1 Tuesday, 12th October, 1999
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning Your Honours,
7 this is IT-95-14/2-T. The Prosector versus Dario
8 Kordic and Mario Cerkez.
9 JUDGE MAY: Paragraph, please, Mr. Nice.
10 MR. NICE: It's going to be paragraph 78.
11 WITNESS: HENDRIK MORSINK [Resumed]
12 Examined by Mr. Nice:
13 Q. But first I will ask the witness, Colonel
14 Morsink, whose diaries were made available to the
15 defence overnight, which were returned to him, as
16 promised, at half past eight this morning. I asked him
17 if he's been able to research those diaries for any
18 precise records of what was said by Cerkez on the 24th
19 of May, the subject of paragraph 68.
20 A. I found those paragraphs, Your Honour.
21 Q. This relates to what was said by Cerkez at
22 the Vitez local commission. Can you tell us now,
23 please, what Mr. Cerkez did say?
24 A. I recall that the discussion was quite
25 intense. Allegations that the ABiH was bringing in new
1 troops, reinforcements from Opara through a small
2 mountain trail, and this claim from Mr. Cerkez. And he
3 said that as a reaction to that the HVO is willing to
4 burn all Krusica down. And he explained to me that two
5 women and one child were killed at the front line. He
6 said that if they won't warn them, we will have it.
7 Q. Burning Kruscica based on what? Was this a
8 military explanation he gave you or something else?
9 A. Based on the allegations that the ABiH were
10 bringing in new troops.
11 Q. Was Kruscica a military target, in the sense
12 that it was a fortification or a base for --
13 A. Kruscica was a stronghold held by forces of
14 the ABiH, part of the 325 Mountain Brigade, under the
15 command of Mr. Sifet Sivro. And I guess that there is
16 some threat, if there really are fresh troops coming
17 in, but nevertheless, I think you can never threaten to
18 burn a whole village down only because of a military
20 It's part of the Geneva Convention not to
21 threaten or bring civilian houses or civilian people in
23 Q. We are looking at your note on the ELMO,
24 underneath the passage where it says the HVO is willing
25 to burn all Kruscica down. Then there is a reference
1 to two women and one child killed.
2 The next line reads how, please?
3 A. They claim that one man, a HVO man, is
5 Q. The line above that. The highlighted line.
6 A. If we won't warn, then we will have it.
7 Q. Who said that?
8 A. Mr. Cerkez said that.
9 Q. Let's turn on now, then, back to where we
10 were yesterday. Paragraph 78 in the summary. I would
11 be grateful if you wouldn't turn to the summary. It
12 may be difficult, but try and turn your mind to a
13 particular date. And the particular date I want you to
14 deal with is the 31st of May, but --
15 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice,
16 I am sorry to interrupt you, but we have these
17 witness's notes, this threat issued by Mr. Cerkez.
18 Could we -- could the witness tell us about the context
19 within which those threats were worded? Was Mr. Cerkez
20 expecting something, because we are given this
21 information, but we know nothing beyond the
22 information. We do not have the context in which this
23 was done. So the Chamber would like to know within
24 what context this conversation took place.
25 MR. NICE: I think the context was given
1 yesterday, and this was completing it. But please
2 remind us, Colonel, the context of these threats was
4 A. Your Honour, there was a discussion for a
5 long time about the encirclement of Kruscica. Kruscica
6 is a small village at the outskirts of Vitez. It's the
7 hillside. If you look at from a perspective of Vitez
8 itself, from the vicinity of Vitez, then you could say
9 that Kruscica is encircled. If you see it from a
10 larger perspective, then one could say that the whole
11 vicinity of Vitez is encircled because of all the
12 mountains around Vitez being controlled by ABiH.
13 This discussion took a lot of time, every
14 day, every meeting, and our point of view was to break
15 the human blockade in Kruscica so that we could be able
16 to bring the humanitarian aid into Kruscica. And the
17 HVO side found new excuses, almost every meeting, not
18 to be able to break this blockade. One of the new
19 excuses was that there was new troops coming in from
20 Opara, that means through the hills into Kruscica. So
21 the HVO explained to us that they experienced a danger
22 coming from Kruscica if this wasn't stopped by us. So
23 they asked us to stop new troops coming into Kruscica.
24 And the threats after that was that if we
25 could not stop it and this policy of reinforcements
1 went on, then HVO was willing to burn Kruscica down.
2 The fact is, that there were more than 5.000 people in
3 Kruscica, civilians, approximately one and a half
4 thousand original inhabitants, and approximately 3.000
5 refugees coming from outside.
6 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank
7 you. Does the witness think that the HVO had the --
8 Mr. Cerkez and the HVO had the means necessary to make
9 this threat true?
10 A. They had a lot of artillery available and
11 they had quite a large number of troops in Vitez. And
12 they already showed in other villages that they were
13 able to burn them down. So I think they were capable
14 of doing that.
15 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] And at
16 that moment they were held in Kruscica?
17 A. The ABiH was held in Kruscica itself, but the
18 front line was more or less half around Kruscica and
19 the back side was covered by the hill.
20 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] So the
21 military situation is that the HVO was encircled in
22 Kruscica, which was in the hands of the ABiH?
23 A. That's correct, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Is that
25 it? Thank you.
1 JUDGE MAY: The threat about war, Colonel.
2 Did Mr. Cerkez, as it appears on the transcript, say,
3 "If we want war we will have it," or was it, "If they
4 want war, they will have it"?
5 A. I wrote down during that meeting in my notes,
6 "If we want war, then we will have it."
7 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
8 MR. NICE:
9 Q. Colonel, if we move forward now to the 31st
10 of May, when there was a meeting of the local
11 commission in Kacuni of the Busovaca local commission,
12 was there, at that meeting, an imam present?
13 A. That's correct, Mr. Enver -- I forgot his
14 last name.
15 Q. Can you tell us, please, if he contributed
16 anything particular to that meeting?
17 A. I recall that he complained about his lack of
18 freedom of movement. Freedom of movement was promised
19 to him during one of the previous meetings and he still
20 hadn't got it, and he claimed that this order came from
21 Mr. Kordic. His car was taken away. He was not
22 allowed to walk freely on the roads in Busovaca. There
23 was a curfew especially for him and for his -- for the
24 Muslims in Busovaca, and this curfew was not active for
25 the local Croats in Busovaca.
1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, haven't we heard
2 evidence about this?
3 MR. NICE: It may be, but it's not a matter
4 that's agreed, and therefore I've been asked
5 specifically to deal with it in a non-leading way.
6 JUDGE MAY: Well, it can be taken fairly
8 MR. NICE: Yes. I've dealt with that, I
10 Q. On a similar basis, just "Yes" or "No", was
11 this meeting the subject of Croatian television and
12 radio broadcasts in Busovaca?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. Were the broadcasts accurate or not?
15 A. I was told later on by the ABiH side and by
16 Muslim representatives and by my interpreter --
17 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, I must object to
18 this. I don't mean to interrupt the Colonel, but this
19 sounds like double hearsay, because I think the Colonel
20 is saying that he was told about these broadcasts by
21 someone else. So you have the person telling the
22 Colonel about what was supposedly said on the
23 television broadcasts or radio broadcasts.
24 Once again, consistent with our prior
25 position, we have no objection to the introduction of
1 any tapes or videotapes of those programmes or
3 JUDGE MAY: You couldn't object to that.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE MAY: We agree. This is evidence very
6 much at second-hand, and in this particular case, we
7 don't think it assists.
8 MR. NICE: In fact, I think the witness was
9 protesting that the characterisation is double hearsay,
10 and I would have preferred the witness to have
11 explained his source of information before the ruling.
12 But if the Chamber would like --
13 JUDGE MAY: You may have done; we didn't ask
14 for it. Let us move on.
15 MR. NICE: So be it.
16 Q. We move to the 1st of June, which is, I
17 think, a Muslim holiday on that year. Mr. Alagic, the
18 commander of -- and I'm going to -- sorry, can I
19 interrupt? The next series of paragraphs, I'm told,
20 are not the subject of contention. In order to make
21 speed, I'm going to read rather more even than
23 Colonel Morsink, if you would attend to what
24 I'm reading from the summary and confine yourself to
25 answering "Yes", if it's accurate, and correcting
1 things that are substantially or significantly in
2 error, we'll make a bit of quick speed.
3 On the night of the 1st of June, Bajram, a
4 Muslim holiday, Mr. Alagic, the commander of the
5 operational group, ABiH Travnik, called a meeting
6 because he had been stopped at an HVO checkpoint. He
7 had been disarmed, as had his bodyguards. His vehicle
8 and property had been stolen. The HVO soldier who took
9 possession of the car, a person called Zute, had been
10 sought out later and had agreed to return the property
11 to Alagic on the orders of Nakic.
12 Later, Blaskic, through Alistair Duncan, sent
13 his apologies to Alagic for what had happened at this
14 irregular checkpoint and these uncontrolled elements,
15 this being an execution repeatedly used by the HVO
16 whenever crimes and atrocities were committed.
17 Is that correct?
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. Paragraph 82. Large-scale atrocities, in
20 which Muslim villages or selected Muslim parts of
21 villages in Central Bosnia had been burned, could not,
22 in your judgement, be attributed to uncontrolled
23 elements because the HVO in Central Bosnia, under
24 Blaskic's command, had enough soldiers and police to
25 eliminate uncontrolled elements, again in your
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. Turning to the 2nd of June, was there a
4 meeting of the joint command headquarters at Travnik,
5 the situation in the city being very tense, the ABiH
6 having taken over a lot of the city buildings, and the
7 HVO complaining about the taking of various things?
8 Were the allegations of the HVO investigated, turning
9 out to be unfounded yet again?
10 A. Yes. The main item was the Dom HVO. That's
11 the main building of the HVO, and this building was
12 claimed to be destroyed. We visited the building. A
13 few items were stolen, but the building was intact and
14 was usable.
15 Q. Had anti-tank rockets hit the Solitar and
16 Gorazde apartment buildings, and did you establish that
17 the rounds had been fired from the HVO barracks at
18 Bilici, and did a joint ABiH and HVO police force guard
19 those buildings at night, with Merdan suggesting a
20 joint patrol for the whole city?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. On this same day, the 2nd of June, did both
23 sides complain that Blaskic and Hadzihasanovic never
24 attended the Travnik joint command?
25 A. That's correct as well.
1 Q. At a follow-up meeting on the 3rd of June in
2 Travnik, was it revealed that the joint patrol of the
3 previous night had been effective, the HVO claiming
4 that more Croats had been forced from their houses,
5 however, fighting breaking out from the HVO side at Han
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. Alagic stated he had restrained his troops
9 and stopped them fighting back?
10 A. That's correct as well. He was concerned
11 about the front lines towards the Bosnian Serb army,
12 where still HVO and ABiH forces were fighting together.
13 Q. In Travnik, were there a number of complaints
14 made in relation to stamps and flags used by the HVO,
15 the ABiH feeling that the flags and stamps of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, as internationally recognised,
17 should be used and not the ones using the Croat
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. Did you return to Vitez, to be informed that
21 Blaskic had appointed five liaison officers for
22 Travnik, Busovaca, Vitez, and one at his own level?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. That only, I think, makes four. In any case,
25 liaison officers?
1 A. Then there's one place missing. As I recall
2 it, it's Kiseljak, Busovaca, Vitez, Travnik, and one
3 for his own operational zone level.
4 Q. On the 4th of June, did the situation in
5 Travnik deteriorate, with roadblocks and a number of
6 mines on the road and the starting of shooting and
8 A. That's correct. There was intense fighting
9 in the streets of Travnik. My own car was hit several
10 times. And later that day, we were evacuated by
11 British forces.
12 Q. You were able or unable to make contact with
13 the joint command?
14 A. There was no contact possible with the joint
15 command. We had our own radio means to call BritBat
16 for help.
17 Q. On that same day, the 4th of June, did you go
18 to both Busovaca and Vitez, discovering a new argument
19 arising with the HVO in Busovaca, who refused
20 altogether to negotiate with the ABiH commanding
21 officer on the ground that this officer was too junior
22 to make important decisions such as those about
24 A. That's correct. The HVO side in Busovaca
25 claims that Mr. Mekic, whom we had been speaking with
1 during all the previous meetings, was no longer the
2 right person to talk with, since he had no mandate,
3 according to the HVO. And the same thing happened in
4 Vitez, where they claimed that Sifet Sivro, commander
5 of the brigade, ABiH, the 325 Mountain Brigade, was no
6 longer a partner in the discussions since he had no
7 mandate as well.
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice,
9 once again in this testimony, I should like to seize
10 the opportunity to tell you that you need to focus on
11 things that are, indeed, pertinent from the point of
12 view of the case before us. I believe that all this
13 context, all the details, everything that happened in
14 that region, need not really be all that pertinent to
15 the case before us. All these events need to be
16 related to the case before us, because as you know, we
17 do have the problem of time. We have a very tight
18 schedule, and I do beg you to bear it always in mind,
19 and we need to finish the testimony of this witness by
20 the end of today's session.
21 MR. NICE: Two points, or three.
22 First, I suspect that a full history of
23 events will be of value to the Tribunal. Second, the
24 judgement that I and my team make on what is material
25 is reflected in the document, and matters that are not
1 contentious occupy very little time indeed, but the
2 full matrix for you to consider will be made
3 available. Third, if and where, by prereading the
4 document, the Chamber is quite sure that material is
5 not required, we can, of course, eliminate it.
6 As it is, the last few paragraphs, I think,
7 have taken just a few minutes of your time but have
8 flushed out the picture very fully, and I hope that
9 this presentation will ultimately be shown to be of
10 value to you.
11 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, can I follow that?
12 This is entirely with respect to the witness, of
13 course, who has come here at considerable
14 inconvenience, no doubt, to tell us about his
15 experiences. The question really is whether we are
16 assisted by this degree of detail about precisely
17 everything that happened in the Lasva Valley during the
18 time. Now, the Prosecution are initially in the best
19 position to judge that. We would be grateful if you
20 would consider whether we actually need all this detail
21 as time goes by.
22 MR. NICE: We'll do our best to make it ever
23 briefer. What one can't ever forecast with precision
24 is where events, for example, events of
25 non-cooperation, will fit in at the end with a picture
1 and a more detailed picture of the individual
2 defendant's involvement, and that's why that matrix may
3 be of value. But, of course, I'm only too glad to
4 eliminate matters that the Chamber feels or is
5 satisfied are unlikely to help.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, that would be
8 I'm going to have to announce a few hearings
9 in November. There's another case which the Trial
10 Chamber has got to deal with, and it's going to take
11 some afternoons. But I'll deal with that in due
12 course. But again, that has a bearing on what we've
13 been saying.
14 MR. NICE: Indeed.
15 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps you could take this
16 matter fairly rapidly.
17 MR. NICE: Certainly, yes.
18 Q. On the 5th of June, there were the two shells
19 that -- or two shells fell on Zenica. The local
20 commission had the usual complaints of ceasefire, with
21 counter-allegations by the HVO; correct?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. Mistreatment of Croats in Zenica was
24 alleged. Following that, on the 6th of June, there was
25 a meeting with Jozic at the HVO Brigade headquarters in
1 Vitez; the blockade in Kruscica still in place; the HVO
2 requesting the evacuation of 10.000 Croats from Guca
3 Gora; BritBat announcing the HVO were withdrawing from
4 Travnik and, "We're going to burn the archives"?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. The 7th of June, I think you managed to get
7 into Travnik via the help of BritBat. You found 130
8 wounded men in the hospital. There was an evacuation
9 of one wounded man and some women agreed upon, but that
10 failed because the HVO checkpoint at Dolac was unable
11 to cooperate or declined to cooperate?
12 A. I think there were 13 wounded selected by the
13 doctor, male and female from all kinds of origin, so
14 Croats and Muslims.
15 Q. Document 1024, which I can deal with, I
16 think, very briefly to identify this. It's a report of
17 the 7th of June and it's at page 5, paragraph 20. I
18 think that's the only paragraph or possibly one other.
19 5th of June, Kiseljak reported the area of
20 Novi Travnik, T-junction shelled, and then an account
21 of the injuries and the account of a humanitarian
22 convoy being targeted.
23 And if you go over several pages to paragraph
24 60 on page 11 for a highlight. Kiseljak reporting
25 intimidation against remaining Muslim families in Vitez
1 and surrounding villages. Conducted allegation of
2 Jokeri perpetration.
3 I think you know about these Jokers; is that
5 A. Yes, I do know about them.
6 Q. The next document, and I am going to go as
7 fast as we can now, for general speed, because the
8 documents can speak for themselves and be incorporated
9 in closing argument documents wherever appropriate.
10 But this is another document dated the 7th of June.
11 If we could look at Zenica, at page 9, a note
12 that it's dealt with -- various Zenica matters are
13 dealt with on page 9 and onwards. We will incorporate
14 this in closing arguments and the defence will notice
15 that it exists.
16 Can we move to the 8th of June. And this is
17 something I have to deal with other than by leading,
18 but nevertheless I'll set the scene. Did you receive
19 reports on the 8th of June about fighting in Guca Gora?
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. What was the state of the HVO headquarters?
22 What was being complained of?
23 A. I was informed by BritBat and by my own
24 hearing. I heard the explosions, that there was
25 fighting going on in the area of Guca Gora. And we
1 went to the operational zone headquarters in Vitez, the
2 HVO headquarters, to get extra information. And the
3 soldiers at the door and the officers inside the
4 headquarters seemed more or less in panic. They begged
5 us for help to save their people. And explained to us
6 that large atrocities were going on in the area of Guca
7 Gora, that the old Catholic church in Guca Gora was in
8 flames, and that thousands of people were fleeing
9 towards Vitez.
10 Q. Guca Gora, incidentally, can be seen on the map
11 we were looking at yesterday on the top left-hand
12 corner. This map here. If you just simply place it on
13 the ELMO.
14 Did you meet the man Alagic?
15 A. Yes. I went to Travnik to meet Alagic and
16 the responsible commander at the ABiH site.
17 Q. What was he able to help you with?
18 A. He was able to escort us to Guca Gora itself,
19 and he suggested to bring a Catholic priest from
20 Travnik with us. And with the help of the British
21 Battalion we went to Guca Gora that same day.
22 Q. What was your intelligence about what the HVO
23 were doing at this area?
24 A. We were told that the HVO was withdrawing
25 from Guca Gora or already had withdrawn from Guca Gora.
1 And HVO told us that there was a lot of fighting going
2 on and a lot of damage.
3 Q. What was happening so far as the crossing of
4 lines was concerned, and the HVO soldiers crossing
5 lines to VRS?
6 A. During that same meeting with Alagic, we were
7 told by Mr. Alagic himself that the front lines towards
8 the Serbs, the HVO positions had been handed over. A
9 large part of the HVO soldiers, together with Croat
10 civilians, fled to the Serb side. And that the ABiH
11 had been able to close the front line again and to take
12 over the old HVO positions.
13 Q. Did you have intelligence as to what was
14 happening to HVO soldiers who declined to cross those
16 A. Yes. Some of them refused. Quite a large
17 group stayed with the ABiH and fought together with
18 them against the Serbs. And some of the soldiers were
19 threatened and killed because they refused to cross the
20 lines. British reconnaissance cleared that situation
21 and found a lot of left behind luggage and civilian
22 cars and weapons on the road.
23 Q. Thank you very much. 95. Colonel Alagic
24 went with you to Guca Gora, we've just dealt with that,
25 to prove that what was being said by the HVO was
1 rumours; is that right?
2 A. That's right. We saw ourselves the church in
3 Guca Gora. There were no HVO soldiers in Guca Gora.
4 There was no visible damage in Guca Gora. The church
5 was intact, and approximately 200 civilians were hiding
6 in the church, and UNHCR was already present.
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. We found one injured man. When the British
9 soldiers searched the streets of Guca Gora, they found
10 one man killed, shot through the head. And this
11 injured man inside the church, we treated the man and
12 brought him to Nova Bila Hospital.
13 Q. The international press, what were they
15 A. The press did not come with us. They
16 broadcasted the news from the point of view of the
17 Croats during the evening, international press. They
18 broadcasted that the old church of Guca Gora was in
19 flames, and that many hundreds of Croats had been
21 Q. Look at some photographs very briefly to show
22 what you were able to find and show the falsity of what
23 was being said. 1835 is one of the photographs in the
24 pack. That's that one. And it's the following
25 photographs, 1836 and 2123.
1 This photograph shows --
2 A. It shows one of the British vehicles, a
3 British liaison officer, and an interpreter, my
4 colleague monitor, and our interpreter, and on the
5 left-hand side the Catholic priest from Travnik coming
6 with us to see with his own eyes what actually was true
7 and what was untrue.
8 Q. Next photograph, 1836. The church said to
9 have been --
10 A. That's the old church in Guca Gora, the
11 Catholic church. It's still intact. Nothing damaged.
12 Q. And then 2123.
13 A. This is a view from the front side of the
14 church in the southern direction, and within the circle
15 you can see smoke coming from a Muslim village, set
16 ablaze as a revenge for the allegations in Guca Gora.
17 Q. And the name of that village is?
18 A. Bandol.
19 Q. Thank you. Turning to the documentary
21 Could you just again record 1031 as the next
23 You set out these allegations -- this history
24 on the first page, I think.
25 A. The first page, it's the introduction by
1 Mr. Thebault.
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. And the second and third page are written
4 about Mr. Watters and myself.
5 Q. They set out in detail the summary you've
6 given, and again it will be available for analysis at a
7 later stage. There should also be 103,1 there as
8 well. I trust the Chamber has.
9 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] I think
10 that the Chamber has understood that there were
11 unfounded rumours. I think, Mr. Nice, you can go
12 forward now, at least so far as the proceedings now are
13 concerned. If you wish to come back to that, perhaps
14 later on, you can always come back to that. We have
15 the document and we know now that there were rumours
16 that had no foundation. I think we can cover all this
17 very, very quickly now.
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. On the 9th of June there is another passage
20 that I am not in a position to lead, so I shall. Did
21 you make a further visit to Guca Gora?
22 A. That's correct. We met with the
23 representatives, the UNHCR, the night before, and made
24 a plan together with the British Battalion to evacuate
25 the 200 people, the Croat people in the Guca Gora
1 church. And with the help of BritBat we managed to
2 bring these people to the Nova Bila Hospital. They
3 didn't need treatment in the hospital, but that was the
4 most common place to bring them to.
5 Q. Did you reach an agreement with Merdan?
6 A. That's correct. Mr. Merdan being from the
7 3rd Corps army ABiH, gave us permission to organise
8 this, and with help of Alagic, being the commander on
9 scene, we were able to cross the lines. And we had
10 some problems at a Muslim checkpoint, but we finally
11 solved that problem and after a few hours we were able
12 to evacuate those people.
13 Q. In light of what Judge Bennouna has said, can
14 I just deal with this in this way. Was it false
15 propaganda that lead to Croats fleeing towards Vitez
16 and Nova Bila?
17 A. Yes, it was.
18 Q. I can read the next five paragraphs, but
19 there are some documents to look at.
20 At that time did you also meet the HVO
21 commander, a man who threatened to kill you if you ever
22 went to Kruscica again?
23 A. That's correct. It was at the same Nova Bila
24 hospital when we brought in the 200 people.
25 Q. And this man -- 2533 is the photograph we
1 looked at yesterday. This is the man you described as
2 the red-faced man?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Did you know who his commander was?
5 A. I believe his commander was Mr. Cerkez, since
6 he accompanied Mr. Cerkez during the first meeting
7 where all his battalion commanders were available, were
9 THE INTERPRETER: Will you ask the witness
10 and counsel to slow down, please.
11 MR. NICE:
12 Q. On the 10th of June did you go to Visiko and
13 Split, or via Visiko to Split, and discover a lot of
14 fighting in Kakanj and the Vares area?
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. That's set out at documents 1040 and 1041,
17 which I think we are going to take as read for these
18 purposes. Oh, yes. It sets out -- deals with the
19 Convoy of Joy, but I think the Chamber is now well
20 familiar with that. So we can just deal with -- leave
21 the document in.
22 On the 17th of June -- yes, I think I've
23 included 1040 and 1041.
24 On the 17th of June, Colonel, were you
25 briefed that no evidence could be found of massacres or
1 of mass destruction, but that a lot of houses had been
2 robbed, and that in Kakanj a lot of Croats had fled to
3 the Serb side?
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. This was in relation to allegations made of
7 A. The same allegations as in the Guca Gora
8 area, that there were large atrocities being done
9 against the Croat community, and there were large
10 threats, and that's the reason why people fled to the
11 other side.
12 Q. On the 18th of June, did you visit Vitez,
13 there being no changes in the front -- right. I'm so
14 sorry. I am going too fast. I am trying to listen to
15 the French translation to see when the questions end,
16 in order not to disturb the interpreters.
17 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice,
18 to finish this question of propaganda, false
19 propaganda. Propaganda is always a bit false, but
20 regarding this business of propaganda, does the Colonel
21 know why, according to him, the HVO resorted to this
22 propaganda to make Croats flee towards the Serb lines?
23 What was the motivation, in your opinion, Colonel?
24 What was the reason?
25 A. We discussed this very often, Your Honour, in
1 the ECMM headquarters with Mr. Thebault and the other
2 monitors. And my belief and our belief is that they
3 were interested in certain areas, and that's the reason
4 why they pulled all the Croats from outside into those
5 areas and they were not interested in other areas. So
6 they more or less gave them up and tried to save the
7 lives of the Croats living in those areas.
8 And by making a deal with the Bosnian Serb
9 side, a deal of safe passage, maybe for money or
10 weapons, they could save the lives from people living
11 in areas they were not interested in.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. Sir, I think in the terminology of the area,
14 there is ethnic cleansing and there is also reverse
15 ethnic cleansing. Is that a terminology with which you
16 are familiar?
17 A. I never used that terminology, but I
18 understand what you mean.
19 Q. And does that terminology fit with the
20 answers you've just given to the judge?
21 A. Yes, it does.
22 Q. Paragraph 100. On the 18th of June, Colonel,
23 did you visit Vitez, no changes in the front lines had
24 occurred, but neither side had respected the
25 ceasefire. Soldiers killed every day. About 11.000,
1 mainly Croat refugees by now arrived at Vitez, of whom
2 4.000 stayed. The rest going to Busovaca and Novi
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. Still no access to Kruscica and on the 19th
6 of June, I mustn't lead, did you meet Grubesic from the
7 HVO in Busovaca?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. He said -- what did he say by way of --
10 A. There were claims about civilians being
11 forced to dig trenches, again in the same village of
12 Skradno, and he didn't deny it. He more or less
13 agreed. And he explained that a lot of his soldiers
14 had been killed the night before, and that angry
15 civilians, may be relatives of those soldiers, forced
16 civilians from the other side, civilians from Skradno,
17 to dig the trenches. He, by then, was aware of the
18 fact that this was a -- against the Geneva Convention,
19 since I told him several times.
20 Q. This is dealt with in various reports.
21 1073,1, again it may be the Busovaca entry where you
22 record, and just before the middle of the page, "HVO
23 reported specific --" is that it, or special orders?
24 A. Special orders -- I don't see the difference
25 between specific or special.
1 Q. All right. "On new ceasefire agreement.
2 Calm today. Not aware that forcing civilians to dig
3 trenches is regarded as a war crime."
4 A. Yeah, but that's the point of view of the
5 HVO. I'm sure that they must be aware, since I told
6 them more than once.
7 Q. 1084,1, a document of your own. You deal
8 again under paragraph 5 with rumours and with
9 confidence building.
10 Over the page, five lines down, "The HVO
11 brigade commander admitted that civilians were forced
12 to dig trenches, but stated the BiH did the same, and
13 stated that his people were very bitter because of
14 soldiers killed, promising to stop the violation of the
15 Geneva Convention."
16 The photographs to look at are 1711, which is
17 a picture of a man in a beret. Who is that?
18 A. He's the HVO brigade commander in Busovaca,
19 Mr. Grubesic.
20 Q. Whom you were speaking?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Thank you. The map we've already looked at.
23 Paragraph 103, which I can read. On that
24 same day, the 9th of June, did you go to Rankovici, a
25 mainly Croat village close to Novi Travnik, where five
1 trucks missing from the Convoy of Joy were found, only
2 one intact, the rest having been robbed?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. On the 20th of June did you go to investigate
5 the allegation of a massacre and of HVO prisoners in
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. A predominantly Muslim area, finding no
9 evidence of a massacre, Croats gathered in five houses
10 there, the women and children were free to move. The
11 local commander explaining that the HVO had abandoned
12 the place?
13 A. That is correct.
14 Q. This being set out in the next written
15 document, 1085. Various paragraphs refer and you make
16 reference to the trucks and so on. But the document
17 can speak for itself, unless Mr. Scott draws to my
18 attention anything that absolutely requires our
19 valuable time now. Yes.
20 Perhaps it's worth seeing. Just towards the
21 foot of the page, beside, "VOPP" Vance-Owen Plan. A
22 record of the HVO being glad that the plan was dead.
23 Can you explain that at all?
24 A. This is also a discussion that happened that
25 last few days several times during all kinds of
1 meetings with HVO, and they explained to us that they
2 never believed in the plan and they were glad it was
3 finally dead.
4 Q. Paragraph 105. On the 21st of June, did you
5 try to get again to Senkovici, coming under Serb fire?
6 A. That's correct.
7 Q. Eventually, five weeks after your first
8 attempt and with UNHCR support, getting to Kruscica to
9 deliver aid?
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. Was the civilian roadblock still in place,
12 and you used the secondary road, opened on the order of
13 Colonel Blaskic?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. Was this a road the existence of which you
16 had earlier not known of?
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. Did it appear to you that there was anything
19 that actually would have stopped your using this road
20 throughout the five-week period, had you been informed
21 of its existence?
22 A. No. According to my opinion, we could have
23 used that road any day if there was any help from the
25 Q. Your concern, over the five-week period, had
1 been to get much-needed humanitarian aid into this
3 A. That's correct. We pleaded for that several
4 times, nearly every day. And I tried to force myself
5 through the roadblock several times, but I never
6 managed it myself.
7 Q. 106, I must not lead. Were you aware of a
8 fax sent by Mate Boban to Morillon on the 22nd of June?
9 A. I was informed of that by the ambassador,
10 Mr. Thebault, during one of our meetings in Zenica.
11 Q. Were you aware of the content of that fax?
12 A. I can't fully recall it, but the contents
13 were again about atrocities being done against Croats
14 and Mr. Boban asking Mr. Morillon to save his people
15 and to help the Croats finally.
16 Q. Did this make reference to Catholic sacred
18 A. Yes. He also spoke about or wrote in his fax
19 about allegations that the holy Catholic places like
20 churches were being damaged by the ABiH side.
21 Q. In reality, what was the position so far as
22 Catholic churches and mosques and minarets is
24 A. We hardly at any -- found any damage on
25 Catholic churches so far, and we checked a lot of them,
1 and there was a lot of damage on the minarets and
2 mosques on the Muslim side.
3 Q. The attitude of the clerics? Catholic
4 priests, for example.
5 A. I found some of the priests very helpful,
6 like Father Stjepan from Zenica. Some of the others
7 were fairly radical in their thoughts.
8 Q. Were they free to practice their religion and
9 move in areas otherwise dominated by Muslims?
10 A. As far as I know, they were, almost all of
11 them, free to practice their masses and Catholic
13 Q. On the other hand, in Busovaca, what was the
14 position of the imam there?
15 A. He was certainly not free to move, and he was
16 not able to do his services.
17 Q. Paragraph 108, I must not lead. On the 23rd
18 of June, did you go to collect your interpreter from
20 A. That's correct. That's my interpreter,
21 Marijana, a Croat interpreter. She lived near
23 Q. Did she, first of all, tell you what had
24 happened so far as Muslims in Kiseljak were concerned?
25 A. Yes. She told me that the days before, all
1 remaining Muslims had been forced out of the area of
2 Kiseljak, and she also told me that she heard a radio
3 broadcast that all Croats should be prepared and --
4 pack their luggage and belongings and be prepared to
5 flee to Ilidza. Ilidza is close to Sarajevo, in Serb
6 hands. He also stated on that same radio broadcast,
7 according to my interpreter, that Mr. Kordic was no
8 longer allowed to negotiate with the ABiH side.
9 Q. The place --
10 JUDGE MAY: Who said that?
11 A. I heard this from my interpreter, Marijana,
12 and she told me that Mr. Boban said this in a radio
13 broadcast. I had to rely on my interpreter, as I did
14 for three months.
15 MR. NICE:
16 Q. The place to which the evacuating Croats
17 would have to go was where?
18 A. A place called Ilidza, and that's a place
19 near Sarajevo. At that time, Ilidza was in Serb hands.
20 Q. Did you try to meet the local joint
21 commission of Kacuni, but did the HVO not show up?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. I can read right down to paragraph 116, and I
24 shall do so swiftly.
25 Shuttle diplomacy on the 24th of June.
1 On the 25th of June -- I'm sorry, I should
2 have produced Exhibit 1102,1, which I now do. That
3 records what you've just been telling us about Muslims
4 being ordered to leave Kiseljak. That's in the first
5 paragraph. Thank you.
6 So the 25th of June, you were working on the
7 evacuation of patients from Nova Bila hospital, meeting
8 local commanders in Kacuni, and the HVO still holding a
9 number of soldiers and civilians. That's dealt with in
10 the next document, 1122, page 8. Thank you very much.
11 It may be that this will help the Court.
12 Under the "Travnik" entry: "Attended a meeting of
13 senior Croat political representatives from Vitez, Novi
14 Travnik, Travnik, and Busovaca. The meeting was used
15 as an opportunity to question ECMM policy on population
16 moves from Travnik to Zenica. The meeting was informed
17 that ECMM would not be involved, and a lively debate
18 followed. When asked if the HVO/HDZ interest in such
19 moves was the pursuit of a political policy, this was
20 denied. When it was stated by --"
21 Who is that, Colonel?
22 A. Head of CC Travnik.
23 Q. Thank you. "... representatives from
24 Travnik and Guca Gora had made enquires about
25 returning, he was informed that this was not
1 appropriate and care should be taken about who ECMM
2 talked to. The attempt to silence any alternative view
3 has insidious overtones, and HCC was pleased to inform
4 the meeting that the ECMM would seek the views of those
5 they chose."
6 Colonel, how does this fit in with the
7 question Judge Bennouna asked you earlier and the
8 answer you gave?
9 A. It gives a clear summary of my point of view,
10 that they asked us to check allegations again and
11 again, and if we gave them the answers of our findings,
12 then they say, "Well, you have to look at another
13 place. You probably didn't look proper or didn't find
14 the right place or didn't look at the right place."
15 Q. Thank you. 26th of June, evacuation of 24
16 patients from Travnik; one group to Nova Bila, one to
17 Vitez, and a third to Kruscica.
18 The 28th of June, a meeting of the provincial
19 government of Travnik --
20 A. Your Honour, this was the first day that we
21 really were able to break the human blockade in
22 Kruscica, since we had to bring cured patients to Nova
23 Bila and to Kruscica. One of the doctors from Nova
24 Bila assisted us, and he was able to convince the
25 civilians at the roadblock to step aside and to let us
2 Q. 28th of June, meeting of the provincial
3 government of Travnik, with Muslim and Croat
4 representatives. Muslims refused to speak to the HVO.
5 You were mediating. The commander of 308 Brigade in
6 Novi Travnik told you of capturing tanks and howitzers,
7 guns, and anti-aircraft guns?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. Document Z1129, please. This is a list,
10 essentially, of killed and missing. Can you help with
11 this, please?
12 A. Yes. This was a list I got from
13 Mr. Skopljak. The first page is a translation.
14 Q. Yes.
15 A. The second page is his introduction, and then
16 there's the list itself. He handed me this list at the
17 29th of June, or it was supplied the 29th of June,
18 consisting of missing, dead, and imprisoned Croat
20 Q. Were you able, in due course, to check the
21 accuracy or otherwise of this list?
22 A. The normal procedure was to hand a list like
23 this over to the ICRC in Zenica, and they would take
24 care of finding missing people, and organising the
25 exchange of imprisoned people, and, if possible,
1 finding the dead people.
2 Q. Paragraph 114. On the 30th of June, an
3 attempt to revive the joint commission in Vitez; ABiH
4 side cancelled because they had too much to do in
5 Zepce; Nakic told you that the ABiH had attacked the
6 HVO from three sides and that the HVO, with 40.000
7 refugees, had been forced to flee to VRS territory; the
8 ABiH told you later that in reality the HVO was
9 cooperating with the VRS in the area and that they had
10 deliberately withdrawn in order to give room to VRS to
11 move in?
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. Document 1132, page 1.
14 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,
15 Mr. Nice. What the colonel has just said, and I'm
16 addressing myself to the witness, does this come from
17 the same motivation that he gave us a moment ago, and
18 that is the withdrawal of a population towards a
19 territory of interest to the HVO, while seeding another
20 less-interesting part to someone else which one could
21 describe as a fresh occupation of territory by the
22 Croat population?
23 A. According to my opinion, Your Honour, Zepce,
24 north of Zenica, was a small enclave which the HVO
25 could not hold for a long time. I think that they were
1 not interested in Zepce at all, so they withdrew all
2 the people from Zepce to a safe area for them, being
3 Serb-held territory, and then travel through safe area
4 maybe towards Croatia or towards another part of
6 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] In your
7 opinion, Colonel, was there an agreement between the
8 HVO and VRS regarding these movements?
9 A. I never saw an agreement myself, but I'm sure
10 that there was a local -- at least a local agreement to
11 give people safe passage. If not, in a war situation
12 with two armies opposite each other in a front line,
13 you can never cross this line with a whole unit and
14 with thousands of civilians without any casualties, so
15 there must be an agreement.
16 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 MR. NICE:
18 Q. Picking up on Judge Bennouna's concerns and
19 questions, I think -- I don't know that I need take you
20 back to it, but in one of your earlier documents, that
21 is, 1122, for the 28th of June in relation to Zenica,
22 did you say that there was testimony on Muslim ethnic
23 cleansing in Central Bosnia -- it's page 9 -- evidence
24 that there is some HVO policy to move Croats to major
25 Croat centres, and in the south there is growing
1 tension against the Muslims? Did you say that,
3 A. That's correct, yes.
4 Q. But following on from the question that
5 you've just been asked, any collusion or agreement
6 between the HVO and the Serbs, what significance would
7 that have for HVO resources and their availability for
8 use against Muslims?
9 A. HVO forces withdraw from the area of Travnik
10 were sighted later on in the area of Bugojno and
11 further south, so they were able to use these forces
12 again. I don't know whether they had to hand in the
13 weapons, but there wasn't a shortage of small arms, so
14 they could use the soldiers themselves again on other
15 front lines.
16 Q. Of course, self-evidently, if there was
17 collaboration between the HVO and the Serbs, it becomes
18 two to one as against the ABiH?
19 A. That's correct. They gave the ABiH side a
20 hard time regaining the lost ground when HVO troops
21 gave themselves in.
22 Q. Paragraph 115. Was it your judgement at that
23 time that the Serbs had little remaining interest in
24 claiming Herceg-Bosna?
25 A. There was no sign of Serbs attacking HVO
1 positions at the front lines any more. Most of the
2 times, they attacked the ABiH positions.
3 Q. On the 1st of July, did you hear of heavy
4 fighting all over the Lasva Valley, and did you make a
5 round trip of different hospitals in Busovaca and
6 Travnik, noting that in Croat-led hospitals, there was
7 better equipment?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. But the patients in the Busovaca hospital
10 were all Croats, whereas the patients in the
11 ABiH-controlled hospital in Travnik were more mixed?
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. That's dealt with in document 1132,1, which I
14 produce but I don't think we need focus on.
15 Paragraph 117, I must not lead. Did you, on
16 the 2nd of July, go to Busovaca in relation to drivers
17 of trucks belonging to Medecins du Monde and Medecins
18 sans Frontieres?
19 A. That's correct. I was informed by telephone,
20 by representative of Medecins du Monde, that four
21 trucks with goods belonging to them were taken off the
22 road in Busovaca by HVO soldiers. The next morning, I
23 picked up one of the male representatives of Medecins
24 du Monde, and we tried to go to Busovaca. But the road
25 was blocked, the Lasva road we normally use, so it took
1 us a long time to get to Busovaca.
2 We spoke to the chief of police,
3 Mr. Ljubesic, and in the beginning he agreed in
4 releasing the four truck drivers. But we claimed that
5 we also wanted the trucks and the cargo back, since it
6 was international cargo meant for supplies -- UNHCR
7 supplies in Zenica and for some specific hospitals,
8 donated by the western countries. He told us, this
9 chief of police, that he needed let's say the green
10 light from the chief of police in Mostar, so he was not
11 able to decide, himself.
12 We tried to find Mr. Grubesic, the brigade
13 commander of the HVO. He was not available for us, and
14 we were told that we had to come back the next day and
15 then we would get drivers and trucks and cargo back.
16 So the 3rd of July, we went to Busovaca
17 again. The roadblock was still there. With the
18 assistance of British Battalion, two Warrior vehicles,
19 we tried to make our way to the location where the
20 trucks were. We found the drivers in good shape, but
21 the HVO soldiers were already unloading the trucks. We
22 protested against that. Then these soldiers threatened
23 me with their weapons. They threatened to kill me and
24 my interpreter if we wouldn't leave within 15 minutes
25 and take just the drivers with us. We refused. With
1 the help of BritBat, we finally managed to get the
2 drivers and the trucks, but we lost the cargo.
3 We made a large protest at the brigade
4 headquarters. Mr. Grubesic, the chief of police, was
5 no longer available, and finally we returned with
6 drivers and empty trucks to Zenica.
7 Q. One last question on that topic. On the
8 second visit, the 3rd of July, what did Grubesic say
9 about authority he needed to release the trucks?
10 A. He told me that he needed authority from his
11 commanding officer, being Mr. Blaskic in Vitez.
12 Q. Did he indicate whether he got it or not?
13 A. I don't recall that, whether he had
14 permission or not. Finally, we got trucks and drivers.
15 Q. Two documents that deal with this are 1136,1
16 and 1138. I think they cover the territory, and I
17 produce them, or the witness does.
18 I can now read right the way down to 121, and
19 that's to say right up until any other conclusions of
20 the witness.
21 Paragraph 118. Throughout your tenure, did
22 you see special forces in the area, especially close to
23 the village of Nadioci? In a restaurant in that
24 village, nearly every day were there well-armed men in
25 black uniforms who you judged to be extremists, well
1 armed, and seen by you at various front lines and in
2 Vitez? Did they also have an HVO truck with a
3 three-barrel anti-aircraft gun mounted on it and a
4 buffalo horn or something similar on the front, and is
5 that a truck you had also seen in Busovaca?
6 A. That's correct.
7 Q. Did you also see individual soldiers from
8 time to time wearing uniforms with HV insignias; you
9 once asked a man about such a uniform, and he replied
10 that uniforms were hard to obtain so he had simply
11 taken one with the HV insignia?
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. Did you also once see a tank which may have
14 come from Croatia, and did you once see an HV
15 helicopter landing in the area, being informed of other
16 sightings of helicopters at the ammunitions factory in
18 A. Well, the tank was more an anti-aircraft gun,
19 a double-barrelled heavy gun. A ZFU 54-2, I guess it
21 Q. 1139,1 would be the next exhibit. I'm not
22 sure that we need trouble with it, actually. It's one
23 of your documents. We'll produce it, please, 1139,1.
24 Paragraph 120. Did you form the view that
25 the ABiH in general was poorly or badly uniformed, many
1 of them wearing civilian or part-civilian clothes?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. And were they less well armed with
4 less-sophisticated equipment than the HVO?
5 A. That's correct as well.
6 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me.
7 Mr. Nice, I should like to go back to the paragraph
8 119. The witness saw the HV helicopters, if I
9 understood him properly, or did he hear those
10 helicopters? Could you be more precise regarding the
11 fact of helicopters belonging to HV in that region?
12 Did you see them or hear them?
13 MR. NICE: [Previous interpretation
14 continues]... heard one or saw others, but I'll ask the
15 witness to give his own unled reply.
16 A. Your Honour, I saw one HIP-type helicopter
17 landing at the ammunition factory site west of Vitez.
18 I heard several helicopters during other occasions, and
19 I heard from my colleague ECMM monitors that they
20 sometimes saw a helicopter as well. So I only sighted
21 one myself.
22 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Very
23 well. So you saw yourself one HV helicopter that is
24 belonging to the Croatian army and you heard from other
25 ECMM colleagues that it was quite a common sight to see
1 these helicopters land next to the ammunitions
2 factories in Vitez; is that so?
3 A. I wasn't told by other monitors that the
4 place where they landed was a common sight. It struck
5 me why an HV helicopter or a Croatian helicopter should
6 land at an ammunition factory site near Vitez. I
7 couldn't find no reason for that.
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank
10 MR. NICE:
11 Q. You said you actually heard the sound of
12 helicopters yourself; is that right? Or did I
13 misunderstand you?
14 A. I saw one helicopter myself landing there. I
15 heard on other occasions helicopters, but I didn't see
16 them at that occasion. And the third part is that my
17 colleague monitors told me that they already had seen
18 helicopters before.
19 Q. Sticking with the second -- sticking with the
20 second point. You physically heard helicopters. Did
21 you ever see helicopters in the area bearing HVO
22 insignia to account for the noise of the helicopters
23 you actually heard?
24 A. No. I was informed by the intelligence of
25 the British Battalion that the HVO had no helicopters
1 of their own in that area.
2 Q. What about the ABiH?
3 A. They didn't have any helicopters as well.
4 Q. Paragraph 121. Did you ever receive
5 investigation reports from the HVO following the
6 matters of one kind or another that were complained of;
7 Ahmici, the truck bomb, the Zenica shelling?
8 A. No, I never did receive any reports.
9 Q. In light of your experience and expertise,
10 what view, if any, did you form about the pattern of
11 attacks on Muslim villages?
12 A. According to my opinion, formed during my
13 period in Bosnia, the tactics the HVO used were to
14 define what areas were of interest. Those areas they
15 wanted to keep should be cleansed of all Muslim
16 inhabitants, and they used the tactic of fear; by
17 shooting at houses during the night; by setting houses
18 on fire; by scaring away the people, first by killing
19 some of them and then scaring the rest away; by
20 putting, if possible, a lot of people into gaol and
21 using them as a bargain to free people from the other
23 In the areas where they did not have any
24 interest, they would scare their own people by
25 broadcasting and by using their own officers in the
1 area to force the people to leave that territory and to
2 go either to the Lasva Valley or go to other Croat
4 Q. Second, from your knowledge of the command
5 structure of the HVO, and from your knowledge of
6 military structures generally, do you have an opinion
7 about the potential of a military police unit to
8 operate within or outside central control and command?
9 A. According to my acknowledged military police
10 units, the name itself states that already military
11 police always operate within the military structure.
12 They have a clear hierarchy, and most of the times the
13 commander on scene, being the operational zone
14 commander, gives orders to the military police units.
15 Q. Did you see anything to indicate that it was
16 possible for any such military police unit here to
17 operate outside those standard chains of command?
18 A. The only sign I got was the excuse given by
19 the chief of police in Busovaca, the chief of military
20 police, Mr. Ljubesic, that he couldn't deal with these
21 four trucks and drivers himself on that 2nd of July,
22 but that he needed allowance from his chief in Mostar.
23 And that would mean a second line of command next to
24 the operational zone command in the area of
1 So it didn't make any sense that military
2 police in Busovaca were not expecting orders from their
3 own area, being Mr. Blaskic in Vitez, but he had to
4 rely on orders coming from Mostar. That, in my point
5 of view, would be an unworkable situation for military
6 police. So I just thought that this was an excuse for
7 him not to release these four drivers.
8 Q. I think 124 has now been covered. The last
9 two documents, 1140,1, please. Under Vitez. Just a
10 matter of detail, sad detail. On the 6th of July an
11 interpreter working for BritBat was killed by a
12 sniper. She, in civilian clothes, talking with British
13 soldiers in front of a U.N. occupied house within the
14 perimeter of the BritBat camp. The shot coming from a
15 house showing an HVO flag, in an HVO controlled area.
17 A. That's correct, yes.
18 Q. Over the page, please. Paragraph 4. To pick
19 up the earlier questions. Other matters reported.
20 "Guards at the echelon in Vitez have sighted a MI 8
21 HIP --" you may have to explain that -- "helicopter."
22 A. The "HIP" is the native code name for this
23 type of helicopter.
24 Q. Landing at the ammunition factory and then
25 taking off in the direction of Travnik.
1 Then at the end of this block, paragraph 4.
2 Intelligence coming your way about Cerkez. Can you
3 just tell us about that?
4 A. Repeat that again, please?
5 Q. Yes. At the end of paragraph 4, on the
6 second sheet, HVO is giving rewards.
7 A. Yes. I was informed by BritBat again, since
8 under 4 it says BritBat reported that, that the HVO was
9 giving rewards for parts of human bodies, like ears and
10 fingers. And this order came from Mr. Cerkez. They
11 told us that one cut off ear already was found on an
12 HVO prisoner.
13 Q. The last document of this type, 1140,2. I
14 think this is simply your farewell. And it records the
15 end of your time in Bosnia?
16 A. That's correct.
17 MR. NICE: We've covered all the exhibits,
18 bar a few, the photograph exhibits. And for
19 completeness, I'll deal with that.
20 Your Honour, just give me a minute.
21 Alternatively, it may be that in my anxiety to deal
22 with things quickly I've dealt with something too
23 quickly, and Mr. Scott's judgement is preferable to mine
24 on this. It's only one topic.
25 I don't know if we are going to take a break
1 about now. What would be left would be a few minutes
2 after the break.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes, you can have a few minutes,
4 but a few minutes, because we want to finish the
5 witness today.
6 MR. NICE: Yes, of course.
7 JUDGE MAY: I don't know who is going to
9 Mr. Sayers, you will not be criticised if you
10 don't go over this matter in detail, the detail which
11 has been gone through. You've heard what the Chamber
12 said about this.
13 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, I truly
14 appreciate that, and I think that it might be
15 appropriate for the Trial Chamber to urge us to move
16 on, if it feels that we are driving a point into the
17 ground, since we are much closer to it than the Trial
18 Chamber is. Thank you.
19 JUDGE MAY: Very well, we'll adjourn for half
20 an hour.
21 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers. I'm sorry --
24 MR. NICE: Just a few more minutes.
25 The other topic that I want to ask the
1 witness about is the Convoy of Joy. You will recall
2 that I said, when I touched on it in one of his
3 documents, that we heard a lot about it already, but
4 Mr. Scott and Ms. Verhaag remind me, hopefully, that
5 there has been objection to the degree of hearsay in
6 the information coming about the Convoy of Joy so far,
7 although the evidence has been admitted.
8 So if I can just ask the witness just briefly
9 what his degree of contact, if any, was with it. That
10 may help the Chamber. And then I'll deal with the few
11 remaining photographs and I'll be finished.
12 Q. Colonel Morsink, did you have any dealings
13 with the Convoy of Joy yourself?
14 A. Yes, I did. During the preparation phase,
15 especially the community of Travnik asked us to support
16 this Convoy of Joy, mainly coming from the area of
17 Tuzla, heading for the coast, to load all kinds of
18 goods, most of them food. Then heading back for Tuzla,
19 but also heading back for Travnik and other places. I
20 think there was a total, up to about 300 or 400 trucks
21 of all kinds, and they asked the ECMM and the British
22 Battalion to escort this Convoy of Joy. I don't know
23 the reason, but in the end it was rejected by BritBat.
24 I think due to lack of enough vehicles to be able to
25 escort it.
1 They asked us to mediate, to lead this convoy
2 through all kinds of checkpoints. My team was only
3 able to mediate in the area of the Lasva Valley, of
4 course. And during the return of the convoy I was on
5 leave a few days. When I came back from that leave, I
6 found some of the trucks in Rankovici near Novi
7 Travnik. We found some other trucks in Busovaca, some
8 of them in Vitez, some of them in Nova Bila.
9 And I was told by my fellow monitor, who
10 stayed during my period on leave, what happened to this
11 convoy in the Lasva Valley.
12 Q. Pausing there. The trucks in Rankovici, Novi
13 Travnik and Busovaca and Vitez, by whom had they been
15 A. The moment I found them, they were in HVO
16 controlled area. I didn't see them being hijacked
17 myself, but I guess it must have been done within that
18 same territory under control of the HVO.
19 Q. You were told things by your fellow
20 monitors. Was any of them an eyewitness to any part of
21 the stopping of the convoy itself?
22 A. I'm not sure whether they saw it with their
23 own eyes. But my Greek fellow monitor Mr. Stauros
24 Kinigopoulos, and British monitor Phillip Watkins, they
25 were present during that day and night when the convoy
1 entered the Lasva Valley.
2 JUDGE MAY: Are either of those going to give
4 MR. NICE: No -- well, one might. But, at
5 most, one might. Thank you.
6 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, obviously, we
7 would object on the grounds of double hearsay, and we
8 don't even know whether the persons to whom the Colonel
9 spoke were actually eyewitnesses, and I believe he just
10 testified that he doesn't either.
11 JUDGE MAY: Let's hear what the reports were
12 and then we'll decide whether to admit them.
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. Can you tell us --
15 A. Yes, the reports I heard from Mr. Watkins and
16 Mr. Kinigopoulos were that when this Convoy of Joy,
17 approximately 300 loaded trucks, loaded with food and
18 fuel and all kinds of things, entered the HVO
19 controlled territory in Novi Travnik, and then entered
20 the Lasva Valley, this convoy was more or less split
21 into separate small parts of 10 or maybe 15 vehicles.
22 And these groups of vehicles were threatened by
23 civilians, local soldiers watching. Some of the truck
24 drivers, I think a total of 10, had been killed, or
25 executed, as my fellow monitors told me. And the goods
1 from the trucks had been looted by the local civilians
2 and brought to private houses and to warehouses.
3 Some of the trucks, as in evidence we found
4 later on, especially in Rankovici, but also individual
5 trucks in the area of Vitez and Nova Bila and Busovaca,
6 and these trucks were clearly damaged by -- the windows
7 were smashed, windows of some of the vehicles, and all
8 vehicles were empty and all the goods were gone.
9 Q. You made a summary of this in the documents
10 we've already seen?
11 A. Yes, I did.
12 Q. There remains --
13 JUDGE MAY: Which paragraph?
14 MR. NICE: It's in documents 1040 and 1041,
15 and in particular he makes reference there to the
16 killings of the truck drivers, although I think he
17 numbers them as 8 at that stage, but it may be he adds
18 the other two.
19 A. There might be one thing I have to add.
20 There is one truck, specific truck, near the Catholic
21 church in Rankovici that was not damaged and all the
22 goods were still in that truck. I was told by the
23 priest that he was able to save this truck from being
24 hijacked, and this truck was meant to go to a community
25 near Tuzla.
1 Q. Can I just now conclude the exhibits you've
2 produced? That will just take a minute, with the
3 usher's assistance. Just a couple of maps. There's
4 one A4 map that just is out of turn, but just explain
5 it to us. It's Z1172. Just tell us what that was or
6 is, as you've drawn it?
7 A. This map shows you Vitez and the road along
8 the Lasva River, and the small circle on the right-hand
9 side shows the village of Strane, and south of that,
10 the village of Skradno. Skradno was the village where
11 the people complained about being forced to dig
12 trenches, and Strane, the encircled area, is the place
13 where I saw this HVO man, Mr. Marinac, and the
14 civilians carrying shovels, having a porch, and I'm
15 convinced that these people were busy digging trenches
16 at that time.
17 Q. Thank you. 1690, on which you've drawn --
18 it's a helpful aerial view of the T-junction and Kaonik
19 and so on, but you've drawn a red line and a white
21 A. Yes. This aerial photograph was shown to me
22 during my testimony in the Blaskic case. I was asked
23 what routes I took from my visit to Jelinak on my way
24 to Strane and Skradno, so I appointed this route in
25 orange on this aerial photograph. The encircled part
1 is the -- are the aerial photographs of trenches in
2 that area.
3 Q. Thank you. In your photograph album -- or
4 not photograph album -- in the extracts from your
5 photograph album, there are just a few that need
6 explanation. First of all, the first sheet.
7 A. The central photograph is the house, the ECMM
8 house we used next to the BritBat camp in Bila.
9 Q. Which we can see above?
10 A. Yes, the top photograph is part of the
11 British camp.
12 Q. Thank you. The next sheet?
13 A. There, on the top photo, you see the bridge
14 across the Lasva River in the eastern part of Vitez.
15 This bridge was blocked by a kind of tractor. There
16 were mines on the road, and there was a sign on this
17 tractor warning us for mines. So there was no freedom
18 of movement for UNPROFOR or for ECMM at that time.
19 Q. Was that a typical sort of roadblock or not?
20 A. This specific roadblock was removed after
21 approximately two weeks, and several vehicles were more
22 than once used for the roadblock.
23 Q. Thank you very much. Five sheets on, there's
24 a photograph which has, in the top left-hand corner, an
25 extract of a map marked by you. The Chamber will want
1 to be aware that the map it asked us to prepare is in
2 an advanced state of preparation as to front lines.
3 But did you, in fact, from time to time mark front
4 lines yourself, hand drawing them on maps --
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. -- to reflect the position?
7 A. It was important for our own safety to know
8 exactly where front lines were, since we were not
9 allowed to go to the front lines themselves.
10 Q. The other picture on that page, just tell us
11 about that, the two pictures.
12 A. The top picture shows General Halilovic just
13 after the meeting, I think, of the 29th of April, where
14 both parties agreed on a ceasefire and where we
15 stressed both commanders to visit the troops on the
16 front line, to tell the soldiers themselves that they
17 agreed on the ceasefire. This part of that visit.
18 Q. Just finally just something I should have
19 showed earlier, two sheets on and two sheets
20 altogether, the first marked the 9th of May. Just
21 about these, please.
22 A. This is early in the period in Kruscica, when
23 Kruscica was still open. At that picture, you see one
24 of the ambulances of the British Battalion preparing to
25 bring a wounded Croat civilian to hospital.
1 Q. The next sheet, please, and is this the old
2 man you spoke of?
3 A. That's correct, that's the old man I spoke
4 of, the man we evacuated to hospital.
5 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
6 That concludes my questions. Thank you.
7 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
9 Q. Colonel, my name is Steve Sayers. I
10 represent Dario Kordic, along with my colleague here,
11 Mr. Naumovski.
12 We have a wide amount of territory to cover,
13 so if you can answer the question in as short a manner
14 as possible, maybe that will assist us in our mutual
15 goal of getting your testimony completed as early as
17 Just a few matters of preliminary detail
18 which the Court may or may not already be aware of.
19 First, it would be fair to say that you are a
20 professional soldier in the Dutch armed forces and that
21 you have been in the armed forces since 1976; correct?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. So you have 23 years of experience in the
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. Pretty much your entire adult life, sir; is
2 that correct?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. Do you speak any Croatian at all?
5 A. I don't.
6 Q. You arrived in Central Bosnia on a pretty
7 auspicious or pretty horrific day, April the 16th,
8 1993; is that correct?
9 A. A few days before that, I arrived in Zagreb,
10 and then travelled to Zenica.
11 Q. But you arrived on April the 16th, just as a
12 massive amount of fighting was breaking out throughout
13 the Lasva Valley; correct?
14 A. That's correct, but I was informed of that in
15 Zagreb, about things that happened.
16 Q. You stayed in Central Bosnia for a total of
17 about 90 days, I take it.
18 A. Yes, three months.
19 Q. Did you take any vacations during that time?
20 A. I had a four-day leave at the end of June,
21 the middle of June.
22 Q. Now, sir, you are a military man; you would
23 agree with that, would you not?
24 JUDGE MAY: You've already established that.
25 He spent his adult life in the army.
1 MR. SAYERS:
2 Q. You don't claim any particular political
3 expertise, do you, sir?
4 A. Not particularly political, but we had a
5 thorough preparation in the Netherlands for this job as
6 a monitor. I got the status of a diplomat. I had a
7 14-day training at the Clingendael Centre here in The
8 Hague to prepare me on this job, and I studied, next to
9 my military studies, civil affairs and -- it's hard to
10 translate in English. It's a universal study next to
11 the military education.
12 Q. But you're saying you had approximately 14
13 days' training to equip you to understand what was
14 going on in the Balkans, essentially, and in Central
15 Bosnia, particularly, before you went there?
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. I take it you've never actually met
18 Mr. Kordic.
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. Obviously, you've never spoken to him over
21 the telephone or otherwise?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. You simply had no contact with him at all;
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. Just one minor point that you raised during
2 your early testimony. You said that you were unaware
3 that the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina possessed any
4 tanks; correct?
5 A. That's correct, yes.
6 Q. Did you find that the British military
7 intelligence that you were generally given was usually
9 A. Yes, they were fairly reliable.
10 Q. Let me just read you from a milinfosum that
11 was prepared by the 1st Battalion of the Cheshire
12 Regiment. I have a copy, if the Trial Chamber wants to
13 see it or the Prosecution does. It's number 171.
14 MR. NICE: Could we have the date?
15 MR. SAYERS: Yes.
16 Q. April 19th, 1993, which is two days after you
17 arrived, sir. There's a report of artillery -- seven
18 to eight artillery rounds falling inside of Busovaca,
19 and then at 10.25 hours on that day, the following:
20 "Warrior call sign reported three BiH tanks located
21 at --" and gives a grid reference. "The BiH T-55 and
22 T-34s were positioned facing west, controlling the
23 traffic approaching Zenica."
24 Would it be fair to say that what you meant
25 to say was not that the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
1 did not possess tanks but simply that you never
2 actually saw any yourself?
3 A. I was not aware of the fact that they
4 possessed tanks.
5 Q. Now, you gave some wide-ranging opinions
6 regarding a number of entities, and I want to find out
7 the level of knowledge that you have in order to equip
8 you to give political opinions regarding these
9 entities, sir.
10 The first is the HDZ-BiH. Do you know what
11 that entity is? The Croatian Democratic Union of
13 A. That's right, that's the political side.
14 It's the political party for -- the Croatian political
15 party for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 Q. All right. You testified that Mr. Valenta
17 was a vice-president of this party?
18 A. He introduced himself as being the
19 vice-president of this party.
20 Q. Are you sure about that?
21 A. That's in my notes, so --
22 Q. I understand. Did he introduce himself as a
23 vice-president of the HDZ or as a vice-president of the
24 HVO, sir?
25 A. I have to look it up in my notes, but I think
1 you have it as well.
2 Q. Please do.
3 A. I wrote down in my notes "Deputy
4 vice-president of the HVO, Herceg-Bosna, Mr. Anto
6 Q. Mr. Valenta was not, according to your best
7 knowledge, the vice-president of the political party of
8 the HDZ, was he, sir?
9 A. Well, I might have been informed later on
10 about this exact position. At that first day in
11 theatre, I wrote down what I heard or what I -- yes,
12 what I heard from my interpreter.
13 Q. Right.
14 A. And later on, all kinds of notes give you a
15 better picture than they gave in the first hours in the
17 Q. Well, are you contending that Mr. Valenta was
18 a vice-president of the HDZ or that he was not, or do
19 you know?
20 A. Well, he kept -- he kept talking about the
21 political side of the conflict, and I think that's why
22 I related him with the HDZ. And later on, his name
23 showed up or was introduced by Mr. Maric, the mayor of
24 Busovaca, that Mr. Valenta should be one of the
25 representatives in the provincial government.
1 Q. Well, we'll get to that in just a minute, but
2 let me just ask you a couple of other background
3 questions on this entity.
4 Do you know who the president of the
5 political party was during the --
6 A. Mr. Boban was the president.
7 Q. Do you know what sort of powers the president
8 of this political party had?
9 A. I don't know what official powers he had, but
10 he had influence on the soldiers because they related
11 all kinds of orders to the HDZ. And I saw political --
12 politicians in Vitez and in Busovaca, belonging to HDZ,
13 mixing in with military affairs, so there must have
14 been a line of communication and probably a line of
16 Q. Did you know that there were five
17 vice-presidents of the HDZ?
18 A. No, I don't.
19 Q. And you don't know who they were, obviously;
21 A. There were more people mentioned as
22 vice-president, but I didn't find out the level, like
23 Mr. Makunovic in Travnik. Maybe he's one of the five.
24 I'm not sure of that. But I was introduced to more
25 people, all claiming that they had top-level functions
1 in the HDZ.
2 Q. Would it be fair to say, Colonel, that you
3 found a rather confusing political situation in your
4 area of responsibility when you arrived in the area?
5 Would that be fair to say?
6 A. That's correct. When I arrived, the
7 situation was rather confusing.
8 Q. Would it also be fair to say, and this is no
9 reflection on you, would it also be fair to say that
10 the political environment, shall we call it, remained
11 confusing throughout the 90 days that you spent in
12 Central Bosnia?
13 A. No, I don't fully agree. It became more and
14 more clear, what the situation was like. That doesn't
15 mean that I could give anybody his lawful position in
16 this whole organisation, but I met more and more
17 people, heard more and more points of views from them,
18 so that gave me quite a good picture overall after
19 those 90 days.
20 Q. All right. Can you tell us what the Croatian
21 Community of Herceg-Bosna was?
22 A. It's hard to define the Community, as such.
23 I think the goals for this Community were to have a
24 separate part of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina as
25 their own, being Herceg-Bosna.
1 Herzegovina, as such, was predominantly Croat
2 territory close to Croatia, to the coastline, and I
3 think the final goal was to connect this area to
4 Croatia, to become one large country. And if that
5 could not be reached in a reasonable time, then the
6 first goal would be to have a separate Herceg-Bosna.
7 Q. Did you ever examine the documents that
8 actually formed the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
9 and set out the powers of the president and the
11 A. I didn't see any documents on that, but I was
12 informed. During meetings in Travnik, the meetings
13 where they prepared themselves for the provincial level
14 of Travnik, where both HDZ and SDA representatives were
15 present, they explained what their points of view were,
16 discussions about what code of arms to use, et cetera.
17 Q. Very well. You don't know how many
18 vice-presidents of the Croatian community of
19 Herceg-Bosna or the HZHB, to use a shorthand, how many
20 there were, do you?
21 A. You just told that me there were five, sir.
22 Q. I said there was five vice-presidents --
23 JUDGE MAY: Let's stop fencing about this. I
24 don't think this is assisting the Trial Chamber.
25 MR. SAYERS:
1 Q. Do you know what the powers of a
2 vice-president of the HZHB were, sir? Not the HDZ, but
3 the HZHB.
4 A. I'm not aware that I met one of those
6 Q. Therefore, you wouldn't know what the powers
7 of a vice-president of that --
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. -- were?
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. Very well. Let's turn to the HVO. Do you
12 have an understanding, sir, of how the HVO differs from
13 the HZHB, or did you in 1993 have an understanding of
15 A. No, I don't know how it differs.
16 Q. All right.
17 A. I experienced it being closely related to the
18 politicians in the area.
19 Q. Do you know who the President of the HVO was
20 during the time that you were in Central Bosnia, sir?
21 A. I am not aware of a President of a military
22 unit. I only know about commanding officers.
23 Q. I understand. Have you ever met, spoken to
24 or heard of Dr. Jadranko Prlic?
25 A. No, I don't.
1 Q. It would be fair to say, therefore, that you
2 had no idea he was the President of the HVO, and that
3 he was appointed on August the 14th, 1992, and that he
4 remained the President of the HVO throughout your tour
5 in Central Bosnia?
6 A. I was never informed on that.
7 Q. Did you know that the HVO had a separately
8 constituted justice department, sir?
9 A. No, I did not.
10 Q. You don't know who the head of that
11 department was, obviously? More pertinently particular
12 to your expertise, were you aware that the HVO had a
13 separately constituted Department of Defence?
14 A. No, I didn't.
15 Q. Have you ever heard of, spoken to or met
16 Bruno Stojic?
17 A. [No audible response].
18 Q. It would be fair to say, therefore, that you
19 do not know that Mr. Stojic was appointed as the head
20 of the Department of Defence of the HVO on July the 3rd
21 of 1992; is that correct?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. Did you know that the President of the HZHB
24 was the supreme commander of the armed forces of the
1 A. I didn't exactly know that, but I was told
2 that Mr. Boban had large influence on the military
4 Q. Were you aware that the commander of the
5 general staff, the general staff of the HVO throughout
6 the time that you were in Central Bosnia, was Brigadier
7 Milivoj Petkovic?
8 A. Yes, I was aware of that. I met him during
9 two occasions.
10 Q. Were you aware, sir, that Brigadier Petkovic,
11 according to the constitutive documents of the HZHB, is
12 actually appointed by the Supreme Commander of the
13 armed forces, the President?
14 A. Well, Mr. Petkovic had the mandate to sign
15 official papers. He had the mandate to sign for the
16 large ceasefire agreed upon on the 29th of April.
17 Q. You are saying that he had the power to take
18 actions that would be militarily binding upon the HVO?
19 A. That's correct, yes.
20 Q. Now, in terms of the subordinate commander,
21 sir, the brigade commanders, operative zone
22 commanders. Were you aware of whether they were
23 appointed by General Petkovic or, according to the
24 decree on the armed forces, whether they would be
25 appointed by the Department of Defence of the HVO?
1 A. I don't know who they were appointed by, but
2 they received orders from General Petkovic, and the
3 operational zone commanders were able and they actually
4 did give orders to the brigade commander. So there
5 was, to me, a clear military structure.
6 Q. I understand, but the question I asked was a
7 little bit different. We'll get --
8 A. I know what you asked. I am not aware of the
9 fact who appointed these military commanders.
10 Q. Very well, sir. Let me move on. In terms of
11 the system of military justice, and the system of
12 formal military investigations within the HVO, were you
13 aware that in October of 1992 the HVO adopted a decree
14 on the armed forces and that it promulgated extensive
15 rules on military discipline?
16 A. No, I am not aware of that.
17 Q. All right, sir. Were you aware that on
18 October the 17th of 1992, the HVO enacted a decree that
19 actually set up the district military prosecutor's
20 office? And would it be fair to say, given your
21 answers to those questions, that you really did not
22 know anything about the internal operation of the
23 system of military injustice -- justice, rather, or
24 military investigations that occurred during the time
25 that you were in Central Bosnia, at least insofar as
1 the HVO was concerned?
2 A. I didn't know anything about those specific
3 things, but it doesn't mean that I didn't know anything
4 about the military structure, and how soldiers operate
5 in theatre.
6 Q. Colonel, I do not mean to suggest in any way
7 that you were not aware of the military structure of
8 these forces. That's absolutely squarely within your
9 expertise. But specifically I am asking you whether
10 you were aware of the manner in which the military
11 justice system worked in the HVO, according to its
12 decrees, according to its internal rules and
14 A. I was not aware of that.
15 Q. If I might depart from the national picture
16 and descend to the municipal level somewhat. Were you
17 aware of the structure of municipal HVOs that were put
18 into place by the national HVO, sir?
19 A. I was aware of the fact that nearly each
20 large municipality had a brigade of their own called,
21 for instance, the Viteska Brigade, and then the name of
22 somebody attached to this brigade. So there was a
23 relation to municipalities. That was clear to me.
24 Q. Once again, sir, let me just depart from the
25 specifically military and ask you: Isn't it true that
1 according to the statutory decision on municipal
2 executive authority and municipal administration
3 adopted by the HVO, the national HVO if you like, on
4 June the 13th, 1992, each municipality within the
5 Herceg-Bosnia union was directed to --
6 JUDGE MAY: Have you heard of this?
7 A. I have not heard of this, no.
8 JUDGE MAY: No. No. I think this sort of
9 question is not helpful, this level of detail. No
10 doubt you can give your own evidence about it, and
11 we'll have to see how relevant it all is.
12 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour. But the only
13 question that I would have on this subject would be:
14 Q. Did you understand, sir, how the municipal
15 civilian HVO governments were set up, and what
16 relationship they bore to the HZHB and the national
18 A. Not in the beginning, but after a while I
19 understood, because the local politicians were able to
20 appoint representatives for the provincial level, since
21 they were able to communicate with each other. And
22 they appointed from several municipalities. And during
23 those discussions they explained part of the system.
24 Q. All right. Looking at Busovaca, just to
25 select one example. Isn't it true that the president
1 of the municipal HVO in Busovaca, while you were
2 present in Central Bosnia, was Mr. Zoran Maric?
3 A. Mr. Maric introduced himself as the mayor of
4 Busovaca, not as the president of HVO.
5 Q. Would it be fair to say that you generally
6 found Mr. Maric to be a pretty reasonable individual?
7 A. I only met Mr. Maric, I think twice or maybe
8 three times, and during those occasions he was
9 reasonable, yes.
10 Q. You gave us, during the course of your
11 testimony, the names of -- or some of the people who
12 were proposed as Croats to sit on the government of the
13 proposed Travnik province, province number 10.
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. If you would just consult your notes, sir.
16 Isn't it true that the proposed provincial governor was
17 a man from Bugogno, a Croat, by the name of Vladmir
18 Soljic? If you want to look at your notes, I think
19 that you can find it on May the 26th.
20 A. I don't find the names right now on these
21 four pages I wrote down during the meeting in Travnik.
22 Q. It may be in one of those little --
23 A. Small ones.
24 JUDGE MAY: Again, do we need to waste time
25 on this? If you want to give some evidence about it in
1 due course, Mr. Sayers, you can. But let's -- the
2 Colonel -- let's leave it.
3 MR. SAYERS: All right.
4 Q. Was it your understanding that these proposed
5 representatives from canton 10 would represent
6 individual municipalities; for example, Pero Skopljak
7 representing Vitez, Mr. Kordic representing Busovaca,
8 and other named individuals representing other named
10 A. That wasn't fully clear to me then how the
11 structure on the provincial level would be, if they
12 would look to the provincial -- to the province as a
13 whole or just to single municipalities.
14 Q. All right. You may have had a slip of a
15 tongue, I don't know, you can correct me if I'm wrong.
16 But are you saying that, in your view, Travnik was in a
17 different province from Vitez and Busovaca?
18 A. I tried to recall what I said yesterday.
19 Speaking about three provinces, 8, 9 and 10, there was
20 a discussion about borders of these provinces and, as I
21 recall it, at Travnik and Vitez and Novi Travnik and
22 even Busovaca are in the same province, but I don't
23 recall the number itself.
24 Q. All right. Just turning to Busovaca and your
25 particular area of expertise, the military forces
1 there. You mentioned the name Grubesic as the
2 commander of the Busovaca brigade. That is Mr. Dusko
4 A. That's correct, yes.
5 Q. He was the commander of the Nikola
6 Subic-Zrinski Brigade stationed in Busovaca?
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. Would it be fair to say that in your dealings
9 with the local politicians in Vitez, you did not
10 particularly like them?
11 A. In the beginning I had no reason for that,
12 but they introduced themselves or they showed
13 themselves to be very radical in their views, and
14 especially after Mr. Skopljak claimed that I signed an
15 agreement, which I didn't. Then I started to dislike
16 them, that's correct.
17 Q. That's fair enough, sir. Would it also be
18 fair to say that you, at least I deduced this from your
19 testimony, you were based primarily in Vitez itself,
20 and you concentrated yourself with events in the Vitez
21 area, although you did go to places such as Travnik and
23 A. That's not fully correct. Within the ECMM
24 structure, there are regional centres in Zenica, there
25 are a few coordinating centres like Travnik erected in
1 the end of May, and until the end of May I was
2 responsible for Kiseljak, Busovaca and Vitez. We had a
3 hard time in Kiseljak starting up this local joint
4 commission. That's why there is not much results on
5 that. And there is a balance between my visits to
6 Vitez and Busovaca, I think. And as of the end of May
7 I shift my attention to Travnik, since I was asked to
8 start up the coordinating centre in Travnik itself.
9 But because of my knowledge of people in
10 Vitez and Busovaca, I kept visiting -- visiting them as
11 well after the end of May.
12 Q. You only met the actual political
13 representatives of the town of Busovaca once, did you
14 say, Mr. Maric?
15 A. No. Mr. Maric, I met him two or three
16 times. Once at the town hall and once he attended the
17 meeting of the local joint commission at that day in
18 Kacuni with the press there.
19 Q. But you had many more meetings with the local
20 politicians in Vitez? Would that be fair to say?
21 A. There were other local politicians in
22 Busovaca as well, so -- Mr. Maric himself, I met him
23 only two or three times, and the politician in Vitez, I
24 met them more often. That's correct.
25 Q. Can you remember the names of any of the
1 other politicians that you met?
2 A. I can find them and I can show you -- show
3 them on some of the pictures.
4 Q. I don't think that that's necessary, unless
5 they have particular interest to these defendants, and
6 I don't think that they do.
7 Let me just suggest one name to you. Do you
8 remember meeting Mr. Florijan Glavocevic?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. He was the local HDZ, BiH representative in
11 Busovaca, wasn't he?
12 A. Mr. Florijan, I remember him. He was present
13 at most of the meetings, I think.
14 Q. Did you find him to be a pretty reasonable
16 A. Not during all meetings. Part of the
17 allegations came from him. But there was a balance in
18 allegations from both sides.
19 Q. One of the exhibits that you -- one of the
20 many exhibits that you were asked to comment upon was a
21 map that you have drawn of the front lines?
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. And the particular map that you were shown,
24 the photograph, unfortunately, does not have an
25 identification number on it, but it was part of Exhibit
1 Z2534. And I don't think that we need to take a look
2 at the exhibit particularly, unless it would help you.
3 Would it be fair to say that the front lines
4 between the Muslim forces and the Croat forces
5 basically serpentined down a line that ran just to the
6 east of Busovaca?
7 A. Depends on what you call just to the east of
8 Busovaca. If you see the houses of Busovaca as the
9 village, then it's still -- just by head, I think --
10 one and a half kilometres away. There are small hills
11 in between, so there is no direct view on Busovaca. If
12 you see it as a municipality, with the grounds with it,
13 then it's serpentining around, that's correct.
14 Q. All right. It looks, from your front-line
15 diagram, that the ABiH forces controlled the high
16 ground on the Kula mountain and the areas to the north,
17 up to the main road at Merdan and Grabilje. Would that
18 be fair to say?
19 A. Yes. Not in a straight line, but serpenting,
20 as you call it.
21 Q. It may not be an elegant way to phrase it.
22 Would it be fair to say also that on the main road the
23 ABiH forces, the so-called ABiH forces, controlled the
24 main road at Merdan and Grabilje?
25 A. I have to check on the map. I don't know by
1 head exactly where Merdan and Grabilje are.
2 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness see the exhibit.
3 A. Yes, that's correct. Merdan and Grabilje are
4 on the Lasva roads from Vitez towards Zenica and that
5 area was -- it was on the front lines, so I don't know
6 exactly who controlled those two small villages, but
7 the front line was across the road there
8 MR. SAYERS:
9 Q. The point is, to the east, that was Muslim
10 territory, and then to the west just a few hundred
11 yards away from the main T-junction, that was the
12 beginning of the Croat enclave?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. All right. And that remained so throughout
15 your time in Central Bosnia; is that right?
16 A. Sometimes the front line moved for a few
17 hundred metres. This specific front line, according to
18 my knowledge, did not move.
19 Q. And just to draw your attention -- thank
20 you. I am finished with that exhibit. Further to the
21 south, in the area of road on the main supply route,
22 between the village of Kacuni, where you had some
23 meetings, and then another village called Bilalovac,
24 that remained within the control of ABiH forces
25 throughout the time --
1 A. That's right.
2 Q. And that effectively isolated, if you like,
3 if that's the correct way to phrase it, the Croat
4 enclave that ran from Busovaca to Vitez, from the
5 Kiseljak valley enclave?
6 A. On a large perspective there was an enclave,
7 that's correct. That's the main buildings and the main
8 factories and things were all within that enclave. So
9 isolation is not the right word at that time, I think.
10 Q. The Kiseljak enclave, though, was surrounded
11 by ABiH forces, was it not, throughout the time that
12 you were there?
13 A. That's not fully correct for the Kiseljak
14 enclave. Because they had front lines towards the
16 Q. That's to the south?
17 A. And there were a lot of places where there
18 was still co-operation between the HVO and ABiH. So
19 there was no encirclement, as you could call it, for
20 the Busovaca and Vitez.
21 Q. All right. The Vitez, Busovaca enclave,
22 though, was pretty much completely encircled by BiH
23 forces, wasn't it?
24 A. It's larger than you say because there was
25 also Travnik and Novi Travnik inside this same
1 enclave. Guca Gora was, at that time, inside this same
2 enclave. There was still mutual front lines towards
3 the Serbs.
4 Q. All right. You can't testify that Mr. Kordic
5 had any power or authority to discipline HVO troops,
6 can you?
7 A. No. I can just state that I was told by my
8 interpreter that he had influence, since he ordered
10 Q. You can't offer to the Trial Chamber specific
11 facts that establish that Mr. Kordic had the power to
12 remove commanders, can you?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Or that he actually had the power to appoint
16 A. I don't.
17 Q. Or that he had the power to order
18 investigations or to monitor those investigations,
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. Or that he had the power to intrude in any
22 way into the military justice or military investigation
24 A. That's not correct. Since he had enough
25 power to influence people, since they claimed to me
1 that he told them to do certain things. There was
2 certain power.
3 Q. Can you name one example of that, sir? One
4 specific example.
5 A. I'm thinking of the Busovaca incident where
6 the four trucks were hijacked, but I can't fully recall
7 what exactly was said there.
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] In this
9 Busovaca incident that you are referring to, could you
10 perhaps try to search in your memory whether it came
11 from -- whether it was Mr. Kordic or Mr. Blaskic who
12 told you that they were waiting for instructions?
13 MR. SAYERS: It may assist you. I believe
14 the date that you testified about was July the 4th of
16 A. I wrote down in one of the notes, on the 3rd
17 of July -- I think that was the date of the negotiation
18 to release the truck drivers -- that Mr. Grubesic was
19 with Mr. Blaskic now and probably any preparation was
20 needed. So that's the best recall I have of that
22 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Colonel, it
23 was Mr. Blaskic. But Mr. Kordic wasn't mentioned in
24 relation to that incident, was he, it was only Blaskic
25 who was?
1 A. The name of Mr. Kordic is not in my notes, so
2 I can't be sure of that.
3 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 So this is not a good example, but it was in another
5 case that those instructions were mentioned.
6 Instructions received from Mr. Kordic was on a
7 different occasion that you were -- mentioned that?
8 A. That's correct, Your Honour, but I can't
9 recall at this moment at what occasion that was.
10 MR. SAYERS:
11 Q. Just to pick up on the Judge's question, it's
12 not particularly surprising that a brigade commander
13 would be meeting with his superior officer?
14 A. No, that's perfectly legitimate.
15 Q. That's precisely what you would expect --
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. -- to resolve a military problem?
18 A. Umm-hmm.
19 Q. Just turning to the conditions that
20 confronted you on April the 17th, Colonel, I think you
21 found yourself in a truly daunting position.
22 Basically, you arrived during the outbreak of one
23 phase, at least, of a civil war between people who
24 lived in the same area; isn't that correct?
25 A. It looked like war to me, yes, but I wasn't
1 aware of the fact that it was kind of a civil war.
2 There were two military units fighting each other and
3 fighting civilians, so it's not fully a civil war, I
5 Q. But people who are members of the same
6 country, people who are citizens of the same country;
8 A. That's correct. If you call that a civil
9 war, then it's correct, yes.
10 Q. All right. Now, you found it generally
11 unsafe, in fact very dangerous, to travel around the
12 Lasva Valley and the Lepenica Valley throughout your
13 three-month tour; correct?
14 A. That's not fully correct. Some days were
15 very dangerous and we needed escorts by the British
16 Battalion or we used our own armoured Mercedes that I
17 got issued after a few weeks, and some days were
18 perfectly safe and I used an open P4 French-type
20 Q. Please forgive me for pausing.
21 Would it be fair to say that sniping was a
22 regular activity on both sides throughout your 90 days
23 in the area?
24 A. Again, not every day. But it was still
25 regular and was a constant threat, but not on every
1 day. But not -- on the balance from both sides, I
2 could define more sniping from HVO sides pointed at me
3 than from the other side, although I could not define
4 all the sniping myself, of course.
5 Q. Right. But the point I'm making is that
6 there were HVO snipers shooting at people that they
7 perceived as opposing forces, and the reverse was true
8 as well?
9 A. We were not opposing at all. I was unarmed
10 and I don't think I did bring any threat to any of the
11 parties, so I don't think they should consider me as an
12 opposing force.
13 Q. Fair enough, Colonel. But with respect to
14 the snipers that were shooting, the HVO snipers
15 shooting at the ABiH, you're not trying to suggest that
16 the ABiH didn't have snipers who were shooting back at
17 the HVO, are you?
18 A. Both sides had snipers, of course.
19 Q. In fact, it's true that what was going on was
20 a bitter, bloody, incomprehensible conflict where there
21 was much loss of life and property on both sides, isn't
22 that correct, or actually on all sides, all three
24 A. In the large conflict, yes. But in that
25 local conflict in the Lasva Valley, there was no
1 balance in loss of life and balance in loss of houses
2 and loss of goods.
3 Q. One of your colleagues, I believe, in the
4 European Community Monitoring Mission was Major Lars
6 A. That's correct.
7 Q. Now, Major Baggesen's diary -- he kept a
8 diary, just as you did. It's in evidence. He made the
9 observation, around the middle of April, that the
10 Croats set fire to Muslim houses and villages and began
11 ethnic cleansing, which was then to be avenged by the
12 Muslims, who did the same to the Croats. Neither side
13 showed any respect for human life. Would you agree
14 with that?
15 A. There were houses burning on both sides,
16 that's correct, but still I have the opinion that there
17 was no balance in the scale of atrocities.
18 Q. Isn't it also true that on April the 19th or
19 thereabouts, after you had been in the area for just a
20 couple of days, the BiH began a series of offensives in
21 the Lasva Valley, one which was aimed at seizing the
22 Kula feature to the northeast of Busovaca?
23 A. I know of a lot of incidents and fighting.
24 I'm not aware of this fighting being identified as a
25 large offensive. Allegations of this kind have been
1 made later on, and I know that Mr. Thebault wrote a
2 letter to the headquarters of the 3rd Corps, army of
3 BiH, to ask them not to make any offensive moves, or if
4 they did, to stop these actions.
5 Q. All right. Let me just read to you from a
6 British milinfosum prepared by the 1st Battalion of the
7 Cheshire Regiment. I misspoke the date. It's April
8 the 28th, not the 19th. It says:
9 "The main area of activity in our AOR has
10 been that to the north of Busovaca. There have been
11 two reported BiH offensives, the first being mounted
12 early in the morning of the villages of Bakije,
13 Jelinak, and the Gradina feature."
14 Were you aware of that offensive?
15 A. Yes, on the 28th, I'm aware of that. That's
16 the reason why both parties agreed, on the 29th, to
17 visit the troops on the ground. And this Kula hill you
18 mentioned, that's exactly the hill that's on the
19 photograph and that's drawn out on my small map, so
20 that's the hot spot where both commanders found it
21 necessary to visit their own troops.
22 Q. Isn't it true that in the village of Jelinak,
23 where you indicated on the photograph that's already
24 been exhibited, about 100 ABiH soldiers flooded into
25 the village, occupied the houses formerly occupied by
1 Croats, with the exception of 15 which they burned
3 A. I'm not aware of the numbers you told me. I
4 visited Jelinak shortly after that, and I witnessed or
5 I saw a house burning and an empty cartridge of an
6 anti-tank rocket on the road nearby the house, so I
7 thought that must have been the reason why the house
8 was set on fire. But I'm not aware of 100 soldiers or
9 10 houses burning. I saw one house burning myself
10 there, and there was other houses damaged.
11 Q. All right. While my assistant is locating
12 the pertinent document there, let me just go on.
13 On the 28th of April, a Warrior approached
14 the Busovaca-Kiseljak road and reported that there was
15 fighting in the area of Kazagici, with the village now
16 under the control of the BiH. The village was reported
17 to be extremely badly damaged and almost every house
18 having been set fire to. Did you ever see that?
19 A. I'm trying to locate where that is. I'm not
20 aware of the name myself. On the road from Busovaca to
21 Kiseljak, you said?
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. I don't recall that. I can't find it on the
24 map now.
25 Q. All right, sir. Were you aware that many
1 Croat houses as well as Muslim houses had been burned
2 down in the village of Svinjarevo, which was just to
3 the north of Kiseljak?
4 A. I know that some houses were burned there,
5 but not on the same scale.
6 Q. All right. In the briefing that you
7 received, sir, regarding conditions that you expected
8 to find in the Lasva Valley, were you given specific
9 information about the fact that the Kacuni-Bilalovac
10 section, I think it's about six kilometres of road, was
11 within exclusively ABiH control?
12 A. Yes. When they explained to me the origin of
13 the Busovaca joint commission, they explained to me
14 that there had been previous fighting specifically in
15 that area, and that was the reason why this Busovaca
16 joint commission was established.
17 Q. All right. Did you know that there were two
18 villages on the eastern side of the high ground just
19 south of Kacuni by the name of Gusti Grab and Oseliste
20 which had been the subject of ethnic cleansing on the
21 part of the Muslim forces in January of 1993?
22 A. I was informed about that, yes.
23 Q. Were you also informed that there had been an
24 incident on January the 25th or 26th, 1993, in the
25 village of Dusina, where 13 or so Croat civilians had
1 been killed, massacred?
2 A. I don't know the name of the village you just
4 Q. Let me just turn your attention to the
5 military situation that confronted you -- and I know
6 it's six years ago, sir -- on the 21st of April, 1993.
7 Would it be fair to say that at that time the
8 HVO units in Vitez and Busovaca were being engaged by
9 five separate brigades of the ABiH? I can mention
10 them, if you wish.
11 A. If you count all units surrounding together,
12 I'm not sure, but there might be five or four. Then
13 it's important to understand what strength these units
14 were and what kind of equipment they had. If not, it
15 says nothing about the threat itself.
16 Q. Right. Would you agree, though, that those
17 units were units of the 3rd Corps, headquartered in
18 Zenica, and that the 3rd Corps, as of April the 21st of
19 1993, found itself in a militarily-dominant position in
20 the Lasva Valley?
21 A. Well, I'm not aware of the last fact, that
22 they felt themselves in a dominant position. These
23 brigades clearly belonged to the 3rd Corps, since they
24 all were in the 300 numbers.
25 Q. Let me just read you a very brief extract
1 from Milinfosum 173, dated April the 21st, 1993, from
2 the 1st Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment. It says
3 this on page 2:
4 "HVO units in Vitez and Busovaca are
5 currently being engaged by elements of five BiH
6 brigades, the 301st, the 303rd, the 305th, 325th, and
7 333rd. Although the majority of casualties in the
8 conflict have been Muslim, it is assessed that the 3rd
9 Corps are militarily in the dominant position and have
10 gained considerable ground north of Dubravica."
11 Dubravica is just to the east of Busovaca;
13 A. Dubravica is a small village on the mountain
14 road from Vitez to Zenica.
15 Q. Given your military expertise and the fact
16 that you were present in the area, would you concur
17 with the assessment of the British
18 intelligence-gathering units at that time?
19 A. On the large scale, there was, towards the
20 HVO, a threat of, as you told me, five brigades or
21 parts of five brigades.
22 Q. All right. If I could take just a few
23 minutes, Colonel, to address your attention to the
24 negotiations that were being conducted in the area to
25 procure a ceasefire.
1 First of all, those negotiations actually
2 occurred on an extremely high level and involved a
3 rather short and simple agreement on April the 18th of
4 1993 between President Izetbegovic and Mr. Mate Boban,
5 representing variously the Bosnian Muslims and the
6 Bosnian Croats; would that be fair to say?
7 A. But not fully correct, since there were also
8 negotiations on a very low local level at all these
9 places, there were negotiations and single ceasefires
10 just for municipalities agreed upon, and there was a
11 pretty high-level agreement between Petkovic and
12 Halilovic on the 28th or the 29th of April.
13 Q. Did you know that actually on April the 20th
14 of 1993, there had been an agreement that was signed by
15 the two military commanders in the theatre, General
16 Halilovic and General Petkovic?
17 A. I was told about that, yes.
18 Q. Also countersigned by Ambassador Thebault, I
19 believe --
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. -- and Lieutenant General Morillon. All
23 Would it also be fair to say that these
24 ceasefires filtered down the chain of command, if you
25 like, then to the local areas and that there was a
1 subsequent ceasefire agreement signed by either General
2 Blaskic or his delegate?
3 A. That's correct. They should filter down, but
4 they didn't always.
5 Q. Just one or two questions on the police
7 You've given some evidence regarding the
8 military police. Major Baggesen gave some evidence
9 regarding the civilian police and described them, I
10 believe, as incredibly incompetent and ineffective.
11 Would you disagree with that characterisation?
12 A. Well, "incredibly" are not my words, but they
13 were not effective. Let me state it that way. The
14 only place where they were effective were at local
15 checkpoints. They were very good in controlling roads,
16 but not so good in finding criminals.
17 Q. You've also given some evidence, I believe,
18 regarding the rampant criminal activity that was
19 present throughout the area during your 90 days,
20 including one colourful character by the name of Zuti,
21 or at least that was his nickname, I believe. Right?
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. Would it be fair to say that it was routinely
24 claimed on both sides that there were criminal elements
25 that they simply could not control, Zuti being one
2 A. Again, there's no balance in this. The only
3 occasion where the BiH side claimed that they couldn't
4 control people were the individuals sometimes alleged
5 Mujahedins, so individuals. And on the HVO side,
6 nearly every allegation was followed by the answer,
7 "It's an uncontrolled element," or, "It's a criminal,"
8 or "more criminals", and they had so many police on the
9 ground, they should be able to control these elements.
10 This Mr. Zuti you just mentioned, he was
11 actually one of the soldiers of the Guca Gora Brigade
12 under orders of Mr. Leotar, and at the end he handed in
13 the stolen goods. So he wasn't that uncontrolled. He
14 could be controlled. If not, he wouldn't report
15 himself at the brigade headquarters.
16 Q. You met him, I take it.
17 A. I met him myself, yes.
18 Q. As you were preparing to assume your duties
19 as a monitor in Central Bosnia, were you shown a
20 special report dated April the 7th, 1993, that referred
21 to the reasons why the coordination committee meeting
22 in Busovaca was actually held at the French Bat
23 location in Kakanj as opposed to its routine locale?
24 A. I don't recall that I saw that specific
25 document. I was informed at the 17th in Vitez by
1 Mr. Remi Landry, and he was active already in the
2 beginning of '93, and he was dealing with the Busovaca
3 problems and Busovaca joint commission. He explained
4 to me that they tried to find a neutral place, being
5 French Bat, I guess, at that time, and I used the Dutch
6 Battalion in Busovaca as a neutral place or the ECMM
7 house in Vitez as a neutral place.
8 Q. Let me just read you a very brief extract
9 from the April the 7th, 1993 special report prepared by
10 the ECMM. It says, dated April the 7th:
11 "Coordination committee meeting of Busovaca
12 JC was held today in French Bat location in Kakanj, due
13 to HVO representatives, high concern about their
14 security after blackmail sent during last days by
15 Muslim hard-liners of Zenica."
16 Can you throw any light upon the identity of
17 those hard-liners, who they may have been?
18 A. I don't know. I wasn't informed on that.
19 Q. Who was the leading political figure on the
20 Muslim side in Central Bosnia?
21 A. I didn't have contact with SDA
22 representatives on that high level like Mr. Boban. So
23 I think the President of the Republic of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Izebegovic, could have been his
25 counterpart. Not fully. I think he was even higher.
1 I only met a lot of representatives on the local level
2 in Travnik especially, and in Busovaca.
3 Q. President Izebegovic would find it difficult
4 to travel to Central Bosnia while you were there;
5 wouldn't that be fair to say, sir?
6 A. He did travel around and he could have done
7 with assistance of -- for instance, the British
8 Battalion, although there was an incident by French
9 soldiers not being able to fully secure somebody in
11 Q. That was the Deputy Prime Minister, who was
12 actually shot to death?
13 A. That's correct, yes.
14 Q. Mr. Hakija Turajlic, I believe his name was?
15 A. I don't know.
16 Q. Let me turn to the Busovaca Joint Commission
17 for a few minutes. This was actually renamed the Joint
18 Operations Command, I believe, around April the 22nd,
19 1993, in accordance with the orders that were actually
20 issued by Colonel Blaskic, correct?
21 A. It's not really a renaming. They took the
22 example of the Busovaca Joint Commission to make four
23 new commissions, but before they could do that, they
24 needed a new joint command, and that was this joint
25 command in Travnik.
1 Q. You said yesterday, and I think it may have
2 been inadvertent, that the four locations were Travnik,
3 Novi Travnik, Busovaca and Vitez.
4 A. The way they decided, it was Kiseljak,
5 Busovaca, Vitez and Travnik, but then later on it
6 appeared to be wise to split Travnik in certain small
7 parts. So we needed an extra local joint commission,
8 an extra meeting in Travnik. Meaning that we had
9 brigades on both sides, in each municipality, and in
10 Travnik we had to deal with more than one brigade on
11 both sides. That's the reason why we temporarily had a
12 local joint commission Guca Gora, local joint
13 commission Novi Travnik, and one in Novi Travnik -- in
14 Travnik itself.
15 Q. That brings me to one of the exhibits that
16 you were asked some questions about by the Court,
17 Exhibit Z2535,1, the order of battle or orbat, I
18 believe it would be called.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you. What I would like to draw your
21 attention to is the dotted line that appears at the top
22 right-hand part of the page connecting the Ops Zone of
23 Central Bosnia with the BiH HVO joint commission in
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, you are not suggesting that the BiH HVO
2 joint commission had the power to issue orders to the
3 commander of the operative zone of Central Bosnia, are
5 A. It was meant to be that way, but it was
6 unclear at the moment when this chart was drawn. As
7 you see, there are only HVO units on this chart, so you
8 should have a total overview on another chart to find
9 the exact position of the joint command.
10 Q. Can you think of one occasion upon which the
11 joint commission actually issued an order to Colonel
13 A. They had direct contact from the cellars of
14 the PTT building in Travnik to the operational zone in
15 Vitez and to the 3rd Corps in Zenica, and to two deputy
16 commanders being personally at the spot in the joint
17 command. It meant to me that they had influence on
18 both sides.
19 Q. But can you cite to me one example of where
20 this joint operative command actually --
21 A. They issued a lot of orders, but I can't -- I
22 haven't seen them written, but they issued a lot of
23 orders. Since I was at the meetings, during most of
24 the morning meetings in the joint command, they issued
25 orders about an effective ceasefire, issued orders
1 about the release of prisoners several times, and the
2 results were poor.
3 Q. Right. Those are joint orders that go to
4 both forces?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. But the question that I was asking you was:
7 Can you give me one example of where this joint
8 commission actually issued an order to Colonel Blaskic
9 to do something?
10 A. Well, as I said, not a written order, but
11 there was a specific order to release four prisoners
12 coming from Travnik, and they were supposedly in prison
13 in Kaonik, and they were not released. One of them was
14 this judge from Travnik, a Muslim judge. Projkan, I
15 think he was called.
16 Q. Now, who controlled the political wing of the
17 3rd Corps, if there was one?
18 A. I don't know.
19 Q. Who actually drafted up this document --
20 A. The intel. office of the British Battalion.
21 Q. Do you know the name of the gentleman that
22 drew this?
23 A. One of the British captains. I met him, but
24 I can't recall his name.
25 Q. The specific purpose of the joint operative
1 command was actually to do exactly what you've said, to
2 ensure that ceasefire violations were prevented, and
3 where they occurred, that investigations were
4 performed, correct?
5 A. There was more to that. They also had the
6 responsibility for defending the front lines towards
7 the Serbs.
8 Q. And to investigate violations of human
10 A. These orders were issued to, according to my
11 knowledge, to all local commanders, because it was
12 their area of responsibility. If war crimes had
13 happened, they should investigate, and not this joint
14 command itself, since it had only 12 members, I think.
15 Q. Well, it would be fair to say that the
16 purpose of the commission was to ensure that the
17 ceasefire was enforced, that it could be enforced, and
18 to ensure that any violations of the ceasefire would be
19 prosecuted, and also to investigate any violations of
20 human rights, and to coordinate humanitarian aid,
22 A. I don't know where you read it from, but
23 according to my knowledge they were not able to
24 investigate themselves, and they gave orders to local
25 commanders to pick up their responsibility and to do
2 Q. I was just reading from your testimony in the
3 Blaskic case, sir, at page 9806, lines 3 to 6.
4 A. Then that is what I mean in saying that they
5 have to pick up the search for war crimes. I think you
6 can't do it yourself if you have only such a small
7 group of people.
8 Q. It would be accurate to say that each one of
9 these meetings, the daily meetings that you attended,
10 started out with a raft of accusations and
11 counter-accusations from the people on both sides of
12 the table? I think that would be fair to say?
13 A. That goes for the local joint commission. It
14 doesn't go for the joint command.
15 Q. All right. Would it be fair to say that at
16 the local level on the meetings that you chaired in
17 Vitez, that accusations and counter-accusations of
18 killings, house burnings and lootings, were routine,
19 weren't they?
20 A. That's correct. For most of the meetings,
22 Q. You referred to -- and this is the last
23 question that I have on this particular topic. It
24 might be an appropriate time for the break,
25 Mr. President.
1 You referred to an important meeting of the
2 joint operational command on April the 29th of 1993,
3 attended by Generals Petkovic and Halilovic?
4 A. That's correct, yes.
5 Q. An agreement was reached between these two
6 Generals and actually signed by them?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And part of that agreement was the release of
9 all civilians, right?
10 A. Well, part of it was the release of all
12 Q. Absolutely. Civilian or military, correct?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. So another part was to clean up the
16 A. That's correct as well.
17 Q. And you actually kept a copy of this
18 agreement for yourself --
19 A. Correct, yes.
20 Q. With respect to all of these agreements that
21 we've talked about, the ones reached on April the 18th,
22 April the 20th, the 21st, April the 29th, at the
23 national, at the general staff, at the local level,
24 Mr. Kordic did not participate once in any of those
25 meetings, did he, sir?
1 A. I never heard his name or -- and I didn't
2 meet him during one of those meetings.
3 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now and sit again
4 at half past 2.00.
5 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
3 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President, and
4 good afternoon, Colonel. I just have a few questions
5 to conclude the matter of local commissions.
6 Q. In your experience, there was a wide degree
7 of difference in the effectiveness with which the four
8 local commissions functioned, wasn't there?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. By far the best and most harmonious, in your
11 experience, was the Busovaca local commission?
12 A. Until the 2nd of July, that's correct.
13 Q. And by far the worse, following up the rear,
14 if you like, was the Kiseljak local commission?
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. With respect to the Busovaca commission in
17 late April and May, isn't it accurate to say that the
18 representatives of the civil government were generally
19 speaking to one another?
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. And, in fact, they actually agreed to release
22 joint statements on the radio and television to try to
23 calm the tensions down?
24 A. They agreed to do so, but the result was
25 poor, also the result of the press conference, since I
1 was told by my interpreter that this press release did
2 not cover the meeting itself.
3 Q. How many interpreters did you have?
4 A. The two female interpreters coming from
5 Busovaca and Kiseljak were the ones I mostly had with
6 me, and there were, on several occasions, a few more
7 interpreters coming from Zenica. For instance, the
8 four days I spent in Grahovici, I had another
9 interpreter with me.
10 Q. Your two principal interpreters were Marijana
11 Milicevic and Melissa Kegelj; is that correct?
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. Ms. Milicevic, I believe, came from
15 A. No, Ms. Marijana -- yeah, Milicevic, that's
16 correct, yes, she came from Gromiljak.
17 Q. And Ms. Kegelj was from Dusina, was she not?
18 A. She told me she was from Busovaca, some small
19 part of Busovaca, somewhere in the outskirts.
20 Q. Now, with respect to the HVO representative
21 with whom you principally dealt at the local commission
22 level and, I believe, at the joint operative command
23 level, that was Franjo Nakic; is that correct?
24 A. That's correct. He joined us, the team,
25 during most of the local joint commissions as a kind of
1 a start-up or to support the work of the team.
2 Q. I once again apologise for the delay to let
3 the interpreters catch up.
4 Mr. Nakic was, to use your colourful phrase
5 in the Blaskic case, the eyes and ears of Colonel
6 Blaskic, his immediate superior officer; correct?
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. And according to what you observed,
9 Mr. Nakic's orders would routinely be followed by HVO
11 A. Yes. Routinely, yes, that's correct.
12 Q. You would agree that to the best of your
13 estimation, Mr. Nakic worked diligently to support both
14 the local commission efforts in which he participated
15 and also the joint operations command, operations on
16 which he was involved as well?
17 A. Can you explain the word "diligently"?
18 Q. Maybe that was a poor question. Let me
19 rephrase it.
20 Wouldn't you agree that Mr. Nakic, at least
21 in your view, did his best to make the local commission
22 and the joint operative command work as well as they
24 A. That's correct. He did his best, yes.
25 Q. Now, just a couple of questions regarding
1 Colonel Blaskic, if I may.
2 You never actually got to speak to Colonel
3 Blaskic yourself, did you?
4 A. I met him during a few occasions. Most of
5 the times, I was accompanied by either Colonel Stewart
6 or Mr. Thebault or another senior monitor, so I didn't
7 do the speaking myself.
8 Q. There is no question in your mind that he was
9 the supreme commander of the HVO in the Central Bosnia
10 Operative Zone?
11 A. No, there's no question about that.
12 Q. You were asked some questions relating to
13 your perceptions of the chain of command within the
14 HVO, and I would just like to pick up on a few of those
16 It's true that in your estimation, the HVO
17 had an excellent chain of command?
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. In your view, the superior commanders within
20 that chain of command had control over their forces;
22 A. Not over all their forces, since they more
23 than once used the excuse that they couldn't control
24 all of the forces.
25 Q. Right. But in your view, that was not
1 correct, I think you said.
2 A. Yes. I used the example of controlling
3 artillery. You need good chains of command to do that.
4 Q. Who was the artillery commander?
5 A. I'm not aware of whether the HVO artillery
6 units were directly under brigade or directly under
7 operational zone command, I'm not aware of that, but it
8 was efficiently used.
9 Q. But it was within the chain of command,
10 certainly; correct?
11 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Q. In your view, the chain of command was well
14 A. Well, it was clear to me and to the other
15 monitors and, according to my knowledge, also to the
16 British liaison officers.
17 Q. And basically it was a relatively traditional
18 form of organisation, with an operative zone
19 functioning as a sort of corps command, brigades
20 underneath the corps with separately-identified
21 commanders and deputy commanders; correct?
22 A. That's correct, and even battalions on the
23 level below that.
24 Q. In other words, the military forces that you
25 saw operated in the way that you would expect military
1 forces to operate?
2 A. According to this chain of command, yes.
3 Q. According to your understanding, military
4 orders were issued in the regular way and obeyed;
6 A. I was told by commanders themselves that they
7 either had got orders or issued orders. They were not
8 always left up to --
9 Q. But you have previously testified or opined
10 in the Blaskic case, and I don't think you are saying
11 anything differently today, that you understood there
12 to be a clear hierarchy with a clearly defined command
13 structure, and that there was very good control over
14 forces within that military structure?
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. And within that military structure was the
17 military police as well, so far as you understood it?
18 A. As far as I understood, yes.
19 Q. In fact, I think that you were asked a
20 question by Judge Shahabuddeen at page 110 of the
21 Blaskic transcript as to whether in your view there was
22 one single line of authority, and your response was:
23 "That's correct, Your Honour."
24 You have no reason to testify differently
1 A. No, I have no reason to.
2 Q. Now, let me just turn the coin, if I may use
3 that phrase, and look at the so-called ABiH. Did you
4 find the same kind of clearly defined chain of command
5 within the Muslim forces?
6 A. Yes. On the same level as the operational
7 zone on the HVO side. We had to deal with headquarters
8 of the 3rd Corps in Zenica, and they had the same
9 structure of brigades and battalions in the levels
10 under that corps.
11 Q. Fairly similar to what you saw on the HVO
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. All right, sir. I believe that you never met
15 General Hadzihasanovic yourself; is that correct?
16 A. No. I saw him during that meeting at the
17 28th of April, but I didn't speak to him myself.
18 Q. The ABiH commander with whom you principally
19 liased was Colonel Dzemal Merdan, I take it?
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. All right. Just a few background questions
22 regarding the area. Wouldn't it be fair to
23 characterise the conflict that erupted in the Lasva
24 Valley in the spring and early summer of 1993, at least
25 from a strategic perspective, as really a battle for
1 control over the main supply routes and the high
2 features overlooking and controlling those supply
4 A. I don't think that both parties had the same
5 aims and the same goals at strategic level, because
6 according to my point of view, the Muslim side, the
7 army of BiH was still interested in the entire Republic
8 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I didn't experience the same
9 intentions on the HVO side.
10 Q. But there is no question that the main road
11 that ran down from the north through Travnik, for
12 example, and Vitez, and along the Lasva Valley up to
13 Zenica was a main supply route of tremendous
14 significance to both sides; isn't that correct?
15 A. This wasn't -- was an important route, but
16 the importance is even more stated when you can connect
17 this route towards the coast or towards the inland.
18 Q. Absolutely.
19 A. So it's not only this part of the route
20 that's important.
21 Q. Indeed, the route from Zenica down to Visoko,
22 for example, was an important strategic objective on
23 the part of the ABiH; was it not?
24 A. Well, that's correct, but still no connection
25 with the coast.
1 Q. Right. But if that route were to be open,
2 then the ABiH would have pretty much of a clear shot
3 down to southern Bosnia-Herzegovina, bypassing all of
4 the Croat enclaves; isn't that correct?
5 A. That's only correct if you are interested to
6 reach that goal, and I didn't experience that the ABiH
7 planned to reach such a goal.
8 Q. Did you follow events in Bosnia-Herzegovina
9 after you left the theatre, or did you put that behind
11 A. No, I didn't leave it behind me. I went to
12 Germany to Hamburg to do a study on the German war
13 college, and German newspapers have a different
14 perspective than the Dutch newspapers do. So I did
15 follow the conflict, but not as closely as I would have
16 done when I would have stayed in the Netherlands.
17 Q. Turning to the subject of Mujahedin and the
18 7th Muslim brigade, about which you were asked some
19 questions. Colonel, were you aware that throughout
20 your tour, the 7th Muslim brigade was assertedly not
21 under the control of the 3rd Corps in Zenica?
22 A. I was told by Mr. Merdan himself that -- I
23 think it was the first or the second week of May, that
24 as of that moment this 7th Muslim brigade was under his
25 control or under the control of the 3rd Corps. So
1 before that, I guess that it wasn't under control, but
2 after that moment he claims that this brigade was under
3 his control.
4 Q. This was in the beginning of June?
5 A. I don't exactly recall when it was, but if
6 you read it there, I guess that's correct.
7 Q. All right. I was just having in mind a
8 question that you were asked in the Blaskic case
9 regarding an exchange between one of your colleagues, I
10 believe Mr. McLeod and General Hadzihasanovic, in which
11 General Hadzihasanovic contended in the early part of
12 May that he wanted to have the 7th Muslim brigade under
13 control, rather than not. The Mujahedins were not
14 under control, and that it was -- there are many
15 elements who are not controlled.
16 You were asked some questions about that and
17 you testified that you were aware that there was no
18 control in the early part of your tour, but that
19 Mr. Merdan supposedly told you that in the early part
20 of June some sort of control had been established.
21 How many people were in the 7th Muslim
23 A. No idea. If it's a normal brigade, but I'm
24 not sure, then I guess 1.000 or 2.000 people. I'm not
25 sure whether it's a normal brigade or not, because I
1 never met them.
2 Q. Let me just read to you a brief extract from
3 the introduction brief for new ECMM monitors dated
4 February 25, 1993 that has already been marked as an
5 exhibit in this case.
6 The incoming monitors, at least at that time,
7 and please tell me if you were given different
8 information, were told that the ABiH was 50 to 60.000
9 strong commanded by Sefer Halilovic, had become much
10 more organised and better equipped of late, and this is
11 as of February, and that the army was organised into
12 five separate corps. Is that consistent with what you
13 were --
14 A. Yes, I was informed about that.
15 Q. And the document also states on page 6 that
16 reports had been received of a new formation, the
17 Muslim forces army, which only accepts Islamic soldiers
18 from Bosnia and abroad, but is assessed to be under
19 2.000 strong.
20 Was that subject ever raised during the
21 briefing that you received, sir?
22 A. During that briefing I already got some
23 information that a unit of that kind was being formed,
24 and I think that it's approximately the same amount of
25 soldiers I mentioned.
1 Q. Did you ever hear about the 7th Muslim
2 brigade actually being the principal source of tensions
3 in areas where offensive operations were being
4 conducted by the forces of the ABiH?
5 A. During nearly every meeting in Busovaca we
6 got allegations from the HVO side of small attacks, so
7 I wouldn't call it offensive operations, but small
8 attacks or incidents at the front lines, and more than
9 once the HVO side claimed that Mujahedins or Mujahedin
10 forces were active at those front lines. And similar
11 claims were made during the commissions in Vitez. So I
12 was informed by one side about allegations on
13 Mujahedins being involved in this conflict.
14 Q. Did you ever receive information from the
15 officers in the British intelligence cells that that,
16 in fact, was the case, the 7th Muslim brigade was the
17 principal source of tension in areas where fighting was
18 going on?
19 A. I don't recall that the British officers
20 stated that the cause of the problems were these
21 Mujahedins. I only recall one incident, but I don't
22 know whether it is defined as such. That's the
23 incident of the killing of four or five Croat men,
24 young men. Some were in a small village north of Guca
25 Gora, some 10 kilometres north, where they were said to
1 be a training camp of Mujahedins soldiers.
2 Q. And the Trial Chamber has already heard
3 evidence about that. That was the village of Miletici?
4 A. That's right, yes. I couldn't remember the
5 name, and that's correct. I was informed about that
6 incident, I think, by the British. I'm not sure.
7 Q. Just to close the door on that particular
8 subject. You don't have any personal knowledge of what
9 went on in that village? Your knowledge is derived
10 from what you were told?
11 A. And I wrote down the names to check it, but I
12 couldn't find any way to positively identify this
14 Q. Let me just read you a very brief extract
15 from the Cheshire Regiment's milinfosum number 148 on
16 the 27th of March, 1993, dealing with Kakanj. It
17 says: "The main source of tension in the area is the
18 presence and attitude of MOS --"
19 THE INTERPRETER: Counsel, slow down,
21 Q. -- were you aware of the 7th Muslim brigade
22 actually conducting operations in the Kakanj area?
23 A. No, I wasn't. But that was long before I
24 arrived in the theatre.
25 Q. All right. You were in the area, though, on
1 the 23rd of June of 1993, right?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. And at that time, I believe, there had been a
4 changeover in the identity of the British regiment that
5 constituted the BritBat component of UNPROFOR; the
6 Cheshire Regiment had been replaced by the Prince of
7 Wales Own Regiment?
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. Let me just read you an entry from the Prince
10 of Wales Own Regiment, milinfosum 55 on the 23rd of
11 June, 1993. I would like to ask you if this is
12 consistent with your experience. It regards an
13 incident in Zenica. It says:
14 "The ECMM report another incident that Mujahedins
15 elements in Zenica attacking a woman for wearing
16 clothes that were inappropriate. This attack is
17 reputedly only one in a series where the victims are
18 beaten or even knifed. The Zenica LO, liaison officer,
19 also noted that Mujahedin members were seen entering
20 the ops room at the 3rd Corps HQ."
21 And the comment goes on to say:
22 "Whether the Mujahedin are under effective control of
23 the 3rd Corps or not, has been a topic of some debate.
24 This cell believes that they under effective control,
25 as they are invariably found at the point of the 3rd
1 Corps main effort. The recent campaign in the Bila
2 valley clearly demonstrated this. However, the
3 Mujahedin are clearly capable of extreme acts, as
4 demonstrated by the attacks in Zenica and the
5 desecration of the church in Guca Gora."
6 On that subject, sir, are you aware that the
7 building just as you come into the monastery had been
8 shelled repeatedly?
9 A. What building are you referring to?
10 Q. The large square building just before you get
11 into the monastery at Guca Gora.
12 A. Guca Gora, at the 23rd of June?
13 Q. Yes.
14 A. No. I visited this church more than once.
15 That was, as I recall it, on the 9th and, I think, on
16 the 8th of June. And my fellow monitor, Mr. Watkins,
17 visited the area north of Guca Gora in the days after,
18 in the period when I was on leave. So I don't think --
19 or I didn't write anything down on Guca Gora after, I
20 think, the 9th of June.
21 Q. The intelligence cell goes on to make an
22 observation that --
23 JUDGE MAY: I just wonder how this is going
24 to help us. You can refer to all those documents,
25 Mr. Sayers, in due course.
1 This witness has given his evidence. He, as
2 far as I know, has not seen any of these documents.
3 Now, his evidence is, for instance, that he saw little
4 damage to churches but much to mosques. If you want to
5 challenge that, then as far as the witness is
6 concerned, you can simply do it globally by putting
7 that there was damage to the place that you've
8 mentioned or any others. You don't have to read out
9 all these documents all the time, which take up a lot
10 of our time, and it's not terribly helpful when the
11 witness hasn't seen them.
12 MR. SAYERS: I think that that's a helpful
13 suggestion, and I will abide by it, Mr. President.
14 Q. Globally speaking, before you left Central
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina in, I believe it was, the second
16 week of July --
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. -- had you visited, for example, the church
19 in Guca Gora since the 8th of June?
20 A. I believe on the 9th of June was the latest
21 day I visited the church at Guca Gora, and then
22 fighting was over in that area and the area was
23 controlled by the ABiH.
24 Q. All right. Did you conduct an extensive
25 investigation of religious sites on both sides while
1 you were present as an ECMM monitor?
2 A. Yes. Every time when allegations were made
3 about damage being done to holy places like churches
4 and mosques, we used to check that, to check those
5 allegations, that same day or the day after. The
6 general opinion is a lot of mosques were destroyed or
7 damaged, and only very few cases there was damage,
8 small damage, found on Catholic churches.
9 Q. All right. Did you range as far down as
11 A. No, because that wasn't my area of
12 responsibility. I didn't work in Bugojno.
13 Q. Did you range as far down as Fojnica?
14 A. No. Kiseljak was the furthest south.
15 Q. You can't throw any light upon conditions
16 relating to religious sites, for example, in towns such
17 as Kakanj?
18 A. Not I myself, but I'm sure other monitors can
20 Q. That's fine. I'll move on, sir. Thank
22 Now, you gave some testimony regarding what
23 you described as HVO propaganda or misinformation, and
24 you are of the view that the HVO supposedly used
25 propaganda to try to incite fear in their own people,
1 the Croats, to try to persuade them to migrate to
2 Croat-held territory; is that correct?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Did you see any radio or TV programmes
6 A. No. I can't understand them myself, so I was
7 informed by either my interpreter or by the locals
9 Q. In other words, you relied upon your
10 understanding of the term "propaganda", or whatever
11 this propaganda consisted of, upon descriptions from
12 other people?
13 A. Being my interpreter, yes. The conclusion of
14 propaganda I drew myself. She merely told me what was
15 said on the radio; for instance, in Grahovici, where
16 Father Stjepan and myself and a group of
17 representatives of the Croat community, with their own
18 eyes, saw their own houses undamaged and, with their
19 own eyes, saw that there was no more danger. And we
20 organised an escort back for these people, and that
21 same night a radio broadcast convinced a group of these
22 people that it was unsafe to go. So I then realised
23 that this must have been propaganda, even if I didn't
24 hear it myself.
25 Q. That was the night of April the 25th, 1993,
1 wasn't it?
2 A. Yes. It was late April, yes.
3 Q. Right after the Miletici incident?
4 A. I'm not sure when that happened, but it might
5 be true.
6 Q. You were asked a question about this document
7 that was marked as Z696, which has three signatures all
8 apparently by the same person. Let me just suggest to
9 you that the Croatian word "za" means "for" or "on
10 behalf of".
11 A. Yes. I already thought about that.
12 Q. And the person who signed it signed it "Za
13 Mr. Kostroman" and also "Za Mr. Kordic." Does that
14 lead you to conclude that the signor, the person that
15 signed it, was Mr. Puljic, the third person?
16 A. No, I can't make anything about this small
17 writing, so I don't know whether he was the one.
18 Q. Who was Mr. Puljic? Had you ever heard of
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. He's listed as the minister of defence. Do
22 you know what he's the minister of defence of?
23 A. Well, you just explained this morning that it
24 was -- then he must have been the minister of defence
25 of Herceg-Bosna, I guess, minister of defence of the
1 HVO, Herceg-Bosna.
2 MR. SAYERS: Just one second, if I may, Your
4 Q. Let me just put a proposition to you. You
5 can disagree with it if you wish. Mr. Puljic was
6 actually the minister of defence for the Vitez area,
7 wasn't he?
8 A. I don't know.
9 Q. All right. Now, do I understand you
10 correctly to say that in your view, with respect to the
11 hostilities that occurred in the Kakanj area in the
12 middle of June -- and there is not any doubt that
13 hostilities did occur there, is there, sir?
14 A. I experienced about those hostilities on my
15 way to Kiseljak to fly to my leave destination, so
16 that's the only experience I have in this part of
17 middle Bosnia.
18 Q. But you know that there were about 15.000
19 Croat refugees that flooded out of the town of Kakanj
20 in --
21 A. I was informed about that when I returned.
22 Q. Right. And is it your view that that was the
23 result of propaganda or the result of being shot at?
24 A. I don't know. I didn't have any specific
25 information about the incident in the area of
2 Q. All right. In the middle of June, on June
3 the 8th, actually, an ABiH offensive in Travnik
4 started, didn't it?
5 A. Yes. I think that was more or less the
6 offensive outside Travnik to secure the road from
7 Travnik to Zenica.
8 Q. And four days later, there were about 11.000
9 refugees flooding out of Travnik, and they were Croats,
10 weren't they?
11 A. No, that's not correct. According to my
12 point of view, the majority of these 11.000 came from
13 the Guca Gora area and not from Travnik itself.
14 Q. But they were Croats nonetheless, weren't
15 they, sir?
16 A. Correct, yes.
17 Q. Are you of the view that, once again, those
18 11.000 refugees left their homes as a result of
19 propaganda rather than as a result of being shot at by
20 people that wanted to kill them?
21 A. Well, I don't agree with you, because these
22 people started moving already on the 8th of June and
23 some groups on the 7th of June. It was already -- we
24 had warnings by Croats and HVO that it was going to
25 happen already on the 6th of June, so we had warnings.
1 And there were no -- there was no evidence that these
2 people had been shot at. There were no -- except for
3 this one man in Guca Gora, there were no injuries or
4 casualties, so I don't think you can state that these
5 11.000 people fled because others were shooting at
6 them. They were afraid.
7 Q. I thought I heard you say this morning, and
8 maybe I was wrong, that there were, in fact, about 130
9 casualties that you visited at Nova Bila hospital
10 resulting from that.
11 A. That's correct. The majority of those
12 casualties came from the front lines, being wounded
13 soldiers. I only recall one small girl being injured.
14 A very sad case, of course. That's the only civil
15 casualty I recall from those 130 in the hospital.
16 Q. Do you recall an incident, sir, in Vitez
17 where eight boys and girls were blown apart by an
18 artillery shell on June the 10th?
19 A. I was informed of that. I didn't see it
20 myself, but I was informed, yes. At a school yard, at
21 a basketball field, I guess.
22 Q. By the way, that was the day before the
23 Convoy of Joy was apprehended, wasn't it?
24 JUDGE MAY: I doubt the witness can remember
25 these precise dates.
1 A. I wasn't there during the Convoy of Joy
2 because I was on leave, so it must have been on the
3 11th or the 12th.
4 JUDGE MAY: And it's not really fair, after
5 all this time, to ask him to remember.
6 MR. SAYERS:
7 Q. Have you ever seen the special report on
8 Croats in Zenica that was dated April the 20th and
9 April the 21st of 1993?
10 A. I don't know. I'm not sure.
11 MR. SAYERS: I wonder if the usher would show
12 you Exhibit 25/1. D25/1, sorry.
13 A. Do you want me to read the contents as well?
14 MR. SAYERS:
15 Q. I think that you can read this relatively
16 quickly. I just would like to know if you were one of
17 the ECMM monitors who actually performed the
18 reconnaissance of these villages to evaluate the damage
19 that had been done.
20 A. Not at that time. Later on, I visited some
21 of these villages. But my name is not on this
23 Q. Very well. Have you actually had access to
24 this document as you were performing your
25 investigations regarding events at the villages named
1 in here?
2 A. Not the document itself, but we had meetings
3 in Zenica at the regional centre every evening where
4 all the monitors reported their findings of that day,
5 and I was informed by Mr. Junhov, who amongst others
6 produced this report, about his findings in that area.
7 Q. And you've got no reason to dispute the
8 accuracy of anything that's contained in this report?
9 A. As I told you, I took Father Stjepan and some
10 of the representatives of this community to check their
11 own houses. Some of them were burnt but the majority
12 were still there, and they felt it was safe to go
13 back. So even if there was a threat on the 20th or
14 21st, this threat was at least less than the day I
15 visited those villages.
16 Q. All right. We don't need to go into all of
17 the details here, but there is one incident that you
18 testified about where a crowd of civilians, I believe
19 you said, had obstructed access to the Kruscica road,
20 and that was caused by a lady being shot by a Muslim
21 sniper; correct?
22 A. Well, she was shot in the back yard by a
23 sniper. I guess it was a Muslim sniper, but I didn't
24 see the incident myself.
25 Q. You've previously testified about this in the
1 Blaskic case, and I believe what happened was that the
2 lady was shot, her daughter tried to help her, and then
3 the sniper shot a second time and this time killed the
5 A. That's correct. It was a very sad case.
6 Q. With respect to the Kiseljak Valley fighting
7 about which you testified, I only want to cover two
8 issues. The first is in the village of Gomionica, when
9 you finally obtained access to that village and the
10 surrounding areas with your colleagues, you discovered
11 no dead bodies of civilians, did you?
12 A. I actually never got into Gomionica myself.
13 I was stopped at the outskirts at one occasion by
14 soldiers. Houses were still burning at that time, and
15 then I didn't visit the burning houses or the burned
16 houses myself.
17 Q. The second question I wanted to discuss with
18 you was the village of Rotilj. I believe that you
19 actually interviewed the commander of the HVO who had
20 led the assault on the village. Correct?
21 A. Well, he told me that he did so.
22 Q. Commander Mirko Redjo; right?
23 A. That's correct, yes.
24 Q. He told you that he had come under fire from
25 villagers; correct?
1 A. He explained to me what happened, and he said
2 that one of his patrols or a group of his soldiers came
3 under fire from one of the houses.
4 Q. One of his soldiers was hit by gunfire;
6 A. By small-arms fire.
7 Q. And the HVO then returned fire; correct?
8 A. I'm not sure what happened after that or what
9 he exactly told me, but the last message he gave me was
10 that he had to burn down the seven houses.
11 Q. And you found that to be a logical reaction,
12 did you not?
13 A. I did not, since you aren't allowed to cause
14 more damage than needed. It's called collateral
15 damage. And if you receive fire from small arms, then
16 there's no necessity, in my point of view, to burn down
17 all the houses.
18 Q. Well, on page 10023 of the Blaskic
19 transcript, you were asked this question by Judge
20 Riad: "Did he mean they were being shot at from the
21 seven houses? Were they military zones?"
22 Your answer was: "It could have been in a
23 fighting zone. He came under fire, as he told us. One
24 of his soldiers, one of his HVO soldiers, was wounded.
25 He had to return fire, and then he said he had to burn
1 down the houses. It was a logical reaction."
2 A. From his point of view, but not from my point
3 of view a logical reaction.
4 Q. But you found his story, though, that he took
5 20 weapons from young men in that village from him,
6 that he had launched an assault on the village and
7 burned down seven Muslim houses, you found that story
8 to be accurate; did you not?
9 A. There was no reason to doubt it, since he was
10 the commander on scene and he gave me this explanation
12 Q. And you believed it to be true, didn't you?
13 A. Yes, because I visited the civilians in the
14 village, and they didn't deny this part of the story.
15 Q. You touched briefly upon an incident on April
16 the 19th, 1993, in which the city of Zenica was hit by
17 artillery fire. Were you personally involved in the
18 investigation that was performed by the ECMM into that
20 A. No, I was not, since I was stuck in Vitez at
21 that moment. I couldn't leave the area of Vitez for
22 five days, due to heavy fighting on the front lines.
23 Fellow monitors in Zenica did the investigation. And
24 they made a report on that. And I was informed on the
25 results of that report.
1 Q. Was that an oral report or a written report?
2 A. I'm not sure. I was informed on that later
3 on. I think Mr. Baggesen did the investigation, since
4 he was an artillery officer himself.
5 Q. Artillery officer you say?
6 A. Well, he did intel. business as well, but
7 according to my knowledge he had an artillery
8 background, yes.
9 Q. All right. And would it be fair to say that
10 you yourself did not participate in a subsequent
11 investigation that Major Baggesen performed relating to
12 an incident of shelling in the same city on May the
13 9th, 1993?
14 A. That's correct. I didn't know -- I didn't do
15 any investigations on shelling myself.
16 Q. Your view was that the HVO was generally
17 better equipped than the ABiH, correct?
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. And yet would it be fair to say that in the
20 summer of 1993 the HVO forces were defeated in Travnik,
21 in Bugogno, in Fojnica, and in Kakanj?
22 A. I can only tell about Travnik, and they more
23 or less handed over their positions. So I wouldn't
24 call that a defeat. It's a decision of the forces
25 themselves to leave the area.
1 Q. Did you follow events in the city of Vares in
2 the early part of November of 1993, or don't you
3 know --
4 A. Well, I don't recall it, since I didn't make
5 any notes on that.
6 Q. Do you remember immediately before the
7 Travnik offensive, the members of the Croat delegation
8 to the joint operations command telling you that Croats
9 generally did not feel safe in Travnik?
10 A. Yes. This was mentioned at the end of May
11 and the beginning of June. And we transmitted this
12 feeling of Croats to the commander of the army of BiH
13 side and to Mr. Merdan. That's the reason why we
14 organised mixed police patrols in the city of Travnik.
15 Q. I was a little bit unclear regarding some
16 evidence that you gave regarding events in early June.
17 I understand what you said about the HVO headquarters,
18 but isn't it true that the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
19 actually seized control of governmental buildings in
20 that city in the early part of June?
21 A. Yes, I think that's true. I think they
22 controlled most of the buildings in the centre of
24 Q. And on June the 8th, I think, that you found
25 pretty much the command of the Travnik forces in a
1 panic and about to leave the city, leave their
2 headquarters behind, correct?
3 A. I don't understand what you mean by the
4 Travnik forces.
5 Q. The HVO forces in Travnik.
6 A. They were no longer in Travnik at the 8th of
7 June. They already left Travnik at the 4th of June.
8 And they left the positions at the front lines in the
9 night from 7th, 8th of June. They even burned the
10 archives, so I wouldn't say that's a defeat. If you
11 burn archives, you know what's going to happen. You
12 just leave your headquarters.
13 Q. It's normal, though, if you are performing a
14 hurried retreat, to burn ciphers and codes and things
15 of that --
16 A. That's correct, but then you don't take that
17 much time to do so.
18 Q. You gave some testimony about operations
19 around Zepce. Isn't it true that ABiH forces launched
20 an offensive in Zepce around June the 30th?
21 A. I never have been in Zepce myself. I was
22 informed by BritBat. They had liaison officers there,
23 and I was informed by other monitors. And Mr. Nakic
24 and Mr. Merdan told me their side of the story about
25 what happened in Zepce.
1 Q. Did you know that Zepce actually held out as
2 a Croat enclave until the signature of the Washington
4 A. No, I wasn't aware of that.
5 Q. Turning to a very minor point, I guess. The
6 village of Gacice that you gave some testimony about.
7 It's true that Gacice operates the high ground in a
8 valley opposite the village of Donja Veceriska, which
9 operates the other high ground, and right between the
10 two is the Vitezit factory. Both of these villages
11 basically overlook the Vitezit factory?
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. The Vitezit factory was a primary strategic
14 -- was of primary strategic importance to the Croats,
15 and to the ABiH actually, throughout all of the period
16 that you were in Central Bosnia?
17 A. Yes, I was informed that it wasn't
18 operational during that time, but it could be used to
19 start up production again.
20 Q. You were asked some questions in connection
21 with an incident involving an UNHCR convoy on April the
22 28th, 1993. Let me just ask you these questions: You
23 did not prepare any special report about this incident,
24 did you?
25 A. No. It was mentioned in a daily report, and
1 Mr. Thebault took over part of that daily report into
2 his report.
3 Q. Did you prepare a daily operational report
5 A. I'm not sure. I have to look. If I have,
6 then there's already a copy made of that. It was on
7 the 24th?
8 Q. 28th.
9 A. No, I have no report on the 28th.
10 Q. And would it be fair to say that there is
11 nothing in your contemporaneous notes that mentions the
12 name of Mr. Kordic on that date, April the 28th, 1993?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. And you were physically present in Busovaca
15 on that day? I think you've testified.
16 A. It was during the night, but I was physically
17 present, yes.
18 Q. All right. Now, let me turn to the second
19 episode, the one that you testified about on July the
20 4th. My understanding is that you spoke initially to
21 the commander of the military police in Busovaca, I
22 think on June -- July the 2nd, actually, 1993. Is that
24 A. That's correct. Mr. Ljubesic.
25 Q. Then unable to achieve your objective with
1 him, you went up the line, so-to-speak, and spoke to
2 the HVO commander, Dusko Grubesic?
3 A. Because this chief of police said to me that
4 he couldn't decide. He had to go to Mostar first. I
5 tried to persuade my way of working to Mr. Grubesic,
6 but he wasn't available.
7 Q. You ultimately did contact him, though,
8 didn't you?
9 A. I did, yes.
10 Q. And the convoy was ultimately released at his
11 order, wasn't it?
12 A. I don't know whether it was done at his
13 order, but we didn't reach our entire aim, since we
14 didn't get the stolen properties back. And I was
15 threatened by pointing a gun at myself, threatened by
16 HVO soldiers, his soldiers. I wasn't particularly
17 pleased by the behaviour of the brigade commander
19 Q. Well, Colonel, no one would be pleased with
20 that kind of behaviour. But wouldn't it be fair to say
21 that the drivers who were apprehended were well
23 A. That's correct. The drivers were well
25 Q. And they had had some personal belongings
1 taken from them, and those personal belongings were
2 returned to them when they were released?
3 A. That's correct. But after long
4 negotiations. But we got them back finally, yes.
5 Q. And your conclusion was that the military
6 police had been overruled by the military commander in
7 the theatre; isn't it?
8 A. Yes, because my personal opinion was that
9 this commander, this military police commander, only
10 used going to Mostar as an excuse. And he didn't show
11 up the next day. And as of that moment I only dealt
12 with soldiers and officers of the HVO in Busovaca. And
13 they were the ones who threatened me, and they were the
14 ones who didn't return good.
15 So that's my belief, that they overruled and
16 took over the whole incident. Maybe they even started
17 up the incident. I don't know about that.
18 Q. You gave some testimony to the effect that as
19 far as you knew the events at Ahmici were never the
20 results or never made the object of any investigation
21 on the part of the HVO?
22 A. I don't know, but they never reported any
23 results of any investigation. We asked them to several
24 times, and we didn't get any results.
25 Q. Well, isn't it true that the HVO informed the
1 ECMM that an investigation had in fact been started?
2 A. They spoke about that, but there were no
3 results of that investigation, even if it had really
5 Q. Did you have any communications with Colonel
6 Stewart or anyone at the British Battalion regarding a
7 request that had been made and directed to Colonel
8 Blaskic to set up an investigating commission, and that
9 for any commission to have credibility in the
10 international community's eyes, there should be a
11 Muslim component on the commission too?
12 A. I recall that I discussed with Colonel
13 Stewart the whole incident of Ahmici. He was very
14 upset. He showed that on television as well. He told
15 me that he wouldn't let it as it was, that he would do
16 his best to find the persons guilty for this incident.
17 And, well, I couldn't check on the battalion commander,
18 of course, but I reckoned that he would support
19 investigations, if asked to.
20 Later on the ECMM and the U.N. sent
21 investigators of their own. And I met one of those
22 investigators in Ahmici.
23 Q. All right. Let me just turn to that subject
24 before I get into the investigation subject in just
25 slightly more detail.
1 JUDGE MAY: Did the witness give any evidence
2 about Ahmici?
3 Mr. Nice, perhaps you can recollect. I don't
4 remember any.
5 MR. NICE: I can't recollect his giving any
6 evidence about Ahmici. I might be wrong. Let's check
7 it. Or if it was, it was tangential at the best. I
8 think my recollection is the word "Ahmici" certainly
9 may have fallen from his lips at some stage, but not in
10 any detail.
11 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, this is precisely the
12 point. There are a lot of other witnesses who give
13 evidence about Ahmici. You can call evidence about
14 it. It's not going to assist unless there is a
15 particular matter which this witness can deal with. If
16 it's general cross-examination, which is a matter which
17 we've heard often enough, it isn't going to assist.
18 MR. SAYERS: Very well, Mr. President. I
19 heard the witness say that, as far as he was aware, no
20 investigation into the events at Ahmici had been
21 performed or no investigative efforts had ever been
22 made by the HVO. But if the Trial Chamber's
23 recollection is to the contrary, I am delighted to move
25 JUDGE MAY: You may be right, in which case
1 the first point doesn't hold. But the second point
2 does, that we've heard a very great deal and will be
3 hearing much evidence about it. And you can call your
4 evidence on the topic.
5 MR. SAYERS:
6 Q. The final topic of questions that I have for
7 you, Colonel, I'm sure you'll be delighted to learn,
8 concerns the -- I think one of the last pieces or
9 subjects that you covered. You mentioned that you had
10 seen someone wearing a uniform of the Croatian armed
11 forces, the HV?
12 A. The HV badge, yes, the chequerboard.
13 Q. You saw a total of five people wearing such
14 uniforms throughout your --
15 A. Different occasions.
16 Q. Right. But you were only asked one question
17 about it, correct?
18 A. Yes, because I wasn't always in the
19 opportunity to ask all those --
20 Q. Right. And his response to you was that he
21 found that uniforms were hard to obtain, so basically
22 soldiers were getting anything that they could lay
23 their hands on. And the same is true of the members of
24 the 325th Mountain Brigade; isn't that right?
25 A. German flags on their skirts you mean?
1 Q. In fact, that German flag was being sported
2 by Mr. Sifet Sivro --
3 A. I know what you mean. I was asked about that
4 during the Blaskic case as well.
5 Q. And I think you agreed that that didn't make
6 him a member of the [indiscernible]?
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. And Mr. Sifet Sivro was from the ABiH side?
9 A. That's correct. I must add to that. That on
10 the HVO side soldiers usually wore better uniforms and
11 were better equipped than on the ABiH side.
12 Q. With respect to the single sighting of the
13 mil 8, was it, or HIP helicopter --
14 A. Helicopter, yes.
15 Q. -- you saw. You do not know what operations
16 that helicopter was involved in, do you?
17 A. No, not at that specific day. I know about
18 negotiations, about the evacuation of wounded, and
19 later on these evacuations were organised with the
20 acceptance of both sides. And at those occasions
21 helicopters have been used legally or officially
22 announced. And this one was not announced to either
23 ECMM or British Battalion
24 MR. SAYERS: All right. If it please the
25 Court, I have no further questions for Colonel
2 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
4 Q. Thank you, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
5 Colonel Morsink. My name is Bozidar Kovacic and I am
6 the counsel of Mario Cerkez. Me and my co-counsel,
7 Mr. Mikulicic. And if I may, I should like to ask you
8 some questions. We shall be using different languages,
9 so can you please make sure to pause between question
10 and answer so as to facilitate the interpreter's job.
11 Now, Mr. Morsink, you answered briefly a
12 question about your preparations to go to Bosnia as an
13 EC monitor, but did you have any full knowledge, any
14 knowledge about Bosnia-Herzegovina before that? Did
15 you know anything about Bosnia-Herzegovina before
17 A. My personal experience with
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina is from a long time ago when I
19 visited with my parents during holiday. And the rest
20 of the information I got from newspapers and articles.
21 Q. And at that time during that private visit
22 and the preparations you underwent later, did you get
23 the impression that it was an exotic environment, put
24 it that way, quite different from western standards,
25 from western ways of thinking, from western social
2 A. As I recall it, it was a mixed community,
3 with all kinds of ethnical backgrounds. But they lived
4 in good harmony together.
5 Q. But in that context, during your briefings
6 you also understood the differences in the religion and
7 culture of individual or, rather, three peoples that
8 existed in Bosnia?
9 A. Yes, I was thoroughly briefed on the ethnical
10 and religious backgrounds during my preparation, the 14
11 days in The Hague.
12 Q. I don't recall hearing something about your
13 military qualifications before you came to Bosnia. Of
14 course, I don't really want to go into that, unless
15 absolutely necessary. But I should like to ask you,
16 had you been trained in intelligence or reconnaissance
18 A. I didn't have specific intelligence training,
19 but as a tank platoon commander, and as a company
20 commander, and later on as a signal officer in the
21 battalion command level, and during my war college
22 study in The Hague, we learned a lot about former
23 Warsaw Pact material and equipment.
24 Q. I trust you don't mean by this that the
25 former Yugoslavia, whose successors were the armies
1 that we're talking about, that Yugoslavia was a member
2 of the Warsaw Pact, do you?
3 A. No, of course I don't mean that, but it's
4 just to state that I know how to recognise military
5 equipment. And during my training, special training,
6 the 14 days in The Hague, we had a few lessons on how
7 to identify material and equipment used in the former
9 Q. During the time you received your education
10 and training or at any time, and especially at the time
11 when you were receiving military training, did you have
12 some particular course in verbal communication with
13 people? I mean how to approach and how to communicate
14 with foreign cultures.
15 A. Communication is a common training at the
16 military academy and later on at the war college, and
17 during the 14 days' course in The Hague, we had a
18 special training on how to negotiate with people and
19 how to use interpreters within these negotiations.
20 Q. To conclude this part of my questions, we
21 shall agree, I suppose, that the most important thing
22 in negotiations is to ensure -- to see to it that the
23 parties do understand one another, that they do get
25 A. That's correct. If you want to transmit a
1 message, then you have to check whether this message is
2 received or not.
3 Q. Needless to say, to have to work through an
4 interpreter, I must say, through what I heard and saw
5 in various videotapes of those interpreters you had
6 down there on the ground, that must have been an
7 aggravating circumstance in mutual communication.
8 Would that be true?
9 A. You constantly needed your full attention to
10 be able to understand what was said and to think about
11 the next question or the next item to discuss about.
12 Q. But you will agree that if we were in your
13 place, any one of us would have communicated better, if
14 we were placed in a situation, to speak the same
15 language as the other party?
16 A. That's correct. The difference in language
17 was a problem to work with, but we had good, skilled
18 interpreters, I believe.
19 Q. [In English] Thank you. [Interpretation]
20 Right. Now, let us change the subject.
21 On the 16th, you arrived in Central Bosnia,
22 and on the 17th, you found yourself in the middle of a
23 storm, if I may put you that way. Now, that first day,
24 the 17th, you already had the first meeting with
25 Cerkez; is that correct?
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. And you told us that on that first occasion,
3 Cerkez was introduced to you as the commander of a
4 Domobran, of a home guard brigade, and you said that
5 that brigade's name was Stjepan Tomasevic. To try to
6 expedite matters a little, later on in your statement,
7 you refer to the same brigade but called it the Vitez
8 Brigade. Now, could you please explain that?
9 A. First of all, I would like to say that I was
10 not aware of the fact that it was a home guard
11 brigade. They never introduced themselves as that.
12 This name of the brigade I got from the
13 operational chart, I got from the intel. cell, which is
14 being used as a source of information during this
15 meeting here. I used the name Vitez Brigade for myself
16 just to make a distinction between the vicinity of
17 Vitez and Busovaca and the other cities, since nearly
18 every municipality had their own brigade.
19 Q. Well, if I understand you properly, you used
20 the word "Vitez" and this adjective to simply identify
21 the affiliation of a brigade with a particular place,
22 with a particular locality. Would that be correct to
24 A. Yes. I was not the only one to use it that
25 way; also the British officers. And amongst these
1 others, we spoke about the Viteska or the Vitez
3 Q. But at that time on the ground, I mean in
4 Vitez, there was a unit which appeared from time to
5 time which was called Vitezovi. You mentioned it some
6 time towards late in your testimony; is that true?
7 A. That's true. Referring to this unit of
8 Vitezovi, I do not mean the same unit as the Viteska
10 Q. And when did you learn that they were not one
11 and the same thing?
12 A. Already quite early in the conflict, I was
13 told that the Vitezovi was a kind of special unit
14 within the structure of the brigade or maybe within the
15 structure of the operational zone.
16 Q. On the 17th, the first time you spoke to
17 Cerkez, you didn't know that?
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. This has also to do with the conversation
20 which you also touched upon with Mr. Kordic's counsel,
21 and could we again -- I should like to ask the usher to
22 take out back again Z2535/1.
23 That is an organogram which you had a moment
24 ago before you, and if I am correct, you told us that
25 you received that from your colleagues in the BritBat.
1 Is that correct?
2 A. That is correct.
3 Q. Did anyone tell you what period of time it
4 referred to?
5 A. Where is it on the chart?
6 Q. No, no. It is not on the chart, but did
7 anyone tell you to which period of time it could refer?
8 A. Could you say the name again?
9 Q. No, there must be some misunderstanding. My
10 question is, and perhaps I didn't phrase it properly,
11 but my question is whether your colleagues in the
12 British Battalion, who gave you this chart, did they
13 tell you to which period of time this chart -- this HVO
14 chart applied? When did they have that kind of
16 A. Well, I got the information from this intel.
17 officer I think at the end of April, maybe at the
18 beginning of May, and they didn't fill in all the
19 names. So it was kind of a first raw sketch, and they
20 asked us to check on those names, since we always
21 reported in our daily reports whom we met with. And if
22 we could come up with additional names, then they would
23 fit them within this organogram. So it's supposed to
24 be an actual scheme, and they didn't tell me anything
25 about what happened before.
1 Q. Right. Let us not waste too much time with
2 it. I shall tell you what I know, and you can then
3 agree with me or disagree with me.
4 This chart reflects the HVO organisation
5 sometime in late 1992, so they gave you a document
6 which was quite outdated. Let me remind you of
7 something, and then perhaps you will be able to help
9 First, where you believed that Cerkez was the
10 commander or, rather, a member of the command of Novi
11 Travnik, have you ever heard that?
12 A. No.
13 Q. You haven't. Secondly, this upper box to the
14 right, "HVO Joint Commission, Travnik", it is not the
15 commission that you spoke about. This is an attempt to
16 set up a joint command, and you may have heard about it
17 on the basis of the names that I mentioned here, that
18 is, Franjo Nakic and Merdan, who were among the
19 candidates to become commanders of it. Could that be
21 A. I tried to explain already before that the
22 organisation in Travnik was meant to be a command and
23 not a commission, so it's a joint command led by
24 officers and not meant to be used as a meeting group
25 where all kinds of requests were made. This was meant
1 to command the troops like, for instance, the fighting
2 at the front lines. And contrary to this, the local
3 joint commissions were raised to solve local problems,
4 and that was the right place to make requests.
5 So I didn't mean to refer to the JOC as a
6 commission. I meant to say that it should be a joint
7 command in Travnik.
8 Q. Thank you. I believe you will agree with me
9 when I say that there is no quite [indiscernible]
10 reason to believe that this chart would also apply to
11 April 1993, to the situation in April 1993.
12 A. No. At that time, I did have no reason to
13 doubt this chart, since the British were able to work
14 with it, and I found most of the units defined here,
15 specified, and they were correct. And the names on the
16 list, like Mr. Cerkez introducing himself as the
17 brigade commander, I didn't find that untrue, so there
18 was no reason for me to doubt this list.
19 Q. [In English] It's not the point for Cerkez.
20 We agree for Cerkez. But he was there two or three
21 months earlier. I'm sorry, I switched to English not
23 [Interpretation] No, it has nothing to do
24 with Cerkez, but Cerkez was with Stjepan Tomasevic
25 before that in late '92 and early '93, before he became
1 the commander of the brigade in Vitez. All I wish --
2 all I wish you to do is to confirm to us --
3 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic.
4 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, Sir.
5 JUDGE MAY: Looking at the organogram,
6 unfortunately part of it is cut off at the bottom, but
7 presumably it's saying "Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade", but
8 the commander is described as Mario Cerkez.
9 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, and he was that.
10 JUDGE MAY: He was the commander of that
12 MR. KOVACIC: Yes.
13 JUDGE MAY: No dispute about that?
14 MR. KOVACIC: No dispute about that, but not
15 at that time.
16 JUDGE MAY: What dates do you say that he was
17 the commander of the brigade?
18 MR. KOVACIC: In Stjepan Tomasevic, he was
19 commander at the end of -- the latest part of February
20 and the beginning of March, and that is why I know that
21 that is the wrong -- I mean the document is probably
22 good, even if it has some errors, but it's not the
23 April situation for HVO.
24 JUDGE MAY: What's the distinction with the
25 Viteska Brigade? Where is that on this order?
1 MR. KOVACIC: Not here.
2 JUDGE MAY: And you're saying it's something
3 different to the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, are you?
4 MR. KOVACIC: Right. What I'm trying to
5 imply, Your Honours, the witness said that Cerkez was
6 presented to him as commander of Stjepan Tomasevic
7 Brigade --
8 A. No, that's not correct. He was presented
9 as --
10 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment, please.
11 A. I'm sorry.
12 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. Let me just see
13 what -- the point, Mr. Kovacic, which I'm trying to
14 work out is this: You're saying that there are two
15 separate brigades, Stjepan Tomasevic and Viteska?
16 MR. KOVACIC: Later on. From March or
17 towards the end of March, a new brigade was founded,
18 and they put it in --
19 JUDGE MAY: In Vitez?
20 MR. KOVACIC: In Vitez.
21 JUDGE MAY: And Stjepan Tomasevic had been in
23 MR. KOVACIC: Stjepan Tomasevic remained to
24 exist in Novi Travnik.
25 JUDGE MAY: When do you say the new brigade
1 was formed in Vitez?
2 MR. KOVACIC: Mid-March, towards the end of
3 March. I can introduce the document.
4 JUDGE MAY: And Mr. Cerkez, you say, was the
5 commander of both?
6 MR. KOVACIC: No, no, Your Honour. Cerkez
7 was appointed as commander of the newly-founded brigade
8 on 24 March 1993, and that was Viteska Brigade, founded
9 by the -- founded in Vitez, with the offices and
10 headquarters in Vitez.
11 What I'm trying to say, Your Honour --
12 JUDGE MAY: No. Let me get this straight.
13 Can I say he was the commander of both? He was first
14 commander of Stjepan Tomasevic. Then he was commander
15 of the Viteska. Is that the case?
16 MR. KOVACIC: That is correct, with a small
17 difference that he was commander in Stjepan Tomasevic
18 in Novi Travnik only about the last month of his being
19 there. That was February. Indeed, not really -- he
20 was factually commander, and formally, and I will
21 introduce later, the evidence is only nominated by his
22 commander as a representative of the commander who was
23 transferred, so something like temporary commander.
24 But, yes, he was in Tomasevic, he was first a
25 member of headquarters there. Later on, practically he
1 was commander, not formally, for about a month, and
2 then he was transferred to Vitez. He was commander of
3 the newly-established Viteska Brigade.
4 If I may proceed, Your Honour, it would be
6 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness add anything he
7 wants. You wanted to say something, Colonel?
8 A. Yes. Your Honour, we -- I mean the ECMM and,
9 I think, also BritBat never used these additional
10 names. We always referred to brigades with the name of
11 the town. So that's the reason why we called it the
12 Viteska Brigade. I was never aware of the existence of
13 an earlier brigade in another city. For me, it was
14 relevant that Mr. Cerkez was the brigade commander of
15 the brigade in Vitez at that moment when I arrived.
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Thank you.
17 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, but we have to check.
18 That is a wrong statement.
19 JUDGE MAY: Well, the witness is giving his
20 evidence about what he knew. Now, as far as he's
21 concerned, it's right. Now, can we, without arguing
22 any more about it, can we move on? You'll be able to
23 produce some other evidence which you --
24 MR. KOVACIC: I won't argue, Sir. But on
25 this document, all the brigades are having the names
1 and the place, and that was my point. But
2 unfortunately, we were cut off. The only brigade which
3 does have only the name and not the place of activity
4 is the Stjepan Tomasevic.
5 JUDGE MAY: Well, that's a point you can make
6 in due course.
7 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Sir.
8 Q. Let's go back to what you said earlier --
9 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic,
10 we have used a lot of time to simply get to the point
11 that this document, this chart, is outdated, that it
12 was no longer in effect at the time we are talking
13 about. It is, I think, linked to the period of March,
14 I think you said, when Mr. Cerkez was a kind of
15 provisional commander of this Tomasevic Brigade in
16 Travnik. So tell us simply that this organogram has a
17 certain date, but that has no importance at all because
18 you told us that the brigades were identified by the
19 place where they were situated. So Mr. Cerkez was the
20 commander of the brigade in Vitez, and he was no
21 longer, as you've just said, the commander of the
22 brigade in Travnik?
23 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, that is quite correct,
24 Your Honour, but may I continue.
25 Q. Colonel Morsink, if I am not mistaken, you
1 confirmed, at the beginning of your
2 examination-in-chief, a statement contained in point 8
3 of the summary of the proofing material. And in answer
4 to a question from the Prosecutor you said "Yes," but
5 it says here that Cerkez was introduced to you as the
6 commander of the HVO brigade in Vitez, which was called
7 Stjepan Tomasevic, and you were in his office in Vitez;
8 is that correct?
9 A. That's correct, because I was under the
10 impression that this was the name of the brigade in
11 Vitez, based on the information on the chart. But
12 since you explained to me that this is the name of
13 another brigade, well, then, in fact the statement was
14 not fully correct.
15 Q. I think we can agree now that the situation
16 was rather confusing and difficult for those first few
17 days on the ground for you.
18 A. Well, I didn't find it confusing at that
19 moment. I found it very clear. There is one brigade
20 in Vitez, the one I had to deal with, and the name
21 didn't matter to me.
22 Q. Okay. At the time, and later on in your
23 testimony you said, allow me to quote:
24 "I was informed that he was the brigade commander
25 of the Vitez Brigade."
1 You are referring to Cerkez. And the next
2 sentence you said:
3 "So I drew my conclusion that he was
4 responsible for the vicinity and town of Vitez."
5 A couple of questions, sir: So on the basis
6 of the fact that Cerkez was a brigade commander, you
7 came to the conclusion that he was the person
8 responsible for the area of Vitez, is that correct,
9 just on the basis of that fact?
10 A. No. This was, amongst other reasons, on the
11 basis of these facts. The other reasons are there is a
12 war going on, and in wartime military commanders are
13 responsible for their area of responsibility. There
14 are certain front lines which had been already more or
15 less defined by the British Battalion, and the front
16 line of this Vitez Brigade was more or less around the
17 municipality of Vitez. That, and the fact that he was
18 introduced as the brigade commander, gave me the
19 opinion that he must be the one responsible for the
20 area of Vitez.
21 Q. Okay. And what was his area of
22 responsibility? Did you know that?
23 A. That this was the area of Vitez.
24 Q. Can we agree -- or, rather, I as a layman,
25 and you are a military man, do I take it correctly that
1 a commander is responsible only for the units under his
2 command, that is those subordinated to him?
3 A. As such, that is correct, yes. He is
4 responsible for the other units, but there is a
5 specified area in our military operations, and in this
6 specified area, even with foreign units in that area,
7 he is the one responsible for the area. Unless his
8 supreme commander took over this responsibility.
9 Q. And we'll come to that. But we agree that
10 Cerkez was the commander of the brigade in Vitez called
11 the Viteska Brigade. We have also agreed that
12 theoretically the commander is responsible and commands
13 only his own units under his command, and he's
14 responsible for supervising his units; is that correct?
15 A. Yes, but he's also responsible for what
16 happens in the area.
17 Q. In which case, Colonel? In what cases is a
18 higher commander responsible for everything that
19 happens in his area of responsibility, according to
21 A. He is responsible for the security of his own
22 troops and responsible for security of the inhabitants
23 of the area, and he is responsible for his troops in
24 the way that they have to live up to the Geneva
25 Conventions. And if something happens like, for
1 instance, a truck bomb or the burning down of a village
2 within his area of responsibility, then he is the one
3 in the first line to be responsible. He is the one to
4 check and, if possible, he is the one to see that those
5 things don't happen at all.
6 Q. I think that the key phrase is in his area of
7 responsibility, which means, if he's responsible for
8 this area of responsibility, do you know that Cerkez
9 was responsible for the whole area of Vitez
10 municipality, and on the basis of what do you make such
11 a statement?
12 A. It is my assumption that he was responsible
13 for that area, since as of the first day I met him we
14 started discussions about what happened in all kinds of
15 places within the municipality and the surroundings of
16 Vitez, and he never told me that this was out of his
17 control; that only the people were out of his control,
18 not the village itself.
19 When we raised the truck bomb incident, when
20 we raised Ahmici, he never replied that this was
21 outside of his area of responsibility. So that gave me
22 the impression that he was the one to speak with.
23 Q. Isn't it normal for a commander of his rank
24 in that area to have information, overall information
25 about events in that area, including about other HVO
1 units in the area?
2 A. Yes. He should have that information, yes.
3 Q. Yes. Normal. That's normal. Please, is
4 there any doubt that Cerkez's commander was Colonel
5 Blaskic, who was commander of the operative zone of
6 Central Bosnia?
7 A. No, there is no doubt in it.
8 Q. Cerkez and Blaskic, the brigade being at a
9 lower level, one of many, and the command of the
10 operative zone and Blaskic at a higher level, and they
11 had staffs and headquarters in two different buildings
12 in Vitez itself, at a distance of some 150 metres
13 between them. Would that be true?
14 A. That is true, yes. I visited both
16 Q. So it is correct to say that Blaskic as the
17 commander of the operative zone was based in the hotel
18 building, and 150 or 200 metres later we find Cerkez as
19 commander of the Viteska Brigade with his headquarters?
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. You mentioned, and we touched upon it a
22 moment ago, that you learnt later that in the area of
23 Vitez there were other HVO units; is that correct?
24 A. That's correct. Amongst others, the military
25 police battalion and the Vitezovi units and some
2 Q. And those units are under the command of the
3 operative zone, that is of Colonel Blaskic, aren't
5 A. I'm still not aware of that. I know that
6 there were different units and it's normal that the
7 operational zone has next to the brigades also
8 battalion-size units under its command, but they were
9 not part of this organogram. And I was not informed
10 about the exact command lines to these battalions and
11 other units.
12 Q. Colonel, from a great deal of testimony we
13 have heard that there were other units, and the ECMM
14 and the British Battalion found it difficult sometimes
15 to exactly establish the chain of command, but
16 nevertheless, everything points to the fact that all
17 units in Vitez that were physically present in Vitez
18 were under the command of the operative zone. Would
19 you agree with that, that this was a subject of
20 discussion and that the overall conclusion was that
21 they were under the command of the operative zone?
22 A. I agree with the final conclusion, not that
23 it was the subject of discussions. We tried to clear
24 that matter, but as such it wasn't of that big
25 importance, because Mr. Thebault and the British
1 Battalion commander himself were dealing with the
2 operational zone level and my team was dealing with the
3 brigade level. So also these separate units were
4 covered by either one of us
5 MR. KOVACIC: I ask the Honourable Court
6 permission to -- that certain documents already
7 accepted in evidence should be shown to the witness,
8 and I could tell the numbers.
9 JUDGE MAY: What are you hoping to achieve
10 now, Mr. Kovacic?
11 MR. KOVACIC: Those are the documents in
12 which we can clearly see they are all issued by Blaskic
13 in his capacity of commander of operative zone. And on
14 all those documents, and we had many, you will remember
15 that, exactly the units under his command on the
16 territory of Vitez are listed.
17 JUDGE MAY: Well, you can point them out to
18 us again in argument. The witness has given his
19 evidence about the understanding. That's something we
20 will have to take into account, and we'll take account
21 of your documents too, but I don't think there is much
22 point to be gained by further argument with the witness
23 about the matter.
24 MR. KOVACIC:
25 Q. Okay, sir. Tell us, please, Colonel, had you
1 heard that in the territory of Vitez, during the three
2 months that you spent there, that certain independent
3 and special units and other brigades appeared, such as
4 Tvrtkovci, for instance. Have you ever heard of that
6 A. No, I never heard of that name, but I heard
7 that so-called independent units, according to my
8 knowledge, still under the command of Blaskic appeared
9 in that area.
10 Q. Did you ever hear of the appearance of a
11 brigade called Ludvig Pavlovic?
12 A. No, I don't know that brigade.
13 Q. You have already said that you had heard of
14 the Vitezovi?
15 A. Yes, that's correct.
16 Q. Had you heard of a unit that called itself
17 the Jokers?
18 A. That's correct as well.
19 Q. You yourself said that you had heard of the
20 military police that was operative there?
21 A. That's correct. The police battalion.
22 Q. Those units were not under the command of
23 Mario Cerkez, were they?
24 A. I didn't know that by that time. I was asked
25 about this during the Blaskic case, and they showed me
1 by all the orders of Mr. Blaskic in the line at the
2 bottom that he had direct orders given to these
3 battalions you just called. So I didn't know it at
4 that time. I was informed about that last year.
5 Q. You didn't know about it, and so you really
6 came to the conclusion that Cerkez was the commander of
7 that territory?
8 A. Yes. I didn't mind about those units
9 themselves. My main concern was the brigade commander
10 being responsible for the area.
11 Q. And, as you said, this was something that you
12 presumed? Thank you. It was an assumption on your
14 A. Yes. But this assumption was supported by
15 the fact that Mr. Cerkez never objected when we asked
16 him things about what happened in his area of
17 responsibility. Not only the first day, the 17th, but
18 the whole period.
19 Q. But you said that on many occasions he did
20 refer to extremists?
21 A. That's correct. He said, "Extremists, which
22 I cannot control." But he didn't state that they were
23 outside his unit. He just said, "I can't control
25 Q. Mentioning that, did you ever gather from
1 that conversation, when he used the word "extremists,"
2 did he mean units, individuals or some sort of
3 organised or independent units? Did you ever ask him
4 what he meant when he used the term "extremists"?
5 A. Yes, we did. We discussed a lot about that.
6 And most of the times he referred to individual
7 soldiers being out of control. And we used to counter
8 that argument by, for instance, the same example as I
9 already used, that artillery cannot be operated in a
10 proper way by using extremists or people out of
12 Q. You yourself said in your testimony that you
13 didn't know whether the artillery was under the command
14 of the brigade or the operative zone level; is that
16 A. That's correct. But when artillery is
17 working in close cooperation with front-line troops,
18 then there must be a connection between brigade and
19 operational zone level, even if this artillery is under
20 operational zone command. Because it is in support of
21 troops at local sites at the front line.
22 Q. But you are talking about theory, a
23 theoretical model?
24 A. Well, I didn't believe it was only theory in
25 Bosnia at that time. There was heavy fighting going
1 on, and front-line troops were supported by artillery,
2 and sometimes artillery was used as a method to fire
3 single shells in the middle of a city. That is not
4 supported of front-lines troop, of course, but the rest
5 of the fightings I experienced -- for instance, around
6 BritBat camp, that was purely supported front-line
8 Q. Colonel, of course we agree that there was
9 artillery and that they were active, but my question
10 is: Do you have any facts to support your claim, and
11 you say that there are two options as to whom the
12 artillery belongs to, do you have any facts to offer
13 the Court from which it can be clearly seen that the
14 artillery was under the command of the brigade, since
15 there is a document showing the opposite?
16 A. No. I cannot define whether they were under
17 control or command of the brigade or the operational
18 zone or maybe both. That's also possible. They both
19 could have their own artillery
20 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, sir.
21 May I just point out, Your Honour, since I
22 believe that it's a very sensitive question, that we
23 have seen on many documents introduced already, and
24 let's not waste time with those documents --
25 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Kovacic, this sounds to
1 me like argument --
2 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour. I just
3 wanted to save time.
4 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
5 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. During those first few days in Vitez, did you
7 learn anything in detail about the structure of the
8 Viteska Brigade?
9 A. No, I didn't learn in detail, but I was
10 introduced to the other subordinate commanders when
11 they showed up in meetings, and at several occasions I
12 met single commanders at the local sites.
13 Q. Are you sure that particular officers were
14 introduced to you or, rather, members of the brigade
16 A. That's hard to say. I didn't meet those
17 people in the headquarters themselves. I met them on
18 the ground when we visited parts of -- when we visited
19 hot spots, like, for instance, the attempt to clear the
20 houses around the BritBat camp. Those soldiers were
21 led by an HVO officer, which later on showed up during
22 the first meeting of the local joint commission.
23 So I got the opinion that this man would be a
24 commanding officer subordinate to Mr. Cerkez.
25 Q. Yes, you mentioned that. But will you please
1 answer my questions. Perhaps we'll be through more
2 quickly. We'll come to that. Let us go back to the
3 structure. Had you ever heard how many battalions or
4 companies there were within the brigade?
5 A. No, not exactly.
6 Q. Did you ever have occasion, on the basis of
7 any facts or information, to make any conclusions
8 regarding the strength, the effectives (sic) of the
9 Vitez Brigade?
10 A. No, I didn't make any attempts myself.
11 Q. Did you ever find out what sector of
12 responsibility was assigned to the brigade, at least
13 during the first few days of the conflict in April?
14 A. There was no need to, since I already
15 explained that Mr. Cerkez answered on all our
16 questions, and he never rejected or objected and said,
17 "That's outside of my responsibility." So there was
18 no need to exactly specify this area of
20 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, it's now 4.15. Is
21 that a convenient moment?
22 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, sir, for me.
23 JUDGE MAY: How much longer do you think you
25 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, I believe a
1 couple of hours. I believe I can spend tomorrow's
2 morning, particularly because the witness is
3 volunteering, sir. I am asking a simple question. He
4 is repeating the testimony.
5 JUDGE MAY: Well, I'm not sure about that. I
6 mean, we must get on. You've had three quarters of an
7 hour tonight. Try and deal with it more quickly
9 MR. KOVACIC: Certainly, Your Honour, I can
10 do my best. I can promise that.
11 JUDGE MAY: At least by the break.
12 MR. NICE: Your Honour, sorry to interrupt.
13 May we possibly have the dates that the Chamber won't
14 be able to sit in November, as soon as possible, in
15 order to help with planning witnesses?
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
17 Tomorrow morning, please. Half past 9.00.
18 --- Whereupon hearing adjourned at 4.15
19 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 13th
20 day of October, 1998.