible.
22 If you look at the imagine before you now,
23 these are the calculations of Professor Jankovic using
24 the standard NATO mathematical formula, and Professor
25 Jankovic found that the data presented by Witness W,
1 which was designed to show that a 122-millimetre could
2 make the trip, was mathematically impossible.
3 In argument, the Prosecutor has responded to
4 Professor Jankovic with the argument that, "Well,
5 Witness W's data was wrong. He didn't have good data."
6 So we're back at the starting point, Your Honours. The
7 data itself with respect to direction, with respect to
8 angle of impact, with respect to calibre of the shell,
9 we just don't know, and that's not the stuff of a
10 criminal case. That's not the type of evidence that
11 anyone should be judged for individual responsible.
12 We don't concede for a moment that even if
13 some element within the HVO performed this shelling, we
14 do not concede that General Blaskic ordered, condoned
15 in any way that act, but we don't get even to that
16 argument, Your Honours, because certainly proof beyond
17 a reasonable doubt has not yet been established with
18 respect to this tragedy which did occur on the 19th of
19 April, 1993.
20 Let's move to the Kiseljak municipality.
21 We'll look at events in Kiseljak now from the 16th of
22 April forward.
23 We submit to you that Blaskic has neither
24 direct nor command responsibility for any events in
25 Kiseljak from the 16th of April forward for three
1 principal reasons.
2 He was entirely isolated and cut off from
3 that enclave. He could not go there, other than for a
4 few U.N. meetings, and there were only a few --
5 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. Could you repeat
6 your last sentence, please, Mr. Hayman? I wasn't able
7 to grasp it quite.
8 MR. HAYMAN: I'm sorry, Your Honour. I
9 should slow down. I was going too fast.
10 I will turn now to the Kiseljak municipality,
11 to events from the 16th of April forward in that
12 municipality. We've been in Vitez and now we move to
14 We submit that Blaskic has neither direct nor
15 command responsibility for any crimes or misconduct in
16 the Kiseljak municipality for principally three
18 1) He was isolated, he was cut off, and the
19 level of communications and the type of reporting and
20 the things that were being reported to him did not give
21 him the ability to exert operative control over Ivica
22 Rajic, the Maturice, and other elements, who
23 undoubtedly were perpetrating crimes in that
25 2) Whatever command and control Blaskic had
1 during the period of time that Mijo Bozic was at least
2 the formal brigade commander in Kiseljak ended when
3 there was a mutiny and Mijo Bozic was expelled from the
4 Kiseljak brigade as commander at gunpoint by supporters
5 of Ivica Rajic, and we will talk about that testimony
6 in a moment. This occurred within a few weeks of the
7 mid April conflict. Ivica Rajic returned and assumed
8 all power in that municipality.
9 Actually, if we go into private session for
10 just one moment, I can identify the source of that
11 information for Your Honours and then go back into
13 (Private session)
10 (Open session)
11 MR. HAYMAN: The mutiny within the Kiseljak
12 brigade only formalised what had already occurred in
13 fact, namely, Rajic had been exercising de facto
14 command over the brigade from outside of the formal
15 chain of command. We know that from, among other
16 sources, reports of international observers, such as
17 this document, Prosecutor's Exhibit 93, which recounts,
18 and I'll summarise it, that on the 27th of April, this
19 is before Mijo Bozic was actually expelled because Mato
20 Lucic was killed in early May 1993, in late April, an
21 ECMM team is denied access to Gomionica, and the local
22 commander denied them that access. This is the last
23 sentence of the highlighted portion. "He stated that
24 his commander, Ivica Rajic, had given orders to stop
25 all U.N., UNHCR, and ECMM vehicles."
1 So we know that even before Rajic replaced
2 Bozic, Rajic is giving orders contrary to Colonel
3 Blaskic's orders, in this case, for example, to block
4 access by international observers.
5 It is clear from the evidence that Blaskic
6 had no ability to control Rajic. Rajic was a ruthless
7 figure who used violence to consolidate his power
8 within the HVO, and I would like you to hear Ed
9 Vulliamy's description of Rajic's take-over, violent
10 take-over of the Vares HVO, consolidating his own
11 personal power.
12 (Videotape played)
13 "A ... I should have added to the list was
14 included Travnik and Tuzla. But in
15 Vares, something very sad happened. In
16 Vares, which is just above Olovo in the
17 eastern bit of Central Bosnia, the HVO
18 was again wanting to be cooperative with
19 the Bosnian government army, and they
20 were themselves deposed during 1993 by
21 other units of the HVO who came up from
22 Kiseljak to depose, get rid of, the
23 elements in the HVO who had sought to
24 cooperate with the Bosnian army.
25 Q And those were the forces and units of
1 Ivica Rajic that came up from
2 Kiseljak --
3 A That's right.
4 Q -- and had effective control over Vares;
6 A That's right."
7 MR. HAYMAN: The Court may recall from other
8 evidence in the case that Rajic perfected his control
9 in Vares through the murder also of the SIS assistant
10 in Vares, Duznovic. He was murdered by Rajic, thus
11 eliminating the dual line of control of command in
12 Vares, placing Rajic solely in control in Vares, and he
13 similarly consolidated his control and power in the
14 Kiseljak municipality.
15 Blaskic, isolated in Vitez, had no chance to
16 effect control over a man committed to such tactics and
17 exercising such powers.
18 My third and last point on Kiseljak is that
19 the HVO main staff had a command relationship over the
20 Kiseljak HVO that was direct, that is, a line of
21 command and communications went directly from the main
22 staff in Mostar to Kiseljak.
23 Now, why was that the case? Among other
24 reasons, that's because the main staff could physically
25 visit the Kiseljak municipality through Bosnian Serb
1 territory, and they did on a regular basis, and General
2 Petkovic did on a regular basis, and that is in the
3 evidence of this case. Indeed, the evidence is that
4 the main staff actually had a forward command post in
6 The evidence is also that the HVO liaison
7 officer in the Kiseljak municipality, this is a man
8 named Vinko Lucic, he reported to Mostar. He was a
9 liaison officer from Mostar in Kiseljak reporting
10 directly to Mostar, not to the Operative Zone, and the
11 Canadian Battalion, who were responsible for this area,
12 confirmed that, and I'd like to point your direction to
13 Captain Lanthier's testimony in this regard.
14 (Videotape played)
15 "Judge Riad: What was the exact position
16 of -- what was his exact responsibility?
17 In relation to General Blaskic, what was
18 Vinko Lucic?
19 A I had been introduced to him as -- he
20 himself introduced himself as the
21 liaison officer of the HVO army
22 headquarters in Mostar, and he answered
23 to the Mostar headquarters.
24 Judge Riad: Thank you."
25 MR. HAYMAN: That means, Your Honours, that
1 complaints by international agencies to the liaison
2 officer in Kiseljak went to the main staff, not to
3 Colonel Blaskic. He should not go to gaol for life, as
4 the Prosecutor requests, for such matters that were not
5 even reported to him but were reported directly to his
6 commanders in Mostar.
7 Lastly, I would point you to an order from
8 General Petkovic, which he sent in August of 1993 -- or
9 a request, it's not even an order, but it's a request
10 which, plainly on its face, is being sent to two
11 equals. It reads: "Preparing of actions. For Tiho
12 and Rajic. Act urgently on coordination," et cetera,
13 et cetera, "Signed, Milivoj Petkovic."
14 Now, I ask you, Your Honours, is this an
15 order to equals, "Tiho and Rajic," or is this an order
16 to a superior officer at the Operative Zone level and
17 an inferior officer at the brigade or even the
18 Operative Group level? This quite plainly is a
19 communication to de facto equals in recognition of the
20 fact that Rajic was in direct command under the main
21 staff of the Kiseljak HVO.
22 Now, there's one particular incident in
23 Kiseljak I do want to talk about it in greater detail.
24 I won't talk about the others, Rotilj, and other
25 terrible things that happened in Tulica and some of the
1 other villages, but I do want to talk about Gomionica.
2 There was an attack on the 18th of April in
3 Gomionica by the Kiseljak HVO, and this, we believe, is
4 important. It illustrates many things, but also it is
5 cited in the Prosecutor's final brief, in book 7, part
6 12, section 2.193, as an illegal order by Blaskic.
7 They call it an order "to ethnically cleanse the
8 villages" of Gomionica and Svinjarevo. That is how it
9 is characterised in their final brief.
10 What does this order, Defence Exhibit 299,
11 say? It's dated the 17th of April, and I'd like to
12 show you a portion of it.
13 It tells the Kiseljak Brigade to prepare to
14 launch a combat activity against Gomionica and
15 Svinjarevo for the purpose of reducing pressure on the
16 Vitez enclave, and Colonel Blaskic told the Kiseljak
17 HVO exactly how to launch this attack. He told
18 them, "Take control of Gomionica and Svinjarevo, and
19 the principal movement of forces should be to attack in
20 groups and only diagonally from locations called
21 Kocatale and Sikulja." The quote actually is: "The
22 attack of the main forces is to be from Sikulja ..."
23 and so forth.
24 By the way, I note there's an error on the
25 second line here. This order -- first and second
1 line. This is actually, I'm referring to D299, which
2 is an order from the morning of the 17th of April.
3 It's a preparatory combat order, and we have the French
4 of this same order.
5 So this is an order to take control of
6 Gomionica and Svinjarevo by proceeding with the main
7 forces from the two locations I named towards the high
8 ground above Gomionica. Now, you may recall General
9 Blaskic described this order in his testimony, and he
10 drew a handdrawn map, which you now see on the screens
11 in front of you.
12 Actually, I need to go back. If you will
13 just bear with me for a moment. There's another
14 location referenced in one of the orders Hadrovci, and
15 that is actually the other location that we have
16 identified on this map, which he identified and will
17 subsequently be identified in another map that I'm
18 going to show you in a moment. The point is that at
19 the bottom of this diagram, you have the main road,
20 then you have the village on the slope of the hill, you
21 have a feature high above the village, and you have two
22 other features along a ridge next to the high feature.
23 Here's a little bit more of a better map.
24 You can see the main road runs between Gomionica and
25 Gromiljak from the upper left of the map running down
1 towards the middle of the bottom of the map, and you
2 can see on the map, we haven't added the names on the
3 map, we've simply added the arrows, you can see the
4 high ground and that the order was to take control of
5 Svinjarevo and Gomionica by taking control of the high
6 ground. Because once the high ground was secured,
7 Gomionica and Svinjarevo would be cut off from Visoko,
8 which is where the 1st Corps was. There was a road
9 running between the two that the BH army had built.
10 Once you cut them off, you have effective control, and
11 you can do it in a very efficient and military-precise
13 The purpose of this -- well, the military
14 objective is obvious because Gomionica was the
15 headquarters of the BH army in the Kiseljak
16 municipality, and there was a large detachment there,
17 but the purpose of ordering the attack in this way,
18 which Blaskic did, was to avoid combat in a built-up
19 area and avoid unnecessary destruction to civilian
20 structures or risk to civilian lives.
21 What happened was the Kiseljak Brigade
22 apparently attacked Gomionica from the main road and
23 got mired in combat in the village itself, which is
24 reflected in the very meagre reports that General
25 Blaskic, then Colonel Blaskic, received. In this
1 report, all they say is: "We have lost Zavrtaljka,"
2 which is the high feature to the northwest of Gomionica
3 and which dominates the road from Kiseljak to
4 Bilalovac, and it says: "We did not manage to handle
5 Gomionica, but we did take around one kilometres on
6 both sides around Gomionica," which is not the
7 objective, is not how Colonel Blaskic had ordered the
8 Kiseljak Brigade to proceed.
9 It's also interesting, Your Honours, that
10 this act, this action was to begin early on the morning
11 of the 18th of April, and if you look at the time when
12 this report was actually received in Vitez, it's
13 received at 17.13, the end of the day, some ten hours
14 perhaps after the combat action had actually
16 So I wanted to speak specifically to that
17 order and that action, Your Honours, because it
18 illustrates the command and control difficulties that
19 Blaskic had with respect to Kiseljak and also because
20 the Prosecutor has claimed in their brief that this was
21 an illegal order, and we think that it is not the
23 Now I will talk about events after mid
24 April. There are, of course, many other things that we
25 can say about April, and they're in our final briefs,
1 but there is no need to recount them all. That's not
2 the purpose of final argument in a case like this with
3 so many facts and details.
4 I will address the attack on Stari Vitez on
5 the 18th of July, 1993 and then the Grbavica battle in
7 With respect to the Stari Vitez attack, it is
8 our position that Blaskic neither ordered nor knew
9 about the attack while it was occurring, nor was he
10 informed after the fact that the attack violated
11 international law, and it is our position that the
12 attack did not violate international law, and thus even
13 if he knew about it or in some way failed to prevent
14 it, no criminal liability can attach.
15 As background, I'd like to refresh your
16 memories about Stari Vitez for a moment. What was
17 Stari Vitez? It was defended by an organised military
18 force numbering approximately 250 defenders. This is
19 Sefkija Dzidic.
20 (Videotape played)
21 "Q Can you tell me, if we include the
22 military and civilian police, how many
23 troops did you have at your disposal
24 during these eleven months of siege?
25 A Between 200 and 250 men."
1 MR. HAYMAN: So we have 250 soldiers in Stari
2 Vitez, according to Major Hunter, at transcript page
3 5100. They were armed with 60 millimetre mortars,
4 rocket-propelled grenades, sniper rifles, and other
5 small arms, and according to Sefkija Dzidic himself, at
6 1455, Stari Vitez was heavily fortified on all sides
7 and throughout. Indeed, as Major Hunter confirmed,
8 Stari Vitez, it was a threat, a military threat to
9 Vitez, and it was a location of military significance
10 in this conflict.
11 (Videotape played)
12 "Mr. Hayman:
13 Q Would you agree that the presence of the
14 BH army in Stari Vitez was of military
15 significance to both warring parties?
16 A Yes, clearly it was ..."
17 MR. HAYMAN: I would also suggest to the
18 Court, urge, that it is clear from the evidence that
19 the HVO did take steps to alleviate the conditions that
20 civilians in Stari Vitez suffered under, as did, by the
21 way, many of the same conditions were suffered under by
22 the civilians in Vitez. Adequate food was allowed into
23 Stari Vitez. The HVO, on several occasions, offered
24 civilians the opportunity to temporarily leave Stari
25 Vitez in order to escape the war zone, and liaison
1 officer Captain Whitworth confirmed that for Your
3 (Videotape played)
4 "Mr. Hayman:
5 Q During your tour of duty, did you become
6 familiar with the offers made by the
7 Croat community in Vitez to the citizens
8 of Stari Vitez to temporarily evacuate
9 Stari Vitez and get out of the war
11 A Yes, I was aware of those offers."
12 MR. HAYMAN: Military and civilian targets
13 were also blurred in Stari Vitez. Now, what do I mean
14 by that? What I mean by that is that military
15 structures, military personnel, weapons, logistics, all
16 these things occurred, were stored, were deployed in
17 structures that weren't dedicated to a military purpose
18 or marked with a military marking. They were ordinary
19 structures, civilian structures. Indeed, it has been
20 testified in this case that everyone was active in the
21 defence of Stari Vitez, men and women.
22 (Videotape played)
23 "Mr. Hayman:
24 Q And were all such males in Stari Vitez
25 active in the military defence of Stari
2 A Everybody was active in the defence of
3 Stari Vitez.
4 Q You're saying men and women were active
5 in the defence?
6 A I saw women bearing arms as well, if
7 they were of that ilk."
8 MR. HAYMAN: What that means when military
9 and civilian targets are blurred is that it is more
10 difficult for any military force, seeking to take
11 action against that legitimate military target, to
12 separate the military and civilian targets and to
13 reduce potential damage to civilian structures and harm
14 to civilians.
15 Now, what do we know about HVO actions with
16 respect to Stari Vitez? You have heard that calls for
17 an all-out attack on Stari Vitez mounted as civilian
18 casualties in Vitez mounted into the summer of 1993.
19 Captain Bower described that at 9451. Captain Bower
20 also told this Court that Blaskic resisted such calls,
21 he would not allow artillery to be used, and that the
22 HVO strategy in the main was simply to try and contain
23 the BH army in Stari Vitez and prevent them from
24 breaking out, Captain Bower at 9386. Indeed, it was
25 widely known and resented by the Croat community in
1 Vitez that Blaskic would not allow artillery to be used
2 against Stari Vitez, protected witness at transcript
3 page 17716.
4 We also urge Your Honours to consider with
5 great caution the testimony of Sefkija Dzidic, who was
6 the Prosecutor's main witness to testify about the
7 siege and any attacks on Stari Vitez. Why? Because he
8 was not candid with this Court. I remind Your Honours
9 of his testimony that he flatly denied that any arms
10 were transported by UNPROFOR forces into Stari Vitez.
11 (Videotape played)
12 "Mr. Nobilo:
13 Q Throughout 11 months, a lot of it was
14 used up. How did you refill it?
15 A We got new ammunition from captives, and
16 we took the ammunition people had in
18 Q Did the UNPROFOR bring in any ammunition
19 and military equipment?
20 A No, never."
21 MR. HAYMAN: But UNPROFOR officers testified
22 in this case too, and one of those officers, Captain
23 Whitworth again, testified concerning the smuggling of
24 munitions into Stari Vitez personally by Sefkija
25 Dzidic. Here is his testimony. He also confronted
1 Dzidic after the event, although I don't recall if it's
2 in the clip as well. This is at transcript page
4 (Videotape played)
5 "A I'd been asked to take some medical
6 supplies into Stari Vitez and picked up
7 several small boxes of medical supplies
8 from the UNHCR building in Zenica, which
9 was a Muslim enclave, took them into
10 Stari Vitez, handed them over to
11 Commander Sefkija. He immediately
12 handed them over to one of his
13 subordinates who took them away to
14 another room. I sat and drank coffee
15 and exchanged pleasantries of the day,
16 assessing the situation with Commander
17 Sefkija. And then shortly after it was
18 decided, I made the excuse to leave and
19 took a walk around the houses and
20 buildings adjacent to Commander
21 Sefkija's headquarters. I walked into a
22 room and found them unpacking the boxes
23 that were allegedly full of bandages,
24 and inside each of the bandages was a
25 box of 20 rounds of ammunition. So
1 there was maybe 600, 1.000 rounds in
2 total, that if each box had contained,
3 you know, 400 or 500 rounds, so they'd
4 managed to wrap a carton of 20 rounds in
5 a bandage basically and then stick a box
6 full of bandages in the back of my
8 MR. HAYMAN: I recall myself, from Captain
9 Whitworth's testimony, that Captain Whitworth testified
10 that he then confronted Sefkija Dzidic with the fact
11 that it was wrong to use UNHCR aid and UNPROFOR to
12 smuggle weapons in, and Dzidic shrugged his shoulders
13 and said, "It's necessary." That's what Dzidic said.
14 By the way, I don't mean to pick up Dzidic.
15 They had problems. They needed munitions. So be it.
16 But we're simply identifying for Your Honours that you
17 need to scrutinise testimony like that with care
18 because these are people, such as Mr. Dzidic, he
19 suffered greatly in the war, he had a terrible
20 position, being isolated in Stari Vitez for ten months,
21 just like those in the Vitez pocket were isolated, and
22 that kind of testimony, in light of these
23 contradictions, must be carefully scrutinised.
24 Now let's turn to the 18th of July attack.
25 There is no evidence that Blaskic ordered the attack or
1 knew about it in advance. In fact, if you look at the
2 Vitezovi report to the main staff, D250, it states that
3 there was an order from the commander of the Vitezovi,
4 and that was the order to attack Stari Vitez on the
5 18th of July. There's no reference to any order from
6 Colonel Blaskic.
7 In fact, witnesses testified that the attack
8 was planned and instigated by Kraljevic in retaliation
9 for an attack by the BH army on Kraljevic's brother a
10 day or two earlier. That's in the transcript. A
11 protected witness testified to that effect at 17715.
12 Now, the attack itself, the 18th of July,
13 1993, was on a Sunday. You can check the calendar, and
14 please take judicial notice of that, but the calendar
15 in 1993 was actually aligned with this year's
16 calendar. So if you look at this year's calendar, you
17 will see that the 16th of April is a Friday and that
18 the 18th of July this year is also -- or, rather, was
19 on a Sunday.
20 Colonel Blaskic testified, then Colonel
21 Blaskic, that he was in Busovaca on the 18th of July.
22 He attended church, he had lunch with the parish
23 priest, who was a good friend of his, and that he had
24 gone the prior evening to Busovaca to spend what part
25 of the weekend he could get away for there, and he did
1 not return to Vitez until after the attack apparently
2 had concluded.
3 By the way, it ended in a complete debacle
4 for the Vitezovi with a large number of dead and
5 wounded soldiers.
6 Now, I'll come back to that weekend visit to
7 Busovaca, but first I'd like to respond to the argument
8 that the Prosecution made in their argument, that this
9 was not a Vitezovi attack, it was really an HVO attack,
10 and they rely on documents which purportedly reflect
11 that HVO soldiers in other units sustained injuries on
12 the 18th of July in the vicinity.
13 It is important to remember, Your Honours,
14 that the front line around Stari Vitez was manned by
15 Vitez Brigade militia. They were there from the 16th
16 of April on, and they were there on the 18th of July.
17 Someone had to man the front line. That was not the
18 Vitezovi. They did not view that as their task.
19 So when the Vitezovi came and they launched
20 their attack, and the BH army responded very
21 effectively from Stari Vitez with heavy fire,
22 casualties were sustained along that front line.
23 That's normal and to be expected.
24 Now, what about the Prosecutor's documents?
25 What do they really show? One of those documents was
1 P758, and if you look at that document, and they
2 offered this again to show that a soldier was wounded
3 on Stari Vitez who was not a member of the Vitezovi but
4 was actually a member of a regular HVO brigade, if you
5 look at this document, you'll see that it's dated in
6 1994. The Vitezovi no longer existed in 1994, and the
7 document doesn't reflect what unit this individual
8 belonged to in 1993.
9 The next document they offered, 759,
10 indicates that an individual, killed on the 18th of
11 July, was mobilised on the 16th of April into the HVO
12 and was killed by a counterattack on the defensive line
13 around Stari Vitez. As I said, that's exactly what one
14 would expect.
15 But there's something else that's very
16 interesting about this document, Your Honours, this is
17 P759. Look who signed this document. This is a
18 document from the 92nd Brigade, the 92nd Brigade of the
19 HVO, certifying that a certain soldier was killed on
20 the 18th of July. Look who signed this as commander or
21 deputy commander of the 92nd Regiment of the HVO:
22 Dragan Vinac. If you see that name, this is the
23 signature line enlarged.
24 Who is Dragan Vinac? Well, apparently in
25 1994, which I think is the date of this article, he has
1 some command position in the 92nd Regiment of the HVO.
2 But look at D250, the report of the Vitezovi. Who
3 signed that report as deputy commander of the Vitezovi
4 in late 1993 -- I guess early 1994? The other document
5 is later in 1994. Dragan Vinac.
6 Let's look at those two signatures again, if
7 you will. Here's Dragan Vinac signing as a commander
8 in the 92nd Regiment, late in 1996, actually, Your
9 Honours, if you look at the top. That's January 1996.
10 Here's D250, in February of 1994, Dragan Vinac signing
11 as commander of the Vitezovi.
12 So what does that tell you? That tells you
13 that you cannot infer from these documents, these
14 documents from 1994, 1995, 1996, what unit these people
15 belonged to in 1993. The man signing these documents
16 for the 92nd Regiment was the deputy commander of the
17 Vitezovi in 1993 and at least up until February of
19 Now to return to Tihomir Blaskic's weekend
20 plans on the 17th and 18th of July, 1993. The
21 Prosecutor claims Blaskic lied, he never left Vitez on
22 that weekend.
23 I would ask you to think about what you know
24 about his routine, think back to late January 1993,
25 when he left Vitez on a Saturday afternoon, January
1 23rd, to go visit his family home in Brestovsko for the
2 balance of the weekend. He got cut off on that weekend
3 visit and was stuck in Kiseljak on the 25th of January
4 and beyond. The Prosecution finds it incredible that
5 he did a similar thing on Saturday, the 17th of July,
6 although, of course, by then he couldn't go home to his
7 parents in Brestovsko, he was cut off, so he testified
8 that he went to Busovaca to visit his good friend, the
9 parish priest. Is it incredible that he tried to get
10 away for the tail end of Saturday and the first
11 two-thirds or so of Sunday, the 18th of July? Or is it
12 perfectly normal that he would try to get away for at
13 least one day of the weekend?
14 You will recall that he was not a native of
15 Vitez. He didn't even have an apartment there. He
16 lived in his office. He had a bunk, and this was
17 described to you by witnesses, in the back of his
18 office with his chairs and his desk. He had a small
19 bunkbed and a little screen, and that is where he lived
20 in Vitez. He did not have a flat in Vitez.
21 Sitting in your office all weekend is not
22 very pleasant. It's something that all the lawyers in
23 this case hope to do less of in the near future, but
24 even during the war, when it wasn't absolutely
25 necessary, due to combat conditions that were known and
1 expected, it's perfectly natural to expect Blaskic to
2 want to try and get away for a weekend day, and it's
3 normal for someone who's not a native, who doesn't have
4 family in the area, to try and do that. We've all
5 tried to do that from time to time during this trial,
6 those of us who are visitors here in The Hague.
7 We're creatures of habit, and sometimes our
8 habits become known to others, and others can take
9 advantage of that knowledge, and we submit to you that
10 is what Darko Kraljevic did on the 18th of July, when
11 he planned and executed a surprise attack on Stari
13 Now, our last contention with respect to the
14 attack on Stari Vitez is that it did not violate
15 international law. That has not been proven. It seems
16 to be assumed but it has not been proven. The charge
17 is that the attack was indiscriminate and that hundreds
18 of "babies" showered down on Stari Vitez and that it
19 caused disproportionate death and destruction to
20 civilian structures and the civilian population.
21 If you look at the U.N. report on this
22 attack, P710, you will see several things about this
23 attack. It says: "No artillery was used. Only
24 mortars and RPGs." It says, "Mainly RPGs, and
25 60/80/120 mortars" were used. Those are infantry
1 weapons not artillery. There is also no report of the
2 use of "babies." The milinfosum does not report any
3 use of "babies." Indeed, the liaison officer at the
4 time, Captain Whitworth, said he never saw a "baby,"
5 this is a "baby," the fire extinguisher, an improvised
6 home-made explosive devices. He never saw one fired on
7 Stari Vitez; that's at the transcript page 10382.
8 So prove the attack was illegal, the
9 Prosecution must prove disproportionate civilian
10 casualties or disproportionate destruction to civilian
11 structures, vis-à-vis relative to the attack. Captain
12 Bower of BritBat testified very specifically as to what
13 the casualties were. There was one man of military
14 age, in his 40s, apparently fit, who was killed in the
15 attack. There's no information whether he was a
16 soldier or a civilian, but there certainly is a strong
17 inference that he was the former. And sadly, there was
18 one woman and one child who were wounded and
19 evacuated. That's a total of three civilian
20 casualties. That's in the transcript at 9384, and the
21 Prosecution concedes in their final brief that there
22 were only three casualties, that's in book 5, page
24 So we know there were a total of three
25 casualties, assume they're all civilian, three
1 casualties. There were between 1.600 and 2.000 people
2 in Stari Vitez, at least 250 full-time soldiers, and we
3 ask you, for a major assault in a built-up area lasting
4 the better part of eight, ten hours, are three civilian
5 casualties, is that disproportionate for a major
6 military action against what was a legitimate military
7 target? Three civilian casualties, one death.
8 We submit that is per se not
9 disproportionate. Any casualties are unfortunate and
10 tragic for those involved, but three casualties with
11 respect to such an attack is per se not
13 How many civilian structures were destroyed
14 in the attack? There's no reference to any destruction
15 of civilian structures in the U.N. report. The
16 evidence, in fact, is that Stari Vitez was heavily
17 fortified and that structures, in any event, were used
18 for defence, for storing defence materials, and the
19 like. So we submit, even if you assume that General
20 Blaskic learned that an attack in Stari Vitez was
21 ongoing, there was nothing illegal about that attack.
22 Now I turn to the Grbavica battle. After mid
23 April, there are only these two alleged crimes in the
24 Vitez enclave, only two events after mid April in the
25 Vitez municipality. We asked you to consider, were
1 things getting better? Was Blaskic able to build a
2 better system of command and control, as we move on
3 from April? We have two alleged crimes from late April
4 1993 until January of 1994, only two. Compare that to
5 all the carnage and all the problems in April. That
6 tells us something, Your Honours, I submit.
7 Grbavica. The charge is destruction and
8 plunder of property in Grbavica in September of 1993.
9 There is no charge of any unlawful attack on civilians
10 in Grbavica, and that is because there were no civilian
11 casualties in Grbavica. The Prosecution concedes that
12 the attack complied with military necessity, and they
13 assert that the crime consisted of the unnecessary
14 burning of civilian structures during the battle and
15 the burning and looting of civilian structures or any
16 structure after the battle was concluded.
17 First of all, with respect to the battle
18 itself, we asked you to consider that there was
19 house-to-house fighting, heavy house-to-house fighting
20 in Grbavica, and the houses in Grbavica were used by
21 the BH army as defensive positions. This is Captain
23 (Videotape played)
24 "Mr. Hayman:
25 Q How did the BH army defend this line,
1 the blue-dotted line? Where were their
2 positions and where were they firing
4 A I can't give any great details as to
5 where individuals were. The bulk of
6 their defensive positions were on the
7 high ground, but they did use the houses
8 as cover to fight from."
9 MR. HAYMAN: So what happened is the BH army
10 moved up the hill and retreated to the top of the
11 feature. They used the houses along the way for
12 defence, for defensive cover, and the testimony in this
13 case is when you're trying to clear a military unit out
14 of a built-up area, you destroy the houses if you can
15 and you use any means you can. That is normal,
16 expected, legitimate military tactics.
17 It is a tribute to the HVO that they were
18 able to complete that action with no civilian deaths.
19 It is a tribute to Colonel Blaskic, then Colonel
20 Blaskic, that he was able to accomplish that. But it
21 is normal and it should be expected that some houses
22 would be damaged, perhaps destroyed, perhaps burned as
23 a result of explosions, grenades, and incendiary fire,
24 and once one house catches fire, Your Honours, in this
25 kind of a built-up area, does the fire brigade come out
1 and put it out in the middle of a battle? No. Fires
2 can spread under these conditions. We don't know if
3 this happened. We don't know exactly what happened
4 because the BritBat observers were taking cover. They
5 weren't watching the battle on any kind of continuous
7 What we heard is that Captain Whitworth left
8 the area for about two hours in the middle of the day,
9 he went to the Hotel Vitez, he had his conversation
10 with Darko Gelic, and when he returned, about two hours
11 after noon, he saw some houses on fire, and there is a
12 photograph, although it is gone now, I hoped it would
13 still be in a courtroom, it shows a line, a trees, some
14 ridge, and it shows some smoke above the ridge. Is
15 that smoke from two houses burning or five or six? And
16 whether it's two or five or six or even ten houses
17 burning during the battle, is that to be -- is that
18 unexpected? There are over a hundred houses on that
19 hill, on that feature.
20 It is not known how many BH army full-time
21 structures there were, headquarters, munitions,
22 logistics, and so forth. Did the BH army burn their
23 archive, set fire to their headquarters, before they
24 pulled out? That would be normal. You don't want the
25 other side catching your archives, all your
1 confidential papers, or your equipment and so forth.
2 Nobody from the BH army testified on those subjects.
3 As I said, we know that despite two days of
4 fighting in a built-up area, there was not a civilian
6 (Videotape played)
7 "Judge Riad: What happened?
8 A Here, I don't think we found any
9 civilian casualties."
10 MR. HAYMAN: That was Captain Whitworth at
11 transcript page 10272. He's talking about the whole
12 area, the whole battle, although sometimes we don't
13 play the whole segment to save time.
14 The photographs of a burned and gutted
15 village, Your Honours, that the Prosecution has shown
16 regarding Grbavica were taken in 1997. That's
17 Prosecutor's Exhibit 447, and they admitted as much
18 when they tendered them. But there aren't any
19 photographs depicting the situation in the village with
20 respect to how many houses had been damaged. During
21 the afternoon of the 8th of September, the second day
22 of the battle.
23 What we do know is that the BBC was there and
24 that they reported that the burning and looting in
25 Grbavica occurred that evening, at least by late
1 afternoon, and Captain Whitworth confirmed that,
2 because we viewed the BBC tape.
3 (Videotape played)
4 "Mr. Hayman:
5 Q The BBC tape then says that looting and
6 burning occurred later on in the night
7 time. Do you agree with that?
8 A Yes. I think, as I said yesterday,
9 there were numerous vehicles -- lorries
10 turned up."
11 MR. HAYMAN: What about looting? The
12 Prosecution must be arguing that there was systematic
13 or organised looting in Grbavica, because if you're
14 talking about command responsibility, you can't
15 attribute command responsibility to one or two soldiers
16 taking a radio or an axe. This is Prosecutor's Exhibit
17 433-24; purported looting in Grbavica. And you can see
18 there are two men in uniform. One is carrying either a
19 briefcase or a boombox radio, and one appears to be
20 carrying some kind of a meat cleaver. There are no
21 other photos or specific descriptions of any looting by
22 soldiers in Grbavica.
23 And I ask you, Your Honours. You see a
24 soldier carrying something in an area like this, it
25 raises a question in my mind: How much military
1 equipment was there in the BH army military structures
2 in the area? They occupied the area for a long period
3 of time. There was a battalion headquarters down along
4 the road, Major Hunter described that. There were
5 other structures. How much equipment, foodstuffs, were
6 in those structures? How many trucks would it have
7 taken to even haul that stuff away, which the HVO would
8 have been entitled to seize as ordinary military
10 The Prosecutor makes no attempt to
11 distinguish between what is truly legitimate military
12 activity or individual acts of radio theft versus some
13 kind of systematic looting by military units or by a
14 large number of soldiers. There's just no evidence of
15 any systematic looting by soldiers.
16 What the evidence is is that the battle ended
17 by mid afternoon and the front line moved forward, and
18 this is important when we get to the detention crimes
19 and alleged trench-digging crimes, the front line moved
20 off of Grbavica, and the civil police came in to secure
21 the area and search the area for any dangerous items,
22 like mines, bombs, hidden devices, and Defence Exhibit
23 582 is the report of the commander of the civil police
24 in Vitez indicating that on the afternoon of the 8th,
25 indeed, they moved in, and they did a search, a search
1 and securing of the location.
2 But what else did you hear from the
3 witnesses? The testimony from the international
4 observers was that what happened was destitute refugees
5 from all over the Lasva Valley, and there were tens of
6 thousands of these people there, they came after the
7 battle to Grbavica, and they scavenged, and they even
8 ripped the wood frames out of the windows and the doors
9 to use for firewood. Why would they do that? This was
10 September. Winter was coming. These people had
11 nothing. They came to Grbavica, these refugees, to
12 strip the wood out of the window sills, off the doors,
13 and Captain Whitworth confirmed this for you.
14 (Videotape played)
15 "Mr. Hayman:
16 Q Did you see whether the locals who
17 descended on Grbavica on the 8th to
18 loot, et cetera, what was their state,
19 or could you tell?
20 A They just seemed to be coming down
21 scavenging and looting for whatever
22 there could be. They were people from
23 as far up the valley as Nova Bila, the
24 Novi Travnik area."
25 MR. HAYMAN: That passage is at transcript
1 page 10419, and Captain Whitworth is not talking about
2 soldiers. He is talking about truckloads of destitute
3 refugees that descended on Grbavica and started to
4 strip the window frames and anything else they could
5 take out of these structures. The civil police were
6 overwhelmed. In fact, reports are one scavenger was
7 shot dead, and then the civil police backed off.
8 Even if Your Honours found a crime at
9 Grbavica for which Tihomir Blaskic should be held
10 accountable, we submit there's no evidence that anyone
11 informed him that soldiers had committed a crime at
12 Grbavica. Captain Whitworth testified that after his
13 noon visit, which was still during the battle, no other
14 information, no other protest was ever made to the
15 Hotel Vitez operative command, Operative Zone command.
16 (Videotape played)
17 "Mr. Hayman:
18 Q Was any other protest or expression of
19 concern made other then your noon on the
20 8th visit to the Hotel Vitez, to your
22 A There was no point, as far as I was
23 concerned. The battle was over and
24 done. The HVO had claimed Grbavica, and
25 the Muslim population had withdrawn.
1 Q The answer is no?
2 A The answer is no."
3 MR. HAYMAN: Major Hunter testified. He
4 never told Blaskic that they thought this was a crime
5 by HVO soldiers. Captain Bower testified. He never
6 said they told Blaskic this was a crime by HVO
7 soldiers. Alistair Duncan testified. He never told
8 Blaskic this was a crime by HVO soldiers. In fact, the
9 only evidence is that BritBat congratulated Blaskic on
10 a professional battle, a battle he won, and a battle he
11 won with no civilian casualties.
12 Your Honours, at this time, my colleague,
13 Mr. Nobilo, will speak, I believe, on the subject of
14 international armed conflict, and then when he is
15 concluded, and he will carry over after the luncheon
16 hour, I would like to address detention crimes and
17 forcible transfer, detention crimes, forcible transfer,
18 religious objects, and one or two other short
19 categories, and then, Your Honour, this trial will be
21 Thank you.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, do you wish to
23 begin for the ten minutes we have? Yes?
24 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President, because we
25 are short of time anyway, so we must make the best of
1 every minute we have.
2 As you heard, in accordance with our division
3 of labour between the two of us, I will be speaking to
4 you about the possibility of the implementation of
5 Article 2 of the Statute of the International Tribunal
6 in The Hague, and the possible responsibility based on
7 that provision of General Blaskic. The Prosecution, in
8 counts 5, 8, 11, 15, 17, and 19, have charged General
9 Blaskic of committing crimes pursuant to Article 2 of
10 the Statute of the International Tribunal.
11 For General Blaskic to be liable for those
12 acts, it has to be proven that in Bosnia, in the
13 critical period and in the period in question, there
14 was an international conflict and that the victims were
15 protected persons, that they had the status of
16 protected persons under the 1949 Geneva Conventions
17 and, of course, that such criminal offences actually
19 By way of introduction, I should like to say
20 that the International Red Cross, on the 22nd of May,
21 1992, brought together representatives of the three
22 peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is, their parties,
23 the SDA, the SDS, and the HDZ, the Muslim, Serb, and
24 Croat parties, and that organised by the International
25 Red Cross, they agreed to sign an agreement recognising
1 that what was happening in Bosnia-Herzegovina was an
2 internal armed conflict. These were political parties,
3 and they were not binding on any state or military
4 structure, but I think that it is important to note
5 that the International Red Cross believed at the time
6 and that the representatives of all three nations could
7 conclude from that that, indeed, there was an internal
8 armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
9 As I said, for us to be able to apply Article
10 2 of the Statute, apart from a concrete crime, the
11 protected character of civilians has to be proven and
12 the existence of an international conflict. In this
13 particular case, the Prosecution has to prove that the
14 HVO, which was, in fact, fighting in Central Bosnia,
15 was an agent of the Republic of Croatia. For that
16 agency relationship to be proven, in accordance with
17 the judgement of the Appeals Chamber in the Tadic case,
18 the Prosecution has to prove that Croatia or the
19 Croatian army had general control, coordination, and
20 supervision over the Croatian Defence Council.
21 Numerous factors and tests were recognised by
22 the Tadic Chamber in their decision which can be
23 helpful in establishing whether there was an
24 international conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina between
25 the Croats and the Serbs. So we can make a
1 comparison. The control tests made in the Tadic
2 appeals judgement regarding the army of the Republika
3 Srpska and the BH army can also be applied to the
4 conflict between the HVO and the BH army. Whether the
5 positions adopted by the Appeals Chamber in the Tadic
6 case can also apply to the conflict between the HVO and
7 the BH army, and can it be treated as an international
8 armed conflict?
9 One of the first elements which was
10 highlighted with emphasis by the Appeals Chamber in the
11 Tadic case is that the army of Republika Srpska was a
12 fictitious structure, that it was, in fact, a
13 transformed Yugoslav people's party. We know from
14 before and from this trial that the JNA had withdrawn
15 from Croatia and that it had existed in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina throughout, and at one point in
17 time, they simply said, "We are no longer the JNA; we
18 are the army of Republika Srpska," but the same troops
19 and organisation remained.
20 Let us try to apply this same test to the HVO
21 and Croatian army. The HVO is an autochthonous
22 organisation. We have seen that it was formed out of
23 local villagers. No Croatian armies came to Bosnia and
24 stated, "We are no longer the Croatian army; we are now
25 the HVO." We saw the painstaking efforts General
1 Blaskic made to build an army out of untrained
3 Furthermore, the HVO, which we shall be
4 coming back to later on to show that it was an allied
5 force in relation to the BH army, but let me just state
6 that the army of Republika Srpska never had the
7 recognised status by the government of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina as a legitimate armed force. Let me
9 remind you of the agreement between the HVO and the BH
10 army of the 20th of April in Zenica, when General
11 Halilovic and Petkovic were present. Halilovic was
12 chief of staff of the BH army, and that agreement
13 explicitly states that the HVO is one component of the
14 armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the army of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina the second component.
16 Thus, in those initial documents that we are
17 reviewing, we already see a substantive difference
18 between the army of Republika Srpska and the HVO.
19 The Prosecution asserts that the HVO shared
20 the same goals as the Republic of Croatia. Again, by
21 way of introduction, I would like to say that according
22 to the position taken by the Tadic Appeals Chamber,
23 that is, in itself, not sufficient to prove the
24 existence of overall control of the Republic of Croatia
25 over the HVO. The Prosecution claims that Franjo
1 Tudjman had this idea to divide Bosnia, that through
2 Boban, Kordic, Kostroman, and Valenta, he transposed
3 that idea into Bosnia-Herzegovina and that Blaskic was
4 an instrument of that idea. Even though that is not
5 sufficient, let us examine what the grounds are for the
6 Prosecution's conclusion that the Republic of Croatia
7 was acting with a view to dividing Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 Let us see whether there is a single piece of evidence
9 to prove that that is the direction in which Croatia
10 was acting.
11 Mr. President, we should now go into private
12 session, and it's only about half a minute to one, so I
13 propose we have our lunch break.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Let's have our lunch
15 break. We will resume at 2.30.
16 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.40 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. The
3 hearing will now resume. Have the accused brought in.
4 (The accused entered court)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, you have the
7 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 So before the break, we started talking about
9 the alleged identical political aims of the HVO and the
10 Croatian army, that is, the Republic of Croatia.
11 Before we move on, I would like to move into a private
12 session very briefly, please.
13 (Private session)
8 (Open session)
9 MR. NOBILO: The Prosecution sent quite a bit
10 of time in proving that the idea of President Tudjman
11 was a division of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which would be a
12 hostile policy towards this state, and the key thesis,
13 which invokes the support, was the meeting in
14 Karadjordjevo on the 30th of March, 1991 between
15 Presidents Tudjman and Milosevic. Allegedly, it is
16 there that the division of Bosnia was agreed upon. It
17 is something that was speculated on in the media, it
18 was something that was rumoured, it was something that
19 was whispered about, but, Your Honours, before you, no
20 single shred of evidence was presented on what were the
21 contents of this meeting and what decisions were taken
22 there. So we have no witness, we have no document
23 which would show what the contents of the meetings in
24 Karadjordjevo were and what decisions were taken.
25 We can judge on Karadjordjevo only on the
1 basis of the consequences of this meeting, and we have
2 to place it in the context of time. That was the 30th
3 of March, 1991. At that time, the conflicts had
4 already started in Croatia, but they had not escalated
5 at that time. At that time, the rebel Serbs were
6 active in Croatia, which assisted the JNA which used
7 them as an instrument and it was arming them.
8 President Tudjman was trying to prevent a war, and in
9 the context of this effort to prevent a war, this
10 meeting in Karadjordjevo should be viewed.
11 Now, if what the Prosecution claims is true,
12 that is, that there was an agreement between Tudjman
13 and Milosevic in Karadjordjevo, then the question
14 arises: How come that after Karadjordjevo, after the
15 30th of March of 1991, the real war in Croatia only
16 began? It was after the 30th of March that the city of
17 Vukovar was attacked and completely destroyed. This
18 was a city in Croatia. And also the city of Dubrovnik,
19 a Croatian coastal town. How can it be that the
20 partners, after having reached an agreement, are
21 starting a real war in earnest? This is another piece
22 of evidence that this agreement never took.
23 Or it was said that Milosevic and Tudjman
24 were partners because they had reached an agreement.
25 What type of agreement is this that if, after
1 Karadjordjevo, a JN plane flew to Zagreb and bombed the
2 offices of President Tudjman? Ten minutes before this
3 attack, he went to a restaurant with Stipo Mesic and
4 Ante Markovic, the last prime minister, they went to a
5 restaurant ten minutes before that. So it is clear
6 that there was no agreement.
7 How would you also explain that General
8 Bobetko entered Bosnia to prevent the JNA from taking
9 full control of Bosnia at that time? So the war really
10 only started after Karadjordjevo, and the only thing we
11 can conclude is that there was no agreement. We do not
12 know what the contents of this meeting were. We do not
13 know whether there was an effort to come to an
14 agreement, but we know the consequences, what happened
15 after Karadjordjevo.
16 It is true that President Tudjman, on several
17 occasions, both publically and privately, advocated a
18 division of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is true. That is
19 correct. It is true that in 1981, Mr. Tudjman, as a
20 historian, wrote that Bosnia should be divided.
21 However, what the Prosecution did was manipulate this,
22 that is, taking these true statements, and they turned
23 it into a thesis and say, "The Republic of Croatia
24 advocated the division of Bosnia-Herzegovina," but
25 there is no evidence that the Republic of Croatia
1 advocated the division of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
2 President Tudjman is the president of the Republic of
3 Croatia, but the policy of the Republic of Croatia is
4 reflected in documents, open documents, official
5 documents, such as laws, decrees, and in the actual
6 steps, measures taken by the Republic of Croatia. So
7 that is how its real position is reflected.
8 In creation of an international policy, it is
9 clear that leadership plays a significant role, but as
10 this international or foreign policy is being created
11 in the bodies of the state, you have to take into
12 account both the internal and foreign relations.
13 Croatia is a small country, and you have to take into
14 account all the influences and positions that you
15 have. A real politician has to take into account all
16 the different factors.
17 Let's say that the aim may be or the desire
18 may be to, let's say, divide the country, but the real
19 policy prevents you from actually pursuing such a
21 I will just mention a couple of things, but
22 most importantly, there is no shred of evidence that
23 the policy of the Republic of Croatia was going in the
24 direction of division of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 How are we to reconcile this policy with the
1 fact that the Republic of Croatia was the first state
2 to have recognised the existence of Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina as early as April 7, 1992? And on 19
4 April, 1992, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina signed an
5 agreement on the diplomatic councillor missions abroad,
6 and the Republic of Croatia undertakes to protect the
7 interests of Bosnia-Herzegovina, interests in those
8 countries where Bosnia did not have its own diplomatic
10 The ambassadors were exchanged in 1992 and
11 early 1993. On 19 January, 1993, the first ambassador
12 of Bosnia-Herzegovina arrived in Zagreb, and before
13 that, the Croatian ambassador was already in Sarajevo.
14 Also, on 14 June, 1993, President Tudjman visited
15 Sarajevo, and throughout this period, they never
16 interrupted their diplomatic ties.
17 The Croatian parliament adopted at least two
18 declarations: One is D106 of 30 April, 1993. In this
19 declaration of the Croatian parliament, Croatia says:
20 "The historic friendship of Croats and Muslims is a
21 prerequisite for the surcivil of both of these people
22 in this region. It is the foundation for sovereignty
23 and territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina and its
24 future." This is the declaration of the Croatian
25 parliament which speaks about the territorial integrity
1 and sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
2 Also, Exhibit D107 of 30 June, 1993 where
3 Croatia supports the internationally recognised
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, its sovereignty, and territorial
5 integrity. So much on that issue, and we will further
6 argue that these two countries were allies throughout.
7 But now regarding the general control of the
8 HV over the HVO or the Republic of Croatia over the
9 HVO. A series of exhibits were introduced regarding
10 Bobetko's orders. We got them as a series. But if you
11 look at them, what are their dates? 16 April, 17 May,
12 20 April, all 1992. 21 and 22 April 1992. In other
13 words, all proofs which points to the fact that the HV
14 controlled the HVO. All of these documents are from a
15 period between April and May 1992, and we know that
16 Bobetko was in Bosnia-Herzegovina until July of 1992.
17 However, we must take into account the
18 situation which was there at the time. The HVO in
19 April, May, in June of 1992 did not even exist. It was
20 formally established on 8 April, 1992, but only on 3
21 July, 1992, a law was adopted which provided a
22 foundation for the HVO.
23 What was in this interim period? What
24 existed then? Also, formally, a main staff was
25 established, and there were municipal staffs, but not
1 as military bodies. But in these military staffs,
2 there were politicians who were working on preparation
3 for a military defence, and also there were villages
4 which had armed groups. That was all. Even Tihomir
5 Blaskic, when he was named on 27 June, 1992, was not
6 appointed commander of an operative zone, so not an
7 already established organisation, but as a commander of
8 a regional staff which was unifying local municipal
9 staffs in the area of Central Bosnia. These were
10 civilian military bodies which were working on the
11 preparations, logistics works, and so on, for the
12 defence. There was no HVO at that time.
13 In the Aleksovski case and in the Tadic case,
14 I think it is clearly stated that we need to take into
15 account the level of control of the military -- the
16 level of the local organisation when this organisation
17 is established.
18 Regarding this control, the Prosecution has
19 offered evidence of documents signed by General Roso.
20 This was the period when Croatia was assisting in the
21 creation of the HVO. Then the Prosecution also says
22 that Blaskic took over the function of the organisation
23 which was previously established by General Bobetko.
24 That is not true. General Bobetko had established a
25 forward command post in Bosnia. It was placed in
1 Central Bosnia, and it was the forward command post of
2 the Croatian army. And Blaskic became chief of the
3 regional staff of the HVO. Before that body was set
4 up, there was only a forward command post of the HV
5 army there.
6 The Prosecution also says that the HV
7 provided logistics support, but the Appeals Chamber in
8 Tadic decided that the evidence on logistics support
9 and similar support does not rise to sufficient proof.
10 So the proof that is needed is that the Croatian army
11 controlled the command and military operations.
12 Next point is the military operations of the
13 Croatian army in Bosnia. In that sense, you saw a
14 number of orders of General Bobetko which were taken
15 over from General Bobetko's book. Now, what are these
16 documents all about? This is also a case of
17 manipulating documents. To put it simply, it would be
18 as if when the U.S. forces disembarked in Europe, let's
19 say they committed genocide against the German people.
20 Or let's say General Custer burnt down Indian villages,
21 which was over a hundred years ago.
22 Here, the conflict between the JNA and the
23 Croatian army is portrayed as proof of international
24 conflict, as if it was a conflict between the Croatian
25 army and the Bosnian army. These are two different
1 conflicts. Bobetko very clearly waged war against the
2 JNA, and this conflict between Bobetko and the JNA
3 cannot be equated or taken as an argument that the
4 conflict between the BH army and the Croatian army are
5 the same kind of war. These are different times, a
6 different period, different participants.
7 I have spoken about Bobetko before, and I
8 won't go back to that, and I have also shown the map
9 and so on.
10 It is true that the Prosecutor is using some
11 other arguments after the withdrawal of Bobetko and is
12 proffering evidence on the presence of units of the
13 Croatian army in Bosnia. It should first be noted that
14 it emerges from all the evidence, that if the Croatian
15 army was in Bosnia, then it was outside the Operative
16 Zone of Central Bosnia.
17 A second point. These were not significant
18 numbers of troops of the Croatian army, but small
20 Thirdly, in accordance with the Tadic Appeals
21 Chamber and the Trial Chamber of Aleksovski, the
22 infiltration of foreign troops in the case of a
23 conflict between local forces does not change the
24 character of the conflict making it from a local one in
25 to an international one. The Defence endorses this
1 position and wishes to underline that that position has
2 fully denied the judgement in the Celebici case and the
3 Rajic indictment, when the opposite position was taken,
4 that the intervention of foreign troops changes the
5 character of an armed conflict, transforming it from an
6 internal in to an international one.
7 Therefore, intervention in the submission of
8 the Defence, and we, of course, accept the Tadic
9 Appeals Chamber ruling and the Aleksovski ruling, that
10 the intervention by foreign troops cannot change the
11 character of the conflict.
12 The Office of the Prosecutor, as evidence
13 that Croatia cooperated with the HVO, offers a letter
14 addressed to Tudjman asking for assistance, but that
15 letter does not speak of control. It is true that Remi
16 Landry of the European Monitors said that the HVO was
17 under the control of the HV; however, he was quite
18 explicit in saying that the European Monitoring
19 Mission's view was not confirmed and that it was not
20 documented. Therefore, there is no proof that the HV
21 controlled the HVO.
22 Can we now go into private session for a
23 moment, please?
24 (Private session)
13 page 25266 redacted – private session
5 (Open session)
6 MR. NOBILO: The Office of the Prosecutor
7 went on to mention several persons, like Miro Andric,
8 General Praljak, saying that they belonged to the
9 Croatian army and were operating within the HVO.
10 However, I won't go into details, to save time, but
11 there is no proof that the Croatian army via those
12 persons had any kind of control over the HVO, nor is
13 there evidence that anyone from the HVO reported back
14 to the Croatian army as to what was happening. There
15 is also no evidence that those persons were
16 representatives of the Croatian army in the HVO, but
17 they may have provided expert assistance.
18 May we go into private session again for a
19 moment, please?
20 (Private session)
14 (Open session)
15 MR. NOBILO: Further, it should be noted that
16 it would be quite illogical and unwise for the Republic
17 of Croatia to advocate a change of borders. It had
18 only just gained its independence. Yugoslavia denied
19 the new state boundaries of the Republic of Croatia,
20 and any raising of the issue of borders of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina would be a direct threat to the
22 sovereignty of the Republic of Croatia.
23 Therefore, in summary, it is my submission
24 that the Prosecution has not proven the control of the
25 Croatian army over the HVO, and, therefore, there could
1 not have been an international conflict in
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We have expounded this in detail
3 in our brief.
4 But now I should like to say a few words
5 about the status of protected persons. Namely, the
6 indictment has to -- or, rather, the Prosecution has to
7 prove that there was an international conflict, that
8 the HVO was an agent of the Croatian army, but it also
9 has to prove that Bosnian civilians had the status of
10 protected persons in accordance with Article 4 of the
11 Geneva Conventions.
12 Article 4 of the Geneva Conventions says:
13 "Persons protected by the Conventions are those who,
14 at a given point in time and in a certain way, in the
15 event of a conflict or occupation, should find
16 themselves in the hands of the parties to the conflict
17 or an occupying force whose citizens they are not."
18 We are aware of the Tadic Appeals Chamber
19 decision which said that control by a third state over
20 local forces detaining civilians is far more important
21 than citizenship of those members of the local forces,
22 and we know that the Tadic Appeals Chamber said that in
23 modern inter-ethnic wars, loyalty to a third state,
24 based on ethnicity, is much more important than loyalty
25 based on citizenship.
1 However, with all due respect, it is our view
2 that the decision of the Tadic Appeals Chamber is
3 erroneous because Article IV of the Geneva Conventions
4 explicitly and clearly requires the condition of
5 different citizenship. The Court, in its decisions and
6 its freedoms, has certain limits, and it is not
7 possible to change a punitive provision at the expense
8 of the accused. Article 2 of the Statute is a valid,
9 legal norm. The description of the act refers to the
10 Geneva Conventions of 1949. Has the condition been
11 fulfilled for Muslim civilians to be protected persons
12 or not depends on whether this is a criminal act or
13 not, and the Tribunal cannot change that. The Tribunal
14 cannot decide retroactively to apply the law. It
15 cannot decide to change the legal norm after the
16 commission of a criminal act, because this is contrary
17 to the fundamental rule of criminal law. Modern
18 criminal penal law, at least in continental Europe, is
19 based on the principle of legality, ever since Roman
20 war. There is the rule, nullum crimen sine lege, which
21 means that there is no criminal act if it did not exist
22 in law at the time it was committed.
23 If Article IV of the Geneva Conventions says
24 that there must be different citizenship between the
25 victim and the perpetrator, then the Court, after the
1 commission of a criminal act, may not change that legal
2 norm. That is our submission.
3 The decision that the Croats in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina were, in actual fact, foreigners in
5 relation to the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina, this is
6 just a test, would have very far reaching and damaging
7 legal and political consequences. If that were so,
8 then this Prosecutor's office should indict from Alija
9 Izetbegovic, Halilovic, and the other generals, because
10 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina mobilised Croats into
11 their own ranks, because it mobilised -- did it
12 mobilise foreign citizens then? That is a punishable
14 Similarly, Croats in Bosnia would become
15 foreigners because all Croats were in the HVO, as all
16 Muslims were in the BH army. So one ethnic group which
17 is autochthonous in that state would be declared to be
19 But even from a very ordinary, down to earth,
20 logical standpoint, people would be declared foreigners
21 or aliens, people who had lived together as neighbours
22 and whose families had lived together for hundreds of
23 years in the same villages, so then one of them would
24 be a foreigner, another a domestic person. They would
25 have different citizenship.
1 Therefore, it is our position that the
2 Bosnian Muslims cannot have the status of protected
3 persons according to the Geneva Conventions because
4 they had the same citizenship as Bosnian Croats. Some
5 Bosnian Croats took Croatian citizenship, but no one
6 renounced Bosnian citizenship. There is no evidence of
7 that. General Blaskic is a Bosnian citizen just as he
8 is a Croatian citizen.
9 There is another problem which explains why
10 Bosnian Muslims, in the hands of the HVO, cannot be
11 considered protected persons according to the Geneva
12 Conventions. Namely, Common Article IV of the Geneva
13 Conventions says that: "Citizens of allied states will
14 not be considered protected persons, as long as the
15 state whose citizens they are maintains normal
16 diplomatic relations with the state in whose hands they
17 are." So one condition is the existence of a
18 diplomatic relations and the other is the alliance. I
19 think that these relations existed throughout, and no
20 one called that in question. Diplomatic relations were
21 not suspended and they functioned between Croatia and
22 Bosnia, as did various other institutions between the
23 two countries.
24 The question is whether relations between the
25 Republic of Croatia and the Republic of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina can be called relations between
2 allies. The Republic of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina
3 never declared war upon one another, which is not the
4 case with Yugoslavia. Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia
5 were the first to recognise each other, to establish
6 diplomatic relations, which have never been
8 On the 21st of July, 1992, Bosnia-Herzegovina
9 and Croatia signed an agreement on friendship, and we
10 will be coming back to that. Embassies were
11 established in both countries, and diplomatic contacts
12 were maintained on a regular basis.
13 The conflict between the army of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO did not result in the
15 suspension of this agreement between Croatia and
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, agreements in trade and all others
17 that were in force.
18 The conflict between the HVO and the BH army
19 did not affect the nationals of Bosnia-Herzegovina in
20 Croatia, for instance. They were not put away in any
21 kind of centres. On the contrary, they were given
22 assistance, and they lived like any other citizens of
23 countries with which Croatia maintains diplomatic
25 No commercial relations were suspended, which
1 is normal in the case of countries that are at war with
2 one another. Throughout the time of the war in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia was a vast, logistic base
4 for Bosnia-Herzegovina, up to 1993. I have already
5 said that all the military equipment passed through
6 Croatian hands or Croatian airports.
7 Croatia gave direct assistance to the BH
8 army, as it did in 1992, or it allowed third parties to
9 use Croatian territory for transiting such deliveries
10 to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 Can we go into private session again, please,
13 (Private session)
4 (Open session)
5 MR. NOBILO: Therefore, on the 21st of July,
6 1992, Franjo Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic signed an
7 agreement, which is called an agreement on friendship
8 and cooperation between the Republic of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic of Croatia. As we
10 can see, that agreement was never broken off.
11 We have omitted Article 2. In any event, in
12 Article 2 of that agreement, it says, "The Republic of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic of Croatia shall
14 cooperate and agree amongst each other, proceeding from
15 the respect of their separate interests and aware of
16 the unity of interests of their countries," and then
17 the areas of life are listed in which they will
18 cooperate, ranging from the economy, social affairs,
19 health, education, science, culture, et cetera.
20 In the text you have before you, I should
21 like to draw your attention to the first sentence.
22 "The state delegation of the Republic of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina expresses their gratitude to the
24 Republic of Croatia for having received and provided
25 four refugees from the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
1 beyond the capacity of the Republic of Croatia."
2 A very important Article, point 6 of that
3 agreement, "The armed component of the Croatian Defence
4 Council is an integral part of the united armed forces
5 of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina." This was
6 signed by Alija Izetbegovic and Franjo Tudjman.
7 Or point 7: "The Republic of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic of Croatia
9 will reciprocally allow their citizens to acquire dual
10 citizenship." So on and so forth.
11 In the next paragraph, reference is made to
12 military cooperation in border areas and the
13 possibility of extending that cooperation. All this
14 was signed on the 21st of July, 1992 by the president
15 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the president of the Republic
16 of Croatia.
17 I think that from this summary overview, we
18 can come to the conclusion that the Republic of Croatia
19 and the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina were allies,
20 that they never broke off diplomatic relations, that
21 they never prevented the activities of diplomatic
22 representatives in the other state, and that for that
23 reason, Muslim civilians in the hands of the HVO cannot
24 enjoy the status of protected persons.
25 Allow me now briefly to refer to the
1 situation in the Lasva Valley. In the Aleksovski
2 judgement, it is clearly stated, and that has been
3 accepted by the Prosecution, and that is that an
4 international conflict has to be proven in the time and
5 place relevant to the indictment.
6 The problem is when was there an
7 international armed conflict according to the
8 indictment? According to the indictment, it was
9 throughout 1992 and 1993. However, the Prosecutor, in
10 describing actual acts, mentions January 1993 and
11 onwards. But to save time, we will skip over 1992, as
12 we have no criminal offences, and anyway, there were no
13 conflicts between the BH army and the HVO; there were
14 only individual incidents, but not an armed conflict
15 between two armies.
16 Also in 1992, you will remember that Generals
17 Arif Pasalic and Ante Prkacin formed a joint command of
18 the BH army and the HVO, and that joint command was
19 effective during the defence of Jajce and in the area
20 of Central Bosnia. The first conflict occurred in
21 January 1993 in Busovaca, but it only lasted two days.
22 It did not spread to other municipalities, not even to
23 the Lasva Valley. In Vitez, it was peaceful, and there
24 was cooperation between the BH army and the HVO.
25 For these reasons, and to economise with
1 time, we will not analyse that conflict, but whatever
2 we say about the April conflict and conflicts that
3 followed in 1993 also apply to this conflict in
5 So can I now approach the relief for a
7 When does an international or an internal
8 armed conflict begin? In any event, the armed conflict
9 in the Lasva Valley started on the 16th of April.
10 Quickly, the Lasva Valley was covered by forces in this
11 way, as you can see here. For a time, Travnik was
12 totally cut off by the forces of the BH army, prevented
13 the HVO to go to Herzegovina and come back. So that we
14 can say that the HVO was fully surrounded in the Lasva
15 enclave. In this enclave, in this specific territory
16 and the time, that is, from 16th April, 1993 onwards,
17 was there an international armed conflict here or not?
18 If we apply the tests from the Tadic Appeals
19 Chamber decision, then we will see that it simply was
20 not an international armed conflict. One of those
21 tests mentioned there is that the army of Republika
22 Srpska and the JNA transferred offices between each
23 other. In Central Bosnia, there were no HV offices.
24 Blaskic issued orders to establish that. The return
25 report was that there were none.
1 Also, in the Tadic judgement, it says that
2 salaries were paid to officers of the Republika
3 Srpska. No one received money here from Zagreb or
4 Mostar. The JNA was transformed into the army of the
5 Republika Srpska. Here you saw that the army
6 was autochthonous, consisting of local inhabitants. In
7 the Tadic judgement, it says that the structure of
8 ranks was the same. In the HVO, there were no ranks.
9 Colonel Blaskic was the only person with a rank in
10 Central Bosnia. The JNA coordinated the activities of
11 the army of Republika Srpska. Here, the HVO was
12 surrounded by the forces of the BH army which were
13 seven to ten times stronger than the HVO.
14 What did they do? They dug trenches in front
15 of Croatian villages and defended its territory. There
16 was no movement of forces.
17 Even if we were to accept that Croatia's aim
18 was a secession of part of Bosnia-Herzegovina and its
19 annexation to Bosnia-Herzegovina, the HVO of Central
20 Bosnia could not have had the same goal because it was
21 surrounded by vast Muslim forces and territory
22 inhabited by Muslim forces. That small piece of land
23 in the heart of Bosnia could not have been annexed to
24 Croatia. That the HVO did not have any such political
25 aims can be seen from the activities of the HVO. Never
1 once did the HVO try to make a breakthrough towards the
2 south, towards Herzegovina, to link up with
3 Herzegovina, to create a compact territory and attach
4 to Croatia. What is also interesting is never did
5 forces from Herzegovina try to penetrate and reach
6 Central Bosnia so as to create the military
7 preconditions for this territory's annexation to the
8 Republic of Croatia. This territory did not border
9 with the territory of the Republic of Croatia, which is
10 also important.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Can we ask counsel to slow
12 down, please?
13 MR. NOBILO: And aid from the Republic of
14 Croatia finally. This territory did not receive aid
15 from the Republic of Croatia and could not receive
16 aid. Occasional helicopter flights, which were rare,
17 could bring in a maximum of two tonnes of cargo, and in
18 the Lasva Valley, this enclave needed two tonnes of
19 flour a day to survive. You heard, General Blaskic,
20 that they ate rice, lentils, and margarine. A box of
21 cigarettes cost a hundred marks. All this shows is
22 that there were no supplies, there were no supplies
23 coming in.
24 Never were there any Croatian army troops in
25 the Lasva Valley. We will refer to some statements by
1 independent observers to corroborate this submission.
2 First, Prosecution witness, Alistair Duncan.
3 (Videotape played)
4 "Mr. Hayman:
5 Q During your tour, did you ever see any
6 HVO soldiers in the Lasva or Kiseljak
8 A No, I did not."
9 MR. NOBILO: Another Prosecution witness,
10 Michael Buffini.
11 (Videotape played)
12 "Mr. Hayman:
13 Q During your tour, both in Split and in
14 Bosnia, did you ever receive any
15 information that HV troops had been in
16 the Lasva Valley or the Kiseljak
18 A I don't recall any information coming to
19 me or hearing any information to that
20 effect, no."
21 MR. NOBILO: Another Prosecution witness,
22 Mr. Morsink.
23 (Videotape played)
24 "Mr. Hayman:
25 Q ... units of the HV or army of the
1 Republic of Croatia in the Lasva or
2 Kiseljak valleys during your tour?
3 A I never saw units showing the HV
5 MR. NOBILO: Prosecution witness, Roy
7 (Videotape played)
8 "Mr. Hayman:
9 Q Major, during your tour in Central
10 Bosnia, did you encounter any soldiers
11 wearing HV patches of the Republic of
12 Croatia in Central Bosnia?
13 A No, I never saw any ..."
14 MR. NOBILO: We could cite several more
15 witnesses. No witness ever saw any Croatian army unit
16 in the Lasva River Valley.
17 I would like to point one more thing that the
18 Prosecution simply fled from, and that is the fact that
19 the HVO and the BH army had a joint command in Central
20 Bosnia. They had it during the time. So General
21 Prkacin and Pasalic, in 1992, they had it. After the
22 January conflict, you will recall that Merdan, on
23 behalf of the 3rd Corps, and Nakic, on behalf of the
24 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, and even after the
25 conflict of the 16th of April, they had it, and they
1 were solving civilian problems, something that the
2 diplomatic --
3 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, Mr. Nobilo. The
4 interpreters are having difficulty in following you,
5 and there is a lag in relation to the transcript.
6 Please think of the interpreters but also of the
7 Judges. So please slow down a little. Thank you.
8 MR. NOBILO: Very well. I'm also chasing
9 time at the same time, but I'm almost done.
10 The key, when considering the issue of
11 international conflict, is to take into account this:
12 That the HVO and the BH army in Central Bosnia for most
13 of the part of the relevant period had a joint command,
14 which speaks amply about the state of allegiance, that
15 is, of an alliance between those two parties.
16 For all these reasons, we believe that there
17 were no conditions for the application of Article 2 of
18 the Statute on Bosnia-Herzegovina, and especially not
19 in the small enclaves such as the Lasva River Valley,
20 Central Bosnia. So Article 2 of this Statute cannot be
21 applied in the case of General Blaskic.
22 Thank you.
23 MR. HAYMAN: I feel like a racecar driver
24 changing tires in the pit, Mr. President, but it's time
25 to go. The trial is nearing an end.
1 I have three areas I will try and address
2 before handing the baton or the driver's seat back to
3 Mr. Nobilo. They are detention crimes, forcible
4 transfer, and destruction of religious objects.
5 First, I'm compelled to say a word about
6 General Blaskic's credibility and his testimony in this
7 case. The issues on which the Prosecutor specifically
8 attacked his credibility are not of particular
9 importance to the case, but his credibility is of
10 importance to the case. Because if you believe his
11 testimony, then based on what he said, by definition,
12 he did not have the mens rea sufficient to commit the
13 crimes alleged in the indictment.
14 Also, if you find that the asserted lies that
15 the Prosecutor has thrown at him are not well-founded,
16 then that tells you also something about their strategy
17 and what they were forced to do in their closing
19 What were those asserted lies? Well, the
20 first one I counted and culled out of my notes was the
21 assertion that after Blaskic took over the Operative
22 Zone command, he received orders from General Roso, and
23 the Prosecutor asserted that they asked Blaskic what
24 was Roso's role, and Blaskic said, "I don't know."
25 That is asserted to have been a lie.
1 Well, what was Blaskic actually asked and
2 what did he really answer? If we could turn on the
3 ELMO, please? We're going to look at page 20457.
4 Here's what was actually said. This was
5 cross-examination by Mr. Kehoe.
6 "Q At the time Ante Roso was issuing these
7 orders to you and you met him and he
8 appointed you Lieutenant-Colonel, he was
9 a General in the HV, wasn't he?
10 A First of all, as far as issuing orders
11 to me, that's what you said. I didn't
12 say this before this Court. He issued
13 orders to the commander of the municipal
14 staff of the HVO in Kiseljak."
15 Now for what matters.
16 "A Second, as far as I know, he was an
17 officer of the main staff of the HVO, I
18 say, as far as I know. General Ante
19 Roso did not take out his order of
20 appointment and say, 'Well, that is the
21 order and I am so and so.' He did not
22 take out a document of that kind and
23 show me that, and I assume that he was
24 an officer of the main staff of the
1 That's the end of the answer to that
2 question. That's what General Blaskic told you. He
3 told you exactly what the nature of the encounter was,
4 that nothing specific was discussed on the subject, and
5 he assumed that Roso was acting on the main staff of
6 the HVO. You can decide whether the Prosecution has
7 demonstrated that our client lied or whether they're
8 spinning these things out of whole cloth to try and
9 impugn his credibility and turn you, in some way, to
10 view him as a dishonest, irreputable person.
11 Alleged lie number 2 was asserted to be
12 Blaskic's testimony that the troops stopped at the
13 barricade in Ahmici on the 20th of October, 1992 were
14 going to Jajce and not to Novi Travnik. The proof of
15 this supposed lie was said to be a news report,
16 Prosecution Exhibit 646.
17 If we could put that on the ELMO, please.
18 What is P646? This is a transcript of home
19 video footage apparently shot on the night of April
20 16th, 1993 by someone, and it appears to have later
21 been played on TV Busovaca, which someone else taped,
22 and then they gave it to the Prosecutor, and this is a
23 transcript. Let's look at the transcript, and you'll
24 see the portion I've highlighted. The statement that
25 is relevant is attributed to journalist, and it reads:
1 "Ahmici, the first and last stronghold of
2 the Muslim armed forces. The point where they tried to
3 stop members of the Croatian Defence Council who were
4 on their way to positions in Novi Travnik."
5 That is the basis of the supposed lie by
6 General Blaskic, that it is his belief that the HVO
7 forces that were stopped at the roadblock were going to
8 Jajce, not to Novi Travnik. Who is this journalist?
9 It's an unknown, anonymous person. Are they making
10 this statement based on some observation in October of
11 1992? We don't know. This was filmed on 16 April,
12 1993. Why were they making this report? Were they
13 making it to inflame the Croat population in Busovaca?
14 Is this more propaganda? We don't know. We don't even
15 know who the speaker is. You're in a position to
16 determine whether this demonstrates that General
17 Blaskic is a liar or whether something else is true
18 with respect to the Prosecutor's arguments.
19 Alleged lie number three is the claim that
20 Blaskic never, in his direct testimony, told the Court
21 he was ever in Novi Travnik in relation to the October
22 1992 conflict there. What is the evidence in that
23 regard? The evidence is Stewart, Colonel Stewart, went
24 to Novi Travnik on the 20th of October and told you
25 that Blaskic was not there. Did Blaskic never tell you
1 whether he was in Novi Travnik or, rather, did he never
2 tell you that he was in Novi Travnik in October of
4 If we could put the next transcript portion
5 on the ELMO, page 21385. Here's the question and
6 here's the answer:
7 "Q General, when you met in Novi Travnik on
8 the 21st, what did you talk about, you
9 and Kordic?
10 A I informed them on what agreement we had
11 reached with Merdan and what I had
12 expected of the TO and what else we
13 should do in order to stabilise this
15 He told you he was in Novi Travnik on the
16 21st of October. Why did the Prosecutor say he never
17 did? Why are they so desperate to convince you that
18 he's a liar?
19 He further explained in his testimony,
20 General Blaskic, that is, that he was not in Novi
21 Travnik on 20 October because he was cut off by the
22 barricade in Ahmici. He had been in Mostar trying to
23 get aid to fight against the Serbs in Jajce, because at
24 the time the situation in Jajce was quite desperate.
25 They also assert that Prosecutor's Exhibit
1 647 establishes that Blaskic was actually in Novi
2 Travnik on the 20th of October, but if you look at that
3 document, that is a document saying that "Kordic and I
4 are in Novi Travnik commanding the HVO," but the time
5 and date of the document are now displayed on the
6 ELMO. That document is from the 21st of October,
7 21.00, which is when Blaskic told you he was in Novi
8 Travnik. If we put the third page of the report on the
9 ELMO, please, you'll see that it speaks of the present,
10 not of the past. It says: "Kordic and I are in Novi
11 Travnik." It doesn't say "yesterday," it says today,
12 the 21st of October, 1992, which is what he told you in
13 his testimony.
14 Now I need to turn to detention crimes.
15 First I will speak of detention crimes per se and then
16 I will turn to the issue of forced labour.
17 First, it is important to understand exactly
18 what the charge is in the indictment in this regard,
19 and that is because detention of civilians in wartime
20 is not alleged to be a crime, nor is it a crime per
21 se. Rather, the crimes alleged in this indictment are
22 that detainees were held in inhumane conditions or were
23 forced to dig trenches or were used as hostages or were
24 used as human shields. The framing of these charges is
25 in apparent recognition that civilians may be detained
1 for security reasons, such as the existence of combat
2 operations in the area. And, indeed, it was not
3 illegal to detain military-age men in the Lasva Valley,
4 nor in areas adjacent to the Lasva Valley on the other
5 side of the front line, that is, by the BH forces,
6 because as the ICRC commentary to Article 42 to the
7 Geneva Convention IV states at page 258, that although
8 the fact that men are of military age is not a per se
9 basis for detention, that is not the case if there is
10 "a danger of him being able to join the enemy armed
11 force." In other words, if there are men of military
12 age of the opposing force who -- or of the opposing
13 group who can transit and are able to join the enemy
14 armed forces, those persons may be detained.
15 I simply provide this background to make
16 perfectly clear why detention per se is not illegal and
17 it is not charged here as a crime. The issue here is
18 whether Blaskic ordered or knew or had reason to know
19 that detainees were held in inhumane conditions or were
20 held as hostages or were used as human shields.
21 With respect to all detainees, the evidence
22 is uniform. Blaskic never ordered any detainees --
23 never ordered any civilians to be detained.
24 What happened in the Lasva Valley? When
25 conflict broke out on the 16th of April, military-aged
1 men, and some women and children were detained in
2 Vitez, Stari Vitez, Zenica, Poculica, and Kruscica. Of
3 course, in Stari Vitez, Zenica, Poculica, and Kruscica,
4 it was Croats who were detained, while in Vitez, it was
5 Muslims who were detained. You've heard about in
6 Zenica, there were three different prisons, two of
7 which the ICRC was denied access, including the
8 infamous music school. My point there is not to blame
9 anyone but just to illustrate for you how this
10 occurred. It occurred on the morning of the 16th. It
11 occurred in the entire area. It occurred on both sides
12 of the front line.
13 There is no evidence in the case as to who
14 may have ordered this activity, if, indeed, anyone
15 ordered it. General Blaskic has testified, and the
16 documentary evidence indicates, he did not order any
17 detention of civilians.
18 What happened when civilians started to be
19 detained? This created a very negative atmosphere.
20 Rumours circulated on both sides of the confrontation
21 line that people were being detained. It is quite
22 likely and normal that the process spawned further fear
23 and gained momentum.
24 What situation did that confront General
25 Blaskic with? He was faced with a problem, not of his
1 own making, a complex problem, one that had to be dealt
2 with within a context of widespread violence and
3 fighting and in partnership with the International Red
4 Cross and other international agencies.
5 What did he do when he learned there were
6 detainees? He ordered that they be protected and
7 adequately cared for and that they be released under
8 the supervision of the Red Cross, and he, in fact,
9 repeated General Petkovic's order to that effect on the
10 18th of April. There's no evidence that he learned of
11 any detainees prior to the 18th of April. You'll see
12 in point 2 of this order, he ordered the exchange of
13 detained soldiers and civilians at once.
14 On the 21st of April, he issued another order
15 to ensure the proper treatment of detainees and
16 cooperation with the Red Cross in all matters
17 pertaining to detainees. Again, he knew that any
18 detainees had to be treated properly, but he was
19 looking to the Red Cross for guidance. He had never
20 been in this situation before. He repeated this order
21 to protect civilians and treat detainees humanely on
22 the 24th of April, as the Court can see in this order.
23 So we have three orders by the 24th of April
24 ordering proper treatment and release and exchange of
25 detainees, and he repeated this order again on the 27th
1 of April, 1993, specifically prohibiting any treatment
2 of detained persons contrary to the Geneva
4 Two days later, on the 29th of April, he
5 again ordered the release of all detainees and also
6 ordered, which undoubtedly was pursuant to the Red
7 Cross procedures and requests in point 1, immediately
8 draft lists of detained civilians, men, women, and
9 children, including the following information, deadline
10 30 April. Why all the procedures? Why all the
11 bureaucracy with respect to releasing civilians? The
12 Prosecution chides this notion and says, "Of course, he
13 should have just released him. How can he say that Red
14 Cross protocols were important?"
15 What if, Your Honours, the HVO had simply
16 gone into the cinema and said, "Okay, who wants to go
17 to Zenica, raise your hand?" And 30 people raised
18 their hand. They put them in a truck, they take them
19 to the checkpoint, and they go across the checkpoint.
20 What would happen then? Whoever did that would be here
21 on trial for ethnic cleansing, for forcible transfer.
22 The reason the Red Cross insists on lists and
23 interviews is to ensure that people can voluntarily,
24 without any coercion, pressure, or intimidation, can
25 voluntarily decide where to go, to stay on one side of
1 the front line or go on the other.
2 Indeed, when there are persons who did put
3 people in a truck and take them to the checkpoint,
4 those situations are being referred to as a war crime
5 in this Court. That's the Prosecutor's definition of
6 forcible transfer.
7 So it's easy to say, to belittle the
8 adherence to ICRC protocols, but I've explained our
9 views on that. I'll proceed.
10 In this order of 29 April, General Blaskic
11 specifically ordered that safety be guaranteed for
12 these released civilians. Why was that important?
13 That was important so that civilians could truly and
14 freely decide where they wanted to go, and so they
15 wouldn't be forced or intimidated into leaving the
16 area, which will be something I address when I talk
17 about forcible transfer in a moment.
18 Your Honour, when would you like to take the
19 break this afternoon?
20 JUDGE JORDA: I was waiting for you to ask
21 for it for a change, Mr. Hayman. Yes. Let's have a
22 20-minute break.
23 --- Recess taken at 3.51 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 4.15 p.m.
25 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. We've
1 all had a break. Please be seated.
2 (The accused entered court)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, during the rather
4 long break, I think you had time not only to change the
5 wheels but also the engine, so please continue.
6 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President. We
7 are raring to go.
8 I was saying that between the 18th and 29th
9 of April, we just reviewed, there were five orders from
10 Colonel Blaskic directed to proper treatment and
11 release of detainees. We ask that you consider those
12 five orders in conjunction with the evidence on command
13 and control and what actual ability he had to force
14 people to take action with respect to detainees,
15 particularly considering who held the detainees, the
16 Vitezovi and, for the most part, the military police.
17 In addition, at times, there was local and
18 civilian resistance to the release of detainees.
19 Blaskic continued to press for their release, both
20 directly and through the work of the joint commission,
21 but when civilian authorities disagreed with him, they
22 would act how they wished to act and not comply with
23 his request.
24 For example, this testimony was received from
25 EC monitor Morsink.
1 (Videotape played)
2 "Mr. Hayman:
3 Q Let me ask you, on the 3rd of May, did
4 Skopljak and Santic, would you say it
5 would be fair to describe what occurred
6 at that meeting is as follows: 'They
7 were a pair of hard-liners, and they did
8 not want to release prisoners. They
9 said that they had received orders to
10 release the prisoners, but they refused
11 to do so.' Is that accurate?
12 A That's accurate ..."
13 MR. HAYMAN: In any event, I've been talking
14 about the mere fact of detention, but since it's not
15 detention but rather inhumane treatment that is
16 alleged, I will return to the latter.
17 Did Blaskic know or have reason to know of
18 any inhumane conditions under which detainees may have
19 been held, and did he fail to act?
20 If you look at the five orders I've just
21 summarised, most or all of them indicate that proper
22 treatment should be provided to detainees. There is
23 also evidence, Your Honours, that detainees in Vitez
24 were generally held in good conditions. In the Vitez
25 cinema, for example, according to both witness
1 testimony and Prosecutor's Exhibit 529, the EC
2 monitor's report, detainees were treated well. During
3 the day, they were allowed to go home to eat, shower,
4 or obtain a change of clothing, and persons were
5 allowed to bring food to the cinema. Only
6 military-aged men were detained at the cinema. I'm
7 paraphrasing directly from that EC monitor's report.
8 Hostage taking. Were any detainees held as
9 hostages? Did Blaskic ever order the taking of
10 civilians as hostages for the purpose of exchange?
11 There is no evidence that he did, and there are many
12 orders, not only directing proper treatment for
13 civilians and detainees, but also telling HVO units not
14 to arrest civilians.
15 What does that mean? That's an order not to
16 detain a civilian, including not to detain them for the
17 purpose of having chips to barter in any future
18 exchange situation. I've already recounted some of
19 those orders, but here's one in which he expressly said
20 to HVO units, this is June 19, point 1, "stop the
21 arresting of civilians." He made that very clearly.
22 Now, were detainees at the cinema held as
23 hostages? Was there an intent to hold them as
24 hostages? I've already said that, according to the EC
25 monitors, only military-aged men were held there. We
1 point out that there had been a general mobilisation,
2 both on the HVO and the BH army side, throughout the
3 territory of all military-aged men, and that occurred
4 prior to the 16th of April. That informs Your Honours
5 on the question of whether military-aged men were
6 detained at the cinema for purposes of security
7 concerns or were they taken with the intent of being
8 held as hostages?
9 There was one incident of threatened hostage
10 taking which is very instructive in that it should
11 inform the Court of Blaskic's attitude towards such
12 misconduct and the action he took. We need to go into
13 private session for just a moment while I describe it.
14 (Private session)
13 (Open session)
14 MR. HAYMAN: Were any detainees used as human
15 shields, and if so, does General Blaskic have direct or
16 command responsibility for any such misconduct?
17 The Prosecution has alleged three instances
18 of human shield use, Merdani in January or February of
19 1993, Vitez on 16 April, and Vitez on 20 April.
20 In Merdani, there was testimony from several
21 individuals that detainees were used as human shields
22 in and around Merdani. This was in Busovaca in late
23 January 1993 when then Colonel Blaskic was in
24 Kiseljak. There's no evidence that the incident was
25 ever raised with him or that he ever got a report about
2 In Vitez, on the 16th of April,
3 Dr. Mujezinovic testified at a meeting in the cinema
4 complex that Santic and Skopljak threatened to kill
5 Muslim detainees if the BH army continued to advance.
6 That was actually on the 19th, although the indictment
7 charges the incident on the 16th. Blaskic didn't order
8 this threat. He didn't know about it. He didn't learn
9 about it thereafter.
10 Moreover, there's an interesting legal
11 question as to this threat. The threat was never made
12 to the detainees. It was said to Dr. Mujezinovic, and
13 Dr. Mujezinovic was asked to call the BH army. But the
14 detainees were never told, "You are a human shield.
15 You are being used for this purpose." The violation of
16 using human shields is if the human shield constitutes
17 inhuman, cruel, or inhumane treatment to the detainee,
18 and if no violence is ever perpetrated on the detainee
19 and they are never told, never subjected to any
20 intimidation, any threat, they don't even know about
21 these statements being made that were removed from
22 them, there is a legal question as to whether that
23 constitutes inhuman, cruel, or inhumane treatment. But
24 as I said, this conduct was not directed or condoned in
25 any way by Colonel Blaskic.
1 Vitez, the 20th of April. A single witness,
2 who I believe testified in open session, Advija
3 Hrustic, testified that Bosnian Muslims from Gacice
4 were taken to the front of the Hotel Vitez on the 20th
5 of April. Her testimony was that one soldier said to
6 her, "You're going to sit here now and let your people
7 shell you because they have been shelling us up to now,
8 and you better sit down and wait." That was one
9 soldier, one HVO soldier, according to the witness,
10 said this to her. A few hours later, the villagers
11 returned to Gacice unharmed.
12 If the unidentified soldier, in fact, made
13 this taunting statement to Ms. Hrustic, we do not
14 condone it and then Colonel Blaskic never condoned it,
15 but at the same time, that statement if made, we
16 submit, does not, under the circumstances present,
17 constitute the crime of the use of a human shield.
18 There's no evidence, apart from that one
19 alleged hearsay statement, of any intent on anyone's
20 part to place these villagers in front of the hotel in
21 order to shield the building from indirect fire. In
22 fact, the witness's testimony suggests the opposite,
23 namely, that the villagers were temporarily removed
24 from Gacice during what was combat activity occurring
25 on that day and were returned after the combat had
1 concluded. In other words, they were removed from the
2 area for security and legitimate security reasons.
3 There's also no evidence that the Hotel Vitez
4 was shelled at or before this time period on the 20th
5 of April. According to Hrustic, no shells fell in the
6 immediate area at the time. That's in the reporter's
7 transcript at 4849. This suggests that what occurred
8 was although regrettable and inappropriate, it was the
9 mere taunting by one soldier of one individual.
10 In any event, there's no evidence that
11 Colonel Blaskic ordered, knew, or had reason to know of
12 this taunt. Ms. Hrustic was not able to provide a time
13 period in her testimony as to when this happened, when
14 they were outside the hotel, and there is no evidence
15 that Colonel Blaskic observed the villagers in the area
16 of the hotel.
17 The Prosecution chose not to present any
18 other witnesses, such as a second villager, there were
19 apparently a large number of them, presumably because
20 no one else heard the alleged taunt and no one else was
21 aware of any shelling that might have occurred earlier
22 in the day in Vitez.
23 There's been a suggestion by the Prosecution
24 that the housing of detainees in the cinema, which was
25 adjacent to the Workers' University building, was
1 illegal. The testimony has been that the cinema was a
2 well-built structure that was safer for housing
3 detainees than any other structure in Vitez. The ECMM
4 noted in a report that the housing of detainees there
5 might be a technical or formal violation of the Geneva
7 This is an enlargement of one of the
8 Prosecutor's Exhibits, 45H, and it depicts the Workers'
9 University building and the cinema. The vertical
10 building, the building that's a little bit wider but
11 not as long, is the cinema building. The "T," at the
12 top of the "T" is the Workers' University building.
13 The question under applicable law apparently,
14 at least in part, is whether this is one building or
15 two. In fact, the persons detained in the cinema, were
16 they housed in the same building as the Vitez brigade,
17 which apparently occupied some or all of the Workers'
18 University, or are these two buildings?
19 If you look at these photographs, Your
20 Honours, I think you can reasonably conclude that
21 although these buildings are adjacent and they may have
22 a hallway or passageway between them, they appear to
23 be, in significant respects, two structures.
24 We think, under the circumstances, it would
25 be wrong to hold General Blaskic criminally accountable
1 for something that might hinge on whether this hallway
2 between these two buildings constitutes a hallway or a
3 connection such that it's only one building,
4 considering the fact, Your Honours, that at the time,
5 no one came to him and suggested that there was a safer
6 location for these detainees, pending interviews,
7 lists, and release. No one has testified in this case
8 that any suggestion was made to him that these persons
9 should be moved.
10 Would it be fair to impose a custodial
11 sentence on him for this act, under those
12 circumstances? We submit it would not be.
13 Forced labour. The war in Central Bosnia
14 consisted largely of trench warfare reminiscent of
15 World War I. The use of forced labour to dig trenches
16 in Central Bosnia occurred on both sides of the
17 conflict. One reason is that you can order a soldier
18 to dig his own foxhole or trench, but if a soldier can
19 find another person to dig it for him, he may well
20 try. To accomplish these fortifications, both the BH
21 authorities and the Herceg-Bosna civil authorities
22 mobilised citizens in an area they controlled into work
23 platoons or working platoons.
24 Now, what is the charge in the indictment
25 with respect to forced labour? The forced labour
1 charge appeared in the persecution count, Count 1, and
2 in Counts 13 and 14, which provide or allude to
3 inhumane or cruel treatment of detainees. In both of
4 these locations, Count 1 and Count 13/14, the exclusive
5 charge is that detainees were forced to dig trenches.
6 No where is it charged that non-detainees or members of
7 working platoons were forced to dig trenches. That is
8 because the use of working platoons per se is not
9 illegal. It is not illegal to mobilise citizens into
10 working platoons and force them to engage in labour,
11 including the digging of fortifications, so long as the
12 conditions are not dangerous or abusive, nor is the
13 practice imposed in a discriminatory manner.
14 Now, we have prepared a chart to try and
15 illustrate for the Court, and I have copies I'd like to
16 hand out with the help of the registrar, but in the
17 meantime, and this is a series I'll be getting to, but
18 the first one for the moment is on the video monitor,
19 and I think I should go ahead in order to use the
21 What does this chart illustrate? It
22 illustrates the state of current international
23 humanitarian law on the use of detainees versus work
24 platoons to prepare fortifications. At the left
25 margin, a distinction is made between detainees at the
1 top and work platoons or non-detainees at the bottom.
2 The two categories across the top of the chart are, on
3 the left, the existence of an international armed
4 conflict and, on the right, the existence of an
5 internal armed conflict. Inside each box, we have
6 indicated whether the particular activity is charged as
7 a crime in the indictment and whether or not the
8 particular activity is a violation of international
9 humanitarian law.
10 If you look first at the bottom two boxes,
11 working platoons or non-detainees, you will see that in
12 both international and internal armed conflict, the use
13 of working platoons or non-detainees for fortifying the
14 terrain are not charged as a crime, and, indeed, you
15 will find that it's not a violation of humanitarian law
16 in either circumstance.
17 If you look in the top two boxes, you will
18 see that both, and that relates to the use of detainees
19 for forced labour, you will find that both of those
20 conditions or, rather, situations are charged in the
21 indictment as crimes, but you'll find that in an
22 internal armed conflict, we submit that forced labour
23 of civilian detainees is not illegal in an internal
24 armed conflict.
25 We hope this provides a useful framework for
1 analysing the evidence in this case because it is quite
2 interesting how the evidence has been presented with
3 respect to this charge.
4 Before we get to the evidence, we'll use this
5 chart, in part, to illustrate for the Court that
6 working platoons, which is the bottom two boxes, were
7 part of the laws of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Herceg-Bosna
8 and that they were legal under all international
9 humanitarian laws. This is significant because we
10 believe it resulted in -- this issue resulted in a
11 certain amount of miscommunication between
12 international observers and the joint commission, when
13 there were joint commission meetings, and, indeed, this
14 misunderstanding has spilled over to this very
16 Let me give you one example. The UNHCR
17 protested to the joint commission that Gypsies in Vitez
18 were being taken to dig trenches. This is
19 Mr. Morsink.
20 (Videotape played)
21 "A The International Red Cross and the
22 UNHCR were present at those types of
23 meetings, (redacted)
3 MR. HAYMAN: So that's an example of UNHCR
4 protesting to the joint commission that Gypsies in
5 Vitez were being forced to dig trenches. Well, what do
6 we know about those Gypsies?
7 1) They were never detained. There's no
8 charge, there's no evidence that Gypsies in Vitez were
9 ever detained. So this protest to the joint commission
10 did not involve detainees.
11 2) We know from the documents that the
12 Prosecutor introduced in his rebuttal case, P715 to
13 P717, that these Gypsies were in working platoons from
14 the Sofa and Zic districts outside of Vitez, and we'll
15 look at those documents in a moment.
16 This distinction between detainees and
17 non-detainees was not made by the Prosecution in the
18 presentation of their case. They regularly questioned
19 witnesses about the use of civilians without specifying
20 whether they were talking about detainees or not.
21 Listen to this exchange, please, between the Prosecutor
22 and Mr. Morsink.
23 (Videotape played)
24 "Mr. Harmon:
25 Q I'd like to turn to another topic and
1 that would be the subject of the use of
2 civilians to perform forced labour,
3 specifically trench-digging. While you
4 were in Central Bosnia, were you aware
5 of this particular practice?
6 A I was given protests according to --
7 which said that civilians had been
8 forced to dig trenches. I was given
9 this during the meeting of the joint
10 commission. During the meeting, I was
11 made aware of 15 protests in that
12 respect, more, 10 to 15, 10 to 15."
13 MR. HAYMAN: What does this tell Your
14 Honours? Here we have the testimony of EC monitor
15 Morsink being asked by the Prosecution, "Was the use of
16 civilians to dig trenches protested to the joint
17 commission?" Answer: "Yes, 10 to 15 times."
18 Civilians, not civilian detainees. You didn't hear the
19 word "detainees" anywhere in the question or the
20 answer. That's not what was being discussed. They
21 were discussing civilians.
22 Given that you know there were working
23 platoons in the area, that is what is being discussed,
24 and that's also the case you just saw with respect to
25 the example of Gypsies outside Vitez and UNHCR raising
1 it with the joint commission. They weren't talking
2 about detainees. Detainees being forced to perform
3 labour is the only charge in this indictment pertaining
4 to forced labour. There is no charge that civilians
5 being forced to perform labour is illegal or that it
6 occurred or that General Blaskic has any responsibility
7 for any such conduct, even if it were illegal.
8 Consequently, with very few exceptions, the
9 record in this case pertains to the use of civilian
10 labour to dig fortifications, not the use of
12 What about the working platoons? To be
13 lawful, working platoon duties must be imposed in a
14 non-discriminatory manner and must not involve
15 dangerous work at the front lines. Now, as I've said,
16 the use of non-detained civilians to perform labour
17 isn't charged in the indictment and should not be
18 considered by you in your deliberations, but we
19 maintain nonetheless that the practice, at least
20 insofar as Colonel Blaskic was aware of it, and he was
21 aware of the use of working platoons, it was legal. He
22 thought it was legal, and what he understood to be
23 occurring was legal, because the work platoons in Vitez
24 generally met these requirements.
25 You may recall the testimony of Dusan
1 Lukovic. He is a Serb resident of Vitez. In fact, he
2 was the former president of the municipality of Vitez.
3 He was in a working platoon in Vitez, and he testified
4 that every village had its own platoon, that work duty
5 was imposed on all men under the age of 60. There were
6 Serbs, Gypsies, Croats, and Muslims in the working
7 platoons. There was no discrimination based on
8 nationality. All work platoon members received credit
9 towards their pensions for the same amount of years of
10 service, as if they had served in an HVO combat unit.
11 Mr. Lukovic also testified that conditions
12 for the working platoons were not dangerous, were not
13 abusive. They received three meals a day. They were
14 not worked beyond endurance. They slept. They had an
15 evening break to sleep if the work lasted more than one
16 day, and that the HVO soldiers would routinely secure
17 the work area, protect them, and if danger started to
18 arise, the work duties would cease, and the members of
19 the work platoons would move out of any area of
21 Colonel Blaskic never ordered or acquiesced
22 in any dangerous, discriminatory, or abusive conditions
23 for work platoons.
24 Again, in their final brief, the Prosecutor
25 makes no distinction between detainees being forced to
1 perform labour and working platoons or non-detainees
2 engaging in fortification of the land. This is a fatal
3 defect in the Prosecutor's presentation in this area.
4 At the end of his case, the Prosecutor
5 introduced certain documents relating to work platoons
6 in the Vitez area. What do those documents show?
7 Work platoons were established by the
8 civilian authorities under applicable laws and
9 regulations. They were multi-ethnic. This is what
10 their own documents, P715 to 717, show. Work platoons
11 did not consist of detainees but rather ordinary
12 citizens, and, in fact, we would suggest that they were
13 not civilians within the meaning of that phrase as used
14 in the indictment because they were mobilised into the
15 working platoons. They received a pension based on the
16 work they performed.
17 The Prosecution argues that an order in
18 September of 1993, in which Colonel Blaskic asked for
19 work platoon support in the Grbavica area after the
20 front line had moved beyond Grbavica, that that is
21 somehow illegal. That's Prosecutor's Exhibit 715.
22 Page 3 of that document does reflect that there was a
23 request by Blaskic for assistance from work platoons in
24 the Grbavica area after the battle was over on the 8th
25 of September and after the front line had moved forward
1 past and off the Grbavica feature. The Prosecution
2 made no attempt to prove that the front line was not
3 pushed off of the Grbavica feature, and the record does
4 not reflect that this assignment requested by Colonel
5 Blaskic in P715 was in any way dangerous, exposed the
6 work platoon members to any enemy fire, or that it
7 resulted in any injuries.
8 Now, it does reflect regrettably, on page 3,
9 that there was some disturbance in the course of the
10 performance of this work in or around Grbavica and some
11 member or members of the working platoon were beaten by
12 an HVO soldier. It's for unknown reasons. We're not
13 told in the report. There is no indication of the
14 nationality of the victims of this beating, and there's
15 been no other evidence presented. We don't know if
16 they were Muslim or Croat or Serb or Gypsy.
17 In any event, this conduct, whatever it is,
18 it is not charged because these are not detainees,
19 these are working platoons, and that's true of the
20 activity in all of these documents. You can review
21 them and, we think, reach that same conclusion.
22 As opposed to the work of working platoons,
23 Colonel Blaskic knew that forced labour by detainees
24 was illegal and he took measures to prevent such
1 What did he do? In 1992, he had Red Cross
2 information cards distributed to all HVO soldiers
3 indicating, in clear and simple words and pictures,
4 that civilians had to be protected, sheltered, and not
5 be abused in any way. That was in 1992 that he had
6 these calendars distributed and again in 1993. The one
7 you're looking at is the 1993 to 1994 version.
8 The Prosecution argues that Blaskic must have
9 known, must have seen detainees digging trenches, and
10 so he's guilty. First of all, Your Honours, since
11 fortification by work platoon members is legal, and yet
12 the same conduct by detainees is illegal, how are you
13 supposed to tell? If you're driving by on the roadside
14 and you see somebody digging and you see a soldier with
15 them, is that soldier guarding detainees or is he
16 protecting them and looking out for the detainees?
17 It's almost impossible to tell, if simply driving by.
18 But furthermore, their own evidence belies the fact
19 that this is some kind of a practice that would be
20 easily observed.
21 What did the humanitarian affairs officer
22 from BritBat, Lee Whitworth, testify concerning this
24 (Videotape played)
25 "Judge Riad: The fact of how these trenches
1 are being built and by whom, by the --
2 would it also be the duty of the
3 detainees or would it be the commanders?
4 A The actual digging of the trenches would
5 have been the local militia on the
6 ground. I saw no evidence of civilians
7 or prisoners digging trenches."
8 MR. HAYMAN: That's Lee Whitworth, the
9 humanitarian affairs officer for the British Battalion
10 who served in Bosnia from May 1993 until November of
12 When Blaskic was alerted to the allegation of
13 forced labour of Bosnian Muslim civilian detainees, he
14 took actions to stop it and he made it perfectly clear
15 within the HVO that the use of detainees for forced
16 labour was strictly forbidden, and we've prepared for
17 you, Your Honours, a summary chart of some, not all,
18 but some of the orders designed to inform and enforce
19 among HVO soldiers and units humanitarian laws,
20 including the protection of civilians and the
21 prohibition of the treatment of any detained civilians
22 contrary to the Geneva Convention, including the
23 digging of trenches.
24 I'm not going to read them all. These
25 particular orders on this chart pertain to observance
1 of the laws of war. As you can see, there are a number
2 of orders. We submit that it cannot be said, for all
3 these reasons, that Colonel Blaskic failed to take
4 reasonable measures to ensure, to the best of his
5 ability, that adequate conditions and treatment of
6 detainees and that their speedy release be achieved.
7 I'd like to address one more item before
8 asking Mr. Nobilo to make a few closing remarks, and
9 that is forcible transfer. This is alleged in Count 1,
10 and it is alleged therein that General Blaskic has
11 liability for the forcible transfer of civilians.
12 The Prosecutor alleges that the HVO forcibly
13 transferred Bosnian Muslim civilians by terror, by
14 detention and expulsion, and by exchange of detainees.
15 There is no question that there were large population
16 movements in Central Bosnia in 1993. These movements
17 began in 1992 when a tremendous influx of refugees,
18 particularly Bosnian Muslim refugees, into Central
19 Bosnia occurred after they had been expelled from areas
20 controlled by the Bosnian Serbs. Muslim refugees thus
21 came into these areas in large numbers in 1992, which
22 is contrary to the charges in the indictment.
23 To explain why these movements occurred, the
24 Prosecutor called Mr. Kajmovic. He was a former SDA
25 politician in Vitez who testified about certain
1 statistics he had attempted to gather on population
2 movements. He didn't offer any scientific conclusions
3 about the reasons for those movements, but he did offer
4 conclusions as to why persons moved, based on his
5 political beliefs.
6 I just would like to remind Your Honours of
7 an observation that one of you made at the time he
8 testified, and that is you, Judge Jorda.
9 (Videotape played)
10 "Judge Jorda: ... political questions, you
11 could answer with mathematics, and if
12 you were being asked about statistics
13 for which it didn't have the facts, you
14 defended yourself with your
15 convictions. That is your political
17 MR. HAYMAN: Why did people move? We know
18 that in Ahmici, people were driven from their homes or
19 murdered. But what about elsewhere? Some moved out of
20 a concern that fighting might come to their locale.
21 Some moved because fighting broke out in or near their
22 village. Some moved because their village came under
23 the control of the other party to the conflict and they
24 wished to reside in territory controlled by their own
1 For example, that occurred in Gacice with the
2 help of international agencies, according to the
3 Prosecutor's witness, Mr. Kajmovic.
4 (Videotape played)
5 "Mr. Nobilo:
6 Q In these interviews, Mr. Kajmovic, did
7 you come across, for instance, the cases
8 that, for instance, from Gacice, the
9 population left under the protection of
10 the international forces?
11 A Yes. I have certain data reflecting
12 that for Gacice."
13 MR. HAYMAN: I note, as an aside, the
14 Prosecutor submitted no percipient witness testimony as
15 to how those Gacice villagers actually left Gacice.
16 They did leave. There's testimony that they asked to
17 leave some days before they left. But no percipient
18 witness has testified as to how they left and who moved
19 them. The only evidence you have is their own
20 demographer, Mr. Kajmovic, that they left with the
21 assistance of international agencies. The Defence
22 finds that curious, that there's no percipient witness,
23 only hearsay evidence offered on that point.
24 In any event, why else did people move?
25 Fighting-aged men who were detained frequently asked to
1 be allowed to leave for Zenica or Travnik because they
2 wanted to rejoin their BH army unit. The families of
3 such men then typically asked to be moved or exchanged
4 or allowed to leave so that they could reunite their
5 family. These movements tended to be symmetrical:
6 Muslims moved in one direction; Croats moved in
8 If we can go into private session for a
9 moment, I'd like to present what is perhaps the most
10 articulate explanation of why people moved that this
11 Court heard from a court witness.
12 (Private session)
19 (Open session)
20 MR. HAYMAN: All of these movements occurred
21 in whole or in part with the help of or under the
22 supervision of various agencies, the Red Cross,
23 UNPROFOR, UNHCR. We're not suggesting that was wrong.
24 It was unfortunate that these fears and conditions
25 caused these population movements, but it was not a
1 crime to let people move when they insisted on moving.
2 It was not a crime when international humanitarian
3 organisations facilitated this, and it was not a crime
4 even if Colonel Blaskic allowed people to cross the
5 front line in order to move to another region.
6 The Prosecution has not proven a single
7 instance in which Blaskic ordered, acquiesced, or
8 failed to act to counter activity designed to drive
9 Bosnian Muslim civilians from their homes through
10 violence or intimidation. On the contrary, he worked
11 diligently to forbid and punish acts when they occurred
12 by HVO soldiers that did intimidate Muslim citizens and
13 cause them to want to leave HVO-controlled areas.
14 There are many, many, many orders he issued
15 to provide to try and improve security for the
16 population, to try and prevent acts of violence against
17 Muslim civilians, to stop burning of homes, to stop
18 soldiers from occupying empty homes, to prevent the
19 destruction of property, to forbid evictions, and so
20 forth. I haven't counted all those orders. You have
21 the slides. You can look at them. You can judge. Was
22 Colonel Blaskic papering the file or was he trying to
23 do the best he could under what were very difficult
24 conditions fuelled by the kinds of fears that you had
25 so eloquently described a moment ago in closed
2 Was it within Colonel Blaskic's power to
3 create an environment of complete security for Muslim
4 citizens resident within the Vitez enclave? Part of
5 the problem was there was no part, if you look at the
6 relief map, you can see that there was no part of the
7 enclave that was more than 1.000 metres away from the
8 front line. Wherever you went, even at the very
9 centre, you were within about a thousand metres from
10 the front line, which is still a danger zone. It was
11 all a war zone. The whole Vitez enclave was a war
12 zone, and the testimony in this case has been anyone
13 who could leave did leave, because who would want to
14 live in such a place during such a war?
15 I want to briefly discuss, just in five
16 minutes, count 14, destruction of religious or
17 educational objects.
18 In Duhri, there's been no showing, that's the
19 incident in August 1992, where there was a roadblock in
20 Duhri within 100 metres of the mosque. There has been
21 no evidence of any significant damage to the mosque.
22 There's a pock mark on the mosque. No one ever raised
23 a complaint or a cry about it. In Ahmici, we know what
24 destroyed those mosques, and we don't condone those
25 attacks, but neither did Colonel Blaskic.
1 In Stari Vitez, the claim is that the roof of
2 the mosque was destroyed or damaged -- excuse me, by
3 the truck bomb. We've talked about the truck bomb.
4 In the Vitez enclave, that's it. There are
5 no other Muslim religious or educational institutions
6 that are alleged to have been destroyed. That is it.
7 Now, there are others, particularly in the Kiseljak
8 enclave, but we ask you to do the following in
9 determining Colonel Blaskic's responsibility for
10 destruction to Muslim religious or educational
11 institutions: What did he do about the problem,
12 particularly of vandalisation to such objectives by
13 unknown persons? He issued specific orders, such as
14 point 2 of this order, forbidding such actions by HVO
15 soldiers, and when he learned of incidents, he acted,
16 this is an order on the 17th of August with respect to
17 a religious building in Kiseljak that he heard through
18 the grapevine, he didn't get a report of this damage or
19 destruction, he testified, but he heard through
20 unofficial channels, I believe, that the mosque had
21 been damaged, and he sent this sternly-worded order to
22 Ivica Rajic to try and get an investigation going.
23 The other thing we ask you to do in judging
24 him on this question is the following: Ask yourselves
25 and look at the evidence with respect to whether those
1 Muslim religious or other cultural institutions that
2 were outside of HVO territory but were within, say,
3 artillery range of HVO territory, what happened to
4 those? And why is that important, because the
5 Prosecutor's expert, Colin Kaiser, Dr. Kaiser testified
6 that there were many acts of vandalism by unknown
7 perpetrators. If you look at those cultural objects
8 that are outside of the front line, you know that
9 Croatian vandals didn't get to those institutions, so
10 you know you're eliminating vandalism from the picture,
11 but still the HVO military could have shelled, could
12 have mortared, could have destroyed all of those
13 objects. If there was a policy to eradicate Muslims
14 and eradicate Muslim cultural institutions from this
15 land, the HVO could have done it and they would have
16 done it, and General Blaskic would have directed it.
17 But did he?
18 I asked the question of Dr. Kaiser, the
19 Prosecution expert, and here was his response.
20 (Videotape played)
21 "A One first remark is that as you remember
22 from the first two maps, very, very
23 little damage was done from HVO
24 positions against mosques that were in
25 the Armija-controlled territory. There
1 was extremely light damage. I don't
2 know why. I don't know if it's a
3 question of ordinance. I don't know
4 whether it is a question of will."
5 MR. HAYMAN: Extremely light damage to Muslim
6 cultural objects that were not exposed to vandalism but
7 which could have been totally destroyed by HVO military
9 Before I ask Mr. Nobilo to make a few
10 concluding remarks, I want to thank the Court again,
11 thank counsel, thank the interpreters. Mr. Nobilo and
12 I will soon be departing The Hague. It's been a
13 privilege to appear before Your Honours, and our client
14 has asked us to tell you that he believes he made the
15 right decision to voluntarily come here three years
16 ago. He has spent three years in gaol, but he thanks
17 you for your patience and he thanks you for the wisdom
18 and the intellectual rigor that he knows you will bring
19 to your verdict.
20 Thank you.
21 MR. NOBILO: Your Honours, we have really
22 come to the end of these proceedings and to the end of
23 our presentation of our final arguments.
24 During this lengthy process, I think you
25 often must have wondered whether the person who is in
1 front of you, who has been sitting here, who answered
2 your questions, was capable of committing the crimes
3 with which he has been charged. He has spent two years
4 here, and through several months, he answered your
5 questions, and as experienced trial Judges, you may
6 have been able to reach your own conclusions and
7 certain impressions about him.
8 Some 150 witnesses paraded in front of you.
9 I think we have entered about 1.300 exhibits into the
10 transcript. The witnesses came from the wartorn areas
11 where the passions had been whipped up. They were
12 members of the army which was opposed to General
13 Blaskic. These were witnesses who came from a wartime
14 atmosphere. But it is very significant that no one,
15 not a single witness said nothing bad about General
16 Blaskic on a personal level. I think that this is an
17 extraordinary situation.
18 What does this mean? What we had in Bosnia
19 was not only a breakdown of the state institutions, but
20 its social system, but in this inter-ethnic terrible
21 war, the social fuses broke, and some people believed
22 that anything was permissible. Things that were
23 prohibited all of a sudden became permissible in the
24 minds of many.
25 So in an atmosphere like this, let us see how
1 General Blaskic treated the norms of a civilised
2 society. Let's see. The first test of his behaviour
3 is his attitude towards property, property that was not
4 his own. The Bible says "Steal not." While many
5 during this war amassed wealth, General Blaskic came to
6 Vitez carrying one soldier's suitcase, and this is how
7 he left. While they were giving away apartments of the
8 former JNA officers, he refused to take one. Blaskic
9 lived in his office behind a screen and slept on a
10 cot. That is all he had.
11 When he learned that he had been indicted
12 before this Trial Chamber, he packed his modest
13 suitcase and he came over here. He received this
14 indictment in a garage, because that is where he
15 lived. This is one of the tests where we can see
16 whether these fuses of social behaviour had let him
17 down or not.
18 General Blaskic has been accused of being
19 part of a master plan to ethnically cleanse Muslims
20 from a certain area through killing and burning and
21 terror, drive them from this area. I will show you one
23 This is a letter of apology which General
24 Blaskic sent on 31 January, 1993 addressed to
25 Mr. Mustafa Agic, who happens to be a Muslim. General
1 Blaskic is commander of the Central Bosnia Operative
2 Zone. Mr. Mustafa Agic is a small man who owns one inn
3 which is his livelihood. What does he say? This is an
4 apology for the brutal behaviour of an extremist member
5 of the HVO.
6 This is what General Blaskic says: "Dear
7 sir, I have been informed by the competent authorities
8 about the destructive behaviour of an uncontrolled
9 group of HVO soldiers who demolished your catering
10 establishment on 29 January, 1993." General Blaskic
11 says that "Such acts of the extremists within the HVO
12 are undermining the security situation and create
13 insecurity," but he then ads that "I can promise you
14 that appropriate measures will be taken against the
15 perpetrators of these acts." Then he tells this small
16 man, and this is not an event that got the attention of
17 CNN, because our learned colleague across say that only
18 when CNN was around they would do something, so General
19 Blaskic says to this man, "I wish to apologise to you
20 once again for everything that was done by the
21 extremists in the ranks of the HVO. Sincerely, General
22 Tihomir Blaskic."
23 Your Honours, do you think that this letter,
24 it testifies to General Blaskic being part of some
25 master plan, that he's a racist, that he persecutes
1 these Muslims? He apologises. He apologises to this
2 citizen because the HVO caused damage to his property.
3 This citizen happens to be a Muslim, and this is why we
4 used it here. But, first of all, he expresses his
5 apology to him as a citizen of the town. This is an
6 example of his behaviour during these turbulent times.
7 Let me paraphrase what the Prosecutor said.
8 Blaskic left in his wake death and destruction in order
9 to create a single ethnic state. Not only was he part
10 of the programme of persecution, he advocated it, and
11 this plan involved the removal of Muslims from this
12 area. When the Prosecutor said that the other day, I
13 asked myself, does he really believe this? I asked
14 myself, can anybody in the Lasva Valley believe this?
15 What do we know about what was going on in the Lasva
16 Valley? We were not there. You were not there. I was
17 not there in 1993. I did not live far away, but to be
18 honest, I did not even know what was going on. What we
19 learned about it, we learned through the witnesses and
20 through the documents which were presented to you
22 What did these witnesses say? What did the
23 Prosecution witnesses say, those same witnesses which
24 were called by the Prosecution to support their case?
25 I will give you several samples of that. What does
1 Fuad Zeco, an honourable man from Vitez, a
2 veterinarian, and what does he say in this trial about
3 General Blaskic?
4 (Videotape played)
5 "Mr. Nobilo:
6 Q Can you just say "Yes" or "No"? Did
7 Tihomir Blaskic ever speak against the
8 Muslims as a people?
9 A No."
10 MR. NOBILO: Another statement from the same
12 (Videotape played)
13 "Mr. Nobilo:
14 Q What is your assessment of that
15 appearance of Tihomir Blaskic on
17 A A person who tried to resolve common
18 problems in terms of the defence of the
19 state of Bosnia-Herzegovina."
20 MR. NOBILO: Ethnic tensions in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina at that time had peaked. An ethnic
22 war had broken out. What did the Prosecution witness
23 Roy Hunter tell the Court?
24 (Videotape played)
25 "Mr. Hayman:
1 Q Mr. Valenta expressed views which could
2 be described as being in favour of
3 ethnic division; correct?
4 A Yes. Yes.
5 Q Did you ever hear or hear of Tihomir
6 Blaskic expressing any such views?
7 A No."
8 MR. NOBILO: Prosecution Witness Payam
10 (Videotape played)
11 "Q ... ethnically disparaging comments
12 towards Muslims?
13 A No, he did not. He was extremely
15 MR. NOBILO: Prosecution Witness
17 (Videotape played)
18 "Q ... conversations with Colonel Blaskic,
19 did he ever threaten any harm towards
20 ECMM, BritBat, or any other
21 international organisation?
22 A No.
23 Q In fact, he cooperated with ECMM;
24 wouldn't you agree with that?
25 A It seemed so. Whenever we had a
1 request, he tried to come forward to us
2 and assist him."
3 MR. NOBILO: Prosecution witness Alistair
5 (Videotape played)
6 "Mr. Hayman:
7 Q Is it fair to say that Colonel Blaskic
8 never in any conversation with you spoke
9 of Muslims with racial prejudice in his
11 A He was -- that's correct. Yes, that's
13 MR. NOBILO: Prosecution Witness Morsink.
14 (Videotape played)
15 "Mr. Hayman:
16 Q Were you ever told that Colonel Blaskic
17 had made any inflammatory or derogatory
18 marks on TV, radio, in speeches, or
19 otherwise during your tour of duty? Did
20 you ever receive such information?
21 A Never."
22 MR. NOBILO: Father Pervan, a witness of the
24 (Videotape played)
25 "A I never heard Mr. Blaskic say anything
1 bad about any nationality or that he
2 would give bad names to other -- members
3 of other ethnic groups. I never heard
4 him do anything of that kind."
5 MR. NOBILO: Charles McLeod, a witness of the
7 (Videotape played)
8 "Mr. Hayman:
9 Q At any point in the interview, did
10 Colonel Blaskic express any ethnic
11 animosity towards any ethnic group?
12 A No. I think that he was saying to me
13 that he felt that people ought to be
14 able to live together."
15 MR. NOBILO: The Prosecutor alleged that
16 Blaskic had ordered the crimes in Ahmici. What does
17 Robert Stewart say, a Court witness?
18 (Videotape played)
19 "Judge Shahabuddeen: Was it your impression
20 that he was upset to learn that grave
21 crimes had been committed in Ahmici, or
22 was he upset by the circumstance that
23 you, a person whom he respected, was
24 telling him this and demanding action?
25 A I think he was upset by what had
2 MR. NOBILO: And again Bob Stewart.
3 (Videotape played)
4 "Mr. Kehoe:
5 Q Now, you note in this particular
6 document, that in fairness to Blaskic, I
7 also told him that he seemed very
8 shocked about it all. Do you see that
10 A Yes. I do, and I wouldn't have written
11 it unless I felt it, because, as I say,
12 he's a decent man to me, and I was
13 shocked, and he seemed shocked to too,
14 because both of us had families, and I
15 always felt that about Blaskic."
16 MR. NOBILO: And what did Blaskic teach his
17 soldiers? Witness DL.
18 (Videotape played)
19 "A '... those who are not collected and who
20 might react to evil with a tenfold
21 stronger evil without thinking about the
22 innocent. My talk with you today and
23 any other in the future will always be
24 sharply in tune towards those who may be
25 rash in that sense.'
1 Q Please proceed.
2 A 'We are not here in these uniforms and
3 armed with rifles to attack the unarmed
4 and the captured. I will never allow
5 that. I will always ask you and my
6 associates to respect this human rule.'
7 Q Please proceed.
8 A 'And for as long as I live, that is how
9 I will try to influence my
11 MR. NOBILO: That was how the witness
12 interpreted it, because he took note of Blaskic's
13 speech to soldiers prior to sending them off to the
15 Finally, Your Honours, when determining the
16 criminal liability of Tihomir Blaskic, the Defence
17 appeals to you to focus on him personally, to judge
18 him, his acts, and his omissions, because Tihomir
19 Blaskic is an honourable man and an honourable
20 general. He was the first to surrender himself as soon
21 as he heard that he had been indicted, and he came
22 because he was ready to stand before you and to answer
23 for his deeds or for his omissions, but not also for
24 things that he personally is not responsible for and
25 which were committed by others.
1 Do not judge Blaskic as a symbol but as a
2 man. Bosnia, and especially the war in Bosnia, and the
3 crimes in Bosnia cannot be viewed in black and
4 white clichés. They can be viewed rather like cowboy
5 films, with good and bad guys, with the BH army being
6 the good guy and the HVO the bad guy. It is not the
7 HVO that committed the crime. The HVO is not a
8 criminal organisation. There is no major criminal
9 project. Crimes were committed by individuals with
10 first and last names, and they must be called to
12 The Prosecutor, in his closing arguments,
13 asks you to react to an injustice committed against the
14 Muslims in the Lasva Valley with another injustice. If
15 the chain of injustices continues, then all hope for
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina will be lost. Do not allow that to
17 happen. Cut that chain of injustice now. Pass the
18 right decision. Acquit General Blaskic. The Defence
19 appeals that this Trial Chamber acquit General
21 Your Honours, the Defence has hereby
22 completed its closing arguments. We have done our best
23 to assist you in your difficult task, indeed, and a
24 responsible one, and from now on, we hand over the fate
25 of our client into your hands, confident that justice
1 will be served.
2 Thank you for your attention.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo. Before
4 closing the discussion, I have a minor technical
5 problem to raise. Can we consider that the Defence and
6 the Prosecution agree to delete certain motions that
7 may have been left over?
8 I think there are, Mr. Fourmy, two or three
9 motions left that haven't been resolved. Mr. Fourmy?
10 MR. FOURMY: Mr. President, there is a recent
11 motion from the Defence under seal regarding the
12 problem of translation. I don't know whether that
13 still is an issue in view of what the parties have
15 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, do you wish us to
16 discuss -- of course, we're not going to discuss it
17 today, the discussion is closed, but would you prefer
18 that we respond to it in the final judgement? Do you
19 wish to withdraw it? Do you insist upon it? Tell us
20 quickly, because this is the occasion that we have to
21 hear you. You will not be speaking again, in this
22 case, at least.
23 MR. HAYMAN: I understand that,
24 Mr. President. This is a translation error, and
25 there's a translation error that we drew your attention
1 to in our motion. We would simply ask that you order
2 that it be referred to the translation unit for any
3 correction and that any corrected copy of the exhibit
4 be entered into the record. That would resolve the
6 JUDGE JORDA: No objection on the part of the
7 Prosecution, I assume?
8 MR. HARMON: Since we weren't privy to the
9 motion, Mr. President, it's hard to say we have no
10 objection, so we will --
11 JUDGE JORDA: As this is being treated in
12 public, let's make things quite clear. In that case,
13 we can conclude that there are no motions pending and
14 that the debate is closed. We agree, don't we,
15 Mr. Hayman?
16 MR. HAYMAN: I think so, but the motion was
17 not ex parte, so the Prosecutor should have the
18 motion. It was filed and they should have it in their
19 files. If they don't have a copy, perhaps the
20 Registrar's office could assist them.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Thank you.
22 I'm going to pronounce the closure of the
23 trial. It is true that we have come to the end of a
24 long trip. I'm saying this for the public, which was
25 rather numerous today and which was not always so, and
1 this is only understandable because we have had 25
2 months of trial.
3 I'm looking at some of the figures, like
4 Mr. Nobilo. I know that we have 30.000 pages of
5 transcript to read and that we had 223 days of hearings
6 and we heard 558 witnesses, to complete a humane but a
7 complex task, that is, to judge the defendant.
8 Before really closing the debate, I wish to
9 thank my colleagues, and I'm thinking in particular of
10 Judge Riad who the public was able to see today on the
11 screen but who has been indisposed and had to leave
12 us. I also, of course, wish to thank the parties and
13 the accused for agreeing to having him replaced, and he
14 was not able to participate in this long journey with
15 us throughout.
16 I also wish to thank Almiro Rodrigues, who
17 doesn't have 30.000 but 18.000 pages of transcript. I
18 also thank the manner in which he immediately joined in
19 the debate with such conviction.
20 I wish to thank the attorneys too. You have
21 demonstrated not only a great degree of competence and
22 professional ability, but I also wish to thank you for
23 devoting to these legal debates not only your legal
24 competence, but also a very high courtesy, a high
25 standard, which doesn't mean that there wasn't some
1 lively exchanges between you, but that your relations
2 were cordial, which is quite normal in a system of
3 justice and especially international justice as this.
4 Of course, I mustn't forget the interpreters
5 and the court reporters, without whom we would not have
6 been able to do much, and also the miracle of the
7 technical booth. I heard myself speaking in absolute
8 perfect English, which is a great accomplishment for me
9 at the end of this lengthy debate.
10 I also wish to underline that the accused
11 also behaved in an exemplary manner, and this also
12 contributed to the debates being clear and the easiness
13 with which the Judges were able to rule.
14 I cannot give you the date when the decision
15 will be made. I can just tell you that the Judges of
16 this Chamber, after a few days of holidays, will devote
17 their full attention to this and provide General
18 Blaskic with a ruling as soon as possible. Of course,
19 Mr. Fourmy will inform you of the exact date.
20 For all of those, who I hope are numerous
21 here, who are looking forward to a few days of holiday,
22 I wish to say that we will be thinking of them. We
23 wish them all the best in the days that come, and I
24 thank them all for their participation in this major
25 trial that ends today.
1 Thank you.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
3 5.30 p.m. sine die