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  1. 1 Thursday, 5th August, 1999

    2 (Open session)

    3 (The accused entered court)

    4 (The witness entered court)

    5 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.

    6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.

    7 Case number IT-95-14/2-T, the Prosecutor versus Dario

    8 Kordic and Mario Cerkez.

    9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.


    11 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:

    12 Q. Good morning, Mr. Akhavan. I'm Bozidar

    13 Kovacic, and with my colleague Mikulicic, I present the

    14 defence of Mr. Mario Cerkez. I shall ask my questions

    15 in Croatian, and will you, please, between you hearing

    16 the end of the question and your answer, make a short

    17 break just for the interpretation's sake, and if

    18 there's anything that you do not understand about my

    19 questions, please draw my attention to it.

    20 During your testimony in chief, you said that

    21 at some point you also visited Mr. Cerkez too. Is that

    22 true?

    23 A. Correct.

    24 Q. That was, if I understood you properly, after

    25 your visit with Mr. Blaskic?

  2. 1 A. Correct.

    2 Q. So if I am correct, it was on the 4th of May,

    3 sometime around 1.00 p.m.

    4 A. Correct.

    5 Q. It was on the first floor of a building

    6 called the cinema hall or the Workers' University? I

    7 don't know if you've heard that term.

    8 A. Yes, I remember the cinema.

    9 Q. And it could be about 150 metres away from

    10 the hotel where you had your meeting with Blaskic?

    11 A. I don't remember but it sounds reasonable.

    12 Q. Well, you can't remember because the whole

    13 situation was very confused; isn't that correct?

    14 A. I just don't remember what the proximity of

    15 the two buildings was, but obviously they were very

    16 close with each other.

    17 Q. So you agree that they were very close?

    18 A. Yes.

    19 Q. Thank you. Before the meeting with Cerkez

    20 were you explained his function, his duties, and who

    21 was it that gave you that explanation?

    22 A. I was told that Mr. Cerkez was the commander

    23 of HVO forces in Vitez. I don't recall exactly who

    24 told me that but it would have been a member of the

    25 British Battalion. I believe, from my notes, I may

  3. 1 even have been told about -- yes. On the first page of

    2 my handwritten notes. In the first day of the briefing

    3 you can see the reference to Commander Mario Cerkez,

    4 and I was probably told before the meeting sometime as

    5 well the same information.

    6 Q. Correct. Quite correct. And since you are

    7 referring to your notes and since you looked up the

    8 first page of your notes, would it then be correct to

    9 say that these notes, and I believe you just said that

    10 but I simply want to make sure, is it then correct to

    11 say that the notes on the first page is what you were

    12 told by others after you arrived in Vitez?

    13 A. Yes. Before I had a chance to verify certain

    14 matters with Mr. Cerkez.

    15 Q. It means it was part of that briefing that

    16 you mentioned?

    17 A. Correct.

    18 Q. So Sefkija Dzidic was mentioned then?

    19 A. I'm trying to see what -- yes, yes.

    20 Q. Page one?

    21 A. The top of the page, correct.

    22 Q. He was also referred to as the commander of

    23 the local defence?

    24 A. Correct.

    25 Q. There was also mention of Mensur Klestura

  4. 1 also as a commander, evidently on the Muslim side; is

    2 that correct?

    3 A. Correct.

    4 Q. And above Klestura's name, "325th Brigade of

    5 the BH army"?

    6 A. Correct.

    7 Q. Evidently with his headquarters at Preocica

    8 and here it is somehow related to the 3rd Corps.

    9 A. Yes.

    10 Q. Then the second part below now concerns the

    11 other side, the HVO?

    12 A. Yes.

    13 Q. Here we have mention of Tihomir Blaskic, and

    14 with him you met subsequently and you ascertained that

    15 he was not the commander. Will you please say "Yes"

    16 or "No" because of the record?

    17 A. Yes.

    18 Q. You were also told that the commander of the

    19 Vitez HVO, and if I understand your notes, you put in

    20 brackets "(town defence)"?

    21 A. Yes.

    22 Q. And that that person was Mario Skopljak?

    23 A. Yes.

    24 Q. Then your note goes on about the Stjepan

    25 Tomasevic Brigade as a joint Novi Travnik-Vitez

  5. 1 Brigade, the commander of which was Mario Cerkez?

    2 First page. We're still on page 1.

    3 A. Yes.

    4 Q. Then you have a note, a remark reading more

    5 or less, it seems, that the joint Novi Travnik-Vitez

    6 Brigade is about to become an autonomous brigade?

    7 A. Yes.

    8 Q. In view of some documents and reports of the

    9 British Battalion, did they tell you how positive were

    10 they, how sure were they that that brigade -- or let me

    11 try to be more accurate. What progress has been made

    12 towards that transformation of the brigade? Did they

    13 tell you that? How far had they got with their

    14 transforming the brigade?

    15 A. All I can recall is what I have in my notes

    16 really.

    17 Q. Would it jog your memory if I said that

    18 perhaps the name of the brigade was mentioned during

    19 that briefing, that is, as the Vitez Brigade?

    20 A. Yes. In response to your answer, I do recall

    21 from my meeting with Mr. Cerkez that he referred to

    22 himself as the commander of the Vitez Brigade.

    23 Q. Did you ever, during those interviews or in

    24 any other way, that is, on the basis of documents, from

    25 documents, have you ever established the meaning of

  6. 1 that brigade name, the Vitez Brigade? What does it

    2 mean, that name?

    3 A. If you are referring to the area of command,

    4 I believe it's dealt with, according to my notes once

    5 again, the control of Vitez town and surrounding

    6 villages. This, once again, is based on my meeting

    7 with Mr. Cerkez, on page 32 of my handwritten notes.

    8 Q. But would you agree with me or disagree with

    9 me if I said that this particular name of the brigade,

    10 in the Croatian language, is an adjective, and it is

    11 indicative of the origin of the brigade, where it comes

    12 from?

    13 A. I'm really not in a position to comment on

    14 that. I can only refer back to what I was told by

    15 Mr. Cerkez and the British Battalion.

    16 Q. And you asked no particular questions about

    17 that, did you?

    18 A. About the meaning of the name of the

    19 brigade?

    20 Q. Yes.

    21 A. No, I did not.

    22 Q. Thank you. Let us move on, but I'm still

    23 with your notes. So Mr. Pero Skopljak was mentioned to

    24 you as the commander of the town defence?

    25 A. Yes.

  7. 1 Q. Then the same individual's name comes up

    2 again on page 24 of your notes. I believe that the

    3 pages are not marked identically. So just to see where

    4 we are, it's the page which begins, it says, "Deputy"

    5 something in the upper left corner. Here I see the

    6 names of Nenad Santic, Zarko Kristo, and then we again

    7 see Pero Skopljak, but now Pero Skopljak, and in

    8 brackets -- no, sorry, below that, so beneath the name

    9 of Skopljak, there is again a comment, "Leader of the

    10 HVO municipality or the Vitez municipality"?

    11 A. Correct.

    12 Q. So Pero Skopljak is again mentioned here as

    13 one of the HVO leaders associated with the area of

    14 Vitez?

    15 A. Yes.

    16 Q. Then on page 25, rather, the next page of

    17 your notes, we seem to have a structure or, rather, an

    18 organisational chart. I should like to ask you, this

    19 note, on page 25, are these conclusions that you drew

    20 after all those interviews that you had, where you're

    21 now trying to make a kind of a chart of that picture

    22 that was painted to you in various interviews, or is it

    23 the product of something that you were told by one

    24 person?

    25 A. I think it would have been more than the

  8. 1 product of what one person -- it would probably be the

    2 information which was gathered through speaking to

    3 several people, and as you see, the name of those in

    4 positions of leadership appear in various parts of my

    5 notes. So this is probably based on one meeting, but

    6 you will see similar charts or indications elsewhere.

    7 If I may just explain, I was interested not

    8 in gathering specific names for the report, because the

    9 report did not, as a rule, mention any names, nor was

    10 it mandated to look at particular individuals, but I

    11 wanted to know, generally speaking, who is who in the

    12 region and to try and understand the situation better.

    13 Q. I believe it's quite logical, and that is

    14 what I would do if I were in your place. That is how I

    15 read this, that it was simply a note for you, that you

    16 just wanted to have a clear picture for yourself to

    17 know who is who.

    18 But what I should like to know, this seems to

    19 be a kind of chain of command or something here,

    20 although you, as investigator, were not particularly

    21 concerned with that. I mean, that was not your mission

    22 there. But, nevertheless, it seems to refer to a kind

    23 of hierarchy, even in relation to Ahmici. There is no

    24 brigade commander, the commander of the brigade,

    25 rather, that is headquartered in Vitez. That is not

  9. 1 here; is that correct?

    2 A. Yes.

    3 Q. Thank you. Not to have to go back to your

    4 notes, perhaps I might just, on page 32, here you were

    5 evidently making notes about interviewing Mr. Cerkez;

    6 is that so?

    7 A. Yes.

    8 Q. I understand that this name in capital

    9 letters above the name is the duty, is that it, above

    10 the name?

    11 A. I'm sorry. I did not understand the

    12 question.

    13 Q. I shall repeat. Here, in the upper half of

    14 the page, in your hand evidently, you wrote, "Commander

    15 of the Vitez Brigade."

    16 A. Yes.

    17 Q. Then you added a name above it in capital

    18 letters, I presume, because it is so difficult to write

    19 our names, and somebody must have helped you because of

    20 the spelling, but I presume we are talking about the

    21 meeting with Cerkez. We agree with that, don't we?

    22 A. Yes.

    23 Q. Now, if you remember, of course, we know that

    24 six years have elapsed since, but would you remember

    25 who was present at that meeting, or shall I perhaps try

  10. 1 to remind you? According to what you said and what we

    2 heard, you were there; is that correct?

    3 A. Yes.

    4 Q. Then there was Cerkez; is that correct?

    5 A. Yes.

    6 Q. Also Matthew Dundas-Whatley was there?

    7 A. Yes.

    8 Q. There was an interpreter?

    9 A. Yes.

    10 Q. There was Osorio, Thomas Osorio?

    11 A. He was not at that meeting.

    12 Q. So Thomas was not at the meeting?

    13 A. And there was one of the -- a soldier who was

    14 with Mr. Cerkez who left after I requested that he

    15 leave the room.

    16 Q. And that was at the beginning of the meeting,

    17 so when you arrived?

    18 A. Yes.

    19 Q. There was also a soldier in Cerkez's office,

    20 and in your earlier testimony, I don't want really to

    21 go back to it, but you said, I believe you will agree,

    22 that he was kind of a glum type or gloomy type, that he

    23 had an Uzi, and that he was wearing a German uniform or

    24 rather a uniform with German insignia; is that correct?

    25 A. That is correct.

  11. 1 Q. Do you think that it was a German soldier?

    2 A. I would doubt that it was a German soldier.

    3 I know that there were a lot of surplus army uniforms

    4 which the locals wore.

    5 Q. Am I correct, I don't want to waste too much

    6 time, but I believe in one of your two statements, I

    7 believe you said that that particular soldier was a

    8 mercenary, or perhaps I got things mixed up because you

    9 have been testifying for quite some time now. Yes,

    10 quite. That was what you told the investigators on the

    11 25th of June, 1995.

    12 Let me rephrase the question. I understand

    13 that he looked, to you, like a mercenary, that is, his

    14 appearance. I do not think that you are claiming here

    15 that he was a mercenary; would that be correct?

    16 A. Yes. I did not inquire who he was, but he

    17 did not appear to be a regular soldier because of his

    18 uniform and also because of the weapon that he had and

    19 his general demeanour, but I did not inquire.

    20 Q. From this whole team which was there, did it

    21 never occur to you that he might be a security officer?

    22 A. He could have been, but there were others in

    23 the building who appeared to be regular HVO soldiers

    24 who were probably security officers. I'm not sure what

    25 he was doing there.

  12. 1 Q. Right. It doesn't really matter. But

    2 whatever the case, you asked Cerkez to send him away

    3 because you did not feel comfortable in his presence,

    4 and Cerkez told him to leave the room; is that

    5 correct?

    6 A. Yes. He was pointing his machine gun at me,

    7 so I suggested that we could have a better conversation

    8 without him there.

    9 Q. Incidentally, you also had some security

    10 officers with you, weren't there? There were three of

    11 them escorting you?

    12 A. I believe it was only Dundas-Whatley in the

    13 room.

    14 Q. You do not remember that there were three

    15 British soldiers with big weapons who stayed in front

    16 of the door, behind the door of the office?

    17 A. I don't recall.

    18 Q. Perhaps they stayed down there in the hall.

    19 Perhaps I had the wrong information.

    20 A. Usually from what I recall, the British

    21 Battalion would deliver me to the door of the building

    22 and I would only go into the office with

    23 Dundas-Whatley. The other soldiers would usually stay

    24 at the entrance of the building and not come to the

    25 meetings.

  13. 1 Q. But you are not quite sure if they were or if

    2 they were not, if I'm reading this properly?

    3 A. I can't say with certainty, but I don't

    4 believe that that would have been the case.

    5 Q. Well, be that as it may, during the interview

    6 there were no security officers in the room. In the

    7 room there were present only those people that we

    8 mentioned awhile ago; is that correct?

    9 A. Correct.

    10 Q. Is it correct that Cerkez was quite willing

    11 to talk to you and that he was cooperative?

    12 A. Yes. On the whole, I would say yes.

    13 Q. And is it then correct that sometime in the

    14 course of that meeting, sometime halfway through that

    15 meeting, you were also joined by the commander of the

    16 BritBat, General Robert Stewart?

    17 A. Yes. Colonel Stewart.

    18 Q. Correct. Colonel. When Stewart arrived,

    19 could you, as an observer -- did you think that Stewart

    20 and Cerkez knew one another already and they were

    21 talking to one another as fellow soldiers, as

    22 colleagues?

    23 A. Yes. They would seem to have known each

    24 other quite well.

    25 Q. Would that also hold true of Matthew

  14. 1 Dundas-Whatley?

    2 A. I don't recall. I suppose they knew each

    3 other. It didn't really leave any impression on me.

    4 But when Bob Stewart entered the room, I believe that

    5 his relationship with Mario Cerkez suggested that they

    6 knew each other well.

    7 Q. When you began your meeting -- and it was

    8 roughly along these lines so will you please only

    9 confirm "Yes" or "No"? Of course, this is very

    10 tentative, because I'm trying to cut it short. Oh, by

    11 the way, did you ask for permission to tape the

    12 interview, to tape the conversation?

    13 A. No, I did not.

    14 Q. So you were not taping that conversation,

    15 were you?

    16 A. No.

    17 Q. Would you know if anyone else was recording

    18 that conversation?

    19 A. I don't remember anyone recording the

    20 meeting, no.

    21 Q. And nobody said that it was being recorded?

    22 A. Nobody said, but it's possible that it could

    23 have been recorded.

    24 Q. Did it more or less go along these lines -- I

    25 really don't want to go into details -- first you asked

  15. 1 some questions about the task, about the terms of

    2 reference of the brigade?

    3 A. Yes.

    4 Q. You asked Cerkez to confirm that he was

    5 indeed the commander of the brigade?

    6 A. Yes.

    7 Q. Then Cerkez explained it to you, that it was

    8 a recently-founded brigade, that it had not been

    9 properly organised yet, and that it was still being

    10 structured and organised; is that correct?

    11 A. I don't recall him telling me that, meaning

    12 to say I don't recall.

    13 Q. Quite. Never mind. This was, anyway, the

    14 introduction to the proper interview. You then asked

    15 him whether he knew what had happened in Ahmici?

    16 A. I recall that most of the interview had

    17 focused on what had transpired in Vitez rather than

    18 Ahmici, on the assumption that the area of authority of

    19 Mr. Cerkez focused on Vitez, but I'm sure at some point

    20 Ahmici was mentioned as well, but it was not the focus

    21 of the discussion.

    22 Q. Do you remember that in that conversation he

    23 mentioned that according to information that he had

    24 received subsequently, that there were soldiers wearing

    25 black uniforms in parts of Vitez?

  16. 1 A. The only reference I have in my notes to HOS,

    2 which I assume would be those who would be wearing

    3 black uniforms, is on page 33, towards the bottom,

    4 where Mr. Cerkez suggested that HOS was present during

    5 the hostilities in Vitez, that there were no HOS in

    6 Vitez but that they came from Zenica, that they were

    7 mixed Muslim and Croats. Again, towards the end of our

    8 meeting, we briefly discussed Ahmici, where he said

    9 that the HVO was not responsible and where he suggested

    10 that HOS was responsible. I don't recall him

    11 mentioning specifically that people were wearing black

    12 uniforms, he simply referred to HOS.

    13 Q. Towards the bottom of that page, since we're

    14 talking about it, you seem to have made a conclusion of

    15 your own there. First, you said HOS again, and a

    16 question mark. So you must have heard HOS mentioned

    17 before?

    18 A. You mean mentioned before in the same

    19 meeting? Yes. The reason I put the question mark was

    20 not because I did not know what HOS was but because I,

    21 in my own mind, questioned the explanation.

    22 Q. At the earlier meeting or at briefings with

    23 the British Battalion, did you hear mention of HOS?

    24 A. HOS did not figure prominently in my notes in

    25 terms of the briefings with the British Battalion. I

  17. 1 do remember from my own memory that it was clearly

    2 mentioned on several occasions, and there is, I believe

    3 on page 5, I'm not sure if this is from my briefing

    4 from the British Battalion, towards the end of page 5:

    5 "There were HOS troops in that area at the time but no

    6 eyewitness accounts of their involvement."

    7 Q. Okay.

    8 A. But I think the question was whether HOS had

    9 a very key role to play or a marginal role, and for

    10 that reason most of my discussions with the British

    11 Battalion focused on the HVO rather than HOS.

    12 Q. I'm sure we will agree. We're back to 33

    13 now, and that is after the talk with Cerkez, you noted

    14 HOS and a question mark, which means that you still had

    15 a question in your mind. That is my conclusion. Would

    16 you agree with it?

    17 A. I had a question in my mind whether it was

    18 credible to say that HOS was responsible for Ahmici or

    19 Vitez, for that matter.

    20 Q. And below that you have written: "HVO did

    21 not do it." That is the conclusion from the meeting

    22 with Cerkez?

    23 A. No. This is a description of what Mr. Cerkez

    24 was telling me. It is not my conclusion.

    25 Q. Okay. Thank you. At a point during the

  18. 1 meeting when Stewart was there, you discussed the list

    2 of perpetrators, alleged perpetrators; is that

    3 correct?

    4 A. You mean the list of 18 individuals which my

    5 colleague Thomas Osorio --

    6 Q. Yes.

    7 A. It was probably discussed at some point. I

    8 recall it was discussed.

    9 Q. Then towards the end of the meeting, you had

    10 told Blaskic a little earlier, this time talking to

    11 Cerkez, you said that he should, that it is his duty,

    12 and apparently he was told this in the form of advice,

    13 that he should conduct an investigation. That is

    14 correct, isn't it?

    15 A. Yes. This matter was discussed when

    16 Colonel Stewart arrived, and it was mentioned by myself

    17 but mainly by Colonel Stewart, and it was in the form

    18 of advice.

    19 Q. Thank you. Just to be quite sure, did that

    20 mean an investigation at the level of the brigade, as I

    21 would assume?

    22 A. It meant an investigation with respect to the

    23 subordinates of Mr. Cerkez, whoever those happened to

    24 be.

    25 Q. So that was clearly implied, was it?

  19. 1 A. Yes, that he was responsible for the actions

    2 of his subordinates, for those who were under his

    3 command.

    4 Q. (In English) Right. So in other words, of

    5 his unit?

    6 A. Correct. His unit or others over which he

    7 exercised authority.

    8 Q. Thank you. Shall we go on to another area

    9 now just to clear up a few points that have been

    10 discussed? One further point in connection with that

    11 interview, in your statement you said that Cerkez

    12 seemed concerned to you.

    13 A. I think he seemed concerned, especially when

    14 Colonel Stewart arrived and began speaking about how

    15 Cerkez bears a responsibility for ensuring that this

    16 matter is investigated and dealt with effectively. I

    17 think he visibly became nervous, and obviously the

    18 whole tempo of the meeting changed after

    19 Colonel Stewart arrived and after we began to discuss

    20 this issue.

    21 Q. Cerkez asked that Colonel Stewart give him

    22 this list so that he might start the investigation,

    23 didn't he?

    24 A. The 4th of May, when I was meeting with

    25 Cerkez, the list of 18 individuals was not available

  20. 1 yet. Actually, my colleague, Thomas Osorio, was in

    2 Zenica on the same day, interviewing some of the

    3 witnesses. So the list would not have been available

    4 at that meeting.

    5 Q. But do you remember that Cerkez said to you,

    6 "Give me the names so that I can institute

    7 proceedings"?

    8 A. I don't specifically remember that, but if

    9 you're referring in relation to the 18 names, that

    10 would not have been possible because there was no

    11 discussion of that. It may be that Mr. Cerkez would

    12 have said, "I don't remember," but it's plausible that

    13 he said, "Let me know if you come up with any evidence

    14 and I will look into it."

    15 But our standard explanation was that we were

    16 not there to investigate for the HVO or other

    17 authorities, that was their own responsibility, and

    18 there was no desire on our part to get into the

    19 business of criminal investigations.

    20 Q. I agree with you that, at the time, Colonel

    21 Stewart didn't have this list of 18 names, as it was

    22 compiled later, but he did say during the meeting that

    23 they knew some names, and Cerkez said, "Well, give me

    24 the names, since you think that I should carry out an

    25 investigation, because this will be of assistance to

  21. 1 me." Mr. Stewart refused for security reasons, because

    2 of the sources of information. Do you remember that?

    3 Have I reminded you of that?

    4 A. I don't remember it, but it's possible that

    5 that was discussed.

    6 Q. Let me put it in a different way. The

    7 atmosphere at the meeting, was it a constructive

    8 atmosphere or a hostile atmosphere, and in view of the

    9 kind of atmosphere that prevailed, would you think that

    10 something like that may have been said?

    11 A. All I can tell you is that relative to my

    12 meetings with others, such as Dario Kordic and Colonel

    13 Blaskic, that the meeting with Cerkez was, by far, the

    14 best. I think the atmosphere was generally favourable,

    15 as much as it could be under the circumstances. I do

    16 believe, as I said, when Colonel Stewart arrived, that

    17 the level of tension or, if you like, the lack of ease,

    18 certainly on the part of Mr. Cerkez, increased visibly,

    19 but I don't think it was a hostile meeting. It was

    20 more a case of Mr. Cerkez being perhaps intimidated by

    21 what Colonel Stewart had to say.

    22 Q. Tell me one more thing: When you were

    23 leaving that meeting with Matthew Dundas-Whatley, who

    24 was escorting you, did you perhaps exchange a few

    25 thoughts or comments or the feeling that you had, that

  22. 1 you had acquired during the meeting?

    2 A. I don't recall. It's possible.

    3 Q. Never mind. I apologise. During your

    4 examination-in-chief, on several occasions, you spoke

    5 about Ahmici and Vitez, the events in Ahmici and in

    6 Vitez, making some kind of a parallel comment, but

    7 according to what you said, it would appear that you

    8 focused on the investigation of the events in Ahmici.

    9 Would it be true to say that the events in Vitez itself

    10 were not in the focus of your attention?

    11 A. No. I think that we looked at Vitez as

    12 well. We, I think, spent a considerable amount of time

    13 looking, for example, at the truck bomb that was used

    14 in the Muslim quarters of the city and other such

    15 incidents. But, yes, Ahmici, because it was so blatant

    16 and extreme, was of greater interest to us.

    17 Q. During your talks about Vitez as well, did

    18 you gain an impression that Vitez was divided, first

    19 into two zones, one under the control of the BH army

    20 or, rather, the Territorial Defence, the part of the

    21 city known as Mahala in Stari Vitez; is that correct?

    22 A. Yes.

    23 Q. At the same time, that the Croats had control

    24 over the other part of the city?

    25 A. Yes. From what I recall, the Croats had

  23. 1 control over most of the city, and the Muslims were in

    2 Mahala in Stari Vitez, which was more like a sort of a

    3 defensive enclave surrounded by the Croats.

    4 Q. Further on, in the course of your

    5 investigation, did you learn that various forces

    6 controlled various parts of the town, the part of the

    7 town that was under the overall control of the Croats,

    8 put it that way?

    9 A. You mean to say that in the area that was

    10 under the overall control of Croats, that there were

    11 pockets controlled by Muslims?

    12 Q. No, that there were pockets controlled by

    13 various Croatian units, within the Croatian part of the

    14 town, several different Croatian units.

    15 A. You mean units belonging to different armed

    16 forces or different units of the same armed forces?

    17 Q. The first, the former.

    18 A. I don't recall that. The impression which I

    19 gathered was that the HVO/HDZ was very much in control,

    20 at least of the areas under Croat authority, and that

    21 the HOS and other paramilitaries were more like roaming

    22 bands, rather than armed forces which actually

    23 controlled a particular geographical area. That was

    24 what I was led to believe also in my discussions with

    25 the HVO military commanders, such as Mr. Blaskic and

  24. 1 Cerkez and also with Mr. Dario Kordic, and most of them

    2 said that the HOS were not from Vitez at all, that they

    3 were from Zenica. They were not a sort of local

    4 presence.

    5 MR. KOVACIC: It seems that there is no

    6 translation for the clients in Croatian, but I'm

    7 listening to the English in order to see when the

    8 witness finishes.

    9 JUDGE MAY: There is a problem apparently

    10 with the translation.

    11 MR. KOVACIC: There is translation in

    12 Croatian now.

    13 JUDGE MAY: It's coming now. Let us know if

    14 there is a further problem.

    15 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation)

    16 Q. Mr. Akhavan, during your testimony, you said

    17 that when you were in Ahmici, you saw three local Croat

    18 soldiers looting in Ahmici.

    19 A. Well, I cannot say they were Croat soldiers.

    20 I've indicated earlier that, from the distance, it was

    21 difficult to identify them. All I can say is that they

    22 were wearing military uniforms, and from the fact that

    23 that area was under Croat control and they didn't seem

    24 to be operating under stealth or fear that they were

    25 going to be captured, I assumed that they were Croats.

  25. 1 Q. Mr. Akhavan, would you agree with me, and you

    2 spent quite some time there, that a uniform was not a

    3 distinctive sign on the basis of which you could tell

    4 who belonged to whom, at least not a reliable sign?

    5 A. That's true. Military uniforms were readily

    6 available, and most, if not all, men of military age

    7 wore them. It would require being close enough to see

    8 the patch on the shoulder to determine whether they

    9 belonged to a particular army or not. That's why I've

    10 not said in this particular case that the soldiers in

    11 the village were necessarily HVO, for example, but I

    12 assumed that they belonged to the local Croat

    13 population. But then again, in view of the fact that

    14 there was virtually universal mobilisation of men of

    15 military age, most men of military age who wore

    16 uniforms did belong to the regular armed forces, if you

    17 like. That was the impression, in general, which we

    18 had.

    19 Q. One or the other armed forces, if I may say,

    20 that those soldiers belonged to one or other military

    21 force?

    22 A. Yes. In view of the fact that the

    23 paramilitary groups had relatively small numbers, in

    24 most cases, the men would be members of the HVO, as

    25 distinct from HOS or other irregular forces.

  26. 1 Q. Did you ever, during your investigations,

    2 hear that Blaskic had issued an order to clear up the

    3 area, including the removal of bodies, to protection of

    4 what remained in the houses and the property? Did you

    5 ever hear about that?

    6 A. In Ahmici?

    7 Q. Yes.

    8 A. I don't recall that, but it would surprise me

    9 because there really wasn't much left to protect,

    10 except the Croat homes and Croat inhabitants, which

    11 were maybe 20 per cent of the village's population.

    12 Q. But there were some houses that were

    13 partially damaged after all, so a part of the house

    14 could be used, and there were things inside, regardless

    15 of who they belonged to.

    16 A. I did not hear that such an order was issued,

    17 but it's possible that it was.

    18 Q. According to our information, on the 27th of

    19 April, there was an important platoon of civil defence

    20 there who carried out the clearing up of the area,

    21 checking dead bodies, property, putting out fires, and

    22 so on. No one informed you about that?

    23 A. No one informed me, and what we saw in the

    24 village didn't seem to suggest that that was the case.

    25 The British Battalion said that they had collected

  27. 1 almost all of the bodies to take them to the morgue in

    2 Zenica, and we ourselves recall that clearly there were

    3 still bodies in the village. So it didn't seem as if

    4 much of a cleanup had been done when we arrived there

    5 on the 1st of May.

    6 Q. Did you perhaps hear that on the 28th of

    7 April, the bodies that were found in Ahmici were taken

    8 to Vitez to be buried? Because you only found some

    9 bodies. The casualties were higher, according to the

    10 information we have.

    11 A. I know the padre of the British Battalion did

    12 say that some bodies were buried in Vitez. It wasn't

    13 clear how many of those bodies were from Vitez, how

    14 many were from Ahmici.

    15 Q. Thank you. Never mind. That question has

    16 already been put to you.

    17 Mr. Akhavan, would you agree that the term

    18 "HVO," when you were talking to members of the British

    19 Battalion, that this was a general term used for a

    20 Croatian organisation or an organisation belonging to

    21 the Croats of Bosnia?

    22 A. It referred, as far as I recall, to the

    23 Croatian Defence Council, which was a distinct army or

    24 armed forces and which was closely related to or

    25 virtually inseparable from the HDZ political party.

  28. 1 Q. But you also learnt in Bosnia what the

    2 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was, the so-called

    3 HZ HB?

    4 A. Correct.

    5 Q. And did you also learn that the HVO was the

    6 executive branch of authority of the HZ HB?

    7 A. Yes. In theoretical terms, our impression

    8 was that the distinction between the Croatian Community

    9 of Herceg-Bosna, the HDZ, and the HVO were quite

    10 blurred.

    11 Q. Did you manage, from any sources, to learn

    12 that the HVO, as the executive branch of government,

    13 consists of two components, the military and the

    14 civilian, regardless of the purity of that or the

    15 perfection or imperfection of such a division?

    16 A. Yes. We were told that there was a military

    17 and civilian component.

    18 Q. Mr. Akhavan, this list of 18 names that you

    19 mentioned, do you know where that list ended up in the

    20 end?

    21 A. The list was given to the commission of

    22 experts established by Security Council Resolution 780

    23 in Geneva. We did not give the list to anybody because

    24 as I explained earlier, we believed it would be beyond

    25 our mandate to do so, and we may even have been

  29. 1 reprimanded by the Special Rapporteur for engaging in

    2 investigations which didn't specifically concern our

    3 mandate. So we, as a courtesy, took down the names and

    4 statements and give them to the commission of experts,

    5 and at that point we were no longer involved in that

    6 specific question of how the commission chose to use

    7 the names.

    8 Q. But while you were there on the ground, you

    9 certainly didn't give it to the British Battalion as a

    10 return information to the briefing that they gave you

    11 at the beginning?

    12 A. I don't believe so, no.

    13 Q. In view of the fact that it was highly

    14 sensitive, as you said, so you felt that you could only

    15 give it upwards in the hierarchy to the superiors.

    16 That is how I understand what you are saying, that you

    17 didn't give it to anyone else.

    18 A. My colleague, Thomas Osorio, would know best

    19 how the information was used, but I think as a matter

    20 of protocol, if you like, that we ourselves did not

    21 volunteer to share the information without having first

    22 discussed it with Geneva.

    23 Q. Apropos Mr. Thomas Osorio, whom we mentioned

    24 at least a hundred times, do you know where he is

    25 today?

  30. 1 JUDGE MAY: You needn't answer that

    2 question. You need not say where he is. You can tell

    3 us if you know where he is.

    4 A. Yes, I do know where he is.

    5 JUDGE MAY: And he's working, is he, as far

    6 as you know?

    7 A. He's working.

    8 JUDGE MAY: Very well. If you need to know

    9 anything else you will have to ask about it,

    10 Mr. Kovacic. You can ask the Prosecution.

    11 MR. KOVACIC: I didn't have any particular

    12 plan. I was just trying to investigate. Possibly I

    13 can find him as a witness.

    14 JUDGE MAY: Well, ask the Prosecution about

    15 it.

    16 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, sir.

    17 Q. Yesterday, during the cross-examination by my

    18 colleague, mention was made of two arrested soldiers

    19 belonging to the BH army, that apparently they were

    20 arrested by the HVO army, and that this could have been

    21 one of the factors contributing to the tension. Do you

    22 recall what I'm referring to?

    23 A. Yes, I recall.

    24 Q. Then just a very short question. Do you

    25 remember or, rather, did you hear anything in relation

  31. 1 to this incident, that those soldiers were arrested not

    2 far, rather beyond that intersection to Travnik, which

    3 is not in the area of Vitez?

    4 A. All I have to go by are my notes. You're

    5 referring to the soldiers belonging to the Bosnian

    6 army.

    7 Q. Yes. The incident was explained yesterday.

    8 All I want to know is whether you're aware that it

    9 wasn't in the Vitez territory, that it was outside the

    10 territory of Vitez.

    11 A. That sounds reasonable, but I don't remember

    12 exactly. I believe that the abductions took place

    13 mainly on the roads leading to and from Vitez to Zenica

    14 and Travnik, and not necessarily that the abductions

    15 took place in Vitez itself.

    16 Q. Thank you. Mr. Akhavan, you did not talk to

    17 Sefkija Dzidic, the local commander of the army of

    18 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Vitez, I mean, during your stay

    19 there. Am I correct in saying that?

    20 A. I believe, as I mentioned earlier, that we

    21 may have met him briefly, but that we did not have --

    22 Q. But you didn't really have any proper

    23 conversation? You did not talk to him?

    24 A. I don't believe so. The only name that I

    25 have in my notes is Mehmed Alagic, who we did speak to

  32. 1 briefly.

    2 Q. And the odds are against me but I still have

    3 to ask: Did you hear if those officers who had been

    4 arrested that day, that they were also released that

    5 same evening? Were you told that by anyone?

    6 A. I'm sorry, officers of the Bosnian army who

    7 had been --

    8 Q. Yes, soldiers, soldiers. I apologise. The

    9 ABiH soldiers, the ones that you mentioned who had been

    10 captured. Did anyone mention they had been released?

    11 Were you told that?

    12 A. I recall, possibly at the ECMM house that was

    13 across from the British Battalion base, that they were

    14 shuttling back and forth some officials of the Bosnian

    15 army. I recall something to that effect, and it might

    16 have been part of an exchange. I vaguely recall.

    17 Q. Thank you. And just one more question. At

    18 some point you said that the British Battalion units,

    19 rather, the British Battalion, in point of fact wasn't

    20 really competent to conduct an investigation, and you

    21 implied that it was not equipped properly for that or

    22 organised for that kind of thing; is that correct?

    23 A. I'm not sure if I referred to their

    24 competence, which could have been one factor, but it

    25 was more a question of what their mandate was. They

  33. 1 had their hands quite full trying to act as

    2 peacekeepers between the two sides, regularly

    3 monitoring a very wide area with difficult terrain. So

    4 my impression is that that was not their mandate.

    5 I don't know whether they had on staff

    6 lawyers or advisors who were experts in the laws of war

    7 or humanitarian law. I don't believe that was the

    8 case.

    9 Q. At the same time, you and Mr. Osorio, when

    10 you arrived there, you also did not have any experts

    11 along with you, people specialising in individual

    12 areas? You didn't have anyone with you. The two of

    13 you were on your own, weren't you?

    14 A. Well, I had, I believe, the sufficient legal

    15 expertise. That was my role in the mission.

    16 Mr. Osorio knew the language and had considerable

    17 knowledge of the culture and peculiarities of the

    18 region, and we were assisted in military matters by

    19 members of the British Battalion who could describe to

    20 us, for example, how an attack may have taken place,

    21 what sort of weapons were used. So it was the

    22 combination of that expertise that we used.

    23 Q. Yes. Of course. That is quite clear.

    24 Perhaps my question was not precise enough. In

    25 addition to all that knowledge that you were in

  34. 1 position of, or Mr. Osorio, or the British Batallion,

    2 there were no other specialists, I mean, such as

    3 psychologists or forensic experts and the like?

    4 A. No, not specifically as part of our

    5 delegation.

    6 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you very much, witness.

    7 Your Honours, I think I'm concluded with this. Thank

    8 you.

    9 MR. NICE: Could I have a private session for

    10 literally 30 seconds and then I'll deal with my

    11 re-examination?

    12 (Private session)

    13 (redacted)

    14 (redacted)

    15 (redacted)

    16 (redacted)

    17 (redacted)

    18 (redacted)

    19 (redacted)

    20 (redacted)

    21 (redacted)

    22 (redacted)

    23 (redacted)

    24 (redacted)

    25 (redacted)

  35. 1 (redacted)

    2 (redacted)

    3 (Open session)

    4 JUDGE MAY: Before you re-examine, in fact,

    5 there is one matter which I ought to raise with

    6 Mr. Kovacic, if I may.

    7 Mr. Kovacic, you haven't challenged the

    8 witness's account of the conversation with Mr. Cerkez,

    9 his conversation. Is it accepted that Mr. Cerkez, in

    10 the conversation, said he was asleep on the morning of

    11 the 16th, that there was chaos in the Vitez area, and

    12 he did not deny that the atrocities had taken place?

    13 Is it accepted that he said that?

    14 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, Your Honour. That was the

    15 part which was testified on the beginning and I didn't

    16 confront it. I was just trying to add some other

    17 elements of that discussion.

    18 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I understand that. Thank

    19 you.

    20 Re-examined by Mr. Nice:

    21 Q. Mr. Akhavan, I've got a few or quite a number

    22 of points to raise with you. First, you've been asked

    23 about your age, and your experience, and one thing and

    24 another. Getting the job with the United Nations, how

    25 did that come about? How easy was it to get that job?

  36. 1 A. I was previously a member of two missions of

    2 the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe,

    3 the last of which -- the first of which included among

    4 its members Ambassador Hans Corell of Sweden, who is

    5 presently the legal counsel to the Secretary-General of

    6 the United Nations. The second of which was under the

    7 leadership of the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

    8 Commission on Human Rights.

    9 Based on that experience and based on

    10 publications and other research and expertise which I

    11 had gained in the field of international human rights

    12 law, the United Nations Centre for Human Rights hired

    13 me.

    14 Q. Did they seek you out or did you seek the

    15 job?

    16 A. I think it was more by word of mouth that

    17 these sort of things would take place.

    18 Q. You speak of publications. What have you

    19 published?

    20 A. To date I have approximately 20 publications,

    21 25 publications in various journals dealing with human

    22 rights and humanitarian law issues.

    23 Q. And your formal qualifications, because we

    24 didn't bother with these, tell us what they are?

    25 A. My formal qualifications, yes. My formal

  37. 1 qualifications is I have obtained a bachelor's of Law

    2 at Osgoode Hall law school in Toronto, a Masters of Law

    3 at Harvard law school, and I was recently appointed a

    4 visiting faculty at Yale law school in the United

    5 States.

    6 Q. You teach there from time to time?

    7 A. Correct.

    8 Q. Another point was raised about your age and

    9 the suggestion of your involvement in this case, I

    10 think, but just tell us, within the United Nations

    11 professional band, known as the P-band, what grade do

    12 you hold?

    13 A. At present I hold a level of P-4.

    14 Q. Which is one from the top, which is P-5?

    15 A. Correct.

    16 Q. Tell us what age you were when you made P-4,

    17 so that others opposite can match it to their own

    18 experience. When did you get a P-4?

    19 A. Last year. So it would have been at the age

    20 of 32.

    21 Q. Is that something easy to achieve in the

    22 United Nations and regularly achieved or is that an

    23 exception? You can be immodest, because you have to be

    24 because I'm asking you the questions.

    25 A. My impression is that usually that is not the

  38. 1 case.

    2 Q. Typically, P-4's are people like co-counsel

    3 in the case?

    4 A. Correct.

    5 Q. Like my colleagues who are Prosecuting this

    6 case?

    7 A. Correct.

    8 Q. In any case, I gather that there is no

    9 complaint or suggestion of bad faith or anything like

    10 that, so I needn't take those matters further.

    11 Let's deal with some matters of detail

    12 first. Can the witness please have Exhibit D25/1 in

    13 front of him? Perhaps it can be put on the ELMO so the

    14 point can be made clear.

    15 Do you remember this document being put to

    16 you by Mr. Sayers?

    17 A. I believe so, yes.

    18 Q. So we can see the context in which the

    19 question was asked, in the first paragraph in relation

    20 to Zenica's prison, you were asked about one sentence.

    21 You were asked about the third sentence down, where it

    22 says: "They are well-treated, considering the

    23 situation. About 30 showed signs of brutality." What

    24 you weren't read out was the following sentence:

    25 "After free discussions, it was learnt that they were

  39. 1 not mistreated and those that had been harmed were so

    2 during their transportation to prison."

    3 Do you know anything about that one way or

    4 the other?

    5 A. No. As I had mentioned earlier, we were

    6 aware that there were tensions in Zenica and we were

    7 aware that a certain number of Croats had been

    8 imprisoned, but our impression was that there was no --

    9 I shouldn't say "no" -- but there were relatively few

    10 allegations of serious mistreatment, such as arbitrary

    11 executions or torture or the like.

    12 Q. Thank you very much. That's all with that

    13 exhibit.

    14 You were asked about fighting in a built-up

    15 area, and you were asked about that in relation to

    16 Vitez. Do you remember that question from Mr. Sayers?

    17 A. I'm not sure exactly, fighting in a built-up

    18 area?

    19 Q. That's a doctrine, a military doctrine, or

    20 practice.

    21 A. I see. Yes.

    22 Q. You were asked about something that was said

    23 by a witness called Gough. You may not remember it.

    24 It was a long time ago.

    25 A. I believe I recall, even from my notes,

  40. 1 having written down the initials of that military

    2 doctrine.

    3 Q. We better see if we can find it. Which notes

    4 are these, your own handwritten notes?

    5 A. Yes. I could be mistaken.

    6 Q. I'm not sure they are there. They may be.

    7 Take your time.

    8 A. I believe somewhere there were the initials

    9 "FBDE" or something to that effect.

    10 Q. I can tell you that your answer to

    11 Mr. Sayers' question "Do you know what FIBUA style is?"

    12 was that "No, I don't." That was your answer at the

    13 time.

    14 A. Yes. I did not remember what it stood for.

    15 It could be, now that you refresh my memory, that I

    16 realise what it referred to.

    17 Q. In any event, you were shown or you were read

    18 out one sentence from a statement --

    19 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I haven't got the

    20 whole statement, I don't want it to be produced as an

    21 exhibit, but perhaps if this sheet can be placed on the

    22 ELMO, we can all follow it. I am afraid there's one

    23 bit of marking on it of mine, but that can be

    24 overlooked.

    25 Q. This is part of a statement of a witness

  41. 1 called Gough, and you may remember this, Mr. Akhavan,

    2 if you look at the paragraph being shown there. I'm

    3 going to read it slowly because the interpreters, my

    4 oversight, have not been provided with a copy.

    5 "On the morning of the 16th of April, I was

    6 on patrol with the platoon commanders, call sign R10.

    7 We were in separate Warriors. We went into the Muslim

    8 area of Vitez, around the area of the racetrack,

    9 approximately at grid reference ... We could see the

    10 HVO going from house to house in FIBUA style."

    11 I pause there, Mr. Akhavan. We've been told

    12 that that is "fighting in a built-up area," and it

    13 relates to what soldiers do, may be seen to do when

    14 they are fighting in built-up areas where they might

    15 meet resistance and where they have to go into houses

    16 and confront potentially armed men.

    17 A. Correct. I think I have in my notes some

    18 statements by British Battalion members who actually

    19 observed HVO soldiers engaged in this style of combat.

    20 Q. That's right. Now I want you to read on to

    21 what is actually said about Vitez and see if you agree

    22 with it from your investigation.

    23 A. Following after "FIBUA style"?

    24 Q. Yes, and I'll read it to you.

    25 "The largest group of HVO I saw was around

  42. 1 six. They were going from house to house, clearing

    2 them of the Muslims. I only saw the odd Muslim

    3 civilian, very likely armed, offering any kind of

    4 resistance. I remember some children being moved from

    5 a window and then on to another house. All around this

    6 vicinity houses were burning and the civilians being forced

    7 out. I remember a couple of mortar rounds falling in

    8 the area of the racetrack. We were in this area for

    9 some time. The HVO were in green combat fatigues with

    10 chest-rig webbing on. I didn't see any helmets. They

    11 were wearing a coloured rag on one shoulder as a form

    12 of unit identification. I cannot remember the colour.

    13 I remember that one or two of the HVO soldiers had

    14 covered their faces with a bandanna-type piece of

    15 cloth. Some of the HVO soldiers were also dressed in

    16 black overalls. My overall impression was that the HVO

    17 were trying to clear the Muslim population from that

    18 area of the town."

    19 Now, does that passage, read in context, fit

    20 with your observations and researches or not, or do you

    21 have no comment to make?

    22 A. Yes, it does fit into the descriptions which

    23 I'd received during my visits to the area, and I draw

    24 your attention to page 5 of my handwritten notes,

    25 somewhere towards the end, the fourth point being "HVO

  43. 1 troops going house to house, shooting at BiH forces,

    2 some houses burning," and I believe somewhere else in

    3 my notes, I have something similar. But this concept

    4 of FIBUA style or going from house to house is very

    5 much what I recall being told by members of the British

    6 Battalion that I interviewed.

    7 Q. And doing so, but with the purpose of

    8 clearing the Muslims out?

    9 A. Correct. The impression which I gathered was

    10 that much of the fighting was with the aim of removing

    11 Muslims, mostly civilians, and that the actual

    12 resistance offered by the Bosnian army was relatively

    13 insignificant, compared to the amount of force that was

    14 used. I have in my notes also that in many cases,

    15 grenades were being thrown into homes with a view to

    16 removing civilians. I could also find those particular

    17 notes, I would need some time, but I do recall that I

    18 was told specifically that grenades were being thrown

    19 into homes where civilians were present.

    20 Q. If the suggestion is made, as it effectively

    21 has been, that the fighting in built-up areas technique

    22 to deal with resisting armed defenders explains what

    23 happened in Ahmici, that is to say, that there were

    24 armed defenders who had to be fought, what would you

    25 say to that?

  44. 1 A. My impression, once again, is that in Ahmici,

    2 the military presence was quite insignificant. My

    3 recollection is that this was even admitted by Colonel

    4 Blaskic in my discussions with him, once again as

    5 reflected in my notes. Those who were killed in Ahmici

    6 were overwhelmingly civilians. They included elderly,

    7 they included women, they included children. The

    8 physical destruction clearly indicated an

    9 all-encompassing attack. All livestock was killed.

    10 All homes, almost without exception, belonging to the

    11 Muslims had been burnt. In many cases, they were

    12 clearly burnt using petrol. It was clear that there

    13 was a deliberate attempt to destroy them.

    14 That, to me, indicated that this was

    15 predominantly an attack on the civilian population of

    16 the village and had very little to do with FIBUA style

    17 or any other sort of legitimate or ordinary military

    18 operation.

    19 Q. Thank you. Military conclusions, insofar as

    20 you drew them from your report, were based on what?

    21 A. Well, military conclusions were based largely

    22 on the expert advice of members of the British

    23 Battalion, on occasion, on representatives of the ECMM,

    24 but I believe that the military analysis of the

    25 situation was only tangentially relevant to us in the

  45. 1 preparation of our reports. Whether the Muslims had

    2 provoked the hostilities or whether the Croats had

    3 provoked the hostilities was quite irrelevant to the

    4 focus of our investigation, which was violations of

    5 humanitarian law.

    6 All sorts of tricks and strategies and

    7 tactics were used between the two sides in their

    8 conflicts with one another, but the fact remains that

    9 we had in Ahmici and in other areas attacks which

    10 demonstrated clearly an attempt to eradicate virtually

    11 the entire civilian population, and that, to us, was

    12 the essential focus of our mandate, to investigate

    13 human rights abuses, violations of humanitarian law.

    14 The military context often would help us

    15 understand how a situation may have escalated to the

    16 point where civilians were slaughtered, where civilian

    17 property was destroyed, but strictly speaking, we were

    18 not there as military experts, we were not there as

    19 part of a peacekeeping mission, we were not there as

    20 intelligence officers to try and make sophisticated

    21 analyses of the military situation.

    22 Q. Bodies piled up opposite the cemetery has

    23 been raised as a topic. What's the totality but in

    24 absolute summary, a couple of sentences, of what you

    25 knew from sources about that?

  46. 1 A. In that particular location, across from the

    2 Catholic cemetery, what I knew was that the British

    3 Battalion had recovered approximately 20 bodies. The

    4 bodies were mainly, if not exclusively, that of people

    5 in civilian clothes, including women, elderly,

    6 children. Many had been shot in the head or the neck,

    7 according to the members of the British Battalion.

    8 Q. When were they piled up or lined up opposite

    9 the cemetery, to your knowledge?

    10 A. It could have been on the afternoon of the

    11 16th of April, but most probably a day or two after --

    12 Q. Thank you.

    13 A. -- when it was safe enough for the British

    14 Battalion to collect the bodies.

    15 Q. The truck bomb, in a sentence, what was your

    16 view on that? Because you may not have written about

    17 it in detail.

    18 A. Yes. The truck bomb is reflected in my

    19 handwritten notes, as well as the report which we

    20 eventually submitted to the Human Rights Commission.

    21 It was very clear, from seeing that region of Vitez,

    22 that there was a massive explosion involving extensive

    23 damage. We were told that the truck was filled with

    24 explosives and that a local Muslim was handcuffed to

    25 the steering wheel of the truck and the truck was

  47. 1 forced into that region of the city, where it was

    2 detonated.

    3 What we did see clearly is that there had

    4 been a massive explosion. Since it was not a war in

    5 which there were aerial bombardment or other means of

    6 delivering that sort of explosion, the explanation

    7 seemed credible enough.

    8 Q. The list of 18 names, is it available now

    9 and, if so, by what means?

    10 A. I believe it should be in the files of the

    11 Commission of Experts established by the Security

    12 Council.

    13 Q. Is that the only place where it's to be

    14 found?

    15 A. To the best of my knowledge, I'm not sure

    16 whether it has found its way into the investigative

    17 files of the Prosecutor's office. This, I'm not sure

    18 about, since I've not been involved in the

    19 investigation --

    20 Q. Have you had any involvement in this case?

    21 A. In the present case?

    22 Q. Yes.

    23 A. I've not been involved in any investigative

    24 matters. My only involvement was in the Blaskic case

    25 on two purely abstract, legal questions, one involving

  48. 1 the mens rea of command responsibility, the other

    2 involving the powers of the Tribunal to issue binding

    3 orders to the Republic of Croatia, but nothing related

    4 to the specific facts of the case.

    5 Q. We've put to you that part of the Blaskic

    6 defence, that is, part of Blaskic's evidence, is

    7 correct in relation to matters of which you give

    8 evidence, and therefore I want to ask you this, and it

    9 may be that the break comes -- if it does come -- comes

    10 at a potentially convenient time: Were you aware at

    11 the time of your investigation of any other

    12 investigation being made and, in particular, of any

    13 investigation being made by the HVO?

    14 A. No. We were not aware of any such

    15 investigations, and I assume that Messrs. Kordic,

    16 Blaskic, Cerkez had every opportunity to inform us

    17 during the meeting whether there was such an

    18 investigation, and, indeed, we would have been very

    19 happy to hear from them that they were taking this

    20 matter seriously, nor are we aware of any

    21 investigations which took place subsequently.

    22 Q. Does the name "Anto Sliskovic" mean anything

    23 to you?

    24 A. No, I don't recall that name.

    25 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I have a few more

  49. 1 questions of this witness, but only a few.

    2 JUDGE MAY: It may be convenient if you can

    3 finish, or do you want some time?

    4 MR. NICE: What I was going to propose was --

    5 because I don't propose to produce as an exhibit a

    6 document of which I can say nothing, save that it was

    7 produced in another case -- but it may be that if we

    8 were to take a break and Mr. Akhavan was able to have

    9 an opportunity to read an unmarked copy of that

    10 document, then I could ask him for some comments on

    11 particular passages of it after the break.

    12 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We will adjourn now.

    13 Half past eleven.

    14 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.

    15 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.

    16 MR. NICE:

    17 Q. Mr. Akhavan, you've now read the document

    18 that was handed to you?

    19 A. Yes.

    20 Q. I have a few questions to ask about specific

    21 passages, but just tell me first, have you seen this

    22 document before?

    23 A. No, I have not.

    24 Q. Have you heard of its existence before?

    25 A. No, I had not.

  50. 1 Q. Do you have any comments that you want to

    2 make in relation to the covering letter from a man

    3 called Sliskovic?

    4 A. The covering letter --

    5 Q. If you do, I'll place the -- or I'll have the

    6 usher place a copy of that on the ELMO.

    7 MR. NICE: There are, of course, copies

    8 available to the Court but I make it plain, I don't

    9 want to produce it as an exhibit for obvious reasons.

    10 So if the Court would prefer to have copies to handle,

    11 then they can be made available on whatever basis they

    12 like.

    13 JUDGE MAY: Well, let's start by putting it

    14 on the ELMO.

    15 A. I'm wondering, first of all, whether this is

    16 indeed the same document that was shown to me by the

    17 Defence. I recall a similar document.

    18 MR. NICE:

    19 Q. No, this hasn't been shown to you by the

    20 Defence. This is an entirely different document,

    21 produced in another case, but I simply want your

    22 comments on it. The first sheet is the covering

    23 letter --

    24 A. Yes.

    25 Q. -- with the date 25th of May, 1993, headed,

  51. 1 "The Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatian

    2 Community, Croatian Defence Council," signed or typed

    3 at the bottom "Sliskovic", but the original is signed.

    4 What comment do you have to make about this?

    5 A. I have a couple of comments. First of all, I

    6 find it surprising that this document is a military

    7 secret that is strictly confidential. Nothing

    8 contained in this document would appear to me to be a

    9 military secret of any sort and, if anything, I think

    10 that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna could have

    11 gained considerable propaganda value from making this

    12 document public and it surprises me.

    13 Q. The secret passage is cut off from -- could

    14 you move the document down a bit, please? Move it down

    15 a bit or up. Yes. Anything else on the covering

    16 letter?

    17 A. The other -- where it says that: "It was

    18 impossible to obtain statements of the persons of

    19 Muslim nationality who have fled to the areas of Zenica

    20 and Travnik," that may be true but there were a

    21 significant number of Muslims who were actually being

    22 detained by the HVO in various places under their

    23 control. So I think it is incredulous to say that they

    24 did not have access to statements of the persons of

    25 Muslim nationality. Those would be two.

  52. 1 Q. Thank you. Second sheet, please. I have

    2 some questions on this but you may first of all have

    3 your own comments. I don't know if you do.

    4 A. Not specifically with respect to this page,

    5 but --

    6 Q. Could you, therefore, turn your attention to

    7 the bottom of the page, if the usher would be so good?

    8 Thank you very much.

    9 The paragraphs beginning: "However, the ABiH

    10 leadership, especially the leadership of the 3rd Corps

    11 and its more extreme part, the 7th Muslim Brigade, kept

    12 on insisting on its thesis of taking full control of

    13 these areas. This time, they resorted to more subtle

    14 methods. Among other things, they brought in the

    15 extreme part of the refugee population from the areas

    16 of Jajce, Kotor Varos, Kljuc, Prijedor and other towns,

    17 thus achieving the effect of outnumbering the rest of

    18 the population, causing there ..."

    19 Did you have evidence to support, match, or

    20 counter that, or was it outside the area of your

    21 inquiry?

    22 A. We did know there were a number of Muslim

    23 refugees from other parts of Bosnia, some of whom had

    24 come to stay with friends or relatives in Ahmici, and

    25 we were told that the Bosnian Croat leadership was

  53. 1 concerned that this influx of Muslim refugees would

    2 upset the ethnic balance and, of course, this occurred

    3 in the context of the Vance-Owen Plan demarcating this

    4 canton as a Croat canton. So demographics was always a

    5 very sensitive issue. But this idea that the

    6 7th Muslim Brigade had deliberately selected extremist

    7 refugees, I find that hard to believe.

    8 Q. Did you have any evidence of that yourself?

    9 A. None whatsoever. I don't even know how one

    10 selects extremist refugees. People either are refugees

    11 or they're not. When you have several hundred men,

    12 women, children, families as refugees, I don't know how

    13 one could characterise them as extremists.

    14 Q. Apparently I misread the passage and left out

    15 the word "Muslim" before "refugee". Can it be noted?

    16 The next sentence reads --

    17 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Excuse me,

    18 Mr. Nice. I should like to know what is the origin of

    19 this document, because you're showing us documents

    20 without introducing them. We can't work like that. We

    21 have to know where that document comes from. You must

    22 introduce the document to the Chamber so that they can

    23 follow.

    24 Will you tell us where it comes from? What

    25 is its origin? When was it produced? Could you please

  54. 1 first inform us before putting questions to the witness

    2 about it?

    3 MR. NICE: I explained it yesterday, and it

    4 is essential that this matter can be dealt with because

    5 of the conduct of the Defence. The Defence are plainly

    6 adopting Blaskic. It may well that they're going to be

    7 calling Blaskic, because they could hardly be adopting

    8 his evidence to put it to a witness unless they had

    9 seen him, proofed him, and had that in mind as a

    10 possibility. There would be no other grounds for their

    11 preferring his evidence over someone else's.

    12 This document was introduced, as I explained

    13 yesterday, at a late stage, without a witness producing

    14 it in the Blaskic case. It is the only other known

    15 alleged contemporaneous report relating to Ahmici.

    16 THE INTERPRETER: We ask Mr. Nice to slow

    17 down, please.

    18 MR. NICE: -- that if the Defence were to

    19 rely on this document, then they should have put its

    20 contents to this witness. Indeed Judge Robinson, I

    21 think via the Presiding Judge, made the point that I

    22 could deal with it in re-examination. Because the

    23 Defence hadn't put it, and because it may very well

    24 arise as something to be dealt with in --

    25 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Nice slow down,

  55. 1 please?

    2 JUDGE MAY: Could you slow down?

    3 MR. NICE: Certainly.

    4 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Very well,

    5 but regarding this document, we can see on the ELMO the

    6 first part of the document. What is this document? It

    7 doesn't matter what the Defence has done, but the Trial

    8 Chamber has to know what this document is. It was

    9 produced in Blaskic, but what is it?

    10 MR. NICE: The document in the Blaskic

    11 defence, which introduced it, is said to be a report

    12 prepared by Sliskovic in May 1993 on the Ahmici events,

    13 and it has the covering letter, and I think in the

    14 English translation three sheets, in the original it

    15 is, of course, in the Croatian language, and again with

    16 a covering letter and three sheets.

    17 It was introduced in Blaskic. I'm not sure

    18 how it was introduced. I think without any witness it

    19 was placed in as a document and is no doubt being

    20 considered by the Chamber in that case.

    21 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) But we see

    22 "military secret", but what army is it? I'm still not

    23 satisfied by this manner of presenting documents. I'm

    24 sorry. I don't think you can do it that way.

    25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, let us try and resolve

  56. 1 the position in this way: This is not a document on

    2 which you rely. What would you say about it in

    3 argument? Is it a truthful document?

    4 MR. NICE: At the moment, the document,

    5 having come relatively recently into the possession of

    6 this team of Prosecutors, as indeed into the team of

    7 those prosecuting in Blaskic, is a document that cries

    8 out for further inquiries, maybe inquiries of the state

    9 concerned, but at this stage, my duty is to forecast

    10 what may be raised and what reasonably may be raised by

    11 way of Defence arguments that should have been and

    12 could be put to this witness, and to ask his comments

    13 on them.

    14 The Chamber is particularly assisted in this

    15 way of dealing with things, because Mr. Akhavan, who

    16 is, of course, an -- he is not an expert, in one sense,

    17 but he's very nearly an expert, he's an on-the-ground

    18 investigator and the only one, apart from his

    19 colleague, of whom we know, and the Chamber has the

    20 opportunity of seeing him come fresh to this document

    21 and give his observations on certain passages of it.

    22 This, I think, was forecast by your

    23 colleague, Judge Robinson, yesterday as the appropriate

    24 way of dealing with the problem.

    25 JUDGE MAY: I think we're getting the cart

  57. 1 before the horse. This is the problem. We haven't got

    2 the document in. Somebody is being asked to comment on

    3 it.

    4 Perhaps it may be simpler if we deal with the

    5 matter in this way, and I turn to the Defence: Is

    6 anybody going to rely on this document before we go

    7 into it --

    8 MR. STEIN: The answer is no, from our side,

    9 from the Kordic perspective. Indeed, although Mr. Nice

    10 has done a nice job of setting up something so he can

    11 use the back door to get something else in and use this

    12 witness to comment, the truth is we asked this witness,

    13 relative to the Kordic interview -- strike that --

    14 relative to the Blaskic interview only and using

    15 Blaskic's testimony in that regard, that's all. We

    16 don't accept the entire Blaskic case. It's not ours.

    17 That's just something Mr. Nice suggests or made up.

    18 That's not our position. We didn't accept the entire

    19 case. We don't have the evidence. We don't have the

    20 documents from Blaskic. That's one of the issues we

    21 want to raise at the Status Conference.

    22 Moreover, and last but not least, while I'm

    23 on my feet, the issues being raised in terms of what

    24 responsibility was done for investigations is covered

    25 by the witness's own notes at page 34, where in his

  58. 1 interview with Mr. Kordic, Mr. Kordic announces that

    2 there was an investigation formed. It's right there

    3 for the Court to see in one of the exhibits. I don't

    4 know what we're doing at this point.

    5 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation) Your Honours,

    6 our position is slightly different, and, of course,

    7 that must be clear from the proceedings so far, because

    8 my client was a commander of a brigade, which we admit

    9 from the beginning, and he was subordinate to Blaskic;

    10 therefore, that document is of interest to us.

    11 However, we have not shown this document to the

    12 witness, nor have we questioned him about it, because

    13 it is a document that was issued after his inquiries.

    14 Yesterday, my learned friend, the Prosecutor,

    15 told us after the hearing that he had that document,

    16 and you must have noticed that I reacted immediately

    17 with interest, wanting to see that document, but for

    18 another reason. Colleague Nice said that this was a

    19 document dated the 25th of May which the Blaskic

    20 Defence had introduced as an exhibit quite recently,

    21 that is, at the very end of the trial of Blaskic.

    22 I know that an exhibit was, indeed,

    23 introduced in the Blaskic case towards the end of the

    24 proceedings, that is, related to the investigation, but

    25 that document, according to the information that I

  59. 1 received from colleagues in that case, that document, I

    2 was told that the document was under seal, and that is

    3 why I could not get it. When the Prosecutor said that

    4 he had a document related to the investigation

    5 introduced recently, of course, I immediately thought

    6 that that might be that document. However, the

    7 document that we received after the hearing yesterday

    8 and which has been produced now and is marked from the

    9 Blaskic case, D608, was at the time, though I cannot

    10 assert that with certainty, two documents were

    11 introduced regarding the investigation, because

    12 apparently Blaskic did receive some reports about the

    13 investigation.

    14 I knew that that existed, though I never saw

    15 that document, because this technical side of

    16 disclosure of documents, in accordance with your

    17 previous order and the assistance of the Registry,

    18 takes time, and according to the latest information

    19 that we have from the Registry, we will get that

    20 document from the Blaskic case, probably before the

    21 autumn session. We have already received many of the

    22 documents from the first part of the trial.

    23 But what is important is the following: My

    24 learned friend Nice is now producing this document, and

    25 he wants to ask the witness about that document, based

  60. 1 on the assumption that the Defence will be putting

    2 questions regarding that document. When? We have

    3 finished with our cross-examination of the witness and

    4 we did not produce that document. So I think that it

    5 is not proper for him to discuss that document now in

    6 the redirect. Whether we will be questioning other

    7 witnesses about it, when and how, I don't know. We'll

    8 see.

    9 That is all I wish to say as my contribution

    10 to clearing up the situation before you make your

    11 ruling, Your Honour. Thank you.

    12 MR. NICE: Two points: I'm surprised that

    13 what should be -- that those representing Kordic should

    14 say that they are as selective as they are about

    15 Blaskic's evidence, for if they have no intention of

    16 calling or adopting his case, by implication saying

    17 they are only accepting that bits of it are true, how

    18 can they be putting positively -- as they did when

    19 invited by Your Honour -- how can they be putting

    20 positively that something is true, and it was put

    21 vigorously to this witness, when they aren't even

    22 adopting the provider of that material as a potential

    23 witness?

    24 JUDGE MAY: Let's deal with that in due

    25 course. Let's look at this document.

  61. 1 MR. NICE: The second point is that this

    2 document may well prove to be a document we will

    3 produce, because if it's a document that is manifestly

    4 a dishonest document, then there would be relevance for

    5 this Chamber in this body producing, whenever it may

    6 have done, a dishonest document. Of course, we've only

    7 had it recently, and inquiries that may have to be

    8 carried out further to investigate its status and

    9 history have yet to be performed, but at this stage, it

    10 would be valuable in the extreme to have, from this

    11 witness, untutored, completely spontaneous reaction to

    12 its comments.

    13 (Trial Chamber deliberates)

    14 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, we think the better way

    15 to deal with this is to see what, if any, use is made

    16 from this document. If any use is made of it, then we

    17 shall give leave for this witness to be recalled to

    18 deal with it.

    19 MR. NICE: Perhaps the document could come

    20 off the ELMO.

    21 Q. Can we turn to your notes at page 29, please?

    22 A. The page beginning with "Vitez Brigade"?

    23 Q. Certainly. The fourth line down from there,

    24 where Blaskic is recorded as accepting responsibility

    25 for the area with no military operations without his

  62. 1 commands, did he make any exception to that? Did he

    2 qualify that in any way, identifying troops that were

    3 not under his command?

    4 A. Not to my knowledge.

    5 Q. Your notes, page 35. Still with Blaskic, can

    6 you just explain that entry there that relates to

    7 Blaskic? Because it's out of sequence.

    8 A. I'm not sure. I did not meet with Colonel

    9 Blaskic a second time. I don't know if this is

    10 something which someone else told me about Colonel

    11 Blaskic.

    12 Q. But you don't have a recollection of it?

    13 A. No, I don't.

    14 Q. The following entry, which says that the

    15 priest had reason to believe something, did the priest

    16 give you his reasons?

    17 A. I don't recall whether I actually met the

    18 priest or whether this was the recollection of the

    19 padre of the British Battalion.

    20 Q. Thank you.

    21 A. I cannot tell.

    22 Q. My last question relates to Cerkez. You told

    23 us something, when you were answering questions

    24 initially, about his reaction to your inquiries,

    25 "nervousness," I think, was the word you used. You

  63. 1 told Mr. Kovacic more about his change of demeanour when

    2 Stewart arrived, but when you were speaking of his

    3 general disposition, to what part of the encounter were

    4 you speaking?

    5 A. I was speaking to when Colonel Stewart

    6 entered the room. I think it was clear that Mr. Cerkez

    7 paid considerable deference to Colonel Stewart, not

    8 necessarily the sort of respect which comes out of

    9 personal liking, but perhaps more out of respect for

    10 authority. When Colonel Stewart began to explain that

    11 this investigation on the part of the U.N. Human Rights

    12 Commission represented, and his words, as I recall

    13 were, "the conscience of the International Community"

    14 and that Mario Cerkez would be held liable for

    15 investigating this matter to the extent that his

    16 subordinates were involved and to take effective action

    17 against any perpetrators, I think at that point, he

    18 became visibly nervous and uneasy.

    19 Q. Did Cerkez, at any time, identify any local

    20 units that were not under his control?

    21 A. I believe that both Colonel Blaskic and

    22 Cerkez did refer to HOS, but I believe that certainly

    23 Mr. Blaskic, possibly to a lesser extent Mr. Cerkez,

    24 suggested that they are in control of the region.

    25 Mr. Cerkez suggested that on the day of the attack,

  64. 1 there was some sort of chaos, that there was a sort of

    2 spontaneous resistance to a Muslim offensive. I don't

    3 know whether I would interpret that to suggest that the

    4 HVO was not in control of the region. But I'm just

    5 going to double check by consulting my notes.

    6 Q. Page 29 -- I beg your pardon --

    7 A. It's page 32 and 33, my meeting with Mario

    8 Cerkez.

    9 Q. Yes.

    10 A. He says that HOS was present, it was mixed

    11 Muslim and Croat, and there was no HOS in Vitez, that

    12 they came from Zenica. So my interpretation of that

    13 would be that HOS was in the region, though it was not

    14 from the region, and that there was chaos on the day of

    15 the attack, not so much because there were external

    16 elements but because, according to Mr. Cerkez, the

    17 Bosnian Croats were taken by surprise. But I don't

    18 think anyone suggested that HOS was in any significant

    19 control in the region.

    20 Q. Thank you. HOS apart, was Cerkez identifying

    21 any local brigades or subbrigades that were not under

    22 local authority?

    23 A. No.

    24 MR. NICE: Thank you. That concludes my

    25 re-examination.

  65. 1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Akhavan, thank you for giving

    2 your evidence. You are released now.

    3 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.

    4 (The witness withdrew)

    5 MR. NICE: The exhibit produced, I think,

    6 some time ago by Mr. Akhavan, I'm advised, should be

    7 marked 1585.1/2.

    8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

    9 12.05 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,

    10 the 13th day of September, 1999, at

    11 9.30 a.m.















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