1 --- Friday, 19th June, 1998
2 (In open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.40 a.m.
4 (The witness entered court)
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning. Good morning
6 technicians and good morning interpreters. I also say
7 good morning to the public in the gallery which
8 represents the international community. And today the
9 case before us will be what, Mr. Dubuisson?
10 THE REGISTRAR: This will be case number
11 IT-95-14/1, the Prosecutor versus Zlatko Aleksovski.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Will the Prosecution please
13 introduce itself for the record. Mr. Niemann.
14 MR. NIEMANN: If Your Honours please, my name
15 is Niemann, and I appear with my colleagues,
16 Mr. Meddegoda and Ms. Erasmus, for the Prosecution,
17 Your Honours.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: And for the Defence,
19 Mr. Mikulicic.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
21 My name is Goran Mikulicic with Mr. Joka. I am
22 appearing for the Defence.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much. We
24 shall then continue with the testimony.
25 Good morning, witness. You will recall that
1 yesterday you made a solemn declaration to speak the
2 truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Are
3 you in the same spirit today?
4 THE WITNESS: Yes.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann, you have the
7 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, Your Honour
8 WITNESS: ZELKO PERCINLIC
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Niemann
10 Q. Mr. Percinlic, I am wondering if I could just
11 ask you some questions to start off with about your
12 processes through becoming a judge and so forth. I
13 think you told us yesterday that originally you studied
14 law at Banja Luka, and soon after that you were
15 appointed as a judge?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, when you were initially appointed, when
18 was that, the date, approximately?
19 A. 1987. Before that I was a professional
20 associate and for a short while I worked for a company.
21 Q. Now, you were appointed in 1987. Who
22 appointed you? Can you tell us the processes of how
23 you become appointed in 1987?
24 A. The procedure was as follows: At that time
25 it was called the basic court for three municipalities,
1 Travnik, Vitez and Novi Travnik. I was appointed by
2 the three municipal councils.
3 Q. So were those courts at that stage within the
4 administration of the three municipalities? Is that
5 how it worked, or was there a link or a reference to
6 the republican government in Sarajevo?
7 A. There was a link with the republican
8 government of Sarajevo, because administratively and
9 organisationally speaking they were under the
10 jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice in Sarajevo.
11 Q. I see. Now, was there then any link from
12 there to the federal government in Belgrade, or did it
13 end at the republican level?
14 A. It ended at the republican level at that
15 time. I mean, as far as the courts are concerned. The
16 federation had its own courts or, rather, the federal
18 Q. And the jurisdiction that you had in the
19 three municipalities, was that just a general criminal
20 law jurisdiction or a combination of criminal and civil
21 law, in terms of property disputes and so forth?
22 A. Our jurisdiction was related to the civil law
23 and the criminal law, up to a certain level, up to a
24 certain degree of punishment for a particular crime.
25 Q. Now, the appellate process, it went from your
1 court that you were appointed to in 1987, did it go
2 directly to the supreme court, or was there an
3 intermediate appellate court?
4 A. It did not go directly to the supreme court.
5 There was an intermediate court, appellate court in
6 Zenica, and that was the higher court in Zenica.
7 Q. And it was called the higher court, was it,
8 the higher court of Zenica?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And from there you could appeal to the
11 supreme court, no doubt on limited circumstances, but
12 you could then get from there to the supreme court in
13 Sarajevo; is that right?
14 A. Yes, but only in some cases. Only
15 -- specific legal situations -- it would take a very
16 long time to explain all the proceedings and
17 procedures, but one usually went to the second instance
18 court in Zenica, and in certain cases to the supreme
19 court in Sarajevo, and the civil law and the appeals
20 were filed with the higher court in Zenica.
21 Q. Yes. I don't want to trouble you with all
22 the fine details of the appellate procedure. I am just
23 trying to establish the structure. Now, did the
24 supreme court of Sarajevo, did it sit in regional
25 centres at all, or did it stay seated in Sarajevo? And
1 I am speaking of the period leading up to 1991, say.
2 A. Until 1991, it had its permanent seat in
4 Q. Did it occasionally move to other centres, or
5 did it only ever sit in Sarajevo?
6 A. As far as I know, they always sat in
7 Sarajevo, that is, until April, 1991 or, rather, until
8 April, 1992.
9 Q. Now, you were then -- when were you next
10 appointed? When were you appointed to the district
11 military court in Travnik? When did that take place,
12 your actual appointment there?
13 A. On the 22nd December, 1992.
14 Q. Now, who appointed you to the district
15 military court in Travnik?
16 A. The presidency of the Croat community of
18 Q. And where was that government or that
19 presidency? Where was that located?
20 A. In Mostar.
21 Q. And what happened to your old position, the
22 old position you had as a judge? Did that continue on
23 and someone else was appointed to it, or was it
25 A. I don't know.
1 Q. Now, when you came to be appointed to the
2 district military court in Travnik, was there a law
3 introduced to create a new judicial structure? Can you
4 give us some more explanation as to how it came about
5 that it was established and how it was structured?
6 A. First, a decree was passed, and I think it
7 was in November, 1992, establishing the organisational
8 layout, organisational structure, and competencies and
9 everything else that was needed for the work of
10 military courts. And yesterday I explained why it was
11 necessary to set up such courts under those
12 extraordinary circumstances.
13 Q. Now, you mentioned the district military
14 court in Travnik having under it several
15 municipalities, I think you said eight or ten. Can you
16 remember the municipalities that came under the
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you tell us those municipalities? I have
20 a map here, if that would help you.
21 A. Well, you see, it was quite a long time ago,
22 so I am not sure I remember them all, but I can mention
23 several municipalities, those were Bugojno, Gornji
24 Vakuf, Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca, Kiseljak, Kresevo,
25 Fojnica, and I believe Zavidovici. It's difficult to
1 see the decree. It's a long time since I saw those
2 documents, because it has been not in force. It has
3 not been applied for the past three or perhaps more
4 than three years.
5 Q. Now, what about -- I think you mentioned
6 Vitez. What about Zenica? Did it come under the
7 jurisdiction of your court?
8 A. You see, the jurisdiction of these courts, I
9 explained yesterday, they were the courts of the Army
10 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Croatian Defence
11 Council. But the jurisdiction could not be
12 differentiated territorially, because the
13 municipalities are mixed. So that there were some HVO
14 forces in Zenica as well, and they were under us too,
15 or rather, we conducted court proceedings against
16 persons who were members of these formations. And now
17 I remember also members of the Croat Defence Council in
18 Zepce. That is, jurisdiction could not be divided,
19 defined strictly territorially, because the military
20 court, with a seat in Travnik, that is the court of the
21 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, had its jurisdiction over
22 the formations of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which
23 were quartered in Vitez or in Busovaca.
24 Q. Now, the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina had the
25 equivalent or similar district military court as did
1 the HVO?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And the -- I think you said yesterday that
4 there was an appeal from your court to the supreme
5 court, that's the supreme court of Sarajevo -- sorry,
6 the supreme court of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
7 A. No. During that period of time it was not
8 possible to file an appeal or submit a case to the
9 supreme court of Bosnia-Herzegovina, because of the
10 well-known fact that Sarajevo was completely closed
11 and, for that reason, as far as I can remember,
12 sometime in '92 a decree was passed, I do not know who
13 it was that passed it, whereby the departments of the
14 supreme court in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina
15 were established. And such a department, as far as I
16 know, existed both in Zenica and in Mostar.
17 Q. And is it correct that the appeal, that an
18 appeal from the district military court of the Army of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina to the supreme court of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Zenica, and that the appeals from
21 your court went to Mostar?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. Now, I wanted to ask you some questions, if I
24 could, about the legal foundation for these courts.
25 The courts of the HVO, what was the foundation,
1 legally, of the HVO in Bosnia-Herzegovina, say, in
2 November of 1992? What did you rely on as the
3 constitutional foundation? And if you have difficulty
4 understanding the question, please say so, and I'll
5 clarify what I mean.
6 A. I don't understand the question. All I can
7 say is that by the decree of the presidency of the
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that decision was of 1992, two
9 components of the armoured forces were established, the
10 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Croat
11 Defence Council. So that is the foundation for the
12 establishment of the complete (sic), and the rest of
13 the structure for both components of the armed forces.
14 Q. Well, if there were two military forces of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina recognised by the central government
16 in Sarajevo, why were you not appointed by the
17 government in Sarajevo?
18 A. I don't know.
19 Q. Now, the -- I take it that the courts of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina were based on the constitutional
21 foundation of the republic itself, of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, so it was the constitution which
23 had been carried on over for some time. And that was
24 the constitutional foundation of the Bosnia-Herzegovina
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Was there a constitutional foundation for the
3 HVO or the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosnia?
4 A. You see, I am not an expert on constitutional
5 law. I am a judge and I cannot answer that question.
6 Q. I thought you might be able to help us with
7 sort of tracing the legal source of your authority,
8 that's all. I appreciate that you may not be expert in
9 constitutional law, but I thought you may be able to
10 help us with the legal source of your authority as a
11 judge. That's all.
12 A. It is -- from the constitutional law point of
13 view it was such a complex situation that, evidently, a
14 more profound analysis of constitutional experts would
15 be called for. And a judge cannot do that, because the
16 situation was both legally and factually very
18 Q. So if I posed a hypothetical situation. If a
19 litigant was to appear before you and challenge your
20 jurisdiction, what would you say to the litigant, in
21 terms of your source of authority to be a judge and to
22 be presiding over a case?
23 A. We did not have such cases, anyone
24 questioning the jurisdiction of the court.
25 Q. Okay. Well, I'll move on then. The
1 investigative process. I think you were telling us
2 yesterday that you were primarily interested and your
3 jurisdiction was primarily concerned with activities by
4 the HVO forces in terms of offences that they committed
5 in relation to persons and property. Is that true? Is
6 that a fair summary of what your jurisdiction was?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And your position was, in terms of the
9 structure, you had the prosecutor and the HVO military
10 police and yourself, and I take it that you were the
11 most senior rank of those three positions?
12 A. No, I couldn't.
13 Q. Why weren't you the most senior? You were
14 the judge, weren't you?
15 A. Yes, I occupied the senior position as
16 regards the court, but not as regards the other two
17 components, that is the military -- the military police
18 and the prosecutor's office, which are completely
19 independent of the court.
20 Q. Quite so. Yes. I'm sorry. Obviously, my
21 question was confusing. When it came to the process of
22 an investigation, when a matter required -- needed
23 investigation, you would work co-operatively with the
24 police and the prosecutor, but you would be in the most
25 senior position of those in those circumstances, when
1 you are exercising your jurisdiction?
2 A. I did not have any direct contact with the
3 military police. It was the military prosecutor's
4 office, and co-operation with the military police took
5 place only on rare occasions, and it was only
6 co-operation. There was no hierarchy there, because
7 the military police was part of the structure of the
8 military organisation of the Croat Defence Council as a
9 component of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 Q. I take it what would happen is that you were
11 the person that actually authorised the investigation?
12 You were the one that made -- gave the approval to the
13 investigation commencing?
14 A. Yes, it could be me or any other judge
15 deciding that the request for an investigation
16 submitted by the prosecutor contained enough elements,
17 contained enough grounds for a reasonable -- that a
18 particular person had committed a particular crime.
19 Q. Now, the prosecutor wouldn't be able to
20 progress far through the system if he didn't obtain
21 your approval for the investigation, because that was
22 dependent -- because the investigation for it to
23 continue through to an ultimate court case depended on
24 you saying "I give my approval" in the form of a formal
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. So it's in that sense that I am saying that
3 you were in a superior position to the prosecutor. You
4 would agree with me there, wouldn't you?
5 A. Only with regard to that particular segment.
6 Q. Now, in terms of the police, the police and
7 the prosecutor dealt with each other, because he had --
8 the prosecutor had to obtain information and have
9 crimes investigated, so the prosecutor would then, in
10 turn, be superior to the police when it came to
11 conducting an investigation. That's right, isn't it?
12 A. Yes. Only when certain -- some preparative
13 work was being proposed, but he was not -- the military
14 police was not under the command or hierarchically
15 subordinate to the judge. It was part of the military
16 part of the Croat Defence Council.
17 Q. Of course. But if the -- but even if the
18 commander of police wanted a case investigated and
19 taken to court, he couldn't achieve that unless he had
20 your authority, your approval?
21 A. No.
22 Q. So what he could -- he could conduct his own
23 cases, could he?
24 A. He can always submit a criminal report, and
25 even without our consent, I mean the consent of the
1 prosecutor and the court. In other words, when the
2 military police responsible for crimes, when they
3 decide that a particular crime has taken place, has
4 been perpetrated, they can always submit a criminal
5 report to the relevant prosecutor.
6 Q. And the relevant prosecutor would then come
7 to you, and you would authorise the investigation?
8 That's right, isn't it?
9 A. No. He would first turn -- he would first
10 issue the request for investigation, which always --
11 which has a strict format and must contain so many
12 specific elements, and then on the basis of its
13 contents he must have reasonable grounds to suspect
14 that an individual has committed a crime. And only in
15 that case all the other proceedings follow.
16 Q. I had taken that as said, that we'd go
17 through all those steps first, but once you had done
18 all of that, it would then come to you?
19 A. What do you mean, they would come to me?
20 Q. Well, to get authority, the approval to
21 conduct the investigation. That's what you did, didn't
22 you? You approved the commencement of investigations,
23 once the reasonable suspicion had been established by
24 the prosecutor; that was your job, part of your job?
25 A. That request could not be proved without
1 questioning of the suspect in the presence of his
2 lawyer, and the prosecutor, only after that and in that
3 case is it possible to reach a decision to open
5 Q. Yes. Let's assume that all of the
6 formalities have been dealt with before it comes to
7 you, and all of them are in place and in position.
8 Once that's happened, once the prosecutor's done his
9 job, you then authorise the formal investigation?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, when it came to commencing an
12 investigation, obviously the police are the most likely
13 people to instigate the whole process right at the very
14 beginning, once the crime is committed, and the reason
15 why it's the police is because they are on the ground
16 and close to the scene. So, generally speaking, it was
17 the police that commenced the investigation. But was
18 it possible for other parties to commence
20 A. No one could submit a request to commence
21 investigation except for the authorised, the relevant
22 prosecutor. However --
23 Q. I'm sorry.
24 A. -- according to the law in criminal
25 procedure, the criminal report can be submitted by any
1 citizen, not only the police.
2 Q. And when that is submitted by any citizen it
3 goes to the prosecutor?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, does the prosecutor have a
6 responsibility to then inform you?
7 A. No.
8 Q. So the prosecutor could just take it upon
9 himself to ignore all these requests and choose not to
10 investigate anything, if he wanted to?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, if the prosecutor did ignore everything
13 and choose not to investigate crimes, you would be in a
14 position to question the prosecutor as to why he was
15 doing that, wouldn't you?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Either formally or informally?
18 A. Informally one could always have a
19 discussion, but it was not necessary officially, in
20 official terms.
21 Q. And informally, if you had said to the
22 prosecutor, "Don't you think that this matter should be
23 investigated," it's likely you would have achieved some
24 results, isn't it, having regard to your position?
25 A. Informally, as I said, yes, but not formally.
1 Q. It's interesting that Mr. Aleksovski actually
2 contacted you, as well as the police and the
3 prosecutor, when it came to the reporting of the
4 murders that took place in February.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. So people could go to you directly?
7 A. Let me clarify something. The situation was
8 quite specific at the time. It was not something
9 common or ordinary, and it was not a formal, it was not
10 an official contact. It was of an informal nature.
11 Mr. Aleksovski is a sociologist by profession. He is
12 not a lawyer. He requested, informally, that I give
13 him my opinion about that issue, that is, he asked me
14 whether he had undertaken everything that was required
15 in accordance with the law criminal procedure. He did
16 that because he's not a lawyer.
17 Q. And you gave him advice as to what he should
18 do and, in fact, when you spoke to him, you were
19 satisfied that he had done all that was necessary?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And, indeed, any other person in an official
22 position could have done a similar thing, couldn't they
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And I think that you said that at the time
1 you made the comment that it was necessary for this
2 matter to be expedited. Do you remember saying that in
3 your evidence, or to be dealt with as quickly as
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And, presumably, you could have, informally,
7 taken steps to see that that happened? You had the
8 position and authority to do it, maybe informally, but
9 you could have said to the prosecutor, "I want this
10 case dealt with quickly?"
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now I just want to clarify, if I could, the
13 extent of the jurisdiction that you had. Now you dealt
14 with crimes committed by HVO soldiers and you, I take
15 it, didn't deal with crimes committed by soldiers of
16 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina because that fell under
17 the jurisdiction of the other court, is that true? Is
18 that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And the sorts of crimes that you dealt with,
21 were any crimes committed, but primarily with those
22 connected with military personnel?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And I take it that crimes committed by
25 civilians didn't come under your jurisdiction?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Within the ten municipalities over which you
3 had authority, it was any HVO forces within those ten
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And I take it your jurisdiction would have
7 related to such matters as murder, rape, destruction of
9 A. Yes, mostly.
10 Q. And these are the matters to which you and
11 the prosecutor and the HVO police directed their
12 attention, was it?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And the military prison at Kaonik, which Mr.
15 Aleksovski was the commander of came under your
16 jurisdiction because of the fact that ultimately the
17 court had a direct relationship to the prison? Is that
18 right? Is that a fair assessment of it?
19 A. No. I only had supervision over the detained
20 persons who were placed in that prison.
21 Q. So if it came to construction works or the
22 supplying of food or electricity or things of that
23 nature, you had nothing to do with that?
24 A. No.
25 Q. What you were concerned with was the basis
1 upon which the people were detained, the conditions
2 under which they were detained and matters pertaining
3 to prisoners and the legal rights of prisoners as such?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And that prison facility at Kaonik was
6 exclusively devoted to people falling under the
7 military structure, the military district?
8 A. Yes, that was its purpose.
9 Q. And do I take it from that at the same time
10 concurrent with the Kaonik facility, civilian prisons
11 in other places, perhaps, where people dealt with by
12 the civilian courts were kept in custody?
13 A. I don't know that. I don't know that and I
14 didn't see that.
15 Q. So, if a case was brought before you and you
16 looked at it and said, there is no connection with the
17 HVO, it's just a crime, theft between two civilian
18 parties, you wouldn't know where to send those people?
19 You wouldn't try them yourself, but you wouldn't know
20 where they're to go at the time?
21 A. I didn't have such cases.
22 Q. So the filtering process was sufficiently
23 accurate enough as to filter out any cases that were
24 investigated by civilian police?
25 A. I only had supervision of detained military
1 personnel. And yesterday I told you when it was that I
2 went there. Again, I only had supervision against
3 detained military personnel. That was my
4 responsibility, my competence as regards what you
6 Q. So, but the, you would agree with me,
7 wouldn't you, from what you've said that the Kaonik
8 facility was only built, and so far as the laws were
9 concerned, related only to persons connected with or
10 associated with the HVO?
11 A. I don't know that.
12 Q. Well, are you suggesting to me that some
13 other court or some other civilian investigation could
14 put people in the Kaonik facility?
15 A. Well, I don't know, but when I was there, I
16 told you I went there on several occasions, I only saw
17 military personnel, members of the Croatian Defence
19 Q. With your understanding of what the facility
20 was there for and its legal foundation?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And you know of no other law which provided
23 that this facility could be used for civilians or
24 people who had committed crimes in the non-military
25 structure, if I can call it that?
1 A. I don't know.
2 Q. And in respect of the prison at Kaonik and
3 its commander, in relation to your jurisdiction, you
4 had supervisory authority over the commander of that
5 facility, Mr. Aleksovski?
6 A. I did not have any jurisdiction over him. I
7 had only supervisory role over the detained persons,
8 detained individuals there. I did not have any such
9 authority over the warden, that is Mr. Aleksovski.
10 Q. But you were responsible for their treatment,
11 their hygiene and other conditions in detention?
12 A. No. No, I was not responsible for that. I
13 only performed my supervisory role over these
14 individuals. In case such an individual would state
15 that the treatment was inadequate, I could only draw
16 the attention of the warden to that fact. I did not
17 have any supervision over Mr. Aleksovski.
18 Q. Well, I'll read something that you said
19 yesterday in your evidence. And you tell me with
20 whether you now agree with it or disagree with it, if
21 you might. It's 940, Your Honours, I have the rough
22 transcript of it. Mr. Mikulicic asked you the
23 question: "You said you only had supervisory function,
24 what does it mean supervisory function over the
25 detention unit." And you answered as follows: "Well,
1 supervision over the detention unit by the criminal
2 proceedings law of the Bosnia-Herzegovina, meant that
3 after Bosnia-Herzegovina separated from Yugoslavia, you
4 may put it that way, the government of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina adopted a decree, and took over the
6 criminal proceedings act, which was formerly also the
7 federal criminal proceedings act and as such was also
8 in force in Bosnia-Herzegovina." And then you say and
9 this is the significant part, I think: "One of its
10 provisions said that a presiding judge also conducted
11 supervision over detainees while they were kept under
12 detention, but it meant what it meant is that their
13 stay there, their treatment, hygiene and all other
14 conditions in detention, for the duration of their
15 detention." Didn't you say that yesterday?
16 A. Yes, yes, but we're talking about the
17 supervision of detained individuals, not over the
18 prison as such.
19 Q. It's a fine point, isn't it, if they're being
20 kept in conditions which aren't hygienic, or they're
21 not receiving appropriate or satisfactory treatment,
22 the jurisdiction may relate to the individuals, but
23 surely if you have supervision, you would have
24 authority to correct any irregularities that you
1 A. Yes, but that authority lies only with the
2 warden of the prison in cooperation with the relevant
3 ministry, which organisationally speaking was linked to
4 that particular prison.
5 Q. So you're completely without any authority.
6 If you went out there and discovered a prisoner was
7 living in squalor, and unhealthy conditions, was beaten
8 all the time and you came to the conclusion that this
9 was just totally unacceptable, you couldn't do anything
10 about it, notwithstanding the fact it was your
11 responsibility to supervise this?
12 A. Yes. We didn't have such cases in respect of
13 detained persons. If such a case would have occurred,
14 I would have informed the warden and the relevant
15 ministry with its seat in Mostar, that is the ministry
16 of justice, who was in charge of undertaking all other
17 necessary measures, if necessary, if it was necessary
18 to rectify the situation. It is not, therefore, true
19 that nothing could be undertaken. This was all
20 regulated by law. By law that you have mentioned, by
21 the law that you have mentioned and...
22 Q. Did that law apply to you in April of 1993?
23 A. Which law did you have in mind.
24 Q. You called it the criminal proceedings law of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that's how you titled it.
1 A. Yes. That was a federal law, which was
2 adopted by Bosnia-Herzegovina after it separated from
4 Q. Well, which government of Bosnia-Herzegovina
5 adopted it? The government in Mostar or the government
6 in Sarajevo?
7 A. It was adopted by both governments, both
8 governments adopted that law.
9 Q. So you saw that law, did you, the adoption of
10 that law by the government in Mostar?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Would it be correct to actually call it, I
13 mean this is a small point, but would it be correct to
14 call it the criminal law of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
15 A. It's the law on criminal procedure of
17 Q. Wouldn't you call it the law on criminal
18 procedure of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna?
19 A. That law was the law of criminal procedure of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina and also the law in criminal
21 procedure of Herceg-Bosna, it was the same law.
22 Q. Getting back to the point we discussed a
23 moment ago. You said that you couldn't give Mr.
24 Aleksovski any directions, is that the effect of your
1 A. No orders, except for orders that were
2 prescribed by law. This could have been an order to
3 bring a suspect for questioning, an order for transfer
4 to another prison facility.
5 Q. Now what law prescribed that?
6 A. The law on criminal procedure.
7 Q. By Bosnia-Herzegovina?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And that's not the law on criminal procedure
10 of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna?
11 A. I told you, it was one and the same law that
12 was applicable throughout the territory of
14 Q. Well, it certainly wouldn't have been adopted
15 by the government in Sarajevo, it was part of the old
16 federal law, wasn't it, and you wouldn't call it the
17 law of Yugoslavia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?
18 A. This was a decree whereby the law on criminal
19 procedure of the SFR was adopted. At the moment it was
20 adopted, it became a law on, the law on criminal
21 procedure of the newly established state, the state of
23 Q. What was the status of the Croatian community
24 of Herceg-Bosna?
25 A. I don't understand your question.
1 Q. Well you spoke of the newly established state
2 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I was just interested and
3 curious about what you would call the Croatian
4 community of Herceg-Bosna?
5 A. Do you want to hear my personal opinion or my
6 opinion as a professional?
7 Q. Either. Either one may assist us or both.
8 A. I told you some time ago that the situation,
9 constitutionally speaking, was such that
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that situation requires analysis by
11 an expert in constitutional law, I am afraid I couldn't
12 help you here as a witness in this respect.
13 Q. I thought you were going to give us your
14 personal opinion, or is that your personal opinion?
15 A. I have given you my view and I do not wish to
16 repeat it.
17 Q. Now, the order that was put into evidence
18 yesterday, Exhibit D-21/A you may want to look at it,
19 if you would. And Mr. Registrar, if you would be so
20 kind to give the witness also D-21/B. Now
21 Mr. Percinlic, I want you, looking first at D-21/A,
22 which is displayed on the screen. There's one thing I
23 think we need to clear up straight away. In the
24 English translation that I have, the last paragraph
25 above your signature, describes Mr. Aleksovski as the
1 commander of the district military court, I am not sure
2 if that's a translation or typographical error, do you
3 see that?
4 A. District military prison. Court assignment,
5 no it means court or tribunal and this here word means
6 prison. Prison, not court.
7 Q. I just need to clarify that. It's probably
8 in the English translation.
9 A. Yes, I know what court means, here it should
10 be prison.
11 Q. Now, you notice that Mr. Aleksovski has a fix
12 affixed a stamp to that particular, I'm sorry you have
13 affixed a stamp to that particular document, notice the
14 stamp there?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And can you tell me what that stamp stands
17 for, what it relates to?
18 A. This is the stamp of the district military
19 court in Travnic.
20 Q. And who issued that stamp for your use?
21 A. All courts were issued stamps from the
22 relevant ministry.
23 Q. And so ministry of justice issued your
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Was there any connection between the ministry
2 of justice and the ministry of defence?
3 A. Not that I know of.
4 Q. And so the two particular departments of
5 government as it were, functioned independently of each
6 other, did they?
7 A. Well, I was not on the staff of the
8 government in Mostar, so I do not know how they
9 operated in practice or how they operated legally. I
10 just don't know that, and especially I don't know how
11 they acted in practice because that was in Mostar,
12 after all.
13 Q. Okay. Would you look now for a moment at the
14 next document, Exhibit 21/B. Now that document
15 purports to be signed by Mr. Aleksovski, and there's
16 also a stamp affixed to that, is there not?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. It, the stamp has the words Republic of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna,
20 central Bosnia, Central Bosnia operative zone, Travnic
21 defence department, do you see that?
22 A. Yes, but you are not correct, it says the
23 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Bosnia
24 and Herzegovina, and after that, the Croat community of
25 Herceg-Bosna and you said the Croat republic of
1 Herceg-Bosna, and then the Croatian community.
2 Q. What I am interested is the Central Bosnia
3 operative zone, Travnic defence department, what was
4 the Central Bosnia operative zone?
5 A. I am not an expert on military matters, so I
6 cannot tell you what operative zone means. All I can
7 assume is that this is a kind of organisational unit of
8 the armed forces, but I don't know what it means.
9 Q. I take it that like your stamp, this is a
10 stamp that would have been issued to Mr. Aleksovski,
11 presumably by the department of defence?
12 A. I do not know who he received it from, I know
13 only from whom I received my stamp.
14 Q. Now when it came to being given stamps, like
15 the one you received, was there any formal procedure,
16 did someone, you have to sign for it or were there
17 regulations as to when and how you were to use it, can
18 you tell me that?
19 A. There were provisions specifying the use of
20 stamps, but I just don't know if they were adopted at
21 this time. It is the same time when the stamps were
22 issued or were they adopted subsequently, it's very
23 difficult to ascertain if one doesn't have the official
24 gazette here.
25 Q. But surely you must have known in what
1 circumstances you would affix the stamp or the seal to
2 documents, you must have known that. You wouldn't
3 haven't of had to look up in a gazette every time,
5 A. You asked me if there were any regulations
6 pertaining to this matter, and I am answering that,
7 yes, there were, but I don't know when they were
9 Q. Thank you. Perhaps my question was a little
10 misleading. Can you assist me by telling me when it
11 was, under which circumstances you chose to affix the
12 stamp to the document?
13 A. As regulated, as prescribed and there are
14 provisions on the use of the stamp and the inscription
15 there. As I said, there's regulations on the use of
16 stamps, but I simply do not know whether they were
17 adopted in early '92 or in the course of '92.
18 Q. Well, when you came to affix the stamp to
19 this particular document, Exhibit D-21/A, presumably
20 you must have had a reason for affixing it there, and
21 you must have done so according to that reason, didn't
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Why did you choose to use the stamp on this
1 A. Because we stamp every single document, no
2 document may leave the court without a stamp.
3 Q. And the stamp gives it the official sign of
4 authority and approval, does it?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And I guess one could assume from that that
7 the stamp affixed by Mr. Aleksovski would have a
8 similar effect?
9 A. No, I don't know, I assume so, I don't know I
10 am talking about the document that was issued by me.
11 Q. Now looking at the other exhibit that was
12 tendered, Exhibit 22/A, and 22/B, perhaps you might be
13 given both those documents. Now this related, this
14 related, I think to an incident that's described to
15 have taken place on the 7th of February, 1993, is that
17 A. Yes. Yes.
18 Q. And we've gone over the fact that Mr.
19 Aleksovski had contacted you about it, what did he tell
20 you about the incident itself?
21 A. You see it was a long time ago, all I
22 remember is that two Bosniaks had been killed in
23 Busovaca. He did not tell about the circumstances, all
24 he said was that they lost their lives and aware of the
25 fact that at the same time, those undesirable events
1 had taken place, I simply told him a what needed to be
2 done. And he had already done that.
3 Q. Now, I take it that Mr. Aleksovski was
4 concerned about it, because the victims were persons
5 who were in his prison establishment?
6 A. It is quite possible. I repeat, it was a
7 long time ago, but Mr. Aleksovski had a high sense of
8 responsibility and I didn't know that at the time. But
9 I could see from the conversation with him that he was
10 very worried about that event.
11 Q. Did he tell you why he was worried about it?
12 A. No.
13 Q. He didn't say that people were asking
14 questions or anything of that nature? When I say
15 people, I mean people from the international community,
16 the Red Cross or BCMM or any of those organisations?
17 A. No. It was a very brief conversation on the
18 telephone and one could not learn from it or judge by
20 Q. Did you act on this matter yourself?
21 A. What matter? I don't understand.
22 Q. This investigation, the one, the subject of
23 Exhibits 22/A and B. Did you take action?
24 A. I remember that in the morning I spoke to the
25 prosecutor who said -- who told me then that all the
1 actions were taken in order to note down all the
2 relevant facts about that crime and to bring in the
3 detained -- the suspect.
4 Q. And, to your knowledge, did all of that
6 A. Yes. At the time all that was necessary was
7 done to launch, to start the criminal proceedings.
8 Q. And did the criminal proceedings go through
9 to their ultimate conclusion?
10 A. I wouldn't know, because I left that post, I
11 left the office, so I do not know when they were
12 brought to a close. I mean, when the proceedings were
13 brought to a close.
14 Q. When did you leave -- sorry, when did you
15 leave that post?
16 A. I left the post sometime in mid-1995, but I
17 told you that during the military operations in Travnik
18 in 1993 another relevant part of the court records
19 stayed behind, in part in the court building, in part
20 outside it. So that the reopening of these cases
21 lasted throughout 1994 and in the beginning of 1995 and
22 I remember, I personally remember, that I took part in
23 the reopening of some of these cases. However, you
24 have to realise that it was very difficult to reopen
25 these cases because a large part of the documentation
1 was destroyed during the military operations in one way
2 or the other, in other words, burnt, seized or
4 Q. What about the --
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann. Excuse me.
6 Perhaps we might take a recess now, also to allow the
7 witness to rest. Therefore, I propose a 20-minute
9 --- Recess taken at 10.48 a.m.
10 --- On resuming at 11.10 a.m.
11 (The witness entered court)
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann.
13 MR. NIEMANN:
14 Q. Mr. Percinlic, we were talking about Exhibits
15 22/A and 22/B, which is the investigation into the
16 incident that occurred on 7 February, 1993. You are
17 saying you weren't sure what had happened to the case,
18 and we were talking about the case being
19 reconstructed. Did you ascertain what happened to the
20 accused? They were taken into custody. I take it,
21 they are not still there waiting for their trial?
22 A. I don't know. No. As far as I heard, one or
23 two of them have died in the meantime, and here I am
24 talking about the four individuals from the request to
25 open investigation. Two individuals, as far as I know,
1 have died in the meantime. Under what circumstances, I
2 don't know.
3 Q. Well, the remaining two, were they ever
4 tried, that you know of?
5 A. I don't know. As I told you, in April, May
6 '95, I left that post and I don't know.
7 Q. I assume if they had been remanded in custody
8 pending the trial or during the investigation phase,
9 what would have happened, though, between 1993 and
10 1995, wouldn't it?
11 A. See, as I told you, this reconstruction of
12 cases lasted for very long, a year and a half, due to
13 some objective circumstances. You must bear in mind
14 that war operations were conducted at the time in the
15 area. However, all the cases have been reconstructed
16 pursuant to an order to reconstruct a number of cases.
17 Q. Yes. I am aware of that. But you had
18 supervision of the prisoners? That was your
19 responsibility. So, surely, even if there was a period
20 when records may have been destroyed, you would have
21 been concerned to inquire as to the fate of your
22 prisoners, surely?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Indeed, did you go to the camp in March of
25 1993 for the purpose of seeing these particular
2 A. I went there in late March, 1993. As far as
3 I can recall, I saw them on that occasion. I couldn't
4 give you the exact date, but I think it was either in
5 March or in April. I didn't know these individuals
6 personally and during that period a number of
7 individuals were detained, so I cannot specifically
8 recall these individuals.
9 Q. Now, were all of the persons detained in the
10 camp done so as a consequence of either orders by you,
11 or your fellow judges?
12 A. I only saw such persons, that is the persons
13 who were detained there. However, you must bear in
14 mind that in 1993 there were also convicts there, as
15 well as some members of the Croatian Defence Council
16 because of disciplinary measures that were taken
17 against them. I didn't see such cases because, in
18 January, 1993, and in April, 1993, in Vitez and
19 Busovaca respectively, I did not have any direct
20 contact with the prison, because the seat of the court
21 was in Travnik, and I was there.
22 Q. But notwithstanding the fact that you were
23 physically separated from the prison, your
24 responsibilities and duties of supervision still
25 continued during that period?
1 A. Yes, only in respect of detained persons.
2 Q. And you were able to make contact with the
3 prison by means of telephone or fax machine during that
4 time, even if you physically couldn't travel there?
5 A. At the time of war operations that contact
6 was also rare, and it was possible to establish such
7 contact only from time to time.
8 Q. Now, this document, 22/B -- 22/A and 22/B,
9 obviously you would have read these documents because
10 the persons incarcerated as a consequence of this
11 investigation come under your supervision?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And the reason why Mr. Aleksovski became
14 involved in the matter was because they were persons,
15 that people were victims to the crimes were persons who
16 had been taken out of his prison facility, prison
17 facility that he was responsible for. That's correct,
18 isn't it?
19 A. I don't know how it happened, the incident in
20 question, and I couldn't know that at the time. It was
21 only after the request to open investigation was
22 submitted that I learned how the incident came about.
23 Q. The victims had been taken out for the
24 purposes of trench digging, hadn't they? That's what
25 you learned either at the time or later?
1 A. That's what is stated in the request to open
2 investigation, and I believed it to be so.
3 Q. And, indeed, in Exhibit 22/B, immediately
4 under the heading, "because there are reasonable
5 grounds to suspect that," and it sets out the day and a
6 date and so forth, they say, "They killed Nermin
7 Elezovic and Jasmin Sehovic, Muslims who had been taken
8 prisoner by the HVO during the clashes between the HVO
9 from Bosnia -- from Busovaca and the Army of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina. That's the clash that took place
11 in January of 1993?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So you were aware that these people had been
14 detained in the prison at Kaonik?
15 A. I didn't know that. I told you I didn't have
16 contact with the institution after mid January, 1993.
17 However, I heard, I don't know exactly when, that there
18 were persons who were detained there on that particular
19 locality. However, I personally did not see them.
20 Q. Well, were they -- were those persons that
21 were detained there, those Muslim persons, detained
22 under your authority?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Well, who else had authority to put people in
25 the prison facility at Kaonik?
1 A. I don't know that. I was working for a
2 civilian institution. I was therefore in the civilian
3 part, civilian wing of the HVO, not the military one,
4 so I don't know who within the military wing was
5 responsible for that, had the authority for that.
6 Q. But you were in the district military court.
7 Now, whether -- I am not suggesting you were a military
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. But you were in a district military court,
11 and its responsibility was for the HVO?
12 A. Yes, but it was under the jurisdiction of the
13 Ministry of Justice and not the Ministry of Defence.
14 Q. But it doesn't matter what ministry it was
15 under, you told me that the prison facility at Kaonik
16 was established for the purposes of dealing with
17 persons connected with or associated with the HVO?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What were these Muslim prisoners doing there,
20 then? They weren't connected or associated with the
21 HVO, were they?
22 A. I don't know that. I don't know that.
23 Q. There is not a thing here to suggest that
24 that's the case. And, indeed, if they had been
25 connected with it or associated with the HVO, they
1 would immediately come under your jurisdiction,
2 wouldn't they?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, if you saw persons exercising your
5 jurisdiction, or reports such as this, which indicated
6 that somebody else was exercising your jurisdiction,
7 you would have done something about it, wouldn't you?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Well, what did you do about it when you read
11 A. What? You mean the request to open
13 Q. When you found out that there were Muslim
14 prisoners taken by the HVO, incarcerated in Kaonik, and
15 then subsequently killed trench digging, what did you
16 do about it?
17 A. We conducted criminal proceedings. The
18 prison was not under my jurisdiction.
19 Q. Did you conduct criminal proceedings into why
20 these Muslim prisoners were being incarcerated in the
21 Kaonik Prison by the HVO?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Why not?
24 A. Because the request to open investigation
25 didn't go in that direction.
1 Q. It says that the criminal report was filed by
2 the military police in Vitez. Was that the
3 headquarters of the military police, or was there also
4 military police in Busovaca?
5 A. In Vitez it was the criminal police that had
6 its seat.
7 Q. I don't know whether it's a translation
8 error. You say in Vitez or Busovaca? Maybe there is a
9 mistake there. Was it in Busovaca there was civilian
10 police and in Vitez the military police; is that
12 A. The seat of the criminal military police was
13 in Vitez.
14 Q. I see. So that's why the report was -- why
15 the matter was investigated by those police --
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, were you aware that during 1992 there
18 was published in the Narondi List, which is the gazette
19 of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosnia, an
20 agreement between the president of the HVO, Mate Boban,
21 and the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina a decree which
22 determined that the Geneva Conventions would apply to
23 enemy soldiers, in those days it was the JNA and other
24 forces. Were you aware of that?
25 A. No, I didn't know. I read these -- the
1 Official Gazette daily, but it's been -- it was a long
2 time ago, and a number of them were issued, and it is
3 hard to remember each detail and each particular
5 Q. I understand that from my own experience. So
6 perhaps you might look at this document, if I can show
7 it to you.
8 There's a copy for Your Honours, and I've
9 given a copy to Mr. Mikulicic. I understand we are
10 short a copy. I'll do what I can, Your Honours. I
11 think I've given two documents there, in any event.
12 Perhaps they can both be marked for the moment. But
13 it's the top document, Your Honours.
14 THE REGISTRAR: This will be document 123.
15 MR. NIEMANN: As I just indicated, there is
16 one attached to it. Perhaps that could be 123/B, if
17 that's convenient to the Registrar. There are two
18 documents in the list. I'm sorry.
19 Q. Now, just looking at the top document there,
20 the decree on the treatment of persons captured. Do
21 you note that, see that document?
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me, Mr. Niemann. Is
23 it possible to place the document on the ELMO?
24 MR. NIEMANN: By all means, Your Honours. I
25 am wondering if you would assist me. Could the English
1 version be put on the ELMO. And you can keep the
2 Croatian version there.
3 Q. Now, just looking at this document for me.
4 Do you recognise this as the typical Narondi List that
5 was presented at the time?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You will notice that, of course, the date of
8 it is 3rd of July, 1992, and it relates at that stage
9 to primarily the conflict with the JNA, does it not?
10 A. Yes. And at that time I did not read, I did
11 not see this Narondi list issues.
12 Q. You'll see there that it deals with persons
13 captured in armed fighting against the Croatian
14 community, et cetera, shall be treated in accordance
15 with the Geneva Conventions. I think as a lawyer you
16 would expect that to be the case anyway, would you not?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. The second article, Article 2, provides that:
19 "The head of justice and administration department --"
20 I take it, that's your department, is it, the head of
21 justice and administration department?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. "-- in co-operation with the head of the
24 defence department, and the head of the department of
25 the interior." And that's the police, I take it?
1 A. Yes, that is the police.
2 Q. Yes. "Shall designate the locations where
3 prisoners shall be kept," which in this case, in the
4 relevant case here, is Kaonik. Kaonik is not
5 mentioned, of course, but they indicate where they
6 shall be kept. "In accordance with the provisions of
7 the convention."
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, you have an
10 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Your Honour. My learned
11 friend, Mr. Niemann, before he began to examine the
12 witness, informed me about the document that he would
13 show to the witness, and I did not react then, but now,
14 when I see the thrust of the cross-examination, I feel
15 I must object.
16 My learned friend from the prosecutor's
17 office showed the witness the decree on the treatment
18 of persons captured in armed conflicts, that is,
19 persons who could be defined as prisoners of war, and
20 pursuant to the indictment the proceedings here are not
21 conducted against persons who are captured in armed
22 conflicts but against civilians.
23 The Defence holds that this manner of
24 examination of the witness, which pertains to prisoners
25 of war, even if disregarding the fact that this is a
1 period which is not covered by the indictment, is not
2 relevant to these proceedings, and therefore we object
3 against the cross-examination of the witness, which
4 would be on the treatment of prisoners of war.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, what is the
6 relevance that led you to make this objection? Do you
7 understand my question? I'm sorry, let me repeat it.
8 Perhaps I was not clear. You stated that you took
9 cognizance of this document; is that correct? Did you
10 know this document before it was presented to the
12 MR. MIKULICIC: I saw this document today,
13 right before the trial when Mr. Niemann showed it to
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You only saw the document,
16 but you did not know how it would be used by the
17 Prosecution; is that it? What did you think that the
18 Prosecution was going to do with this document? You
19 didn't know?
20 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, I really did not
21 know what was the intent behind this form of
22 examination of my learned friend. I may have thought
23 that my learned friend simply wanted to show a document
24 which was an official organ at the time, but I did not
25 know what would be the thrust of his examination.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann, can you state
2 what is your objective in the use of these documents?
3 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, Your Honour. Your
4 Honours, the significance of international law of a --
5 I call it quasi-state, because I don't think we know
6 what the community of Herceg-Bosnia is, actually, but
7 it does have its own army and it seems to have its own
8 territory, which are some things consistent with a
9 state. It's very significant when a state, or such an
10 institution, expresses itself to be bound by the Geneva
11 Conventions. And, in my submission, the document is
12 shown to the witness for a number of reasons. Firstly,
13 for that fact, which is a very relevant fact. It
14 doesn't matter that a state says, well, we accept that
15 we are bound by the Geneva Conventions for this
16 conflict. It doesn't assist for someone to come along
17 and say, "Oh it wasn't this conflict, it was this
18 conflict over here." Once one expresses themselves
19 bound by the conventions, they are bound by the
20 conventions. So that's the first point that I wish to
22 The second point is that it's all been a bit
23 mysterious about this relationship of the Department of
24 Justice in this community and the Department of
25 Defence. This document seems to deal with that issue,
1 and deals with it in Article 2. And, ultimately, the
2 document clearly expresses the position with respect to
3 the facility at Kaonik in Article 3, and under whose
4 jurisdiction it comes. And because this witness is a
5 person who was appointed to the district military
6 court, has said that he is responsible for offences
7 perpetrated by HVO or connected with HVO, in my
8 respectful submission it becomes very relevant.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, what is your
10 position, after having heard what Mr. Niemann stated?
11 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, the Defence
12 wishes to indicate the title of the document, which is
13 used by the Prosecution. It is a decree on the
14 treatment of persons captured in armoured conflicts,
15 fighting, that is persons enjoying the status of
16 prisoners of war and therefore are under Geneva
17 Conventions. And I am repeating this particular case
18 has nothing to do with prisoners of war. This case is
19 dealing with civilians rather than the prisoners of
20 war. And that is why we object against the use of this
21 document and any examination of it in this direction.
22 We have yet another objection, and that is
23 that my learned friend is examining the witness as
24 concerns the constitutional law aspects, whereas at
25 that time the witness was the criminal judge of the
1 district military court in Travnik. So that was his
2 duty. And our examination of the same witness was
3 within this framework.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: And, Mr. Mikulicic, what do
5 you feel about the clarification about the
6 administrative structure which was raised by the
7 Article 2?
8 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, we still hold
9 that this document is of no relevance in this
10 particular case.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I will now consult with my
13 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, just before you
14 consult, may I just raise one -- correct one matter, I
15 think. We've never asserted that the indictment only
16 deals with civilians. Admittedly, most of the evidence
17 points to that, but we've never asserted that that's
18 the position under the indictment. So it may be that
19 that's the way the evidence comes out at the end of the
20 day, but it's not our position.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: The decision of the
22 Chamber, for the time being, is that we will take a
23 ten-minute break. I believe that ten minutes will be
24 sufficient for Mr. Aleksovski to be able to leave the
25 courtroom; is that right? Very well, ten minutes.
1 --- Recess taken at 11.40 a.m.
2 --- Upon resuming at 11.55 a.m.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic and Mr.
4 Niemann, the Chamber has considered that the date of
5 the document is not relevant because we consider that
6 the document was in effect at the time of the
7 indictment. Therefore, the Chamber will admit the
8 document only in the case of Article 2 which is in
9 question concerning the structure and organisation of
10 the state. This is the principle that was admitted at
11 the beginning of his testimony.
12 So, Mr. Niemann, you may continue with the
13 cross-examination within the area of Article 2 only of
14 this document. This is the decision of the Chamber.
15 MR. NIEMANN: If Your Honours, please.
16 Q. Looking at Article 2, Mr. Percinlic, you will
17 agree with me there that it is expressly stated that
18 there shall be cooperations between those three
19 departments when it comes to the dealing with
20 prisoners, in this case, prisoners of war?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And it's true, isn't it, that a similar
23 regime operated in 1993 as well as in 1992?
24 A. Yes, yes.
25 Q. Now, when the district military prosecutor's
1 office was established, there were four districts
2 established, I think that's right, isn't it? One in
3 Mostar, Duvno, Travnik and Bosanski Brod?
4 A. Yes, yes there were three established.
5 Q. I think I said four, I said Mostar, Duvno
6 Travnik and Bosanski Brod, does that sound right to
8 A. I think so, yes. I believe that three were
9 established. I don't have that decree. Yes, you're
10 right, four.
11 Q. And the prosecutor was commissioned with the
12 responsibility of acting upon complaints that were
13 afforded to him by military personnel, and I think as
14 you said in evidence, citizens, military commanders and
15 institutions could all refer matters to the military
17 A. Criminal reports could be submitted by any
19 Q. And members of the armed forces and also
20 commanders, you'd agree, I think, with that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, Mr. Aleksovski, of course, was a member
23 of such an institution and we've already discussed the
24 investigation that was referred to you -- referred,
25 sorry, to the military prosecutor and that he'd
1 discussed with you. Did he discuss with you any other
2 incidences at the time that troubled him, such as the
3 treatment of Muslim inmates in the prison?
4 A. No, no, this did not fall within my
5 jurisdiction and I never discussed this with him.
6 Q. Well, if they had been put in there by the
7 HVO, that would be an act that would certainly fall
8 within your jurisdiction, wouldn't it?
9 A. No, because no criminal report was submitted
10 against these persons. There was no investigation
11 against them and they were not under my jurisdiction.
12 Q. But when the Muslim detainees were murdered
13 and Mr. Aleksovski contacted you, you had no report
14 then either, did you? This was pre the submission of
15 any report or prior to?
16 A. On that occasion I just gave him my advice
17 and recommendation. It was an informal contact. It
18 was not a formal, official contact as it is prescribed
19 by law.
20 Q. But he certainly could have contacted you if
21 he was concerned about the treatment of prisoners, the
22 fact that they were being taken out and used for trench
23 digging or for human shields or some such thing. He
24 could have raised that with you?
25 A. No, he couldn't discuss this with me because
1 I was not the person in charge of that.
2 Q. You're saying officially he may not have been
3 able to do it, but surely he could do it if he wanted
4 to, you're in contact with him, you're speaking to him
5 on the phone, he could have said to you, I am concerned
6 about this issue, couldn't he?
7 A. He could say so, but he never did. Again, as
8 I told you, this contact was rather rare. There were
9 military operations going on in the territory of
10 Busovaca and Vitez municipalities and our contacts were
11 rare and official in character.
12 Q. And you could have given him advice if he had
13 raised that, he said to you; "I have people here that
14 have been placed in my prison and they're being taken
15 out each day and used as human shields or to dig
16 trenches, and that worries me and concerns me, I think
17 it might be contrary to the Geneva conventions," he
18 could have raised that and you could have given him
19 advice, couldn't you, based on what he should do?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And what advice would you have given him if
22 you'd done that?
23 A. Again, I have to reiterate that this was not
24 under my jurisdiction, that it was under the
25 jurisdiction of military, of the military wing, that is
1 the army. The military court was not competent for
2 giving any --
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Sorry, to interrupt you,
4 but I believe Mr. Mikulicic would like to raise an
6 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, with all due
7 respect for the line of questioning of my learned
8 colleague we do have an objection because the
9 prosecutor has been asking hypothetical questions to
10 this witness. What would have happened if you had done
11 this or that. I mean, this is a very hypothetical and
12 the witness cannot provide any facts. He can only base
13 his conclusions on the basis of some speculation and
14 this is what we object to.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann.
16 MR. NIEMANN: There's no fundamental
17 objection to asking a hypothetical question, provided
18 they're based in some sense of reality and I think
19 that's certainly the case here. We have a very clearly
20 defined situation by the witness that if he becomes
21 involved in an investigation, the prisoners under his
22 responsibility or under his supervision, they're all
23 clearly defined, yet we know from the evidence that
24 there are hundreds of people kept in this prison and
25 there is no foundation about it at all. Surely I am
1 entitled to explore that.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: It was stated and we should
3 be reminded of two things: First of all, that the
4 witness is not an expert witness. The second thing is
5 that we admitted that we could clarify issues
6 concerning the organisation. In any event, I believe
7 we should stick to the facts. If a hypothesis can
8 clarify these facts but not in abstract terms. Do you
9 agree with this point?
10 We could, we might put questions in a
11 conditional sense as long as these will be an aid to
12 clarifying certain facts, but not in abstract terms.
13 If you accept this point, then we will then move ahead,
14 if you do not, then we'll make a decision on this
15 issue. Mr. Niemann.
16 MR. NIEMANN:
17 I'll word it another way, Your Honour.
18 Q. When you went to the Kaonik facility on the
19 number of occasions that you did so during, did you see
20 Muslim detainees there?
21 A. No, I didn't.
22 Q. And other than going to the place where the
23 cells were, did you go anywhere else in the facility?
24 A. No.
25 Q. It was a notorious fact, wasn't it, that
1 Muslim facilities were being kept in this camp, in this
2 prison facility, you knew that?
3 A. This is what I heard after the first
4 conflict. I heard that there were such persons. But,
5 again, I must tell you that I did not have the
6 opportunity to -- did not have physical access to these
8 Q. Well now, if an HVO soldier breached the
9 Geneva conventions, that would be a matter that would
10 concern you, wouldn't it?
11 A. Yes, in case a criminal report is submitted,
12 in case proceedings are conducted.
13 Q. Of course that you formerly became involved
14 in the matter, but you'd be concerned about matters
15 that breached the Geneva convention, wouldn't you?
16 A. In case criminal proceedings are initiated as
17 it is regulated by law.
18 Q. Are you suggesting to me that most criminal
19 proceedings initiated either in your capacity as a
20 judge or in any other capacity, you had no interest in
21 breaches of the law, is that what you're saying?
22 A. I did not say that. I simply told you how
23 the proceedings were conducted and what principle was
24 applied. But I think that you keep mixing the role of
25 the prosecutor's office and the role of the court in
1 this type of proceedings. It was not the court that
2 initiated proceedings, it was the responsibility of the
3 prosecutor's office.
4 Q. I know, but we covered that very clearly.
5 But the point of the fact is that if you were
6 travelling around the is district and you see, saw or
7 heard of, or become aware of breaches of the Geneva
8 conventions and other crimes being committed on a
9 regular basis by HVO soldiers, if you're receiving no
10 reports of that, that would be a matter of concern to
11 you, wouldn't it?
12 A. I did not know of such breaches, nor was I
13 personally informed about them.
14 Q. So you heard nothing about incidences that
15 happened during the course of April of 1993 by HVO
16 soldiers or allegedly committed by HVO soldiers?
17 A. I must repeat. I did hear that there were
18 persons that were interned at that institution and this
19 is all I know. I don't know anything about any
21 Q. Well, didn't it occur to you that it might
22 be, even if you had no direct jurisdiction bestowed on
23 you by some formal act of the prosecutor, didn't it
24 occur to you to speak to the prosecutor or the minister
25 of the justice or somebody else if you saw and knew
1 this to be happening?
2 A. I did not see such things happening. I must
3 say once again that I had no physical access to that
4 prison at that time, so I couldn't see that.
5 Q. What about outside of the prison, did you
6 receive reports of breaches of the Geneva conventions
7 and other possible war crimes by commanders of the
9 A. Such reports could only be submitted to the
10 prosecutor's office, not to me.
11 Q. Whether it came through the prosecutor's
12 office or directly, did Colonel Blaskic, for example,
13 contact you and tell you about crimes that allegedly
14 were being committed by his soldiers?
15 A. I don't remember.
16 Q. What about Dario Kordic, did he make contact
17 with you? Mr. Aleksovski did, what about Dario
19 A. I don't remember.
20 Q. Now, I think you said in March that you went
21 down to the prison in Kaonik and then I think you went
22 later, was that, in what, July? Can you remember the
23 next time when you went?
24 A. Which time frame do you have in mind, before
25 the month of July or after that?
1 Q. Well, you just tell me, if you might, and
2 assist me as best you can, when did you go there during
3 the course of 1993, to the Kaonik facility? You've
4 mentioned going there in late '92, in January '93, in
5 March, 1993, now you also said July I think?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did you go in April?
8 A. I don't remember whether I went in April, it
9 was a long time ago, but I remember these visits that
10 took place after the conflict and after the
11 communications were re-established. This is why I
12 remember these particular visits. They all took place
13 in 1993, especially in the second half of 1993 when it
14 was possible to travel.
15 Q. Now when you travelled down to the road from
16 Travnik or from Vitez to the Kaonik facility, you would
17 have seen destroyed buildings on the side of the road,
18 wouldn't you?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And did you know whether or not these
21 buildings were Muslims' houses or Croat houses or were
22 you able to distinguish?
23 A. I personally didn't make any distinction, I
24 don't know that area very well. I was born in Travnik
25 and I was raised there and Travnik is the largest town
1 in the area.
2 Q. You drove past the Village of Ahmici, didn't
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Take a look at this photograph for me. If it
6 could be placed on the ELMO, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Document 134.
8 MR. NIEMANN:
9 Q. Now that's the Mosque at Ahmici, isn't it?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And as you drive from Vitez down to Busovaca
12 and particularly to Kaonik, this is set back off the
13 road, but you can see it from the road, from the main
15 A. It's difficult to see. Actually, no.
16 Q. But you saw this, didn't you, during 1993?
17 A. No.
18 Q. You didn't at any stage see the mosque in
19 Ahmici had been destroyed?
20 A. I saw that the entire village was destroyed
21 and I didn't make any distinction from between
22 buildings, houses and the mosque because the mosque is,
23 I think, situated some 100 metres away from the road.
24 And I didn't stray from the road because of the
25 danger. I was not a member of the military.
1 Q. So when did you first see this?
2 A. I personally never entered that village. I,
3 again, have to stress that even after the truce, I
4 never went to the village. I never went to the
5 Municipality of Vitez before that. I never visited
6 this particular location.
7 Q. So you never received a report either during
8 1993 or subsequently relating to an investigation into
9 the destruction of religious monuments by the HVO?
10 A. I told you that such a report could only be
11 submitted to the prosecutor's office and not to me.
12 Q. My question is you never saw such a report?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Do you know an incident where a judge by the
15 name of Judge Kemal was murdered?
16 A. I heard about that case, but I don't know
17 anything about it.
18 Q. Was it ever investigated so far as you know?
19 A. This could only be investigated by the
20 police. As far as I know, the perpetrator was never
22 Q. And this occurred in April/May of 1993 in
24 A. It didn't occur in Travnik, it occurred
25 outside Travnik and I don't know when.
1 Q. Do you remember or did you ever receive a
2 report about a bomb that was placed in a truck which
3 exploded on or about the 18th of April, 1993, in Stari
5 MR. MIKULICIC: I apologise, Your Honours,
6 with your permission the Defence would like to ask the
7 colleague from the Prosecution what is the reason for
8 these questions? Obviously they don't have anything to
9 do with the Kaonik facility, which is the subject of
10 this indictment. After we received an explanation, we
11 will provide you with our opinion.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann, are you
13 satisfied with the statement made by Mr. Mikulicic.
14 MR. NIEMANN: No, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: If not so, then please an
16 explanation from your part.
17 MR. NIEMANN: Very much so, Your Honours.
18 There are a number of very notorious incidences that
19 occur in this area, not only the illegal detention of
20 Muslim people in the prison facility at Kaonik, which
21 were taken out and used for the purposes of human
22 shields and trench digging, which was notorious,
23 uninvestigated and nothing was done about it, but there
24 are other very notorious incidences that occurred and
25 it's my purpose to show that nothing was done about
1 them either. So that there's a consistent pattern of
2 ignoring all of these atrocities that occurred in this
3 area and that this witness was in a position to bring
4 about or effect an investigation or at least inquire
5 into it, but did nothing about it. That's my purpose,
6 Your Honour.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann and
8 Mr. Mikulicic, the Chamber determines that one should
9 only ask the witness whether or not he had any
10 relations with or any dealings with respect to these
11 questions or these issues. Whether or not he knew --
12 I'm sorry, let me restate this. Whether or not there
13 were any dealings and all other questions should be
14 withdrawn. So there should be some facts that we can
15 perhaps ask whether or not there was any type of
17 MR. NIEMANN:
18 Q. Was there any trial into --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
20 MR. NIEMANN:
21 Q. Was there any trial related to the
22 perpetrators of the persons responsible for the truck
23 bomb explosion in Stari Vitez that occurred on or about
24 the 18th of April, 1993?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Was there any trial in relation to the
2 perpetrators who shelled the central downtown district
3 of Zenica on the 19th of April, 1993?
4 A. If the request to open investigation was
5 never submitted, then the judicial proceedings didn't
6 take place. This is all provided for in the law on
7 criminal procedure.
8 Q. Was there any investigation -- I'm sorry, any
9 trial into the persons who were responsible for forcing
10 Kaonik prisoners to go out and act as human shields or
11 to dig trenches during the course of 1993?
12 A. It was not conducted.
13 Q. Was there any trial or investigation into an
14 incident whereby convoys travelling through Vitez, on
15 the 10th of June, 1993, were plundered, these
16 humanitarian convoys plundered and the drivers killed,
17 allegedly, by HVO soldiers?
18 A. I don't know whether such proceedings were
19 conducted, because at that time I was in hospital
20 undergoing a treatment.
21 Q. Do you know whether there was any trial or
22 investigation into the shooting by, allegedly by HVO
23 soldiers, of an interpreter employed by the British
24 battalion in Vitez in July of 1993?
25 A. This incident is completely unknown to me.
1 Q. The name of the victim was Dobrila Kalaba.
2 Was there any trial in relation to the killing of
3 civilian personnel, or civilians, in the Town of Ahmici
4 in April of 1993?
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic.
6 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, again, with all
7 due respect, the Defence really cannot understand what
8 kind of link these questions have with the role of the
9 accused, Zlatko Aleksovski, in this particular trial.
10 The accused, Zlatko Aleksovski, could in no way have
11 influence on these proceedings or submission of
12 criminal reports. This is why we simply don't
13 understand what these questions have to do with the
14 facts stated in the indictment.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann.
16 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, Your Honours. I am happy
17 to respond to that.
18 Mr. Aleksovski is part of the whole machinery
19 that operated in this particular area of the Lasva
20 Valley, especially in the period of 1993. This witness
21 is being brought forward, presumably, to give evidence
22 about one incident which was investigated and which he
23 was involved in.
24 I don't know what the Defence at the end of
25 the day are going to do with this evidence, but it's my
1 assumption that it's going to be presented as a basis
2 upon which it could be argued that when incidences
3 occurred, such as this particular one, action was taken
4 by the superior of the prison, Mr. Aleksovski.
5 Now, directly related to him is the taking of
6 prisoners out of his facility and using them for the
7 purposes for which they were used, which I have
8 mentioned on numerous times, the subjecting them to
9 inhumane conditions and beatings inside the prison, all
10 of which are matters that he could have investigated,
11 had investigated and pursued. And what I am showing,
12 Your Honour, is that there is -- not only is it
13 restricted or limited to what was happening in the camp
14 itself, but it was a course of conduct that operated
15 throughout the whole of the area.
16 It's not suggested that Mr. Aleksovski is
17 responsible for or any way meet as such directly with
18 these atrocities, if I can call it that, in other parts
19 of the municipality, but they are events which occurred
20 in the area which is under the jurisdiction of this
21 witness. And, Your Honours, it points to a pattern.
22 So that what happened at Kaonik is not some mere
23 coincidence, some aberration, but in fact constitutes
24 an integral part of a plan and pattern of conduct which
25 happened throughout the whole of Lasva Valley.
1 Now, this witness had the jurisdiction to
2 deal with criminal acts committed by members of the
3 HVO. It is alleged that all of these incidences that I
4 am mentioning were committed by members of the HVO, and
5 would clearly have fallen under his jurisdiction should
6 a report have been investigated. He may not have been
7 responsible for the report, or commencing the
8 investigation, but there are certainly matters which
9 are notorious and well-known and at the time attracted
10 international media coverage, and yet he seems, in most
11 instances, not to have known anything about them. And
12 yet nothing was done.
13 So, Your Honours, my cross-examination goes
14 to a number of points. It goes to that systematic
15 conduct to show a wider scheme and pattern, which was
16 operational. It also goes to the credibility of this
17 witness. So there are the two foundations of my line
18 of cross-examination, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE VOHRAH: Mr. Niemann, what bothers me
20 is this. You are putting to him facts which is alleged
21 are notorious, and they are notorious to whom? Not to
22 the Court. How do you put facts to him which are not
24 MR. NIEMANN: I can put matters to him, Your
25 Honours, and he is in a position to state his reaction
1 to them.
2 JUDGE VOHRAH: But you are alleging facts,
3 facts which are supposed to have happened and we know
4 nothing about them.
5 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, the purpose of
6 cross-examination is not only to confront the witness
7 with matters which have been raised directly in chief,
8 not only limited to matters which are part of the
9 Prosecution's evidence, or the Defence evidence in the
10 case, but it is permissible, in my respectful
11 submission, to confront a witness with matters and for
12 him to agree or deny them. And that's merely all I am
13 doing, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE VOHRAH: Yes, but we are hearing the
15 facts for the first time now.
16 MR. NIEMANN: Well, Your Honours, I have no
17 control over the calling of the witness. The witness
18 comes along for the first time now and tells us his
20 But I am prepared to put to the witness a
21 document, if that would assist in providing a
22 foundation, at least in relation to one of the
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me, Mr. Niemann. I
25 would like to ask Mr. Mikulicic whether or not he has
1 anything he wishes to add or whether he wishes to
2 respond to the explanation given by Mr. Niemann in
3 respect of your objection.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Your Honours. In his
5 cross-examination Mr. Niemann starts from the
6 assumption that in the area of the Lasva Valley some
7 situations in excess of the ordinary happened, that
8 that was the standard behaviour during that period of
9 time. However, in this Tribunal and in this particular
10 case, we do not have a model of conduct on trial, but
11 proceedings are conducted against Mr. Aleksovski for
12 certain spelled out acts. Mr. Aleksovski could in no
13 way affect this model of conduct that the prosecutor
14 refers to.
15 Our second objection to this is that when
16 examining the witness the Prosecution goes beyond the
17 framework of the examination in chief.
18 And, lastly, here we are not conducting the
19 case against the witness. It is not the witness who is
20 on trial. These are our objections.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: In my opinion, the
22 cross-examination should solely be placed within the
23 scope of the examination in chief. Nonetheless, I
24 think we are going to take advantage of this particular
25 moment to take a break and then we will resume with the
1 session. Thank you. Fifteen-minute recess.
2 --- Recess taken at 12.36 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 12.55 p.m.
4 (The witness entered court)
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: The issue has been decided
6 by this Chamber in the following way: First, the
7 cross-examination must be strictly within the scope of
8 the examination in chief.
9 Second, the Prosecution's questions dealing
10 with the cases about which the witness may have been
11 aware must be relevant to those charges made against
12 the accused.
13 This is the decision of the Chamber and I
14 believe this is very clear.
15 And so within these parameters, Mr. Niemann,
16 you may continue.
17 MR. NIEMANN: No further questions.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I'm sorry, Mr. Niemann,
19 could you please repeat what you just stated, your
20 response, because the interpreters did not hear you.
21 MR. NIEMANN: No further questions, Your
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, you have the
24 floor. I would like to see whether you have any
25 additional questions.
1 MR. MIKULICIC: The Defence has no further
2 questions for this witness, Your Honours.
3 Examined by Judge Nieto Navia
4 Q. When you were at the law school, did you
5 receive courses on public international law and on
6 humanitarian law in particular?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. As a military judge, had you jurisdiction on
9 prisoners of war as defined by the Geneva Conventions?
10 A. No.
11 JUDGE NIETO NAVIA: Thank you.
12 Examined by Judge Rodrigues
13 Q. Mr. Percinlic, I would also like to ask you a
14 few questions. In your training in law, I believe you
15 took law courses in Banja Luka, were you trained in
16 general law, in constitutional law, as well as in
17 administrative law?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Another thing. You stated that if you were
20 to see something during your visits to Kaonik Prison,
21 which was not going well with the prisoners, then you
22 would submit such an issue to Mr. Aleksovski; is that
23 correct? Is that true?
24 A. Yes, if the matter related to detainees, they
25 were the only ones under my jurisdiction, that is,
1 persons against whom criminal proceedings were being
2 conducted, until the -- until their sentencing.
3 Q. Therefore, you have jurisdiction solely over
4 the prisoners of the HVO?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Then you have nothing at all to do with the
7 civilian prisoners?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Then to whom should Mr. Aleksovski address
10 issues that you would have raised with him? Can you
11 tell us that?
12 A. If a detainee complained of the treatment
13 received while in detention, then it was my duty to
14 notify Mr. Aleksovski and at the same time notify the
15 ministry in Mostar, that is the department for justice
16 and the administration, which would then take further
17 measures. It was all prescribed under and by law
18 because we took over all the legislation of the
19 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is the enforcement
20 of laws and all the other by-laws, whatever concerned,
21 the enforcement of these laws.
22 Q. Therefore, Mr. Aleksovski had some
23 relationship with the Ministry of Justice; is that
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did he have any relations with the Ministry
2 of Defence?
3 A. I don't know what it has to do -- what he had
4 to do with it.
5 Q. To your knowledge, if someone wanted to visit
6 the Kaonik Prison, would he have to request
7 authorisation, and from whom?
8 A. Regarding the detainees, it was ordered from
9 the court, that is either the presiding judge or the
10 investigating judge. As I have said, in relation to
11 the detainees.
12 Q. And if someone wanted to know how things were
13 going in the prison, for example, if someone were
14 coming from an international organisation?
15 A. As far as I know, they contacted
16 Mr. Aleksovski directly. I wouldn't know the details.
17 I don't know when they came, nor did I have any contact
18 with international organisations, by this I mean the
19 Red Cross in the first place.
20 Q. Did the Busovaca police have anything to do
21 with the Kaonik Prison?
22 A. I wouldn't know that. I know nothing about
24 Q. Another thing I would like for you to clarify
25 for me, if you can. How was the work organised within
1 the prison? I am speaking now of the work of the
3 A. I knew nothing about that. Convicted persons
4 were under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of
5 Justice. In other words, these details about how work
6 was organised there, I did not know that, nor was it my
7 duty to know it.
8 Q. But if you go to the prison to see a
9 prisoner, or a prisoner you wished to see, for example,
10 in a particular case and he wasn't there, you would ask
11 Mr. Aleksovski, and then Mr. Aleksovski would tell you
12 he's out working. Would you then have anything to do
13 with that situation or not?
14 A. I never heard such a case, because the
15 detainees, persons in the custody, never went to work
16 without ensuring the situation so they could escape.
17 We have to understand that we were -- there was a state
18 of war.
19 Q. Yes. So I believe, and at least the next
20 question I wish to put to you, although it might be a
21 bit redundant, but excuse me if I have to ask you
22 anyway. What was the role of Mr. Aleksovski in the
23 work of prisoners outside of the prison?
24 Mr. Aleksovski was the director of the prison.
25 A. Yes. Well, before the court he was the
1 prison warden, and that is how we knew him, the
2 commander of the district military prison.
3 Q. But he was also the warden for the -- well,
4 the director for the HVO, was he not?
5 A. What do you mean director for HVO? It was
6 the armoured component.
7 Q. My question is whether or not he was one
8 hundred percent the director, or whether or not he was
9 solely the director for the Ministry of Justice, but
10 not for other areas. What would you say about that?
11 If you can clarify that for me.
12 A. I don't know what were the principles that
13 governed the work, if he was the commander, as you say,
14 50/50 percent. I only know when his work had something
15 to do with the court. And in that particular field his
16 activity was quite regular, normal. And that is the
17 only aspect that I can talk about.
18 Q. I understand that when I say 50 percent,
19 that's a metaphor. So my question is if Mr. Aleksovski
20 was the director of the prison or whether or not there
21 were other persons who behind him were also managing
22 and directing the prison. Do you have anything -- any
23 knowledge about this?
24 A. I know that Mr. Aleksovski was the warden of
25 the district military prison, and I may also mention
1 that there were three categories of persons who were
2 members of the HVO. There were persons under custody
3 and under the direct supervision of the court; two,
4 there were convicts and they also fell -- they were
5 under the Ministry of Justice; and three, there were
6 people who had been punished for disciplinary measures
7 and they were therefore sanctioned by the relevant
8 commander of the relevant army formation for
9 disciplinary transgressions. So there were three
10 categories of persons who were in that prison.
11 Q. But there were not three wardens, there was
12 only one warden. So, in your opinion, was
13 Mr. Aleksovski the warden of these three categories of
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Yes. You stated that on several occasions
17 you visited Kaonik Prison, you said March or April and
18 July, for example. You certainly must have visited the
19 prisoners who were within your jurisdiction, therefore,
20 this was a certain category of prisoners. Did you see
21 inter alia civilian prisoners?
22 A. I did not see civilian prisoners.
23 Q. But you saw military prisoners?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. How were you distinguishing the military
1 prisoners from the civilian prisoners in this prison?
2 Did they have separate cells, were there some sort of
3 external signs that you could see, that you noticed?
4 How would you discern the two within the prison?
5 A. I paid a visit only to a wing of the prison
6 which was separated, not physically, but they there
7 were separate cells where persons were kept under
8 custody, where persons were detained. I never entered
9 any other rooms, nor did I have the need to enter
10 them. And those were special rooms
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Very well. Thank you very
12 much. I believe that the Chamber has no further
13 questions to put to you. We thank you for having
14 coming here to the International Criminal Tribunal and
15 may wish you a pleasant return trip to your country.
16 Thank you very much.
17 THE REGISTRAR: With your permission,
18 Mr. President, I like to recognise that with regards to
19 document 134, the document of the Ahmici, 134, document
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much.
22 THE REGISTRAR: I would like to find out what
23 we are going to do with such document, whether or not
24 it's been admitted or not.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, do you have
1 any observations you would like to make with regards to
2 the photograph of Ahmici?
3 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, to begin with,
4 I do not know whether my learned friend is tendering
5 this photograph as evidence, or was it merely shown to
6 the witness to remind him of certain events.
7 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours it would go
8 outside the scope of your ruling, so I wouldn't seek to
9 tender it now, in view of Your Honours' decision.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Very well. It is not
11 admitted, then. And you no longer have need for this
13 MR. MIKULICIC: No, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Will the court usher please
15 escort the witness out.
16 (The witness withdrew)
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I see then today our work
18 is done, but we shall find ourselves again in this room
19 on the 29th of June for the continuation and for the
20 week. I believe this is in our scheduled sessions, the
21 29th, the 30th, the 1st of July, and up to the 3rd of
22 July, I believe. Is that not right? All right. Until
23 then, continue with your work and I will see you all.
24 Thank you to the technicians and to the interpreters.
25 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
1 1.30 p.m., to the reconvened on
2 Monday, the 29th day of June, 1998,
3 at 10.00 a.m.