1 Friday, 5 April 2002
2 [The accused entered court]
3 [Open session]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Madam Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
7 IT-98-34-T, the Prosecutor versus Naletilic and Martinovic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Mr. Scott, do you have anything to address
9 to this Court?
10 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Mr. President.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Mr. Scott.
12 MR. SCOTT: Can we go into private session for a moment.
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go into private session, please.
14 [Private session]
13 Pages 9545 – 9558 – redacted – private session
20 [Open session]
21 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, while we're waiting for the witness,
22 just so the record is clear, we compute the time used by the Prosecution
23 yesterday, actual court time, not counting breaks, actual examination, at
24 three hours, and of course our time has not yet started today. So we've
25 not started yet today, you will note.
1 JUDGE LIU: No, no, no. We should not argue it again. We spent
2 so much time on that. We understand that this witness is a very important
3 witness. It's worth spending much more time, you know, on this witness.
4 Yes, please.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, Witness.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE LIU: I'm sorry for keeping you waiting for that long time.
9 As you know, there were some housekeeping matters we have to deal with
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott, you may proceed.
12 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President. If I can have the usher's
13 assistance, I would like to address a couple of matters arising from
14 yesterday which the Court had some questions about, and if we could
15 distribute Exhibits 542.1 and 192.1, please, to the counsel, the
16 courtroom, and the witness, please.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Are these in the binders?
18 MR. SCOTT: No. Your Honour, these are the two documents the
19 Chamber asked me -- the Chamber directed me to produce yesterday, and
20 that's what I'm doing.
21 And counsel's copies will -- please.
22 WITNESS: SLOBODAN PRALJAK [Resumed]
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 Cross-examined by Mr. Scott: [Continued]
25 Q. Mr. Praljak, with respect to you, showing respect to you, and with
1 respect to the Chamber's direction, we have provided to you this morning
2 two documents that were referred to yesterday but which were not -- we
3 were not able to put in front of you at that time. So I want you to be
4 able to see those now.
5 First, let me ask you to look at P542.1. This was the document
6 that was questions about the mobilisation order, if I can call it that, on
7 the 28th of July, 1993. Do you see that?
8 A. Yes, I see it, Mr. Prosecutor.
9 Q. Thank you very much. I'll let counsel ask -- direct ultimately
10 any additional questions about that item to you. And I would also ask you
11 to look -- or Chamber, for that matter. I'd also like you, Witness, to
12 look at Exhibit 192.1.
13 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
15 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] May the witness be allowed to reply
16 to this document, to respond, and not just to look at the document? He's
17 looking at it for the first time, so may he be allowed to comment?
18 JUDGE LIU: If he wishes, yes.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, I have read the
20 document. I have had time to do so. First of all, let me say that I did
21 not write or sign this document. The signatory of this document -- the
22 signature to this document is not mine. That's the first point.
23 Secondly, this, viewed militarily, is an ordinary order on placing
24 units on combat readiness. It is not an order for mobilisation. I do not
25 know anything about this document.
1 MR. SCOTT:
2 Q. All right, sir. Well, again, my point at this moment is not to
3 argue the document with you, simply that you have the chance to look at
4 it. It is direct -- sir, you've said it's not your signature. It is
5 prepared over the words, is it not, "Major General Slobodan Praljak"? And
6 this was the time, as you've testified in these proceedings, when you were
7 indeed the commander of the HVO Main Staff; correct?
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Seric.
9 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, just so there is no
10 misunderstanding, the English translation does not correspond to the
11 Croatian original. Had that been so, before this question that has just
12 been asked by the Prosecutor, the word "za," meaning "for," would have
13 been seen, apparent, and that word "for" - "za" - does not exist in the
14 English version but it does in the original.
15 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I didn't -- my question did not suggest
16 for a moment that it was signed. I accepted the witness's testimony that
17 it was not his signature and my pending question to him did not suggest
18 otherwise. I simply said the order itself is typed for the signature of -
19 and it has on it - and you can see it on the original B/C/S version as
20 well - Major General Slobodan Praljak.
21 Q. And my question stands, sir. You were the commander of the HVO
22 Main Staff on the 28th of July, 1993, weren't you?
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
24 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, let us return to
25 yesterday's day. This is what the Prosecutor said to the witness to trick
1 him. "You wrote out an order to raise combat readiness for you to be able
2 to do such and such in Stolac." That's what the Prosecutor said. Now, he
3 has found the document, he has given it to the witness to have a look, and
4 the witness says, "It is not my signature." Now, what are we going to do
5 about what happened yesterday? Yesterday, the witness was exposed to
6 cross-examination saying, "You expelled people from Stolac. You destroyed
7 some mosques. And to bear that out, I have your order." Now we see the
8 order, which has not been translated as it should have been, because in
9 the Croatian language, the word "za" - z-a - exists meaning "for." So
10 somebody else signed the order instead of the general, and this is a daily
11 routine order that is issued for any type of combat readiness or raising
12 the level. Now, what are we going to do with yesterday's question by the
13 Prosecutor as it was asked, as it stood? That is precisely why we asked
14 to have the documents shown, for the witness to be able to have a look at
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, when we weigh that evidence, we will
17 take your objections into consideration and we will compare it with the
18 transcript yesterday. There is no problem about that.
19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, Your Honour, and that
20 is why I asked for this, and during the private session, we said that the
21 Prosecutor should show proof and evidence. Otherwise, he is trying to
22 trip the witness up.
23 JUDGE LIU: We quite understand that.
24 And, Witness, could you answer the question put forward by the
25 Prosecutor just now?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Maybe, Mr. Scott, you could repeat your question.
2 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour, of course. Mr. President, so that
3 the Prosecution case is clear, this -- we don't submit that this changes
4 anything that was put to the witness yesterday. It was put to the witness
5 that as the commander, he presided over an action and that an order was
6 issued, and of course the transcript will speak for itself.
7 Q. Sir, my question to you is: I'm not suggesting -- please listen
8 to my question. I'm not suggesting that's your signature. You were the
9 commander of the HVO Main Staff on the 28th of July, 1993; correct?
10 A. Mr. Prosecutor, to your last question, that is to say whether on
11 the 28th of July, 1993, I was commander of the Main Staff, my answer to
12 that is yes, and I have been saying yes for two days now.
13 Q. Thank you, sir. That answers my question.
14 A. But, please, you said that I commanded the operation, and I did
15 not agree fully with that part of your observation, because I don't think
16 I was at the -- at that time either in Capljina or Stolac, in that area,
17 but that I was in Gornji Vakuf, Prozor.
18 Q. If you look, please at Exhibit P192.1, you will see that, as I
19 indicated to you yesterday, isn't it correct, sir - and can you confirm to
20 us on the second page -- on the original, is that your signature?
21 A. Yes. On this original, you have my signature.
22 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I think the record will reflect that
23 the factual assertions I made yesterday are reflected on this document,
24 and I won't question it further.
25 Q. Sir, in continuing on, can you please ask --
1 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] No, no, Your Honours, no, no. That's
2 not true. That's not correct.
3 Mr. Prosecutor, we are checking the transcript.
4 The Prosecutor was not speaking about this letter but quite
5 another letter. We are checking out the transcript. He was speaking
6 about a letter that was sent to President Tudjman, and I asked him to show
7 the letter, and he said that he would show it today, whereas he turns up
8 with a letter now which speaks about a salary for Colonel Siljeg and now
9 confirms that he has completed his task here. I really don't know what's
10 going on. Do I really have to control who says what in this courtroom?
11 JUDGE LIU: Well --
12 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I disagree completely. The record will
13 speak for itself. This is the letter that I referred to and indicate that
14 the transcript reflect that. I put the questions to this witness about
15 whether he had signed a document concerning this matter, about the payment
16 of this man, and whether he in fact was in the 115th HV Brigade. So I
17 disagree with counsel. Obviously the transcript will make clear what was
19 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, let us not spend much time on this
20 issue. We'll check the transcript during the breaks.
21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I agree, Your Honours. Yes, there
22 was a question about salaries, but it wasn't the letter we asked the
23 representative of the Prosecution to provide, and he is obstructing
24 matters and proceedings today. He is obstructing them.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I answer? May I be allowed to
2 JUDGE LIU: Well, we have to move, Witness. I think this issue is
3 over for this moment, for this moment. We will look into the transcript,
4 to see which letter it is.
5 Mr. Scott, you may proceed.
6 MR. SCOTT: Thank you.
7 Q. Witness, I would like to go back to this Mr. Zarko Tole
8 momentarily because it wasn't entirely clear to me yesterday.
9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] The witness would like to respond to
10 the question asked about this document. He must clarify the document but
11 nobody is giving him a chance to do so.
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, well, Mr. Krsnik, this Trial Chamber has said
13 we'll look into the transcript and to see which letter it is. That's a
14 very clear message. We hope it could stop here and moving faster.
15 Yes, Mr. Scott, you may continue.
16 MR. SCOTT:
17 Q. Concerning Mr. Zarko Tole, sir, can you indicate what was his
18 position in the Bosnian Croat defence forces in 1992? What position or
19 function did he serve during 1992?
20 A. As far as I know, Mr. Zarko Tole, in 1992, was in Bugojno, where
21 he was taken prisoner by the Serb forces --
22 Q. Prior to the time that he was taken prisoner, sir - can you answer
23 my question - what was his role or function or position at that time?
24 A. I don't know, Mr. Prosecutor.
25 Q. You don't know whether he was something the equivalent of a
1 brigade commander or an operative zone commander or some such thing?
2 A. I don't know, Mr. Prosecutor.
3 Q. Directing your attention, then, to 1993, can you tell the Chamber
4 what his function or role was in the Bosnian Croat armed forces in 1993?
5 A. When I arrived in 1993, as commander of the Croatian Defence
6 Council, Mr. Zarko Tole was the head of -- chief of the Main Staff of the
7 Croatian Defence Council, HVO. The structure that we had at the time, of
8 course, doesn't correspond -- wouldn't correspond to normal-day situations
9 in regular armies, because in a regular, normal army, the chief of the
10 Main Staff is the person who is in charge, whereas we, faced with a highly
11 complicated situation on the front, on the battleground, faced with a
12 large Muslim offensive in 1993, we had both a commander, an HVO commander,
13 and a deputy commander of the Main Staff as well, and the chief of the
14 Main Staff.
15 Q. All right. Who was --
16 A. Which is highly unusual.
17 Q. It may be. So Mr. Tole in 1993, you've said, was the chief of the
18 Main Staff; correct?
19 A. That is so. It is correct that he was the chief of the Main Staff
20 of the HVO.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Petkovic's position in
22 1993? What was Mr. Petkovic in 1993, if he was not chief of the Main
24 A. I believe I provided an exhaustive answer. He was deputy
25 commander of the Main Staff of the Croat Defence Council, Mr. Petkovic
1 that is. I was the commander of the Main Staff of the Croat Defence
2 Council and Zarko Tole was the head or chief of the Main Staff of the
3 Croat Defence Council, and this is a very unusual structure.
4 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... are you indicating that
5 Mr. Tole was your deputy?
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
7 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as I was asked to do
8 when I cross-examined, could the Prosecutor please explain the relevance
9 of these questions and why are these questions asked now when we have
10 other facts for which this witness was called? Why are these questions
11 relevant and important for the Prosecutor? Unless he's conducting some
12 private investigation.
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott, you have to tell us the relevance of
14 those questions.
15 MR. SCOTT: Of course. Mr. President, the Defence presented us
16 this chart, and we have been asking and trying to understand since
17 yesterday the command structure that this witness -- where he fit into
18 it. And we've gotten a number, a range of answers from, "No function, no
19 position, I just went down there, I just showed up in Bosnia and did
20 things," and we are continuing to try to understand where this witness fit
21 in the command structure and his relationship with other senior
22 commanders. We do not have that -- in our respectful submission,
23 Mr. President, we have not yet been given that information.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, if you are challenging the credibility of this
25 witness, you may continue. But don't move too far away from the subject
1 matter of this case.
2 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. I understand that.
3 Q. So, are you telling us, sir - I'm trying to understand -- sir, let
4 me finish my question, if I could, please. Are you indicating that
5 Mr. Tole was your deputy at the time you became the chief of the HVO Main
7 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I believe that my answers are precise and
8 sincere. I was the commander of the Main Staff of the Croat Defence
9 Council at the time indicated here. I was the one. Mr. Milivoj Petkovic
10 was my deputy. And Mr. Zarko Tole was the third-ranking man in the
11 structure as the head, as the head of the Main Staff of the Croat Defence
12 Council. I never evaded giving you a precise answer. And I'm sorry if it
13 is not up to your expectations.
14 Q. Before you became chief of the Main Staff in approximately
15 mid-July, 1993, then, do I understand you correctly to be saying that
16 prior to that time, Mr. Petkovic was the chief officer, military officer,
17 in command of the HVO? Let's say from January -- for these purposes,
18 let's say from January 1 of 1993, until you took that position?
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
20 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] The witness has already answered that
21 four times. The same question is being asked for the fourth time. I
22 don't know if we are sitting in two different courtrooms, and I apologise,
23 or is it perhaps that the translation is such that I do not know what this
24 is all about? I am sorry, I'm saying that this was asked and answered
25 repeatedly. That is my objection.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott, you may explain to us.
2 MR. SCOTT: The witness asked -- answered the question just now as
3 of the time in mid-July, 1993, that he became the chief of the HVO. He
4 told us yesterday, I believe - I'm trying to clarify in light of his
5 answer just now - who was the chief commander, if you will, what
6 position - we seem to get into arguments about words - who was the senior
7 HVO officer prior to his time. Now, I think he said it was Mr. Petkovic,
8 and I don't understand why that's so confusing, except I'm just trying to
9 confirm that that in fact is his answer because he gave us the answer only
10 as of the time he assumed his position.
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes. You may continue.
12 MR. SCOTT:
13 Q. Sir, my question to you is: Before you took on the position of
14 chief of the HVO, is it correct, then, that from January 1st, 1993, until
15 you took that position, we understand correctly then that Mr. Petkovic was
16 the senior officer in command of the HVO?
17 A. I believe even before that, that is even before the 1st of
18 January, 1993, from April, 1992, Mr. Petkovic was the head of the Main
19 Staff of the Croat Defence Council, from April, 1992, and that is another
20 thing that I have repeated several times.
21 Q. Thank you very much. Now, Mr. Tole - and this is, I hope, the
22 last question concerning this - Mr. Tole then, before the time that you
23 became chief of the Main Staff in mid-July, was Mr. Tole also number 2 or
24 the deputy to Mr. Petkovic?
25 A. Since Mr. Tole was in the Serb -- in a Serb camp for a long time,
1 and how a long time was spent trying to get Mr. Tole back, I do not know
2 exactly when he came and what duty he took up in the Main Staff of the
3 Croat Defence Council. But I know exactly what he was when I arrived
4 there in July, 1993.
5 Q. All right, sir.
6 MR. SCOTT: If I can ask the usher's assistance to give the
7 witness Exhibit D1/82 which is the chart, Your Honours, that was tendered
8 by the Defence? And I have prepared an English -- had prepared an English
9 translation, which may assist. You can use my -- well, all right.
10 Q. Sir, if you can look at the B/C/S, the original coloured version,
11 picking up on the questions that were asked yesterday -- some of the
12 questions that were asked yesterday, as of the time that you became the
13 chief of the HVO Main Staff, are you in the top -- or do you place
14 yourself then in that top, red box, which in English would be something
15 interpreted as supreme commander?
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could it be put on the ELMO, please?
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Usher, could you put the chart on the ELMO,
18 please? The English one.
19 JUDGE CLARK: Mr. Scott, you have to be more precise. When you
20 ask Mr. Praljak to look at the map and to say what this position was,
21 could you specify the date?
22 MR. SCOTT: Well, I think I did, Your Honour, but probably not
24 Q. When you took your position, sir, in mid-July, 1993 - I'm
25 directing your attention to that point in time - did your position then --
1 is it reflected in the top, red box in the coloured version of the
2 document? If not, say so. But tell us where you fit on this chart as of
3 mid-July, 1993.
4 A. Mr. Prosecutor, you are talking about mid-July, and I arrived
5 later, and there is the exact date, and you are trying to shift my arrival
6 forward, and my answer to your question --
7 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... on the date that you assumed
8 that position -- I don't want to argue you about that. On the date you
9 took that position, where were you on this chart?
10 A. Mr. Prosecutor, if you do not want to argue about this, then start
11 mentioning the date "as of the date when you arrived," so as not to try to
12 intimate some other date. And secondly, I was the commander of this box
13 here. I was at the top of this box.
14 Q. Which box again? Would you take a marker, please, sir? I'm going
15 to ask you -- and I'll have this marked as a new exhibit once the witness
16 has made his markings -- if you can provide a marking on where you say you
17 fit on this chart?
18 A. [Marks]
19 Q. And who, then --
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Seric.
21 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, since the title says
22 that this is the diagram of the HVO structure from 1993, and we have the
23 witness's precise answer when that was, I think it would be fair to him to
24 also put the date next to this box, the date when he assumed the duty.
25 MR. SCOTT: I agree with that.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes, if possible.
2 A. [Marks]
3 MR. SCOTT:
4 Q. All right, sir. Thank you. And that's exactly why I'm asking you
5 to look at this chart, to avoid confusion, because in the box it says
6 "Supreme Commander." That may have been misinterpreted to be Chief
7 Commander, or whatever you -- Chief of the Main Staff. So when in this
8 chart it says "Supreme Commander," as of the date you've now written, the
9 27th of July, 1993, who was that?
10 A. Mr. Mate Boban.
11 Q. Would you write that on the chart, please.
12 A. [Marks]
13 Q. And as of July 27, 1993, who was the - whatever term you
14 want - minister or secretary of the Defence Department?
15 A. Mr. Bruno Stojic.
16 Q. Please write that on the chart.
17 A. [Marks]
18 Q. Now, can you tell us, please, looking at this chart, can you tell
19 us where the Convicts' Battalion fits on this chart?
20 A. [Indicates]
21 Q. Can you mark that, please. Why don't you put K -- well, you can
22 put whatever you like. I suggest you might put "KB."
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. And can you tell us, please, where Mladen Naletilic would appear
25 on this chart? In the structure, where would you put him on this chart?
1 A. Mladen Naletilic, Tuta, was not the commander of the Convicts'
2 Battalion, and I do not really know where to fit him in this chart, as far
3 as I know.
4 Q. All right. And can you tell us -- are you familiar with groups
5 that were called anti-terrorist groups, or ATGs?
6 A. Mr. Prosecutor, groups of that kind, those autonomous units, the
7 structure of that army, when a street would rally, or a village, or a part
8 of a town, and it was like that, that at some points in time, the HVO had
9 several hundred units fluctuating in this whole structure as voluntary,
10 relatively poorly organised military structure. I keep repeating that.
11 This was the zero option of the armed people, and in spite of my best
12 wishes to help you and this Honourable Court, I cannot answer and threaten
13 the truth by giving some other answer.
14 Q. All right, sir. Let me ask you some additional specific
15 questions, then. You were, as of the 27th of July, 1993, the chief of
16 this organisation, or a large measure of it. Were the ATGs part of the
17 units for special assignments and professional units?
18 A. These were units which could be called up to take part in an
19 action. They did not stay on the positions, and a large number of those
20 guys wanted to have units of their own, a unit gathered around them,
21 because that made them feel special.
22 Q. Were you saying these were private armies?
23 A. No, sir, they were not private armies. But between what we call a
24 private army and what we may term as a good and fully structured army,
25 there is a very broad range, a very broad span of something in between.
1 And that also varied from one month to the other in that war, both with
2 regard to the quality of the structuring and the dispersion of the army,
3 depending on the quality and the progress of political negotiations and
4 the situation on the front.
5 Q. Would you put them in the headquarters' unit's box, then, the next
6 box down, the darker blue box in the coloured version. So do the ATGs fit
7 in that box?
8 A. They were also those attached to the Main Staff.
9 Q. So the answer is yes, they were in the HQ unit's box?
10 A. Who?
11 Q. The ATGs.
12 A. No, sir, not all of them. We had such units. I had two such
13 units: Bruno Busic and Ludvig Pavlovic.
14 Q. Sir, I thought - and correct me if I'm wrong - my understanding
15 had been that they would - of course, it doesn't matter - but those were
16 part -- those were professional units in the top box: Bruno Busic and
17 Ludvig Pavlovic.
18 A. No. Those attached to the HQ are the two down there. But I
19 repeat once again: I cannot -- there did not exist such an organisation,
20 such type of organisation that would enable me to answer this with yes or
21 no, and thus fully reflect the truth that I wish to tell.
22 Q. All right. And were the ATGs, then -- did they fit under the
23 structure of the various operative zones, then? Did they fit in one of
24 the boxes on the bottom part of the chart? Let's direct our attention,
25 for these purposes, to the Operative Zone Mostar. Did the ATGs that
1 operated in the Mostar Operative Zone, were they in that box?
2 A. If an ATG went to the front line, then whilst at the front line,
3 it would be subordinated to the commander of that front. But when it
4 would no longer be used for combat purposes at a particular front line, we
5 did not have barracks, any barracks, so we didn't know where this group
6 went. And that is why I'm saying that this was armed people who, at
7 certain points in time, after a certain rest, because nobody was on the
8 front line all the time.
9 Q. Who would contact these groups, as you say, and then subordinate
10 them to a particular operation or unit for combat purposes? Someone had
11 to contact them and say, "Please report to this location for duty." Who
12 did that?
13 A. The commander of the operative zone did that, or somebody from the
14 Main Staff, or somebody on his own, privately. There was -- commands were
15 issued, and I do not try to shunt the responsibility for commanding,
16 insofar as it is logical.
17 Q. When you say someone --
18 A. But never --
19 Q. -- how would someone privately call up one of the ATGs to combat?
20 A. Very simple: "I'm faced with a difficult situation. We lose this
21 position. We need help."
22 Q. So you're telling us, sir, to use a specific example for this
23 case, and I'm just simply -- one that people will recognise: The Benko
24 Penavic -- I won't use Vinko Skrobo, some distance from one of the
25 accused. But let's take the Benko Penavic ATG. Are you saying that any
1 commander anywhere in Herceg-Bosna, if they felt the need, could contact
2 the head of the Benko Penavic and say, "Hey, come over and help me"?
3 A. Well, those who knew them, you know, because this is a small area
4 and many people are related, so they all knew one another. Troops knew
5 one another. I don't know if somebody from Central Bosnia could send such
6 an invitation, could issue such a call, but down there, yes, of course,
7 and also it could be the Main Staff.
8 Q. Now, all right, sir. Just to finish on the ATGs, and I'm just
9 trying to understand, then, to conclude this. You decline to put the ATGs
10 in any box, in any particular box on this chart; is that what you're
11 telling the Chamber?
12 A. But I did, in a fluctuating structure, in this box here.
13 Q. You're talking about the bigger -- counsel -- my colleague has
14 asked me to be clear. Are you talking about the light-blue box, the top
15 light-blue box on the right side of the coloured chart? Is that correct?
16 A. [Indicates]
17 Q. All right. Why don't you put to that -- would you please mark
18 that "ATGs," however you want to qualify it, sir. "Sometimes"? I don't
19 want to be accused of characterising your evidence, so -- "ATG on some
20 occasions," whatever you like to say.
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. Now, sir, trying to finish up on this chart, let me ask you this:
23 The way the chart has been prepared -- let me ask you, sir: Did you
24 assist in preparing this chart or was this something that was just
25 provided to you at some point?
1 A. No, I did not assist in preparing this chart.
2 Q. Do you know who prepared it?
3 A. No, I do not.
4 Q. When did you first see it?
5 A. It was shown to me by the counsel when I arrived in The Hague.
6 Q. All right. Now, perhaps you can assist us, then. There are, from
7 the Supreme Commander box, the top box, the Defence Department box, and
8 the Main Staff box, there are lines coming out to the right side, and then
9 there's a line that goes to that special assignments, special purpose
10 units box to the right. Now, is this to indicate, sir, if you know, did
11 any of those groups - the Supreme Commander, the Defence Department, or
12 the Main Staff - each equally command or call upon the units in that box?
13 A. Once again, because I want to be as close to the truth as
14 possible, when we talked about nationalism, what we tried to say when we
15 were talking about nationalism, and that is, there is serious trouble with
16 words, with their contents, to command everybody, all, because these
17 terms, when uttered like this, then they mean organisation --
18 Q. Let me stop you just so I can assist you, please, so we can go
19 forward. Strike the word "command." Tell the Chamber, please: The lines
20 that come out from the right side of those boxes and go to the special
21 purposes and professional units box - I won't characterise them in any
22 way - you tell us: What do those lines indicate?
23 A. Without denying the chain of command and the structure of the
24 army, there was, between people who performed various duties in all these
25 boxes, a much closer connection, and this is service of a cause. And this
1 is a correct chart, a correct representation, and it means that we could
2 ask or issue an order, invite, request, the Supreme Commander, the Defence
3 Department, the Main Staff. The situation was so difficult, so tense,
4 that I do not recall, Mr. Prosecutor, that during my stay there in 1993 I
5 spent two nights in one and the same bed.
6 Q. All right, sir. Let me --
7 A. Without avoiding --
8 Q. Excuse me. I guess you've answered the question the best you
9 can. Let me give you a specific example, if it assists. You testified a
10 few moments ago that Bruno Stojic was the head of the Defence Department.
11 Now, does this chart indicate -- could he call up and issue commands to a
12 professional unit without going to the Main Staff?
13 A. Well, he could have done it, but it was usually done by
14 agreement. He could not command that unit once it had arrived at the
15 front line - defence line, excuse me - with somebody because of poor
16 communications or because I was too far away, because Mr. Petkovic was
17 somewhere far away, that Mr. Tole was somewhere on the ground, and the
18 situation made it imperative. Then it would -- then one could go through
19 Mr. Stojic to ask him to send a unit. But once that unit arrived at the
20 front, it would become a part of the structure commanded by somebody from
21 the Operative Zone or that front line to which they had come, more
22 narrowly speaking.
23 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, can I ask just one final question on
24 this, I hope, and then we'll move --
25 Q. All right. Just to finish on that, sir. You said someone -- to
1 use the example we're using, Mr. Stojic could call up and send the unit,
2 but once the unit was on the ground, so to speak, it would be subordinate
3 to some other commander. Let me just give you the opposite of that
4 however. It is also that someone -- and again, we're simply using
5 Mr. Stojic's one example. Could Mr. Stojic withdraw that unit,
6 unsubordinate, if you will, or withdraw a unit from its location?
7 A. Well, it withdrew from a site when its term expired, when its tour
8 of duty expired and when they were to have a rest. I don't remember him
9 doing it, and it depended on the front line situation.
10 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE LIU: Did you finish this subject?
12 MR. SCOTT: On this chart, Your Honour, yes.
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll resume at 11.00.
14 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, before we have the witness, I think there is
17 some clarification to make. During the break, we checked the transcript.
18 The first one is that there was a suggestion of the Defence that
19 the Prosecution brought the wrong letter. In the transcript, page 9525,
20 line 20 to 25 of yesterday's transcript, the Prosecution referred to a
21 letter to Mr. Ivan Cermak, dated November 12. On page 9526, line 10 to
22 13, the Defence asked the Prosecutor to bring this letter. On page 9526,
23 line 20 to 22, the Presiding Judge ordered the Prosecution to bring the
24 letter. The result is the exhibit brought today is the letter requested
25 by the Defence.
1 The second issue is there was a claim of the Defence that they
2 requested to see the letter of Mr. Praljak to Mr. Tudjman. On page 9534,
3 line 3 to 6 of yesterday's transcript, the Prosecution asked the witness
4 if he sent a resignation letter to Mr. Tudjman and the witness confirmed
5 it. So we believe there was no argument about the existence or the
6 contents of this letter. And it's also agreed by the Defence side.
7 Having said that, Mr. Usher, would you please bring in the
9 Yes, Mr. Scott. You may continue.
10 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Could I have the usher's assistance, please, in putting Exhibit
12 587.2, the English version, on the ELMO, please, and the B/C/S version to
13 the witness? I'm sorry it should be in that separate package. Excuse me,
14 Your Honour, this is the separate package that I said --
15 Q. Sir, directing your attention to the last page of the original
16 B/C/S version, can you please confirm that's your signature?
17 A. My signature is on the last page, yes.
18 Q. Now, I want to direct your attention to the first paragraph on the
19 first page, right under, "I hereby order," and number 1, you say, "The
20 operative zone," and I believe - and please correct me, sir, if I'm
21 wrong - I think that's the operative zone for Southeastern Herzegovina,
22 and then you give a list of units, and if you go through the paragraph,
23 please, a few lines down, it includes the Mrmak units and the Benko
24 Penavic ATG. Do you see that?
25 A. Yes, I do see that, Mr. Prosecutor.
1 Q. Will you tell us, then, are you saying that the result of this
2 order was that those two ATGs were operating under the operative zone
3 commander for the Southeast Herzegovina operative zone?
4 A. Yes. Those units, when they were on the line, they were operating
5 under the commander of the operative zone of Southeast Herzegovina.
6 Q. Sir, now, it may be helpful if we have the usher's -- the witness
7 still has available to him the organisational chart, D1/82. Better be
8 clear here, sir, for some different terminology has been used on the
10 Am I correct to suggest that when the charts use the term "OZ
11 Mostar," could that also be the same, for these purposes, as saying --
12 could have been also described as the operative zone, Southeast
14 A. Correct. Both terms were used: Operative Zone Mostar and
15 Operative Zone South-east Herzegovina. It was the same thing.
16 MR. SCOTT: Well, why don't we -- it could come up, Mr. President,
17 in the future, so if assists the Chamber, let's just finish that out.
18 Q. The next one, OZ Tomislav, that would correspond to the North-west
19 Herzegovina Operative Zone; is that correct?
20 A. Yes. It is also referred to with two terms: the Operative Zone
21 Tomislav and the Operative Zone of the North-east.
22 Q. I'm sorry. North-east or north-west?
23 A. North-west. I'm sorry. I meant north-west. That's what we're
24 talking about.
25 Q. And the OZ Vitez was also known as the Central Bosnia Operative
1 Zone; is that right?
2 A. Yes. It was also known as the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
3 Q. And the fourth box, the last box to the right on the chart, what
4 would be the other name or the other reference for that Operative Zone?
5 A. The Operative Zone of Bosanski Posavina.
6 Q. Is that the area that was up on the border in North-east Bosnia,
7 on the border of Croatia?
8 A. North, towards the Croatian border. Orasje, Derventa, Slavonski
9 Brod, that belt.
10 Q. All right. Now, sir, if we take, then, your order of the 1st of
11 September 1993, Exhibit 587.2, and the organisational chart together, what
12 your order says -- am I correct, then, to understand that by your order of
13 the 1st of September, the ATG Mrmak and the ATG Benko Penavic were placed
14 under the command in that far box to the bottom left, the OZ Mostar?
15 That's where we would put them on the chart at that time; is that correct?
16 A. The Operative Zone Mostar, and within the Mostar Operative Zone,
17 the town of Mostar itself.
18 Q. All right. So then, according to your chart, then, to use this
19 chart and your order together, then, as of that date, as of the 1st of
20 September, the ATG Mrmak ultimately under your chain of command, wasn't
21 it, since you are the Glavni Stozer?
22 A. During, that is to say, while those units were up at the front
23 line, the chain of command went up to me.
24 Q. Therefore, sir, you would be responsible for the behaviour of
25 those units; is that correct?
1 A. In what sense?
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik.
3 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I don't wish to keep objecting, Your
4 Honour. You see, I haven't been objecting. I think that the witness has
5 come here to explain everything and to tell the truth. But I have an
6 ongoing objection to make, and it is the following: This Trial Chamber
7 should caution the witness that if the Prosecutor asks questions in the
8 manner he is doing, the witness need not answer. I think that the Trial
9 Chamber could warn the witness of that, because possibly, possibly, more
10 time would be required and explanations required, if he were to put
11 himself in the position of being persecuted. So my objection, in short,
12 is that the Trial Chamber should step in and should warn the witness about
13 that. Thank you.
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, we believe that before the witness
15 came here, it's your responsibility to warn your witness about
16 incriminating himself. I understand that the witness is asking a
17 question, that is, in what sense?
18 Mr. Scott, you may explain to this witness what's your intention.
19 MR. SCOTT:
20 Q. Sir, in the military chain of command, does not the head of the
21 Operative Zone Mostar, or South-east Herzegovina, whichever phrase we want
22 to use, then was reporting for these purposes, was under your command, and
23 reported to you and took orders from you under the military chain of
24 command, as depicted on D1/82; correct?
25 A. In view of the fact that this is a very sensitive issue and
1 question, I should like to ask the Trial Chamber to allow me to give a
2 broader answer.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Since this issue is very important, you may have
4 more explanations on this issue.
5 A. The answer as to whether the chain of command goes up to me, the
6 answer to that is yes. The chain of command does reach me, as the main
7 commander of the Croatian Defence Council. But the chain of command is
8 not a chain of responsibility vis-a-vis possible incriminations which an
9 individual, within the frameworks of an army that I command, or a unit
10 which is within the army that I command, that I should be held responsible
11 for their acts.
12 Let me quote an example. The great massacre in Vietnam, in My
13 Lai, for instance, when the American General learnt about what actually
14 happened two years later, and he was not held responsible for the acts
15 committed, although he was the commander of that particular army.
16 MR. SCOTT:
17 Q. Sir, let me ask you this. If one of the -- if your order of the
18 1st of September had not been carried out, if one of these units had
19 refused the assignment reflected on your order, you would have been in a
20 position to discipline or punish or refer for court martial the refusing
21 officer, wouldn't you?
22 A. No, I would not, sir.
23 Q. So your order is that -- your September 1st order was meaningless
24 and there was no sanction for violating your order?
25 A. The order wasn't meaningless because it was based upon a -- far
1 more on the voluntary character and the desire to defend a certain
2 territory than on military discipline and organisation, as is recognised
3 in the armies whose contents of the concept of army and army organisation
4 you wish to transplant to the Croatian Defence Council and have it apply
5 there too.
6 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
7 A. I would like --
8 Q. Look at the entire order, please, and I want you to point out to
9 the Judges - not for my benefit - I want you to point out to the Judges
10 where in that order it says, "This is my -- these are the orders or my
11 assignments, if you feel like it. You can do this if you want but if you
12 don't want, doesn't matter." Show us that language, please.
13 A. Why do you think I ought to write that down?
14 Q. I didn't say write it down. I said, please in your order, please
15 find the language which says, "Compliance with this order is at -- if you
16 want to. If you don't want to, okay."
17 A. I have answered your question very exactly, Mr. Prosecutor. The
18 force of this order was far more reliant upon the consciousness and
19 awareness of the individuals who made up these units, rather than the
20 possibility of a military organisation, which I stood at the head, to
21 sanction and punish the individuals if they did not comply. Now, for --
22 in tens of -- there were many occasions where units left their positions
23 of their own volition. Regardless of what I would write, the requests I
24 would make for measures to punish them, there was no organisational form
25 or power, organisational power and authority, to implement that in full,
1 to put it into effect.
2 Q. All right, sir. Well, if we have time, we will maybe come back to
3 that issue, if we can. Sir, is it correct that during the time that you
4 were operating in Bosnia, starting at least in November, 1992, that you
5 used the code name Brada, B-r-a-d-a?
6 A. Mr. Prosecutor, would you always refer to it as
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, please? Because the state of Bosnia does not exist.
8 The state that does exist is called Bosnia-Herzegovina. I was called by
9 different names, and I think that they sometimes referred to me as Brada
10 too, although I don't know who.
11 Q. Well, who gave you that -- who gave you the code name Brada?
12 A. Mr. Prosecutor, do you really think I can answer that question who
13 called me Brada first? It's not a code name. It's a nickname.
14 Q. All right, sir. Well can I ask you to look --
15 MR. SCOTT: Can the usher put on the ELMO the English version of
16 463.1 and show the witness the B/C/S version, please?
17 Q. Sir, is this an order issued in a field -- in a packet of
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Mr. Scott.
20 MR. SCOTT: My apology.
21 Q. Is this an order issued by Paket communication to Bruno Stojic on
22 the 17th of June, 1993?
23 A. I signed all my orders, and to be frank, I would never write
24 anything like this, "Urgent, urgently answer." It's not my style. And
25 quite certainly I did not write this.
1 Q. Sir, you had assistants, deputies, aides de camp, didn't you? We
2 are not -- I don't think anyone is suggesting that you necessarily wrote
3 and sent every order yourself, but this is an order you sent; correct?
4 A. This kind of order -- actually, it's not an order. It's a
5 questionnaire -- a question. It is not an order. It's a question.
6 Q. All right.
7 MR. SCOTT: If the usher could please show the witness 463.2?
8 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Scott, I don't think the witness answered
9 the previous question. Did he sign that order?
10 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, if you'll look at the -- I agree with the
11 Chamber that he didn't, but if you look at the original version of the
12 order -- and of course, you don't -- Mr. Usher, could you put the B/C/S
13 version of that last exhibit on the ELMO, please?
14 Your Honour, this is what this looks like, and I submit to you -
15 and I would hope at this point there might not be a dispute about this -
16 this is an electronic field communication, a fax or a Paket -- what's
17 sometimes called a Paket communication, and I'm going to suggest that, in
18 very rough and simplistic terms, perhaps something what we might call an
19 e-mail today. Of course, there is no handwritten signature on an e-mail.
20 It's an electronic communication.
21 Q. My question -- doesn't it indicate, sir, on that -- isn't that the
22 format that you're familiar with which indicates that the communication
23 was sent, the date of the communication, when it was sent out? Don't you
24 see that on there?
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
1 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, once again, there are
2 questions, not answers. The question would be: Was he aware of, did he
3 sign, does he know how this was sent? Now we heard testimony in fact from
4 the Prosecutor, through his questions. This is something that he should
5 be asking the witness.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes. I think the Prosecution is asking the witness
7 the questions.
8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Well, let the witness answer, then.
9 The witness has not answered those questions.
10 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I'm only too happy -- this is the
11 question that was first put to the witness about five or ten minutes ago.
12 Q. Is this an order or communication that was sent under your
13 authority, sir, on the 17th of June, 1993?
14 A. It is not an order. It's a question.
15 Q. Did you send it, sir? Was it sent on your authorisation?
16 A. No, sir. This is not my style, and it was not sent on my
17 authorisation, and I don't remember having been up there.
18 Q. All right. Will you please look at 463.2?
19 A. Yes. I did.
20 Q. Isn't this, in fact, a response to your communication received
21 from -- coming back from Colonel Akrap?
22 A. This is the response to the person who sent that question, and if
23 I tell you that I did not, then why are you telling me that this is the
24 answer to my question, the question that I did not send out?
25 Q. The person addressed here, sir, Breda, that was you, wasn't it?
1 Brada, excuse me.
2 A. No. That is not me. Brada mentioned here, that is not I.
3 Q. Okay. Well do you know who that Brada is, then? If it's your
4 position it is somebody else, then please tell us who.
5 A. Mr. Prosecutor, there were so many nicknames, Stari, Brada, Sesir,
6 Dugi. Do you know that I can tell you how many Bradas there were?
7 Q. Let me help you, sir. How many Bradas do you know that could
8 issue a communication directly to the Minister of Defence, Bruno Stojic?
9 A. I don't know. I do not know a single Brada who could do that, and
10 I don't think I would have to know that, nor is it up to me to know who
11 wrote this, nor is this something that could have anything to do with me.
12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is --
13 JUDGE LIU: You're keeping standing, interrupting the testimony of
14 your witness. That's not fair. What we want to hear is what the witness
15 is going to tell us, no matter you agree with it or not. Unless there is
16 a very substantial issue, very important issues, then you may interrupt,
17 but judging from the previous practices, we don't believe it's useful for
18 to you be standing up from time to time. Yes, you may have the floor.
19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Well, that is why I stood up. It is
20 not really my fault that I have to stand up so often, because I do not see
21 this document say Bruno Stojic anywhere, and I do not know how can the
22 Prosecutor claim that this is -- that this was sent to Bruno Stojic? This
23 document shows clearly who it was sent to and who signed it, and I simply
24 want to say that the cross-examination needs to be correct, and this is
25 not what it says here. It was not sent to the ministry. It says to the
1 operative zone of Northwest Herzegovina. Where is Bruno Stojic here? The
2 witness perhaps is not up to the tricks of cross-examination, and I simply
3 say that we need to ensure fair treatment, but that is all and I won't be
4 standing up again.
5 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, your intervention is a little bit
6 off the track. From the transcript, I thought that the witness gave a
7 good answer to the question, but don't mislead us to somewhere else.
8 Yes, Mr. Scott. You may continue.
9 MR. SCOTT:
10 Q. Mr. Praljak, you may wish to look back at the prior exhibit,
11 463.1, and that communication, which is certainly at the very least over
12 your name, Major General Praljak, is going to Bruno Stojic in person. Do
13 you see that?
14 A. I see that because it says so here in writing.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, sir, what is your testimony as to the role, then,
16 position of Mladen Naletilic in the Bosnian Croat armed forces?
17 A. Although I think I've answered that question several times
18 already, I will do so again. In a nutshell, I left Siroki Brijeg when I
19 was 15 and I met Mr. Naletilic when I was close to 50.
20 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, this is not responsive.
21 JUDGE LIU: Well, Witness, we have heard that experience with
22 Mr. Naletilic, but here the question asked by the Prosecution is that:
23 "What is your testimony as to the role, then, the position of Mladen
24 Naletilic in the Bosnian Croat armed forces?" It's a very simple
25 question. Concentrate on this question, please.
1 A. At the time when I commanded the Croat Defence Council in 1993,
2 Mladen Naletilic, Tuta, was not ever under my command. That is all.
3 MR. SCOTT:
4 Q. Whose command was he under?
5 A. I do not know.
6 Q. Sir, if you could look, please -- if the usher can show you
7 Exhibit P111.1. Thank you.
8 Can you provide any assistance to the Chamber, please, on why it
9 would be that Tuta, in combination with Bruno Stojic, would be signing a
10 document giving movement, essentially a movement permit, permission for
11 free movement, to a member of the Convicts' Battalion named Goran Andric?
12 A. That you will have to ask Mr. Bruno Stojic, the minister or the
13 head of the Ministry of Defence of the Croat Defence Council at the time.
14 Q. Well, what was Mr. Naletilic's relationship to the Convicts'
16 A. I do not know.
17 MR. SCOTT: Can the usher please show you P172.2.
18 Q. Do you agree, sir, that Mr. Naletilic was a member or employee of
19 the HVO Defence Department, or the Defence Department of the Croatian
20 Community of Herceg-Bosna, on the 10th of September, 1992?
21 A. I neither agree nor disagree. I was the commander of the Main
22 Staff, and the Defence Department was not under me; it was above me.
23 MR. SCOTT: Perhaps I can ask the interpreters for some
24 assistance, please. In the sentence that says confirming that
25 Mr. Naletilic - I'm sorry - Mladen Naletilic is an employee of the Defence
1 Department, can that also be interpreted to say "is a member of the
2 Defence Department"?
3 THE INTERPRETER: We would have to see the original.
4 MR. SCOTT: All right. Of course. Thank you.
5 Can I ask the usher to please show you Exhibit 341.
6 Mr. President, just to assist the Registry, I think the vast
7 majority of the documents that will be used will be in that bundle, so you
8 shouldn't -- they shouldn't have to be looking for documents. They should
9 be in the bundle that's been given to the usher.
10 Q. Sir, do you recall, on about the 25th of April, 1993, issuing a
11 communication, being involved in a communication to the effect: For
12 Tuta. Brada requests urgent meeting in Siroki Brijeg. Say when reply
13 urgently. Bruno approves Dragan staying with Siljeg. Do you remember
14 sending that communication or having it sent for you -- or to - excuse me
15 - to you.
16 A. I do not recall the message. I fail to see its sense, what it
17 means. I do not know who Jezicic [phoen] is. And if I wanted to
18 communicate with Mr. Mladen Naletilic, then I could do it without sending
19 such messages --
20 Q. How would you do it?
21 A. -- if I ever thought that necessary.
22 Q. How would you communicate with Tuta, then, if you didn't have to
23 resort to this manner?
24 A. By telephone. We had telephones.
25 Q. And do you recall why it was urgent for you to meet with Mr. Tuta
1 in Siroki Brijeg on the 25th of April, 1993?
2 A. If I deny in toto the sense of this document and say that it had
3 nothing to do with me, then your question why was this meeting to be held
4 is a very crude insinuation.
5 Q. Remind the Chamber, please. It may have come up before. Please
6 assist us. Who is Zeljko Akrap?
7 A. Zeljko Akrap was an officer in the Main Staff of the Croat Defence
8 Council at the time when I was the commander of the Main Staff of the
9 Croat Defence Council.
10 Q. Doesn't it say "Main Staff Duty Officer"?
11 A. The duty officer is like a medical nurse. What it means is simply
12 that you don't sleep the night, and it doesn't mean that he wasn't an
13 officer in the Main Staff.
14 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... another one of these officers
15 who came -- who was an HVO officer, wasn't he?
16 THE INTERPRETER: It doesn't mean that he was not an -- that he
17 was an officer. Excuse me. Interpreter's correction.
18 A. I do not know.
19 MR. SCOTT:
20 Q. Sir, do you recall that -- excuse me.
21 [Prosecution counsel confer]
22 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, Mr. Stringer informs me that the last
23 question and answer wasn't in the transcript. The question to the witness
25 Q. Isn't it correct that Mr. Akrap was another one of these HV
1 officers assisting the HVO?
2 A. I do not know.
3 Q. Sir, do you recall that the 25th of April, 1993 was during the HVO
4 action at Sovici Doljani?
5 A. At that time I was not in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
6 and therefore whatever I say would be only based on hearsay, based on
7 stories, rather than as the one who was there and who eyewitnessed it.
8 Q. Well, how much of the time were you in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the
9 spring of 1993, then? Please tell us. Were you there one day and three
10 months or were you there every day except one day and three months?
11 A. Although I believe I answered -- I gave a rather exhaustive answer
12 to that question, I would need to have an IBM computer in place of my
13 brain to be able to answer, after ten years, questions which are phrased
14 in this manner in the courtroom.
15 Q. Well, Mr. Praljak, you were able to answer very detailed questions
16 on direct examination, weren't you?
17 A. Mr. Prosecutor, the brain has a selective memory. Some things,
18 some events, some dates stick, are imprinted on one's memory, and I'm
19 confident about them, and that is how I presented them and how I answered
20 during the direct examination and whenever you ask me questions related to
21 them. Of course, if I had time, and if those questions were submitted to
22 me in writing, and if the Honourable Court would care to hear about this,
23 would be interested in hearing about this, then I could provide more
24 precise answers, either in writing or by coming again to this courtroom.
25 But do not expect from me to --
1 JUDGE LIU: Judge Clark.
2 JUDGE CLARK: Mr. Praljak, when Mr. Scott, the Chief Prosecutor in
3 this action, asked you whether the dates, the operative dates, the 25th of
4 April, was during the HVO action at Sovici and Doljani, you answered very
5 promptly and immediately that, "At that time I was not in the territory of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina," and you explained that your evidence would therefore
7 not be of great assistance to the Court. Now you're saying you'd need an
8 IBM computer to recall where you were. Perhaps you'd tell the Court, and
9 we would be greatly assisted if you could say why you were so positive
10 that on the 25th of April, 1993, you were not in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can do that, Your Honour,
12 because I heard about those actions, I listened about them, and I know
13 because of that. I'm quite sure that I was not there, because some
14 actions -- because important actions are -- one remembers important
15 actions if one was there or was present there.
16 MR. SCOTT:
17 Q. Well, sir, you were back -- weren't you back, then, in
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina around that time when you attended, with Mr. Tuta,
19 Naletilic - excuse me - at the funeral of Mr. Cikota? And I can show you
20 a photograph in a moment if you like.
21 MR. SCOTT: Can the usher assist me by showing the witness Exhibit
22 P36. Can you put that on the ELMO, please.
23 Can you lower that down a bit so we can get the -- okay. Either
24 way. Either the technical booth or --
25 Q. Sir, that's you standing on the far left side of that photograph,
1 isn't it?
2 A. Yes, that is me.
3 Q. And who is the person with the dark -- not the next person to your
4 immediate -- your immediate in-the-picture left, the balding man, but in
5 the middle of the picture approximately, in the camouflage uniform with
6 glasses, who is that?
7 A. Andabak, Mr. Andabak, Ivan Andabak.
8 Q. And to Mr. Andabak's immediate left in the photograph, who is
10 A. Mr. Mladen Naletilic.
11 Q. You did attend Cikota's funeral, didn't you?
12 A. Correct. I attended Mr. Cikota's funeral, Mr. Mario Hrkac.
13 Q. So in fact, sir, you were in Bosnia-Herzegovina toward the end of
14 April, 1993, weren't you?
15 A. I was in Bosnia-Herzegovina on the day when Mr. Mario Hrkac,
16 nicknamed Cikota, was buried.
17 MR. SCOTT: Could I have the usher's assistance please in going to
18 Exhibit P399.2?
19 JUDGE CLARK: You might be interested to hear, Mr. Praljak, that
20 the Defence counsel for the other accused in this case, Mr. Martinovic,
21 suggested that you were a constitutional lawyer from the court, and you'll
22 be happy to hear that the person who was identifying you was convinced
23 that it was you, General Praljak.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
25 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, for always
1 raising the right question, namely this is the gentleman who Mr. -- the
2 Prosecutor skipped, and I see that it was deliberate. This is the
3 gentleman who is standing next to Mr. Praljak, between Mr. Praljak and
4 Mr. Andabak. That is the gentleman. Yes, yes, that's right, that is the
5 gentleman I identified in the courtroom, and I showed his photograph and I
6 asked Mr. Munje Printe [phoen] whether this was the gentleman that he had
7 communicated with, and he said yes. And I said this was Mr. Vukojevic, a
8 judge of the Constitutional Court, who is still on this photograph, and
9 you can ask the witness whether I am right, and the Prosecutor forgot to
10 ask who was the gentleman who was standing next to him.
11 JUDGE CLARK: We understood -- and certainly when I had the
12 photograph, I thought it was Mr. Par who said that the person who was
13 identified as General Praljak was actually a judge from the Constitutional
14 Court, but if I'm wrong, I stand corrected. That's certainly the
15 impression I had. But we won't debate about it. It's not important.
16 There really is no reason to discuss it.
17 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] But it would be very important for
18 the Court to show this man and to check this, because I remember every
19 single sentence that I said on that occasion.
20 JUDGE CLARK: You can do that on re-examination. It's not
22 JUDGE LIU: Please proceed, Mr. Scott.
23 MR. SCOTT: Just to confirm that, Your Honour, it's not in dispute
24 at this time. I could ask any number of questions about that photograph.
25 I tried to ask the ones that were most pertinent to this particular
2 Q. Sir, if the usher could please assist you by showing you P399.2,
3 again, sir, can you please assist the Chamber in any information that you
4 can provide as to why it would be that on the 17th of May, 1993, Tuta
5 would be co-signing an order with the Minister of Defence, Bruno Stojic,
6 for the -- concerning the needs of 200 kilograms of -- and there is two
7 documents here, and you'll see them and they have been put as one
8 exhibit. You can certainly look at both of them. When you look at them
9 together, 200 kilograms of some TNT shapes? Can you shed some light,
10 please, on why it would be that Mr. Tuta would be issuing such an order,
11 along with the Minister of Defence?
12 A. Believe me, Mr. Prosecutor, that I have absolutely no information
13 about this, no knowledge. I know absolutely nothing about this.
14 Q. All right. If the usher could please show you 564.1? When you
15 look at the second page of the B/C/S original, sir, can you confirm to us
16 that this is an order issued by you, or on your authority, whether it
17 bears your signature or not, on the 12th of August, 1993?
18 A. This is not my signature. And I -- may I be given some time to
19 read this, to see if I could write anything like this?
20 Q. Of course.
21 A. I'm answering --
22 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... sir?
23 A. At that time, I commanded. I did not sign this and this is not my
24 signature. Except -- with the exception of item 2 of this order, where
25 RTP - and I have no idea what that is - then an air force group, of which
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 I've never heard, aircraft group, and Tuta ATG, which never existed, to my
2 knowledge, as such, and I never commanded over anything of that kind. The
3 rest basically is something that I could have signed but I did not. I did
4 not write this and it is not my signature.
5 Q. Sir, do I understand you to say correctly that everything in the
6 document seems to be correct to you and you could have signed except for
7 the very few items you specifically disagree with, one of them, of course,
8 being the Tuta ATG reference?
9 A. Well, reading it as I did now, at a glance, I do not know what
10 could be in dispute here, but I repeat, RTP, aircraft group, Tuta ATG,
11 DTC, all these things, I do not know what units are those and I never
12 issued any orders to them. They were never under my command.
13 Q. Sir, perhaps you can assist us in this way: You were the
14 commander of the General Staff of the HVO on the 12th of August, 1993,
15 weren't you?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. And is it your -- perhaps we can just -- it may assist the
18 Chamber -- is it going to be -- is it your position -- is it going to be
19 your position that any order, any document, over your name but not bearing
20 your personal signature is an invalid document? Is that your position?
21 A. Correct. The Commander of the Main Staff of the HVO signs his
22 documents. The Deputy Commander of the Main Staff signs his orders in his
24 Q. Sir, are you telling us --
25 A. The head of the Main Staff signs his orders in his name.
1 Q. You're telling us -- excuse me, sir. You've given an answer. Let
2 me follow up. You're telling us that as a senior officer, as with any --
3 many -- if it's in the military or not, senior executives, no one ever
4 signed documents for you? You didn't have a deputy, a secretary, an aide
5 de camp? Nobody ever signed a document for you, for -- on your behalf?
6 A. In the army at war, that is not a rule, sir. Everybody is
7 supposed to sign his own document.
8 Q. I see.
9 MR. SCOTT: Can the usher please take the witness to Exhibit
11 Q. Is your signature on that document, sir?
12 A. Correct, Mr. Prosecutor. That is indeed my signature.
13 Q. Now, in this document, sir, you are indicating -- you are listing
14 a number of people who would be attending officer training at the HVU,
15 that is the Croatian Military Academy, on the 2nd of November, 1993;
17 A. The composition of the people according to the units was done by
18 the commanders of those units for a certain feature.
19 Q. Thank you, sir. Perhaps you can answer my question. This was a
20 communication, an order, as titled here, "Order," concerning the sending
21 of officers for training at the Croatian Military Academy; correct?
22 A. That is correct, Mr. Prosecutor.
23 Q. This was a Croatian Military Academy in the Republic of Croatia,
24 was it not?
25 A. That academy was in the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Prosecutor.
1 Q. Now, if I can ask you to look at the first page after the B/C/S?
2 MR. SCOTT: And Mr. President, in the English version, it's not
3 translated because essentially it's just a list of names, so there is no
4 English parallel.
5 Q. But if you look on the first list of names, sir, do you see two
6 entries for someone going to this training from the Kaznjenicka Bojna?
7 A. Yes, from the Convicts Battalion, Mr. Prosecutor. That's where
8 he's coming from.
9 Q. All these units were part of the HVO, weren't they?
10 A. One does not necessarily follow from the other, Mr. Prosecutor.
11 Q. Well, is it your position, then, that the Kaznjenicka Bojna
12 reflected on this document, that that unit was not part of the HVO?
13 A. No. From that time -- and we were talking about the place in the
14 organisational chain where the Convicts Battalion was located, so I'm just
15 sticking by the statements I made earlier, that the Convicts Battalion,
16 during my time of command, was not under my command, unless it came up to
17 the front line, when it entered the chain of command, and then, according
18 to that chain of command, for that period of time, I happened to be at the
19 top of the chain of command. Then that would be correct.
20 Q. All right, sir, that wasn't exactly my question, whether you were
21 in command. My question was: Is it your position that the Convicts
22 Battalion was part of the HVO? Yes or no?
23 A. Mr. Prosecutor, the HVO is a broader concept than the army.
24 Q. All right.
25 MR. SCOTT: Perhaps the usher could assist us with the chart. I
1 don't know if the witness still has the organisational chart or not, the
2 one that he marked on. Perhaps that could be put on the ELMO, please, so
3 that both the witness and everyone else can see it.
4 Q. Now, sir, you indicated earlier today that the KB was in that
5 first large box to the right. Are you telling the Chamber that that box
6 is not part of the HVO?
7 A. That's not what I said. I said that the HVO was a much broader
8 concept than the army itself, than just the army. That does not mean that
9 I'm saying something differently to what I said before, that this does not
10 belong to the army, but this is just the military army part of the HVO,
11 which had its government, its ministers, its jurisprudence, and
12 jurisdiction, and all the other features, and that it was investing great
13 efforts during these times.
14 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... for translation. I'm sorry.
15 Was the Convicts Battalion, on the 27th of July, 1993, and again when you
16 issued this order on the 29th of October, 1993, was the Convicts Battalion
17 part of the military HVO?
18 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor, right where I'm indicating now.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MR. SCOTT: Could the usher please show you 662.02?
21 Q. Did you sign that order on the 30th of October, 1993?
22 A. This is my signature, Mr. Prosecutor.
23 Q. Now, looking at the first page, reference number 3, "The Convicts
24 Battalion and the Ludvig Pavlovic and the Grdani units are to be put on
25 alert to be used as reserve units at the request of the HVO Main Staff."
1 Sir, is it correct -- do I understand correctly that you are issuing an
2 order here on the field disposition of the Convicts Battalion?
3 A. Correct. I did issue an order to that effect.
4 Q. Looking to the second page -- it's the second page in the English
5 version. It's the -- the B/C/S version is only one page. But to -- the
6 information to the left of your signature, where it says -- one of the
7 persons under the "delivered to," it says, "Convicts Battalion." Can you
8 assist the Chamber, how would an order like that be communicated, and
9 indeed, delivered, to the Convicts Battalion?
10 A. Yes, I can, Mr. Prosecutor.
11 Q. Please do.
12 A. These orders were sent by Paket link, by telephone, and conveyed
13 orally. For example, as far as the Grdani unit is concerned, on many
14 occasions they went in the field on the basis of a request rather than an
16 Q. Well, sir, my question to you was: How would this order be
17 distributed to the Convicts' Battalion, please? Did someone drive it to
18 Siroki Brijeg? Did someone from Siroki Brijeg come get it? Was it sent
19 in the mail? Did the Convicts' Battalion get such orders?
20 A. I don't know in what way this particular one reached them, but
21 they could have been sent by fax, by telephone, and orally.
22 Q. Since it comes up from time to time, and you may have hesitated a
23 moment ago about some question of it: Can you tell the Chamber, what was
24 a Paket communication?
25 A. A Paket communication is a type of electronic communication of
1 data with encrypted -- a certain amount of encryption, encrypted
2 protection. It is similar to a fax, but it is protected by code. But
3 this isn't a very secure method, at least not in the conditions and
4 circumstances in which we were working.
5 Q. Directing your attention to paragraph 5 on your order, I just want
6 to ask you this. It says: "Submit a written report to me on the
7 implementation of this order by 1000 hours on 31 of October, 1993." Now,
8 is this another one of those orders which it's not really an order, so if
9 someone had not given you the report by the 31st of October, it didn't
10 really matter?
11 A. That, sir, is important, but if somebody did not submit a report,
12 then I did not have at my disposal any means with which to punish or in
13 any other way implement military will, for the simple reason that, as I
14 said, it was far more an army based on voluntariness than organisation.
15 But we did try to introduce the relationship of subordinate -- the
16 subordinate relationship, and so the orders should have been the kind of
17 orders that an army issues. But I assure you, Mr. Prosecutor, if I may be
18 allowed to continue, that never and in no place would you find that this
19 report on the situation came back.
20 Q. Sir, you're telling this Chamber that the HVO, and in particular,
21 at the point of its evolution by the summer and fall of 1993, had no form
22 of military discipline? Is that your testimony?
23 A. No, sir. What I said was that discipline was far more based on
24 the sentiments and feeling of belonging, of being conscious of belonging
25 to units which, in very strong onslaughts from the Muslim side, had to
1 defend themselves, rather than being a form of discipline of the kind that
2 armies have when we say, say, the American army, the French army, or the
3 British army.
4 Q. I'm going to put it --
5 A. May I be allowed to finish, to complete my answer, please. If,
6 Mr. Prosecutor, you wish us to establish what we mean by the word "army,"
7 the term "army," and when you say "army," you keep wanting us to bear in
8 mind the American army and the French army, then unfortunately I have to
9 tell you that we're not going to arrive at the truth speaking in that way,
10 because these are tremendous efforts to have voluntary, organised groups
11 of citizens form part of an organised system in times that were extremely
12 difficult, and it was with enormous energy that we undertook to do that
13 task. But to establish military organisation, even when a state is in
14 existence, you need at least ten years for the task, and you'll find that
15 in all textbooks that have been written on military matters. You'll be
16 able to read about that there.
17 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, we can take a break there, please.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll resume at a quarter to 1.00.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.16 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.47 p.m.
21 JUDGE LIU: Bring the witness in, please, Mr. Usher.
22 Yes, Mr. Scott.
23 MR. SCOTT:
24 Q. Mr. Praljak, I don't think we will have time to cover this in any
25 length at all in your testimony here on this occasion, but I want to put
1 to you, sir, that there is extensive evidence that there was indeed a
2 military discipline, military justice system, in place, that HVO soldiers
3 were disciplined for any number of things, being absent without leave, not
4 having -- having their weapons not clean. There was a military discipline
5 system, wasn't there, sir?
6 A. For certain soldiers, in certain units which were better, we did
7 succeed in implementing some sort of discipline or taking some sort of
8 disciplinary action. But Mr. Prosecutor, if you would have enough
9 patience, I could tell you, for example, one way in which -- one --
10 something that happened in Travnik, after the fall of Jajce, what it
11 actually looked like in practice. Would you allow me to do that? May I
12 do so?
13 Q. Is it about military discipline, sir?
14 A. Yes. The way in which this was introduced or in which we tried to
15 introduce this.
16 Q. Well, of course, sir, within a reasonable time limit, please.
17 A. The place is Travnik. The year is 1992. The time is after the
18 fall of Jajce. From one position, a group of soldiers, about 30 to 35 of
19 them, fled, they left their positions, and I stopped them. I told them to
20 go back. They said they didn't want to. I then asked that the commanders
21 come forward and go to prison. Sir, when I say this, let me tell you that
22 I did not have a prison, I did not have any military police, there was no
23 law according to which I could try them. When they agreed to go to
24 prison, then the rest of the people said, "Well, we are going to prison
25 too." The prison that didn't exist, by the way. And I remembered to say
1 on that occasion, "You can go to prison, but the uniform is not your
2 own." And on threat, and by threats, by shouting and screaming at them, I
3 demanded that they take off their uniforms and go to prison naked. As it
4 was very cold, they reconsidered. And then we started talking and
5 discussing the matter and I -- we invoked morals and ethics and the duty
6 to defend the country from the Serbs who wanted to reach Sarajevo through
7 the Lasva River valley. And three more figures, let me quote those.
8 Q. I told you I would give you a reasonable opportunity. Unless the
9 Chamber wants to direct me otherwise, I think that's enough. Sir, don't
10 you remember --
11 A. Thank you.
12 Q. Do you remember HVO soldiers, for example, being imprisoned in
13 certain parts of the Heliodrom for criminal violations or violations of
14 military discipline?
15 A. We did try to introduce military discipline. That's true. And we
16 did succeed from time to time.
17 Q. Do you happen to recall, just as one example, do you remember --
18 do you remember an HVO soldier by the name of Splico, who was held at the
19 Heliodrom for using drugs?
20 A. No, sir, I don't remember that particular soldier, but I do know
21 that the Heliodrom was a military investigation prison, investigative
22 prison, under the competence of the military police of the Croatian
23 Defence Council, and that we did try to take soldiers there who had
24 violated discipline. We were more or less successful in this, depending.
25 More successful if we were dealing with an individual but less successful
1 if it was a group of individuals. All we could do was talk to the
2 perpetrators and hold lectures.
3 MR. SCOTT: If I could have the usher's assistance again, please.
4 Can the witness please be shown P415.1.
5 Q. Sir, the man that you -- the gentleman that you had trouble
6 remembering earlier, Zeljko Akrap, he was directly put under your command
7 in May of 1993, wasn't he?
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Yes, Mr. Krsnik.
9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Very briefly, Your Honour. The
10 witness -- it was not that the witness could not remember who Zeljko Akrap
11 was during these proceedings. Quite the contrary. He answered straight
13 JUDGE LIU: Let's hear what the witness is going to tell us.
14 MR. SCOTT:
15 Q. Do you remember, sir, this man being placed on your immediate
16 staff, under the command of Major General Slobodan Praljak?
17 A. I answered you very precisely the first time, but let me repeat.
18 When I arrived and took up my position as commander, I found Zeljko Akrap
19 already there. I know him very well. He became a friend of mine from the
20 war days. All I did not know was where he had come from exactly, that is
21 to say, whether he had come from the Croatian army and what unit.
22 Q. Where was the military district Split?
23 A. One of the collection -- one of the military districts in the
24 organisation of the -- in Croatia.
25 Q. Was the base --
1 A. In the Croatian army.
2 Q. This was an HV base of operations in Split, Republic of Croatia;
4 A. What do you mean when you say "base"? It was the headquarters of
5 the Split district, in Split, of the HV, the Croatian army. That is
7 Q. If Mr. Akrap was being placed under your command, why was he being
8 listed on the payroll of the military district in Split?
9 A. Sir, I do not know that. You would have to ask Brigadier Miljenko
10 Crnjac that. But what I can tell you is this. My answer is: The
11 Croatian state endeavoured, either by giving money or in some other way,
12 to compensate and remunerate people who went to war in Bosnia-Herzegovina
13 on a voluntary basis. That is not contested. The people had to live on
14 something. Bosnia-Herzegovina was not a state. We did not have any
15 regular sources of income. We did not have a state or banks or the
16 possibility of sending money. All we had was money collected on a
17 voluntary basis and a very meager form of taxation, taxing the facilities
18 that were still operational.
19 Q. Sir, why would the assistant to the minister, Miljenko Crnjac, in
20 the HV army - and this stationery is under Republic of Croatia, Ministry
21 of Defence, Zagreb - why would an officer in Zagreb be putting an HV
22 soldier under your command in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
23 A. There are two answers to that question.
24 First, in order to be very precise, in order to -- let me say that
25 you ought to ask Minister Brigadier Crnjac himself. And my interpretation
1 is as follows. A man would come and say that he wanted to go and fight
2 down there, but he asked how he was going to do that and how -- that is to
3 say how he would be ensured a minimum -- minimum money and financial
4 resources to look after his family, and that was never contested. That is
5 to say that the Croatian state helped, assisted, but did not send and did
6 not order people to go. This is probably - and I repeat probably - just
7 one of -- one way in which they endeavoured to ensure a minimum monthly
8 income for that person's family during -- to keep them during the time he
9 spent in the HVO as a volunteer in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 Q. In other words, sir, the Republic of Croatia actively assisted and
11 supported the war against the Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina; correct?
12 A. In other words, I consider the thesis of this kind is a distortion
13 of the facts, crude insinuations, and in short, insults.
14 Q. Thank you, sir. Could the witness please be shown --
15 A. Thank you, too.
16 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... Sir, based on your previous
17 answers, perhaps we can anticipate your answer, but nonetheless I'll put
18 it to you. This is an order that was -- or a request, excuse me. This is
19 a request that was sent out over your name and rank and under your
20 authorisation; correct?
21 A. This is not my signature.
22 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, something completely
23 else. I did not ask for any private session before, but whenever a name
24 was mentioned at the time when I was cross-examining, we went into private
25 session. There are too many names mentioned here, and because of those
1 people who might be called here as witnesses, and for some other reasons
2 which I do not wish to mention in an open session, I would like to ask
3 that we go into private session whenever names come up, because I really
4 cannot say now, but you know that very many people here will be also
5 coming as witnesses, and I do not wish their names to be interpreted by
6 all sorts of media and to appear in the press with -- in a bad context.
7 So may we go into private session whenever names come up?
8 JUDGE LIU: We will go into the private session, please.
9 [Private session]
13 Page 9615 – redacted – private session
13 Page 9616 – redacted – private session
20 [Open session]
21 JUDGE CLARK: Can I just say something? Mr. Krsnik said something
22 that's very disturbing. You said that the newspapers in Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina were reporting that General Praljak was being accused by this
24 Tribunal or had been accused before the Tribunal. That's certainly how it
25 translated to us, Mr. Krsnik.
1 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] When I spoke in the first private
2 session this morning, then I said that General Praljak, during these seven
3 years -- that you couldn't open a newspaper without that particular
4 newspaper saying that he had been accused by the Prosecutor. Of course,
5 he is here. He can testify to that also. And today, when I mentioned the
6 press, I don't know what the interpretation was, but what I said
7 was -- but we are already back in the open session. Today what I said was
8 that the media, especially the media in Bosnia-Herzegovina, will more or
9 less, depending, of course, on the lobby and on the interest group, but of
10 course mostly to make the work of the Defence more difficult. What I'm
11 saying will be that General Praljak accused somebody here. You see, there
12 was an article in the Bosnia-Herzegovina media about my opening address,
13 and I can -- I am having it translated to show as an example of how this
14 case is covered, that names of witnesses are disclosed, and so on and so
16 JUDGE CLARK: You see, I understood you to say - and maybe I
17 understood you incorrectly or the translation was incorrect - that the
18 newspapers had said that General Praljak was accused. This is open
19 session, and I do this deliberately. If this is being reported on the
20 open waves, General Praljak has not been accused by this Tribunal and he
21 is not being accused by this Tribunal. General Praljak is here as a
22 witness and he is being treated with the courtesy that witnesses deserve.
23 JUDGE LIU: You may proceed, Mr. Scott.
24 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
1 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President. I don't know where we left
2 off, if the usher has provided the witness with Exhibit 559.3 or not. If
3 so --
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
5 MR. SCOTT: Thank you very much.
6 Q. Sir, you saw this document in direct examination. Does
7 Mr. -- this officer that you've just told us a few things about,
8 Mr. Matic, in fact confirm accommodations being made for a large number of
9 soldiers coming from Croatia at the Heliodrom, outside of Mostar?
10 A. The key word here is "volunteer units," and during the
11 examination-in-chief, I said that the overall number of soldiers,
12 volunteers from Croatia, at its peak, did not exceed 800. And I stand by
13 this statement, even though this figure, 800, holds true only for a short
14 while at a time when we sought help because we were in a very difficult
15 situation, and when we requested help not from the Croatian army but from
16 people that we knew and people who came from the territory, who drew roots
17 from that territory.
18 Q. So where do you get the number 800? You seem to have a very
19 specific number in mind. What's the source of that?
20 A. Well, I do not know exactly, but the source of this fact is the
21 fact that 20 came from here and -- you know, Mr. Prosecutor, when I came
22 in April 1992, I had seven soldiers from Sunja, from Croatia, with me who
23 had -- they had volunteered. And I all deployed them with -- I put them
24 up with Muslims so as to expedite their preparedness for what we knew was
25 looming on the horizon, and that was the war.
1 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the source of the number 800.
2 That was my question. Sir, if you look at 559.3. Let me suggest to you,
3 sir, that if you look at 559.3, if your number of 800 is anywhere close to
4 being correct, the number on this one particular document alone represents
5 over 400 people. That would be half the total number that you say were in
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina throughout the war, would it not?
7 A. Mr. Prosecutor, the key word is "announced," and believe me, less
8 than a half of those truly arrived there.
9 MR. SCOTT: Can the usher please give you Exhibit 592.1.
10 Q. Is it correct, sir -- well, again, does this appear to be an
11 order, over your name, signed for, in fact, by your aid, Zeljko Akrap?
12 A. Well, somebody did sign my name. Whether it is Zeljko Akrap's
13 signature, after all this time, I wouldn't really be able to say. But
14 somebody did sign it in my name.
15 Q. Is it correct, sir, that around this time, the 7th of September,
16 1993, Colonel Ivica Primorac was being sent to the Command-Staff School of
17 the Republic of Croatia army?
18 A. Possible. It's quite possible. Yes. The date could be correct.
19 The date -- I tend to agree with the date.
20 Q. The letter says:
21 "Colonel Ivica Primorac, who is going to the Command-Staff School
22 of the Croatian army, will be replaced on the position of assistant to the
23 commander of the HVO Main Staff for the professional army by Colonel
24 Dragan (Stipo) Curcic."
25 Why was it necessary to give the notice of that replacement, as
1 immediately up above, to the office of the chief of the HV Main Staff in
2 Zagreb? Why would you have to notify somebody in Zagreb about a personnel
3 move in the HVO?
4 A. No, Mr. Prosecutor. Not about personnel changes but that Ivica
5 Primorac would be going to the staff school in Croatia so as to raise the
6 level of training and discipline of our army to a high level. During the
7 war I also attended some of the manoeuvres of NATO in Germany, and
8 somebody informed somebody that I would be coming, because that is how it
9 is done. This is good manners.
10 Q. The purpose of this letter, sir, I'm going to suggest to you - you
11 can certainly read it in the Croatian language - the purpose of this
12 letter is not so much to inform about Mr. Primorac and what he's doing,
13 but the point is: "Will be replaced on the position by Colonel Dragan
14 Curcic." Now, why would you have to tell HVO Main Staff in Zagreb about
15 who was replacing Mr. Primorac while he was away?
16 A. If you showed such a letter to any professional soldier in the
17 West, then you would see that it had been written by a layman, by a
18 civilian, who was a civilian beforehand, because Mr. Zeljko Akrap was not
19 a military, and that there is absolutely nothing that can be in dispute
20 except that information in excess is provided, and that was not
21 necessary. Mr. Dragan Curcic subsequently became the second-ranking man
22 in the Federation. And I also need to mention that at no time during the
23 negotiations - and that includes Dayton - the HVO was not a paramilitary
24 force. It was recognised as a regular force of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
25 that is its status to this day.
1 MR. SCOTT: Can the witness please be shown Exhibit 661.1.
2 Q. Sir, do you recall proposing that a man named Ante
3 Saskor - forgive my pronunciation - which is described here, in personal
4 rank, colonel in the HV, do you remember proposing this man to be
5 placed -- made the commander of the Mario Hrkac Cikota Brigade in Siroki
7 A. I knew Mr. Ante Saskor from a place called Omis, near Split, where
8 my mother was born. I asked him, I pleaded with him, because he's an
9 outstanding -- a man of outstanding qualities, an honest man and a good
10 soldier, so I pleaded with him to come and stay with the HVO as the
11 commander in Siroki Brijeg, because before that, that brigade had fallen
12 apart several times before that, for different reasons.
13 And the qualities of that man, his human qualities to begin with -
14 not his military qualities because he was not a soldier before the war -
15 and owing to his human qualities, this brigade became a high-quality and
16 good unit, and unfortunately he was subsequently killed in the fighting in
18 Q. Sir, you say he was not a soldier before the war, but at this time
19 as of October, 1993, he was a colonel in the Republic of Croatia army?
20 A. Before the war, he worked at the -- at the power plant in Omis as
21 an electrician, and I presume that at that time, before I asked him to
22 come as a volunteer, that he was a colonel.
23 Q. Sir, going back to the fall of 1992, you were the senior Croat
24 officer commanding in connection with an armed conflict around Prozor with
25 the Muslims, weren't you?
1 A. I was a volunteer at the time. I was in Rama, Prozor, but not as
2 a high-ranking officer of the Croatian Army but as Slobodan Praljak,
3 volunteer. This high-ranking officer of the Croatian Army would mean that
4 somebody had sent me on the basis of an official act, and that is not
5 true. That is not true. And I was there at the time.
6 Q. You were the senior commanding officer over the Bosnian Croat
7 armed forces in Prozor -- in and around Prozor, in October, 1992; correct?
8 A. At the time, I commanded those forces when we tried to liberate
9 parts, and lines that had been dug behind our backs, above the town
10 itself, 20 kilometres away from the front lines that we were holding
11 against Serb and Montenegrin forces on the hills above Gornji Vakuf.
12 Q. Sir, on Tuesday in your testimony, you complained about the
13 Muslims not assisting the Croats in defending Jajce against the Serbs in
14 the autumn of 1992, and again approximately October, 1992. Do you
15 remember that?
16 A. I did not complain, because I was not in Jajce. What I said was
17 that one of the reasons for the relatively quick fall of Jajce was very
18 poor combat between Jajce and Travnik and especially on Komar, which is a
19 hill, because the route of supplies towards Jajce from the hill of Komar,
20 which was held by the forces of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was very
21 narrow, and so the defence of Jajce was weakened and they were practically
22 encircled, and that is how it fell into Chetniks' hands.
23 Q. Sir, did the fall of Jajce -- did that happen before or after the
24 Croat troops under your command in Prozor burned down most of the Muslim
25 houses in Prozor?
1 A. The conflict in Prozor happened when I was not there.
2 Q. Sir, I repeat my question to you: Was the fall of Jajce before or
3 after Croat troops under your command - you told us a few moments ago you
4 were in command - burned down most of the Muslim homes in Prozor?
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Seric?
6 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I object, not to the
7 question but the series of questions asked by the Prosecutor, and at the
8 same time, the Prosecutor is attempting to testify and he therefore puts
9 forth certain things which the witness never said. So I believe the
10 question should either be reworded or he should be ordered by you to
11 withdraw the question.
12 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Scott, I think your question involved several
13 questions. First of all, you have to establish whether there is burning
14 down of the Muslim houses in Prozor, and then later on, you will ask about
15 the time.
16 MR. SCOTT: I will, Your Honour.
17 Q. Sir, do you remember, for example - to get some more specifics -
18 do you remember being in a meeting in Prozor with a Mr. Karic representing
19 the Muslim side, around this time, in October, 1992?
20 A. I arrived in the area from Zagreb, and at the personal order - no,
21 I misspoke - request of Mr. Alija Izetbegovic and Mr. Franjo Tudjman, to
22 help quell the incident that took place in Prozor, I undertook to calm the
23 situation with many Muslim commanders, Palic, Karic and others, and I
24 endeavoured to carry out the job as properly as possible. That is
25 correct. And we did succeed in calming the situation.
1 Q. Do you remember, sir, that when you were there, even after you
2 arrived in, personally, in Prozor, that the Muslims houses were being
3 burned and were on fire even at that time?
4 A. No, sir. In Prozor, I was in Prozor for a very short period of
5 time, and then I continued the negotiations and talks in Jablanica, in
7 Q. Sir, do you recall while were you in Prozor -- and I submit -- I
8 put to you while Muslim houses were burning, that you joined HVO soldiers
9 in a celebration in the middle of town. I think there was lamb on the
11 A. I say to you, sir, two things. First, that that lamb on the spit
12 was being rotated by some HOS units, that with a rifle I followed
13 somebody, an asshole, who was following -- was running after a Muslim, and
14 I say that you are lying.
15 JUDGE CLARK: That's language that we really shouldn't hear in
16 court. I'm sure it just slipped out.
17 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologises. I might have used a
18 term that was stronger than the speaker was using.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All I can say is that I did my job
20 very honourably, that it is very difficult for me, that when I was trying
21 to introduce order, I could have -- and I could have lost my head, to hear
22 criticisms of that kind.
23 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologises. She might have used
24 an expression that was stronger.
25 JUDGE CLARK: Not at all, Madam Interpreter. I'm used to strong
1 language and we are dealing with war crimes. The word that I was
2 objecting to was "lying," and I think it's better that neither witnesses
3 nor counsel accuse people of lying. There are other words that you can
4 use. That's the word I was objecting to, not anything else.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It will not happen again, although
6 it is very painful to hear.
7 MR. SCOTT:
8 Q. Sir, I think you confirmed both yesterday and today, if I heard
9 you correctly, that Mr. Zeljko Siljeg was one of your subordinates at
10 times when you were operating in Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that correct?
11 A. Yes, that is correct, Mr. Prosecutor.
12 Q. I believe you also testified yesterday that another person who was
13 subordinate to you at times when you were operating in Bosnia-Herzegovina
14 was this man Jure Schmidt. Do you recall that?
15 A. While Mr. Siljeg was directly subordinate to me, Mr. Jurgen
16 Schmidt was not directly to me, but indirectly subordinate, so that there
17 was somebody in between him and myself.
18 Q. Who was between Mr. Schmidt and you?
19 A. Well, if you allow that I cannot be specific and exact, I think it
20 was Mr. Glasnovic, Mr. Zeljko Glasnovic, but I do put in a question mark
21 when I say that. I'm not quite sure.
22 Q. I'm sorry, sir, when you say "Zeljko," did you mean --
23 A. Zeljko Glasnovic.
24 MR. SCOTT: Can the witness please be shown Exhibit 186.1?
25 Mr. Usher, if you could perhaps move that up a bit on the page -- excuse
1 me, on the ELMO, so that we could see a bit more of the text? Thank you
2 so much.
3 Q. Sir, this is a report -- appears to be a report from Mr. Schmidt
4 to Colonel Zeljko Siljeg in person at 1810 hours on the 24th of October,
5 1992. And Mr. Schmidt reports at that time, first paragraph, "Constant
6 combat activity. The town of Prozor and Rama Lake are under the control
7 of the Prozor HV/HVO. These two areas are ethnically pure. The Muslim
8 population has been detained or has fled." That's an accurate statement
9 of what happened, isn't it?
10 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I was not at that place at that time. I said a
11 moment ago I was requested by Mr. Alija Izetbegovic and Mr. Franjo
12 Tudjman, and I went down there after that and did what I did, and I stand
13 by that, and I'm very proud of having done what I did.
14 Q. Sir, you -- as a senior officer, you received reports, both in
15 writing and orally, from your subordinates, didn't you?
16 A. I repeat, sir, I was not at that time at that place, and as I was
17 not there, I did not receive any reports at all. I arrived later on. I
18 arrived in Gornji Vakuf, and as to the operation, that I knew what it was
19 and why it took place and it was one and a half months after attempts to
20 negotiate with the participation of all the international forces who were
21 down there, I received reports, and I can tell you about that. As to what
22 you have just said, it has nothing to do with me.
23 Q. Sir, was it not reported up the HVO chain of command that as the
24 town of Prozor, as of the 24th of October, 1992, was ethnically pure, the
25 Muslims had either been detained or had fled? That was reported up your
1 chain of command, wasn't it?
2 A. At that time, sir, I was not there. I was not performing any
3 function and I was not part of the command chain. I think I am speaking
4 clearly enough and in proper fashion.
5 MR. SCOTT: If the Court will excuse me for just one moment?
6 [Prosecution counsel confer]
7 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I'm hesitating because I look at the
8 clock and where I am in the outline -- I was consulting with the case
9 manager in terms of some material. While I hate to lose any time, of
10 course, I suspect that if I start a new topic, there is no way we will
11 finish it in the next five minutes. But I'll start if you want me to.
12 JUDGE LIU: We have been advised that we have to be out of this
13 room at quarter to 2.00 because this room will be used by another trial.
14 So what if we stop here and we resume on Monday morning?
15 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
17 Witness, I'm sorry to say that we have to keep you here for the
18 weekend, and as I said before to you, do not talk to anybody about your
19 testimony and do not let anybody talk to you about it. Have a nice
20 weekend in The Hague.
21 We will rise until Monday.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.40 p.m., to
23 be reconvened on Monday, the 8th day of April, 2002,
24 at 9.00 a.m.