Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 9234

1 Tuesday, 2nd November, 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 Case number IT-95-14/2-T, the Prosecutor versus Dario

8 Kordic and Mario Cerkez.

9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.

10 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good

11 morning, Major Bower.


13 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:

14 Q. My name is Stephen Sayers. Together with my

15 colleague, Mitko Naumovski, we represent the accused

16 Dario Kordic. Over to my left is Mr. Kovacic and his

17 colleague Mr. Mikulicic, and they represent the

18 co-accused Mario Cerkez.

19 Major, you have been a career officer in the

20 British army for the last 16 or so years; is that

21 correct?

22 A. Yes, that's correct, sir, yes.

23 Q. Have you reviewed any milinfosums that were

24 prepared by the 1st Battalion of the Prince of Wales

25 Own Regiment of Yorkshire in preparation of your

Page 9235

1 testimony in this case?

2 A. Yes, I have, sir.

3 Q. All right. Would it be fair to say, Major,

4 that you arrived in Central Bosnia in April of 1993 and

5 were confronted with a confusing, complex, civil war

6 with multiple parties representing the warring

7 factions?

8 A. Yes, I was.

9 Q. In the starkest outline, would it be fair to

10 say that the Croats and the Muslims were basically

11 surrounded by Serbian forces, Bosnian Serb army forces,

12 to the west, to the north, and essentially to the

13 south, with a few isolated pockets, but generally

14 speaking that's pretty accurate; wouldn't you agree?

15 A. In very, very broad outlines, yes.

16 Q. Within the area into which the Muslim forces

17 and the HVO forces had been compressed, there were also

18 isolated pockets of Croats that were fully surrounded

19 by ABiH forces; isn't that true?

20 A. That is also correct, yes.

21 Q. And then within those isolated pockets, there

22 were even smaller pockets that were surrounded by HVO

23 forces such as, for example, Stari Vitez, Novi Travnik;

24 is that correct?

25 A. It is indeed, sir, yes.

Page 9236

1 Q. Within those towns, basically there were

2 clearly-divided front lines that separated HVO forces

3 on the one side and Muslim forces on the other;

4 correct?

5 A. That's correct as well, yes.

6 Q. Okay. Would it also be fair to say, sir,

7 that throughout the six-month duration of your tour as

8 a G-5 liaison officer for the Prince of Wales Own

9 Regiment, all males in the country between the ages of

10 16 and 60 were mobilised to fight?

11 A. I couldn't say exactly what ages, but

12 certainly it appeared able-bodied males were certainly

13 engaged in military duties at some time or another. As

14 to exact ages, I don't know.

15 Q. Wouldn't you agree that it was absolutely

16 routine, in the Croat enclaves where the Muslim forces

17 and the HVO forces were warring, it was absolutely

18 routine for the two combatants to blame each other for

19 incidents that arose during the course of your tour?

20 A. Yes. There was a certain amount of denial of

21 responsibility, I would sense it, yes.

22 Q. On both sides?

23 A. On both sides.

24 Q. And also mutual finger pointing at the other

25 side to try to allocate blame; correct?

Page 9237

1 A. Yes. Very rarely would people agree to

2 accept responsibility for actions that had happened.

3 Q. All right. Now, as I understand it, sir, you

4 were interviewed first by investigators representing

5 the Prosecution on August the 13th of 1996. Is that

6 correct?

7 A. It would be in the summer of '96. I can't

8 remember the exact date, sir.

9 Q. Subsequently, approximately eight months

10 later, April the 9th and 10th, 1997, you gave a

11 statement to the investigators for the Prosecution

12 which you subsequently reviewed and signed?

13 A. That's correct, sir.

14 Q. Have you reviewed that statement in

15 preparation for your testimony today?

16 A. Yes, I have, sir.

17 Q. All right. You were asked, I gather, to

18 record every incident of significance in your tour, to

19 the extent that you could recollect; correct?

20 A. Yes. I was taken through the six-month tour

21 and asked to note what I could remember.

22 Q. As you prepared your statement, you had

23 access to milinfosums, which you reviewed, and also a

24 contemporaneous diary that you kept; correct?

25 A. When I was interviewed in April '97, I didn't

Page 9238

1 have access to the military information summaries, but

2 I had access to a notebook which I had maintained

3 during the tour.

4 Q. All right. You would agree, wouldn't you,

5 that Mr. Kordic's name is not mentioned anywhere in

6 your April 1997 statement?

7 A. No, as far as I'm aware, it's not.

8 Q. You have previously given testimony, I

9 believe, in the Blaskic case on June the 5th and June

10 the 29th of 1998. Is that correct?

11 A. That's correct, sir.

12 Q. Did you review a transcript of the testimony

13 that you gave in that case as you prepared for your

14 testimony in this case?

15 A. Yes, I did, sir.

16 Q. Wouldn't you agree that in the 150 or so

17 pages of testimony that you gave during those two days,

18 the name Dario Kordic is never mentioned by you?

19 A. I don't believe it was, sir, no.

20 Q. Just a minor point of detail and precision.

21 My understanding is that you arrived in Split, Croatia,

22 on April the 24th, 1993, to take up your duties.

23 A. Yes, I think that was the date.

24 Q. And travelled to Vitez the very next day?

25 A. Yes, that's correct.

Page 9239

1 Q. You left Central Bosnia on November the 7th,

2 1993; correct?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. Would it be fair to say, Major, that you do

5 not yourself actually speak any Croatian?

6 A. No, I don't.

7 Q. Let me just address one general subject, your

8 duties as a G 5 liaison officer. I believe that you

9 said that you are responsible for humanitarian aid and

10 affairs in the BritBat area of responsibility as a G

11 5 liaison officer; is that fair to say?

12 A. That is correct, sir, yes.

13 Q. I believe also that then Captain Lee

14 Whitworth was the liaison officer specifically

15 delegated to cover the Vitez area; is that right?

16 A. That is correct. He was the military liaison

17 officer for that area.

18 Q. And Captain Boris Cowan was the liaison

19 officer for Busovaca?

20 A. That's correct.

21 Q. Now, your area of responsibility covered

22 Vitez, Novi Travnik, Travnik, and Zenica, but did not

23 include places such as Kakanj, Zepce, or Vares; would

24 that be fair to say?

25 A. On a regular basis I would not go to those

Page 9240

1 areas, but occasionally I would if requested to by the

2 aid agencies.

3 Q. I believe it's true to say that you visited

4 Busovaca only very occasionally during your tour of

5 duty?

6 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.

7 Q. During the course of your tour, sir, you used

8 your armoured fighting vehicles regularly to evacuate

9 injured Muslims from Stari Vitez; is that correct?

10 A. I was actually equipped with soft-skin

11 vehicles. I would only use armoured vehicles if the

12 area I was going into was -- there was still active

13 fighting going on and there was danger to me. Rarely I

14 would use armour.

15 Q. In one of the operations you actually

16 smuggled an injured man out of Stari Vitez along with

17 Dr. Enisa Mulalic; is that correct?

18 A. Yes, that's correct.

19 Q. Then, at her request, you smuggled her back

20 into Stari Vitez after depositing the injured person at

21 hospital facilities in the city of Zenica?

22 A. That's correct, sir, after he had been

23 stabilised but then announced dead.

24 Q. When you started out your duties, Major,

25 isn't it true that you attempted to keep count of the

Page 9241

1 actual casualties that you encountered in your area of

2 responsibility, but this soon fell by the wayside

3 because the numbers were simply too large to count

4 accurately, on all sides?

5 A. I never consciously kept score. I merely

6 kept a log more of the names in case I had to trace

7 them later for the benefit of family members. That was

8 generally the reason I kept notes, but keeping score

9 was not an aim that I had.

10 Q. No, I'm just referring to the testimony that

11 you gave in the Blaskic case, where you stated on page

12 9451 that "When we first arrived, we thought we would

13 keep a count, but the count was too great, so we didn't

14 bother." And that's what I was getting at, and that's

15 true, isn't it?

16 A. For the whole of the Brit Battalion area,

17 that's correct.

18 Q. Now, sir, the situation you encountered when

19 you arrived in Central Bosnia, and actually throughout

20 the time that you spent there, involved front lines

21 pretty much along the main supply routes; isn't that

22 true to say?

23 A. The majority of front lines which I crossed

24 happened to be on the main supply routes, the main

25 roads. That was where we travelled mainly.

Page 9242

1 Q. Isn't it true that the objective of the

2 Muslim forces, at least one of their objectives, was to

3 secure the mountain road linking Zenica to Travnik and

4 actually passing through the village of Guca Gora?

5 A. I can't say whether it was one of their

6 objectives or not, but it was certainly what they

7 achieved later on in the tour.

8 Q. In the statement on page 6, the 1997

9 statement -- and I don't think this is different from

10 what you said-- it says, "The ABiH were attempting to

11 secure the mountain road linking Zenica to Travnik

12 which passes by Guca Gora." That's fair to say, isn't

13 it?

14 A. Yes, it's certainly a period of action which

15 happened during the summer.

16 Q. To the north of this area, that was the area

17 of operations, as far as you were aware, of the 7th

18 Muslim Brigade; correct?

19 A. There were reports, certainly, that they had

20 been in this area and had been involved in fighting at

21 that time.

22 Q. Throughout the time of your tour, the six

23 months that you spent in Central Bosnia, there was

24 pressure from the ABiH forces on the Croat forces,

25 generally from the north, compressing the forces

Page 9243

1 southward into the Vitez\Busovaca pocket; that's true,

2 isn't it?

3 A. There was certainly ebb and flow of pressure

4 from ABiH forces towards HVO forces, along sort of an

5 east/west line, from the north.

6 Q. During your tour, Muslim forces actually

7 launched several attacks aimed at capturing points on

8 the main supply route east of Vitez; isn't that

9 correct?

10 A. Yes, certainly at that time. It happened on

11 a number of occasions.

12 Q. You would concede, as a military man with a

13 lot of experience in a fine army, that control and

14 protection of main supply routes is a valid and indeed

15 important military objective, isn't it?

16 A. It is indeed, sir.

17 Q. Just one question on the political structure

18 of the civilian government in Vitez: Did you have

19 occasion to interact very frequently with the civilian

20 governmental authorities in Vitez, sir?

21 A. On arrival in Central Bosnia, generally we

22 started with the mayor of Vitez, but as the situation

23 became more complex, it rapidly deteriorated that we

24 needed to speak to a higher authority and tended to

25 speak directly with the military elements.

Page 9244

1 Q. All right. But you, yourself, weren't

2 involved in those high-level negotiations?

3 A. Not at the high level. That was left to the

4 commanding officer.

5 Q. I believe that you had a few meetings with

6 the president of the HVO civilian government in Vitez,

7 Ivica Santic?

8 A. That is correct.

9 Q. Did you ever meet Mr. Anto Valenta?

10 A. Not that I can recall.

11 Q. In your opinion, Mr. Santic did not appear to

12 have any authority to facilitate your access through

13 crowds of civilians or military forces outside of

14 Kruscica, did he, sir?

15 A. No, he didn't.

16 Q. You gave some testimony about conclusions

17 relating to the authority of Colonel Blaskic. Just to

18 be absolutely clear, you never actually met him

19 yourself, did you?

20 A. No. I saw him when he came to meetings but

21 never actually interacted on a professional basis.

22 Q. So throughout the six months you spent in the

23 area, you never actually spoke to Colonel Blaskic?

24 A. No, sir.

25 Q. But you did understand that he was

Page 9245

1 responsible for all of the HVO forces in the Lasva

2 Valley; is that correct?

3 A. Certainly I was aware of the chain of command

4 and where he was in, and that's how I understood it.

5 Q. That included all the HVO forces in your area

6 of responsibility, I take it?

7 A. That is correct.

8 Q. You testified in your direct examination

9 yesterday, Major, that on arrival in Vitez, you

10 received a briefing from the military intelligence

11 officer regarding the chain of command in the HVO.

12 That, I take it, was captain Simon Harrison?

13 A. Yes, it was.

14 Q. You were briefed that all of the various

15 groups within the HVO in the Lasva Valley were under

16 the direct command of the 3rd Operations Zone

17 commander, Colonel Blaskic; correct?

18 A. That is correct, yes.

19 Q. That included the HOS units about which you

20 testified yesterday; correct?

21 A. On the very, very first briefing, it was

22 generally outlined, and obviously, as we got more

23 information, it was obviously constantly updated. I

24 can't say exactly whether it was the very first one or

25 subsequently over the next couple of weeks.

Page 9246

1 Q. All right. But the point I'm making is that

2 all of the units about which you've given testimony --

3 the HOS, the Vitezovi, the military police and its

4 subunits -- those fell directly under the command of

5 the commander of the Operative Zone, Colonel Blaskic;

6 correct?

7 A. Yes, that's how it was explained to us.

8 Q. Indeed the briefing that you received, and

9 which was constantly updated regarding the chain of

10 command, enabled you to make the best use of your time

11 in dealing with issues such as access to front lines by

12 knowing exactly to whom you should go in order to

13 arrange that free passage; correct?

14 A. Yes, sir, that is.

15 Q. It would be accurate, factually accurate, to

16 state that whenever you wanted to achieve something or

17 to acquire permission to do something, you invariably

18 went to the military chain of command rather than to

19 the civilian chain of command; is that correct?

20 A. At the level I was operating in, yes, that

21 was correct.

22 Q. Let me turn to one different subject, the

23 chain of command in the opposing forces on the Muslim

24 side. Were you briefed as to the identity of the

25 commander of the Muslim forces in Zenica?

Page 9247

1 A. Yes, at the co-headquarters, I was briefed

2 and met him.

3 Q. And that gentleman, I take it, was General

4 Enver Hadzihasanovic.

5 A. It was indeed, yes.

6 Q. Was it your understanding that as commander

7 of the 3rd Corps in Zenica, he had approximately 10 to

8 12.000 troops under his command?

9 A. Yes. In approximate figures, yes.

10 Q. It's true, is it not, sir, that around the

11 time of one of the incidents which we talked about, and

12 we'll cover that in slightly more detail in a few

13 minutes, but around June the 10th of 1993, BritBat was

14 informed by General Hadzihasanovic that it would have

15 to have his permission in order to obtain access to any

16 territory controlled by the 325th Mountain Brigade

17 between the towns of -- or the town of Vitez and the

18 city of Zenica, correct, and that was on June the 10th,

19 1993, around the time of the Convoy of Joy incident?

20 A. Yes, if it was the passage which was termed

21 the mountain road going through Poculica, yes, there

22 was -- at the Zenica side of the road, there was a

23 checkpoint which we requested to have permission to

24 transit through.

25 Q. Were you ever briefed about the objectives of

Page 9248

1 the 10 or 12 thousand troops under the command of

2 General Mehemed Alagic?

3 A. No, not specifically.

4 Q. Let me just show you a milinfosum from your

5 battalion, sir, number 72, dated July the 10th, 1993.

6 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked

7 D121/1.


9 Q. I only have one question about this, Major.

10 It appears on page 3 under paragraph number 10.

11 Do you ever recall, in your commanding

12 officer briefings, being told that General Alagic was

13 in command of about 12.000 BiH troops and that his

14 current mission was to capture the remaining Croat

15 enclave at Vitez and Busovaca?

16 A. Yes, I vaguely remember it. But as to detail

17 and when, I can't say.

18 Q. That's fair enough, and that's understandable

19 after the passage of a substantial period of time.

20 In addition, there's reference to the

21 immediate tactical objective of the ABiH forces

22 fighting in July of 1993, and that was to capture the

23 ammunition factory. Were you aware of that tactical

24 objective?

25 A. Yes, it was certainly something which

Page 9249

1 appeared on a frequent basis as a general objective of

2 what they would like to have captured within the Lasva

3 Valley.

4 Q. You gave some testimony regarding the visit

5 that you made to the village of Ahmici just at the

6 beginning of your tour. You actually visited refugees

7 from Ahmici in housing facilities in Zenica; isn't that

8 correct?

9 A. Yes, I did visit the population that had been

10 taken to Zenica.

11 Q. Isn't it true, Major, that in your opinion,

12 anyway, their housing conditions were appalling

13 conditions?

14 A. They certainly were, yes.

15 Q. Let me turn to another subject, if I may, the

16 testimony that you gave concerning your encounter with

17 some HVO troops approximately the end of May 1993.

18 That encounter occurred in the vicinity of

19 the village of Krnjace [phoen], isn't that correct, the

20 item that you circled as Item 1 in Exhibit Z2624?

21 A. Yes, it was in that area I marked that map.

22 After some considerable time, that's the general area I

23 believe I was in at the time.

24 Q. Were you aware that that area is about five

25 kilometres north of Mount Tisovac?

Page 9250

1 A. The name, no, I don't recall it.

2 Q. Very well. Now, can you recall the exact

3 date of this encounter or is it just a vague memory?

4 A. No, it's a vague memory in that it was very

5 early on in the tour, and it was some time in May is

6 my -- my journal notes started very shortly after this

7 and as a result of this, so it was before the time that

8 I started making notes.

9 Q. So it would be fair to conclude, obviously,

10 that there's no reference in your contemporaneous

11 journal to that particular incident?

12 A. No, sir, there isn't.

13 Q. Have you ever seen any reference to that

14 incident in a milinfosum prepared by the information

15 cell at your battalion?

16 A. Not that I can recall, no.

17 Q. Just to summarise this incident, as I

18 understand it, you encountered approximately 10 to 12

19 soldiers in their early 20s.

20 A. Yes, that's correct, sir.

21 Q. They were dressed in a variety of uniforms?

22 A. They were dressed in the same combat clothing

23 but had slightly different jackets on or whatever.

24 Q. One or two of these gentlemen had an HVO

25 patch on their left shoulder; correct?

Page 9251

1 A. Yes, on one of their shoulders, left or right

2 shoulder.

3 Q. You yourself did not see any Jokers' patches

4 or insignia on any of these people, did you?

5 A. If you mean by "Jokers' patches" skull and

6 cross bones, those are what I saw. Whether they were

7 deemed Jokers' patches, I don't know.

8 Q. You yourself did not actually speak with any

9 of these individuals. They declined to engage you in

10 conversation; isn't that true?

11 A. That is correct.

12 Q. And no immediate translation was made to you

13 by Ms. Kolaba of what these individuals were saying

14 amongst themselves, was there?

15 A. There was nothing directed at the time, no,

16 as they wouldn't engage me in direct conversation, and

17 therefore she didn't translate.

18 Q. Let me turn to the one subject about which

19 you testified, and we'll discuss this a little more

20 later in your cross-examination, Major, but the subject

21 of snipers.

22 It's a fact, is it not, that snipers were

23 routinely used by both sides during the war, while you

24 were present in Central Bosnia?

25 A. Yes, they were.

Page 9252

1 Q. In fact, I believe that there was one

2 incident where you were attempting to arrange for the

3 repair of damaged electrical transmission lines or

4 distribution lines and the people that were engaged in

5 that work effort actually came under diligent and

6 accurate ABiH sniper fire; correct?

7 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.

8 Q. Would it be fair to say that both sides were

9 equipped with 7,62-millimetre calibre weapons?

10 A. Yes. As a general rule, that was the weapon

11 which they were equipped with.

12 Q. Isn't it true that the ABiH also had, in

13 their inventory, 12,7-millimetre weapons?

14 A. Yes, sir, they did.

15 Q. And I think, sir, that you, as the

16 humanitarian liaison officer for the Vitez area, were

17 well aware that the Grbavica feature, a high-ground

18 village, was regularly used by ABiH snipers to shoot at

19 and actually hit people in the HVO, and civilians too,

20 unfortunately. Isn't that right?

21 A. Yes, that feature was used as a firing point.

22 Q. Now, the Grbavica village is actually on top

23 of a hill, isn't it?

24 A. Yes, it is.

25 Q. And that's to the north -- pretty much the

Page 9253

1 immediate north and a little west of the BritBat

2 compound at Stara Bila?

3 A. Yes, it's very close. It's the obvious

4 feature to the north of the battalion.

5 Q. Then on the low ground just to the east of

6 the BritBat compound and to the southeast of Grbavica

7 is the village of Divjak; is that correct?

8 A. Yes, that's correct.

9 Q. I'd like to show you a milinfosum. I think

10 it's milinfosum 130, dated September the 6th, 1993,

11 which has been produced to us, anyway, in redacted

12 form. I would just like to ask you if you recognise

13 it, and I have a couple of questions based upon it.

14 JUDGE MAY: Has this been exhibited,

15 Mr. Sayers, yet or not or simply handed over to you?

16 MR. SAYERS: This was an exhibit in the

17 Blaskic case, Mr. President.

18 JUDGE MAY: But it hasn't been exhibited so

19 far in this case?

20 MR. SAYERS: No, it has not.

21 JUDGE MAY: It can have a new exhibit

22 number.

23 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked

24 D122/1.


Page 9254

1 Q. Major, this appears to be in a format

2 slightly different from the previous milinfosum which

3 we have looked at. Do you recognise this as the format

4 of a so-called combat form or milinfosum or don't you

5 recognise it at all?

6 A. I can't tell just from the extract here. I

7 honestly couldn't say what it's been taken from.

8 Q. This milinfosum is dated just two days, I

9 believe, before the assault on the Grbavica feature by

10 the HVO, and there's a reference here to two soldiers

11 recently being killed, complaints about constant BiH

12 sniping from the high ground. Were these the kinds of

13 complaints that you heard regularly regarding that

14 feature, sir?

15 A. At this moment in time, early September, yes,

16 it was becoming quite frequent.

17 Q. Thank you. I don't have any further

18 questions about that particular document.

19 One other subject I would like to cover is

20 the Busovaca joint commission. It may have been

21 renamed the Vitez joint commission by the time that you

22 arrived in the theatre, but you were familiar with a

23 joint body for the discussion of issues that arose as a

24 result of the fighting between the two sides; correct?

25 A. Yes, I was aware of such a body.

Page 9255

1 Q. Did you ever participate in any of the

2 meetings of this joint commission, sir?

3 A. Only in providing secure transport for

4 members of that commission.

5 Q. Let me turn to the June/July time period of

6 1993.

7 You were present in the Vitez area when the

8 Muslim forces initiated major offensives in the area of

9 Travnik and Kakanj in the period of time June the 8th

10 to the 12th of 1993; is that correct?

11 A. Yes, that's correct.

12 Q. Major, wouldn't it be fair to say that this

13 was a source of great concern to you as a humanitarian

14 officer because of the large numbers of refugees, Croat

15 refugees, that resulted from the military operations

16 being conducted in the area of the city of Travnik and

17 the surrounding villages?

18 A. Certainly any action which caused an

19 unfortunate reaction in the area of refugees and

20 humanitarian assistance required, one normally went

21 with the other.

22 Q. Would it be fair to say that there were 15 to

23 20 thousand Croat refugees that had to leave Travnik

24 and the environs of Travnik as a result of the ABiH

25 offensive in the second week of June 1993?

Page 9256

1 A. There was certainly a large number. The

2 exact figure, I can't remember. But, yes, a large

3 number of Croat refugees did have to leave.

4 Q. Were you aware, sir, that about 15.000

5 refugees had to leave the Kakanj area as a result of a

6 concomitant offensive by ABiH forces being launched in

7 that town?

8 A. Yes, sir, I was briefed about that by the


10 Q. Were you aware of separate ABiH offensives

11 being launched in the area of Fojnica to the south of

12 Busovaca in approximately the first week of July 1993?

13 A. Yes, sir, I was.

14 Q. And those also resulted in significant

15 numbers of Croat refugees having to leave their homes;

16 correct?

17 A. It certainly caused a humanitarian

18 requirement to try and get into that area, yes.

19 Q. In the Bugojno area, I don't know whether

20 that was in your particular area of responsibility, but

21 you were certainly aware that there was a major ABiH

22 offensive in the Bugojno area July and August of 1993;

23 isn't that correct?

24 A. I didn't actually get involved in that area.

25 We had the general brief from the company that was in

Page 9257

1 Gornji Vakuf and looked after that area, and so, yes, I

2 was made aware. But as to specific details, I can't

3 remember.

4 Q. Were you briefed about the house burnings and

5 lootings that were taking place in the Bugojno area, if

6 you can recall right now?

7 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I'm going to object

8 at this point. It's beyond the scope -- excuse me,

9 Your Honour. I'm going to object at this point as

10 beyond the scope of direct. We had nothing to deal

11 with in these areas. We understand we covered a broad

12 area, but still we're getting far afield, I think.

13 JUDGE MAY: What's the relevance,

14 Mr. Sayers?

15 MR. SAYERS: The relevance is, Your Honour,

16 that we're facing Count 1, which is the persecution

17 count, which is the most amorphous count that we face

18 particularly, and I think it's particularly significant

19 that in the area of Central Bosnia, where the Croats

20 are asserted to have been persecuting Muslims, what we

21 are attempting to show, and I think that we've been

22 attempting to show this throughout the course of our

23 cross-examination, that this is really -- and I think

24 the Major agrees with this -- this is a two-way

25 street. It's not a one-way street with the HVO forces

Page 9258

1 having the numerical superiority and the power to

2 impose a small minority. Essentially, you've got even

3 forces, both political -- or both civilian and

4 military, and they are both engaged in internecine

5 fighting in a wide variety of areas, including the

6 areas that the Major talked about.

7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, but he had nothing to do

8 with Bugojno, and that's the point.

9 The other point is this, isn't it? While it

10 may be true, and I think it's accepted that there was

11 misconduct, using that word as neutrally as one can, on

12 both sides, we're still, on the evidence of this

13 witness, left with the shooting up of the convoy, and

14 we've seen that on the video, and the murders in Stupni

15 Do, the three women killed in that vegetable cellar.

16 Now, how does it help your case to say, "Oh, well, the

17 Muslims were doing very much the same sort of thing"?

18 MR. SAYERS: Well --

19 JUDGE MAY: All the background, this has

20 nothing to do with the accused directly because, of

21 course, it's got to be shown that they were in some way

22 involved. But as far as the background of the case,

23 the basic offences, what the Prosecution says, that

24 these incidents occurred, that they amounted to the

25 various crimes they allege, and as far as I see your

Page 9259

1 case, you don't dispute that the incidents occurred,

2 but what you say is, "Oh, well, the Muslims were doing

3 the same." I'm not sure how that really helps you.

4 MR. SAYERS: Well, Mr. President, we clearly

5 do not dispute that events occurred at places such as

6 Stupni Do. I don't think we have tried to dispute

7 that, nor could we. The events occurred. I hope that

8 I will get into this in some further detail with the

9 Major when I actually address Stupni Do, but let me

10 foreshadow that particular subject, since you raised

11 it.

12 Our position is that obviously grave excesses

13 were committed by the troops that were present in that

14 village, but the village was defended. They received

15 advance notice of an impending attack. Notwithstanding

16 that notice, for some inexplicable reason the military

17 authorities in the village decided not to evacuate the

18 civilians, to keep them there, despite receiving a

19 specific order from the war presidency in exile in

20 Dabravine to evacuate them. So the civilians were kept

21 there, and I think that there was some kind of

22 house-to-house fighting that one saw in Ahmici occurred

23 using the same kind of FIBUA tactics. That's our

24 position.

25 Excesses occurred, but during the course of a

Page 9260

1 military operation and in the context of sporadic

2 intercommunal fighting between the two ethnical

3 communities around that time.

4 JUDGE MAY: Well, I doubt this witness can

5 help very much about that. No doubt, you can call your

6 own evidence in due course.

7 But as far as Bugojno is concerned, going

8 back to the original question, it seems to me that if

9 you just look at the map, it's out of the area with

10 which this witness was concerned, and all he could do,

11 if he did, was to hear about things. I don't think

12 it's going to assist to go into a lot of detail with

13 this particular witness about that.

14 MR. SAYERS: I take your point precisely,

15 Mr. President, and I will move immediately on to

16 another subject.

17 Q. Major, in the area with which you were

18 concerned, one of the areas, the Travnik area, you were

19 aware that there were atrocities committed by Muslim

20 forces in the village of Cuklji and Maljina [phoen] in

21 the second week of June 1993; isn't that true?

22 A. Yes, sir.

23 Q. And in the village of Miletici as well,

24 pretty much contemporaneously with your arrival in your

25 area of operations?

Page 9261

1 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.

2 Q. Isn't it true that members of your battalion

3 actually themselves witnessed some of these awful

4 events where civilians were killed, Croat civilians in

5 the villages I've just mentioned?

6 A. Yes, I believe that was the case, sir.

7 Q. Let me turn to one of the events about which

8 you did testify, the Convoy of Joy.

9 Were you aware, sir, that on the evening

10 before the fighting actually broke out involving the

11 members of the convoy, and I believe that was June the

12 11th, 1993, the night before there had been an incident

13 in which artillery was used in Stari Vitez to fire a

14 round that landed in a playground right next to eight

15 children, and they were blown apart and killed as a

16 result of that shell fire?

17 A. I can't recall the numbers killed, but, yes,

18 that did happen.

19 Q. Would it be fair to say that that incident,

20 along with the incidents of mass exodus from the Croat

21 civilian population in the Travnik area, made the

22 civilians in your area of responsibility absolutely

23 furious?

24 A. Yes. The local population had been expanded

25 by the Croat population from the Travnik area. There

Page 9262

1 was a steady diversity of the two sides, a polarisation

2 of the two sides. A great deal of animosity had been

3 created.

4 Q. This convoy, sir, was a purely private

5 convoy; it was not sponsored by any organisation

6 affiliated with the United Nations, was it?

7 A. No, sir, it was completely unsponsored and

8 unrecognised by the UNHCR.

9 Q. I appreciate that the policy of the British

10 Battalion may have changed as a result of this convoy

11 or the incidents that were connected with it, but it is

12 true, is it not, that prior to June the 11th, 1993, it

13 was not within the mandate of the British Battalion to

14 get involved with purely private convoys such as this

15 one?

16 A. No, sir, it certainly wasn't the policy to

17 directly escort non-governmental organisations or

18 unsponsored convoys or, to that degree, any sponsored

19 or UNHCR ones at that time.

20 Q. We all saw the videotape of the events

21 connected with that convoy, but it is true, is it not,

22 that the drivers of the convoy had been warned that it

23 would be extremely dangerous to drive right through

24 Croat-held territory, especially in the midst of an

25 ABiH offensive immediately to the west?

Page 9263

1 A. Yes, the convoy were explained the dangers

2 that would happen, on a number of occasions, both

3 crossing the border from Croatia and to -- into

4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, again at Gornji Vakuf, where we had

5 entered the BritBat area. So they had a number of

6 warnings.

7 Q. We saw what I believe were Warrior armoured

8 fighting vehicles actually firing rounds apparently

9 into the air on the videotape, but it's true, is it

10 not, that actually two Croat soldiers were killed by

11 your battalion on that day?

12 A. Yes, they were. I think it was the Saturday,

13 midmorning, probably nearer midday, when the soldiers

14 were killed.

15 Q. Did your regiment ever earn the nickname of

16 "ShootBat" in an article authored by a gentleman by

17 the name of Edward Vulliamy from the Guardian

18 newspaper?

19 A. Yes, I believe we had been given that

20 nickname.

21 Q. Let me turn away from that, sir, to the

22 subject that you dealt with involving the killing of

23 Ms. Dobrila Kolaba. This shooting incident was

24 actually the subject of an investigation that was led

25 by then Captain Whitworth, wasn't it?

Page 9264

1 A. I don't know if he actually led it, but he

2 was involved in gathering information, as the Vitez

3 liaison officer, to pass it back and forward to the

4 battalion.

5 Q. Wouldn't it be fair to say that he would be

6 in the best position to know what conclusions would be

7 reached regarding that particular shooting incident,

8 more so than you, because he was involved in the

9 investigation?

10 A. Yes, if he was involved directly in

11 investigation, then he would be.

12 Q. And you would therefore defer to Captain

13 Whitworth regarding the results of the investigation

14 and the conclusions that were reached as a result of

15 it?

16 A. Yes, that's right, although I'm unaware of

17 any conclusion reached.

18 Q. Just one question with respect to the

19 mechanism of aid delivery that you facilitated as the

20 liaison officer. As I understand it, sir, humanitarian

21 aid was not actually delivered straight to the civilian

22 population but was actually delivered to a warehouse

23 controlled by nongovernmental organisations such as,

24 for example, Caritas for the Croats or Merhamet for the

25 Muslims; is that correct?

Page 9265

1 A. That was the general method of distributing

2 aid, yes.

3 Q. Let me turn to another discrete subject, the

4 small town of Kruscica, just to the south of -- or it's

5 actually the southeast of Vitez. It's fair to say that

6 that town is approximately one kilometre away from

7 Vitez?

8 A. Yes sir, that's right.

9 Q. It's also fair to say that you were aware

10 that the civilian population in Kruscice and the

11 military forces headquartered there actually had a

12 supply route up from the south; isn't that the case?

13 A. Yes, sir, it is.

14 Q. So your access was basically barred from the

15 north, but you don't know what aid, if any, was getting

16 in through the road that came up through the -- from

17 the south, rather?

18 A. No, that's right. The track from the south

19 certainly wouldn't be of any use to the large vehicles

20 used by the aid agencies.

21 Q. You, yourself, gained entry to Kruscice on

22 September the 29th; correct?

23 A. Yes, sir.

24 Q. And you found at that time that the 17th

25 Krajina Brigade, under the leadership of commander

Page 9266

1 Fikret Cuskic, had established a presence in the town;

2 correct?

3 A. Yes, sir.

4 Q. In fact, you yourself saw a large map in the

5 office of the 325th Brigade commander, Ramiz Dugalic,

6 with arrows showing the points at which the ABiH forces

7 intended to sever the Vitez/Busovaca pocket, didn't

8 you?

9 A. Yes, I did, sir.

10 Q. Turning now to Stari Vitez, sir, in Stari

11 Vitez, it's true that there were combatants mixed in

12 with noncombatants; isn't that right?

13 A. Yes, sir, there were.

14 Q. There was a unit of the 325th Mountain

15 Brigade in Stari Vitez under the command of Sefkija

16 Dzidic; right?

17 A. Yes, sir, that's right.

18 Q. You also gave some testimony, Major,

19 concerning the fighting in Stari Vitez and your view of

20 it as a gradual process of attrition designed to wear

21 down the will of the opposing forces. Isn't that the

22 objective of every siege that has ever been embarked

23 upon since the dawn of time?

24 A. Certainly the aim appeared to be containment

25 and general wearing down of their military capability,

Page 9267

1 but never to any real conclusion.

2 Q. Didn't the ABiH forces surrounding the

3 Vitez/Busovaca pocket have precisely the same

4 objective?

5 A. Yes, it would appear so.

6 Q. It's true, is it not, that in your

7 discussions with commander Dzidic in Stari Vitez, he

8 had actually told you that the residents of Stari Vitez

9 had made their own decision to stay and fight to

10 protect their own homes rather than leave that part of

11 the town?

12 A. I was generally not too -- too concerned with

13 the military aspects of what was happening within Stari

14 Vitez. My main concern was the humanitarian side. But

15 I was given the impression that people wished to stay,

16 as they tended to say they had nowhere else to go.

17 Q. Very well. You also testified about linkage

18 demands made by both sides concerning the provision of

19 humanitarian aid. That was a general tactic that was

20 actually used by both sides, wasn't it, not just by the

21 HVO?

22 A. Yes, it was widespread and very common.

23 Q. In fact, you perceived that the local

24 commanders on both sides, both the Muslim side and the

25 Croat side, routinely used their own injured persons as

Page 9268

1 pawns to obtain military concessions; right?

2 A. Certainly it happened in Nova Bila, yes.

3 Q. But it happened on both sides; isn't that

4 correct?

5 A. From my personal experience, I can only say

6 that it happened in -- to me, personally -- on an

7 evacuation from Nova Bila. It could well have been

8 used by both sides. I'm sure it was.

9 Q. On page 5 of your April 1997 statement, you

10 said that the local commanders of both sides would use

11 their own injured and starving as pawns in their

12 military games. You wouldn't disagree with that now,

13 today, would you?

14 A. As widespread across the Lasva Valley, yes.

15 Q. Do you remember one incident in August of

16 1993 when you visited a morgue in Zenica in an attempt

17 to locate the body of a 7-year-old Croat boy who had

18 been killed and that you undertook this effort at the

19 request of his parents?

20 A. Yes, that's correct, sir, Marko Bralo.

21 Q. When you went to the mortuary, you found

22 bodies laid out, covered very respectfully with white

23 sheets, but were told that all of those bodies were

24 Muslims; correct?

25 A. Yes, sir, that's right.

Page 9269

1 Q. You were also informed that there was a

2 separate mortuary for Croats located in a different

3 building; right?

4 A. Yes, sir.

5 Q. I'm sorry to raise these memories again,

6 Major, but you were absolutely appalled by what you saw

7 when you went to visit that building, weren't you?

8 A. Yes, sir, I was.

9 Q. And you were told to help yourself; correct?

10 A. Yes, I was.

11 Q. Actually bodies had been thrown into that

12 room in a random fashion, one on top of another;

13 correct?

14 A. Yes, sir. I would say there were

15 approximately 30, 35 bodies, naked and stacked one on

16 top of each other, in various states of decay, in a

17 non-refrigerated room.

18 Q. And that resulted in a complaint to the ICRC

19 by you, didn't it?

20 A. It did indeed, sir.

21 Q. On the subject of the Nova Bila hospital

22 about which you testified yesterday, that was one of

23 two Croat medical facilities in the Lasva Valley; is

24 that right?

25 A. Yes, sir.

Page 9270

1 Q. The Nova Bila hospital specifically was what

2 you referred to as a battle trauma hospital that had

3 about 120 makeshift beds that had been -- that resulted

4 from pushing pews in a church together; correct?

5 A. Yes, sir. There were makeshift, and they

6 would utilise the pews to maximise the space, the bed

7 space that they could get.

8 Q. And that facility had the ability to

9 accommodate about 120 seriously wounded people; right?

10 A. Yes, sir. That was the approximate figure I

11 was given by the administrators in the hospital.

12 Q. And, unfortunately, the facility was usually

13 full, in your experience, wasn't it?

14 A. Yes, sir, unfortunately, it was.

15 Q. In the hospital, you came across people

16 suffering from precisely the same kind of gunshot

17 wounds and battle-trauma wounds that you saw amongst

18 the people in Stari Vitez; isn't that correct?

19 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.

20 Q. Including women and children?

21 A. Yes, sir.

22 Q. And these traumatic injuries were caused by

23 gunfire or shellfire aimed at Croat-held positions by

24 ABiH forces; isn't that correct?

25 A. Yes, that was the conclusion I came to.

Page 9271

1 Q. You found the surgical facilities, or your

2 medical colleagues in your battalion found the surgical

3 facilities very rudimentary and were actually rather

4 appalled by the primitive conditions that confronted

5 you there; isn't that right?

6 A. Yes, sir. I took the commanding officer of

7 the mobile surgical team up there to see if he could

8 assist, and that was his general impression.

9 Q. When you visited there, you actually found

10 operations being performed in the basement, as well as

11 in the side rooms, in these primitive conditions that

12 you've talked about; right?

13 A. Yes, sir, that's right.

14 Q. Two other -- or two final questions in this

15 regard. You did attempt to evacuate 55 wounded people

16 from the Nova Bila hospital to Kiseljak with the

17 ultimate aim of putting them into helicopters so that

18 they could be flown to obtain emergency medical

19 treatment; correct?

20 A. Yes, sir. We undertook a number of these, I

21 can't remember the exact number, how many times we did

22 it; three or four, maybe, approximately. It was always

23 50-or-so people each time.

24 Q. These are people who were extremely seriously

25 ill?

Page 9272

1 A. Yes, sir. The criteria was they couldn't

2 receive the medical attention they required in Nova

3 Bila, and it was either life-threatening or permanently

4 damaging.

5 Q. The evacuation of these people was actually

6 held up by the ABiH side as they tried to negotiate for

7 collateral concessions in other areas; isn't that

8 right?

9 A. The evacuations were held up on numerous

10 occasions, and that was one of the excuses that was

11 given, yes, sir.

12 Q. Isn't it true that the battle trauma hospital

13 was marked with big red crosses?

14 A. I can remember one large red cross. I can't

15 remember exactly how many there were, but I do

16 distinctly remember one.

17 Q. And notwithstanding that red cross, and

18 notwithstanding the fact that the facility was in a

19 church, it nonetheless came under ABiH artillery fire

20 in September of 1993, and you were actually in the

21 facility when it was hit three times by shells;

22 correct?

23 A. Yes, sir, I was.

24 Q. It blew out all of the windows and actually

25 killed two people; isn't that correct?

Page 9273

1 A. It certainly blew the windows out. As to if

2 people were killed there, right now -- I can't remember

3 now.

4 Q. On the subject of ABiH artillery assets, we

5 have many milinfosums that we can go through, but I

6 don't think that it's necessary, Major, because there

7 is no question that artillery fire was regularly

8 targeted at Vitez and at the Croat enclave by ABiH

9 artillery; isn't that correct?

10 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.

11 Q. In connection with the artillery fire aimed

12 into the town of Vitez, you had absolutely no idea what

13 the targets were, do you?

14 A. From -- personally, me, no, I could not say

15 what they were going for.

16 Q. Turning to the Grbavica assault on the 8th of

17 September, isn't it true that your colleagues made the

18 training film comment, because they actually saw

19 standard FIBUA -- Fighting In Built-Up Areas --

20 techniques employed in the effective assault of that

21 feature?

22 A. Yes, sir. I think the comment arose because

23 it -- from a professional soldier's point of view, it

24 was a professional military operation.

25 Q. Right. There's no question, given the fact

Page 9274

1 that the Grbavica feature and the village buildings

2 were used as concealment spots for sniper fire, there's

3 no doubt in your mind that that was a legitimate

4 military target, is there?

5 A. To clear military out of an area, then

6 obviously you have to go into wherever they are.

7 JUDGE MAY: Major, the question was put in a

8 very tendentious way, so perhaps you would like to

9 think about it. What was suggested was that you had no

10 doubt in your mind; well, that's for you to say. But

11 the question really was, was Grbavica a genuine

12 military target? Can you help on that?

13 A. From a professional point of view, to secure

14 access across the road so it was not overlooked by an

15 opposing force, then yes, it would be a military

16 objective to take enemy off that hill.

17 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President. I did

18 not mean to put the question in a tendentious way, but

19 looking at it on the computer, it certainly appears

20 that way. Thank you very much for clearing that up.

21 Q. You mentioned an exclusion zone around the

22 BritBat compound at Stari Bila. That was a 500-metre

23 circular exclusion zone in which no fighting at all was

24 supposed to occur; is that right?

25 A. I can't remember whether it was four or five

Page 9275

1 hundred metres. An agreement I believe was reached

2 with the commanding officer and the local military

3 forces that the two sides should not engage in sniper

4 activities at each other because to do so, they had to

5 shoot over the top of our camp, and we were taking

6 minor casualties because of the fall of shot, so we

7 tried to have an exclusion zone where no sniping would

8 take place. It was generally observed.

9 Q. All right. Let me turn to one of the final

10 subjects that I would like to cover, and that is the

11 visit that you made to the village of Stupni Do at the

12 end of October 1993. Is it not the case that Stupni Do

13 was actually in the area of responsibility of NordBat,

14 the Scandinavian battalion?

15 A. At this time, the Norwegian battalion were

16 starting to take over the responsibility for that

17 area. They arrived two or three weeks beforehand, I

18 think, sir.

19 Q. Were you aware from your briefings by the

20 military intelligence cell at your battalion, sir, that

21 there had been some significant fighting in the Stupni

22 Do area immediately before the assault on Stupni Do

23 that occurred on October the 23rd, 1993?

24 A. We had been briefed that fighting was in that

25 area, but I can't remember specifics at that particular

Page 9276

1 time, no. But fighting was certainly going on.

2 Q. I would just like to see if I can jog your

3 memory with a milinfosum prepared by your regiment on

4 the 22nd of October, 1993, milinfosum number 177.

5 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked

6 D123/1.


8 Q. The passage of this to which I would like to

9 draw your attention is a short one on page 2, sir,

10 right up at the top, concerning a conversation between

11 General Merdan and one of your colleagues.

12 Were you aware that an attack on Kopljari was

13 undertaken as a punitive action and did not supposedly

14 presage a more general attack on the town of Vares

15 itself? Does this jog your memory at all?

16 A. No, sir, I'm afraid it doesn't, sir, no.

17 Q. No problem. Were you aware that actually a

18 more general attack was launched on Vares by the ABiH

19 in the first two days of November of 1993?

20 A. I can recall that there was fighting in that

21 area, around that area, but as to specifics, sir, I

22 can't recall.

23 Q. Were you ever instructed or informed by

24 anyone on the ABiH side or otherwise that evacuation

25 instructions had, in fact, been issued just two days

Page 9277

1 before the military action at Stupni Do on the 23rd of

2 October, 1993, and that those instructions had been

3 issued by the president of the war presidency in exile

4 immediately to the south, the Muslim authorities, and

5 specifically by Mrs. Mervana Hadzimotezic [phoen]?

6 A. There was certainly talk that a withdrawal

7 had been discussed, but I can't recall by who or to

8 who.

9 Q. Would you agree, sir, that if military units

10 are given advance notice of an impending assault and

11 that the object of that assault contains a significant

12 civilian population, it is their duty to make sure that

13 the civilians are evacuated so that they aren't hurt?

14 A. It could depend on a lot of factors, and I

15 don't think I could really comment on that.

16 Q. In response to one of the Judges' questions,

17 you testified, I believe, that it looked to you as if

18 one of the three ladies in the basement identified in

19 the photographs that you covered had had her throat

20 cut, but I'd just like to put it to you, isn't it true

21 that she actually received a 7,62-millimetre round in

22 her neck and that the blood had run down her neck to

23 make it look as if the throat had been cut?

24 A. It could well have been, sir. Obviously, the

25 light was very poor, we were using torches, we weren't

Page 9278

1 allowed to move the bodies, but that was my general

2 observation at the time. If that's what's been found,

3 then I don't object to it.

4 Q. Very well. Finally, sir, isn't it true that

5 you never actually met Dario Kordic?

6 A. That's correct, sir.

7 Q. And you yourself don't have any specific

8 factual knowledge of what kind of political influence

9 or power, if any, he had in the Lasva Valley generally

10 or in Busovaca specifically; isn't that true?

11 A. That's correct, not personally, no, sir.

12 MR. SAYERS: Major, thank you very much

13 indeed. I don't have any further questions.

14 Thank you, Mr. President.

15 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, excuse me. Before

16 Mr. Sayers concludes his examination, I did want to

17 interrupt some minutes ago, but I would ask Mr. Sayers

18 to put to the witness the conclusions of Mr. Whitworth

19 concerning the shooting of the interpreter, because I

20 think there's perhaps either a -- well, let's assume

21 good-faith confusion on the issue between.

22 Mr. Whitworth testified there was an HVO commission

23 which said that an ABiH soldier had run into an HVO

24 position, fired the shot, and ran back across the

25 confrontation line, which Mr. Whitworth said was within

Page 9279

1 the realm of impossibility that that would have

2 happened. Once again, the question was put to this

3 witness without showing the document or putting the

4 conclusions in front of him, and I would ask either

5 Mr. Sayers to provide that document to him or provide

6 it to us so that we can redirect on it.

7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I hadn't understood that

8 myself. Were you referring to a document? I thought

9 you were referring to Mr. Whitworth's evidence.

10 MR. SAYERS: That's precisely what I was

11 referring to, Your Honour.

12 MR. SCOTT: Then how can this witness --

13 JUDGE MAY: If you want to re-examine about

14 it, Mr. Scott, you can.

15 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour.

16 MR. SAYERS: And if the Court wants, I can

17 address the point that was made by the Prosecution.


19 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.

20 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic.

21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you,

22 Your Honour.

23 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

24 Q. Good morning, Major Bower. My name is Goran

25 Mikulicic. Together with my colleague, Mr. Kovacic, I

Page 9280

1 act as Defence counsel for Mr. Mario Cerkez.

2 Major Bower, at the very outset I should like

3 to ask you about the following: You said in your

4 statement that you met Mr. Cerkez on several

5 occasions. Can you describe the circumstances to us?

6 When and where did this happen, approximately?

7 A. Yes. The meetings were not arranged, they

8 were normally -- because I would be looking for either

9 Captain Whitworth or meeting a humanitarian aid person

10 and would be in the same location as Mr. Cerkez, and

11 that was the sum extent of the meetings. It was the

12 same time, same place, no prearranged meetings.

13 Q. Do you know who Mr. Cerkez's liaison officer

14 was at that time? Did you talk to that person?

15 A. The only liaison officer which I spoke to in

16 that area was Darko Gelic, sir, which I believe is the

17 Hotel Vitez liaison officer.

18 Q. So that was Mr. Blaskic's liaison officer;

19 right?

20 A. That's correct.

21 Q. Major Bower, do you know how the Vitez

22 Brigade was set up, the one that was headed by

23 Mr. Cerkez?

24 A. Not in detail, no.

25 Q. Are you aware of the other units that were

Page 9281

1 operating in the town and municipality of Vitez at the

2 time when you were there, in addition to the Vitez

3 Brigade, that is?

4 A. These are purely HVO forces?

5 Q. Yes. Yes, I'm referring to the HVO forces.

6 A. No, I was not aware of individual subunits

7 within that area. It was not really my concern.

8 Q. You mentioned earlier in your testimony that

9 you also encountered HOS units. Is it correct that you

10 could have seen these units throughout the Lasva River

11 Valley?

12 A. Yes, sir, that is correct. I did see them

13 throughout the Lasva Valley.

14 Q. Is it correct that you saw them in Vitez

15 itself?

16 A. Yes, sir.

17 Q. You mentioned earlier on in your testimony

18 that these units were well equipped, that they had good

19 weapons, and that in this way they differed from the

20 usual recruits of the HVO; is that correct?

21 A. Yes, sir, that's an accurate summary.

22 Q. You also mentioned that they drove western

23 cars; in addition to others, Volkswagen Golfs. Is that

24 right?

25 A. Yes, sir, that is one car which particularly

Page 9282

1 sticks in my mind about this particular unit.

2 Q. Major Bower, are you aware of the fact that

3 this vehicle, the VW Golf, was manufactured in

4 Sarajevo, only about 40 kilometres away from the area

5 that you were in?

6 A. No, sir, I was unaware of that.

7 Q. Let us move on to a different subject.

8 You mentioned, Major Bower, that on one

9 occasion you saw a HIP helicopter. Is it correct that

10 this was a white helicopter?

11 A. Yes, sir, I believe it was.

12 Q. Did you see any insignia in terms of its

13 military affiliation on it?

14 A. No, sir, I couldn't tell.

15 Q. Major Bower, do you recall that at that time

16 above all of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there was a no-fly

17 zone that was carried out by the International

18 Community?

19 A. That's correct, I was aware that there was a

20 no-fly zone trying to be imposed.

21 Q. Do you know that at that time, helicopter

22 flights called medevac were being carried out and they

23 had to be reported to UNPROFOR? This referred to

24 medical evacuations.

25 A. I'm unaware of that, but it would seem

Page 9283

1 reasonable.

2 Q. When we are mentioning the provision of

3 medical supplies, and that is what you were involved

4 in, you negotiated, for the largest part, with

5 Mr. Santic, the mayor of Vitez about this. He was a

6 representative of the civilian authorities, wasn't he?

7 A. Mr. Santic was a member of the civilian

8 authorities, but I only was involved in trying to get

9 aid through Gacice. I didn't speak to him about

10 getting aid into Stari Vitez.

11 Q. In addition to Mr. Santic, you talked to

12 Gelic, Mr. Blaskic's liaison officer whom we mentioned

13 earlier on; is that correct?

14 A. That is correct, sir.

15 Q. So your contacts on the provision of medical

16 assistance actually took place only in the Hotel Vitez,

17 where Mr. Blaskic's headquarters was; is that right?

18 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.

19 Q. Major Bower, you know that Mr. Cerkez's

20 headquarters was at the Vitez cinema?

21 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.

22 Q. Did you ever seek any kind of permit related

23 to your work, in terms of providing medical supplies,

24 in that particular building?

25 A. No, sir, I did not.

Page 9284

1 Q. Major Bower, a few minutes ago you talked to

2 my colleague Mr. Sayers about Kruscica and the

3 provision of medical assistance to Kruscica.

4 I would like to ask the usher to show Z2624

5 that was tendered yesterday. That's a map where you

6 marked the village of Kruscica, so I have a few

7 questions in that respect.

8 Major, you marked the village of Kruscica

9 with the number "4", didn't you?

10 A. Yes, sir, I did.

11 Q. Please, could you show us on the map the road

12 that you used for providing medical aid, bringing it

13 into Kruscica?

14 A. Yes. I would say it was either this one here

15 [indicates] or the one to the east, and I can't

16 honestly remember at this time now. It was one of the

17 two roads going south.

18 Q. If I saw it right on the screen, you showed

19 the eastern road leading to Kruscica. Right?

20 A. These two roads here [indicates]. I can't

21 remember now, after some seven years, which of the

22 roads it was. Obviously, just going off this

23 small-scale map now, it was one of those roads to

24 enter. I can't remember which one, I'm afraid.

25 Q. Does that mean that you always used one of

Page 9285

1 these two roads?

2 A. At the time, sir, there was only one road

3 available to enter Kruscica. I can't remember which of

4 those two roads it was, but it was always the same road

5 to try and enter Kruscica.

6 Q. Do you remember, Major Bower, why it was not

7 possible to enter Kruscica on the other road, because

8 it is obvious from the map that you can get into

9 Kruscica by taking two roads that are of the same

10 category, at least according to the markings on the

11 map. What was the reason why you could not take the

12 other road to Kruscica? Rather, why did you not use

13 the other road to get to Kruscica?

14 A. From what I can remember, one road was either

15 blocked, unsuitable, or unsafe. There was only one

16 road, otherwise obviously we would have used and

17 utilised whatever method we could. But there was only

18 one method of gaining entry into Kruscica, but I can't

19 honestly remember the reason now.

20 Q. Can you remember that there was a line of

21 delineation along this road between the HVO and the BH

22 army, and that practically went down the road?

23 A. I cannot remember at this moment in time now,

24 I'm sorry. It's just too far away.

25 Q. Thank you, Major. I won't bother you any

Page 9286

1 longer. I won't try to jog your memory endlessly.

2 Yesterday, you spoke about what you called

3 discriminatory artillery fire, and today you agreed

4 that this kind of fire actually prevailed in the Lasva

5 River Valley, notably in Vitez, from both sides, from

6 both armies, from both parties to the conflict. I'm

7 going to ask you about an incident that was referred to

8 just a while ago and you said that you remembered, when

9 at the school playground in Vitez, on the 10th of June,

10 ten children were killed by such discriminatory fire.

11 Major Bower, I carefully looked at all the milinfosums

12 and ECMM reports, but this event was not described

13 anywhere. Do you have any comment with regard to that?

14 A. I didn't produce the military information

15 summaries. We did not, as a matter of course, from

16 what I recall, log every single incident which resulted

17 in casualties. Obviously, the military information

18 summaries would just be too big to deal with.

19 I remember an incident where children were

20 killed or injured and around a play area. The exact

21 date, I can't recall, but I know that an incident like

22 that occurred.

23 Q. I shall remind you, Major Bower, that at that

24 time in June, there was also an incident that occurred

25 with the Convoy of Joy. You mentioned to us that this

Page 9287

1 convoy had been stopped at the so-called T-crossroads

2 by Novi Travnik. Is that correct?

3 A. I cannot recall exactly where it was stopped

4 at each time throughout the Lasva Valley, but it tended

5 to be at major crossroads on its route through the

6 Lasva Valley.

7 Q. Major, I was referring to the most important

8 incident that occurred when there was shooting and when

9 people were actually shot. Will you agree with me that

10 that was at the T-crossroads by Novi Travnik?

11 A. Yes, sir, that specific incident did happen

12 at that point.

13 Q. So that is outside the municipality of Vitez,

14 it is in the territory of the municipality of Novi

15 Travnik; right?

16 JUDGE MAY: Do you remember that?

17 A. The actual municipality or brigade boundaries

18 again weren't particularly my concern.

19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic. It's 11.00.

20 Would that be a convenient time?

21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Yes, thank

22 you, Your Honour.

23 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn now for

24 half an hour.

25 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.

Page 9288

1 --- On resuming at 11.33 a.m.

2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.

3 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, Major Bower,

4 several additional questions.

5 Q. I believe that on the map which we had been

6 talking about -- it's still on the ELMO; this is

7 Exhibit 2624 -- Major, you marked on this map the

8 location of Grbavica as number 6. In your testimony

9 you said that you personally observed the combat

10 operation in the Grbavica area from the vantage point

11 of your base in Bila; is that correct?

12 A. I observed the start and some of the period

13 of fighting, but not the whole battle. As you can

14 appreciate, there were times when obviously we had to

15 take cover, and obviously only what I could see from

16 the base itself, so the forward-facing slope of the

17 houses and the ground.

18 Q. Major, the hill and the houses you just

19 mentioned were part of the village of Stara Bila; isn't

20 that correct, and that was marked with a circle above

21 the number 6; is that correct?

22 A. Yes, that's correct, sir.

23 Q. Major, this location is due north from the

24 secondary road leading to the town of Vitez which has

25 also been marked on the map; is that correct?

Page 9289

1 A. Yes, it's northwest of Vitez.

2 Q. Another location, which is to the southeast

3 of that road, is named Divjak. Can you see it on the

4 map?

5 A. Yes, I can, sir.

6 Q. Major, it is not in dispute that these are

7 two separate locations which are about two kilometres

8 from each other; is that correct?

9 A. Are we talking Divjak to Vitez, or Divjak to

10 Grbavica?

11 Q. We're talking Divjak and Grbavica.

12 A. I would say under two kilometres, but yes,

13 1,500 metres or so.

14 Q. Thank you. Major, you spent a fair amount of

15 time in Vitez and in the municipality of Vitez. Do you

16 know whether, during the conflict which took place in

17 this area, about 700 citizens of Croatian nationality

18 were killed and an additional 800 wounded throughout

19 this period of hostilities? Are you familiar with

20 these numbers?

21 A. No, sir, I'm not familiar with exact numbers

22 of casualties, alive or dead.

23 Q. Thank you, Major.

24 MR. MIKULICIC: I have no further questions.

25 MR. SCOTT: May I proceed, Your Honour?

Page 9290

1 Re-examined by Mr. Scott:

2 Q. Major, let's start with the last questions.

3 Looking at Exhibit 2624, I just want to be very careful

4 about this. Looking at the area generally around

5 number 6, the British Battalion camp was in Stari Bila;

6 is that correct?

7 A. Yes, sir, that is correct.

8 Q. And that's, in fact, what's reflected by, if

9 you will, the smaller circle above the handwriting

10 "Grbavica"; isn't that correct?

11 A. Yes, sir, that's the approximate location of

12 where I think the camp was.

13 Q. So not the village that was being attacked,

14 but, in fact, the camp, the British Battalion camp

15 itself; correct?

16 A. Yes, but --

17 Q. If you look, in fact, on this --

18 A. -- they were almost one and the same. They

19 were very close to one another. Certainly the houses

20 in Stari Bila which were attacked, yes.

21 Q. Exactly. If you're looking to the southwest

22 from the British Battalion camp, you're looking at a

23 forward-facing slope that would run along, if you

24 would, the spine -- roughly along this oblong shape

25 that you've put on the map; is that correct? At least

Page 9291

1 in part?

2 A. Yes, you could see some of the houses, but

3 obviously the majority of the actual village was on the

4 other side of the hill, which wasn't able to be seen

5 from the camp itself.

6 Q. All right. But the fighting that you've

7 described to us, albeit immediately -- even outside the

8 boundaries, and they even came into your house, you

9 testified yesterday -- was in that southwesterly

10 direction from the camp overall?

11 A. Yes, it was.

12 Q. Now, and to be clear, in reference to counsel

13 for Mr. Cerkez's questions, the name "Divjak," you see

14 that on the map; correct?

15 A. Yes, I do, sir.

16 Q. Do you see anywhere on this map, in that

17 particular locale, the name "Grbavica"?

18 A. Only that's been handwritten in.

19 Q. All right. Did you have occasion during your

20 tour in Bosnia, sir, to find that there were areas that

21 sometimes had more than one reference, or there might

22 be subparts of a broader populated area?

23 A. Certainly there were places where they were

24 referred to differently depending on which ethnic group

25 you spoke to.

Page 9292

1 Q. Concerning the lines of authority to gain

2 access to such places as Stari Vitez, sir, you did not

3 find that confusing, did you? You knew to go to Hotel

4 Vitez?

5 A. Yes, sir, that's right.

6 Q. Concerning counsel's questions whether you

7 were ever asked in your prior statements or testimony

8 about Mr. Kordic, when you were interviewed in April of

9 1997, do you even know if Mr. Kordic was in custody at

10 that time or not?

11 A. No, sir, I had no idea, in April of 1997, as

12 to what the state of anything which was happening with

13 our tour in Bosnia.

14 Q. You mentioned in connection with the victim

15 and a doctor being, in Mr. Sayers' term, being smuggled

16 out of Stari Vitez. Assuming that's a fair

17 characterisation, why did you find it necessary to,

18 quote, "smuggle" someone out of Stari Vitez?

19 A. In that particular incident, we had been

20 expressly told that no one was to enter or leave Stari

21 Vitez. The doctor had told me that this man -- I think

22 he was 50, 55 years old -- would die if he didn't get

23 to Zenica hospital. I tried to get the ICRC or UNHCR

24 involved. They refused because of the situation at the

25 time. I had to make a decision at that time on the

Page 9293

1 ground. The doctor agreed to accompany the casualty in

2 the back of the vehicle. It was the only thing that I

3 could do to try and save a life. Unfortunately, the

4 man died sometime later in Zenica hospital.

5 Q. Concerning the HIP helicopter, in the nightly

6 briefings that you've testified about, do you recall

7 any incident or any time when there was discussion that

8 helicopter flights into the Lasva Valley had been

9 cleared by UNPROFOR?

10 A. I personally can't recall whether there were

11 or weren't.

12 Q. But the information available to you was that

13 this helicopter was landing in a HVO-controlled area,

14 and Mr. Dalic [sic] had made comments to you about it

15 bringing in supplies?

16 A. It had been reported to us that -- I think it

17 was by Darko Gelic --

18 Q. "Gelic"; excuse me.

19 A. -- that it had brought in some -- I think it

20 was special equipment, or equipment.

21 Q. Concerning access to Kruscica, sir, whether

22 or not there may have been some other road from the

23 south, is it nonetheless the case that you were

24 repeatedly obstructed by the HVO from coming into the

25 village of Kruscica?

Page 9294

1 A. Yes, that's correct. It wasn't practical to

2 try and attempt from the south; to do so, we'd have

3 probably had to go to Gornji Vakuf and try and enter

4 that far south. It would have taken hours, over a road

5 which was unproven, not tarmacked. It was just -- it

6 was not practical.

7 Q. The visit by the mayor of Vitez, Mr. Santic,

8 to the roadblock at Kruscica, is it correct, sir, that

9 Mr. Santic came there for something approximating 20

10 minutes, perhaps a half hour?

11 A. Maybe a little longer. No more than an

12 hour.

13 Q. Do you have any information, in fact, or an

14 assessment of whether Mr. Santic, in fact, himself had

15 any real desire to accommodate or accomplish your

16 access into Kruscica?

17 A. There was an attempt made, but it waned very

18 early on. To me, it appeared he was going through the

19 motions of being seen to attempt to do something.

20 Q. What was your assessment of Mr. Santic, in

21 terms of your working with him, about his basic

22 attitudes towards assisting you and the humanitarian

23 organisations?

24 A. It certainly wasn't a diligent approach.

25 Generally, it would always result in wanting something

Page 9295

1 in return for whatever we wanted to do. There was

2 always a quid pro quo about it.

3 Q. Let me be blunt: Was Mr. Santic someone that

4 you enjoyed dealing with?

5 A. Not particularly, no, sir.

6 Q. And why was that?

7 A. I felt that I couldn't trust him, and that I

8 wouldn't get the assistance that I needed for

9 humanitarian mission, what I was trying do.

10 Q. The Convoy of Joy, the drivers had been

11 warned that it was a possibly -- quite likely, perhaps

12 -- a dangerous situation. Did you have an

13 understanding that this relief convoy was intended for

14 Tuzla?

15 A. Yes, we had been briefed on it as soon as it

16 started to form up in Croatia, and its intended

17 destination. It was obviously of great importance to

18 us, so we kept up to date on it throughout the days,

19 and certainly we knew that they had been briefed not to

20 enter, and its ultimate destination and its

21 composition, number of vehicles.

22 Q. Did you recall sir, that the humanitarian

23 situation in Tuzla at that time was severe?

24 A. Yes, at that particular time, there was a

25 subunit of our battalion based in Tuzla, with a liaison

Page 9296

1 officer, which reported back daily as to the situation

2 from the UNHCR.

3 Q. In short, sir, these drivers, although

4 warned, persisted in trying to get humanitarian aid to

5 Tuzla, and many of them paid with their lives?

6 A. Yes, the persistence was there, and a number

7 did die.

8 Q. Were you aware of any conclusions that your

9 colleague, Mr. Whitworth, came to concerning the murder

10 of your interpreter?

11 A. Personal conclusions, or conclusions of a

12 formed body?

13 Q. Any conclusions that he came to or discussed

14 with you.

15 A. There was general discussion amongst the

16 liaison officers as to what could have happened. It

17 was believed it had come from an HVO position. But a

18 formed opinion, I am unaware of any result of any --

19 any formed body.

20 Q. Were you ever aware -- sorry, Your Honour,

21 I'm trying to wait for the translation.

22 Did it ever come to your attention that some

23 HVO group or commission had concluded that your

24 interpreter had been shot by a member of the ABiH

25 forces who had crossed the confrontation line, entered

Page 9297

1 into a house otherwise under HVO control, fired the

2 shot that killed your interpreter, left the house, went

3 back across the confrontation line, all without being

4 otherwise detected or harmed? Was that proposition

5 ever put to you, or did you hear about it?

6 A. I can't recall hearing in that explicit

7 detail. I had heard a number of -- through a number of

8 discussions with other military liaison officers what

9 the various permutations of the incident were, but I'm

10 unaware up until today of any formed opinion as to what

11 actually happened at that time.

12 Q. Would you agree with Mr. Whitworth's

13 assessment that that explanation is within the realm of

14 the impossible?

15 MR. SAYERS: Objection --

16 JUDGE MAY: I agree. I don't think it's very

17 helpful. Let's move on.

18 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour.

19 Q. Directing your attention to Exhibit 2624, the

20 map, please, the reference to area 1, at the time --

21 I'm sorry.

22 At the time you marked that on the map, the

23 circle and number 1, did you have any contemporaneous

24 documents or other maps or sketches of the area

25 available to you in trying to determine this location?

Page 9298

1 A. No, sir, I didn't.

2 Q. At the time you were stopped by these troops

3 west of Busovaca, did you at that time attempt to make

4 a precise record of your location at the time that

5 these soldiers were threatening to kill you?

6 A. On return to the BritBat location, I would

7 have mentioned it to the military information officer

8 where I was, the general area. But I have no personal

9 record of exactly where I was.

10 Q. But is it fair to say, Major, that this large

11 area marked as number 1 is more or less a general

12 approximation simply indicating an area in the

13 mountains west of Busovaca?

14 A. Yes, that's correct. It's a general area

15 where I think I was at that time.

16 Q. In contrast, for instance, to your rather

17 more precise markings concerning number 2 and number 3?

18 A. That is correct.

19 Q. There have been several references to FIBUA,

20 fighting in built-up areas. Are you familiar with that

21 military doctrine?

22 A. Yes, I am, sir.

23 Q. Is it part of the accepted military practice

24 or part of that doctrine that fighting in built-up

25 areas allows the deliberate targeting and killing of

Page 9299

1 civilians?

2 A. For -- for our army, for my army, no, the

3 Geneva Convention rules have to apply.

4 Q. Sir, what you repeatedly saw happening in

5 Stari Vitez in terms of the victims that you were

6 taking out, is it fair to say that what you saw and

7 encountered was the deliberate targeting of civilians

8 in a number of instances?

9 A. Yes, sir, I would say it was indiscriminate

10 over a protracted period of time, resulting in the

11 death and injury of civilians.

12 Q. Apart from the sniper fire, the other weapon

13 that we talked about in terms of these

14 fire-extinguisher bombs, did you find that again to be

15 a weapon that was used indiscriminately against the

16 civilian population?

17 A. Yes, sir, it was indiscriminate.

18 Q. The attack on Grbavica, when you commented

19 this was a professional military operation, sir, were

20 you commenting on the manner of its execution, or the

21 way that the civilians in that town were treated?

22 A. It was a comment on the overall tactical

23 plan, how the fighting started and how it progressed at

24 the lowest level, seeing the soldiers in combat. It

25 was a professional observation.

Page 9300

1 Q. Again, in terms of the manner in which the

2 troops were disposed, the disposition of forces, the

3 way they advanced, the way they conducted themselves?

4 A. From what I saw, sir, yes, that's correct.

5 Q. Is it correct, sir, that again, fighting in a

6 built-up area does not include the cleansing of Muslim

7 civilians out of their homes?

8 A. Certainly in the small area which we could

9 observe and had some limited control of, we were able

10 to gather the Muslim population together and evacuate

11 them. We did that because we feared that they would be

12 resultant casualties if we didn't.

13 Q. In fact what you saw was that the Muslim

14 houses were burned, destroyed?

15 JUDGE MAY: Well, this is all leading.

16 Mr. Scott, I must remind you you are reexamining. You

17 have been going for more than a quarter of an hour, and

18 it is time to let the witness go.

19 MR. SCOTT: I will conclude, Your Honour.

20 JUDGE MAY: Very well.


22 Q. You recall, sir, just to conclude with this,

23 that after this attack on Grbavica, the Muslim houses

24 were looted and Bosnian Croat families were moved into

25 those houses, the ones that survived?

Page 9301

1 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.

2 MR. SCOTT: No further questions.

3 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

4 Major, thank you for coming to the

5 International Tribunal to give your evidence. It's now

6 concluded and you are released.

7 [The witness withdrew]

8 MR. NICE: So far as I know, the next witness

9 is outside and the usher will bring him in, but I

10 haven't been able to go outside and check since the

11 break. Ms. Somers will be taking the next witness.

12 There will be a change of counsel.

13 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, may it please the

14 Court, two minor things.

15 First, there was some insinuation that the

16 use of a word that I used in cross-examination was

17 somehow improper, the word "smuggle". That actually

18 came --

19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, you needn't trouble

20 about this. I mean if there were allegations of

21 impropriety, we would take them seriously. Mere

22 forensic hyperbole we take no notice of.

23 MR. SAYERS: Very good, Your Honour.

24 Secondly, with respect to this witness, Major

25 or ex-Major Buffini, we've just been given a copy of

Page 9302

1 his proposed -- the outline of his proposed testimony.

2 I would like to draw the Court's attention to page 6,

3 paragraph 31. It appears that we have yet another

4 witness who is going to give some testimony about the

5 Convoy of Joy, once again a subject that has been

6 repeatedly covered and is not covered in the amended

7 indictment, and so at this point I think we would like

8 to make a formal application, if we may, to preclude

9 any further evidence on this subject. It's simply not

10 relevant. Thank you.

11 JUDGE MAY: Well, we'll deal with it when we

12 come to the paragraphs.

13 [The witness entered court]

14 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

15 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will

16 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the

17 truth.


19 JUDGE MAY: If you would like to take a seat,

20 Mr. Buffini.

21 Examined by Ms. Somers:

22 Q. Would you please state your full name and

23 date of birth?

24 A. It's Michael Leslie Buffini, and 18th of

25 November, 1956.

Page 9303

1 Q. Mr. Buffini, are you currently employed?

2 A. Yes, I am.

3 Q. As?

4 A. An investment advisor working in Brussels.

5 Q. Were you employed or were you in some

6 capacity in the former Yugoslavia, and could you please

7 give the time frames?

8 A. I was employed in the former Yugoslavia

9 between the 15th of January of 1993 and the 12th of

10 July of the same year.

11 Q. Prior to your deployment in the former

12 Yugoslavia, had you been in the military, and if so,

13 could you describe your jobs?

14 A. Yes. I joined the Royal Marines in February

15 of 1977 as a recruit, commissioned during training as

16 an officer, and had a series of jobs from 1978 until

17 '88, first of all working in Malta as a troop command,

18 then in Cyprus with the United Nations in Dhekalia and

19 Nicosia, then went back to the United Kingdom, trained

20 as a mortar officer and deployed for four and a half

21 months in Northern Ireland, and then had a series of

22 jobs as recruiting for the Royal Navy, as staff

23 officer, recruitment -- sorry, not a recruiting, a

24 training officer's job at the commando training centre,

25 working as a staff officer in the Falkland Islands, and

Page 9304

1 then working with Commander In Chief Fleet in

2 Northwood, where I was responsible for Royal Marines

3 deployed throughout the globe, mainly working for the

4 navy on board ships responsible for nuclear security

5 and other types of jobs.

6 Q. Did you, during your period in the military,

7 did you leave the military and rejoin, if I understand

8 correctly?

9 A. Yes. In 1988, I left and spent two years

10 working as an investment advisor in Hong Kong, before I

11 was asked to rejoin in 1990 for another five-year

12 period.

13 Q. What assignment were you given when you

14 rejoined in 1990?

15 A. In 1990, I was assigned a job as the training

16 of systems team in the Royal Marines pool, so another

17 staff officer's job.

18 Q. Can you describe the period of deployment

19 when you went from the U.K. and your arrival in the

20 former Yugoslavia?

21 A. In December of '92, I was asked if I would

22 work with the United Nations in the former Yugoslavia

23 and deployed as a U.K. liaison -- OC liaison officer and

24 watchkeeper in January, so the 15th of January flew

25 into Split and worked from Divulje there.

Page 9305

1 MS. SOMERS: I would like to ask the usher,

2 please, to present a map, actually a couple of maps,

3 the first of which is in black and white from the

4 Croatian atlas, Z2612,9. If the usher would be kind

5 enough to place that on the ELMO.

6 Q. Would you indicate, if it's clear to you,

7 indicate to the Court the location of Divulje and the

8 places to which you first deployed?

9 A. Divulje is located here just west of Split

10 [indicates].

11 Q. Are you able to indicate on this map where

12 the boundary between the Republic of Croatia and the

13 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina is? Is it in some way

14 delineated?

15 A. Yes, it's delineated quite clearly with a

16 line up here.

17 Q. I would just like to confirm something. You

18 are no longer with the Royal Marines. Did you leave

19 for any particular reason?

20 A. Yes. I was medically invalided from the

21 Royal Marines because I have osteoarthritis in both

22 knees.

23 Q. Turning to the map, once you arrived and were

24 stationed in the Divulje barracks, what were your

25 principal roles?

Page 9306

1 A. I had two principal roles. The first was as

2 the OC -- the officer commanding the United Kingdom

3 liaison officers, and the second was as a watchkeeper

4 for commando British forces.

5 Q. Would you be able to describe the taskings

6 that would go with these positions, and under whose

7 supervision, and under who your chain of command was?

8 A. As part of commando British forces, I worked

9 for Brigadier Andrew Cummings and deployed nine teams

10 of UKLOs around Croatia and Bosnia.

11 Q. That acronym, UKLOs, stands for --

12 A. U.K. liaison officers, sorry. So I deployed

13 the teams and took the decisions as to where they

14 should deploy, based on discussions with Brigadier

15 Cummings and his chief of staff, and made sure that

16 they carried out the duties required from Brigadier

17 Cummings' orders, which is really the gathering of

18 various information about what was happening in both

19 areas.

20 Q. Did you have direct links with other units,

21 and if so, could you describe them, please?

22 A. Commando British forces worked directly for

23 United Kingdom land forces in the United Kingdom.

24 Q. Where in the United Kingdom?

25 A. It was in Salsbury, in Wiltshire, so from

Page 9307

1 their base at Wilton. Commando British forces also had

2 direct links to BritBat based in Vitez, they had direct

3 links with UNPROFOR headquarters in Kiseljak, and

4 commanded other British troops throughout various

5 places in Croatia and also in Tomislavgrad.

6 Q. Did you have direct links with UNHCR in its

7 various locations?

8 A. Yes. Part of my responsibility was a team

9 tasked with working in Metkovic, which is liaison with

10 the UNHCR for convoys and responsibility for passing on

11 information about what was happening with convoys.

12 Q. Where is Metkovic located, in what sovereign

13 state?

14 A. Metkovic is located in Croatia.

15 Q. How did you task the teams that you had?

16 A. I took decisions with the chief of staff and

17 the brigadier about what information was required, and

18 I then ordered my teams to deploy to various locations

19 throughout Bosnia and also in Croatia.

20 Q. Can you describe the type of equipment you

21 were outfitted with?

22 A. Each of the nine teams had a soft-skinned

23 truck, which was a Renault Borton 44, which had a

24 maritime INMARSAT telephone system mounted in the back

25 of the truck. We also had GPS global positioning

Page 9308

1 navigation system. We had laptop computers with

2 fax/modems and HF radio systems in the truck as well.

3 Q. Would you describe your role in relation to

4 Brigadier Cummings? What was the relationship? What

5 were you to do for the brigadier?

6 A. We were the eyes and ears of the brigadier,

7 so we were tasked to gather information about what was

8 happening in the various locations, to make sure that

9 we were not surprised by events that were happening.

10 Q. At the beginning of February 1993, did you

11 find yourself going to Busovaca?

12 A. Yes. I was tasked to provide two teams to

13 work in Busovaca with the newly-formed Busovaca joint

14 commission, and I tasked Captain Mike Robison and Tom

15 Major to work with the team based in Busovaca. I went

16 up to have discussions about their deployment and what

17 they should be doing.

18 Q. What was their role to be?

19 A. Their role was to act as a communications

20 link and security advice to the European Community

21 Monitoring Commission, the ECMM.

22 Q. What were conditions like in Busovaca at the

23 time?

24 A. Busovaca was in what I would probably call a

25 real state of conflict. Travel was very difficult

Page 9309

1 because of the roadblocks, checkpoints. We were shot

2 upon on numerous occasions, so a very hostile

3 environment to work within.

4 Q. Did you have adequate protection in your

5 vehicles?

6 A. No. This was something I became quite

7 concerned about, because one of my teams had been shot

8 at and had a round pass about a metre behind the back

9 of their cab, where the driver and the officer were

10 sitting.

11 Q. What did you do about it?

12 A. I took the teams off deployment until we had

13 confirmation that we could get some armoured support,

14 because I refused to allow the teams to operate within

15 that environment without some armoured protection. So

16 in a meeting with Jeremy Fleming, I insisted that the

17 teams did not deploy until we had armoured support.

18 Q. What was the result of that meeting?

19 A. Within, I think, two days, we had armoured

20 support provided by the British Battalion in Vitez,

21 which was authorised by UNPROFOR headquarters in

22 Kiseljak.

23 Q. Going back for a moment to your duties as

24 watchkeeper while you were in Split, could you define

25 what a watchkeeper does?

Page 9310

1 A. A watchkeeper really sifts information coming

2 in from radio reports and telephones, so I'm the first

3 point of contact for ComBritFor. I log those details

4 that are coming in and then take decisions as to who

5 should respond or who should be called in to respond.

6 Q. What is route triangle?

7 A. Route triangle was the name given to a road

8 between Tomislavgrad and Prozor which was being

9 developed and graded by the Royal Engineers.

10 MS. SOMERS: I would ask the usher at this

11 time to distribute Z2618,2. On the ELMO, please, yes.

12 I'm sorry, our signal is not showing. I'm not sure

13 whether the Court is getting a projection on that.


15 MS. SOMERS: Is there something that we could

16 do about that or should we attempt to --

17 JUDGE MAY: Just keep going. We'll try to

18 get something done.


20 Q. We'll ultimately return to this exhibit, but

21 if you can describe what a route triangle is and its

22 importance to your work.

23 A. Route triangle was the connection from

24 Croatia into Central Bosnia, where the British

25 Battalion were working, and it was probably the only

Page 9311

1 route that stayed open whereby we had access from

2 Split, from ComBritFor, into Central Bosnia. To start

3 off with, it was very much a mountain track, which was

4 then upgraded to sort of a dirt road which covered the

5 distance between Tomislavgrad and Prozor.

6 Q. Are you able, by way of description and

7 looking at this map that everyone has in front of

8 himself, to give the parameters -- if you're familiar

9 with this map, why, and if you are, can you give a

10 description of the route so the Court can follow it?

11 And if you would care to get up, perhaps, and point it

12 out.

13 A. The map was the one I used when testifying

14 against Colonel Blaskic or General Blaskic. I've

15 indicated Prozor on the map, which I think most people

16 can see in this area [indicates], and to the west of

17 Prozor there is a route running around a very large

18 lake which is indicated in this area [indicates], and

19 then around down here [indicates], and literally

20 following the edge of this map is where route triangle

21 went further down to Bosnia and Tomislavgrad, and that

22 was route triangle [indicates].

23 Q. In February of 1993, did you witness any

24 movements of HV soldiers going between Croatia and

25 Bosnia?

Page 9312

1 A. Yes, I personally followed a convoy of

2 between six and eight coaches of -- Croat-identified

3 coaches with HV soldiers in them along route triangle,

4 so I spent about three hours, sat behind these coaches

5 as they drove into Prozor. Once the coaches stopped in

6 Prozor and we overtook them, then went on up to Gornji

7 Vakuf and Vitez.

8 Q. Okay. And is Tomislavgrad indicated on this

9 particular map or would you have to refer back to the

10 first map that was in front of you?

11 A. It's indicated on the first map, not on this

12 one.

13 Q. I'll try to get it back just so that you can

14 pinpoint it and discuss distances. Again, we're a bit,

15 I think, disabled by the screen. If you are able to

16 point out the location of Tomislavgrad that would catch

17 the attention or give some indicator where it is on the

18 map.

19 A. In relation to Split [indicates],

20 Tomislavgrad is up beyond the border between Croatia

21 and Bosnia and, on this map, is indicated right on the

22 right-hand edge. So that is Tomislavgrad in

23 Bosnia-Herzegovina [indicates].

24 Q. In terms of time, if you know, to go from,

25 let's say, a point called Sinj, S-i-n-j, in Croatia,

Page 9313

1 which is also indicated on the same map, to

2 Tomislavgrad, could you give an approximate time frame,

3 travelling over land?

4 A. On a good day, somewhere between 40 minutes

5 to an hour.

6 Q. How were you able to determine that the

7 soldiers whom you saw were, in fact, HV soldiers,

8 Republic of Croatia soldiers?

9 A. There were two instances. The first one was

10 through the fact that the coaches were Croatian

11 vehicles, in the sense of their number plates, their

12 license plates were Croatian, and the second was that

13 the soldiers' insignia was very much "HV" as opposed to

14 "HVO", and we had been used to seeing those and had

15 been given recognition sort of lessons from our

16 intelligence officer in ComBritFor.

17 Q. The soldiers were going towards Prozor. Were

18 they also headed towards Tomislavgrad? Were there two

19 separate identifications you made of soldiers?

20 A. There were two separate identifications. The

21 first was when we followed the soldiers in the coach

22 from Tomislavgrad to Prozor, and the second

23 identification was a couple of days after that when we

24 were coming back from Vitez, driving through Prozor, we

25 saw six to eight coaches again parked just north of

Page 9314

1 Prozor with a lot of wounded soldiers wearing HV

2 uniforms and wearing the insignias of HV soldiers,

3 battle weary, bandaged, sort of lying on the grass,

4 very tired, getting ready to board the buses, which

5 were Croatian buses, to come back, we assume, through

6 the Tomislavgrad area.

7 Q. You personally saw this?

8 A. Yes, I personally saw this, witnessed it.

9 Q. Who is Gus Bryden?

10 A. Gus Bryden is a mercenary I met in Trogir, an

11 ex Royal Marine, whom I spent about an hour having

12 conversations with about his activities as a mercenary.

13 Q. Excuse me, but where is Trogir?

14 A. Trogir is west of Divulje barracks, about 5

15 kilometres west of Divulje barracks.

16 Q. In the Republic of Croatia?

17 A. In Croatia, on the coastline.

18 Q. Thank you. Please continue.

19 A. Gus Bryden had been working with the HV in

20 Croatia, training soldiers of the HV to go into

21 conflict in and around the Prozor area. He had also

22 been working around the Zadar area, actually fighting

23 with his son, who is also a mercenary, around the

24 Prozor area and Zadar.

25 Q. Were you curious about the deployment of

Page 9315

1 Croatian soldiers in the Prozor area, which is in

2 Bosnia?

3 A. We were very curious, because again this was

4 something we had been asked to find out.

5 Q. By whom?

6 A. By ComBritFor, by Andrew Cummings, his staff,

7 and chief of staff and the intelligence cell. And we

8 specifically asked him if the soldiers he was training

9 were conscripts, which he confirmed, and he also

10 confirmed that they were fighting in Bosnia around the

11 Prozor area and not just restricted to Croatia.

12 Q. Was there a military training camp that you

13 observed on the route to Tomislavgrad?

14 A. We identified a training establishment or a

15 camp just south of Sinj, which is in Croatia, before

16 you come to the border. And we had identified this on

17 several occasions as a -- as a used training camp for

18 the Croatian army.

19 Q. I believe that the video is available, and if

20 in fact the map that has Sinj on there were convenient,

21 if you could point it out.

22 A. It's sort of northeast of Split.

23 Q. And can -- fine. Are you able to -- I know

24 Prozor is not on this particular map, but are you able

25 to give a general indication of where Prozor would be

Page 9316

1 and where Tomislavgrad is now?

2 A. Prozor -- well, Tomislavgrad is, as I say,

3 over on this this area here [indicates], and then

4 Prozor much further north -- northeast.

5 Q. Thank you. This training camp that you

6 observed, did you observe it again?

7 A. We observed it on a regular basis while we

8 were travelling backwards and forwards between Split

9 and Vitez. One incident, we saw that the camp was full

10 of soldiers, lots of trucks, lots of coaches, and was

11 obviously very much in use as a training establishment.

12 Q. Would this have been in February or March of

13 1993?

14 A. That's correct, yes.

15 Q. Then what happened? What did you observe?

16 A. Most other observations, that I observed that

17 it was empty. But while I was watchkeeping after

18 having seen it being used, subsequent reports coming in

19 showed that it was empty, that the troops had actually

20 been deployed.

21 Q. Had you received any reports of actual

22 fighting in Bosnia during that interim period between

23 seeing troops at Sinj and then seeing the camp empty?

24 A. The conflict at that time was ongoing, and on

25 a daily basis we were receiving reports that fighting

Page 9317

1 between Muslims and -- sort of Croats, Bosnian and --

2 Bosnian Croats, certainly around the Prozor area, on a

3 daily basis, yes.

4 Q. Was an injury of an HVO soldier reported to

5 you, and can you describe the injury?

6 A. I was watchkeeping and received a report from

7 the Royal Engineers on route triangle, from one of

8 their bases, that a coach carrying HV soldiers had had

9 an incident where a soldier playing with a grenade had

10 let the grenade off and had damaged himself, so he had

11 blown himself --

12 Q. Excuse me. Was this accident in Bosnia, or

13 was it in Croatia?

14 A. No, it was in Bosnia.

15 Q. What did you do about it, if anything? What

16 could you do?

17 A. I was asked to provide a helicopter

18 evacuation from the helicopter flight based at Divulje,

19 and I refused on the grounds that we --

20 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speaker speak a

21 little more slowly, please, for the interpreters.

22 A. I was asked to provide helicopter evacuation

23 but declined on the grounds that it was not part of our

24 remit in providing humanitarian aid.


Page 9318

1 Q. To your knowledge, was some assistance

2 ultimately rendered to this soldier?

3 A. No. Not from the United Nations troops.

4 Q. Did you personally follow a convoy of --

5 sorry, a group of coaches carrying Croatian soldiers

6 into Bosnia? And if we've covered this in another of

7 the incidents --

8 JUDGE MAY: Yes, you have.

9 MS. SOMERS: Fine. Thank you. We can move

10 on.

11 Q. Did Brigadier Cummings ask you to become

12 involved in what was known as the Busovaca joint

13 commission at the beginning of March of '93?

14 A. Yes, he did. I was tasked to deploy to

15 Busovaca full time and to provide a higher level of

16 military support to the Busovaca joint commission.

17 Q. Just to clarify rank, you were what rank in

18 the Marines, and how was that accommodated to fit the

19 scheme in Bosnia?

20 A. I was a captain, Royal Marines, which is the

21 paid equivalent rank of an army major. Normally, when

22 Royal Marines are working with the army, we are

23 promoted to what is known as a local high rank, which

24 was major. So I became a local major.

25 Q. Were you to deal with any particular

Page 9319

1 individuals, or what were your tasks, primarily, on the

2 Commission?

3 A. Tasks of the Busovaca joint commission had

4 been predetermined with two primary people, which was

5 Franjo Nakic from the HVO and Dzemal Merdan from the

6 BiH, with their representatives of local commanders.

7 Our responsibility was to investigate points of

8 conflict arising between each of the sides, to mediate,

9 and to try and resolve the issues.

10 MS. SOMERS: I would ask the usher to

11 distribute Z548,1.

12 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please pause

13 between questions and answers, for the interpreters.


15 Q. Mr. Buffini, looking at this document, do you

16 recognise it?

17 A. Yes, I do.

18 Q. And if you turn to the page which will be the

19 third page -- it will be identified as having the

20 numbers 00475825 on it -- could you describe, please,

21 the identification of Mr. Nakic there?

22 A. Mr. Nakic is described as the deputy HVO

23 Operational Zone, Middle Bosnia. So our

24 interpretation, deputy commander of that organisation.

25 Q. How often did you meet with the commission?

Page 9320

1 A. On a daily basis.

2 Q. At a fixed time?

3 A. Normally at 9.00 each morning, providing

4 everybody could be brought in at the correct time.

5 Q. Among your tasks, was the investigation and

6 mediation of complaints included?

7 A. Yes, nearly on a daily basis.

8 Q. What about checkpoint removal?

9 A. That was all part of the ongoing discussions,

10 but our aim was to open the road between Vitez and

11 Kiseljak.

12 Q. Was there also an aspect about the

13 investigation of alleged atrocities, ethnic cleansing,

14 attacks on villages, harassment of civilians?

15 A. That became the main issue. On a daily

16 basis, before anything was done, investigation into

17 each of those circumstances would have to be done.

18 Q. Approximately 20th March, '93, did you have

19 to move locations?

20 A. Yes, we moved location from Busovaca to

21 Vitez, in a house next to the British Battalion camp

22 in --

23 Q. Who is Mats Torping, please? I forgot to ask

24 you.

25 A. Mats Torping started off as the chairman of

Page 9321

1 the Busovaca joint commission.

2 Q. Did he remain chairman during your entire

3 time, or did it change?

4 A. No, it changed because of their time in the

5 job, so there were several chairmen.

6 Q. Was one of them Henk Morsink?

7 A. Yes, Henk Morsink in the latter stages took

8 over as chairman.

9 Q. Once you moved to Vitez, did the role change,

10 and did you take on more responsibility and

11 jurisdiction?

12 A. We found that once we were in Vitez, a much

13 larger area of responsibility came into question, so we

14 were asked to investigate instances on -- outside of

15 the Busovaca valley, yes.

16 Q. Did it extend to essentially the whole Lasva

17 Valley, and did it retain its name as "Busovaca joint

18 commission"?

19 A. Because it had grown from the Busovaca area

20 to a much larger area, we decided to drop "Busovaca,"

21 and it just became known as the joint commission.

22 Q. Were there any conditions laid down about the

23 degree of authority that the representatives from each

24 side should have?

25 A. Yes. Both General Merdan and Franjo Nakic

Page 9322

1 were required to have the authority to act to

2 circumstances which the Busovaca and the joint

3 commission met on the ground, in providing orders to

4 local commanders and making decisions which were

5 followed.

6 Q. Did you find that to be the case?

7 A. Only in Djemal Merdan's case.

8 THE INTERPRETER: Excuse me; could you again

9 please pause between question and answer? Thank you.


11 Q. How did the case turn out to be with

12 Mr. Nakic?

13 A. Mr. Nakic was clearly not able to take any

14 responsibility for deciding things without referring

15 back to Colonel Blaskic.

16 Q. Did this cause tension?

17 A. It caused quite a bit of tension within the

18 joint commission, yes.

19 Q. If Mr. Merdan were unable to make a firm

20 decision, would he come halfway?

21 A. Mr. Merdan would make a provisional agreement

22 or authority and then would clarify the position with

23 his superiors.

24 Q. Did something occur with artillery going off

25 during a commission meeting?

Page 9323

1 A. In one meeting we had in Vitez, a number of

2 artillery rounds were fired very close by which shook

3 the house, at which point Mr. Merdan reacted very

4 violently against Nakic, asking why the artillery was

5 being fired when we were supposed to be negotiating

6 ceasefires.

7 Q. Was it, then, HVO artillery?

8 A. It was HVO artillery, yes.

9 Q. Were you able to identify the type of weapon,

10 the calibre?

11 A. Because of the report, we had an indication

12 that it was certainly heavy, between 120 and 150

13 millimetre.

14 Q. Was there a particular weapon that was

15 suspected of being fired?

16 A. There was a heavy artillery piece that the

17 British troops around Vitez had nicknamed "Big Bertha"

18 which was a heavy artillery piece, yes.

19 Q. At the time of the firing, was there a

20 ceasefire in place, and if so, what was the result of

21 this incident?

22 A. I believe there was a ceasefire in place, and

23 Mr. Merdan reacted very violently and refused to take

24 any further part in the joint commission meeting until

25 the whole incident had been investigated.

Page 9324

1 Q. Do you recall how many shells were fired by

2 Big Bertha?

3 A. I believe there were approximately 10 or 11

4 shells fired.

5 Q. Was any investigation undertaken about this

6 firing, to your knowledge?

7 A. An investigation was undertaken, but we had

8 no reports coming back of a response as to who or why

9 it had happened.

10 Q. Based on your professional military

11 experience, can you characterise the degree of respect,

12 orders and decisions issued by Colonel Blaskic

13 commanded?

14 A. Colonel Blaskic had a great deal of authority

15 over the troops that we met, the local commanders, and

16 they would not normally react to any incident without

17 his authority, either verbally or written.

18 Q. Did any violations of his orders come to your

19 attention?

20 A. Only one incident, which was during the

21 Convoy of Peace or Convoy of Hope, where some trucks

22 had been taken in the Busovaca area, and when we

23 questioned --

24 MR. SAYERS: Objection, Your Honour, for the

25 grounds previously stated.

Page 9325

1 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, this is --

2 JUDGE MAY: What's the witness going to say

3 that we haven't heard already, Ms. Somers?

4 MS. SOMERS: The witness will simply indicate

5 that this is the one time that a violation of an order

6 was reported to him. There is no specific

7 identification of any of the party, but this is a very

8 focused question.

9 [Trial Chamber confers]

10 JUDGE MAY: Very well.


12 Q. Mr. Buffini, when you referred to a convoy,

13 was it the Convoy of Joy of June of 1993?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. I'm sorry, could you just clarify what the

16 issue was with Blaskic's order on that?

17 A. The local commander, who had hijacked about

18 seven or ten vehicles and was searching them for arms

19 or ammunition, refused to allow the vehicles to go,

20 despite the fact that we had asked and had authority

21 from Colonel Blaskic to do that.

22 Q. Where was this local commander?

23 A. It was just north of Busovaca. I forget the

24 name of the actual village.

25 Q. Did you go on R & R in April of '93, and if

Page 9326

1 so, did you make any observations just before departure

2 about the presence of helicopters in the area?

3 A. There were several incidents of helicopters

4 which we personally cited, or I personally cited, in

5 and around the Vitez and Zenica area, yes.

6 Q. And this would have been the early part of

7 April?

8 A. Both the early part of April and also in

9 June.

10 Q. Was this restricted to one side, or did you

11 see helicopters on both sides?

12 A. I saw helicopters on both sides.

13 Q. Generally speaking, were there no-fly

14 restrictions in place, and if so, for what purpose

15 would a helicopter undertake a risk?

16 A. There was a no-fly restriction on the whole

17 of the Central Bosnia area, and the only reason we

18 could see that helicopters would fly into this area was

19 for the resupply of ammunition and evacuating wounded

20 troops out of the area.

21 Q. Could you describe the general atmosphere in

22 the Lasva Valley when you left for your temporary R & R

23 on or about the 4th of April of '93?

24 A. With the work of the joint commission, we

25 felt that the Lasva Valley had quietened down quite

Page 9327

1 considerably, and there was a semblance of normality

2 returning to the area just prior to my leaving, so most

3 of the conflict had been restricted to very small

4 areas, and we felt quite pleased with the job that we

5 had achieved at that point.

6 Q. You indicated that the meetings were daily

7 for the commission. Was there any indication at these

8 daily meetings of an attack, an imminent attack, about

9 which you found out when you returned from your leave?

10 A. None at all. We were very surprised -- I was

11 very surprised, when I returned, at the extent of the

12 activity in the area.

13 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry, I beg your pardon,

14 but I believe that the transcript has stopped. Is

15 there a technical...? Our screens are not moving, so

16 we've stopped at --

17 JUDGE MAY: Let's see. Where did you get

18 to? There was a no-fly restriction?

19 MS. SOMERS: Yes, and I've moved on well

20 beyond that.

21 JUDGE MAY: Is there any problem with the

22 transcript?

23 There's none that I can see, Your Honour, but

24 I -- my computer is working fine.

25 JUDGE MAY: Yours is working, but ours

Page 9328

1 isn't. We're stuck at "no-fly restriction." Just wait

2 a moment.

3 [Trial Chamber confers]

4 JUDGE MAY: If we just see what the position

5 is, we are going get a transcript, are we, since yours

6 is working?

7 THE REPORTER: Yes, Your Honour.

8 JUDGE MAY: So there's no reason why we

9 couldn't go on, as it were, although we haven't got the

10 transcript ourselves?

11 THE REPORTER: That's correct.

12 JUDGE MAY: Let's go on.

13 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry, if the reporter could

14 just read back to me the last question, I would

15 appreciate it, or if somebody could.

16 I'm sorry. I'm told that they cannot move

17 backward on their screen, so I will attempt to just

18 reconstruct the question, repeating myself, I'm sure.

19 Q. Prior to your departure, having had daily

20 meetings with the joint commission, was there any

21 indication at these daily meetings that an attack of

22 the nature of Ahmici, various attacks about which you

23 became aware when you returned from leave would occur?

24 A. No, there was no indication of any buildup of

25 hostilities, any buildup of forces and, in fact, we

Page 9329

1 felt we had done a pretty good job with the joint

2 commission in calming the whole situation down in the

3 Lasva Valley prior to my departure.

4 Q. Was that shock shared -- excuse me. Was that

5 surprise shared by other international organisations


7 A. Yes, all of the organisations of BritBat,

8 UNPROFOR, and even the UNHCR agencies were all

9 surprised by what had happened during that period.

10 Q. Did Mario Cerkez -- sorry, I'll wait.

11 Did Mario Cerkez come to play a role on the

12 commission during this time?

13 A. Yes, he did, as the representative of HVO

14 troops in the Vitez area.

15 Q. Generally, if you can characterise the

16 attitude of the members of the BiH, or some of the

17 members, towards Mr. Cerkez.

18 A. Some of the other local commanders of the BiH

19 were openly, in my view, openly hostile towards the

20 presence of Mario Cerkez at the meetings, to such a

21 point that I used to sit with an armed -- loaded pistol

22 in my belt.

23 Q. Were questions posed to Mr. Cerkez by the

24 commission as to the reasons for the ceasefire

25 violations, and if so, what types of answers were

Page 9330

1 offered?

2 A. We asked, on numerous times, why violations

3 had happened, and on most instances where the questions

4 were directed at Mario Cerkez, the response was very

5 flippant, detracting, and normally answered in the

6 sense of another question or allegation of other

7 atrocities against HVO.

8 Q. In connection with the question posed about

9 who perpetrated Ahmici, do you recall Mr. Cerkez's

10 answer?

11 A. I recall a response from him that he actually

12 accused the BiH of perpetrating the act themselves on

13 the grounds that it put the HVO in a very bad light and

14 curried favour with the BiH with UNPROFOR and other

15 organisations.

16 Q. What was the reaction of the BiH

17 representatives to such responses?

18 A. Pure derision. It was a ludicrous statement,

19 and both the BiH and ourselves, as the British forces,

20 ECMM, felt the same way.

21 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,

22 Ms. Somers. I would like to ask the witness

23 something. He said that the representative of the HVO

24 himself had the same impression. I want to ask him if

25 he could give us some more clarification about what his

Page 9331

1 impressions were.


3 Q. Mr. Buffini, are you able to directly answer

4 the question for the Judge?

5 A. If I'm to understand, it was the BiH

6 representatives who were amazed at the accusation and

7 the statement.

8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] I meant both

9 the representative of the BH army and yourself, and I'm

10 going to correct my own question, did you have the same

11 impression? After the interpretation given by

12 Mr. Cerkez, could you give us some more details about

13 what impression you had?

14 A. The impression I had was that it was

15 impossible for the BiH to perpetrate such an act

16 against themselves. With the extent of the damage,

17 with the extent of the casualties, that it was

18 impossible for the BiH to have done that to their own

19 people and that it had to have been HVO troops who

20 actually perpetrated Ahmici.

21 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.


23 Q. Had you become aware of complaints on the

24 part of BiH forces concerning the HVO's use of

25 civilians as human shields on front lines between,

Page 9332

1 particularly, the areas of Vitez and Stari Vitez, as

2 well as the use of Muslim civilian prisoners to dig

3 trenches on these front lines?

4 A. Yes. We encountered several incidents where

5 accusations had been made that the HVO around the Stari

6 Vitez area were using civilians and prisoners of war

7 both to dig trenches and to provide human shields to

8 protect their soldiers.

9 Q. Did you do something about this enquiry, this

10 concern?

11 A. Yes. We made several investigations and

12 visits to those locations, and on one specific occasion

13 made an appointment with Mario Cerkez to discuss the

14 situation in the area.

15 Q. Just for the benefit of those following the

16 outline, there would be a jump in this response to

17 number 47, but we can either go on or just go in

18 order.

19 Could you describe your encounter with

20 Mr. Cerkez, if you had one, and what his explanation

21 was? What was done on his part?

22 A. The chairman of the ECMM, Henk Morsink, and I

23 had a meeting with Mr. Cerkez in Vitez to really get

24 permission to investigate, on a more thorough basis,

25 the grounds of the accusations being laid against his

Page 9333

1 troops. Again we met with a very flippant response, to

2 the point that he said that Muslims were burning Croat

3 houses in and around the Kruscica area and that we had

4 to investigate that first before we could really

5 investigate the use of prisoners and human shields.

6 Q. Did you, nonetheless, respect the request of

7 Mr. Cerkez and check this out, and did you do it?

8 A. Yes, we checked thoroughly with one of his

9 representatives on the ground and visited several

10 locations to try and identify these burning houses, but

11 found nothing at all.

12 Q. In what area were these houses allegedly

13 burning?

14 A. They were allegedly burning in the Kruscica

15 area, between Vitez and Kruscica.

16 MS. SOMERS: If the usher would distribute

17 Z2612,3.

18 Q. Mr. Buffini, if you would be kind enough to

19 indicate the location of Kruscica on this map.

20 A. Kruscica is here [indicates], just a short

21 distance south of Vitez.

22 Q. Was a representative of Mr. Cerkez's present

23 when the location, the alleged location, was given?

24 A. Yes. This was discussed with Mr. Cerkez, his

25 representative, Henk Morsink, and myself.

Page 9334

1 Q. And was that individual also unable to locate

2 any burning houses?

3 A. We escorted him personally to several areas

4 that were pointed out, and he could not identify any

5 burning buildings in the whole of the area.

6 Q. What conclusion did you come to about the

7 veracity of the complaint?

8 A. Our conclusion was that again it was a

9 distraction to take our attention away from the

10 accusations of using troops to dig trenches and using

11 prisoners to act as shields in and around the Vitez

12 area, so that we were detracted from investigating that

13 fully by going on a bit of a wild-goose chase.

14 Q. Did you find it to be false?

15 A. We found the whole accusation of the burning

16 houses completely false, yes.

17 MS. SOMERS: In order to save time, I was

18 going to offer the same video clips that were shown

19 during Mr. Morsink's testimony just to indicate that

20 Mr. Buffini was, in fact, present, as well as to show

21 one segment which has been provided to the Defence on

22 the excerpts or actually on the entire tape of

23 Mr. Buffini at the site of the examination of the dead

24 bodies of two BiH soldiers. I think, if the Court has

25 no objection, unless the Court wants to see it now, it

Page 9335

1 will save considerable time. Again, the point was to

2 confirm his presence there, and also, I think it will

3 be available for you to view later, if you care to see

4 it.

5 JUDGE MAY: Very well.


7 Q. Returning to the issue of trench digging, the

8 use of Muslim detainees for trench digging, and

9 mistreatment of Muslim prisoners, did the ICRC express

10 a concern about this as well?

11 A. Yes. The ICRC came into several of our

12 meetings. Ms. Claire Podbielski represented the ICRC

13 and complained very bitterly towards the assembled

14 group of HVO-BiH that this was unacceptable in the

15 terms of the Geneva Convention and that it had to stop

16 immediately.

17 Q. Were these complaints of Ms. Podbielski's, as

18 well as anything you had information on, raised with

19 the HVO, with Mr. Nakic, with Mr. Cerkez?

20 A. Because most of the incidents, the

21 accusations, were against the HVO, Ms. Podbielski

22 directly made the accusations to Mr. Cerkez, Mr. Nakic,

23 and other local commanders that were present at our

24 meetings.

25 Q. What were the responses?

Page 9336

1 A. The response was that the HVO would not do

2 such acts, they were against the Geneva Convention, and

3 that they did not know of incidents where this was

4 happening, so flat-out denial.

5 Q. Was that outright denial by Cerkez, Nakic, or

6 both?

7 A. It was by both, and the other commanders as

8 well.

9 Q. Did you and Henk Morsink investigate the

10 report of the bodies of two Muslim soldiers having been

11 recovered? And if you could describe what you did

12 about that report to the Court.

13 A. We received a complaint from the local

14 commander -- Bosnian Muslim commander in Kruscica that

15 two bodies had been recovered after about 22 days in

16 the open and had been brought back to a small village,

17 where they asked us to inspect the bodies because they

18 had signs of torture and mutilation. So we went to

19 investigate at the village given to us but understood

20 that the bodies had had to be buried that morning

21 because of their state of decay. But a Muslim reporter

22 had actually videoed the bodies before they were

23 buried, which he then allowed us to see on his video

24 camera.

25 Q. What were your observations when you viewed

Page 9337

1 the videotape that was made?

2 A. The videotape confirmed that the bodies were

3 in a very bad state of decay, with maggots over most of

4 the body, and flies, but it clearly shows that the neck

5 had been severely cut, probably by a thin wire,

6 strangulation, but very definite marks there. There

7 were also very definite lacerations, deep lacerations,

8 around both wrists on one body, as well as several

9 fingers missing on one of the bodies which had been

10 filmed.

11 JUDGE MAY: Ms. Somers, it's coming up to

12 1.00. Are you moving on to another topic?

13 MS. SOMERS: Yes, if it's convenient to stop

14 and I will take ten minutes in the morning to finish,

15 that would be fine.

16 JUDGE MAY: Very well.

17 Mr. Buffini, I'm afraid you'll have to come

18 back tomorrow, half past 9.00, please, to finish your

19 evidence.

20 Could you remember, in this adjournment and

21 any others there may be, not to speak to anybody about

22 your evidence, and that includes the Prosecution, and

23 of course not to allow anybody to speak to you about

24 it.

25 THE WITNESS: I will, Your Honour, yes.

Page 9338

1 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

2 Very well. Half past 9.00 tomorrow morning.

3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

4 1.00 p.m., to be reconvened on

5 Wednesday, the 3rd day of November,

6 1999, at 9.30 a.m.