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Blaskic Trial

Tribunal Update 65: Last Week in the Hague (February 23-28, 1998)

The protected witness "DD" from a village in the municipality of Kiseljak, which was seized by HVO forces on 18 April 1993, was the only one to have a public testimony. "DD" spent the greatest part of a seven-month-long detention in the army barracks in Kiseljak which, according to the indictment, was one of the headquarters of the accused.

The conditions were similar to those in Kaonik: the inmates were robbed and beaten; 55 of them were crammed in a 4 meter by 5 meter room; they had one minute each morning to relieve themselves using plastic bottles.

Almost every day "DD", as part of a large group, was taken from the barracks to dig trenches or perform other forced labour.

On 18 November 1993, as they were digging trenches on the front line, "DD" was heavily wounded in an exchange of fire between the Army of B-H and the HVO. He was subsequently released after being offered medical help in the Kiseljak army barracks.

The Prosecutor was particularly interested whether one could see prisoners being taken away to do forced labour from the command building where Blaskic stayed occasionally (his main headquarters was in Vitez). "Of course one could see everything", a witness replied, explaining that the command building was fifty meters away from the spot where they were loaded onto trucks.

Defense counsel Ante Nobilo countered this in the cross-examination by forcing "DD" to admit that he had never seen the accused, or heard him mentioned, during his detention.

According to the Defence, Blaskic only rarely came to Kiseljak, and then only with UNPROFOR escort, since the B-H Army controlled a vital part of the road between Vitez and Kiseljak.

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