1 Wednesday, 4th August, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.31 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
7 Case number IT-95-14/2-T, the Prosecutor versus Dario
8 Kordic and Mario Cerkez.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If the witness would take
10 the solemn declaration.
11 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
12 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
14 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
15 WITNESS: RODERICK CORDY-SIMPSON
16 Examined by Mr. Nice:
17 Q. Full name, please.
18 A. I am General Roderick Cordy-Simpson, a
19 recently retired Lieutenant-General from the British
21 Q. Having been a soldier in the British army for
22 some 31-plus years --
23 A. I was 35 years in the army when I retired.
24 Q. Appointed chief of staff of UNPROFOR's
25 Bosnia-Herzegovinan command on the 18th of September,
1 1992, working under General Philip Morillon until the
2 10th of April of 1993; is that correct?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Your principal task being to implement the
5 military direction given by General Morillon for the
6 whole of Bosnia, thus freeing him to devote himself
7 more to political matters?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. On the 29th of October, 1992, were you
10 stationed in Kiseljak?
11 A. That is correct, yes.
12 Q. Starting in the beginning of November 1992,
13 did you organise meetings called the Mixed Military
14 Working Group meetings which brought together the three
15 deputy commanders of the warring factions at Sarajevo
17 A. Yes, I did.
18 Q. Did that group meet initially a couple of
19 times a week for several hours, although I think later
20 it met more frequently?
21 A. At least once a week initially, sometimes
22 twice a week, but by December, on directions from the
23 United Nations in New York, we went into almost
24 permanent session.
25 Q. Typically, was the group chaired by you and
1 attended by Blaskic, Guervo, and Siber for the three
3 A. That's correct, General Guervo, Colonel
4 Blaskic, and Colonel Siber representing the three
5 parties at deputy commander level.
6 Q. The functions of the group being broadly to
7 deal with ceasefire arrangements, safe routes around
8 Sarajevo and other centres to facilitate access of aid
10 A. That is correct.
11 Q. In your dealings with Blaskic, did you find
12 him to be, first, a military man and, secondly, a man
13 whose word you were able to rely on?
14 A. Overall, I found that Colonel Blaskic, as he
15 was then, was a military commander whose word, with one
16 exception, I could trust, and on one occasion, I know
17 that he let me down that I can remember.
18 MR. NICE: Your Honour, there are bundles of
19 documents prepared which can conveniently be placed
20 before the witness, Defence counsel, and the bench, and
21 although they bear separate exhibit numbers, which I
22 will read out for the purposes of the record as the
23 witness refers to them, it will be swifter, I think, if
24 the bundles are presented comprehensively to all
1 Q. Have you been able to review this morning
2 very briefly some minutes of some of the meetings that
3 you've referred to?
4 A. I have, very briefly, yes.
5 Q. Document 264.1, dated on sheet one the 1st of
6 November, on sheet two refers to a report of a meeting
7 between General Morillon and Colonel Blaskic on the
8 19th of October. Was this, in fact, a Mixed Military
9 Working Group meeting or was this a meeting that
10 preceded those meetings?
11 A. It was one that preceded the first Mixed
12 Military Working Group and was a bi-party meeting
13 between General Morillon and Colonel Blaskic.
14 Q. On that same second sheet, on the penultimate
15 paragraph, Colonel Blaskic is recorded as having
16 evidence of a growing infiltration of Mujahedin
17 mercenaries posing as journalists on diplomatic
18 passports, saying that there were some 3.000 to 4.000
19 of them having joined Muslim fighters and being
20 protected by diplomatic immunity.
21 Was that an allegation that was made from
22 time to time or was it unique to this meeting?
23 A. No. It was a constant theme of the Croat
24 delegation and, I have to say, the Serb delegation as
25 well throughout the conflict while I was there, and
1 although -- and there was clearly some evidence that
2 there were some Muslim fighters from Arabic countries
3 in Bosnia, although I have to say the figure of up to
4 4.000 was probably -- we had little evidence to bear
5 such a high figure out.
6 Q. Thank you. Second document, 274.1, the
7 document dated the 10th of November, but on the second
8 sheet recording a meeting held at Sarajevo Airport on
9 the 7th of November, the delegation for the HVO led by
10 Colonel Blaskic, and the third sheet revealing at the
11 opening paragraph 6 that you were introduced by General
12 Morillon as the chairman of the meeting on that date.
13 So does that document accurately date the start of
14 these meetings?
15 A. It accurately reflects the Mixed Military
16 Working Group effectively coming under my chairmanship,
17 except on one or two occasions subsequently.
18 Q. Third document, 279.1, dated the 12th of
19 November but reflecting, on the second sheet, a meeting
20 held on the 10th of November, on the third sheet, one
21 sees at paragraph 7 the HVO representative, we know
22 that they were led by Colonel Blaskic, issuing a verbal
23 process concerning the attacks on Mostar, Travnik, and
24 Jajce but declaring he was authorised to sign any
25 agreement that could bring peace.
1 Did Colonel Blaskic at these meetings come
2 apparently clothed with such authority, General?
3 A. He did, indeed. Furthermore, as a result of
4 that meeting, a ceasefire held for about two weeks
5 throughout the whole of Bosnia.
6 Q. The third sheet, the following sheet on the
7 document, paragraph 15, the HVO delegation stated that
8 the agreement should be signed by the parties present.
9 If the signature of the Republic of Croatia was
10 required, although not the responsibility for HQ
11 UNPROFOR, the former Yugoslavia and its armed forces
12 should also sign it. Paragraph 20 reads that after the
13 signing of the agreement, the Serb delegation stated
14 that for successful implementation, it was necessary
15 that the Croatian forces withdraw from occupied
16 territories and attempts had to be made to have Croatia
17 sign the agreement.
18 The alleged involvement of external forces
19 and the requirement for external states to be involved
20 in the peace process, was that something that occurred
21 only once or did it recur?
22 A. It was a fairly constant theme from both, but
23 particularly from the Serbs throughout, that Croatian
24 regular forces were operating inside Bosnia-Herzegovina
25 throughout the time that I was in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 Q. Thank you. Next document, 289.1, dated the
2 21st of November, the second sheet reflecting a meeting
3 held on the 20th of November, and towards the foot of
4 the page at paragraph 2(a), the following is set
5 out: "Dr. Karadzic showed considerable concern about
6 the Croatian Republic's increasingly open intervention
7 in Bosnia-Herzegovina," and further comments.
8 Two sheets further on, at paragraph 10(a) at
9 the foot of the page, Dr. Karadzic voiced extreme
10 concern about the involvement of the Croatian republic
11 in Bosnia-Herzegovina:
12 "This is an issue we will have to address."
13 General, is this further evidence of the same
14 type that you referred to in your last answer?
15 A. Yes, it is.
16 Q. The next exhibit in time has already been
17 produced and is separate from that bundle. No, it's --
18 if you leave that one where it was and the Court Deputy
19 will provide you with Exhibit Z297, please, a document
20 that the Chamber has already considered.
21 Does this document, General, fit in the
22 sequence of the reports of your meetings, this document
23 relating to a meeting on the 28th of November, where at
24 paragraph 5 in the opening this is recorded:
25 "All delegations were present and welcomed
1 by the chairman. Colonel Kordic was the new chairman
2 of the HVO delegation. He introduced himself as the
3 superior of Colonel Blaskic and stated that he would be
4 in attendance at all future MMW meetings. All
5 delegations agreed to the fact that an U.N. television
6 team would film the opening of the meeting."
7 From this moment on, what was
8 Colonel Kordic's role in the meetings?
9 A. Colonel Kordic, from here on in, was the
10 senior representative at the HVO at all Mixed Military
11 Working Groups and, therefore, was -- effectively had
12 become the deputy commander of the HVO as far as the
13 HVO were concerned, and he was accepted as such by
14 General Guervo, the deputy commander of the Bosnian
15 Serbs, and Colonel Siber, the deputy commander of what
16 in those days was known as the Presidency Forces, i.e.,
17 the Bosniaks.
18 Q. If we turn to the fifth sheet of this
19 particular document, paragraph 27, "Atmosphere," and
20 the anti-penultimate line of that paragraph:
21 "During this meeting it was assessed that
22 Colonel Kordic will participate actively."
23 And for the first time it was assessed that
24 the chairman would be able to build a relationship with
25 Major Guervo.
1 So that was your immediate assessment of
2 Colonel Kordic?
3 A. That is correct. I found him, at this stage,
4 cooperative and clearly the leader of the HVO
5 delegation with responsibilities that went with it.
6 Q. Next document from the bundle, please, 306.1,
7 is a letter dated the 7th of December, but tell us
8 first, please, General, was there a meeting of the
9 group held on or about that day?
10 A. Yes, there had been.
11 Q. Who had attended?
12 A. General Guervo and Colonel Siber. The HVO
13 delegation had not attended.
14 Q. This letter arrived by what means?
15 A. It was faxed into our headquarters in
16 Kiseljak on the morning of the meeting itself, stating
17 that the HVO would be unable to attend the meeting. I
18 had left the headquarters by then to attend, to chair
19 the meeting.
20 Q. The letter reads, so far as material, in the
21 first substantive paragraph:
22 "Respecting the super-human efforts of
23 UNPROFOR and your personal efforts for stopping the war
24 in BH, when you already have and will have the full
25 support of the Croatian people in your humanitarian
1 mission in the future, the HVO delegation estimates
2 that at this time the minimal conditions for the
3 resuming of tripartite negotiations of military
4 delegations are interrupted. We propose the
5 cancellation of the meeting unless minimal conditions
6 for negotiations are met with."
7 In the following paragraph he sets out
8 alleged harassment, and the following paragraph
9 proposes a new place for negotiations, in the
10 penultimate paragraph that negotiations take place in
11 the Hotel Dalmatia in Kiseljak, and in the last
12 paragraph a written guarantee of the highest military
13 level of each delegation on the security of military
14 delegations through zones of responsibility, that
15 letter then being signed by Colonel Dario Kordic.
16 Can you help us please? What was the effect
17 of this document being faxed at the time it was faxed?
18 A. The first thing was, of course, that the
19 meeting of the Mixed Military Working Group was
20 effectively fruitless because the Serbs and the
21 Bosniaks, the Presidency Forces, refused to sit at the
22 table with each other without the third member being
23 present, i.e., the HVO, so it was a meeting that,
24 frankly, was of little great consequence on that
25 particular day.
1 Q. Next document, please, Z314, is a document
2 dated the 14th of December, but to deal with things
3 chronologically we must go first to the last two
4 sheets, to a minute dated the 13th of December,
5 reflecting a meeting held on the 12th of December.
6 Is the position that there was a meeting
7 between you and Colonel Kordic at your base in Kiseljak
8 on the 12th of December?
9 A. Yes, it is correct.
10 Q. Planned or unplanned?
11 A. Unplanned. Colonel Kordic came to see me at
12 very short notice, really to explain his non-attendance
13 at the previous Mixed Military Working Group.
14 Q. I suspect at some stage the Chamber will want
15 to read this document in full. It will take a minute
16 or so to read it out, but it's probably wiser if I do
17 that, unless the Court prefer to read it to itself.
18 It's two sides.
19 JUDGE MAY: The last two pages.
20 MR. NICE: Yes.
21 JUDGE MAY: Let us look at it. Yes, we've
22 read that.
23 MR. NICE:
24 Q. The last paragraph summarises your views,
25 where you set out that his position was not hard and in
1 many ways quite realistic. "Whilst he believed there
2 was some room for manoeuvre in finding a solution to
3 the problems, he was not so hopeful that a solution to
4 the problem of Sarajevo could be found." You agree he
5 would make no statement to the press about the meeting,
6 and expressed the view at that time that he was a
7 highly intellectual and capable
8 journalist-cum-politician, who wielded power and was
9 clearly respected by his side, it being refreshing that
10 he dismissed his minders from the meeting, keeping only
11 a secretary with him.
12 That was your then view of him, was it,
14 A. That clearly reflects my view of Colonel
15 Kordic at that time.
16 Q. What did you understand his attitude to be in
17 general but, in particular, towards the state of
18 Herceg-Bosna and so on?
19 A. I think one must remember that at this time,
20 the Serbs were -- at this exact time, the Serbs were
21 putting in a major attack through the suburbs of Otes
22 and Stup in Sarajevo, and there were considerable
23 casualties, not least a large number of Croat personnel
24 who lived in the city had been displaced. It was
25 clearly his concern at this stage to try and do
1 anything he could using the offices of UNPROFOR for the
2 benefit of the Croats, who were effectively refugees
3 now in the middle of Sarajevo itself, in other words,
4 surrounded by the Serbs in a Muslim enclave is what it
5 had become. So that was the first thing.
6 The second point, he was obviously
7 apologising for his non-attendance at the previous
8 meeting. That was partly to do with the fact that
9 there was severe fighting going on at the time in
10 Sarajevo and would account for the fact that he wanted
11 the venue changed in future to somewhere in Kiseljak,
12 which, of course, was totally unacceptable to the
14 The protection of himself moving in and out
15 of Sarajevo to the Mixed Military Working Group, I can
16 understand his feelings at that stage. He had been
17 subjected to an unpleasant incident on the return from
18 a Mixed Military Working Group about a week before,
19 where the Serbs had stopped the vehicle in which he was
20 travelling with Colonel Blaskic at night, and although
21 they did not know who was inside the vehicle, and it
22 was subject to considerable bravery of a young Danish
23 second-lieutenant who refused access until I came on
24 the scene, probably at 8.00 at night, and there was
25 potentially a very ugly scene which I managed to
1 defuse, but it must have been of considerable concern
2 to the HVO delegation in the back of a U.N. armoured
3 personnel carrier to know that there was an angry Serb
4 military crowd outside his vehicle.
5 So my opinion of him at this stage was that
6 he was working for the benefits of the Croats. His
7 long-term view was to preserve the potential state of
8 Herceg-Bosna and, in particular, what was in danger of
9 becoming an island in the centre of Bosnia of Cantons 8
10 and 10, i.e., the central Croat populated area
11 surrounded by a Muslim area.
12 Q. If we come back to the beginning of this
13 document to understand its form, we see that the first
14 sheet is dated the 14th of December and that there then
15 follows the minute for the meeting on the 13th of
16 December which was attended by Colonel Kordic, leading
17 the HVO delegation?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. And his contributions to the meeting are set
20 out there, and I needn't go through them.
21 The next document, please, is 328.1, dated
22 the 22nd of December. The summary is wrong. That's
23 the cover sheet. The second sheet details a meeting on
24 the 18th of December where the HVO delegation was led
25 by Colonel Kordic. The meeting was addressed by Lord
1 Owen, amongst others, and at the foot of that sheet, we
2 can see that Lord Owen announced a meeting at a higher
3 level in Geneva on the 2nd of January, involving
4 President Izetbegovic, Dr. Karadzic, and Mr. Boban.
5 Over to the following sheet, one observes
6 that this was Colonel Kordic's contribution at 7(a),
7 accepting in general terms the agreement, saying that
8 "As a sign of goodwill of all sides present it is
9 proposed that as a first step we arrange for the
10 freedom of movement of 500 women, children and elderly
11 prior to Christmas."
12 Any comments you want to make on that or not?
13 A. Only to say that that clearly, if my memory
14 reflects correctly, refers again to the people who
15 were -- the Croats who were stuck in Sarajevo who
16 Colonel Kordic was trying to get out of Sarajevo and
17 using Christmas as a convenient way of so doing. Of
18 course, it was stopped by the Serbs, who were demanding
19 the free access of 25.000 Serbs in return to move. So
20 I regret it was a stillborn suggestion. It did not
21 come to fruition.
22 Q. The last document of the bundle, 336.1, dated
23 the 29th of December, reflecting a meeting on the 22nd
24 of December where the HVO delegation was led by General
25 Petkovic, the other delegation similarly being
1 represented by top-level personnel.
2 If we turn to the next sheet, the third
3 sheet, paragraph 7, was General Petkovic recorded as
4 saying that the agreements as proposed would be signed
5 and that Colonel Kordic would provide the
6 representatives required? Any comment on that? What
7 does that reflect as to Colonel Kordic's role and chain
8 of command?
9 A. I took it to reflect that Colonel Kordic had
10 the authority directly from General Petkovic, who was
11 the overall Croat commander, so therefore he was
12 superior to Colonel Blaskic in the official military
13 chain of command and, since he was also a politician,
14 showed really that he wielded considerable influence,
15 both militarily and politically, and particularly in
16 Central Bosnia.
17 Q. We've dealt already with his having been a
18 journalist. Was there any evidence of his having been
19 a soldier before the war?
20 A. None that I was aware of. In fact, I would
21 suggest he was quite open that he had not been a
22 soldier prior to the conflict in Bosnia.
23 Q. When he travelled, how did he travel and with
24 what supporters?
25 A. Certainly the first time I met him, I mean,
1 obviously at the Mixed Military Working Groups, he
2 travelled under my authority in a U.N. armoured
3 personnel carrier as part of a flag of truce, which was
4 agreed with the Serbs and the Bosniaks, but when he
5 came to my headquarters, I remember clearly, strangely
6 enough, he arrived in a large black Mercedes with a
7 small entourage of sunglass-wearing bodyguards with
8 him. I was quite surprised, as a soldier, that this
9 was the case.
10 Q. In the course of your dealings with him, what
11 was your judgement of your ability to rely on his
12 word? You've told us about Blaskic. What about
13 Colonel Kordic?
14 A. I would be open that initially I trusted his
15 judgement and his word, but as the situation in Bosnia
16 changed and the breakdown of the uneasy alliance
17 between the Bosniaks and the Croats, particularly in
18 Central Bosnia, happened, I began to form the
19 impression that I could trust his word less and that he
20 was more intent on preserving the Croat influence in
21 Central Bosnia than looking for any long-term, overall
22 political solution.
23 Q. I'll return to that topic the question after
24 next, but can you help us immediately with this:
25 Petkovic and Boban, to what extent were they occupied
1 or, indeed, preoccupied at this time with events
2 outside Central Bosnia?
3 A. At this stage, the area of Mostar in
4 particular was under considerable attack by the Serbs,
5 and at the same time, the alliance between the Croats
6 and the Bosniaks had virtually broken down in that
7 area. This had effect that Boban and Petkovic were
8 very much orientated in their requirements to be
9 present in and direct operations in the Mostar area and
10 were able to exercise less time and, therefore, less
11 influence in Central Bosnia. I, therefore, formed the
12 impression that Kordic exercised considerable autonomy
13 with the authority of Petkovic and Boban in Central
15 Q. Returning to your trust in him, did you form
16 a view at some stage about the extremity or otherwise
17 of the views he held and their compatibility with the
18 general search for compromise and peace?
19 A. I slowly formed the impression that he was
20 more interested in safeguarding the pure Croat
21 influence in Central Bosnia, that he was not genuinely
22 or as interested as he pretended to be in maintaining a
23 sensible alliance against the Serbs at that stage.
24 I recall one incident when I could not get
25 any movement on a particular area at the Mixed Military
1 Working Group between the Serbs and the Bosniaks when
2 Sarajevo was under intense shelling, and so I sent the
3 delegates to their separate rooms and I thought that I
4 might be able to get some form of compromise if I could
5 find the right lever to use, and I asked the view of
6 Colonel Kordic. He slightly surprised me by pointing
7 to an area on the map of Sarajevo which he said that I
8 should persuade the Bosniaks to give up.
9 Now, at this stage, the Bosniaks inside
10 Sarajevo were taking an immense pounding, and I was
11 surprised that he would suggest they give up even more
12 territory if he genuinely believed that we were
13 searching for some form of peace in that area. Of
14 course, when I went back and checked the area, I found
15 that it was the type of area that the Bosniaks could
16 never possibly have been expected to sign up. It would
17 have given away important areas of land overlooking the
18 centre of Sarajevo.
19 Q. Did you form a view about why he had the rank
20 of full Colonel accorded to him?
21 A. I can only assume that he had taken the rank
22 of full Colonel, that he was of equal status of
23 military hierarchy with Colonel Blaskic who was, up
24 till then, the senior military commander in Central
25 Bosnia. If he had called himself a Lieutenant-Colonel
1 or Major, he would have been junior. Therefore,
2 militarily, not necessarily political, but he would
3 have been junior to Colonel Blaskic. Therefore, he had
4 to have a rank that was of equal rank at least with the
5 military commander in Central Bosnia, Blaskic.
6 Q. A couple matters of detail. I think you
7 travelled regularly from Kiseljak to Sarajevo and you
8 spent one day a week in Vitez, and at the beginning
9 of 1993 you visited Maglaj where the ABiH and the HVO
10 were fighting along the same lines, under shared
11 command, something that continued until March 1993?
12 A. Yes, that is correct. They were surrounded
13 by the Serbs at the time and taking a fairly viscous
14 pounding in that town, and it was almost impossible for
15 the U.N. to get in to do anything to help them, but I
16 went in and assessed that the two commanders on the
17 ground, the ABiH and the HVO, were jointly -- and they
18 were sharing a joint command post, were jointly doing
19 an excellent job defending the town.
20 Q. On the 26th of January of 1993, were you
21 present at a meeting with Colonel Stewart in Kiseljak
22 where a ceasefire between the HVO and the ABiH was
23 arranged, the parties represented by Blaskic and
25 A. That is correct. The whole of Central Bosnia
1 had degenerated into ethnic cleansing, torching of
2 houses, and a complete breakdown of law and order, and
3 the blocking and the cutting of the road by the ABiH in
4 a little village called Kacuni, between myself and
5 Colonel Stewart, we forced the road open and then got
6 Blaskic and Merdan to my headquarters in Kiseljak to
7 try and get a ceasefire.
8 Q. At the point of signing, what happened?
9 A. A rather strange almost pantomime performance
10 took place. As Blaskic was about to sign, his
11 political advisor burst into the room and announced
12 that Busovaca was being attacked and that Croat
13 civilians were being murdered by Mujahedin. Blaskic
14 said he could not, therefore, sign the document and
15 would have to immediately go and investigate. I did,
16 however, force him to return subsequently.
17 Q. Did you carry out your inquiries as to
18 whether there was truth in what was being said about
19 events in Busovaca?
20 A. Yes, I did. I had a Dutch transport company
21 there and I immediately got in touch with them, who
22 confirmed that Busovaca was completely quiet at the
24 Q. Do you know the name of or can you give any
25 description of the person you describe as the political
2 A. I regret to say I can't remember his name
3 now. He wore a uniform, slightly strangely. He
4 clearly was no form of soldier but exerted considerable
5 influence over Colonel Blaskic, and always used to --
6 when Blaskic used to attend the Mix Military Working
7 Group in the early days, would attend alongside him.
8 Q. Your judgement of this intervention by him
9 bringing incorrect information about Busovaca being
10 that that it was what?
11 A. A deliberate attempt to stall the process
12 that was going on at that period in Geneva. Boban or
13 Karadzic and Izetbegovic were at this very moment in
14 Geneva under Lord Owen's direction, trying to find a
15 peace plan that would be acceptable to all three
16 parties. I felt that it was probably a case of while
17 the rest of the world was seeing Serb and Muslim
18 fighting, to let it also be known that there was
19 considerable fighting against the Croats, particularly
20 in Central Bosnia.
21 Q. Did Blaskic return the following day and was
22 his political advisor with him?
23 A. Blaskic did return the following day.
24 However, I ensured that his political advisor was not
25 present, and I purely dealt with Merdan and Blaskic
1 without his political advisor.
2 Q. What happened on this day when there was any
3 prospect of an agreement?
4 A. I had instructed the Danish guards that no
5 one but no one was allowed to come in or out of the
6 headquarters while I was having the discussions. I got
7 the agreement signed by Blaskic and Merdan. I then
8 stuck them both in front of the world's television
9 cameras to say they had agreed to a ceasefire, and a
10 couple of minutes later a rather harassed political
11 advisor arrived to say that Busovaca was in flames, as
12 was Fojnica. I, fortunately, was able to ring up the
13 Dutch transport company again, who said that all was
14 quiet in Busovaca, and Brigadier Cumming had just come
15 in from Fojnica and was able to tell me that it was a
16 quiet market day in Fojnica and there was nothing
17 untoward going on there whatsoever.
18 At the same time, Mate Boban was announcing
19 in Geneva that Fojnica was in flames.
20 MR. NICE: Give me one minute, please.
21 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Mr. Nice, in
22 connection with this incident, which occurred
23 apparently twice, to prevent Colonel Blaskic from
24 signing the agreement which was proposed by General
25 Cordy-Simpson, could we learn from the witness if,
1 according to his knowledge, this reflects a
2 disagreement between Colonel Blaskic and Mr. Kordic?
3 Was that the result of a disagreement in the chain of
5 A. It is a very fair question, and I regret to
6 say I cannot answer it as I have no feel at all about
7 where the direction for what was obviously a
8 well-orchestrated plan was coming from.
9 MR. NICE:
10 Q. The plan, as you inferred it to be, was to do
12 A. I think to show in Geneva that as the peace
13 plan -- the peace plan as suggested by Lord Owen was
14 moving forward, that the importance of the integrity of
15 cantons 8 and 10, i.e., Central Bosnia, was
16 all-important to the Croats, who were -- effectively
17 now would be an island surrounded by Serbs to the north
18 and Muslims both to the east and to the west, and that
19 before they would be prepared to sign it the world had
20 to know that their security in Central Bosnia was
21 threatened. That is my only reading of why this
22 slightly bizarre incident took place.
23 At the same time, Belgrade radio was also
24 stating that Mujahedin were attacking into Kiseljak,
25 which was where I was sitting and could confirm that
1 they weren't.
2 Q. Before we leave that meeting, the presence or
3 absence of this political secretary or however you
4 describe him, representative, if you would think back
5 to that, and if there's no objection and you would wish
6 to refresh your memory from your statement, if you
7 could do that if necessary, on the second meeting. Can
8 you remember more about it?
9 A. Can I refresh my memory from the statement?
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
11 MR. NICE: Can he be provided with the actual
12 statement? Mine is unmarked. It's unmarked save for
13 one marginal line that is of no significance.
14 Q. I think it's the top of the page you're
15 looking at or possibly the foot of the preceding page.
16 A. Yes, I -- yes. The political commissar was
17 present on that second day.
18 Q. What did he actually do that you noticed as
19 the time passed?
20 A. Yes. He was slightly anxiously, looking at
21 his watch as if there was some prearranged time that
22 the messenger would arrive with this, saying Busovaca
23 is in flames, et cetera. He was clearly waiting for
24 someone to burst into -- I got the impression to burst
25 into the meeting.
1 Q. Paragraph 15 of the summary. After the
2 announcement of the Vance-Owen Plan on the 25th of
3 January, what happened generally so far as fighting is
5 A. The situation broke down dramatically,
6 particularly in Central Bosnia, particularly in the
7 area of Gornji Vakuf, all up the Lasva Valley. There
8 was considerable fighting. It became extraordinarily
9 difficult to move around in Central Bosnia. Aid
10 conveys into Sarajevo that came down that way were
11 almost exclusively unable to move. Midwinter and
12 Sarajevo was effectively cut off with the airlift no
13 longer happening because of appalling weather and no
14 aid being able to get in down the routes into Sarajevo
15 or into the warehouses in Kiseljak either. A general
16 breakdown in the somewhat shaky alliance that had held
17 up till then between the ABiH and the HVO.
18 Q. Did you, on the 1st of February, convene a
19 meeting --
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. -- involving the commanders of the 1st and
22 3rd Corps of the ABiH, together with Blaskic and
23 Kordic, the meeting taking place in Vitez, being
24 chaired by General Morillon?
25 A. Yes, I did. I brought the four of them
1 together at Colonel Stewart's, the battalion
2 commander's headquarters, to try and find a way to
3 agree a ceasefire in a situation that was rapidly
4 spinning out of control.
5 Q. A ceasefire agreement was reached?
6 A. It was.
7 Q. Did it hold, and if so, to what genuine or
8 what public degree, for some time?
9 A. It held effectively until about the 16th of
10 April, which was one of the longest ceasefires that we
11 managed to achieve. Of course, it was a biparty
12 ceasefire and didn't involve the Serbs. But in Central
13 Bosnia the fighting ceased, although the situation
14 remained incredibly tense, with a number of illegal
15 checkpoints and the two lines very firmly drawn with
16 the U.N. trying to persuade both the ABiH and the HVO
17 to pull back from their positions and create a
18 separation of forces, but the ceasefire did hold.
19 Blaskic and Kordic, as the ABiH commanders, were good
20 to their word and delivered.
21 Q. Your conclusions from that about their
22 control over the HVO in Central Bosnia?
23 A. It was quite clear that what they had signed
24 at that meeting they were able to deliver insofar as
25 the fighting died down. And although we had isolated
1 incidents of burning of houses and shootings, the
2 large-scale attacks that had been going on prior to
3 this ceased. Therefore, my conclusions were that
4 Kordic and Blaskic, between them, were able to exercise
5 the necessary influence over the military forces in
6 Central Bosnia, as was the 1st and the 3rd Corps
7 commanders of the ABiH over their forces.
8 Q. Two matters of detail: From the time you
9 knew him, where was Kordic's headquarters, what were
10 they like, and how did they compare with the base of
12 A. Blaskic lived in Kiseljak in the HVO
13 barracks, about 300, 400 metres from where I had my
14 headquarters. Colonel Kordic, if my memory is correct,
15 had his headquarters based in a hotel just before one
16 got to Busovaca on the way north from Kiseljak.
17 Q. Who was controlling the power stations and
18 the telephone lines at the time that you were involved?
19 A. In the area of Central Bosnia, they were
20 definitely under the control of the Croats and the
22 Q. Did the HVO have their own radio station?
23 A. They did.
24 Q. Whereabouts?
25 A. In Kiseljak, its transmitter was. We used to
1 use it quite a lot in order to try and get messages to
2 the population, but, of course, it was strictly
3 controlled and monitored by the HVO as to what we could
4 or couldn't say.
5 Q. The position of Blaskic and his political
6 associate, was that something reflected more generally?
7 A. No. My initial reaction was that this was
8 some form of political commissar that stood alongside a
9 military commander. However, Colonel Kordic, when he
10 assumed the role in Central Bosnia, did not seem to
11 need to have that type of political advice and control
12 alongside him and seemed to be much more able to make
13 his own political and military decisions without the
14 advice of someone standing right beside him.
15 Q. What you saw with Blaskic, forget Kordic, did
16 you see it with any other personalities in the area at
17 the time?
18 A. Not to the same extent, no. No, I didn't.
19 Q. Only two other things. Your tour of duty
20 ended in the middle of April of 1993, but you returned
21 to the area since then, and perhaps you can just give
22 us the years of your return and the role you performed
24 A. Yes. When I left Bosnia in 1993, I spent
25 three months setting up the no-fly zone on behalf of
1 the U.N. in northern Italy with NATO. I then went back
2 and was chief of staff of the British army of the Rhine
3 and commanded the 1st Armoured Division in Germany.
4 Then I returned in late 1996, beginning of November
5 1996, to Bosnia as the deputy commander and director of
6 operations of the NATO force, stabilisation force, and
7 I remained there until I left in December 1997, just
8 over a year later, when I returned to the United
10 Q. Since retirement from the army, you had or
11 you have several employments, including, in the Kosovo
12 incident, writing for a newspaper, I think?
13 A. Yes. I mean, amongst a number of mostly
14 charitable works that I deal with now and one
15 consultancy, I have been writing throughout the Kosovo
16 crisis for one of our national newspapers as a military
18 MR. NICE: That concludes my
19 examination-in-chief of this witness, but could all
20 parties please, however, correct one exhibit number?
21 It's the penultimate document in the bundle. It's
22 numbered 328.1. Can it be correctly renumbered 328.2?
23 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, are you
25 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour.
1 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
2 Q. Good morning, sir. My name is Stephen
3 Sayers, and I represent Dario Kordic.
4 General, as I understand it, you were the
5 chief of staff of the Bosnia-Herzegovina command of
6 UNPROFOR from September the 18th, 1992 until the time
7 that you left Bosnia-Herzegovina on April the 10th,
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. I understand that you arrived in Kiseljak to
11 set up the UNPROFOR headquarters on October the 29th,
13 A. That's also correct.
14 Q. Upon your arrival in Central Bosnia and the
15 Sarajevo area, sir, would it be fair to say that you
16 were confronted by a confusing, complex civil war
17 involving at least three identifiable ethnic factions?
18 A. Yes, that would be correct.
19 Q. Would it also be fair to say, in your
20 experience, that this was one of the most chaotic
21 political and military situations that you had
22 encountered in your 31 years at that time of military
23 service in the British army?
24 A. Yes. Without a doubt, that was the most
25 chaotic military situation that I had ever faced.
1 Q. General, please forgive my halting delivery,
2 but you and I speak the same language and I am ashamed
3 to admit that I have been regularly excoriated for
4 speaking too quickly for the interpreters, so it's
5 necessary to have a break between question and answer,
6 if that's acceptable.
7 A. I understand.
8 Q. Very well. When you arrived in Kiseljak,
9 sir, who was the mayor, do you know?
10 A. I met the mayor, but I do not recall his
12 Q. Does the name Josip Boro sound familiar to
14 A. To be honest with you, I can no longer recall
15 the name.
16 Q. That's fine. Did the HVO have a separate
17 brigade stationed in the town of Kiseljak?
18 A. They had a military force which they called a
19 brigade in Kiseljak, yes.
20 Q. Do you recall the name of the commander of
21 that brigade?
22 A. To my certain knowledge, Colonel Blaskic was
23 the commander of the forces in that area.
24 Q. Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, yes, sir. I
25 believe, sir, that according to your statement, which
1 we may as well have marked as an exhibit so that you
2 can refer to it if you wish --
3 MR. SAYERS: I would just like the usher to
4 take this and we'll mark it as an exhibit. Thank you.
5 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
7 JUDGE MAY: Have you got copies of this,
8 Mr. Sayers?
9 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
11 MR. SAYERS:
12 Q. Before I ask the specific question, General
13 Cordy-Simpson, do you recognise this statement as a
14 copy of a statement that you gave in July and August
15 1995 to the Prosecution?
16 A. Yes, I'm sure I do.
17 Q. I believe that your office had responsibility
18 for negotiating convoy access into other parts of
19 Bosnia across the confrontation lines between the
20 warring ethnic factions; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, the headquarters did, of which I was the
22 chief of staff.
23 Q. Yes. I believe, General, that you delegated
24 the negotiations regarding that matter to your chief of
25 operations and to your chief of convoy operations?
1 A. That is also correct.
2 Q. Turning to the Mixed Military Working Group
3 meetings about which you have testified, I believe that
4 the first of these meetings occurred on November the
5 5th, 1992; is that correct?
6 A. About then. I arrived at the beginning of
7 November, but I couldn't swear on the exact date.
8 Q. The Mixed Military Working Group was set up
9 essentially under your auspices, was it not?
10 A. It was an initiative by General Morillon, the
11 force commander, but I was to run it and chair it,
13 Q. General, was the purpose of this group to
14 provide what was, in effect, the only available forum
15 at that time for discussions between the three
16 principal warring ethnic factions, the Croats, the
17 Muslims or Bosniaks, and the Serbs?
18 A. That is correct.
19 Q. The group was originally intended to bring
20 the deputy commanders of each of the three sides
21 together to engage in a dialogue with the objective of
22 diffusing tension and ultimately arriving in the end, I
23 suppose, at a peace agreement?
24 A. Whilst it was under my chairmanship, that
25 would be correct. It had the ability to go up to the
1 force commander level or even Lord Owen level and to
2 bring together a higher level of representation, which
3 on one or two occasions it did.
4 Q. Indeed, you testified that Lord Owen did, in
5 fact, attend some of the Mixed Military Working Group
6 meetings when agreements on major initiatives appeared
7 to be close?
8 A. I can recall one, if not two occasions when
9 Lord Owen himself came to the Mixed Military Working
11 Q. The deputy commander of the Bosnian Serb
12 army, I think you have previously testified, was
13 General Guervo?
14 A. That is correct.
15 Q. Is it accurate to say that General Guervo
16 always brought with him a gentleman who functioned in
17 the role of what you've described fairly vividly as a
18 political commissar?
19 A. He also had a political advisor alongside
21 Q. The political advisor that General Guervo
22 brought with him was Colonel Tolimir, I think?
23 A. That was correct, yes.
24 Q. It's true, is it not, that General Guervo
25 would always invariably consult with Colonel Tolimir
1 before signing anything?
2 A. Almost invariably, that is correct.
3 Q. The deputy commander of the Muslim forces
4 with whom you dealt in these MMWG meetings was Colonel
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. Stjepan Siber?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. Up until December, or late November of 1992
10 at least, the Croat representative with whom you dealt
11 was Colonel Tihomir Blaskic?
12 A. That is also correct.
13 Q. You have said, General, that you cannot
14 remember the name of the political commissar -- sorry,
15 advisor that Colonel Blaskic could be seen with, but
16 you have stated in your statement that this was a
17 relatively chubby individual who sported sneakers and a
18 rosary and beads and so forth. Does the name Ignac
19 Kostroman sound familiar to you?
20 A. I deeply regret that I can't remember the
21 name of him, but you have given an accurate description
22 of what he dressed and looked like.
23 Q. He struck you as, most affirmatively, not a
25 A. That is also correct.
1 Q. Would it be fair to say,
2 General Cordy-Simpson, that after December the 21st,
3 1992, Mr. Kordic or Colonel Kordic did not attend any
4 further Mixed Military Working Group meetings, to the
5 best of your recollection?
6 A. I am trying to refresh my memory on this.
7 Certainly throughout the period of January, when things
8 had broken down, until early February, there was no
9 attendance at the Mixed Military Working Group because
10 the war on three sides was too severe to achieve
11 anything. I cannot recall after the February
12 agreement, which Colonel Kordic attended at a meeting
13 in Vitez, whether he attended a further Mixed Military
14 Working Group meeting, but certainly by that stage, the
15 number of Mixed Military Working Group meetings, when
16 we could convene all three sides, did fall away quite a
18 Q. I'm afraid I have not had the opportunity to
19 review these documents before, the ones that were shown
20 to you today and which consist of about 90 pages by my
21 count, but one I would like to point you to is, and I'm
22 afraid I cannot read the number at the top, Z336.1.
23 This is a document dated December 29th, 1992 that
24 relates to Mixed Military Working Group meetings.
25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, when you come to a
1 convenient moment, we'll adjourn.
2 MR. SAYERS: If I might --
3 JUDGE MAY: Just deal with this document.
4 MR. SAYERS: Yes.
5 Q. This document deals with two meetings of this
6 group, sir, on the 22nd and 26th of November, 1992; is
7 that correct?
8 A. The one on the 22nd and the 26th, yes.
9 Q. Would it be fair to say that Mr. Kordic was
10 not in attendance at either of these meetings?
11 A. Well, the first one, certainly, and I'm just
12 refreshing my memory, was one of the higher level ones
13 and, therefore, was chaired by General Morillon,
14 bringing in General Mladic and General Petkovic in this
15 particular incident and --
16 Q. That's the point that I wanted to raise.
17 There's a document that actually has a stamp number on
18 it, R0046377, which appears to be an agreement on the
19 separation of forces in the area of the Sarajevo
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. This document is signed by Brigadier Milivoj
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. Does that refresh your recollection that
1 Mr. Kordic was not present, in fact, at this high-level
3 A. To be honest with you, I can't give you a
4 straight answer on that because I was not present at
5 that one myself, as it was chaired by General Morillon,
6 and I didn't normally attend the same meetings as he
7 did because it normally meant that we had slightly too
8 large a presence at these meetings which, in turn, was
9 not good for a discussion amongst the three sides, in
10 this case, the two sides.
11 Q. Thank you very much, General.
12 MR. SAYERS: If that would be a convenient
13 point to take a break, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We will adjourn now for
15 half an hour.
16 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 11.32 a.m.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
19 Q. General, do you recognise the name Major
20 David Pinder-Koehnk?
21 A. I do.
22 Q. Was he the head of public affairs for
23 UNPROFOR in your Kiseljak headquarters?
24 A. Not public affairs, no. He was my press
1 Q. He actually made some contemporaneous notes
2 regarding the meetings of the MMWG that were attended
3 by Mr. Kordic, and his notes suggest that there were
4 five such meetings. The first was on December the 12th
5 of 1992. Do you have any recollection of being present
6 at that meeting?
7 A. If it was a Mixed Military Working Group with
8 Colonel Kordic present and it was the 12th of December,
9 I was almost certainly in the chair of that meeting.
10 Q. And indeed, the minutes of a meeting that you
11 testified about in your direct-examination, the last
12 two pages of Exhibit Z314, do you recall the --
13 A. That was my meeting with Kordic at Kiseljak,
15 Q. Did you know that this gentleman was the
16 vice-president of the HZ-HB, the so-called Croatian
17 Community of Herceg-Bosna?
18 A. He introduced himself as that.
19 Q. Did you know that he was indeed the
20 vice-president or not?
21 A. Insofar as that was the way he introduced
22 himself when he came to my headquarters, yes.
23 Q. Do you know what the functions of the
24 vice-president of the Croatian Community of
25 Herceg-Bosna encompassed?
1 A. To be honest with you, the situation
2 throughout, both the political and military at this
3 stage, was so confused throughout Bosnia and there were
4 so many fractional parties that to be certain what the
5 duties of any one particular one was to an outsider, as
6 I was, would not be something that I could swear to in
7 Court, no.
8 Q. Thank you, General. Lieutenant-Colonel Bob
9 Stewart has written a book called "Broken Lives". I
10 don't know, have you had the opportunity to read it?
11 A. I am referred to it on occasions and I have
12 read through it, yes.
13 Q. Colonel Stewart made the point that you just
14 made, that there were factions within groups and groups
15 within factions, and:
16 "Without an established order these
17 different elements had created a situation as close to
18 anarchy as I have yet witnessed."
19 That was on page 318 of his book. Would you
20 agree with those observations on the part of
21 Colonel Stewart, sir?
22 A. Yes. There was -- it was extremely difficult
23 to find, in Bosnia-Herzegovina at that stage, what each
24 of the various political factions within factions
25 represented, but one at our level only had a clear
1 impression of the overall three dominant factions
2 which, of course, were ethnic at that stage, Croat,
3 Muslim, and Serb.
4 Q. You have given us some subjective impressions
5 regarding the position in the hierarchy occupied by
6 Colonel Blaskic and Mr. Kordic. Have you seen any
7 documents that would confirm those positions or confirm
8 your views, or would it be fair to say that that's just
9 a subjective impression that you're left with?
10 A. The only -- it is a subjective judgement
11 based on my knowledge of Colonel Kordic,
12 Colonel Blaskic, General Petkovic, and, of course,
13 General Petkovic's statement at the Mixed Military
14 Working Group where he said that his representative was
15 Colonel Kordic for implementing the agreements made.
16 Q. I'm just trying to find the reference that
17 you're referring to. It's paragraph 7, I believe, on
18 the third page of Exhibit Z336.1, which says:
19 "General Petkovic signed the two agreements
20 as proposed and stated that Colonel Kordic would
21 provide the representatives required."
22 A. That is the statement I was referring to, and
23 that is the only verbal or written statement that has
24 clearly shown that Colonel Kordic, in my opinion, was
25 answerable to General Petkovic in this case.
1 Q. It would be fair to say though, wouldn't it,
2 sir, that the hierarchy was relatively confused in your
3 view, and you never really gained a clear picture of
4 who answered to whom, what the chain of command was or
5 anything like that?
6 A. I was clear of the overall political top
7 hierarchy between the three sides as they then
8 constituted. I was also clear on the overall top
9 hierarchy within the military of the three sides and
10 their immediate deputies, because they had been
11 introduced as the people who were authorised to sign
12 for their superiors.
13 Q. Do you know who the president of the HVO was
14 at the time that these negotiations were occurring,
16 A. No is the answer to that. As far as I was
17 concerned, General Petkovic was the overall commander
18 of the HVO.
19 Q. Did you know that, in fact, the president of
20 the HVO was a gentleman by the name of Dr. Jadranko
22 A. The answer is no.
23 Q. Do you know what position Mr. Boban
24 occupied? I believe that you gave some testimony about
25 Mr. Boban's participation in international
2 A. Correct. Although I never personally met
3 Mr. Boban, he was the representative of the Bosnian
4 Croats in Geneva at Lord Owen's conference which he
5 held there.
6 Q. Did you understand Mr. Boban to have any
7 official political position within the political
8 hierarchy of the Bosnian Croats?
9 A. Insofar as he was the official representative
10 in Geneva of the Bosnian Croats, I assumed that he was
11 the person understood by Lord Owen, the official to be
12 responsible for delivering the peace plan that Lord
13 Owen was currently working on with Mr. Vance.
14 Q. Did you know that Mr. Boban was actually the
15 president of the HZ-HB, the Croatian Community of
17 A. I wouldn't know the various fractional parts
18 of the political setup of the Croats, and I must
19 emphasise that whilst I was trying to run the U.N.
20 military in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the political
21 negotiations were done by General Morillon, with his
22 political advisor, and, of course, Lord Owen at the top
23 level. I very seldom dealt with the political leaders
24 of the three parties in the conflict.
25 Q. Thank you, sir. Turning back to the notes
1 that Major Pinder-Koehnk made, the four other meetings
2 that he records the presence of Mr. Kordic at was a
3 meeting that occurred sometime between December the
4 12th and the 17th, a meeting on December 17th, and then
5 the last two were on December the 20th and December the
7 Do you -- I know it's been six years and no
8 one's expected to have photographic recall, and we
9 don't have notes of some of these meetings from the
10 exhibits that the Prosecution has put before you, but
11 generally speaking, do you have a recollection of being
12 present at those meetings?
13 A. The answer is if Colonel Kordic was present,
14 representing the Bosnian Croats, I was almost certainly
15 present. There was, of course, one before that, on the
16 28th of November, that I also recall, where Colonel
17 Kordic came for the first time to the Mixed Military
18 Working Group in Sarajevo, because that was the
19 occasion when he was subjected to a Serb harassment on
20 his way out under a flag of truce that night out of
22 Q. That is the incident that you have previously
23 described that required your personal intervention to
24 resolve what could have been a rather tricky situation?
25 A. It was fortunate that I decided to return
1 from forward headquarters in Sarajevo to Kiseljak at
2 that time, although it was long after dark, and ran
3 into this incident and would be the reason, in his
4 subsequent meeting with me, of, one, requesting the
5 venue to be changed in the future and his reference to
6 U.N. protection.
7 Q. Under the circumstances, General, the request
8 to change the venue was perfectly understandable, was
9 it not?
10 A. It was understandable but, of course, was
11 never going to be acceptable to the Bosnian Serbs, and
12 therefore I deemed that I would have to overrule it in
13 order to keep the Mixed Military Working Groups going,
14 provided I could guarantee the security of the HVO
15 delegation, getting them into Sarajevo.
16 Q. Would it be fair to say that the attendance
17 at these meetings in Sarajevo Airport was accompanied
18 by some personal risk on the part of the people who
19 were actually travelling to the airport venue?
20 A. Yes. Although I gave them the guarantee of a
21 U.N. protection into Sarajevo and out again, I think it
22 would be fair that there was an element of personal
23 risk, although they were inside an armoured vehicle
24 which was closed down with escorts of another armoured
25 vehicle. But then the whole of Bosnia was of
1 considerable personal risk wherever you went every day,
2 and certainly if you had to cross the demarcation line
3 three times to get to the centre of Sarajevo, we were
4 all under some form of personal risk.
5 Q. Would it be fair to say also that during your
6 tour of duty, at least, there were occasions where
7 armoured fighting vehicles received hits from
8 rocket-propelled grenades, from automatic weapons fire,
9 and other circumstances where they came under attack
10 from mortar fire and artillery?
11 A. Constantly, not only armoured vehicles, very
12 often soft-skinned vehicles also. But I do not recall
13 an occasion when anyone that I was escorting to a Mixed
14 Military Working Group ever came under any form of
15 direct attack.
16 Q. There are just a few points I would like to
17 raise in connection with the minutes of the meeting
18 that you prepared, the meeting that occurred on
19 December the 12th, 1992.
20 There's a reference on the second page to
21 illegal trafficking in contraband in a number of
22 areas --
23 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness have the document
24 in front of him.
25 MR. SAYERS: Yes, sir.
1 JUDGE MAY: What number is it, please?
2 MR. SAYERS: The page number was 00095022.
3 JUDGE MAY: No, the exhibit number.
4 MR. SAYERS: I think it's the last two pages,
5 Your Honour, of Exhibit Z314.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
7 MR. SAYERS:
8 Q. Specifically, sir, I'm referring to the first
9 paragraph on the second page.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Could you shed some light upon the illegal
12 trafficking that you were aware had been occurring at
13 around this time?
14 A. Yes. There was quite a lot of evidence that
15 one of the United Nations battalions in Sarajevo, in
16 this case, the Ukrainians, were coming out of Sarajevo
17 up into the Kiseljak area, which, of course, was not
18 their area of operations as they were responsible for
19 escorting convoys fundamentally from Sarajevo up into
20 the Republika Srpska, or certainly from Mostar into
21 Sarajevo as well, but not into our area of Kiseljak,
22 that they were coming up there and taking substantial
23 amounts of coffee and cigarettes, in particular, back
24 into Sarajevo which was subsequently being traded by
25 them to the inhabitants of Sarajevo. That was the
1 particular reference by Colonel Kordic on that
3 Q. You also summarise, in the last paragraph, an
4 informal discussion that the two of you had, and you
5 make the observation that Mr. Kordic's position was not
6 hard and, in many ways, quite realistic. I wonder if
7 you could just throw some light on those comments,
8 elaborate upon them a little for all of us.
9 A. I found it quite refreshing that I was
10 dealing with him effectively on a one-to-one basis,
11 that he did not need any political advice being given
12 to him in order to speak to me. I found him at this
13 stage helpful and genuinely concerned for the fate of
14 the Croats who had been subjected to a very serious
15 attack in the previous days in Sarajevo by the Serbs.
16 Q. You had no doubt in your mind that the
17 concerns that Mr. Kordic expressed for the welfare of
18 the Croat citizens in this city under siege were
19 genuine; would that be fair to say?
20 A. That would be correct to say. I considered
21 it a genuine request for help on behalf of fellow
23 Q. Just a couple of questions, if I might
24 trouble you, in connection with the notes that your
25 press secretary prepared.
1 During one of the Mixed Military Working
2 Group meetings, he reflects the HVO position as
3 permitting UNPROFOR to take control of roadblocks. Do
4 you recall any discussion of that particular subject?
5 A. Could you just repeat the question because
6 it's --
7 Q. Yes. The notes reflect a discussion of
8 blockades, and then the HVO position was "let UNPROFOR
9 take control but obliged to ask what happened with
10 1.500 individuals before Christmas." The question is:
11 Do you recall any discussion of a suggestion pursuant
12 to which UNPROFOR forces would assume control of
13 roadblocks or checkpoints?
14 A. What date was that discussion?
15 Q. It appears to be December the 17th, 1992,
17 A. The answer is I don't. The reason I asked my
18 question was it was certainly when there were many
19 illegal checkpoints in January. When the Croat/ABiH
20 breakdown happened, there was some talk of us replacing
21 the illegal checkpoints that were springing up up the
22 Lasva Valley and Central Bosnia, and in several
23 occasions, we did just that on a temporary basis to
24 defuse the situation. But I regret to say I have no
25 recall in December as to why I would have been in
1 discussions on that particular subject.
2 Q. There's no reason for regret, General. It
3 was six years ago.
4 One question I would like to ask you in
5 connection with the December the 20th meeting: Major
6 Pinder-Koehnk reflects that Mr. Kordic said that he had
7 consulted with the military and political authorities
8 as to prior suggestions, and those were acceptable to
9 the HVO side.
10 Do you recall any comments made by Mr. Kordic
11 along those lines, to wit, that he had actually
12 consulted higher military and political authorities,
13 discussed proposals that were under consideration, and
14 conveyed acceptance on the part of the Bosnian Croat
16 A. Not directly, but the Mixed Military Working
17 Group at that stage was mostly to do with trying to
18 achieve freedom of movement around Sarajevo, what was
19 subsequently to become the blue routes, and was
20 implemented under General Rose. That plan was based on
21 the blue routes that we developed at that time. It is
22 quite possible that Colonel Kordic would have given
23 that agreement because it did not directly affect the
24 Croat population in the same way as it did the Muslims
25 inside Sarajevo or the Serbs surrounding it, and
1 therefore it is perfectly possible that he made that
2 statement, although I do not directly recall it.
3 Q. You also referred, in your direct testimony,
4 to a conversation that you had with Mr. Kordic in which
5 he suggested that part of the city of Sarajevo should
6 be ceded, I gather, to avert the continued conflict
7 that was raging in the city at that time?
8 A. Yes, I --
9 Q. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt you,
11 A. Yes, I recall making that statement.
12 Q. Do you recall that the suggestion was
13 actually that part of the city be ceded to United
14 Nations supervision?
15 A. It never really got that far. It was my
16 attempt to try and ask Colonel Kordic if he could come
17 up with some form of formula, because I had frankly run
18 out of patience and ideas as to how I might break the
19 deadlock between the Bosniaks and the Serbs to achieve
20 a freedom of movement, particularly for the United
21 Nations, but a freedom of movement around Sarajevo and
22 in and out of Sarajevo.
23 I don't think it went so far as a proposal
24 that the United Nations should take it over. It was, I
25 think, an attempt by Colonel Kordic to pinpoint an
1 area, and I do roughly recall it was the high ground
2 above Otes and Stup, where he believed that I might be
3 able to persuade the Muslim population of Sarajevo to
4 give up some territory as a gesture which, in turn,
5 would help the Serbs agree to the rest of the blue
6 routes that we were trying to negotiate. I
7 subsequently found that it was, when I studied it in
8 any detail, an unrealistic proposal which the Bosniaks
9 would never agree to.
10 Q. Would it be fair to say that this suggestion
11 that was made did not impress you as a viable military
12 and political solution to the problems that were
13 confronting the warring factions and you as the
14 mediator, if you like, at that time?
15 A. It took a matter of a number of minutes to
16 realise that it was not going to be something that I
17 could take as a further negotiating point in any detail
18 with both sides.
19 Q. The last entry from Major Pinder-Koehnk's
20 contemporaneous notes to which I would like to draw
21 your attention, is an entry made on December the 21st,
22 1992, sir. Let me just read it to you. It says:
23 "LO fields, sufficient political progress
24 now made to leave mil to mil experts."
25 Do you recall Lord Owen being present at this
1 December the 21st meeting?
2 JUDGE MAY: It maybe helpful if you show the
3 witness the minutes of the meeting.
4 A. I mean, Lord Owen was in Sarajevo at the
5 time, and he certainly attended one meeting. Whether
6 it was this particular meeting -- I must assume it is,
7 but without the necessary documentation in front of me
8 I wouldn't be certain.
9 MR. SAYERS:
10 Q. Unfortunately, General, we have not been made
11 privy to that documentation and I do not believe that I
12 actually have a copy of the notes of the December the
13 21st meeting. Perhaps I do, but I did not see it in --
14 going through these materials.
15 JUDGE MAY: Well, let's check on it. What is
16 the source of your question?
17 MR. SAYERS: The source is the notes that
18 Major Pinder-Koehnk made and on which he has given
20 JUDGE MAY: And he referred to a meeting on
21 the 21st and at which he says Lord Owen was present.
22 Very well.
23 Mr. Nice, can you help us as to whether
24 you've got any documents as to that.
25 MR. NICE: I can't at the moment because I
1 can't track down the Pinder contemporaneous notes. I
2 can't immediately track down the Pinder contemporaneous
3 notes, although, of course, if those are produced in
4 copy for the witness, he can comment on those.
5 As to the 21st of December, itself, we have
6 only, I think, the 18th of December as part of 328.2;
7 the 19th of December, the last part of that; and then I
8 think we pass straight on, in the documents I've been
9 able to produce, to the 22nd of December. In the
10 break, I was handed one other document that we've been
11 able to unearth but that's not the correct date. So
12 the answer is: No, I don't think I can at the moment.
13 JUDGE MAY: We can't take that very much
15 MR. SAYERS: I have the notes here if you
16 want me to put them on the ELMO and that would be
17 helpful to the Trial Chamber.
18 JUDGE MAY: Is there any other reference to
19 the note which is going to -- assist the witness in
20 refreshing his memory?
21 MR. SAYERS: I don't believe so, Your
23 JUDGE MAY: Is there any other point that you
24 want to make about that meeting?
25 MR. SAYERS: Only this question:
1 Q. Do you recall any comments, General, being
2 made along the lines that sufficient political progress
3 had, in fact, been made by this time to allow the
4 military issues to be dealt with by the military
6 A. Not directly. I mean, many politicians often
7 thought that they had made sufficient progress, but
8 reality five years later was that they hadn't. So I
9 regret that six years, seven years later, I can't
10 recall that particular statement.
11 Q. That is fine and we will move on. Do you
12 recall the next day, and we do have minutes or notes of
13 this meeting, the one involving General Petkovic, he
14 actually turned up at this meeting, and I believe
15 General Morillon presided and supervised the signature,
16 alas, by just two of the three factions of a ceasefire
18 A. Yes. I mean, I remember it happened. What I
19 cannot recall now as to whether I was present at that
20 meeting but almost certainly I was probably present at
21 that meeting because there was a lot going on in
22 Sarajevo at that time and there was a lot of fighting
23 going on.
24 Q. All right.
25 A. I would have thought that the minutes of the
1 meeting would have shown whether I was presented on
2 that particular day though.
3 JUDGE MAY: Well, let the witness see
4 Exhibit 336.1.
5 A. I may have been present. I'm not certain, to
6 be honest with you.
7 MR. SAYERS:
8 Q. Exhibit Z336.1 states that its subject is the
9 MMWG meetings of the 22nd and 26th of December, 1992.
10 Is this a complete document, sir, because it does not
11 appear to have anything related to the December the
12 26th, 1992 meeting at all?
13 A. I'm not even certain what I'm seeing flashed
14 in front of me on the screen at the moment. Sorry,
15 I've got something which I didn't mean to have.
16 Sorry. We're now talking about the document that I've
17 got in front of me.
18 Q. Yes. If you take a look at the first page of
19 this exhibit, under the word "subject" it makes a
20 reference to MMWG meetings of two separate dates, but
21 the attachments to this exhibit only appear to cover
22 one of those meetings. So the question I had, and I
23 don't think it need detain us very long, is this: Is
24 this a complete document or just partial document to
25 the best of your knowledge?
1 A. I would be almost certain now that this was
2 the meeting of the 22nd, because I do recall that I
3 chaired a Mixed Military Working Group on the 26th. I
4 quite clearly recall that I must have been one of the
5 few people working on that particular day in the
7 Q. I'm somewhat confused by your answer. Are
8 you saying that the date December the 22nd is incorrect
9 or --
10 A. No, I'm not. I'm saying that there were two
11 meetings. I cannot recall whether I attended the first
12 one, the one that you're referring to here. I do know
13 I chaired one on the 26th, which is not, I think,
14 attached to this document.
15 Q. And the question is: Do you know whether
16 this is a partial document or a complete document?
17 A. I suspect it is therefore, since the cover
18 note says the 22nd and the 26th, it is an incomplete
19 document and is only referring to the meeting of the
21 Q. That's fine, sir. Let me turn away from
22 these documents to some events that occurred in January
23 of 1993. Do I understand that the ABiH launched an
24 offensive in the northern part of the Kiseljak valley
25 that resulted in the cutting off of the main supply
1 route between Busovaca and Kiseljak at the village of
3 A. That is correct.
4 Q. And an additional military operation resulted
5 in the supply route between Kiseljak and the town of
6 Kakanj also being cut by ABiH forces as well?
7 A. No. That is not totally correct. At Kacuni
8 it was cut by the ABiH, but with difficulty I was able
9 to get myself as far as the road where it was cut in
10 Kacuni from the south, and Colonel Stewart met me from
11 the north.
12 Q. I was -- I'm just reading your statement at
13 page 4 that says:
14 "On January 1993, the BiH cut the road from
15 Kiseljak to Kakanj."
16 A. At Kakanj they cut it. In other words, we
17 couldn't proceed beyond Kacuni. I apologise. Now I'm
18 seeing what you're saying. It is failure to understand
19 pronunciations of terms.
20 The answer is: Yes, at Kakanj it was also
21 cut by the ABiH. So we have a cut on the road running
22 north/south up from Kiseljak up to Busovaca and a cut
23 on the road that runs west/east out of Kiseljak towards
25 Q. As a result of the hostilities that broke out
1 in January of 1993, you convened a long meeting in
2 Kiseljak on the 26th of that month to try to stop the
3 escalation of the hostilities between the HVO and the
4 ABiH. Would that be fair to say?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. In attendance at this meeting were
7 Colonel Stewart; correct?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. Colonel Blaskic?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. And his opposite number, if you will, the
12 second in command of the 3rd Corps, Colonel Dzemal
14 A. That is also correct.
15 Q. It was at this meeting that the political
16 advisor first engaged in what you have described as a
17 pantomime, claiming that there had been still events in
18 Busovaca and that the town was in flames?
19 A. That is correct.
20 Q. Were you aware, General, that on the 26th of
21 January there had actually been an atrocity committed
22 by the armed forces of the ABiH in the villages of
23 Dusina, Lasva, Nezirovici, and Gusti Grab?
24 A. It was subsequently claimed that was the
25 case. Clearly at that stage I was not aware of it, and
1 as I say, it was subsequently claimed that had happened
2 although I have no direct evidence.
3 Q. Did you ever obtain any information that
4 13 civilians had actually been murdered by elements of
5 the 7th Muslim Brigade and that the HVO negotiator,
6 Zvonko Rajic, had actually been murdered as well in a
7 very gruesome way?
8 A. The answer at that stage is: No, I had not.
9 Q. This was an item that was extensively
10 televised, General. I don't know whether you made a
11 practice of monitoring local Croatian television
12 programming, but did you ever see broadcast over the
13 airwaves about news stories covering that massacre and
14 showing all of the bodies lined up?
15 A. No, I did not.
16 Q. I wonder if, General, the usher might show
17 you Exhibit D58/1, which is the only milinfosum that I
18 would like to show to you. This milinfosum is dated
19 January the 29th, 1993, but actually describes the
20 events in Dusina and the murder of various people in
21 that village. Did you actually ever review milinfosums
22 of this variety during the course of performing your
23 duties in your area of operations?
24 A. I reviewed a summary of them, but you must
25 remember that there were more than just one battalion
1 in Bosnia at the time. There was the whole of
3 Q. Do you recall reviewing a summary of this
4 milinfosum or this milinfosum itself?
5 A. I don't, but again, this reflects very
6 clearly what happened so often in Bosnia, that what we
7 are seeing here is reported speech. It has been
8 claimed that, passed on in a milinfosum by the milinfo
9 officer of 1 Cheshires. So I accept the fact that I
10 didn't -- I do not recall having seen this. It is, of
11 course, again reported speech.
12 Q. Absolutely, sir. You would agree then that
13 you do not know, one way or the other, whether this
14 atrocity and massacre actually occurred
15 contemporaneously with the negotiations that were being
16 conducted between Colonels Stewart, Blaskic, and Merdan
17 on January the 26th and 27th of 1993?
18 A. Whilst I was conducting those meetings with
19 the people you've just mentioned, the answer is: No, I
20 do not know one way or the other for certain whether
21 this atrocity referred to in the milinfosum did or did
22 not happen.
23 Q. All right. Now, you have referred to a
24 ceasefire agreement that was signed in -- either at the
25 end of January or on February the 1st. Let me ask you
1 this question first: Do you recall specifically the
2 date of that ceasefire agreement, whether it was, in
3 fact, at the end of January or, in fact, in February?
4 A. It was on the 1st of February, and I can
5 explain why I have such clear memory of the particular
6 date. General Morillon had just put up his fourth star
7 on that morning and left the headquarters to the
8 meeting proudly wearing his fourth star, and it was the
9 1st of February that he had been promoted.
10 Q. This was the first time that he had ventured
11 forth wearing four stars or the stars of a four-star
12 general, I suppose?
13 A. Four-star French general, correct.
14 Q. Yes, sir. Did you accompany him to that --
15 A. No, I did not. I had to set up the meeting
16 and did not accompany him.
17 Q. Did you know that Mr. Kordic did not actually
18 attend that meeting but that it was, in fact, attended
19 by Colonel Blaskic?
20 A. That surprises me because the reports back
21 that I had of the meeting, including the agreement that
22 had been agreed, was that Kordic and Blaskic were both
24 Q. Let me show you Exhibit D54/1, if I may.
25 General, is this an accurate copy, as far as you can
1 recall, of the arrangements made for a substantial
2 ceasefire in Central Bosnia between the HVO and the BiH
3 army, bearing a date of January the 30th, 1993?
4 A. I can see no reason why it should not, but as
5 you can well see, this was a much lower level meeting
6 than the one I referred to on the 1st of February.
7 Where General Morillon chaired it, this was chaired at
8 no more than battalion level by Colonel Stewart,
9 Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart, and Jeremy Fleming, who was
10 the director of the ECMM in that particular area of
11 Central Bosnia. This simply laid the groundwork for a
12 meeting that took place, chaired by General Morillon,
13 on the 1st of February.
14 Q. Do you know, General, whether that 1st of
15 February meeting actually produced any written
16 agreement that is different from the one that you have
17 before you?
18 A. To be honest with you, all these years later,
19 I can't, but I suspect that this was the basis of what
20 was to be signed up to on the 1st of February.
21 Q. Do you recognise the name Franjo Nakic as the
22 second in command of Colonel Blaskic?
23 A. No. The answer to that is I'm afraid I
25 Q. One followup question on this topic,
1 General: Do you have any recollection of implementing
2 orders, being signed to implement the various
3 obligations contained in this substantial ceasefire
5 A. I don't recollect it, but it's almost certain
6 that my headquarters would have then put out detailed
7 orders, certainly to the 1st Battalion of the
8 Cheshire's Battle Group, as to how this was to be
9 implemented in Central Bosnia, although I'm afraid I
10 can't now recall signing an order implementing it.
11 Q. That's quite all right, sir. We actually
12 have already exhibited, and I would like the usher to
13 show you now, if that would be convenient, Exhibit
14 D55/1, which I believe is an ECMM collation of the
15 joint implementing orders.
16 Now, General, feel free to look through this
17 exhibit, but I'd just like to represent to you that it
18 consists of a series of orders signed by the commander
19 of the Middle Bosnia HVO Operative Zone, Colonel
20 Tihomir Blaskic, and his opposite number, if you will,
21 the commander of the 3rd Corps in Zenica, General Enver
23 A. I have no reason to doubt -- I can see that,
24 yes, and was negotiated by the EC Monitoring Mission,
25 which was based in Busovaca.
1 Q. Yes. Are there any other implementing
2 orders, of which you are aware, that would have
3 implemented the ceasefire arrangement that you
4 described was reached on February the 1st or is Exhibit
5 D55/1 an accurate collation, if you like, of the
6 implementing orders that carried into effect the
7 ceasefire agreement between the HVO on the one hand and
8 the ABiH on the other?
9 A. I have no doubt that it is an accurate
10 agreement -- a reflection of the agreement that was
11 reached, and it was part of our plan that a joint
12 commission between the 1st Battalion of the Cheshire's
13 Battle Group, because it was their area of
14 responsibility, and the ECMM and the two military
15 commanders in the area, the ABiH and the HVO, would be
16 responsible for implementing this particular ceasefire,
17 because clearly it fell into their areas of
18 responsibility. This would have undoubtedly been
19 delegated down by our headquarters to Colonel Stewart
20 in an order down the U.N. chain of command, and this
21 subsequently would have been developed into what we now
22 see as this document here, which came out from the
24 So there is another document clearly
25 somewhere of us delegating the authority to implement
1 the ceasefire, which went down the U.N. chain of
2 command to the battle group, the Cheshire's Battle
3 Group. Of course, the ECMM were not under any direct
4 U.N. command, although we liased closely together.
5 Q. Thank you for clarifying that, General. I
6 believe that you are testifying that these orders that
7 you have before you are the implementing orders signed
8 by the military commanders of the respective operative
9 zones carrying into effect the ceasefire agreement; is
10 that correct?
11 A. It would appear so, yes. As I say, we have
12 both the ABiH and the HVO signatures to them, Enver and
14 Q. Since the orders are signed by the HVO
15 Central Bosnia Operative Zone commander, I would just
16 like to ask you a few questions, it won't take very
17 long, about Colonel Tihomir Blaskic. He told you, I
18 believe, that he was a former prisoner of war who had
19 been captured at Vukovar?
20 A. I'm almost certain he told me that, yes.
21 Q. You would agree that he was a professional
22 military man, in the military all his professional
23 life, and a former Yugoslav National Army officer?
24 A. That is correct.
25 Q. You found Colonel Blaskic to have a dominant
1 personality, I believe, and you've described him as a
2 hard man; is that correct?
3 A. I found him a straightforward, military man
4 with a strong character but whom I had considerable
5 respect for as a professional soldier.
6 Q. You spoke the same language essentially, in
7 professional terms, not linguistic terms, as Colonel
8 Blaskic; would that be fair to say?
9 A. Yes, I think that is a perfectly fair
10 assessment of the situation.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm sorry. I believe you
12 said earlier, General, that you found him to be
13 reliable, except for one occasion.
14 A. That is correct, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Could you elaborate on that,
16 if it is something that --
17 A. I can. I can. During the crisis in January
18 when the road at Kacuni got cut, Busovaca was
19 effectively cut off and we could get no supplies to it
20 or through it. Therefore, there was a large population
21 that were very short of food, and we were in mid winter
22 in Bosnia.
23 Colonel Blaskic came to see me and asked if a
24 number of trucks, and I think it was three or four,
25 loaded with potatoes that were being brought up from
1 Mostar, if I was to escort them through into Busovaca
2 as the U.N., as his people were starving in Busovaca.
3 I said I would but then gave directions that the
4 potatoes on these trucks were to be offloaded and
5 placed into British -- sorry, I apologise, into Dutch
6 U.N. transports to take them through. This caused a
7 certain amount of consternation with Colonel Blaskic
8 and his staff, but we did unload them and reload them.
9 I can't remember the exact tally that we
10 found on these trucks, but it was many thousands of
11 rounds of ammunition, certainly seven RPG rockets, and
12 a large number of hand grenades amongst the potatoes.
13 That was the only occasion when Colonel
14 Blaskic let me down in his dealings that I am aware of,
15 but that was the occasion I was referring to, Your
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
18 MR. SAYERS:
19 Q. In your statement, on page 6, you describe
20 Colonel Blaskic as a -- you say: "He had a dominant
21 personality, a hard man." Do you still subscribe to
22 those views or --
23 A. There was a very serious civil war or war at
24 this stage throughout Bosnia. A great number of people
25 were being killed, a great number of people were being
1 driven out of their homes, entire law and order had
2 broken down throughout the country, and Colonel Blaskic
3 was a military commander with a large Croat population
4 in his area of responsibility. Inevitably, he had to
5 be hard in some of the decisions that he took.
6 Q. You would agree with me that Colonel Blaskic
7 was facing a situation of military, social, ethnic
8 crisis effectively at that time and that he bore a very
9 heavy burden of responsibility in his area of
10 responsibility; would that be fair to say?
11 A. I think the situation was extremely grave,
12 and he was a military commander in the area and faced,
13 as we all did, some pretty unpleasant scenes and
15 Q. Yes, sir. Did you find Colonel Blaskic to
16 demonstrate a detailed understanding of military
17 matters, military affairs?
18 A. Yes, I did.
19 Q. Let me turn to the next subject, Brigadier
20 Milivoj Petkovic. I understand that he was Colonel
21 Blaskic's commanding officer, sir?
22 A. That was certainly the total impression I had
23 throughout my time in Bosnia.
24 Q. You have described Brigadier Petkovic as
25 "definitely the commander of the entire HVO in
2 A. That was the impression that he would have
3 led us to believe certainly on my very few meetings
4 with him when he came to Kiseljak.
5 Q. Yes, sir. I understand that his headquarters
6 were actually in the town of Mostar, which was heavily
7 besieged by Bosnian Serb forces?
8 A. That is also correct.
9 Q. That town was being shelled on a
10 relatively -- well, a regular basis by the Bosnian Serb
12 A. Mostar was in a terrible state by this time
13 of the war.
14 Q. I think that you have previously stated that
15 Brigadier Petkovic did not normally attend MMWG
17 A. Except when General Morillon wished to chair
19 Q. When he did attend a meeting, you tried to
20 ensure that General Morillon would also be in
21 attendance, effectively as his equal, if you wish?
22 A. That's not correct. If General Morillon
23 called a Mixed Military Working Group which he intended
24 to chair, which happened on at least two occasions, I
25 would ensure that General Petkovic was present as the
1 person responsible at that level, rather than the other
2 way around, which is the way I think your question was
4 Q. My question was based upon page 6 of your
5 statement, sir, if you would just take a look at that
6 and look at the third full paragraph down, beginning
8 A. Yes, but what you're referring to here is not
9 necessarily a Mixed Military Working Group. I did have
10 one -- two or three meetings with Petkovic. These were
11 arranged by appointment. This is when Petkovic would
12 come to the headquarters, as opposed to a Mixed
13 Military Working Group in Sarajevo.
14 Q. Perhaps we're not speaking about --
15 A. On those occasions, I would ask, where
16 appropriate, if General Morillon would come up from
17 Sarajevo to Kiseljak, because, of course, Petkovic
18 would not normally go into Sarajevo because of the
20 Q. But you did not ask General Morillon to
21 attend meetings with either Colonel Blaskic or
22 Mr. Kordic, I take it?
23 A. Apart from the meeting on the 1st of
24 February, the answer is no. I normally -- in fact, I
25 dealt with them myself.
1 Q. I believe that you actually received written
2 protests from Brigadier Petkovic regarding ceasefire
4 A. I'm sure I did. I received more protests
5 from more people about more ceasefire violations in six
6 months than could fill chapters of books.
7 Q. Let me just show you one of your replies to
8 apparently a ceasefire violation protest by Brigadier
9 Petkovic, and I'll pass very briefly over this
11 THE REGISTRAR: Document D69/1.
12 MR. SAYERS:
13 Q. I'm drawing your attention to this exhibit.
14 Is this a letter that you wrote on the 12th of
15 November, 1992 back to Brigadier Petkovic, the chief of
16 staff of the HVO in Mostar?
17 A. Yes, I did.
18 Q. I would just like to turn to the final topics
19 of questions that I have for you, sir, and I hope to be
20 finished in about ten or fifteen minutes.
21 Would it be fair to say that you did not find
22 the views or positions that were articulated by
23 Mr. Kordic, in whatever meetings that he had with you
24 at the end of 1992, to be hard line or strident?
25 A. At that stage, I would agree with that
1 statement, yes.
2 Q. Have you ever seen any press conferences or
3 public interviews that may have been televised or
4 broadcast over the radio in which Mr. Kordic ever
5 exhibited or articulated extreme or hard line views,
6 that you're aware of?
7 A. Not that I'm aware of.
8 Q. It was clear to you, General, when you met
9 Mr. Kordic that this was not a military man; would that
10 be fair to say?
11 A. I think that would be a fair assessment.
12 Q. He described to you, quite candidly, his
13 journalistic background before the civil war broke out,
14 I take it?
15 A. Very candidly, yes.
16 Q. And admitted to you that he had absolutely no
17 military background, no effective military training?
18 A. That is correct.
19 Q. Does it seem logical to you, General, that a
20 non-military man would be in military command or
21 co-command of an army that was made up, at its highest
22 levels, of professional soldiers with extensive,
23 professional military backgrounds in the JNA, such as
24 Colonel Blaskic or Brigadier Petkovic?
25 A. It doesn't seem logical that someone who is
1 untrained in military affairs should have a military
2 position, as opposed to a politician having overall
3 control of the military as in any normal democracy.
4 Q. All right. Would it be fair to say that you
5 did not personally dislike Mr. Kordic?
6 A. That would be fair to say.
7 Q. Did you find the views that he articulated
8 regarding concerns for his fellow Croats at any time to
9 be less than completely genuine?
10 A. No. I think that his position was what I
11 would have expected of someone trying to look after his
12 own population in the middle of what was a very evil
13 civil war that was raging.
14 Q. You would agree that each side here was
15 looking out or trying to look out for its own best
16 interests and trying to protect, to the best of its
17 ability, the civilian population that was threatened
18 with death and destruction during the middle of this
19 vicious, internecine civil war?
20 A. Yes, but with a slight outlook as to who
21 could get the advantage out of any peace process that
22 subsequently came along.
23 Q. But that's the nature of peace negotiations,
24 General, wouldn't you agree with that?
25 A. Absolutely.
1 Q. Let me turn to the title of "Colonel" in
2 connection with Mr. Kordic. I believe you gave some
3 testimony about that. You stated, I believe, that it
4 was your conclusion that it was necessary for
5 Mr. Kordic to have the rank of Colonel in order to
6 ensure that he was not subordinate to Colonel Blaskic?
7 A. That was my opinion.
8 Q. Now, would it be fair to say that as to
9 Colonel Blaskic's rank, you were in absolutely no doubt
10 whatsoever? He was a Colonel, he looked like a
11 Colonel, he talked like a Colonel, he was a military
13 A. That is correct.
14 Q. In connection with the
15 journalist-cum-politician Kordic, did he actually wear
16 any rank insignia that you could see?
17 A. I regret that after all these years I can't
18 now remember whether he did wear insignia, but all I do
19 recall is that he definitely introduced himself as
20 Colonel Kordic.
21 Q. Do you remember him wearing rosary beads and
22 a crucifix?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Now, it's true, sir, that throughout the time
25 that you dealt with these three gentlemen,
1 Brigadier Petkovic, Colonel Blaskic, and Mr. Kordic,
2 you weren't sure about the relationship between Mr.
3 Kordic and Colonel Blaskic specifically, were you?
4 A. Not absolutely certain, no, except that at
5 the Mixed Military Working Group, I think on the 28th
6 of November, he definitely introduced himself in front
7 of the Serb delegation and the ABiH Presidency Forces
8 delegation as the man responsible for the HVO at the
9 Mixed Military Working Group, and since Colonel Blaskic
10 was present at the same meeting and didn't demur in any
11 way at all, I assume that, therefore, he was taking a
12 position of superior to Colonel Blaskic.
13 Q. I understand that that was your assumption,
14 General, but did Colonel Blaskic ever tell you that he
15 was subordinate to the military or political authority
16 of Mr. Kordic?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Did General -- I'm sorry. Did
19 Brigadier Petkovic ever tell you that Mr. Kordic was
20 superior in authority to Colonel Blaskic?
21 A. No. Except the one meeting where he said
22 that the implementation of a certain agreement would be
23 undertaken by Colonel Kordic.
24 Q. One final question on this subject. It would
25 be fair to say, just in general terms, that between you
1 on the one hand and the Croat delegation on the other,
2 there simply was no discussion of the relative
3 hierarchy or military position of the people within
4 that delegation, was there?
5 A. I never asked the direct question. Provided
6 someone delivered the goods, I was happy.
7 Q. And no one ever actually told you,
8 volunteered the information regarding the relative
9 rankings or purviews of each one of those
10 representatives of the delegation, did they?
11 A. Other than in the ways that I have
13 Q. You would agree, sir, that Colonel Blaskic
14 seemed to you always to be able to deliver on any
15 military commitments or decisions that he made; is that
17 A. Once he had agreed, yes, he could.
18 Q. You found it more uncertain to be able to
19 expect commitments made by Mr. Kordic to be carried
20 out, is that fair to say?
21 A. To a degree, yes.
22 Q. Now, turning to the subject of the
23 involvement of Croatian military units in Central
24 Bosnia, would it be fair to say that you only heard
25 rumours of HV troops operating specifically in the
1 areas of Gornji Vakuf and Mostar in December of 1992
2 and January of 1993?
3 A. Absolutely. I have no -- I never had any
4 hard substantiated evidence of these claims which were
5 almost constant from both the ABiH and more from the
6 Bosnian Serbs.
7 Q. In connection with this, just two questions.
8 You never saw any HV troops yourself throughout your
9 tour in the Kiseljak valley, did you?
10 A. The answer is no, because so many people
11 looked so similar in those things, and all you have to
12 do is remove one flash and put a different flash on to
13 change your allegiance. The answer, therefore, is no.
14 Q. All right, sir. On a more general level, did
15 you find, in your five months in Central Bosnia, that
16 it was routine for fanciful claims to be made on the
17 part of each one of the three competent ethnic
19 A. Without any doubt, yes, and exaggeration was
20 all part of the game for propaganda reasons.
21 MR. SAYERS: General Cordy-Simpson, thank you
22 very much indeed. You have been an excellent witness.
23 I have no further questions, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. Mr. Kovacic?
25 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation) Thank you,
1 Mr. President. I only have one question.
2 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
3 Q. General Cordy-Simpson, would you be kind
4 enough to tell us were there ever in your meetings with
5 representatives of Herceg-Bosna, the HVO, or any other
6 Croatian entity in Bosnia, whether you ever met a
7 person called Mario Cerkez?
8 A. I have no recollection of meeting Mario
9 Cerkez, but then I met an awful lot of people in some
10 fairly strange circumstances during my tour of Bosnia.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation) That's all I
13 have for this witness, Mr. President.
14 Re-examined by Mr. Nice:
15 Q. General, a few matters, but first, dealing
16 with the 1st February meeting with Kordic and others
17 for which we haven't at the moment got a document, are
18 there any records available to you that you've been
19 able to consult that deal with that meeting?
20 A. Yes, insofar as I did keep a private diary,
21 and hence why I knew the 1st of February as a date,
22 that it was General Morillon's promotion date and that
23 he came through the headquarters from Sarajevo. On his
24 way through we briefed him up on what was required
25 before he went on his way up to Vitez to chair this
1 meeting, and everything that I subsequently remember of
2 that meeting in Vitez, which after the one that was
3 being referred to by the Defence, both Blaskic and
4 Kordic were present, but as I said, I wasn't. I set up
5 the meeting. But I'm sure if he hadn't been present, I
6 would have recorded something to the fact that he
7 hadn't shown up, but I may be absolutely wrong.
8 Q. You've been able to consult your notes before
9 giving evidence?
10 A. Yes, I was.
11 Q. Your private diary?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, we've seen a letter from you to
14 Petkovic, coming from some source, but would there be
15 any other document identifying the details of the 1st
16 of February meeting existing in somebody's archives,
17 the HVO's or somebody else's?
18 A. Well, there absolutely has to be. There has
19 to be within the U.N. They are almost certainly within
20 the 1st Battalion of the Cheshire's battle group.
21 Their war diary will reflect that that meeting took
23 Q. We'll try and turn that up, but equally, in
24 your experience, would it exist within the records of
25 the other interested parties, such as a document?
1 A. I would be almost certain that both the ABiH
2 and the HVO would have kept a record of that meeting.
3 Q. It's suggested to you that there was nobody
4 that volunteered the comparative ranking of
5 individuals, that is, Blaskic, Kordic, and others. As
6 we know, at the meeting on the 28th of November,
7 matters were spelled out specifically that he was the
8 chairman and the superior of Colonel Blaskic. Was it
9 ever necessary for that matter to be revisited?
10 A. No, because subsequently Colonel Kordic,
11 having made his statement, always attended the Mixed
12 Military Working Groups, when they were called, as the
13 HVO representative, with the exception of the time of
14 the 7th of December, I think it is, when he did not
15 turn up but sent me a fax to say that he wasn't going
16 to turn up once the meeting had more or less started.
17 Q. Everything that happened subsequent to that,
18 did it in any way support or in any way displace the
19 judgement that you made on the basis of what was said
20 to you about the comparative positions of people?
21 A. No. I took it, and no one ever contradicted
22 it in the HVO circles, that Kordic was the man to whom
23 I was to deal as the leader of the HVO delegation for
24 the Mixed Military Working Group, and certainly
25 subsequently, whenever we sent out an invitation to the
1 next Mixed Military Working Group, including the
2 necessary arrangements for escorts, flags of truce, et
3 cetera, to cross the confrontation lines, we would have
4 sent them to Colonel Kordic.
5 Q. And as to your opinion that authority was
6 delegated to him for Central Bosnia of which you spoke,
7 was there anything that was said or anything that
8 happened that ran counter to that conclusion?
9 A. Nothing ran contrary to that assumption that
10 I had made and had been led to believe.
11 Q. You were asked a little further about the
12 difficulty of getting Kordic to deliver in comparison
13 with the position so far as Blaskic is concerned. Can
14 you just amplify on that. Are you speaking of his
15 ability or his intention? Can you help us?
16 A. I -- probably both. From his ability, it
17 would be a fact that as a non-military man, he may have
18 found it harder to understand my military intentions.
19 He, in turn, may have found it harder to pass it on as
20 clear military orders.
21 As for his intentions, as I have said, I
22 initially found him helpful and genuinely concerned for
23 the Croat population. As things rapidly deteriorated
24 in January, I found -- as I found with most of the
25 Croat population, it harder to achieve what we were,
1 the United Nations, trying to achieve, which was trying
2 to stop the breakdown of complete law and order into
3 utter anarchy in Central Bosnia.
4 Q. Because you've been asked about your views
5 about him at the time. Following from your last
6 answer, when you first encountered him and first formed
7 these views, these first views, what was the general
8 position of the Croats in comparison to the position of
9 others? What, if anything, did they have at that stage
10 to gain or lose from cooperation with you?
11 A. The Croats, for really almost the first time,
12 were facing a very serious situation inside Sarajevo,
13 which was at that stage completely dominant in their
14 thought process.
15 There was one of the very worst situations
16 that I remember in Sarajevo. We're not just talking of
17 the odd shell, we are talking of a city completely
18 surrounded; no water; no electricity; no fuel; no
19 heating of any form, shape, or size; with anything of
20 up to a thousand rounds of mortar or artillery
21 impacting in a single day into the town; large numbers
22 being killed; and the Serbs launching an offensive out
23 of the Ilidza area, which is on the western side of
24 Sarajevo forward to the Stup area of Sarajevo, which
25 takes in a large part of Sarajevo which was inhabited
1 by Croat civilians who were now in a very precarious
3 Against that background, I believe that
4 Colonel Kordic saw in us, the United Nations, a chance
5 to relieve some of the suffering by getting these
6 people out of Sarajevo if I could possibly achieve it.
7 In January, of course, the situation did
8 change somewhat with the breakdown of the comparatively
9 weak alliance between the ABiH and the HVO in Central
10 Bosnia, and from my own perspective, purely as a
11 military man, this linked itself fairly closely with
12 the peace process that was developing in Geneva where
13 the Vance-Owen Plan was being developed and quite a lot
14 of people were intent on grabbing what they could
15 before something was finally signed in Geneva.
16 Q. Did your views, your initial views, in any
17 degree change as events unfolded?
18 A. I suppose in some ways they did, insofar as
19 the war in Central Bosnia got worse up to the 1st of
20 February, by which time effectively Geneva had failed
21 and some form of peace agreement was -- temporary peace
22 agreement was desperately needed for breathing space in
23 Central Bosnia.
24 Q. The grabbing of what might have come at
25 Geneva, how was that reflected so far as the Croat side
1 was concerned?
2 A. A huge amount of illegal checkpoints were
3 thrown up, and there was a great deal of burning of
4 houses, both Muslim and Croat, I have to say, and very
5 severe fighting between the Muslims and the Croats in
6 particularly Gornji Vakuf, where the town was a mixed
7 population town and divided itself almost straight down
8 the road that ran through the town itself, one side
9 fighting against the other side and the place becoming
10 a complete no-go area.
11 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, it's now five past
13 MR. NICE: Yes. I've very nearly finish. If
14 you can allow me a couple more questions.
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
16 MR. NICE: Obviously if it was possible over
17 the adjournment to find any further document dealing
18 with the 1st of February I'd ask the witness to stay
19 behind, but that apart -- and I don't think it's going
20 to be fine or possible because we've searched our
21 materials already. Then I'll be able to complete him
22 in about a couple of minutes if that's acceptable.
23 Q. The Serbs and Muslims were engaged against
24 each other where?
25 A. The Serbs and the Muslims, at this stage in
1 December, throughout whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina, right
2 the way round what was then to eventually solidify as
3 to what is known as the confrontation line, and this
4 went right down through Mostar, all the way round
5 Sarajevo, all the way up through towards Tuzla, back
6 round just north of Vitez and then linking back down
7 towards Mostar itself again from the north.
8 Q. That did not involve the Croats, but the
9 question is: What did that do, if anything, in your
10 judgement, for the ability of Croats and, in
11 particular, of Colonel Kordic to be cooperative and
12 express cooperative views?
13 A. Well, insofar as they were not being directly
14 threatened and, therefore, hadn't a particular problem,
15 they could afford to be slightly generous, I suspect,
16 in their cooperation with UNPROFOR to appear to be
17 helpful to us insofar as at this stage they weren't
18 being threatened. But of course, subsequently, in
19 December, in the middle of Sarajevo and then again in
20 January in Central Bosnia, that position changed.
21 Q. The decline in conditions, did that link in
22 time at all with the development of the Mixed Military
23 Working Group meetings and with Colonel Kordic's
24 arrival at those meetings?
25 A. I couldn't say that that would be a direct
1 reflection. Colonel Kordic arrived on the 28th of
2 November. The Serb offensive into Central Sarajevo
3 happened in the beginning of December, which put the
4 Croats in such a difficult position.
5 Q. Last two questions. The Mixed Military
6 Working Group of the 22nd of December, you've been
7 asked certain questions about David Pinder's notes and
8 material. What would you say to a suggestion that at
9 that meeting, the 22nd of December, all the work had
10 previously been done by Kordic and Guervo and,
11 therefore, the meeting was for the two senior
12 commanding Generals to sign what had been worked out?
13 A. That would be a fair assessment, because
14 inevitably, before we brought together Mladic, or
15 Petkovic, any of the senior commanders, with Morillon
16 in the chair, we would only do it if we felt that we
17 had some chance of getting a successful conclusion and
19 Q. Last question. You've spoken right at an
20 early stage of the cross-examination of his role as
21 vice-president of something. Can you remember now how
22 he, in fact, introduced himself to you at either the
23 first or an early meeting?
24 A. Well, I am almost certain that on my meeting
25 with him on the 12th of December, 1992, he introduced
1 himself as the Deputy President of the Croats in
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I'm almost certain that that was
3 the case.
4 MR. NICE: That concludes my re-examination.
5 JUDGE MAY: General, that concludes your
6 evidence. Thank you for coming to the International
7 Tribunal to give it. As far as the Court's concerned,
8 you are released.
9 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to go now.
11 (The witness withdrew)
12 JUDGE MAY: Now, we've made good progress
14 MR. NICE: Yes. Mr. Akhavan, although he's
15 had to be at a hospital this morning, I think that his
16 wife is -- something like that, is back this afternoon.
17 JUDGE MAY: We should conclude his
18 cross-examination then this afternoon.
19 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE MAY: Very well. What about tomorrow?
21 MR. SAYERS: I regret I haven't been able to
22 whistle up, in the vernacular, another witness at short
23 notice for tomorrow.
24 JUDGE MAY: Once we finish Mr. Akhavan, it
25 does -- it does mean that we have time, and if
1 necessary, we'll do it tomorrow, to have the Status
2 Conference which we discussed. I think it's important
3 that we review the position. We'll see how we get on.
4 I would, in particular, want to look at the
5 witness list again, in light of the progress made, and
6 see what can be done about it. You've got the decision
7 on the dossier now.
8 MR. NICE: Yes. It's all in hand, and I'll
9 have a list of witnesses probably, I think, to take us
10 through to the end of the sittings in the autumn,
11 depending on the speed we achieve.
12 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll consider those
13 matters later. We'll sit again at quarter to three.
14 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.15 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.50 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
3 MR. NICE: General Cordy-Simpson had been
4 rescheduled to depart from the hotel immediately
5 opposite the building at 3.00, but meanwhile, he
6 researched his notes and revealed to me that, contrary
7 to his belief, Kordic is not mentioned as having been
8 present at the meeting on the 1st of February. The
9 notes only refer to Morillon and unidentified two
10 leaders of the brigades. He can't account for how the
11 paragraph appears in page 5 of his statement, and it
12 hasn't been possible at the moment to disinter any
13 other document that may have supported that assertion.
14 The only other documents, of which I am aware, of the
15 invitation that was sent to Kordic the day before and
16 which has already been produced in evidence, but I
17 think that the milinfosum itself for the day in
18 question will again only name Morillon, Blaskic, and
19 the others.
20 So the position is that, in the absence of
21 any further material, we won't be inviting you to -- in
22 the absence of any further evidence or written
23 material, we wouldn't be inviting you to conclude that
24 Kordic was present at that meeting.
25 General Cordy-Simpson extends, of course, his
1 apologies for getting something wrong. He suspects
2 that the error arises from misrecollecting what was in
3 the witness statement as being in his own diary.
4 I had to make a decision whether it was
5 necessary to bring him back, further to put off his
6 flight, or to relate to you and to the Defence the
7 information that I've got. I judged that since we'd be
8 saying, "Absent further documentation, we won't be
9 arguing his presence on the 1st of February," all
10 parties would be happy for him to return to England.
11 JUDGE MAY: Very well. It seems to be a
12 sensible outcome. There's no need for the General to
13 apologise for a misrecollection after all this time.
14 MR. NICE: Absolutely. Can I --
15 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps you would forward the
16 Court's thanks for his putting the matter right for
18 MR. NICE: I will certainly do that. I've,
19 of course, expressed our own gratitude for that.
20 The only other thing I might as well do now
21 before we part from his evidence, although again it
22 doesn't need his attendance, is there was a question
23 about document 336.1 -- sorry, yes, document 336.1,
24 which, as the Court will remember, refers on its face
25 to two meetings but contains only supporting material
1 for one meeting, and, indeed, the Court may have
2 noticed that there was some suggestion that there was
3 another document that had got detached or hadn't been
4 printed, because the third to last page of that
5 document, as provided to you, reads "13/" and it's
6 pretty clear that the "/" was "18."
7 I have been able to have printed out the
8 sequential page numbers according to the registry's, or
9 whatever the system is, numbering. If I can distribute
10 this, please, three for the Judges and two for the
11 Defence, I will keep one for myself and hand it in in a
12 minute -- I've got another one here. This should be,
13 so that it conforms in general format with the way the
14 other documents have been produced, this should simply
15 become part of 336.1, so it doesn't need a separate
17 It deals with the 26th of December meeting,
18 and one can see straightaway that the participants were
19 by different names and at a lower level than the other
20 meetings we've been concerned with, and, I think,
21 simply putting it shortly, it's pretty
22 non-consequential. But it's there for completeness in
23 case anybody wants to see it, and I hope that helps.
24 May Mr. Akhavan come back, please?
25 (The witness entered court)
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
2 WITNESS: PAYAM AKHAVAN (Resumed)
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
4 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Akhavan.
5 A. Good afternoon.
6 Q. We will try to be concluded with your
7 cross-examination, at least from the perspective of
8 Mr. Kordic, by 3.45, if possible.
9 Let me draw your attention to the events of
10 April the 15th, 1993. You are aware, are you not, that
11 Commander Zivko Totic of the Jure Francetic Brigade in
12 Zenica was kidnapped, and three of his bodyguards were
13 executed in a hail of gunfire, which also resulted in
14 the death of one civilian passer-by; correct?
15 A. I believe that's in my notes. I'm not sure
16 if you're referring to the exact same events. I do
17 recall a kidnapping.
18 Q. Yes. Did Colonel Stewart tell you, during
19 the briefing that you say you received from him
20 connected with the events of April the 15th and 16th at
21 Ahmici and elsewhere, that the Totic kidnapping was an
22 extremely serious, indeed, inflammatory incident that
23 could cause the entire Lasva Valley to explode in
24 vicious inter-ethnic fighting?
25 A. I think my notes reflect what I was told, and
1 it indicates that, indeed, it was a serious incident.
2 However, it was part of a buildup of tensions and not
3 an isolated event.
4 Q. You are aware that the Totic kidnapping was
5 preceded by a day or two by an incident in which four
6 HVO officers were captured assertedly at the hands of
7 the 7th Muslim Brigade outside of the town of Novi
9 A. Yes, it's in my notes: "Muslims kidnapped
10 four HVO staff officers from Novi Travnik."
11 Q. You're also aware that the 7th Muslim Brigade
12 was responsible for the kidnapping of Commander Totic?
13 A. This is the HVO brigade commander from
14 Travnik that you refer to --
15 Q. From Zenica, sir.
16 A. I'm not sure if I have that. In any event, I
17 have reports of several incidents of kidnapping of HVO
18 members by the Bosnian Muslim forces in my notes.
19 Q. Did Colonel Stewart brief you that these
20 events could be the catalyst for some serious
21 inter-ethnic fighting?
22 A. If what you are suggesting is that that was
23 the cause and the effect was the ethnic cleansing of
24 Muslims in the Lasva Valley region, I don't believe
25 that anyone suggested that. But if you're suggesting
1 that it would give rise to tensions of a military
2 character, yes, I believe that all sides believed that
3 this was part of a buildup of tensions over several
4 months which had involved a series of retaliations
5 between Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Muslim forces against
6 one another.
7 Q. So Colonel Stewart did brief you that these
8 events could be the catalyst for some serious
9 inter-ethnic fighting; is that correct?
10 A. It depends on what you mean by "inter-ethnic
11 fighting". If you mean the slaughter of civilians, I'm
12 not sure if that is what their explanation would be.
13 But if you mean exchanges, military exchanges between
14 the Bosnian Croat and Muslim forces, yes.
15 Q. I'd like to show you two milinfosums prepared
16 by the 1st Cheshire Regiment, if I may. The first one
17 is milinfosum 166, dated April the 14th, 1993 and the
18 second one is milinfosum 167, dated April the 15th,
20 THE REGISTRAR: The documents are marked
21 D70/1 and D71/1.
22 MR. SAYERS: Actually, Mr. Usher, I have a
23 second set of documents here. Thank you.
24 Q. Mr. Akhavan, these documents need not detain
25 us long. If I could turn your attention to
1 milinfosum 166, April 14, 1993. I'd just like you to
2 look at page 2, please. This milinfosum describes the
3 abduction of four HVO officers in Novi Travnik by the
4 7th Muslim Brigade. Have you ever seen this milinfosum
6 A. I looked through a number of milinfosums
7 while I was there, but the information contained here
8 is already in my handwritten notes more or less, but
9 I'm not sure if I saw this particular milinfosum. I
10 have the information, nevertheless.
11 Q. Turning to the second milinfosum, number 167,
12 dated April the 15th, 1993, I would like to draw your
13 attention to two sections. First on page 1, section 2,
14 entitled "Vitez", and secondly on page 2, section 5,
15 entitled "Zenica".
16 Turning to the Vitez entry first, were you
17 informed that two ABiH soldiers had been abducted
18 assertedly by HVO forces in the town of Vitez on the
19 night of April the 15th, 1993?
20 A. I don't recall specifically, but I was told
21 that abduction was something that both sides engaged in
22 from time to time. I'm not sure about this particular
24 Q. You did speak to the commander of the
25 325th Brigade detachment in Vitez, Sefkija Dzidic;
2 A. You mean of the Bosnian government forces? I
3 met -- the name does not sound familiar. I did meet
4 some representative of the Bosnian army. I'm not sure
5 if it's that particular individual.
6 Q. Were you aware that two ABiH soldiers had
7 been abducted in Vitez on the night of April the 15th?
8 A. As I mentioned previously, I was informed in
9 general terms about such abductions. I'm not sure
10 about this particular incident.
11 Q. Did you know that Sefkija Dzidic and also
12 Ramiz Dugalic, the deputy commander of the
13 325th Brigade, had stated that if the release of the
14 two BiH soldiers did not happen soon, the situation in
15 Vitez would deteriorate rapidly?
16 A. I'm not sure about that. I do have in my
17 notes, however, that the HVO made similar threats. So
18 it seemed to be part of the communication pattern
19 between the two sides.
20 Q. Turning your attention to the second page, up
21 at the top there, were you briefed by any of the
22 British soldiers that accompanied you that if these two
23 BiH soldiers had not been returned soon, then some form
24 of retaliatory action by the BiH against HVO is highly
1 A. Were we told when, on --
2 Q. You were briefed, along these lines, by the
3 British soldiers from whom you say you received the
4 briefing on the 30th of April or at any time
6 A. Well, in response to your question, I would
7 refer you to page 2 of my handwritten notes. At the
8 bottom of the page, the second last sentence, which I
9 think captures what we were interested in, that: "The
10 conflicts were not new but the atrocities were
11 unprecedented. We were told that there had been
12 tensions between the Bosnian Croats and Muslims for
13 quite some time, dating back even to 1992, and that
14 there had been kidnappings and killings."
15 Q. Mr. Akhavan, that is a simple question. It
16 deals with the abduction of the two BiH soldiers and
17 the threat of retaliatory action. It does not require
18 you to repeat the opinions that you have given
19 repeatedly over the course of the last few days. The
20 question has a narrow focus. It's very simple.
21 Were you or were you not told that in the
22 evaluation of the British army, if the two BiH soldiers
23 were not returned soon, on the evening of the 15th of
24 April, then a retaliatory action by the BiH against the
25 HVO was highly likely, "Yes" or "No"?
1 A. Yes, but the way you asked the question makes
2 it seems as if I was there prior to April the 16th, but
3 in retrospect, if you're saying that they suggested to
4 me that the abductions may have been the catalyst for
5 the armed conflict, no, that was not -- no one
6 suggested to me that that was the catalyst for the
7 wide-spread violence that took place from April 16th
9 Q. Turning to the Zenica entry on this
10 milinfosum, were you aware that the 7th Muslim Brigade
11 had, in fact, been responsible for the abduction of
12 Commander Totic and the execution of his guards?
13 A. Yes. I think we've gone through this before,
14 and my notes, once again, on page 3 of my handwritten
15 notes, indicates facts which, frankly speaking, were
16 not directly relevant to our inquiry but they indicate
17 several cases of abduction. Whether the case which you
18 particularly refer to time and again is included here,
19 I'm not sure. We have: "Muslims kidnapped four HVO
20 staff officers from Novi Travnik. We have also
21 kidnapped HVO brigade commander from Travnik,
22 7th Muslim Brigade. The kidnapping was blamed on the
23 7th Brigade units. BritBat received notice that ten
24 HVO people are hostages in exchange for Muslims in
25 Busovaca prison."
1 That gave us an overall sense that both sides
2 were abducting and using people as hostages to exchange
3 for hostages taken by the other side.
4 Q. Did you ever see the hostage note received by
5 the ECMM from these gentlemen in Zenica, the abductors
6 of Commander Totic?
7 A. I'm not sure. We looked through many, many
8 documents. We were there. I cannot instantly
9 recollect having seen that document.
10 MR. SAYERS: I wonder if the witness could be
11 shown Exhibit D26/1.
12 Q. Mr. Akhavan, the usher has kindly placed upon
13 the ELMO the ransom note or the extortion note to which
14 I earlier referred. Have you seen this before?
15 A. It does not look familiar, but as I said,
16 it's very difficult for me to recollect. We went
17 through several hundred pages of documents.
18 Q. If it does not look familiar to you, sir,
19 let's move on.
20 Turning to the subject of Lieutenant-Colonel
21 Bob Stewart. Did Colonel Stewart brief you that
22 Colonel Blaskic was the overall HVO military commander
23 in Central Bosnia?
24 A. Yes, I believe.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 A. So yes.
2 Q. Do you know whether Mr. Kordic has any kind
3 of a military background at all, sir?
4 A. I'm not aware whether he has military
5 background or not.
6 Q. I take it that during your 15-minute exchange
7 with Mr. Kordic, the subject of his military
8 credentials did not crop up?
9 A. No. Frankly speaking, what I had prior to
10 the meeting, in several exchanges, and I draw your
11 attention to page 2 of my handwritten notes, in the
12 middle, the description of Dario Kordic being, "Mate
13 Boban's right-hand man. Implements policy of Boban,
14 head of HDZ for Central Bosnia. Input into all HVO
15 brigades in Central Bosnia. Kordic gives political
16 direction to Blaskic. He gets openly involved in
17 political matters, especially in Busovaca area."
18 Q. Did you --
19 A. So I was not--
20 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment while we're dealing
21 with that passage. Mr. Akhavan, what is the passage
22 referring to or, rather, what is the source of the
23 information that's being referred to there?
24 A. Yes, Your Honour. If I can draw your
25 attention to the top that has a page which says:
1 "Overview of events, BritBat, 30 April," I believe
2 that was the evening -- that's the evening when we
3 arrived in Vitez. That is, several members of the
4 British Battalion, I think maybe three, four, possibly
5 five individuals, including Bob Stewart, to the best of
6 my recollection, gave us an overview of Central Bosnia,
7 the key actors, the tensions which existed between the
8 Muslims and Croats. That was the general description
9 which we received of Dario Kordic as one of the most
10 influential actors in the region.
11 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
12 MR. SAYERS:
13 Q. You were never briefed in any way that Dario
14 Kordic was any sort of a military commander, were you,
16 A. No. We were told that he does get involved
17 in military matters, but we were not told that he is a
18 military commander as such.
19 Q. You were told, in fact, that his background
20 was as a journalist before the civil war; right?
21 A. What we were told is that the HDZ and the HVO
22 for the most part were quite inseparable, and that --
23 Q. His background, sir. His background as a
24 journalist before the civil war, you were told about
25 that, weren't you?
1 A. I don't recall what his background was.
2 Actually, maybe someone did say something to that
3 effect, but there are two separate points here. One is
4 whether he has a military background, the other is
5 whether he gets involved in --
6 Q. There's not a question involved --
7 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness finish. Yes,
8 Mr. Akhavan?
9 A. Yes, in terms of whether he has military
10 training or not, I don't know. I do remember in the
11 former Yugoslavia that there was compulsory service.
12 I'm not sure if Mr. Kordic went through such service,
13 but in any event, what was clear is that the political
14 aspect of the Herceg-Bosna government, the HDZ mainly,
15 which was, frankly speaking, the party with any power,
16 was constantly in all aspects of decision-making,
17 including military policy in the broad sense.
18 If you're saying that he was involved in the
19 day-to-day combat operations, no. That would fall into
20 the hands of someone such as Colonel Blaskic.
21 MR. SAYERS:
22 Q. What you've just said; how do you know that?
23 A. Well, this is based on what everyone in the
24 region that I spoke with said.
25 Q. In other words --
1 A. The members of the British Battalion.
2 Q. -- you're just relating what you were told by
3 other people?
4 A. Of course. Of course.
5 Q. Let me read you a page or passage from
6 Colonel Stewart's book, on page 298, where he relates
7 how he discovered what had happened at Ahmici.
8 "Over the next two weeks or so, the facts
9 about what had happened at Ahmici started to come out.
10 My main sources were Thomas Osorio and Payam Akhavan,
11 both members of the U.N. Centre for Human Rights."
12 Is that true?
13 A. Well, he's speaking about the facts of what
14 happened in the village of Ahmici in terms of how the
15 atrocities were carried out, but I don't think he's
16 suggesting that having spent several months there
17 patrolling the region on a daily basis, that we came
18 from the outside and told him about the overall
19 situation in the region.
20 It is true because Colonel Stewart was not
21 qualified as an investigator, as a lawyer, as someone
22 who does human rights investigations, that he would not
23 nor would any of his soldiers conduct such an
24 investigation. So he did rely upon us for the detailed
25 accounts of how the events in Ahmici would have
1 transpired and what the legal implications would be
3 Q. Very well. Let's turn for a minute to your
4 draft report, the document that I believe has been
5 marked as D66/1.
6 Now, sir, did I understand you to say earlier
7 that you drafted this interim report?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. You concede, I believe, on the first page,
10 that the main supply routes -- this is in
11 paragraph 3: "The main transport routes" as you
12 describe them, "in Central Bosnia are of great
13 strategic significance, and control of them formed a
14 source of great tension between the various competent
15 factions in the region"?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. On page 4 of your interim report, at
18 paragraph 11, you describe armed clashes between the
19 Bosnian army and the HVO in Vitez on the morning of
20 April the 16th, and you report that these events
21 quickly spilled over into the town and surrounding
23 A. Uh-huh.
24 Q. Right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Very well. Are you familiar or have you ever
2 read a United Nations document entitled "Final Report
3 of the United Nations Commission of Experts Established
4 Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 780, Annex 3(A)
5 Special Forces," and the date of that report is
6 December the 28th, 1994?
7 A. I've read the report itself. I'm not sure
8 that I've read the annex which you're referring to, but
9 I believe that the report would have a summary of the
10 annex probably.
11 Q. Indeed, it does. It has a summary of
12 reported paramilitary activity in Zenica and the
13 surrounding area, and let me just read you a passage
14 from this and see if you agree with it.
15 MR. NICE: Copies, please.
16 MR. SAYERS: Yes. Just for the Court's
17 information, this is an extremely extensive document,
18 probably four inches thick. I have excepted the
19 portions of it that are of interest to this
20 examination. If the Court wishes the entire document
21 to be made an exhibit, I'd be more than happy to do
23 JUDGE MAY: Let the excerpts be the exhibit
24 for the moment.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Document D72/1.
1 MR. SAYERS: For everybody's easy reference
2 and in the interest of expediency, I have underlined
3 the areas of these excerpts of interest.
4 Q. On the first page, one excerpt says: "In the
5 21st of October, 1992 attack on Vitez, the Green Berets
6 reportedly acted under the command of MTD and their
7 commander, Rasim Delic." Were you aware of that attack
8 on Vitez on October the 21st, 1992 by special forces?
9 A. This is more than a year before the events in
10 Ahmici. I think it would have hardly concerned us --
11 Q. Then let's move on --
12 A. -- in this investigation.
13 Q. -- Mr. Akhavan, to the fourth page, I
14 believe, that says: "Allegations of war crimes,"
15 subparagraph E, and the lines that I have underlined
16 say as follows: "It was reported that a unit of the
17 Mujahedin called the Guerilla participated in the 16th
18 of April, 1993 attack on Vitez and attempted to
19 exchange ten HVO hostages for foreign prisoners held in
20 HVO prisons."
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you disagree with this statement contained
23 in an otherwise apparently authoritative United Nations
24 document, sir?
25 A. No. I mean, specifically, I cannot disagree
1 with it in the sense that my own notes reflect that the
2 Mujahedin were present in the region, and, as I said on
3 page 3 of my notes, I did note down that ten HVO people
4 were held as hostages in order to exchange them for
5 Muslims kept in Busovaca prison. This specific
6 participation on the 16th of April, I cannot confirm or
7 deny, but it would seem to be credible.
8 Q. Yes. All right. Just turning briefly over
9 some other parts of your draft report, you record, on
10 page 6, in paragraph 17, that there was no evidence of
11 any HOS involvement in the attack upon Ahmici insofar
12 as the circumstances of that attack were related to you
13 by eyewitnesses; is that correct?
14 A. I believe that sentence should be read as
15 saying that the HVO, for the most part, were
16 responsible for the atrocities, not to say that it is
17 inconceivable that HOS had any participation. We were
18 told that HOS did not exist in significant numbers in
19 the region, Mr. Kordic himself told me that, at most,
20 there would be 100 HOS in the region, and the attack on
21 Ahmici and Vitez, if one puts it all together, it would
22 have required several hundred armed forces. That
23 alone, in addition to the testimony of witnesses and
24 others, suggested that the HVO and not HOS, for the
25 most part, was responsible.
1 Q. Yes, sir, and thank you for that, but it is
2 true that you and your colleague, throughout your
3 one-week of investigation and interviews, received not
4 a single report that any individuals in distinctive
5 black uniforms were seen participating in the incidents
6 and events at Ahmici; isn't that correct?
7 A. We did not receive such reports.
8 Q. Now, on page 18 -- sorry, page 7, and there
9 may be some transposed pages in the report because
10 that's how we got it from the OTP, but paragraph 18
11 contains some references to political figures in the
12 region continuously using the media as a means of
13 demonising other ethnic groups. Did you, in your
14 one-week of investigations --
15 JUDGE MAY: Have you found that,
16 Mr. Akhavan? Have you that passage?
17 A. Yes, I do, sir.
18 MR. SAYERS: I think it's found at the bottom
19 of page 6, Mr. President.
20 Q. Did you yourself see any videotapes of news
21 broadcasts or press conferences in which these leading
22 political figures had made any statements?
23 A. No, I did not, which is why the report
24 says, "It was pointed out to the team," as opposed
25 to "the team saw for itself."
1 Q. Did you hear any audiotapes of news
2 broadcasts or political party broadcasts or press
3 conference broadcasts in which these leading political
4 figures had made these demonising type of comments?
5 A. No, I did not.
6 Q. Did you yourself read any newspaper articles
7 that contained reports of such press conferences or
8 speeches during which these demonising sorts of
9 invective, which you have described, appear?
10 A. No. This was based entirely on what local --
11 I should say, international forces and agencies in the
12 region had to tell us, including those who understood
13 Serbo-Croatian and could follow the local media.
14 Q. Did the British soldiers who you had talked
15 with say that they had seen any such videotapes, heard
16 any such radio broadcasts, or read any such newspaper
18 A. I cannot recollect at this point who it was
19 that told us, but two or three people who did speak
20 Serbo-Croatian did say that it was often the case that
21 the media would include Mr. Dario Kordic making what
22 they perceived as inflammatory speeches and that very
23 often Mr. Blaskic was in his presence. It was not so
24 much the written media. Most people told me about the
25 television. I don't believe the radio was also
2 Q. Names, please?
3 A. I cannot recall at this point in time.
4 Q. Unattributed sources conveyed this
5 information to you, I take it?
6 A. I wouldn't call them unattributed sources.
7 For the purpose of our report, all that we have done is
8 say that it was pointed out to us. I think that is a
9 fair description of the situation. Obviously, we did
10 believe that the people that were saying it to us were
11 not outright liars, that there was some credibility to
12 what they were saying; otherwise, we wouldn't have
13 bothered to include it. But we did, as a standard
14 matter, say that it was pointed out or that it was
15 alleged or that it was related to us that, from
16 reliable sources. If something was unreliable, we
17 would simply not include it. If we witnessed something
18 ourselves or managed to conduct an investigation where
19 we were convinced of the fact, then we would make a
20 statement to the effect that we believed this to be the
22 Q. Did you make a note of those reliable sources
23 in your notes?
24 A. It may be -- I would have to -- I actually do
25 think there are references to that, but I'm not sure
1 exactly where they would be. But, of course, this was
2 part of a much broader pattern. I don't think the
3 Lasva Valley existed in isolation. We did monitor, for
4 example, HTV in Zagreb on a regular basis, the coverage
5 of Ahmici, for example, statements made by various
6 officials, I believe, including Mr. Kordic on some
7 occasions, interviews which he had on HTV, not to
8 mention Defence Minister Susak, President Tudjman, and
9 others, who almost systematically misinformed the
10 public about the existence of any atrocities. I recall
11 that there was no coverage of Ahmici in the main sort
12 of television station for quite some time.
13 Q. Suffice it to say, sir, you cannot now
14 identify who these supposedly reliable sources were,
15 can you?
16 A. As I said, if I put that together with the
17 fact that we did monitor the media in general, I think
18 that they are relatively good sources.
19 Q. You can't cite to us, and I don't want to
20 beat a dead horse here, but you can't cite to us one
21 name of a person who supposedly told you that they had
22 seen such inflammatory, demonising types of political
23 rhetoric, can you?
24 A. If I was to go through my notes, make a few
25 telephone calls, refresh my memory over six years, I
1 probably could.
2 Q. Just so the record is entirely clear, you
3 never saw any such comments yourself?
4 A. I did, after our visit in the Lasva Valley
5 region, as I said, I monitored Zagreb Television
6 regularly through colleagues of mine who were fluent in
7 Serbo-Croatian, and if you look at subsequent reports
8 which we submitted to the Human Rights Commission, you
9 will see that we have entire sections on the role of
10 the media.
11 With respect to the particular accused, I do
12 recall on subsequent occasions, after our
13 investigation, having seen him on HTV making statements
14 of one sort or another.
15 Q. Which, of course, you couldn't understand
16 because you don't speak the language?
17 A. Which I could understand through a competent
18 translator, as you or anyone else would under the
20 Q. All right. Now, turning to the annex to this
21 document -- before we do that, though, one of the
22 recommendations is, in paragraph 21, page 8 of my
23 version, it may be page 7 of the version that you have,
24 it says: "The signatories of the joint statement
25 should be encouraged to immediately establish an
1 independent commission in order to attribute individual
2 responsibility for massive violations of human rights
3 and to effectively punish the perpetrators."
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. Was that ever done?
6 A. I don't believe so.
7 Q. Okay. Turning to the annex, what I would
8 like to do is just focus on two things. First, page
9 13, paragraph 18 --
10 A. This is in the annex?
11 Q. Yes, sir.
12 A. Paragraph 18?
13 Q. You would agree that "The HVO commanders for
14 Middle Bosnia and Vitez repeatedly confirmed to the
15 team," as you've previously identified it, "that they
16 are in full control of the area and that the HVO
17 soldiers under their command could not engage in any
18 military operation under any circumstances without
19 explicit orders." That is, sir, an accurate reflection
20 of what you were told during the course of your
21 investigations, is it not?
22 A. Yes, it is.
23 Q. Secondly, paragraph 19, I believe, should be
24 of interest to the Trial Chamber. You say: "There is
25 considerable evidence that prior to the attack on
1 Ahmici, these political figures repeatedly used the
2 media for advocacy of national and religious hatred
3 that constitutes incitement to discrimination,
4 hostility, and violence. The team gained the
5 impression that such political figures may have
6 considerably more influence in the decision-making
7 process than the HVO military commanders."
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. Now --
10 JUDGE BENNOUNA: Which paragraph?
11 MR. SAYERS: Paragraph 19 on page 13, Your
13 JUDGE BENNOUNA: Paragraph 19?
14 MR. SAYERS: Yes.
15 JUDGE BENNOUNA: Which page?
16 MR. SAYERS: We've put the number 13 on the
17 bottom. There are two sets of documents here, Your
18 Honour, and they both have consecutively numbered
19 paragraphs, which is a little confusing.
20 JUDGE BENNOUNA: Yes. I do not have
21 paragraph 19 on page 13. I have paragraph 20. It's
22 not the conclusions?
23 MR. SAYERS: It may be the preceding page,
24 Your Honour.
25 JUDGE BENNOUNA: The interim report? Are we
1 speaking of the interim report?
2 MR. SAYERS: Yes. There's an annex to it,
3 and it's paragraph 19 of the annex.
4 JUDGE MAY: Have you got the annex? We don't
5 have that.
6 JUDGE BENNOUNA: Annex 1?
7 MR. SAYERS: Paragraph 19 of annex 1.
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: I think we have up to
9 paragraph 16, and then we have the conclusions,
10 paragraphs 20 to 21.
11 MR. SAYERS: Perhaps I might put this on the
12 ELMO so everybody can see it.
13 JUDGE BENNOUNA: Yes.
14 MR. SAYERS: Thank you. I apologise for the
15 confusion, Your Honour, but I believe that an accurate
16 copy of that page is on the ELMO now.
17 Q. Once again, sir, this is your interim report,
18 and you say that "There is considerable evidence that
19 prior to the attack on Ahmici, these political figures
20 repeatedly used the media for advocacy of national and
21 religious hatred ..." and that that constituted
22 incitement to discrimination. What was the
23 considerable evidence?
24 A. I must say one thing, that what you're
25 reading here is the report which we initially sent to
1 Geneva about the information which we gathered in our
2 visit. What happened is that this was submitted, let's
3 say, May 7th or 8th, I'm not sure of the exact date,
4 but soon after we came back, and the actual report that
5 was officially circulated as a public document came out
6 on May 19th. In that two-week period, many of the
7 allegations which were involved here were checked and
8 double checked. This was part of the procedure before
9 we circulated the public document.
10 But as I said, the considerable evidence, to
11 the best of my recollection, were several individuals
12 who spoke Serbo-Croatian, who followed the local media,
13 and they were of the opinion, and this is not simply
14 the opinion of one individual, we would rarely rely on
15 the opinion of only one individual, several individuals
16 who suggested that the accused, Dario Kordic, and, in
17 certain cases, Colonel Blaskic by his side, had made
18 all sorts of statements which they believed to be of an
19 inflammatory character which distorted the truth, which
20 involved misinformation.
21 For example, the local media never, to the
22 best of my knowledge, did any sort of coverage of the
23 fact that the entire population of Ahmici, to give one
24 example, was either killed or deported, that all of
25 their homes were destroyed. The whole event was
1 portrayed as an attack by the Mujahedin against
3 The considerable evidence also includes, I
4 must note, not only statements made by individuals such
5 as Dario Kordic, but also people such as Defence
6 Minister Susak who had visited, I believe, Travnik just
7 around the time that the atrocities in Ahmici took
9 So this is not exclusive to those who are
10 involved in this particular case, because, once again,
11 we were not involved in a criminal investigation
12 against the accused in this particular case. We wanted
13 to get a sense of what the authorities, the HDZ, which,
14 of course, was very closely associated with Zagreb, was
15 doing in order to create either a climate which was
16 likely to create more self-restraint and tolerance in
17 the population or which was likely to incite them to
18 hatred and violence.
19 Subsequent to this report, we covered very
20 carefully, and prior to this report, coverage on HTV of
21 the events, and as I said, it is fair to say that the
22 coverage was exceptionally biased and distorted. So
23 that, I believe, constitutes "considerable evidence".
24 Q. So you're telling us that considerable
25 evidence consists not of what you've seen yourself with
1 your own eyes and not what you've heard with your own
2 ears but basically what you have been told by other
4 A. No, that's not what I'm saying. That is what
5 you're saying. What I'm saying, for example, is that
6 when I watched HTV in Zagreb prior to my trip to Ahmici
7 and afterwards, the only thing that the television
8 showed with respect to the Lasva Valley was a few
9 Croatian mothers who were grieving -- who were
10 aggrieved because their sons had been killed, for
11 example, which of course is tragic, but not one
12 television station showed anything about the extensive
13 footage of the atrocities which had occurred in
15 For example, CNN, BBC World, Sky News, ITN
16 repeatedly showed pictures of the family of eight that
17 had been burnt alive in their basement in Ahmici, of
18 the mosque, the minaret which had been destroyed, not
19 once did I see any coverage. This to me, is,
20 objectively speaking, one-sided, biased reporting.
21 Even if I cannot speak the language, the mere fact that
22 the images do not even appear on television, I think
23 would tell any man of average intelligence that this is
24 not impartial coverage.
25 Q. So we're left with your conclusion that there
1 was one-sided, biased reporting from the media that you
2 actually saw in Zagreb, I believe. How do you know
3 that there was no coverage, television coverage or
4 radio coverage of the Ahmici incident actually in
5 Central Bosnia, sir, in Zenica, Busovaca, or Vitez?
6 A. Well, in the same way that I was not in the
7 village of Ahmici when people were being killed or
8 burnt alive, but based on my conclusions on the
9 testimony of others who happened to have been there and
10 happened to have seen it. It's no different than any
11 other sort of evidence, evidence in the context of a
12 human rights report that one would find credible and
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Sayers, what is in
15 paragraph 19, is that evidence before the Tribunal?
16 MR. SAYERS: From what one of the Judges has
17 said, I don't have confidence that it is, Your Honour.
18 We need to check the materials that have been handed
19 out to ensure that they're complete.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: It seems to me that the
21 purpose of your cross-examination here is more to test
22 the credibility of the witness than anything else.
23 MR. SAYERS: Not strictly speaking, Your
24 Honour, with respect. It's really simply to point out
25 to the Trial Chamber that the considerable evidence --
1 there really isn't any evidence. The witness never
2 actually saw any evidence himself, and yet this appears
3 to be -- this interim report and its successors appears
4 to be the basis on which accusations have been levelled
5 against the political figures associated with the
6 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's why I say it goes to
8 his creditability. I just wanted to say that in my own
9 opinion, the whole line of cross-examination is a bit
10 too argumentative.
11 MR. SAYERS: Very well.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think you should try to
13 move on.
14 MR. SAYERS: I take the Court's point and I
15 will move on swiftly.
16 Q. Turning to the actual written report of
17 May the 19th, 1993, Mr. Akhavan --
18 A. Sorry, could I have a copy of that report?
19 MR. SAYERS: It's Exhibit Z942. Prosecution
20 Exhibit, May the 19th, 1993 report.
21 A. That's it. Thank you. Yes, please. I'm
23 Q. You have stated, sir, that the only parts of
24 this report that you prepared were paragraphs 38
25 through 44, I believe.
1 A. I'm sorry, the only parts that I did draft?
2 Q. That's what I --
3 A. No, quite the contrary. What I suggested is
4 that what we would provide very often would be factual
5 narratives. We would on occasion make recommendations
6 or conclusions, but ultimately this report was that of
7 the Special Rapporteur, and he decided, in particular,
8 with respect to conclusions and recommendations, what
9 to include.
10 It would be more accurate to say that I was
11 involved largely in, if you look at the cover page of
12 the document, sections A, B, and C.
13 Q. Right. Let me turn your attention to
14 paragraph 2.
15 A. I'm sorry, as well as II, which involved
16 executions by government forces in the Vitez area.
17 Q. You would agree that it was not possible to
18 conduct an exhaustive investigation of all allegations;
20 A. This is paragraph 2 you're referring to?
21 Q. Yes, sir.
22 A. Yes, correct.
23 Q. And you or the Special Rapporteur's
24 conclusion was that there was a need for a further or
25 further investigations to be carried out in a
1 systematic way with the necessary personnel and
2 resources; correct?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. Do you know whether that was ever done?
5 A. We did, in subsequent occasions, visit that
6 region on several occasions. The situation can be best
7 described as a field operation with exceptionally
8 limited resources. At that time there were two of us
9 covering all of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. At a
10 later stage, our numbers increased to perhaps five, at
11 most ten, several months later.
12 In every case we would prioritise what we
13 perceived to be particularly serious violations, and at
14 the same time attempting to the extent possible to look
15 at atrocities committed by both sides.
16 I believe that after the events that we spoke
17 about, most of our resources with respect to
18 Herceg-Bosna were consumed by the events in Mostar,
19 which became the focus of our investigations. Of
20 course, at the same time there were the atrocities in
21 the areas under Bosnian Serb control which also
22 preoccupied us.
23 So there was follow-up, in answer to your
24 question in a general sense, but I'm not sure. We did
25 visit that region again. I did not, but my colleagues
1 visited that region at least two or three times
3 Q. Now, turning -- two final areas of inquiry,
4 trying to meet my deadline which I see has arrived.
5 The first is the Miletici investigation, and there is
6 reference to milinfosum 177, dated April 25th, 1993,
7 yesterday. I actually have that here. I've previously
8 distributed a copy to the Prosecution.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Document D73/1.
10 MR. SAYERS:
11 Q. If I could turn your attention, Mr. Akhavan,
12 to the fourth page containing the sub-heading "For
14 A. Uh-huh.
15 Q. Before we get to that, if you could look at
16 the top of the page there. Let me just ask you if you
17 were aware that the villages forming the HVO front
18 line, as of April the 25th, 1993, consisted of -- or
19 east of Dubravica were Pirici, Vidovici, Ahmici, and
20 Loncari? Were you aware of that?
21 A. I don't remember the exact names of the
22 villages. What you're speaking about in terms of a
23 front line was difficult to describe, because, for
24 example, Stari Vitez was a pocket under Muslim control
25 deep in the middle of areas under Croat control. So
1 I'm not sure what you're referring to when you say
2 "front lines."
3 But we were aware that Zenica -- somewhere
4 between Vitez and Zenica was the front line. I'm not
5 sure how that would extend to the region around
7 Q. Very well. Turning to the Miletici incident,
8 it's true, isn't it, that the village was surrounded by
9 about 20 Muslim extremists who proceeded to round up
10 the population and eject them from the village while
11 keeping behind five military-aged young men?
12 A. What we were told by the survivors, most of
13 whom were elderly -- well, many of them were still
14 there. I'm not sure if they were ejected right there
15 and they wanted to leave because they feared that the
16 forces may return and commit further atrocities, but
17 there were at least still several residents there.
18 Here we say in our report in paragraph 37:
19 "Twenty-seven of the 34 inhabitants of the village are
20 said to have left in fear for their lives."
21 I don't recall what the number was of the
22 Mujahedin who came to the village. It could have been
23 10, it could have been 20. That sounds realistic.
24 Q. Take a look at page 15 of your notes.
25 A. Of my handwritten notes? Page 15? I'm not
1 sure if our page numberings are the same. What is on
2 top of the page?
3 Q. It says: "Local Croats demanded to be moved
4 by BritBat," at the top of the page.
5 A. It's page 15 from the start. Excuse me while
6 I find this. Yes. Yes, I found it. Yes.
7 Q. Does that refresh your recollection as to how
8 many soldiers invaded the village?
9 A. Approximately 20 people maximum, according to
10 a local witness. As I said, it doesn't sound
11 unreasonable to say that. There would have been that
12 many people involved.
13 Q. You actually went into one of the houses in
14 Miletici yourself and found a cooking pot where one of
15 the heads of the young Croat men had been found;
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. You saw this pot yourself; correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. There was still blood in it, along with a
21 ladle; correct?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. You had been told that that young man's head
24 had been cut slowly off, and that ladle had been used
25 to baste his head with his own blood?
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. The next and final questions that I have for
3 you concern the events in Ahmici. Were you shown any
4 photographs of Muslim soldiers carrying sophisticated
5 AKM automatic weapons, taken in Ahmici on the morning
6 of April the 16th, 1993 by Lieutenant Matthew Wooley?
7 A. I don't recall. I don't think so.
8 Q. I'll just point you to a portion of
9 Lieutenant Wooley's statement taken two years ago.
10 JUDGE MAY: Does the Lieutenant say that he
11 told this witness?
12 MR. SAYERS: He does not, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MAY: Well, it doesn't take the matter
14 any further then.
15 MR. SAYERS: Very well.
16 Q. Do I understand you to be of the belief that
17 the attack on Ahmici was completely unannounced, that
18 it was a surprise attack, and that the village was
20 A. I believe that most of the Muslim civilians
21 in the village were completely caught by surprise.
22 Yes, that is my belief.
23 Q. Did you interview any soldiers who defended
24 the village?
25 A. Well, from what I recall, many were yet to be
1 found. I'm trying to think. Probably not. I don't
2 think it was really possible for us at that point to
3 find any of them.
4 Q. The final exhibit that I would like you to
5 review, if you would --
6 A. We did, however, meet Muslim soldiers. I
7 don't believe they were from Ahmici. We did meet
8 Muslim soldiers. We did speak with them.
9 Q. Would you please take a look at
10 Exhibit D13/2? This, sir, is a copy of the statement
11 of Fuad Berbic taken for the Bosnia and Herzegovina
12 presidency state commission for gathering facts on war
13 crimes. Specifically I'd like you to turn, if you
14 would, to page 5.
15 JUDGE MAY: We have been very liberal in the
16 allowance of these sort of documents into evidence.
17 Now, unless this witness has seen this document, it
18 does not seem to be right to allow it into evidence.
19 It may be that this is a witness, I don't know, who is
20 going to give evidence.
21 Have you seen this document, Mr. Akhavan?
22 A. I don't believe so, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE MAY: Well, I certainly do not think it
24 should be exhibited. It shouldn't be at this stage.
25 You can put to him a passage.
1 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Your Honour, and that
2 will conclude my examination.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If this has been exhibited,
4 delete it.
5 THE REGISTRAR: It's already an exhibit.
6 JUDGE MAY: I think we'll need to review
7 these exhibits. Leave it for the moment. Yes.
8 MR. SAYERS:
9 Q. Let me read to you two portions of this
10 exhibit, on page 5. First:
11 "On the eve of the 15 April attack, I was on
12 guard duty. It was very quiet, dead calm. Our level
13 of alertness had been increased by 50 per cent compared
14 to the night before because unfamiliar uniformed
15 persons had been seen. Ten men were on stand-by in the
16 lower part of the village."
17 JUDGE MAY: Does this mean anything to you,
18 Mr. Akhavan?
19 A. Well, I believe, Your Honour, that the issue
20 is whether the attack on the village of Ahmici was
21 foreseen or not foreseen, and whether the Muslims
22 probably put up a vigorous defence or whether they were
23 caught completely by surprise. I believe that is what
24 the question is.
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes, I think that's what is being
1 put. What is your answer to it?
2 A. My answer is that I don't believe that it is
3 incredulous to say that there were tensions in the
4 region and all men of military age carried some sort of
5 weapon, whether sophisticated rifles or shotguns. But
6 our impression, according to our report, is that the
7 attack on the Muslims homes came so early in the
8 morning that most or a significant number of people who
9 were found dead were still barefoot, some of them in
10 their pyjamas, suggesting that they had simply fled
11 their homes very early in the morning, at the time of
12 the morning call to prayer.
13 I do not believe that Ahmici was a heavily
14 fortified village or that the civilians were on alert,
15 but it is true or possible that some of the local men
16 who were bearing arms anticipated potential trouble.
17 JUDGE MAY: Anything else?
18 MR. SAYERS: No further questions, Your
19 Honour. Thank you.
20 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
21 MR. NICE: I don't know if the Court is
22 taking a -- it's 4.00. Before the next
23 cross-examination starts, there are three matters I
24 want to raise, not just arising from the manner of the
25 cross-examination of Mr. Sayers, and they are these:
1 First, if -- and they arise because of experience with
2 the way matters are argued by my friends opposite.
3 First, if there are allegations to be put to
4 this witness of bias or lack of good faith or lack of
5 honesty, they better be put and they better be put
7 I've noticed again a reference to the common
8 employment of the witness with the Office of the
9 Prosecutor, and it would be foolish of those opposite
10 to think I'm sitting here not listening.
11 Second and more fundamental as not just an
12 oversight but an error of Mr. Sayers, I observed that
13 they are seeking to adopt wholesale passages of the
14 Blaskic defence. When challenged or asked why they
15 were putting what Blaskic said, they said it was their
17 Now, they know that in the Blaskic case,
18 right at the last minute, a complete and comprehensive
19 account of what actually happened in Ahmici was
20 produced in the form after the dated document, I think,
21 the 25th of May, the same time as the -- broadly, the
22 examination of events by this witness.
23 Now, as opposed to simply asking questions in
24 a critical way, if they are going to adopt the Blaskic
25 defence and this document which surfaced so late in the
1 history of the Blaskic defence, then that is what
2 should be being put to this witness to test his
3 conclusions against their case.
4 Third, because this witness is producing
5 conclusions, if they are saying any of his conclusions
6 are wrong, they should do so specifically and give him
7 a chance to answer them.
8 In my respectful submission, it would be
9 appropriate for those cross-examining for Kordic to
10 review those points that I've made and perhaps to put
11 matters so that I can deal with them in
13 JUDGE MAY: What is this document that you're
14 referring to, Mr. Nice?
15 MR. NICE: The report that was produced,
16 apparently a report on Ahmici by Sliskovic, produced on
17 May the 25th, 1993, and produced in the very last
18 minutes of Blaskic. Apparently it sets out what, from
19 one perspective, is said to have happened.
20 Now, if they're adopting the Blaskic defence,
21 that will be their defence in this case, and it is
22 incomprehensible to me that they would not be raising
23 the factual matters alleged there.
24 Of course, if they don't seek in any way to
25 adopt what was put in Blaskic as a document of
1 apparent record, however late in the day it surfaced
2 and however long it remained wherever it all was, then
3 that's all well and good, but that would still leave
4 outstanding the conclusions that they say this witness
5 should have reached different from the conclusions he
6 did reach.
7 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour --
8 JUDGE MAY: Judge Robinson points out quite
9 rightly you can put that in re-examination, if you
11 MR. NICE: I can deal with it, but I think,
12 with respect, the Defence should be putting their
13 questions quite clear on the topics which I've raised.
14 JUDGE MAY: I think we have their case on
15 Ahmici. I think it is to say, as I understand it, and
16 I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, that they have no
17 substantive case to put. They are testing the
18 Prosecution evidence that the village was defended;
19 there were Croat casualties; that they have no
20 explanation, as far as I can understand, as to how the
21 substantial Muslim casualties took place.
22 Now, Mr. Sayers, does that accurately
23 summarise your case on Ahmici or not?
24 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, I think you have
25 summarised our position more tersely than we have.
1 That is our position. There is no question that there
2 were hostilities. I stress that there is no suggestion
3 on the Defence's part that there was an attack by the
4 Muslims themselves. It's quite clear that there were
5 hostilities between HVO forces and some forces of
6 whatever magnitude on the Muslim side in the village,
7 that there were casualties on both the sides and that
8 an atrocity was committed. That is our position.
9 Why it is done, how it was done, we do not
10 know, and I think I have made the position of the
11 Defence clear before, and if I have not then I wish to
12 make the position clear now, and that is this: Our
13 client had nothing to do with it. But I think in terms
14 of the matters of detail which you just recited, we
15 would agree with all of them. That is indeed the
16 Defence's position, yes.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
18 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, my dear colleague,
19 Mr. Nice, just mentioned the document of May 25 entered
20 recently in the Blaskic case, signed by Sliskovic, and,
21 indeed, I was just preparing the questions for my cross
22 of the witness, and I would like to use that document.
23 Unfortunately, I was not able to get this document from
24 the Blaskic case, up to this moment. I will get it
25 probably in the next week or so.
1 Could I kindly ask the Prosecutor to give me
2 that document, since he has it and I've just heard
3 about it?
4 MR. NICE: Yes, he can have a copy.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
6 MR. NICE: I'll have to get him one. I
7 haven't got it immediately, but I can get him one.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Over the adjournment.
9 Now, Mr. Kovacic, we have another ten
10 minutes, quarter of an hour or so, which you might like
11 usefully to use to begin your cross-examination.
12 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I may, of course,
13 start, even though I would be glad to start tomorrow
14 morning, because again we have a problem, some
15 questions were taken by my dear colleague, Mr. Sayers,
16 and perhaps I will fall into the mistake and repeat
17 them. If I'm going through my notes this evening, I
18 will be much more productive tomorrow morning. But
19 whatever you decide.
20 JUDGE MAY: How long is your
21 cross-examination to be?
22 MR. KOVACIC: I don't want to make any wrong
23 forecast, but, with a certain tolerance, I think that I
24 could get it in one hour, I'm sure. Your Honour, just
25 with one small reserve: The witness obviously tends to
1 evaluate things which counsel cannot expect, so please
2 don't keep me to that.
3 JUDGE MAY: One hour and a bit.
4 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
5 JUDGE MAY: Tomorrow morning. When we've
6 concluded the examination of the witness, we will have
7 the Status Conference. I would like at that conference
8 to look again at the overview of witnesses which you
9 produced, Mr. Nice.
10 MR. NICE: Yes, certainly.
11 JUDGE MAY: You will be letting us have an
12 idea of whom you propose to call.
13 MR. NICE: Certainly.
14 JUDGE MAY: And the time estimate.
15 MR. NICE: As far as I can.
16 JUDGE MAY: Of course.
17 Yes, Mr. Stein?
18 MR. STEIN: On that point, I've actually
19 asked for, and I believe Mr. Nice will give us, a list
20 of who he's going to call for the fall, September
21 through December, in roughly the order he's going to
22 call them, and we'll be asking for a more precise list
23 for the first two weeks of the session.
24 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Any matters which you
25 want to raise, Mr. Stein or Mr. Kovacic, tomorrow will
1 be the time for us to take stock of how things have
2 been going and to deal with any matters.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Mr.
5 MR. STEIN: I've actually sent a letter to
6 Mr. Nice, and if Your Honour please, I will give you a
7 copy. It lays out the issues.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes, please.
9 MR. STEIN: Thank you, sir.
10 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Akhavan, will you be back,
11 please, at half past nine tomorrow morning?
12 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
14 4.10 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
15 the 5th day of August, 1999, at
16 9.30 a.m.