1 Monday, 17 May 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.14 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-01-47-T, the Prosecutor versus
8 Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 Could we have the appearances for the Prosecution.
11 MR. WITHOPF: Good afternoon, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
12 Your Honours. Good afternoon, Counsel. For the Prosecution, Daryl
13 Mundis, Ekkehard Withopf, and Ruth Karper, the case manager.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Withopf.
15 And the appearances for the Defence.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. President. Good
17 day, Your Honours. On behalf of General Enver Hadzihasanovic, Edina
18 Residovic, counsel; Stephane Bourgon, co-counsel; and Mirna Milanovic,
19 our legal assistant. Thank you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And could we have the
21 appearances for the other Defence team.
22 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours. On
23 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin
24 Mulalic, our legal assistant.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. We'll resume now
1 after the weekend break. I would like to greet everyone present in the
2 courtroom, members of the Prosecution, of the Defence, the accused, and
3 everyone else present in the courtroom.
4 We have a witness scheduled for today, but before the witness is
5 brought into the courtroom, I will now render my oral decision about the
6 documents. We have provided the interpreters with a copy -- no, in fact
7 we haven't. I will read it out slowly, because it is quite long, and I
8 would like to ask both parties to take good note of what has been
10 I would like to remind you that the Prosecution has requested
11 that exhibits in its consolidated list be admitted into evidence.
12 Defence counsel has contested a significant number of these exhibits.
13 They are opposed to them being tendered into evidence because they claim
14 that they lack relevance and are not reliable. The explanations provided
15 included a list of documents and categories in which they explained the
16 reasons for which they were not satisfied with these documents.
17 The Trial Chamber has decided that the originals will be provided
18 to the Chamber and a chronological list of the documents will be
19 established. The Trial Chamber notes that the Prosecution complied with
20 this request.
21 Before taking a final decision with regard to the request made by
22 the Prosecution, the Trial Chamber has decided on the following measures.
23 These measures will be divided into three broad categories.
24 Category A: The Trial Chamber, given the agreement reached
25 between the parties, requests that the Prosecution provide all
1 information on the documents provided to it by governments, either of
2 their own accord or in response to a request submitted by them. That is
3 the first measure that we have decided on.
4 The second one is as follows: The Trial Chamber requests that
5 the Prosecution should call as witnesses archivists who are responsible
6 for the Sarajevo and Zenica archives.
7 We request that the Prosecution, to the extent that this is
8 possible, inform the Trial Chamber of any material it has in its
9 possession that proves that these documents were sent and received.
10 Fourthly, we request that the Prosecution calls as a witness a
11 former high-ranking member of the military from the BH army who held the
12 position of commander in order to testify with regard to the drafting of
13 orders, the transmission of orders, the power of delegating, and to
14 testify with regard to the orders followed in 1993.
15 Fifthly, we request that the Prosecution provide the Trial
16 Chamber with examples of the accused's signatures.
17 Sixthly, we request that the Prosecution inform the Trial Chamber
18 in writing on the origin of the documents provided by the governments,
19 with the exception of the archives from Sarajevo and Zagreb.
20 And finally, we request that the Prosecution provide all the
21 operational logs and all the war diaries with full translations into
22 English and into French. So that is as far as A is concerned.
23 Under B, the Trial Chamber has also decided that the Prosecution
24 will provide next Friday a list of witnesses in a position to
25 authenticate the documents and the Prosecution shall make reference to
1 the documents that regard these witnesses.
2 Under 2, the Prosecution is requested to provide the documents
3 missing from the binders, including the missing translations. And to
4 this effect the Trial Chamber will provide via the Chamber's legal
5 officer a list of the missing documents or the documents that are not
6 complete. The Prosecution will also confer -- will also consult in order
7 to respond to this request the list established by the Defence on the
8 19th of April, 2004.
9 Thirdly, the Prosecution, after having carried out a strict
10 examination of the documents provided, should provide the documents that
11 are currently missing, the documents which have only been partially
12 disclosed, and in particular the documents referred to in the annex.
13 Fourthly, as far as the videotapes are concerned, the videotapes
14 will be broadcast in public at a subsequent hearing. The Prosecution
15 shall provide, if it has not yet done so, a full transcript of the text
16 on these tapes. When the tapes are broadcast, the Trial Chamber will
17 give both parties the floor. If following a debate between both parties
18 there's any serious doubt as to the authenticity of the videotapes, the
19 Trial Chamber shall reserve the right to request that the Prosecution
20 call the person who made the video as a witness, given that Mr. Angus Hay
21 and Jason Medley, two witnesses, have been scheduled, the tapes that
22 concern them will be broadcast on the day that they are heard as
23 witnesses. The video on the Mujahedin may, if the Prosecution deems that
24 this is useful, be broadcast when witness Hogg is heard.
25 And under number 5, concerning the telephone intercepts. The
1 Prosecution will disclose the origin and the manner in which these
2 intercepts were forwarded. They will provide us with information on
3 this. The Defence will then state what its position is with regard to
4 these intercepts.
5 Under C - and this is the third part of the decision - the Trial
6 Chamber has decided that the witness Mika Tauru should testify about how
7 the sketches presented by a witness who has already been heard were made.
8 The Trial Chamber hereby informs both parties that it has
9 decided, in a written decision which will soon be provided to the
10 Prosecution and to the Defence, that the witness (redacted)
12 And finally, the Trial Chamber requests that with regard to the
13 eight binders of noncontested documents, of documents that haven't been
14 contested by the Defence - these documents have also been admitted by the
15 Trial Chamber - we request that the Prosecution provide the missing
16 documents. And with regard to this matter, the Trial Chamber would like
17 to request that the Prosecution provide as soon as possible document
18 P332/E -- for document P332/E the annexes mentioned in the document dated
19 the 1st of February, 1993, under number ERN 03086589.
20 So I would like to ask both parties to carefully reread the
21 transcript because there are a number of measures that we have decided
22 on, and following these measures, once these measures have been
23 accomplished, the Trial Chamber will render a final decision concerning
24 the documents.
25 And following this decision, it seems that the -- it is evident
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 that the videos will be broadcast in public, and there are three
2 witnesses who can provide support for presenting these videos. And in
3 any event, the videos will be broadcast, and after they have been
4 broadcast, the Prosecution and the Defence will take the floor to express
5 their position on the videos.
6 So the same is the case for the telephone intercepts. And on the
7 basis of the transcripts which were noted, the Prosecution will inform
8 the Trial Chamber of how these transcripts were made and forwarded, and
9 the Defence will express its position.
10 The Trial Chamber has decided that a number of witnesses should
11 be called in order to testify about the documents, as I have already
12 said. So the Trial Chamber, having examined all the binders, realised
13 that there were certain missing documents. Either there were documents
14 that weren't translated or there were annexes that were missing or the
15 documents themselves were incomplete, which is why we have mentioned in
16 our decision that we are requesting the totality of the documents,
17 complete documents.
18 Please read the transcript through carefully, and naturally it is
19 the Prosecution's duty to have the witnesses come and to fit them into
20 the schedule that they have planned.
21 But we have requested that a measure be taken by next Friday in
22 this particular case. In 24 hours or 48 hours, we will render our
23 written decision about the witness who will be called. We said that the
24 archivists had to appear before the Court in order to authenticate the
25 documents that are being provided, and in addition with regard to the war
1 diaries or the -- and the logbooks, it is necessary to have all of them.
2 And we must also have full translations of these documents. And to make
3 sure that there are no uncertainties, we are requesting that we have
4 translations from B/C/S into English and a translation of B/C/S into
5 French, in order to be able to compare the English and French
6 translation. We don't want to have any doubts as to the contents of
7 these diaries or logbooks.
8 So this is our decision, and the final decision about the
9 documents will be taken later.
10 Without wasting any more time, we have a witness. Could the
11 usher call the witness into the courtroom.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day. I would first like
14 to check that you are receiving the interpretation of what I am saying.
15 If that is the case, please say so.
16 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were called here as a
18 witness for the Prosecution. Before you take the solemn declaration, I
19 would like you to tell me your first and last names.
20 THE WITNESS: Bryan Watters.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you tell me your date of
22 birth, your place of birth, and your nationality, please.
23 THE WITNESS: I was born on the 28th of October, 1953, in Tiko,
24 British Cameroon, and I'm British.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are British.
1 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you tell me what your
3 current position is, what your current profession is.
4 THE WITNESS: I am a serving military officer in the British
5 Army. I'm a colonel. And I'm currently deputy director of the British
6 Defence Leadership Centre.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What position did you hold in
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993?
9 THE WITNESS: I was the second-in-command of the British
10 Battalion, 1 Cheshire Group.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Have you already
12 testified with regard to the events of 1993, either before an
13 international or a national court, or is this the first time?
14 THE WITNESS: I've testified here before, sir.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you remember which case you
16 testified and were you called as a witness for the Prosecution or for the
17 Defence or as a witness for the Trial Chamber?
18 THE WITNESS: I was a Prosecution witness in three previous
19 trials, sir.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you tell me the names of
21 these cases, if you can remember them
22 THE WITNESS: The Blaskic case, sir; the case of Kordic; and the
23 case concerning the massacre at Ahmici.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. As you will be
25 testifying now, could you please read out the solemn declaration.
1 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
2 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down
5 WITNESS: BRYAN WATTERS
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As you have testified on a
7 number of occasions, you are perfectly familiar with the procedure
8 followed before this Tribunal. Nevertheless, I would like to remind you
9 that as you are being called here as a witness for the Prosecution, you
10 will first of all have to answer questions put to you by members of the
11 Prosecution, who are to your right. You have certainly met members of
12 the Prosecution before today, in order to prepare for your testimony.
13 After this phase has been concluded, Defence counsel, who are to
14 your left, will conduct their cross-examination. And you will
15 immediately realise that the questions put to you by the Defence are not
16 of the same kind as those put to you by members of the Prosecution. The
17 purpose of the questions put to you by Defence counsel is to check the
18 credibility of what you say or to obtain any useful information for the
20 After this stage has been concluded, the Prosecution may
21 re-examine you.
22 The three Judges sitting before you may also ask you questions if
23 they think that this might be useful. As a rule, the Judges prefer to
24 wait for the end of the examination-in-chief, the cross-examination, and
25 re-examination before asking you their questions. When a Judge asks you
1 some questions, the Prosecution and the Defence may also ask you
2 questions based on the answers that you provide to the Judges' questions.
3 As you are used to this procedure, you know that the procedure is
4 mainly oral, and this is why the answers that you provide are so
5 important. To the extent that this is possible, try to be clear,
6 precise, and concise when answering questions. If a question seems to be
7 too complicated or incomprehensible, ask the person putting the questions
8 to you to rephrase it. If the question seems to be too complex to you,
9 take your time before you respond. If you feel that there are
10 difficulties of any kind, you can inform the Trial Chamber of the fact.
11 I would also like to remind you of two other important factors:
12 First of all, given that a witness has made a solemn declaration, he
13 should not give false testimony. If false testimony is given, a witness
14 could be prosecuted, because false testimony is a violation which is
15 subject to penalties. And secondly - but this should not really concern
16 you; nevertheless, I want to point it out - when a witness answers a
17 question, the witness may refuse to answer a question if by answering it
18 the witness provides information that could be incriminating. In such a
19 case, the witness can refuse to answer the question. This is common-law
20 procedure. But it is possible for the Trial Chamber to compel the
21 witness to answer the question. Nevertheless, the witness is guaranteed
22 a form of immunity if he answers the question.
23 So roughly speaking, this is the procedure that will be followed
24 in the course of your testimony. We will have the entire day for your
25 testimony, and I will now give the floor to Mr. Withopf, who will be
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 conducting the examination-in-chief.
2 Examined by Mr. Withopf:
3 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
4 A. Good afternoon.
5 Q. Sir, can you please for the benefit of the Trial Chamber briefly
6 summarise your military career within the British Army, with a focus on
7 your deployments abroad, if any.
8 A. Sir, I've been a professional military officer for 32 years. I
9 first deployed on operations in 1974 to Northern Ireland, where I
10 subsequently served five and a half years on operations in different
11 capacities. I served in the former Rhodesia as part of the British
12 Commonwealth Monitoring Force, deploying there to bring the war to an
13 end. I served for a year in Central America, in Belize, supporting the
14 Belizean government in maintaining their national integrity and
15 supporting operations against narcotics. I served a year in Hong Kong in
16 support of the Hong Kong government in illegal immigration operations on
17 the border with China. I served in Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of the
18 United Nations in 1993. I subsequently served in Kenya, and for two
19 years I served in Brunei, Dar El-Salaam as the commander of our jungle
20 warfare school. And that probably does it.
21 Q. Thank you very much, sir.
22 In respect to Brunei, did you experience anything that was
23 connected to the war in the former Yugoslavia?
24 A. I was serving in Brunei immediately prior to deploying to Bosnia.
25 Other than reading about it in the paper with specific interest as
1 obviously my own regiment was there and rather startled to see a picture
2 of an old friend of my future commanding officer in the newspapers,
3 Brunei Dar El-Salaam is a Muslim country and there was a considerable
4 feeling of moral support for the Muslim peoples within Bosnia-Herzegovina
5 and there were regular recollections of money at road junctions. And on
6 occasion, I was stopped at a road junction and asked to contribute to the
7 Muslim cause in Bosnia, which I found slightly ironic, as I was shortly
8 to deploy there.
9 Q. Sir, can you please inform the Trial Chamber about the commanding
10 positions you held over the years at the various levels.
11 A. I'm an infantry soldier. I began my infantry career commanding a
12 platoon, which is 30 soldiers; I then became a specialist platoon
13 commander in what we call an anti-tank platoon. We had a variety of
14 weapons designed to destroy tanks, and I commanded those. I was a
15 company second-in-command of an armoured -- of a light infantry and
16 mechanised infantry. I was a company commander of a light infantry
17 company. I was a second-in-command of the battalion, including our
18 period in Bosnia-Herzegovina and later in Northern Ireland. I commanded
19 the battalion as the commanding officer for two years in Northern
20 Ireland, a period in the United Kingdom, and a period in Kenya. And
21 today, although a full colonel, I don't have a command position. I'm
22 working in a education establishment.
23 Q. You mentioned it earlier on, sir, but can you repeat it for the
24 sake of the transcript. What was your rank whilst deployed in Central
1 A. I was a major, and my appointment was that of the senior major
2 within the group, second-in-command to the battalion commander, and also
3 the de facto Chief of Staff of the battalion group.
4 Q. And what's your rank today, sir?
5 A. I'm a colonel.
6 Q. And can you please provide the Trial Chamber with some
7 information in respect to your current responsibilities, being the deputy
8 director of Defence Leadership Centre in the United Kingdom.
9 A. I'm specifically responsible -- the centre itself is charged by
10 the Ministry of Defence with improving leadership throughout the Ministry
11 of Defence and the Army, Navy, Air Force and the civil service, and I'm
12 specifically the director of our defence strategic-leadership program for
13 newly-promoted brigadiers, commodores, air commodores, and senior civil
14 servants, those entering the first level of strategic leadership within
15 our defence forces.
16 Q. Colonel, let's move on to your deployment with UNPROFOR BritBat
17 in Central Bosnia. Can you please inform us from when to when you were
18 deployed with UNPROFOR BritBat.
19 A. I arrived in Bosnia at the beginning of February 1993. My
20 battalion had already been there for a couple of months, and I replaced
21 the existing second-in-command on a already preplanned rotation. And I
22 left halfway through May 1993.
23 Q. Just for clarification, I understand you were the
25 A. Yes. What that means is I'm the deputy commander and command the
1 organisation if the commanding officer isn't present, as well as
2 coordinating the staff efforts of our intelligence - although on that
3 tour that function was described as military information - operations,
4 and logistics.
5 Q. Can you please inform the Trial Chamber, Colonel, who was the
6 commanding officer at the time you were deployed in Central Bosnia.
7 A. He was then Lieutenant Colonel Robert Stewart.
8 Q. To what extent, Colonel, were you already familiar with the
9 situation in Central Bosnia at the time you arrived; and did you have a
10 chance to familiarise yourself with the military situation after you
12 A. Prior to arrival, I'd found scant information, other than what
13 I'd read in the newspapers, although I did find a book by somebody called
14 Misha Glennie, which I read. As part of my professional
15 responsibilities, I'd also studied the Partizan operations in Yugoslavia
16 during the Second World War. And so I had an understanding of some of
17 the fundamental principles of the terrain, et cetera.
18 On arrival, my predecessor, Major Tim Park, and I undertook a
19 reconnaissance of our deployed areas, and I also in speaking to the
20 various military commanders that we encountered, I also attended the
21 first of the Busovaca commission meetings, run by the ECMM, on the 13th
22 of February, which I found very useful, because I there had the
23 opportunity to speak to the senior commanders within our area of
24 responsibility from the BiH and the HVO. And then I also tapped into the
25 considerable source of information that our military-information cell had
1 been able to gather and also discussed with our company commanders and
2 Italian liaison officers, to familiarise myself with personalities,
3 military objectives of the different warring factions, the geography, and
4 history of that part of the world.
5 Q. Would it be fair to say, in order to summarise what you just
6 said, that within a few weeks after your arrival you were familiar with
7 the situation on the ground?
8 A. I'd say I was familiar with the situation on the ground. My
9 understanding of the complexities of the situation evolved during my
10 entire time there. I was still learning when I left.
11 Q. Can you please inform us, Colonel, where were you based? Where
12 were you headquartered at the time?
13 A. In Vitez, in the Lasva Valley, which is where the battalion
14 headquarters was based. Our companies were based in different parts of
15 our areas of responsibility.
16 Q. And where exactly were the companies based?
17 A. One company to the north in Tuzla; another company in Gornji
19 Q. Can you please inform the Trial Chamber about the area of
20 responsibility of BritBat.
21 A. It was a large area. Depending on the conditions, it could take
22 us anything up to 12 to 15 hours, for example, to get from Tuzla to Vitez
23 or vice versa. And Gornji Vakuf would take probably a morning or an
24 afternoon. None of the arterial roads were usable, because most of them
25 were in range of Serb artillery.
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13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Do you --
2 A. Sorry. And the area was essentially bounded by front lines,
3 between the Serbs, if you like, on the outside of our area, and the ABiH
4 or the HVO or an alliance of the two on the inside of our area.
5 Q. The area of responsibility of BritBat you just described, was
6 there an overlap with the area of responsibility of the ABiH 3rd Corps?
7 And if so, to what extent?
8 A. Yes. The 3rd Corps was based in Zenica, which was within our
9 area of responsibility. And the majority of our interaction with the
10 ABiH was through the 3rd Corps, either through brigade commanders or the
11 corps commander himself or his deputy. And we also liaised with -- I
12 think it was 4th Corps in Tuzla.
13 Q. Can you please briefly inform us about the structure of BritBat
14 and the chain of command.
15 A. BritBat was based on a British armoured infantry battalion
16 equipped with just over 50 Warrior fighting vehicles. We had specialist
17 anti-armour and mortar platoons. We had been brought up from what we
18 would describe as a peacetime establishment in our base in Fallingbostle
19 in Germany to war establishment, with the inclusion of an additional 100
20 or so soldiers from the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment, and
21 they reinforced our existing 54 Warriors.
22 In addition, we had a Royal Engineer Squadron, a squadron from
23 the 9th-12th Lancers, which was a light-reconnaissance regiment equipped
24 with the Scimitar light tank. We also had the specialist signals
25 detachment to enable our reeled communication to the UK, and we also had
1 a -- what we called the mobile surgical team. That was a fully equipped
2 surgical team with a full range of surgeons and other medics. We also
3 had other additional small organisations to help with our logistics.
4 Q. And can you please inform us about the chain of command.
5 A. The chain of command. Within the 1 Cheshire Group?
6 Q. Yes, please.
7 A. The chain of command was the commanding officer, Lieutenant
8 Colonel Stewart, who commanded directly each of the company commanders,
9 Headquarters Company, Alpha Company, Bravo Company, Charlie Company,
10 support company elements, the Royal Engineers and the 9th-12th Lancers.
11 And he would command those directly. And if he was present and
12 commanding, I would act as his Chief of Staff. If he was not present,
13 then as his deputy I would assume command and command in his place.
14 Q. And was there a chain of command within UNPROFOR?
15 A. Yes, there was. We were commanded from Headquarters UNPROFOR in
16 Kiseljak, command by General Philippe Morillon.
17 Q. Can you please, Colonel, inform the Trial Chamber about the
18 mission and the goals of BritBat or the tasks and the purpose why BritBat
19 was operating in the area.
20 A. That's an interesting question. When we were deployed, the whole
21 of UNPROFOR was deploying at the same time, so there wasn't an
22 infrastructure into which we plugged which had established missions and
23 tasks and purposes. And so we were operating, if you will, within a sort
24 of overarching understanding of the intent of UNPROFOR, which was to do
25 its best for the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina and to support the other
1 United Nations agencies that were there. And so if you will, that was
2 our understanding of the reason we were there.
3 We ourselves refined that and gave ourselves the mission
4 essentially of facilitating the distribution of humanitarian aid in order
5 to save life. And that conformed with our doctrine of mission command,
6 where we set ourselves and our subordinate organisation missions
7 consisting of a task and a purpose working with an overall superior's
8 command and intent.
9 Q. What at the time, Colonel, what were the essentials and the keys
10 to ensure the success of your task and its purpose?
11 A. The commanding officer articulated that in what we describe as a
12 scheme of manoeuvre, and that was to create across our area of
13 responsibility an overlay of security on the key routes that would
14 enable the UNHCR to distribute humanitarian aid wherever they felt it was
15 required. And we would use our combat power to interdict any area of
16 fighting that would threaten other members of the United Nations and
17 prevent them facilitating the distribution of humanitarian aid.
18 We tended to prefer not to escort single convoys by putting
19 vehicles at the front and end of them, although on occasion we did do
20 that, in areas of specifically high turbulence or threat. We preferred
21 to patrol widely and purposefully to deter violence against the UNHCR.
22 Q. You were just mentioning, Colonel, that you were creating an
23 overlap of security. Was the gathering of information a means to create
24 such an overlap of security?
25 A. Yes. Within the scheme of manoeuvre, as well as a means of
1 creating this overlay of security, a web of security, if you will,
2 critical to that concept was the deployment of a number of liaison
3 officers whose task was to get to know political and military commanders
4 in their specific area of responsibility in order to learn as much as
5 possible about their agendas and their areas, to facilitate the
6 commanding officer or myself in future discussions; and also, again, to
7 build trust on the impartiality of BritBat and UNPROFOR and our
8 commitment to trying to bring peace to Bosnia.
9 Q. You were just talking about the liaison officers, sir. Can you
10 please inform the Trial Chamber how and where they were deployed and were
11 they also deployed within 3rd Corps units -- ABiH 3rd Corps units?
12 A. We had specific areas that individual liaison officers were
13 responsible for: The Lasva Valley area, the Tuzla area, the Kakanj sort
14 of area; Vitez, specifically within the Lasva Valley; and sometimes an
15 individual whose area became very active would be reinforced with another
16 person to help him. So for example, when Vitez and Travnik became very
17 active, we would try and support that particular liaison officer in his
18 task in those two towns. And also in the sort of Zenica area as well.
19 The specific liaison with the 3rd Corps headquarters, although
20 there was a liaison officer who focussed on Zenica and initially created
21 the introductions, those liaisons with the senior members of the HVO or
22 the ABiH were routinely the commanding officer.
23 Q. Which would have been Colonel Stewart?
24 A. Robert Stewart.
25 Q. Right. You were just mentioning the Lasva Valley area. How in
1 geographical terms would you describe the Lasva Valley area?
2 A. From Turbe through Travnik down through Vitez down to Busovaca,
3 generally. And Busovaca we'd call the beginning of the Kiseljak valley.
4 Q. Would you include Zenica in this area or --
5 A. Yeah. Sorry, I went over Zenica. It's between sort of Busovaca
6 and Travnik. Indeed. Zenica, if you like, from our perspective was the
7 centre of the Lasva Valley.
8 Q. Earlier on, Colonel, you were briefly touching on the issue in
9 respect to the difference between information and intelligence. Can you
10 please inform the Trial Chamber what actually the difference is about.
11 A. It's a slightly semantic difference on one level. Our
12 organisation has an intelligence cell headed up by a captain and that was
13 reinforced with other specialist intelligence personnel. In our role in
14 UNPROFOR, the United Nations doesn't run intelligence, it runs
15 information. And so our intelligence cell was converted to a military
16 information cell. And although it was a subtle difference, it was an
17 important difference because we were not gathering information and
18 processing it into intelligence about our enemies. We were gathering
19 information widely -- and as very much part of our scheme of manoeuvre
20 was the gathering of information -- and this information would then build
21 up pictures to enable us to understand things day by day, week by week;
22 and these were concentrated, articulated within the military information
23 summary that we would issue each day, which was an assessment of our
24 understanding on that particular day. And we would also pass this
25 information up our chain of command and down our chain of command to
1 spread our understanding and coordination of information.
2 Central to our scheme of manoeuvre was this understanding of the
3 situation going through information. Every patrol, every commander,
4 every logistician who was deployed as part of UNPROFOR would be debriefed
5 on our return as to what they had seen, what they believed they had seen,
6 asked to try and articulate what it is they interpreted by what they had
7 seen, and all this information was gathered and cross-referenced to try
8 and create a broad picture of understanding within our area of
10 Q. Sir, may I please ask you a number of follow-up questions. Would
11 it be fair to say whatever is called "information" in a milinfosum is in
12 fact intelligence in military terms?
13 A. That's why I said the difference is slightly semantic. We have a
14 very formal process of turning information into intelligence, called an
15 intelligence cycle. I'm not a specific expert in that. I'm not an
16 intelligence officer.
17 You could describe it as intelligence. We maintained our view
18 throughout our time in Bosnia that that was military information, and we
19 didn't classify it, which we would do with intelligence. We didn't -- we
20 passed it in its raw form with comment up and down our chain of command.
21 We didn't ascribe to it the rigour of the procedures for judging
22 information as intelligence.
23 Q. Although not being an intelligence officer, can you please inform
24 the Trial Chamber what was your part, if any, in respect to the gathering
25 and disseminating of information.
1 A. As all other members of BritBat, I had a responsibility when I
2 was patrolling or visiting to record what I'd seen and heard and report
3 that back, as any other member of the group. As the Chief of Staff, I
4 was responsible for the coordination of the intelligence cell with --
5 sorry, the information -- military information cell with operations to
6 ensure that the information we had was available too. And also they
7 would act as a commentator on the value of some of the information we
8 have and sometimes would advise on the -- from an operational point of
9 view, on the utility of some of the information we had and how it met the
10 operational sense of what was happening on the ground.
11 Q. Colonel, you were already touching on the issue that BritBat at
12 the time made efforts to ensure the reliability of the information
13 gathered. Were double-checked made or cross-checks made? And can you
14 please explain to the Trial Chamber if so what sort of checks were made.
15 A. It was cross-referencing different sources of information, and I
16 can give you an example. A number of reports came in about a
17 particularly -- an area we were quite sensitive about, which was a
18 particular road junction, and our understanding that there was a HVO sort
19 of prisoner-of-war centre, and we used to keep an eye on that. And a
20 number of reports came. For example, one report from a patrol said
21 they'd seen some men digging in a field with a grid reference; another
22 report came in saying that a patrol had seen some HVO soldiers guarding a
23 group of prisoners walking down the road in whatever direction, and the
24 prisoners were carrying shovels. And another -- several other reports
25 similar to those. And we were able to draw the deductions that the HVO
1 were using BiH prisoners to dig trenches, military defensive positions,
2 in a particular area. And that, again, caused several comments. One was
3 the fact that this was an illegal act against the Geneva Convention, and
4 we reported that to the UNHCR and to the ICRC. It was a combat indicator
5 to us that the HVO, by digging defensive positions, were expecting some
6 form of military activity in that area. And that is a sort of small
7 example of how a number of different reports could begin to contribute to
8 the picture, where any one on their own would not be necessarily
10 Q. And after having made such cross-checks and cross-references,
11 were you satisfied -- or did the information gathered, did it serve the
12 purpose to enable BritBat to achieve its mission purpose?
13 A. It was an important part of our understanding of the situation
14 and the understanding of the situation was central to our conducting of
15 our mission.
16 Q. Can you please describe for the benefit of the Trial Chamber how
17 your average work day looked like, briefly, please.
18 A. I did have a few of what you could call average work days. There
19 weren't many. We worked on average about an 18- to 20-hour day and would
20 take four hours or so sleep, maybe five or six, depending, in every 24
21 hours. And we ran shift systems within our key areas, the operations
22 centre, the milinfo centre, and so on. And as the second-in-command, I
23 would choose to sleep at whatever point in the 24 hours I felt was the
24 quietest time. I would try and do that in the dark, if I could. So it's
25 very difficult to give you a -- you know, it wasn't 9.00 till 5.00, sort
1 of thing. I was there seven days a week from the day I arrived until the
2 day I left immersed in what we were doing.
3 Q. Was 1800 hours a particular point in time during a day?
4 A. In terms of routine, we would try and establish certain routines,
5 like mealtimes, and 1800 hours was a time-out, if you like, where the
6 commanding officer or myself, if he wasn't there - and he would
7 endeavour to be there - would sit down with the liaison officers, who
8 were tasked to endeavour to be there, and there had to be a very good
9 reason why they weren't, and with the available company commanders,
10 milinfo staff and operations staff and have a coordinating conference
11 where each of the liaison officers would report on what they had seen and
12 heard during the day, as would the operations staff, the milinfo staff.
13 And it enabled the commanding officer to get a verbal brief and be able
14 to cross-question people as to the situation in the preceding 24 hours.
15 So it would be 1800 hours to 1800 hours. And it was an important part
16 and, if you like, of what we would describe as sort of the battle rhythm
17 of our organisation.
18 Q. Very well. Did this meeting, did it provide the participants of
19 the meeting with a comprehensive picture -- did the meeting, sir, did it
20 provide the participants of the meeting with a comprehensive picture of
21 the events that had happened during a particular day on the ground?
22 A. Yes, it did.
23 Q. And did, Colonel, did this information, this comprehensive
24 information which was provided during the 1800-hours meetings, did it
25 finally form part of the milinfosums?
1 A. Yes, it did. Although, it wasn't the milinfosum wasn't the
2 product of this meeting. The milinfosum was normally produced to reflect
3 sort of other activities as well. But it certainly was a capturing of
4 our understanding for the preceding 24 hours in Gornji Vakuf, Tuzla and
5 Vitez. The information from Tuzla and Gornji Vakuf would come by radio
6 and would be presented either by the milinfo staff or the operations
8 Q. And, Colonel, who was actually supposed to read the milinfosum?
9 A. All commanders, and we sent them also up our chain of command to
11 Q. You already touched on this issue earlier on briefly. In respect
12 to the milinfosums, were facts, non-corroborated information, analysis
13 and comments, were they distinguished?
14 A. We would try to distinguish them just for our own benefit. And
15 remember, the milinfosum was essentially for our own benefit and also
16 for the benefit of our chain of command, to inform them from a
17 milinfosum/intelligence perspective as to what we thought, as to posed to
18 the daily situation report, which was totally factual. And the summation
19 of the day would be gleaned from reading both of the reports.
20 And the difference between the milinfosum and the situation
21 report is the milinfosum would contain comment and hypothesis, while the
22 situation report tended to deal just in facts. And also the milinfosum
23 when published was a reflection of our understanding; but quite often two
24 or three days, you know, what we thought earlier in the milinfosum, we
25 had received additional information that would quite often cause us to
1 re-examine and realise that what we'd thought, for example, on one day
2 may not be an actual reflection of what happened and we hadn't gathered a
3 more informed view for a number of days. So if you like, it was our sort
4 of best bet on that day as to what our milinfosum team thought was the
6 Q. And in the event there was a re-examination, was the
7 re-examination then reflected in one of the next milinfosums?
8 A. If there was a point in doing it. If the whole thing was
9 overtaken by events, then we just let it go and focussed on the current
11 Q. Very well, sir. Let's move on to a different subject, namely the
12 military situation within the area of responsibility of the ABiH
13 3rd Corps. Did I understand you correctly, Colonel, that the area of
14 responsibility of BritBat was overlapping to a certain, if not a high
15 extent, with the area of responsibility of the ABiH 3rd Corps?
16 A. Yes, that's the case.
17 Q. Can you please inform the Trial Chamber which army at the time of
18 your arrival in Vitez in early February 1993, which army could be
19 described as being the more dominant army?
20 A. The Serb army, the Bosnian Serb.
21 Q. And talking about the ABiH and the HVO, which one was the more
22 dominant in early 1993 or in February 1993?
23 A. I think that's quite a difficult question, because I -- you'd
24 have to define what you mean by "dominant."
25 Q. Which one was on the attacking side, on the attacking move?
1 A. In February 1993, when I arrived, the BiH and HVO were
2 essentially on the defence. Following a series of Serb advances -
3 notably, the fall of Jajce springs to mind just before I'd arrived, and
4 we were dealing in February with a large number of sort of refugees from
5 Jajce and Banja Luka, that the Serbs were sort of transporting to and
6 then abandoning in the front lines behind Turbe; and a similar situation
7 manifested itself later over towards Tuzla, with the Serb fighting in the
8 area of Srebrenica. The BiH and the HVO were conducting counterattacks
9 along the front lines, and I've never really reflected on which I thought
10 was doing the most of that. At a guess, I would probably say it was the
11 BiH who had a predominance of sort of infantry, whereas the HVO had a
12 pre-dominance of sort of artillery and armour, and "artillery" I use in a
13 very broad sense.
14 Q. At what point in time, sir, in your view, did the conflict
15 between the HVO and the ABiH break out?
16 A. From my personal perspective, things began to go -- there were --
17 the alliance between the two held strongest where the imminent Serb
18 threat was greatest. Where the Serb threat wasn't great, there was less
19 of a unity of purpose between the two military groups -- military forces.
20 From about the 1st of April, 1993, which was the declaration of
21 the NATO no-fly zone, we had a series of incidents involving ourselves
22 and the Serbs. We came under artillery fire from them and we also, at
23 the behest, personal behest of General Morillon, sent a reconnaissance
24 force to a place called Konjevic Polje, which ended up losing some of its
25 armoured vehicles. And I went to Zvornik to recover the vehicles. And
1 while I was in Zvornik things were taking place in Travnik, notably the
2 visit of Mate Boban. And following that, there were a series of murders
3 of BiH soldiers by HVO predominantly, although there were also some HVO
4 soldiers murdered by BiH soldiers, we understood. And that -- and then
5 there was a general -- in the view of the liaison officer for sort of
6 Travnik and Vitez and Turbe, there was a general worsening of the
7 relationship. And this was also -- had to be viewed, which was one of
8 the things that we made attempts to do -- this also had to be viewed
9 within the bigger picture of the, you know, what was going on beyond the
10 boundaries of Bosnia-Herzegovina, most notably various proposals that
11 were on the world stage for potential solutions to the war in Bosnia, and
12 notably the Vance Owen peace initiative, which itself appeared to be
13 contributing to the increased tension between the Muslim people and the
14 Croat people, the BiH and the HVO.
15 And there were a series of situations leading up to -- I think it
16 was the 16th of April, when we heard reports from our logistics
17 organisation, which was closer than we were to Vitez, of mortar --
18 considerable mortar fire and small arms fire from Vitez and its environs
19 up towards Kruscica, and it was at that point that we realised that
20 something had gone very wrong.
21 Q. I understand, sir, that in your view the ABiH-HVO conflict
22 started at around the first half of April 1993. Would this summarise --
23 A. Yeah.
24 Q. -- what you just said?
25 A. Yeah.
1 Q. And making reference to what you said earlier on, would it be
2 fair to say that the HVO was the stronger army in terms of military
3 equipment and the ABiH was the stronger army in respect to the manpower?
4 A. I would take that -- I agree with that as a generalisation, not
5 specifically in the Vitez and its environs in the Lasva Valley at that
6 point in April, because, for example, 3rd Corps was heavily engaged in
7 fighting the Serbs in the east or consolidating their position in the
8 light of some Serb advances. And so there was an imbalance in Central
9 Bosnia at that time where the HVO had a -- outnumbered, both in terms of
10 personnel and materiel.
11 Q. Did there come a time later on during your tour in Central Bosnia
12 when the situation changed? And if so, as to when and how did it change?
13 A. Sorry, do you mean broadly the situation?
14 Q. The situation within the area of responsibility of the ABiH
15 3rd Corps. And in particular, in the area you were just describing.
16 A. Do you mean the -- sort of the situation where the HVO launched
17 what we certainly believed to be a surprise attack and the BiH reaction
18 to that?
19 Q. In general terms, was there a change in the capability and in
20 respect to the ability of the ABiH 3rd Corps to counter HVO attacks?
21 A. Initially the HVO were very successful in their surprise
22 offensive against the ABiH in the sort of Lasva Valley area from about
23 the sort of 15th, 16th of April. And I could give you examples to
24 illustrate why I believe that, should you wish.
25 The situation was stabilised by the garrisons of Vitez and
1 Kruscica, specifically, in holding out against superior force and then
2 the ABiH were able to bring reinforcements from -- and specifically the
3 3rd Corps -- were able to bring reinforcements having disengaged their
4 operations in the east and moved their soldiers and equipment west to
5 mount a counterattack from roughly the Zenica direction, slightly around.
6 And then essentially come in and reverse the tables on the HVO. And the
7 ABiH by about the 21st of April had regained the initiative and were now
8 in a very strong position in terms of their numbers in relation to the
9 HVO in Central Bosnia.
10 More specifically, they were militarily more capable. Numbers
11 aren't necessarily the issue. They're what we would describe as their
12 moral component, their morale, if you like. They were just more
13 committed to the fighting, they were better at fighting, and they were
14 better led. And they caused the HVO to be on the defensive. And it was
15 at that point that we initiated a cease-fire and a process to disengage
16 the two opposing factors.
17 Q. Since you were mentioning the 21st of April, 1993, does the 21st
18 of April, 1993 have a particular meaning for you?
19 A. Well, it has particular meaning for me in that I found myself
20 representing Colonel Stewart at a conference chaired by the ECMM
21 ambassador and I was the senior UNPROFOR military representative, and the
22 conference was designed to establish a cease-fire. It was supported at
23 the highest levels, obviously, and the senior representatives of the HVO,
24 Petkovic, and the ABiH HVO - I think I'm pronouncing it correctly -
25 Halilovic, came down, supported by Blaskic supporting Petkovic; and
1 Merdan, who was Hadzihasanovic's deputy, supporting 3rd Corps with
3 Do you want to know more about it?
4 Q. When you were -- or when you had the duty to broker a cease-fire
5 agreement - I think that was the purpose of the different meetings you
6 were referring to - what did you tell the representatives of the ABiH,
7 including Merdan and Halilovic?
8 A. I think it was a very difficult tactical situation for them to
9 reconcile, in terms of the fact that they were now being successful in
10 their prosecution of a counter-offensive against an enemy who had sort of
11 taken advantage of them and taken advantage of their alliance. It was
12 not difficult to convince the Croats to engage in a cease-fire for the
13 first time. It had been impossible to convince them to engage in a
14 cease-fire preceding that, when they thought they were winning.
15 The challenge for Halilovic and Merdan was to recognise from our
16 perspective that they were in a position to demonstrate strategic
17 thinking, to understand that although they were militarily in a position
18 to win this particular battle and they had militarily within their grasp
19 Busovaca, which was a very emotional as well as physical command centre
20 for the HVO and the whole -- the sort of Herceg-Bosna ideals, and they
21 had to understand that despite this capability of winning this particular
22 battle and taking revenge for the disloyalty, if you like, the
23 behaviour - I'm grappling for the right word - the quite despicable
24 behaviour of the HVO in terms of pursuing political advantages through
25 military endeavour at an opportunity when the 3rd Corps in Central Bosnia
1 were not able to reconcile this, they had to put that behind them and
2 demonstrate a degree of what we described -- I described as generalship
3 on the part of Halilovic in order for the greater good of his -- of the
4 ABiH and the Muslim people generally to exercise restraint, exercise
5 command and discipline over their forces, and from UNPROFOR's
6 perspective -- my perspective representing UNPROFOR and UNPROFOR's
7 perspective -- to retain the moral high ground in this situation in
8 Central Bosnia, at that time.
9 Q. Earlier on, Colonel, in describing the situation immediately
10 prior to the 21st of April, 1993, you were making a comment that the ABiH
11 3rd Corps troops were led better. What made you conclude that in terms
12 of leadership of troops the ABiH 3rd Corps was better at that point in
14 A. It's a subjective judgement on my part from my knowledge,
15 personal knowledge and broader knowledge, of the two commanders,
16 basically. And it has been my experience that the -- an organisation
17 tends to reflect the quality of its commander. And Hadzihasanovic was a
18 better military commander, in all senses that I would use to judge, than
19 his opposite number in the HVO, Tihomir Blaskic. And I saw that
20 personified, if you will, with the elements of the ABiH that I personally
21 came in contact with. It wasn't a value judgement of their goals. It
22 was simply a value judgement of the quality of their military officers
23 that I met.
24 Q. Earlier on at the beginning of your today's testimony you
25 mentioned that money was collected in Brunei for the -- in broad terms --
1 for the Muslim cause in Bosnia. During the time you were deployed in
2 Central Bosnia, did the ABiH possess, to your knowledge, the financial
3 means to make things happen or to create circumstances that were in
4 favour of the ABiH 3rd Corps?
5 A. To my personal knowledge, no. We understood from other sources
6 that weren't necessarily corroborated that the one thing that the ABiH
7 wasn't short of was money. They were short of materiel. And
8 paradoxically, despite their sort of local -- in our area of
9 responsibility, their local superiority, if they could muster themselves
10 in time and space, as they did for their counter-offensive in the Lasva
11 Valley, they didn't have as strong a stream of potential reinforcements
12 that the Serbs or the Bosnian Croats had. They had, if you like, no land
13 link to an ethnically supportive nation. They, if you like, were sort
14 of -- were ringed by potential enemies.
15 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, may I please suggest to have the
16 break now?
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll have our customary break.
18 It is quarter to 4.00, and we will resume at 4.15.
19 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 4.22 p.m.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation]
22 MR. WITHOPF: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Q. Sir, did you have --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will resume with a few
25 minutes delay, Mr. Withopf, you have the floor.
1 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters apologise. There seems to be
2 a slight technical problem.
3 MR. WITHOPF:
4 Q. Sir, did you at the time you were deployed in Central Bosnia with
5 BritBat, did you meet with then-Colonel Hadzihasanovic?
6 A. Yes. On a few occasions. And I have a recollection of speaking
7 to him on the phone as well. I first met him in February at the -- in
8 Kakanj at the Busovaca commission's inaugural meeting. I later met him
9 at his headquarters in Zenica. I spoke to him on the phone -- at least,
10 I think it was him. It was through an interpreter, so my belief was it
11 was him. And the majority of my dealings, however, with the 3rd Corps
12 were with Colonel Hadzihasanovic's deputy, Commander Merdan.
13 Q. We will come to Merdan in a few minutes. Let's talk first about
14 Hadzihasanovic. Having talked and met him a few times, what was your
15 impression about his competence and his military abilities?
16 A. My first impression of him when I first met him was of an
17 intelligence man, a military officer who seemed capable of taking a
18 operational or strategic perspective on issues, not getting overemotional
19 about the tactical situation. I have a vivid recollection of him
20 remonstrating with his HVO counterpart who didn't seem to be able to, on
21 occasion, rise intellectually above the sort of tactical situation.
22 He was respected by the other members of the commission and his
23 peers as a capable military officer, which I later discovered to be the
24 case. And so an intelligent, experienced and able military officer.
25 Q. You were just saying, Colonel, that he was respected. Does it
1 mean that he was in command and control of his subordinate troops?
2 A. That would be my assessment, yes.
3 Q. Being an intelligent, capable military commander, was the
4 then-Colonel Hadzihasanovic aware on what was going on on the ground
5 within 3rd Corps? Did he give you the impression that he was an informed
7 A. Yes, that was certainly my impression. And again, my total
8 impression of Colonel Hadzihasanovic was not simply in my few meetings
9 with him but was also in discussions with his subordinates, who were very
10 clear of their confidence in their commander.
11 Q. You informed the Trial Chamber, sir, that you had more contact to
12 Hadzihasanovic's deputy, namely Dzemal Merdan. How close was
13 Hadzihasanovic to his deputy, Merdan?
14 A. Do you mean personally, which I really can't comment on, or
16 Q. I mean, did Hadzihasanovic -- I mean in military terms. Did
17 Hadzihasanovic get to know what Merdan got to know? Were they in each
18 other's minds? In that respect.
19 A. That was certainly Merdan's perspective, that he was in the mind
20 of his commander, Hadzihasanovic. And he reported and got guidance from
21 Hadzihasanovic if he wasn't sure on the way to proceed within a
22 particular situation.
23 Q. Can you please inform us on what occasions you did meet Merdan
24 and what was the subject of discussions.
25 A. I met Merdan several times. He was detached to be the 3rd Corps
1 representative with the Busovaca commission, which again was a
2 demonstration from my perspective on Hadzihasanovic's commitment to that
3 particular organisation as a means of establishing normality, or at
4 least contributing to normality. So that further demonstrated my -- or
5 impressed me with the commander of 3rd Corps's commitment to the
7 And where he was at the Busovaca commission, I met him several
8 times, and we chatted. The most vivid occasion which we met was on the
9 21st of April, at the peace conference in the ECMM house in our base in
10 Vitez, and we had both practical and philosophical discussions together
11 with Halilovic, and I was again impressed with the quality of Merdan and
12 also with -- by default with the quality of his organisation.
13 Q. "Quality" means the professionalism? The military capabilities?
14 Is that correct?
15 A. Quality of the individuals and also the quality of the
16 organisation. I mean, I can't comment firsthand on the detail of how
17 3rd Corps ran its operations, other than on my visits to the corps
18 headquarters there appeared to be a capable military infrastructure
20 Q. Let's briefly address one issue in respect to the capable
21 military infrastructure within 3rd Corps. Did you get the impression
22 that the ABiH 3rd Corps had the technical communication abilities to
23 enable the commanders, including Hadzihasanovic and his deputy Merdan, to
24 be informed?
25 A. They could certainly communicate with each other. There was
1 still a sort of land-line infrastructure within Central Bosnia, albeit we
2 were excluded from it, as our telephones were switched off -- all but
3 one, which nobody knew we had. The radio communication was slightly more
4 problematic because of the terrain, and we relied on high frequency
5 radios. They may have been able to put in place transmission boosters,
6 because it was ground in which they had spent their entire sort of
7 professional time, in that immediate context. I'm aware from discussions
8 that there were difficulties in communicating to some subunits actually
9 on the ground. We had incidents in order to implement the cease-fire
10 after the 21st of April conference, where we had to support the HVO and
11 the ABiH in transporting their commanders around the battle space to pass
12 orders on to the ground. Whether that was a physical communication
13 problem, i.e., that they didn't have radio communication, or whether that
14 was the fact that radio communication couldn't convey the reality of
15 those orders and they had to be given face to face, I was never quite
16 sure. But they carried radio systems and they had access from different
17 headquarters to telephone systems. And by and large whenever they wished
18 to communicate with us, they could, and I took that as an indicator that
19 they could communicate among themselves as well.
20 Q. Let's move on, Colonel, to the last issue I wish to discuss with
21 you today, namely the issue of Mujahedin. Did you get to know whether
22 Mujahedin were operating within the ABiH 3rd Corps area of
24 A. We understood that was the case, yes.
25 Q. To your knowledge and from what you got to know whilst you were
1 deployed in Central Bosnia within the ABiH 3rd Corps area of
2 responsibility between February 1993 and May 1993, within which ABiH 3rd
3 Corps military unit, if any, were the Mujahedin concentrated?
4 A. That's quite a difficult question. I did not personally meet
5 anybody who I could identify as Mujahedin. I occasionally was shot at by
6 ABiH soldiers waving green flags and wearing green headbands which I
7 presumed to be Mujahedin and would remonstrate with ABiH commanders as to
8 objecting to being shot at.
9 And in conversation with brigade-level commanders and other
10 sources, my understanding was that "Mujahedin" was a term that was used
11 to cover the more committed Muslim ABiH soldiers, whether they be foreign
12 fighters who had come on a Jihad-type mission to Bosnia or they were
13 Bosnian Muslim citizens who had a more fundamentalist view as to the
14 future of their nation.
15 We understood and I understood that the accommodation of these
16 more -- stricter practicing Muslims had a sort of cultural clash with the
17 more - how would I phrase that - the less -- the cultural norm for Islam
18 within the majority of Bosnia that we knew and the majority of Muslims
19 that we in the ABiH or citizens that we interfaced with were not strict
20 Muslims that I had seen in other parts of the world, for example in the
21 Middle East. And what I mean by that is their women -- they didn't
22 subscribe to Sharia law, the women wouldn't go covered, they would drink
23 beer. They had quite a Western interpretation of Islam. That probably
24 isn't how they would interpret it; it's how I do.
25 The stricter practicing Muslims, and specifically those coming
1 from abroad, as sort of fighters, the mainstream of the ABiH found them
2 quite difficult to accommodate because they were rather disillusioned by
3 what they saw as a lack of adherence to Islam, and so they were
4 concentrated in the 7th Brigade, which we understood was a brigade that
5 consisted of soldiers who had a greater propensity to the detail of a
6 slightly more Middle Eastern interpretation of the Koran and the
7 practicing of Islam. I'm sorry I'm not being totally succinct, it's
8 quite difficult because these were impressions.
9 I never met the 7th Brigade, and understood, again, from
10 discussion that they didn't particularly seek to meet UNPROFOR. And
11 their reputation tended to precede them and their reputation for fighting
12 and commitment to the cause was -- sort of kept them apart, in our
13 understanding, from the majority of the 3rd Corps.
14 Q. How were the Mujahedin, who according to you were concentrated in
15 the 7th Brigade - how were they used by the ABiH 3rd Corps in military
17 A. They were based on Zenica, as we understood. And unlike many of
18 the brigades that we worked with within our AOR, which, if you like, were
19 quite regionally-based brigades, the 7th was one of the manoeuvre
20 brigades - there were others - and would be used to conduct offensives or
21 to carry out operations which were specific to the intent of the corps
22 commander at that time.
23 If I give you views that I had received from the HVO, the HVO had
24 a considerable fear of the 7th Brigade, disproportionate to any other
25 brigade in many ways; and such terms as sort of "Mujahedin" created an
1 effect if the minds of HVO soldiers opposing the BiH during the sort of
2 April period totally disproportionate to the size of that brigade and its
3 equipment. And so if you will, they had an ability to create an effect
4 in the minds of their sort of opposition out of proportion to their
5 actual size. And I viewed that as a considerable advantage to the
6 command of the 3rd Corps in military terms, and I am sure -- and again,
7 this is just a personal view -- that he was easily militarily astute
8 enough to understand the effect the 7th Corps would have on the
9 willingness to fight of the HVO.
10 Q. Are you referring to the 3rd Corps commander in referring to
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. To your knowledge, was the issue of the Mujahedin ever been
14 addressed with Hadzihasanovic and/or Merdan?
15 A. Specifically, no, other than personal curiosity on occasion to
16 just try and get behind what this name "Mujahedin" actually meant in
17 reality. And I've explained my understanding of that, which was foreign
18 fighters plus Bosnians who were more comfortable in a more strictly
19 Islamic infrastructure.
20 Q. And to your knowledge, what was the attitude of Hadzihasanovic
21 and/or Merdan towards the Mujahedin issue?
22 A. I've never discussed that with Hadzihasanovic. I have
23 recollections of discussing it with either Merdan or other commanders.
24 And again, it was really professional curiosity more than anything else,
25 built around, if you like, our own doctrine, which we describe as the
1 manoeuvrist approach in conducting military operations, where we focus on
2 the will of our enemy to fight us rather than focussing on their strength
3 in materiel terms. So it's a case of an indirect approach, rather than
4 an attritional approach.
5 And I saw rightly or wrongly, from my own perspective, that the
6 3rd Corps with the concept of Mujahedin had a military capability to
7 attack the will of their enemy, which would fit very well within our own
8 understanding of the cleverest way to fight and would reflect on that
9 from my personal perspective, on how I would use something like a force
10 viewed as Mujahedin by my enemy and the conflict of interest that that
11 may produce in my own mind.
12 I can't put my own views into the mind of either Merdan or
13 Hadzihasanovic, as it was my own personal reflections, but gained in
14 discussions as to what this phenomenon of Mujahedin actually represented.
15 Q. And what were actually your own views?
16 A. My own views were that they were a very capable asset, in terms
17 of their ability to attack the will of an enemy to fight, and they would
18 be used on what we would call our main effort. And I suspected as a
19 professional officer that commander 3rd Corps would think in similar
20 terms. And indeed we had reports of the Mujahedin or the 7th Muslim
21 Mountain Brigade deployed in many areas simultaneously, which patently
22 meant they were not in all of them. And I would do a very similar thing,
23 that sort disinformation, to strike terror into the hearts of my enemies
24 as to the fact that my most capable brigade was facing all of them
25 simultaneously. And again, I would suspect that commander 3rd Corps
1 would be capable of very similar thoughts.
2 I think the difficulty arose with the fact that certainly the
3 foreign fighters were not necessarily aligned to the political and
4 military intent that 3rd Corps represented as part of the ABiH.
5 And I think I personally would have had a problem dealing with
6 the capability that a concept like Mujahedin gave me with the effects of
7 their extremist behaviour. And we had an example of that where two
8 British mercenaries working with the ABiH were allegedly murdered by
9 Mujahedin. They were certainly murdered; they had their throats cut.
10 And we retrieved their bodies and buried them. And that sort of
11 behaviour by an organisation, encapsulated with the idea of Mujahedin,
12 would have presented considerable conflicts as to how one dealt with
13 people whose very fanaticism, which was the cornerstone of their
14 reputation, manifested itself in ways that were not consistent with the
15 behaviour that I would expect from soldiers.
16 Q. Did you get to know, Colonel, whether Hadzihasanovic, the
17 3rd Corps commander at the time, whether he undertook any efforts to
18 solve the conflict? Or was he more, as you just described earlier on, in
19 some sort of a dilemma - and you described it yourself - to be forced
20 because of the military situation and because of the positive military
21 effect of the Mujahedin to accept them?
22 A. We certainly asked for an investigation into the murder of the
23 two British mercenaries and understood that that had taken place. We
24 never found out whether anybody had been held to account for it or not.
25 And it wasn't that they were British or it wasn't that they were
1 mercenaries; it was just that they were two dead members of the ABiH, or
2 at least people who we understood to have attached themselves to the ABiH
3 who had been murdered. And, of course, because they were British, we had
4 a degree of interest in seeing people who had murdered them brought to
5 account. We were never aware that happened.
6 There were other incidents - and there were not many that came to
7 our notice - of actions by the ABiH that resulted in what we would term
8 as "murders", as opposed to sort of "military casualties." And when they
9 were discovered, they were reported by us to the ABiH and we trusted the
10 ABiH to pursue them with a full rigour.
11 And we certainly had a view - that was the view as well of the
12 commanding officer who knew Hadzihasanovic better than I did - that
13 Hadzihasanovic had given his assurances on several occasions that
14 incidents would be investigated, and we believed him.
15 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
16 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, this concludes the
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Withopf.
19 I turn now to Defence counsel for the cross-examination.
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Cross-examined by Ms. Residovic:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Colonel Watters. My name is
23 Edina Residovic, and with my colleague Stephane Bourgon, I am
24 representing General Hadzihasanovic. I wish to thank you for meeting
25 with my colleague Stephane Bourgon prior to your testimony today.
1 Colonel, you have already said that you have testified in this
2 Tribunal three times, in the Blaskic, Kordic, and Kupreskic cases; is
3 that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. In addition to that, you also made a statement for the
6 Prosecution on the 6th and 7th of May, 2000 and on the 13th of May, 2000;
7 is that correct too?
8 A. I certainly made statements. I will take your word that they
9 were the dates.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 [No interpretation]
12 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, we are not receiving the
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Registrar.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel repeat the question, please.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. In answer to a question from my learned friend the Prosecutor,
18 you said that you arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the 6th of
19 February, that you were deployed in Central Bosnia as a member of the
20 British Battalion, and as deputy commander of the 1st Cheshire Battle
21 Group; is that right?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. In addition to being deputy commander, you were de facto Chief of
24 Staff of the battalion; is that right?
25 A. That is correct. I wouldn't call the 1st Cheshire a battle
1 group. We would call it a battalion group. We were not equipped to
2 fight battles.
3 Q. Thank you for this clarification. But your battalion was well
4 equipped for the mission that you had to perform within the United
5 Nations forces; is it right to say that?
6 A. We were better equipped than most, yes.
7 Q. These were professional soldiers who before coming to Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina, and before you yourself arrived, had special training to be
9 able to carry out their mission in the wartime conditions that prevailed
10 in Bosnia and Herzegovina; is that right?
11 A. As we were the first battalion group from the British Army to
12 deploy to Bosnia as part of the United Nations, there was no precedent
13 for what the conditions were that we would find. And so the pre-tour
14 training planned by my predecessor, which I discussed with him at length,
15 reflected a balance of procedures and drills that may or may not prove to
16 be necessary in Bosnia. Future British battalions who deployed had
17 training that more reflected the reality in Bosnia gained from the
18 experience of ourselves and the battalion that replaced us, the Prince of
19 Wales' Own Regiment of Yorkshire.
20 Q. Thank you, Colonel. My learned friend also asked you about the
21 communications that existed on the ground when you arrived. Is it right
22 to say, Colonel, that in some situations you in your battalion did have
23 to grapple with poor communications so that it would happen that Colonel
24 Stewart, though he was the commander, frequently was unable to have full
25 command over all units on the ground?
1 A. That's correct. We were equipped with radios that did not suit
2 the terrain of Bosnia in that our main command radio system was VHF,
3 which is a line-of-sight system; also, it was old and unreliable. We
4 also had to use high-frequency radio, HF radio, which is notoriously
5 unreliable at certain times of the day, as it's affected by atmospherics.
6 The result was when Colonel Stewart was deployed on the ground in his
7 Warrior or in his Land Rover visiting a part of our organisation or the
8 opposing factions, he would routinely be out of communications for
9 extended periods of time and thus I would command in his absence as his
11 Q. Thank you. You've answered my second question as well.
12 Want to with respect to communications that you knew the ABiH
13 army had, would you agree with me if I say that those communications were
14 functioning well towards superior commands - that is, from the corps to
15 the higher levels of command - whereas communication to lower-level units
16 were frequently interrupted and difficult to establish?
17 A. I would say that that would be a very fair supposition, yes.
18 Q. You also said, answering a question from my learned friend, that
19 upon arrival in Bosnia and Herzegovina you didn't know much about what
20 was going on there and that once you arrived you did your best to learn a
21 little more about the history of the Balkans and about Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina; would that be right?
23 A. I endeavoured to learn as much as I could.
24 Q. You studied the problem and you devoted your full attention to
25 it, at least for the first 48 hours upon your arrival; but in view of the
1 great problems you had to address, there was quite a bit of confusion in
2 your mind and lack of clarity as to what was actually going on there.
3 A. [Previous translation continues] ...
4 Q. What you knew for certain was the fact that Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina had a year prior to that - that is, in April 1992, after the
6 break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - been
7 recognised as an independent state and that after that she was admitted
8 to United Nations membership. Were you aware of that fact?
9 A. That wasn't a factor that I focussed on. I think some of our
10 interpreters, who were very proud of their country, told us these things.
11 I don't have a memory of reading about it.
12 Q. I apologise, Colonel, but I think that your answer to my previous
13 question has not been recorded, and my question was whether you had
14 sought to find out more about the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina. And I
15 know that you did so during the first 48 hours but that there was still
16 some confusion left regarding the actual state of affairs over there.
17 You did answer my question, but it wasn't recorded in the transcript, so
18 could you answer it once again, please.
19 A. I think to say that the situation was confused is an
20 understatement. I was endeavouring to understand.
21 Q. Thank you. Were you aware that the Army of Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina was the legitimate armed force that was in the process of
23 being formed at the time, the legitimate force and declared as such and
24 defined by the laws of Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent state?
25 A. My understanding was that within Bosnia there were three armies:
1 Bosnian Serb, Bosnian Croat, and Bosnian Muslim.
2 Q. However, throughout your stay there, you didn't try to find out
3 which army was the legitimate armed force of Bosnia and Herzegovina but
4 you accepted the situation on the ground as it was in fact.
5 A. That is the case. My understanding was that the legitimate army
6 was an alliance between the HVO and the ABiH.
7 Q. At the time of your arrival, did you know that as early as 1992
8 the Yugoslav People's Army and the Army of Republika Srpska had attacked
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina and that already that year it had occupied more
10 than 60 per cent of the territory of the state, in the north, north-east,
11 and east of the country? Were you aware of that fact?
12 A. Yes. In fact, it was our reconnaissance as a group that
13 established exactly the extent, from the UN's point of view, of the Serb
14 aggression into -- Bosnian Serb aggression into Bosnia-Herzegovina, as on
15 our deployment the United Nations did not have a definitive understanding
16 of the extent to which the Serbs had pushed back the boundaries of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina in a literal sense. And we spent a great deal of our
18 time monitoring what we termed "the front lines" and spent a great deal
19 of time visiting them.
20 Q. Actually, the front lines towards the Serbian forces, or the
21 forces of Republika Srpska, were the lines which marked the end of the
22 area of responsibility of your battalion; is that right?
23 A. Technically, no, because our area of responsibility extended in
24 behind the Serb front lines. We did not have the combat power to force
25 passage -- oppose passage through these lines, and so we were unable to
1 exercise our responsibilities in those areas of our AOR that had been
2 captured by the Serbs. Therefore, the de facto AOR, the pragmatic AOR,
3 was that that was occupied by the HVO and the BiH forces, who did grant
4 us passage into their different areas.
5 Q. This demarcation line toward the Army of Republika Srpska was
6 actually the front line or the defence line of the Army of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina, more precisely of the 3rd Corps. And if you can confirm
8 this for the Trial Chamber, it extended along a length between 250 and
9 300 kilometres.
10 A. That's an interesting question. It would depend on your
11 perspective. We used the term "front lines" as the line whereby the ABiH
12 and the HVO opposed the Serbs, and so it was either their defence line or
13 the Serb's front line, and both terms are correct. It was the line that
14 demarcated the advance of the Serbs and the point at which the
15 3rd Corps-ABiH-HVO had been able to hold the Serbs.
16 Q. I was putting it to you that this line, if we look at it
17 geographically from the west, north-west, was about 250 to 300 kilometres
18 long and that three corps of the Serbian army were behind it: The Banja
19 Luka, the Bosanski, and Romanijska Sarajevski [as interpreted] Corps.
20 Would this statement be true, to the best of your knowledge?
21 A. It is certainly true that there were Serb corps behind those
22 lines. Ten years later, I'm sorry, I can't remember which they were. I
23 know there was a Banja Luka Corps.
24 Q. Thank you. When you arrived, you observed that both the HVO and
25 the Army of Republika Srpska and shortly after that some representatives
1 of the international community as well started calling these armies on
2 the basis of the ethnic composition of the majority members of those
3 armies. They were referred to as the Serb, Croat, and Muslim armies. Is
4 that right?
5 A. That's right within the colloquialisms of our organisation. We
6 were quite clear that there was a differentiation between Bosnian Serbs,
7 Bosnian Croats, and Bosnian Muslims and Serbs and Croats.
8 Q. However, in your communications with the Bosnian army and its
9 commanders and political representatives, you knew full well that the
10 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina was a multi-ethnic army, regardless of the
11 fact that some units were composed predominantly of Muslims, Bosniaks.
12 Was that difference between the army and these other two armies?
13 A. I was only aware of one brigade that I would describe as a fully
14 integrated brigade, a fully integrated multi-ethnic brigade. I was not
15 aware personally of other parts of the ABiH and the HVO that I witnessed
16 having a multi-ethnic chain of command. And so the manifestation to me
17 was that they were the ABiH and the HVO, with the exception of this one
18 brigade and they were an alliance that constituted the Army of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is my perspective.
20 Q. In fact, you can confirm many things that have to do with the
21 structure of the army, its relation with the legitimate organs of power.
22 And on the relations between the HVO and the BH army, with regard to all
23 these matters, there are certain assumptions you have made. But you were
24 never in a position to observe what their strategic objectives were or to
25 observe what their legal basis was. You weren't in a position to obtain
1 a clear perspective, a clear view of the armies in question.
2 A. It was very clear to me in April that the strategic objectives of
3 the HVO had nothing to do with what was in the best interests for the BiH
4 or the Muslim people. And the Croat offensive of mid-April 1993 - and I
5 should say the HVO, Bosnian Croat offensive - which at the time had the
6 potential to involve Croatia, was conducted solely at the strategic
7 level; certainly the operational level. You'd have to define "strategic"
8 very carefully in this context.
9 Q. When you arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as you have already
10 testified, you believed that the HVO and the BH army formed an alliance
11 and together they attempted to oppose the Republika Srpska army. And
12 this was the subject of the first meeting you attended in February 1993;
13 is that your understanding of the situation at the time?
14 A. That is correct.
15 Q. However, you certainly knew from your commander and your
16 predecessor that the HVO had previously attacked certain BH army
17 positions in 1992, in Prozor, Novi Travnik, and Vakuf, and in January it
18 did this in Busovaca and Kiseljak and in Gornji Vakuf. But with the
19 assistant of members of the international community in Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina a solution was found in order to establish a cease-fire.
21 These conflicts were overcome. Is this the situation you were familiar
22 with? Is this the knowledge you had when you assumed your duties?
23 A. Yes. But I think it would be naive to say that I believed, we
24 believed, or the situation on the ground demonstrated that the conflicts
25 were overcome as you stated. The situation in Gornji Vakuf continued,
1 and there were constant exchanges of fire between the ABiH and the HVO in
2 Gornji Vakuf throughout February and into March.
3 Q. Although at the time you didn't see any specific orders from the
4 HVO on attacks, on ultimatums to the BH army, you saw that the HVO was
5 attacking villages inhabited by Muslims; you saw that they erected
6 checkpoints and prevented the BH army from passing through and they
7 expelled the Muslim Bosniak population from the area of Busovaca and
8 Kiseljak. Is that what you were able to see in the field, and is this
9 what led you to the conclusion that you have just mentioned now?
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. The discussions in Geneva about the Vance-Owen Plan incited the
12 HVO to use force to take over and surround territory that they thought
13 belonged to them and they were following the example set by the Republika
14 Srpska army. Would this be a correct description of the way in which the
15 HVO behaved at that time?
16 A. I would describe that they were incited, to use your word, by the
17 Vance-Owen Plan to consolidate the populations within the designated
18 cantons and to secure routes that they viewed as strategic, either within
19 or between these cantons; and to do so they embarked on a programme of
20 offensives which involved ethnic cleansing on a model that we had seen
21 used by the Serbs, but equally one had seen it in other parts of the
22 world as well.
23 Q. Would it be correct to say that the HVO sent an ultimatum to the
24 BH army requesting that they disarm and place themselves under their
25 command and then in April, as you have said, they organised a large-scale
1 offensive in the Lasva Valley? They took over territory, expelled the
2 Bosniak population, and Ahmici and other places were places in which
3 serious crimes were committed by them.
4 A. I don't have a recollection of being aware of an HVO ultimatum
5 being sent to the ABiH. But I agree with the rest of what you have said.
6 Q. My learned colleague from the Prosecution spoke to you about the
7 military might of the HVO and the BH army. Would you agree with me if I
8 said that after the attack of the JNA and the Republika Srpska army the
9 BH army, which was still being established at the time, regardless of the
10 number of troops they had, was in a fairly difficult situation and on the
11 whole they attempted to hold the defence lines and to prevent the Serbian
12 army from gaining access to other territory? For these reasons, it was
13 in their interest to keep the HVO as an ally and they had no intention to
14 fight a war with another enemy.
15 A. I think your comment "was in a fairly difficult situation" is an
16 understatement. I think they were in an extremely critical situation.
17 And would agree that it was a matter of their survival that the HVO was
18 an ally.
19 Q. In fact, if I may use the words used in a previous case, the army
20 was like an island which was encircled. And now this is what I'm adding:
21 In European countries, both near -- which were both near to it and which
22 were further away from it, they couldn't find any allies that would
23 support them. Would that be correct?
24 A. That was my interpretation, that the Bosnian Muslims had no
25 immediate ability to draw on allies to support them. They could only
1 draw on the moral support of the wider Islamic world, and that support
2 manifested itself both in a moral commitment to their cause and the
3 pressure that that could bring within the world community and a number of
4 individual or small group reinforcements of the type of people that have
5 been described as Mujahedin and financial support. But critically, none
6 of these two factors, financial support or the infiltration of small
7 bands of Mujahedin, would enable, in my view, the ABiH to withstand an
8 offensive by the Serbs and even with the support of the Bosnian Croats,
9 the HVO, that support would be conditional on reinforcement from Croatia.
10 In summary, you could describe them literally as having their backs to
11 the wall.
12 Q. As the Republika Srpska army and the HVO had traditional allies
13 in Europe, in certain European countries, then what is of special
14 importance is the fact that they had the daily support of neighbouring
15 states, the neighbouring state of Yugoslavia; and the HVO had the support
16 of Croatia. This was not the case for the BH army.
17 A. As I mentioned in my previous answer, that is correct. The ABiH
18 did not have any neighbouring states who would lend support.
19 Q. In addition, the HVO could count on continual support for
20 logistics, arms, and other equipment that they needed to fight; is that
22 A. And people.
23 Q. Yes. Thank you. You pointed out that when performing your
24 duties in one of the Islamic countries, in Brunei, you saw that money was
25 being collected in order to assist the people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 At that time, and subsequently, you never found out that that money was
2 used for the BH army; and in particular you didn't have any information
3 according to which the money collected in this way arrived in the
4 territory of the 3rd Corps, was used for the needs of the 3rd Corps. Is
5 what I have said correct?
6 A. Specifically for the 3rd Corps, no. We were aware from sources
7 that money was able to make its way into the Muslim community within
8 Central Bosnia. We were also aware that the ABiH was able to buy
9 weapons and ammunition from other belligerents within Central Bosnia -
10 bizarre as that may sound - specifically through Sarajevo. And in Tuzla
11 we were also aware that logistics supplies, including arms and munitions,
12 were delivered to the ABiH from air drop.
13 Q. When we spoke about military power, you mentioned a lot of
14 factors that were important for an army to have power. Would it be
15 correct to say that in the Blaskic case you said that without a doubt in
16 spring 1993 the HVO was stronger than the BH army? It had supremacy.
17 Would you stand by this claim today?
18 A. That was many years ago. I have no reason to change my view. I
19 would probably in order -- for accuracy have to explain what I meant
20 by -- if I had used the word "supremacy," what I meant by that. As I
21 think I mentioned earlier today, and I can possibly best encapsulate this
22 in the way we think about supremacy or what we describe as combat power,
23 which we would articulate as having three components: A physical
24 component, which is men and materiel; a moral component, which is a
25 willingness to fight; and a conceptual or intellectual component, which
1 is understanding how to fight.
2 Q. When referring to manpower, to the human factor, would you agree
3 with me if I said that if you take into consideration the number of
4 brigades at the disposal of the HVO in Central Bosnia and the number of
5 brigades that the Republika Srpska army had at the line of confrontation
6 and the BH army had opposed them at all times, in such a case not even
7 the number of troops of the BH army was greater than the number of troops
8 that the HVO and the Army of Republika Srpska had in combination.
9 A. I'm sorry, I'm trying to understand. Are you asking me that the
10 ABiH had a smaller number of available soldiers than the HVO and the
11 Bosnian Serbs combined?
12 Q. Let me clarify the question. Very often the question is asked as
13 to whether the number of troops in the BH army was once or twice the
14 amount of the HVO troops. I'm now suggesting, because this is what you
15 have testified about, that the BH army had to hold a 2 to 3 hundred
16 kilometre line facing the Republika Srpska army. My question is: Given
17 that the army had two enemies at all times, would it be correct to say
18 that even in terms of manpower, if you take into consideration the
19 manpower of the Republika Srpska army and the manpower of the HVO, if
20 this is taken into consideration, the 3rd Corps didn't have supremacy in
21 terms of simple physical power.
22 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, if my recollection is not wrong, I
23 think the witness stated earlier on today in answering a question by my
24 learned friend from the Defence that it was the ABiH and the HVO which
25 were on the front lines towards the Serbs.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, could you try to
2 answer the question, because in a few seconds we will have to have our
3 technical break.
4 In line 8, page 56, a question was put to you. Try to answer
5 this very complex question. And it would be good for you to read the
6 question, think about the answer, and then answer it.
7 THE WITNESS: I think the first thing to clarify is the term
8 "brigades," because a brigade was not a specific organisation in the HVO
9 or the ABiH. Different brigades were of very different size, and so it's
10 not a currency with which to judge.
11 The commitment of the ABiH to their front-line positions opposing
12 the Serbs meant in Central Bosnia that they were not as capable as the
13 HVO of assembling soldiers in time and space at the same tempo that the
14 HVO were because more of 3rd Corps were deployed further east. And so
15 if you take the totality, the BiH had in our view more actual soldiers.
16 Whether those soldiers could be assembled to deal with, for example, an
17 immediate threat was -- it would take time. So in Central Bosnia, the
18 HVO could more quickly assemble a superior number of soldiers than could
19 the BiH.
20 But the number of soldiers isn't actually the critical aspect.
21 That is merely one part of what I've described as combat power, which I
22 did that rather laborious explanation. The means to fight is the
23 physical component, and soldiers are part of the means to fight, as are
24 other weapons systems that act as force multipliers within the physical
25 component. And so I think it's a rather simplistic question to ask
1 whether they had more or less. It would depend on what they could
2 assemble in time and space to meet a particular threat.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 It's quarter to 6.00 now more or less. We will now adjourn and
5 we will resume at five past 6.00.
6 --- Recess taken at 5.42 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 6.06 p.m.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I shall give the floor again to
9 Defence counsel. We normally adjourn at quarter to 7.00. If we don't
10 want to keep the witness here until tomorrow, I would kindly ask Defence
11 counsel to go to the essentials so that the cross-examination should be
12 useful and so we can release the witness. Otherwise, he will be forced
13 to come back tomorrow.
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I just wish to
15 address you. We looked at the time that we would need to complete our
16 cross-examination, and further to your earlier ruling and to abide by
17 that ruling, I shall certainly try and put the most important questions
18 to the witness. But as I wish the witness to have sufficient time to
19 hear the translation and for me to receive a translation of his answers,
20 this slows down the process. So I would like to appeal to you, Your
21 Honours, if we don't complete our cross-examination today, that we be
22 allowed to continue it tomorrow.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let us try and finish it today.
24 But please proceed.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 Q. Colonel Watters, is it true that in canton number 10, which the
2 HVO wanted completely to cleanse of the Bosniak population, that large
3 towns such as Travnik, Bugojno, and Gornji Vakuf were majority Muslim
4 towns and they were in this province? Is that right?
5 A. I would have to see a map of the then-Vance-Owen proposed canton
6 10 to under oath say that those places were in it, as I can't remember
7 the exact boundaries of canton 10.
8 Q. But in any event, you do know that these were towns in which the
9 majority population were Bosniak.
10 A. As far as I remember, that is correct.
11 Q. There was another matter that was of special strategic importance
12 and that was the roads and communication links. And my question is: Is
13 it right to say that the HVO wanted to gain control of the main road
14 communications and to link up the so-called Croatian areas because it was
15 common knowledge that who has control of the roads, he also controls the
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina? Is that right?
17 A. That is my understanding, yes.
18 Q. In answer to a question from my learned friend, you said that the
19 conflict started with Mate Boban's arrival in Travnik in April 1993,
20 where the state colours of the Republic of Croatia were hoisted
21 everywhere and when because those flags were torn down, the HVO attacked
22 members of the army and killed two or three of those members. Is that
23 approximately what you said in your testimony?
24 A. I'm not sure I'd say "the conflict started with Mate Boban's
25 arrival in Travnik." But certainly, following his arrival and the
1 appearance of the flags, there was a breaking down of the relationship
2 between the Croat and Muslim populations, manifesting itself in a number
3 of murders in Travnik. That's correct.
4 Q. Is it correct to say that the HVO at the time took up positions
5 around the town of Travnik and that it blocked all roads so that Travnik
6 was virtually isolated in relation to Zenica?
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. Is it also correct that the HVO used the highly aggressive
9 propaganda whereby it sought to frighten the Croat population and to
10 force it to move to territories that were under HVO control?
11 A. I was aware of a situation in Zenica where the ABiH - and we
12 presumed it was the 7th Brigade - attempted to evict the minority Croat
13 population, which we secured overnight in a church, contacted the
14 3rd Brigade headquarters -- 3rd Corps headquarters, sorry. And the mayor
15 of Zenica intervened, secured the return of the Croat population to their
16 homes in Zenica and personally guaranteed their security.
17 I'm not aware that that population were required to leave Zenica
18 by the HVO. And although there were rumours that minority HVO
19 populations were being extorted to move, I personally didn't see it. I
20 don't speak Serbo-Croat and so wouldn't have, myself, seen the means of
21 this propaganda, leaflets or whatever. I don't know how this alleged
22 propaganda took place. I had no personal knowledge of it, but I was
23 aware of rumours.
24 Q. Is it true that the HVO used their propaganda against UNPROFOR,
25 claiming that UNPROFOR was transporting weapons for the Army of Bosnia
1 and Herzegovina?
2 A. That is correct. And claimed many other lies [Realtime
3 transcript read in error: "lives"] as well.
4 Q. Is it true that the HVO resorted to intensive propaganda about
5 the constant attacks of the BH army forces on all fronts, claiming that
6 that army was committing massacres of Croats; and that in connection with
7 such claims you did some investigations in several places -- Grahovcici,
8 Guca Gora, Jelinak -- and that the findings of the British Battalion
9 showed that there were no traces of any such crimes there? Is that
11 A. Your Honour, the answer to my previous question is transcribed as
12 "and claimed other lives as well." I actually said "lies," not "lives".
13 Madam, I'll just address your question.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In view of the remark made by
15 the witness, the transcript will make clear that the witness has
16 clarified the meaning of his answer, that he didn't say "claimed other
17 lives," But "lies." Is that, Colonel, what you wanted to say?
18 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
20 Could you please answer the question in line 23, please.
21 THE WITNESS: Sir --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In line 23, the Defence is
23 asking you a question regarding what happened at Grahovcici, Guca Gora,
24 and you are being asked whether the British Battalion found any traces of
25 war crimes there.
1 THE WITNESS: Sir, after the HVO atrocity in Ahmici, we received
2 constant reports from the HVO of massacres of their people and we
3 patrolled to investigate each of the allegations. I personally went to
4 Grahovcici and Guca Gora; another patrol -- and found nothing -- We
5 tasked another patrol, who went to Miletici, I think it was called --
6 yes, Miletici. And there they found five men had been murdered. And the
7 accounts of the local people described it as having been committed by BiH
8 soldiers who were not known to them and who had behaved in a way that
9 hadn't been characteristic of other BiH soldiers that they had known.
10 And we later recovered those five bodies. They were Croats.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please continue.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Colonel, if I were to ask you now a question about the events in
14 Miletici, would it be right to say that Miletici was visited by UNPROFOR
15 and by the European observers and that the reports of both after talking
16 to the population indicated that these murders can be -- had been
17 committed by the Mujahedin? Would it be right to say that?
18 A. This is very difficult. I don't remember seeing the word
19 "Mujahedin" in the reports. They may well have been there. I haven't
20 read those reports for ten years. They certainly, from my memory, were
21 described as renegades or not the -- they didn't behave in the way that
22 the ABiH soldiers had traditionally behaved towards the people in this
23 village. They were not soldiers known to them. And they described them
24 as something akin to renegades. I don't ever remember the word
25 "Mujahedin." But as I've said earlier, I've found the term "Mujahedin"
1 meant all things to all people.
2 Q. Thank you. On the other hand, the HVO not only in Ahmici but
3 also in the villages of Nadioci, Santici, Hrusica [as interpreted],
4 expelled the entire Bosniak population, killed a certain number of
5 civilians, and totally destroyed these villages; is that true?
6 A. That's correct.
7 Q. In addition, the HVO used impermissible methods, that is, a bomb
8 truck in old Vitez was used, so that you were forced to report that this
9 was a war crime; is that right?
10 A. That's correct. We considered it essentially an act of
12 Q. Is it true that the fierceness of the HVO offensive and the
13 crimes committed caught the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina by surprise
14 and that they were shocked by the fact that their ally had betrayed them?
15 Could that be put in that way?
16 A. My meeting with the ABiH commander in Vitez on the morning of
17 the -- I think it was 16th of April, I would -- my view of his reaction
18 would concur with your statement.
19 Q. In actual fact, many of the UNPROFOR members like yourself felt
20 that unless the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina halted further attacks,
21 that this would virtually mean the end of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
22 and of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a state. The army had their backs to the
23 wall. Is that right?
24 A. That is certainly the case in Central Bosnia. It obviously
25 wouldn't be the case in, for example, Tuzla. But it certainly was the
1 case in Central Bosnia.
2 Q. Colonel, is it right that thanks primarily to one of the factors
3 of combat readiness of the Bosnian army, that is, its readiness to defend
4 lives, the army consolidated its ranks quickly and responded with a
5 counter-offensive and managed to gain control of an important junction
6 and restore control over part of the territory lost? Is that right?
7 A. That's correct. And from a professional point of view, I thought
8 it was an outstanding piece of military conduct, military art.
9 Q. At the time, the HVO asked for a cease-fire for the first time,
10 though up until then it had refused to seize control over areas captured,
11 it refused to cooperate, and it refused to allow the return of the
12 population to the homes from which they had been evicted. This was the
13 first time that the HVO was able to negotiate. Is that right?
14 A. Not quite right. The HVO from the first morning of their
15 offensive entered into negotiation for a cease-fire and essentially
16 misrepresented their intention. In simple terms, they just told us lies
17 upon lies. So they didn't fail to enter into a cease-fire negotiation;
18 they did. But they -- it was quite plain to us after a while were
19 essentially prevaricating with no intention of, A, telling us genuinely
20 what they were doing, and with no intention of adhering to any of the
21 cease-fire negotiations that they were having with us. That changed on
22 the 21st of April, after the ABiH had re-established a superior position
23 and were poised to attack Busovaca.
24 Q. In answer to a question from my learned friend the Prosecutor,
25 you referred to that meeting on the 21st of April and described the
1 efforts of the army to halt the fighting with highly favourable terms and
2 you felt that it was a significant contribution towards saving lives.
3 Was that the attitude you took in relation to the efforts of the army
4 commanders to establish a cease-fire?
5 A. When you say "army commanders," do you mean the army commanders
6 of the BiH and the HVO or just the BiH?
7 Q. I mean the army of Halilovic and Merdan, who participated in
8 those negotiations.
9 A. The procedure for this negotiation was after the initial meeting
10 chaired by Ambassador Thebault, the ECMM ambassador, he then handed over
11 the detail of a negotiation, having established a cease-fire in
12 principle. The two delegations, the HVO and the BiH, were in two
13 different rooms. I asked them to put the dispositions of their forces
14 accurately onto maps for me individually so neither would -- the
15 opposition would not see their dispositions and they would take my word
16 that I would not divulge dispositions to either party.
17 And essentially I saw it as my challenge to argue the case to the
18 BiH for restraint. And I think my exact words, as they're burnt into my
19 memory, were along the lines of, "The world community will judge you on
20 the way you behaved today in the future. And I know as soldiers, I'm
21 asking you to do a very difficult thing, and if you do it, you will save
22 a great many lives, both of the people of Busovaca and Vitez and your own
23 people in the future, as this war is bound to continue. Because the HVO
24 are preparing to reinforce with regular forces from Prozor."
25 I was very impressed with Halilovic and Merdan's disposition and
1 the courage that they showed in being prepared to risk considerable
2 criticism, I felt, personal criticism. And I was quite clear also that
3 Merdan was operating with the authority of his corps commander,
4 Hadzihasanovic. And so I was impressed with them and I think their
5 action that day was statesmanlike and in the wider interest of all people
6 in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
7 Q. Would it be correct to say that the commanders went directly to
8 the lines and spoke to the subordinate commanders and they explained to
9 the soldiers how important it was to reach this agreement and not to
10 continue losing lives, both Bosniak and Croatian lives?
11 A. Not immediately, no. We had initially agreed a -- if my memory
12 serves me, an immediate cessation of fighting and an initial withdrawal
13 to a line we agreed on a map, withdrawing from Busovaca, I think it was
14 north. I'd have to look at the map. But in the direction of Zenica, so
15 away from the line of their advance, withdrawing over ground that they
16 had already fought over. And they agreed to do that within 24 hours.
17 About 12 hours after the conference, 3rd Corps got back to us to
18 say that they were unable to achieve their withdrawal in 24 hours because
19 they were having difficulty in contacting and convincing the soldiers on
20 the ground that they should withdraw. We agreed that we would support
21 both themselves and the HVO in the commanders personally going onto the
22 ground to talk to the soldiers, their subunit commanders, and we
23 achieved this by putting the commanders into our Warriors and taking them
24 where they wished to go on the battlefield to visit their subordinate
25 commanders and soldiers. And in doing that, they then convinced -- and
1 sometimes with quite heated discussion and exercising considerable
2 leadership -- they convinced their subordinate commanders of the
3 requirement to withdraw.
4 Q. In fact, at the time it was quite clear to you that the
5 commanders of corps were issuing orders, but as far as the implementation
6 of these orders were concerned, this depended to a large extent on the
7 local commanders. And you are a witness of the fact that Merdan often
8 engaged in negotiations and spoke to local commanders in order to ensure
9 that the orders would be carried out. Is that the situation in the
10 Armija in the spring in 1993? Is this the situation you were aware of at
11 the time?
12 A. That was certainly the situation on the 22nd, 23rd, 24th of
13 April, 1993 that I personally saw.
14 Q. In fact, it was a very reasonable decision of the commander of
15 the 3rd Corps. He decided that by -- that he should go into the field
16 himself and convince his commanders and troops of the importance of
17 carrying out certain orders. He acted in this way in order to discipline
18 his troops. Is that the conclusion that you would draw?
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. In fact, it was clear to you that the 3rd Corps was being
21 established and all the efforts made by the commander and his
22 headquarters in fact made it possible to see that the BH army was getting
23 better organised from day to day. It was becoming more professional than
24 it was at the beginning.
25 A. I was aware that the commander of the 3rd Corps was taking a very
1 personal, hands-on command, which is why he was unable to be represented
2 at the conference on the 21st and was represented by his deputy, Merdan.
3 As to what he was actually doing, I couldn't say, as I wasn't there. But
4 the 3rd Corps responded having the local commanders being convinced of
5 the rationale of the cease-fire and its architecture.
6 Q. You praised the abilities of the command of the 3rd Corps and of
7 his deputy and of part of the officers -- of some of the officers from
8 the 3rd Corps headquarters. Would you agree with me if I said that the
9 officers and the professional structure in the command, the structure of
10 the commanders and the brigade commanders, is very important when
11 ensuring the line of command and functions properly and when ensuring
12 that there is discipline among the troops?
13 A. I would agree with you, yes.
14 Q. If I told you that when you were performing your duties in
15 BritBat only 9 per cent of those in the 3rd Corps command had finished
16 military training and half of the brigade commanders had no military
17 education whatsoever, would you then agree with me that the corps
18 commander had an extremely difficult task when trying to create the army
19 and establish normal chains of command and ensuring that there was
20 discipline among the troops?
21 A. Yes, I am, we were aware of the challenge that the 3rd Corps
22 commander and his staff faced in what essentially was a citizen army, a
23 militia, fighting for its survival.
24 Q. In response to a question from the Prosecution, you said that you
25 drafted milinfosums in the BritBat and these milinfosums contained
1 essential information that your company commanders and liaison officers
2 and other personnel had obtained in the course of any given day. Would
3 you agree with me if I said that the contents of such milinfosums
4 frequently depended on the reliability of the sources from which you
5 obtained certain information?
6 A. Yes, that's why they were called information summaries. They
7 didn't necessarily represent fact. They just represented the best
8 interpretation of reality that we could establish on that day. So I
9 would agree with you that they were totally reliant on the quality of the
10 sources of the information as well as our interpretation of them, which
11 also could be flawed on occasion.
12 Q. Would you agree with me if I said that there was also the risk
13 that certain rumours that were forwarded in your milinfosums could --
14 they could be dangerous because other parties, a third party, might take
15 such information to be factual?
16 A. I don't know who the third party would be, because we didn't
17 distribute milinfosums outside the United Nations chain of command, and I
18 also don't quite know what you mean by "dangerous." Dangerous to whom?
19 Q. Well, for example, if you obtained information about the HVO
20 according to which the BH army had committed certain acts and this hadn't
21 been checked, if this was forwarded through your chain of command or
22 through other international bodies and if this was then included in the
23 daily -- in the weekly reports of, for example, the European monitors, in
24 such cases such information might be taken to be fact in spite of the
25 fact that its reliability had not been previously verified.
1 A. I would certainly agree that rumours could be transposed into
2 people's belief that they represented fact. One of the challenges that
3 we faced in trying to establish an understanding of reality in Bosnia at
4 that time was the fact that Bosnia seemed to totally function on rumour.
5 And one of our endeavours was to try and cross-reference as many of the
6 rumours as we could, corroborated by our own people's observations and
7 reports or not, as the case may be. And we were always quite clear what
8 was a rumour, as opposed to what we understood might be a fact. I can't
9 speak for how that could be misrepresented outside our own chain of
11 Q. You spoke about foreign combatants, the so-called Mujahedin, and
12 you spoke about the 7th Muslim Brigade. My question is: Would it be
13 correct to say that quite frequently certain rumours, criticisms, or
14 stories about the 7th Muslim Brigade and the Mujahedin came from the HVO
15 in fact and the success of the 7th Muslim Brigade left quite a -- made
16 quite an impression? The greater the successes of the Armija, the
17 greater --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Could the question please be repeated.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I am turning to the Defence.
20 The interpreters didn't quite seize the question. Could you
21 please repeat the question.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Would it be correct to say, Colonel, that the various rumours
24 about the 7th Muslim Brigade and about foreign combatants in that area
25 came mostly from the HVO and in addition, as the BH army had more and
1 more success, these rumours from the HVO were more widespread, became
2 more widespread?
3 A. Within -- yes, I would say that is a fair comment.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I'll have 10 to 15
5 minutes for my questions tomorrow. I have tried to be as brief as
6 possible. But I would like to request your permission to continue
7 tomorrow if I can't conclude my cross-examination today.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you will need ten minutes.
9 Does the other Defence team have the intention of asking this
10 witness any questions?
11 MR. DIXON: Thank you, Your Honours. Yes, we do have some
12 questions to ask. We will need no more than 15 to 20 minutes at the
13 most. Thank you, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So ten minutes plus
15 15 minutes adds up to 25 minutes.
16 I think that Mr. Withopf had additional questions for the
18 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, so far I can't see any
19 questions. That may change after the Defence for the accused Kubura has
20 asked their questions.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll continue for another ten
23 minutes though. If you make an effort, I think we'll manage. If the
24 questions are shorter, less convoluted, I think that the witness will be
25 able to answer them easily. We'll try to conclude, because otherwise we
1 will make the witness stay overnight for the sake of an additional 15
2 minutes of cross-examination.
3 Mrs. Residovic, you may continue.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Colonel, you described the position of the BH army and you said
6 that it was a very difficult one while you were performing your duties in
7 Bosnia. If the corps commander felt the need to open up a third front,
8 if he felt this was necessary, would you agree with me that he didn't
9 have the forces to do such a thing and such a decision in those extremely
10 difficult conditions couldn't be taken by him independently?
11 A. I'm not quite sure who the third front would be against. And he
12 would have been unwise to open a third front against the United Nations.
13 I don't believe that the commander of the 3rd Corps had the
14 necessary combat power to open a third front, as his two fronts were
15 extremely difficult to simultaneously fight. And as we saw, if it hadn't
16 have been for some quite outstanding military endeavour, they came very
17 close to losing Central Bosnia. So the idea of a third front makes no
18 sense to me at all. He wouldn't have been sensible to do it, and I can't
19 believe for a moment that he could unilaterally have declared some third
21 Q. Colonel, I would like to ask you to listen to an opinion of mine,
22 and I would like you to comment on it. It concerns the issue of foreign
23 combatants in the territory of the 3rd Corps. So as not to waste any
24 time, I won't show you any documents, but I would like to present you
25 with certain facts which you were perhaps aware of at the time and I
1 would like to present you with other facts that you couldn't have been
2 aware of at the time. Then I would like to ask you to comment on them.
3 And this will be my last question for you.
4 You said that you personally didn't have any contact with the
5 foreign combatants, but you believed that they were linked to the 7th
6 Muslim Brigade. You also said that they were linked to the BH army 3rd
7 Corps. If I said that on the 13th of June, 1993 Commander Enver
8 Hadzihasanovic reported to the Supreme Command Staff of the BH army about
9 foreign combatants and local Bosniaks attached to them. And in that
10 letter he said that these elements did not want to communicate with him.
11 And he said that he knew that they were probably engaged in discussions
12 at a higher level. In that same letter he asked for this issue to be
13 resolved because he had no influence over them and he did not want to be
14 held responsible for their acts in his territory.
15 If you also were aware of the fact that two days later in
16 response to this letter the commander of the BH army issued an order to
17 Enver Hadzihasanovic requesting him to send them to Igman so that they
18 could join the special unit linked to the Supreme Command Staff, and if I
19 said that if they refused to do so he should refuse hospitality to them
20 and he should disarm them.
21 Furthermore, if you were aware of the fact on that on the same
22 day when he received this order, Enver Hadzihasanovic, when speaking over
23 the phone to the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command said that carrying
24 out this --
25 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, I object to this question. This
3 question obviously overburdens the witness. Is question is meanwhile at
4 the very least 20 lines long. I would ask, in compliance with what just
5 has been said by the Trial Chamber, to break down the question in order
6 to enable the witness to answer the question.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Could you break down the
8 question, because it's a very long one. The Judges are following you,
9 but the witness certainly finds it difficult to follow a question that is
10 50 lines long. So could you break up your question into its constituent
11 factors and could you mention each factor individually.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I can collect all
13 these documents for the witness. If we'll be continuing tomorrow, he can
14 then have a look at them and I will ask him very brief questions. I
15 thought we would save time if I paraphrased evidence that has already
16 been admitted. I can't do that if the I break the question down.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Microphone not activated]
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Mr. President, please.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. How many facts would you
20 like to refer to?
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Five. Five facts.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Go ahead. Mention
23 the five facts. Because the witness has told us that he is capable of
24 following you.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. If in the course of a conversation on the phone
2 General Hadzihasanovic informed the Chief of Staff that an attack against
3 the Mujahedin would amount to opening up a third front and he asked for a
4 new order telling him how to deal with the situation; and if towards the
5 end of August the order signed by Commander Hadzihasanovic hadn't been
6 carried out because they weren't under his command; if Commander
7 Hadzihasanovic at the beginning of November in the course of a
8 conversation with Cermud Gerantil [phoen], the chief of the ECMM in
9 Zenica said that they were attempting to deal with the problem of the
10 foreigners by placing them under their command or by sending them back to
11 their countries; and if, finally, at the beginning of December General
12 Williams informed the commander --
13 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Withopf, if you
15 paralyse the Defence, we'll lose a lot of time. What do you want to say?
16 Because the witness has told us that he's able to follow everything. And
17 I think this was the last fact.
18 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, I certainly do not want to make
19 things complicated. But my learned friend is asking the witness about
20 his views on certain events or certain alleged events that went far
21 beyond the time frame the witness spent in Bosnia. The witness was in
22 Bosnia from February to May 1993, and we are hearing since three to four
23 minutes nothing else than situations that were in November and December
24 1993 and maybe even later on. I find it very difficult that the Defence
25 is allowed to ask such questions.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So the witness will
2 integrate what you have just said in his answer. Some facts occurred
3 after he left Bosnia and Herzegovina. The witness is a colonel and he
4 knows how to deal with concepts. He can answer the question and can bear
5 your comment in mind.
6 So please go ahead.
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. At the beginning of December in a letter that the commander of
9 the BritBat, General Williams, sent to the commander of UNPROFOR at the
10 time, it was stated that the Mujahedin were not under the control of the
11 commander of the 3rd Corps at the time - that was Commander Alagic - and
12 in February the commander of the BH army met him in order to force them
13 to recognise the command of the BH army.
14 In such a case, Colonel, if we assume that all these facts are
15 correct, would you agree with me that they indicate that the Mujahedin
16 were elements outside the control of the 3rd Corps and Enver
17 Hadzihasanovic, as commander, took the essential and reasonable measures
18 required in order to solve this problem?
19 A. I'm aware from my conversations with BiH commanders - not with
20 Hadzihasanovic but with Merdan and others - that the conduct of the
21 Mujahedin, whoever they were and under whose -- under whatever command
22 they were, presented a difficulty for the 3rd Corps. I don't believe up
23 until I left in the middle of May that it would have made any military
24 sense for Hadzihasanovic to deal with the difficulty that we were
25 aware -- I was aware that the conduct of the Mujahedin presented, as he
1 needed all the combat power he could get, despite the problems that --
2 and ill-discipline of the Mujahedin.
3 However, I am reassured that you have said that once the position
4 had stabilised, that Enver Hadzihasanovic was able to reconcile that
5 situation and deal with the difficulties, both professional and legal,
6 that the Mujahedin's conduct presented to the 3rd Corps particularly.
7 And it would not surprise me, in my understanding of the commander of the
8 3rd Corps, that he would act in this way when the situation allowed it.
9 Q. So you would agree that what I have said is correct. They were
10 not under the command and control --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Residovic, the Chamber is
12 getting impatient. How much more time do you need? Tell us. Otherwise,
13 we'll have to delay things for tomorrow, because I think your questions
14 touch upon questions that the other Defence team may have.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I'm almost done, Mr. President.
16 Q. So you agree with me that Enver Hadzihasanovic did take all
17 reasonable steps as commander in the way I have described.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the other Defence team, how
19 many minutes do you need, please?
20 MR. DIXON: Your Honour, I do need 15 minutes to go through a few
21 questions that I have prepared.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In view of the fact that we
24 need another 15 minutes and that perhaps Mr. Withopf may have some
25 re-examination, we will postpone the continuation of this hearing to
2 Colonel, unfortunately the Chamber did its best to have you
3 released this evening, but unfortunately the questions did not allow
4 this. So we would like to ask you to come back tomorrow. The hear
5 willing begin at 9.00. If the Defence of General Hadzihasanovic has a
6 few more questions, I will give her the floor then.
7 Then, therefore, could Madam Usher accompany the witness out of
8 the courtroom, and we invite him to come back tomorrow at 9.00 a.m.
9 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
10 [The witness stands down]
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Withopf, just a few
12 seconds. Could you tell us what you have planned for tomorrow. We have
13 the continuation of this witness's testimony. Do we have another witness
15 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, yes, we have another
16 witness ready for tomorrow, namely the one who is scheduled for tomorrow.
17 And if you would allow me three to four minutes to address a number of
18 issues that are related to the witness schedule. I can also do it
19 tomorrow morning.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Please continue,
21 Mr. Withopf.
22 MR. WITHOPF: Can we for this purpose please go into private
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, private session,
1 [Private session]
12 Page 7556 redacted, private session
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.13 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 18th day of
15 May, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.