1 Tuesday, 16 April 2002
2 [The accused entered court]
3 [Open session]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 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: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. If I
10 may, I merely wish to inform you about something and make a request. The
11 translation service tells us, as we have indicated, the witnesses that are
12 about to come should be priority. I have just been informed that the
13 expert findings will be done by the 1st of May, so could -- so could the
14 Chamber please bear this in account. We were told we would have to have
15 them ready by the 24th of April but unfortunately the translations will
16 simply not be ready by that time so please could the deadline be extended
17 to the 1st of May?
18 JUDGE LIU: I think last time we made an oral ruling that you
19 should submit the expert statement in two weeks, which is at the end of
20 April. It's more or less the 1st of May. So upon your request, I believe
21 that your request is granted. The submission of the expert statement will
22 be extended to the 1st of May. You may sit down, please.
23 It seems to me that we have great problem with the translations
24 and in order to have the translation to catch up, we'll have a longer
25 recess, which is about a week, after finishing the present witness, we'll
1 have a recess until Wednesday next week.
2 Mr. Usher, will you please bring in the witness?
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, Witness. Can you hear me?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I can. Good morning, Your
7 JUDGE LIU: You may sit down, please.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 WITNESS: WITNESS NB [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik, please continue.
12 Examination by Mr. Krsnik: [Continued]
13 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Good morning, Witness.
15 A. Good morning, sir.
16 Q. Witness, may I remind you what I told you yesterday. Please
17 focus, look at the screen and slow down, please, because it is indeed very
18 difficult for our interpreters to work when we speak over each other or
19 when we are too fast. So please bear this in mind.
20 Witness, yesterday we broke off when we were talking about the
21 Heliodrom and you were describing to us how many units were quartered
22 there and you explained the name "camp." Today, I'd merely like to ask
23 you whether there was also a military prison at the Heliodrom called the
24 central military prison. Are you aware of that?
25 A. Yes, I am. There was the central military prison at the
2 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] My apologies, I'm looking for a
3 photograph which I want to show you with the usher's help. Mr. Usher, can
4 you please help me? It is the Exhibit 20.7.
5 Q. Witness, in this courtroom, we have heard from different witnesses
6 that these buildings were used for prisoners. Tell us, are you aware of
7 that or not?
8 A. This building here --
9 Q. And could you please make a circle around it and point at it.
10 A. [Indicates] This building with the flat roof, and there were --
11 the command of my brigade was in this building.
12 Q. And in the building next to it? In this larger building?
13 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't see it.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer?
17 MR. STRINGER: According to the transcript, counsel asked for
18 photo -- Exhibit 20.7. But that does not appear to be the photo that's on
19 the ELMO.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes?
21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] No, no.
22 JUDGE LIU: Which number? I could not see. 17? This is --
23 MR. KRSNIK: Mr. Usher can you help us. What number of exhibit is
25 JUDGE LIU: 17.
1 THE USHER: 20.17.
2 MR. STRINGER: Because the transcript shows 20.7.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
4 MR. KRSNIK: 17, okay, and 20.11.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Witness, I will now show you another photograph
6 and perhaps on this other photograph, you will be able to identify.
7 A. Yes. This photograph is much clearer. This building with the
8 flat roof that I'm pointing at now is the command of my brigade. Across
9 it is the boiler house used to heat the Heliodrom. What I'm pointing at
10 now is the canteen and to the right are the kitchen where the food was
11 prepared and restaurants.
12 Q. And the building to the left, do you know who was there?
13 A. The building to the left, when Juka Prazina's troops came they
14 would be accommodated in that building.
15 Q. And now I'll give you my copy, because we cannot draw anything on
16 this one. So would the usher please give you this copy? And will you
17 put number 1 where your command was, number 2 where the boiler room is,
18 number 3 by the canteen, and number 4 by Juka Prazina's units?
19 A. [Marks]
20 Q. What was this? Excuse me I've forgotten. Number 1 is the command
21 two is the boiler house, three is the canteen.
22 Q. And the building below the canteen?
23 A. That is the facility where food is prepared and restaurant.
24 Q. Will you then put number 4 there and number 5.
25 A. This that I'm pointing at now was the surgery, the infirmary of
1 the garrison.
2 Q. And will you put number 5. Did you ever see any prisoners in this
3 building number 5?
4 A. No, I did not see them.
5 Q. Thank you very much.
6 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, usher.
7 Q. Witness, let's move on and let me ask you, was your brigade of a
8 mixed ethnic composition?
9 A. Counsel, we did not really go into that all that often but during
10 a certain period of time, when we conducted an analysis, a survey, of the
11 strength of my brigade, then I can give you literally the data down to one
12 to ten men but on the day of the 8th of May, 1993, my brigade numbered
13 about 2.280 or 2.270 men. Of them, there will be -- well, as I've said,
14 this number will not be 100 per cent accurate, 1.080 members of the HVO
15 who were Muslims, about 1.170 were Croats and 11 were other or, in
16 percentage terms, as of that day, my brigade included 45 per cent of
17 soldiers -- of Muslim soldiers.
18 Q. Can you give us the date?
19 A. I said the 8th of May, 1993.
20 Q. Very well. Did its composition change? Were the Muslims with you
21 all the time?
22 A. That composition began to change, and I'm referring to those days
23 and certain phenomena within my brigade -- in my brigade, which were the
24 -- which were the result of the situation arisen between the HVO and the
25 army of B and H in central Bosnia, and in particular, in Konjic.
1 Q. Why Konjic?
2 A. Because we received information that as early as January, there
3 was an attack of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Konjic against the
4 forces of the HVO which were not as strong, as numerous, and in March or
5 more accurately starting from the 8th of -- that was the information that
6 we received from Konjic, when Dr. Safet Cibo, that was what we were told,
7 became the mayor of the municipalities Konjic and Jablanica.
8 Q. Excuse me for interrupting you but the transcript does not say the
9 8th. You said the 8th.
10 A. The 8th of March, 1993. And then the relations suffered an
11 additional blow, that is the large-scale armed attack started already
12 against the units in the Konjic area, the persecution of the civilian
14 Q. I have to interrupt you once again, I'm sorry. Who attacked whom
15 and what civilians were persecuted?
16 A. Croat civilians were persecuted and expelled and the attack, as I
17 have already said, was launched by the forces of the army of
19 Q. Yes, please go on.
20 A. I received this information personally too from an officer from
21 Zvonko Zovko who came to Mostar from Konjic.
22 Q. Will you please repeat the last name because it is not in the
24 A. Zvonko Zovko.
25 Q. Will you please spell out his last name?
1 A. Z-O-V -- Z-V-O-N-K-O, Z-O-V-K-O.
2 Q. Now it's right. Thank you.
3 A. He notified me -- he informed me in the operational zone of Mostar
4 and we, that is we already -- that is since January -- we had this
5 information, and I ordered my service for information and propaganda to
6 draw up conclusions or better put, an information, and send it to all my
7 units with a view to identifying all harbouring ill intentions out to
8 destroy the joint struggle of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
9 HVO, or rather the Muslims and Croats in the HVO, and personally I was
10 invited to Radio Mostar and in a programme, I pointed out to what could
11 happen and what regrettably did happen subsequently if we did not identify
12 those disseminating lies and sowing discord.
13 Q. Thank you. Can you describe some of the changes that took place
14 in the relations between the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO?
15 A. Yes. Yes, I can. I can tell you about the relations which I
16 pointed out at the respect and joint struggle in four or five examples and
17 I can also tell you about relations which produced some adverse effects.
18 Q. Yes, please go on.
19 A. I did not say -- I did not tell this Honourable Court that at the
24 at the expense of professionalism but I took great pains to have proper
25 representation, ethnic representation. I mean soldiers in my brigade and
1 my command. So that I designated as my operations officer an acquaintance
2 of mine from the Territorial Defence and who had called me after he'd been
3 released from the Serb camp in Dubrovnik, that is, he was exchanged in
4 Dubrovnik, the Serb camp was not in Dubrovnik, it was in Bileca. A
5 Muslim, Salko Coric, I designated him the head of the -- as the head of
6 the transportation service, I appointed a Muslim from Blagaj, from the 8th
7 battalion, Ibrica Jazvin. As the head of the artillery, which is
8 of course the most important firing power of any unit, I appointed Muslim
9 Hajro Jakirevic and as the head of the military intelligence, I
10 appointed Muslim Seno Salcin. At the time of religious holidays, the
11 Muslim -- the Islamic Bajram, Catholic Christmas and Easter, the soldiers,
12 that is Muslims and Croats in the HVO, took each other's place in manning
13 the front line and they did so of their own will so that both could
14 celebrate, mark, those religious holidays.
15 The relations couldn't be more correct, and I can say that they
16 were so good that even the officers in the command of my brigade, those
17 were Muslims, paid visits to the homes, to the families of Croat officers.
18 Q. And you still owe me the answer. When did these relations change?
19 A. The first change in the relations, I began to sense in my brigade,
20 when, in April, my operations officer, Muslim Salko Coric, told me that he
21 was -- that members of the BH Army mistreated him, used to mistreat him
22 when he crossed the old bridge on his way to work.
23 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Salko Coric was of what nationality?
24 A. He was a Muslim, Salko Coric.
25 Q. Could you be very precise whenever you're answering my questions.
1 A. And he told me that it became ever-more difficult for him to go to
2 work. At that time, he brought me a painting, a work of art, made by his
3 brother, a member of the BiH army, who was a painter, who graduated from
4 art academy. His name is Avdo Coric, who was born in Nevesinje, as a
5 token of appreciation for what I did for him. On this painting there is
6 a berry tree. In fact, a bud, a genuine, true bud, which was not painted,
7 which was put on to the painting and it was blossoming and there were
8 these seeds of the flower scattered all over the painting. Later on,
9 whenever I looked at this painting, I thought that this was perhaps the
10 one and only way for my friend Salko to give me a signal that this unity
11 is breaking up, bursting its seams.
12 Another moment in time was the imprisonment of two members of the
13 Siroki Brijeg battalion of volunteers. They were taking food to the
14 Guberaca battle line which was located above the city of Gnojnice. In the
15 course of their return, Marinko Covic and Karlo Zelenika were imprisoned,
16 captured, by a group belonging to the BiH army, to be more specific, the
17 4th Corps of the army. This happened on the 5th of June, 1993. The
18 troops confiscated their vehicle, a bus transporter, and they used this
19 vehicle to collect Croats, members of the military police, at the Kovacin
20 feature, checkpoint, along the M-7 route at a town called Bisce Polje and
21 took them all together to a prison in Eastern Mostar, I'm not quite sure
22 whether this was the SDK building or the 4th elementary school building.
23 Q. I apologise. Could you give us the date of the year when this
25 A. I apologise. It was the 5th of May. I apologise.
1 Q. The year?
2 A. 1993. I apologise. Earlier, I said it was the 5th of June but it
3 was in fact on the 5th of May, 1993. May I continue?
4 Q. Yes, indeed.
5 A. I immediately informed my commander about this event. The
6 commander of the operation zone southeastern Herzegovina, Mr. Miljenko
7 Lasic. I was disgusted indeed. It may very well be that I used some
8 stronger language at that time. The commander told me that I should calm
9 down the whole situation, that these were rigged incidents, however
10 isolated incidents, and that no -- that is every conflict must be
11 avoided. At that time, I had a small problem with regard to the defence
12 of the line because the colleagues of the prisoners withdrew from the --
13 from the defence line to the Ortijes airport, and I, in agreement with
14 members of the unit in Gnojnice, I took this defence line.
15 Q. This line was with whom?
16 A. The defence line was with the JNA and the Serb army.
17 Q. Do you have any similar incident of this sort?
18 A. Left from the Siroki Brijeg unit, there were also the 4th
19 Battalion members stationed, who, however, had not withdrawn from the
20 defence line. Upon the insistence of the operations zone, on the 7th, my
21 soldiers were released from the prison. I asked them whether they had
22 been mistreated, they told me that they were not, in terms of physical
23 mistreatment. However, as soon as their vehicle had been confiscated on
24 the rear view mirror which was located on the windshield, their crown was
25 removed from that rear view mirror and it was thrown out of the vehicle.
1 Q. Are you referring, to a rosary?
2 A. Yes, I'm referring to a rosary which is usually put on to the rear
3 view mirror by the Catholics. When I thought that the whole situation
4 simmered down and that this was everything that we might witness, on the
5 8th of May, 1993, [redacted]
13 A. So Mr. Zeljko Kurtalic was sent to the collection area, and since
14 we did not have a sufficient number of vehicles, he took the vehicle
15 belonging to Dragan Milicevic, deputy logistics officer. This was a
16 Zastava 101 passenger car. Members of the BiH army, and it was in a
17 settlement called Mahala, in fact in this town of Mostar, intercepted him,
18 took his vehicle, and they took him to East Mostar, to a prison there.
19 Q. When was he released from prison?
20 A. I do not recall the exact date. I think it was --
21 Q. Roughly, month, year?
22 A. After about one month, I think.
23 Q. What was the month, approximately?
24 A. I think he was released in June. I do not know the exact date but
25 it must have been towards the end. Was it the 26th or the 28th, I do not
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 Q. Which year?
3 A. 1993.
4 Q. Did anything specific happen in April of 1993, as far as these
5 relations are concerned? To be more specific, in Mostar or in your area
6 of responsibility?
7 A. Nothing special happened in the area of my responsibility but in
8 the town of Mostar, things did happen. In Mostar, as far as I can recall,
9 it was somewhere in mid-April that an armed conflict took place. I cannot
10 say who was the initiator, near the HIT building. It was a conflict
11 between the members of the BiH army and the policemen on the Croatian
12 side, i.e., on the HVO side, and some persons were wounded in this
13 conflict. In order to calm the whole situation down, we held a meeting,
14 which I also attended, between the commanders of the 41st, I think,
15 Brigade of the BiH army, Midhat Hujdur, Hujka, and deputy commander of the
16 operational zone, southeastern Herzegovina, Mr. Petar Zelenika.
17 At that time, the commander of the BiH army, Arif Pasalic, and of
18 the southeastern Herzegovina operational zone, Mr. Miljenko Lasic, were
19 not in the town. They were left with the duty to sign an agreement
20 concerning the definition of a demarcation line, which was jointly agreed
21 upon as the line of movement and checkpoints were established along the
22 route. On the left-hand and the right-hand sides, in the direction of the
23 bridges, it was agreed upon to set up police checkpoints.
24 Q. Did you finish?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, I have a feeling that you are perhaps slightly too slow. I
2 know that it's very difficult for you but still this is better than too
4 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I will now request the Registrar to
5 bring us Exhibits ID D1/106, 109, 110.
6 Q. Let us first take Exhibit ID D1/106. I will give you some time to
7 read it. I'm interested in the last section, the Mostar report. Did you
8 find it?
9 A. Yes, I did.
10 Q. Well, I'm interested in this, particularly point 4. Do you know
11 this document? Is this something that you are familiar with?
12 A. Yes, I am familiar with this. The command of the 41st Brigade of
13 the BiH army was located in the Vranica building, and it was very
14 thoroughly secured, guarded, through an external secure and guard system.
15 As far as I know, there was a double security system, i.e., the perimeter
16 was very large. How this exchange of fire came about, I do not know.
17 Q. Very well. Let us now have a look at the Exhibit ID D1/109.
18 Could you first, please, check the date on page 1.
19 A. Yes. This is the report of the 19th of April, 1993, for the 18th
20 of April, 1993.
21 Q. Could you please once again focus only on the Mostar report.
22 JUDGE LIU: Is that on page 5 of the English translation?
23 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] In the English translation, that is
24 page 6, report from Mostar.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, obviously, these are reports
1 sent in by the brigades from their battlefields and it is obvious here
2 that the Serb aggressors attacked the 2nd Brigade, occasionally the 3rd
3 Brigade. Two of my men died because they stepped onto land mines.
4 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
5 Q. I apologise.
6 A. At 5.00 a.m.
7 Q. Could you tell us who were the two men who stepped on the mines in
8 the minefield. Here they are mentioned?
9 A. Djeko Enes and Jasaric who were members of the 8th Battalion.
10 Q. You were their commander?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. They are described under item 2 of this report. What else
13 happened, or what else could you deduce from this report? Mention is made
14 of clashes between HVO, VP and BH Army soldiers?
15 A. Yes, the conflict was due to the exchange of fire from both sides
16 and this is why a meeting was held on the 21st of April. The meeting that
17 I had been describing earlier, when this sector was put under the control
18 of the patrols of both sides' police, the HVO police, the BH Army police
19 and the civilian police, as well as the international observers.
20 Q. I will now show you document ID D1/110.
21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] And would the Registrar prepare ID
22 D1/108 and 124, please? And D1/125?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. This was a meeting.
24 Q. Sorry. Will you please describe the document ID D1/110?
25 A. The Army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the information
1 propaganda service of the 4th Corps of the Army of Bosnia and
2 Herzegovina, issues a press release on a meeting held at the main staff
3 and which was attended by General Philip Morillon, chief of the army staff
4 Sefer Halilovic, chief of the HVO main staff Milivoj Petkovic, the
5 commander of the 4th Corps of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Arif
6 Pasalic, commander of the southeast Herzegovina operative zone, that is
7 representing HVO, Mr. Miljenko Lasic; and representatives of UNPROFOR and
8 the European Community.
9 Q. So you mean that is the meeting that you were referring to?
10 A. No. This is the meeting that took place at the main headquarters.
11 And the meeting that I was referring to was at a lower -- was
12 lower-ranking, that is, it was a meeting to discuss the implementation of
13 this agreement.
14 Q. Very well. Thank you.
15 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Now, usher, could you give him
16 documents D1/108, D1/124, 125, D1/126? Madam Registrar, if you would be
17 so kind, D1/126, 128 and D1/127. And we'll go through them document by
19 Q. First, the document ID D1/108. Do you have it in your hands?
20 A. Yes, I have it in my hands.
21 Q. Uh-huh. Will you describe the document to us, the date, who is
22 the author and so on and the rest of it?
23 A. Yes, I will do that. The Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the army
24 of the Republic of BH, the 4th Corps command, reference number --
25 Q. No, you don't need to do that, just the date.
1 A. Mostar, 17th of April, 1993. Addressed as a military secret,
2 strictly confidential and as an urgent document, sent to all the units of
3 the 4th Corps of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4 Q. And who signed it?
5 A. It was signed by commander Arif Pasalic.
6 Q. So what does this order say?
7 A. On the basis --
8 JUDGE LIU: Well, we have the documents. We have the translations
9 already. If you have some specific questions, you could ask this witness
10 but don't let him read it, please.
11 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President?
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer.
13 MR. STRINGER: In respect of this document -- I've been watching
14 these. It appears that the previous ones come from the Zagreb archive.
15 However, this document, 108, the source or the origin of this document is
16 not clear to me and I wonder if we could get some information about the
17 origin of D1/108.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] The source of this document could be
20 either the archive, I do not really know exactly because I have lots of
21 documents, or the witness has brought it to me personally.
22 Q. Witness, do you remember if you gave me this document personally?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Then it is presumably from the archive.
25 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we have the exact list
1 of documents that we took from the Zagreb archives and this document, I
2 presume, features on the list. So there are over a thousand documents, we
3 shall go through it and we shall provide the information.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer?
5 MR. STRINGER: Now is probably not the time but as the Trial
6 Chamber knows during the Prosecution case in chief, we were required to
7 produce witnesses who testified as to the origin of the various categories
8 of documents that were being submitted. Now this witness doesn't seem to
9 know where this document came from. That doesn't mean that he can't talk
10 about it. That's not my argument. But Mr. President, we think that
11 certainly as the -- as a greater number of documents are submitted on the
12 part of the defence, it will be our position that none of them can be
13 admitted into evidence until there has been testimony as to the source of
14 all of them, as was the case during the Prosecution case in chief.
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, so later on, would you please do
16 your best to lay the foundations of those documents first? Yes, you may
17 proceed, Mr. Krsnik.
18 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, by all means, Your Honours, but
19 when I ask for the authentication of Prosecution witnesses or any
20 witnesses, and documents which the Prosecution uses for cross-examination
21 which I knew, and which the Court and the Defence see them for the first
22 time, they say they are new because they introduced all these documents,
23 they were admitted or not, but now we see that in their cross-examination,
24 every day we are given new documents which we had never seen before. So I
25 should also like to ask that they not be admitted until the gentlemen from
1 the Prosecutor's Office provide us with a response as to their origin.
2 Q. Sir, are you familiar with this document? Or the incident? Do
3 you know what happened? Have you read it?
4 A. Yes, I have read this order as you were talking and as a soldier,
5 this order, to me, would seem quite clear, if that can be my comment.
6 Q. But what do you personally know? Did it happen, what this order
7 describes? What happened to it? Do you know anything? Do you know about
8 what happened, the incidents on the ground?
9 A. Well, I told you about the actions on the ground, from Konjic and
10 then in central Bosnia and so on and so forth and I believe that this
11 order had to do with some preparations for combat operations, aggressive,
12 offensive operations.
13 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think it is now time
14 for the break. And I believe this will be the best time to do it. Thank
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will resume at quarter to 11.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 10.15 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 10.46 a.m.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik. Please continue.
20 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Witness, we have to speed up things just a little bit. But please
22 always remember the interpreters, but we nevertheless have to move on a
23 little faster. My first question concerning this document, this is
24 D1/108, do you know, were you aware of this order issued by Arif Pasalic?
25 A. I knew about two orders issued by Mr. Arif Pasalic, and I suppose
1 this one was there. Well, I can't exactly remember. But I knew one of
2 his orders and I also told my soldiers about it. It reached me, I don't
3 know how, but -- through what channels, but he said that Muslim soldiers
4 should remain in the HVO and move over to the army only when he says so.
5 So that was one order that I was aware of.
6 And another order, when a meeting was held in the brigade that I
7 commanded, and I said that the state of alert should be raised to a higher
8 level, and there was -- and that order had the title and it said, "For the
9 defence." But the elements of that order from the military point of view
10 indicated that the intention, that the intention pursued was an offensive
11 by the forces of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that order was signed
12 by the commander of the 41st Mostar Brigade, Midhat Hujdur.
13 Q. Very good. Now the last question concerning this document, item 1
14 speaks and I see that in all the other documents, same thing, we have the
15 HVO and HV forces. Did you ever see the Croatian troops, that is troops
16 from the Republic of Croatia with your own eyes, in Mostar or wherever you
18 A. Troops from the Republic of Croatia sometime, I can't remember the
19 month, but it was in the very early days, I saw --
20 Q. I'm asking about 1993.
21 A. In 1993, I did not see the troops of the Croatian Army, but in my
22 unit, there were soldiers who had been before in the army of the Republic
23 of Croatia and the same held true of the operative zone, that is the
24 commander of a battalion was Zdenko Puljic, who had fought in the Croatian
25 Army but he, as a volunteer, returned to his birth place and we had an
1 operations officer, a Muslim of Albanian origin, Fadil Haljiti -- Sok. In
2 the military district. I know about Jazvin Jaganjac, who came from the
3 Croatian Army, a Muslim.
4 Q. You mean the commander?
5 A. The commander of the Mostar defence. I also know the commander of
6 the Northern Camp during the Mostar defence, a Muslim, Ibro Halilagic and
7 scores of others, brothers Rupcic and so on.
8 Q. So during the aggression against Croatia, they were in the
9 Croatian Army and after that, they went back to their birth places, is
10 that so?
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. And they were citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
13 MR. STRINGER: Counsel just put a leading question to the witness
14 and it had been my intention to object to that before the witness
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes. I'm sorry for the objection being so late.
17 Well, Mr. Krsnik, this is a direct examination so you are not
18 allowed to ask any leading questions. If you want to continue, you have
19 to rephrase it.
20 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, Your Honours. I just
21 do not know what the interpretation was like. Of course I know that I may
22 not ask any leading questions and you notice that I only ask one or two.
23 They just escaped me during these four weeks so I do not know what the
24 interpretation was. I only drew a conclusion from what the witness had
25 said. I did not even ask a question. I was merely drawing conclusions
1 from what the witness had stated.
2 JUDGE LIU: Well, in the transcript, you said very clear, "They
3 went back to their birth places?" Is that so? You gave the answer first.
4 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, correct, Your Honours, because
5 that is what the witness had said before that. He himself said that.
6 Look at the question before it, where he himself said it. It was the
7 witness who said they went back to defend their birth places, and I merely
8 confirmed that.
9 JUDGE LIU: The witness said one person, one person, came back to
10 his birth place, but your question is "they went back."
11 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] You're quite right, Your Honour.
12 Yes, you're quite right, Your Honour. I apologise. You're absolutely
14 Q. Witness, and what was the status of those people that you
15 mentioned, I mean from the point of view of the army formation?
16 A. Well, like everybody else, they were considered volunteers who had
17 returned to defend their native places, and I can confirm [indiscernible]
18 were and his brother were born in Ljubuski and they belonged to the
19 Ljubuski Brigade and furthermore they also commanded that brigade.
20 Q. And they were the citizens of what country?
21 A. Of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 Q. And in 1992 -- 1991 and 1993?
23 A. Yes, in 1991 and in 1993.
24 Q. I did not ask whether in 1993.
25 A. It was dual because I do not know that.
1 Q. Thank you. Let us move on to the next document. I'd like you to
2 look at the document number D1/125, and D1/124. Please look at both those
3 documents. And now that you've read it, look at the document 126. That
4 is 124, 125 and 126.
5 MR. KRSNIK: Mr. Usher, also 127 and 128.
6 Q. Now, Witness, will you please read them all and then I will ask
7 you a few short questions.
8 Tell me, please, these documents speak for themselves but are you
9 familiar with them?
10 A. Document D1/124 is not something that I knew about, and those
11 other documents, that is 125, 125, 125, yes, I was aware of that
12 document. 127 and 128, I was aware of them too, because I had read them
13 in front of the unit that I commanded, as early as April, or better said,
14 towards the end of April and the beginning of May.
15 Q. I see. And did it indeed happen? Were these orders referred to?
16 Did it come to pass?
17 A. Well, it is difficult for me to say that all that simply but a
18 similar or rather an identical situation took place on the 9th of May in
19 the morning hours, although it says here that it should have been at 18,
21 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, these documents relate to the 19th
22 and 20th of April, and I think that the witness has not answered the
23 question that was just put. Rather, he's moved on to the 9th of May so we
24 ask the witness be directed to answer the question that was put to him.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes. But maybe something in these documents is
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 related to the incidents that happened on the 9th of May. We have to let
2 this witness go for a while.
3 MR. KRSNIK: Yes, yes, yes.
4 JUDGE LIU: Witness, please continue.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you. I did not
6 think that I was being asked whether this had happened on the 20th or the
7 19th. If that is what you're asking me, I can say that it did not, but
8 that such an operation was carried out on the 9th of May, yes to this, my
9 answer is yes.
10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Along these directions, and under these established codes?
12 A. Yes, with some slight deviations. Whether they were codes for the
13 signals units but these orders for offensive action was the same.
14 Q. Now, we are referring now to document D1/124. Do you know,
15 Mr. Bajro Pizovic?
16 A. Yes, I know him very well indeed.
17 Q. And can you tell the Court what was he?
18 A. He commanded a unit, a brigade, that is what they called it,
19 Bregava. And he persisted in requesting the commander of the operative
20 zone of southeast Herzegovina, Mr. Miljenko Lasic, to let him hold the
21 line, the front line, in a place called Rotimlja, feature 690, summit
22 Gradina. [redacted]
25 Q. Could you tell us, what is the unit that was under the command
1 by -- of Mr. Bajro Pizovic?
2 A. As far as I know, this was the Bregava Brigade, a part of the ABH
4 Q. Did you finish --
5 A. [redacted] However, Mr.
6 Lasic, the commander of the operative zone, insisted on this request made
7 by Mr. Pizovic. A few days after the occupation of this defence line, Mr.
8 Pizovic lost the line again because the Serb army moved it. [redacted]
9 [redacted]. On one occasion, I visited him at his command in
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. I understand. But, you
16 know, this was going on for seven years. Thank you, Your Honour.
17 At that time, I visited the command of the brigade and I saw some
18 officers there.
19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Which brigade?
21 A. Bregava in Rotimlja, and I visited and saw some officers that I
22 had known there.
23 Q. Being a professional soldier, can you tell us what is being
24 ordered in this order, very briefly, in one sentence, because the document
25 is self-explanatory, to your knowledge?
1 A. In this order, made by commander Bajro Pizovic or in both orders?
2 Which are you referring to?
3 Q. The order issued by Bajro Pizovic?
4 A. One can see from this order, from this order one can see that the
5 enemy that he mentions here are members of the HVO. Then, that they would
6 have to be repulsed from Rotimlja and that communication should be cut
7 off, that is the route M-7 should be blocked in the village of Buna, which
8 means that they would have the southern Neretva valley under their
10 Q. Witness, in this Court, we heard a number of witnesses, members of
11 the Bregava Brigade, who testified here that they had been captured by the
12 HVO, detained by the HVO, in fact their testimonies referred to the period
13 following the 30th of June, 1993, somewhere until the 15th or 16th of
14 July, if I can recall it well, and that they had been detained only and
15 exclusively for being Muslims. Since in your testimony today, you
16 mentioned your defence line, which was Rotimlja, in fact these witnesses
17 had been referring to Rotimlja and claimed that they had been detained
18 there for the mere fact that they were Muslims. Do you have any knowledge
19 of that?
20 A. Well, in July, I was not defending the Rotimlja defence line. That
21 section was defended by the 1st Brigade, by the 1st HVO Brigade, because
22 of the situation that persisted in another section of Mostar, and this
23 situation developed in the period following June 30, 1993. I know,
24 however, that in this section, as well as in the area under my
25 responsibility, the town of Buna, the airport, Ortisje, and then towards
1 the right, Kicini, these are all mountaintops and then right, towards the
2 right, towards Rotimlja, on the 13th of July, 1993, an organised attack
3 was waged along these sections.
4 Q. I apologise. Who waged the attack?
5 A. The BH Army.
6 Q. I apologise. Did the Bregava Brigade participate in it to your
8 A. I do not have any knowledge of that but I believe that they did,
9 because they were located on my right-hand side. They couldn't have been
10 in an isolated place.
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer?
12 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, my objection is that the witness, as
13 he said, does not have any knowledge of that so I think beyond that point
14 we are just engaged in speculation.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Witness, what we want to hear is what you did
16 and what you see, your personal experience.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not say that I have no
18 knowledge about it, and I would like to have my words understood and
19 interpreted literally, because I came here to tell the truth. I had
20 knowledge of what was going on in the neighbouring brigade, but not as far
21 as every detail is concerned. Nonetheless, what was going on for a
22 certain period of time in my brigade as well, because we were neighbours,
23 to Foda's Point. I know for sure the name of every soldier under my
24 command who died, because I visit their families every year to commemorate
25 the day of their death.
1 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
2 Q. I apologise. Are you now speaking about the event that took place
3 at the beginning of July?
4 A. Yes, 13th of July.
5 Q. To make it shorter, what happened, who attacked you, how many
6 people died?
7 A. I was attacked by the BH Army, which, in a vast majority of cases,
8 consisted of troopers, Muslims, who used to be members of my brigade, and
9 on that occasion, they killed Slavko Kulas, who left the house in
10 pajamas and said...
11 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour can we go to private
12 session, because the witness cannot refrain from identifying individuals.
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go to the private session, please.
14 [Private session]
13 Page 10201 – redacted – private session
13 Page 10202 – redacted – private session
13 Page 10203 – redacted – private session
14 [Open session]
15 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
16 Q. These police checkpoints unfortunately, none of them were -- are
17 given in the transcript. Could you be kind enough to repeat them slowly?
18 A. Police checkpoints were agreed.
19 Q. I apologise. Before that, were these mixed points, checkpoints,
20 or what were they?
21 A. To my knowledge, it was then agreed that both police forces hold
22 their own checkpoints but that mixed police patrols be established along
23 the Bulevar street towards the Arrow Hotel and Mahala.
24 Q. Would you be kind enough to repeat where the police checkpoints
25 were located and please do it slowly?
1 A. The police checkpoints were located, as agreed, towards the
2 Bristor Hotel, towards the Titov Bridge, the public health centre, next to
3 the HIT building, and I can't recall the others.
4 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Mr. Usher, could we have Exhibit
5 P11.8? No, P11.18? And I'll ask the witness to use the pointer to
6 indicate the checkpoint held by the BH Army.
7 Q. So that the Chamber can get the picture, you can even take a
8 pencil, Witness, and you can circle those areas where they were located.
9 Where was the BH command? Just use numbers, from 1 until wherever you
10 go. Where was the HVO command? Where was the BH Army command, and so on?
11 JUDGE LIU: Well, Witness, you better use different colours of the
12 marker so that to distinguish the different sides.
13 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
14 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
15 Q. If you are trying to find the HVO, black colour is for HVO is it?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Then put number 1 on its command.
18 A. [Marks]
19 Q. And also for the BH Army.
20 A. [Marks] Well, this is what I can identify now.
21 Q. Will you then for the transcript tell us which colour do you use
22 to indicate whom?
23 A. I used the red marker to mark the facilities, checkpoints, of the
24 BH Army. And blue, and the blue marker to mark the command checkpoints of
25 the HVO.
1 Q. You also mentioned the Carinski bridge but you didn't indicate any
2 checkpoint there?
3 A. Because I'm not quite sure where the checkpoint was so I'd rather
4 not do that.
5 Q. So only what you're 100 per cent sure. So that is very good.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please not speak over the
8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Where were you on the 9th of May, 1993?
10 A. On the 9th of May, I was in Mostar. I was in Mostar on the 8th of
11 May too, because on the 8th of May, I had to go to visit my units, and
12 around 2.00 or 3.00, I can't remember exactly, on the 8th of May, 1993, I
13 was informed that Zeljko Krtalic had been captured and I went straight
14 away to the operative zone of southeast Herzegovina to seek their
15 assistance to ask them to intercede with international factors, to have
16 the man set free. And I stayed in -- I spent the night at my colleague,
17 Maric's place, in West Mostar, in a locality called Smrcinjaci.
18 Q. And your command of your brigade was still in the Heliodrom?
19 A. Yes, that's right.
20 Q. And your positions, where were you on the 9th of May, the area of
21 responsibility of your brigade?
22 A. The area of responsibility of my brigade was where it was in
23 April, except that parts of the Siroki Brijeg volunteer battalion were at
24 the airport.
25 Q. So you had no units in Mostar?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. No, I had no units in Mostar.
2 Q. Please, you mentioned 2.00 or 3.00 on the 8th of May, was it in
3 the morning or in the afternoon?
4 A. It was in the afternoon.
5 Q. I see, in the afternoon, very well. So you can proceed. You said
6 you went to spend the night at your colleague Maric's place on the 8th of
8 A. Well, I can't give you the exact time but sometime in the morning
9 of the 9th, it could have been 4.30 or maybe quarter to 5.00.
10 Q. Excuse me, perhaps it will be easier for you. We have prepared a
11 big map of Mostar so can I ask the usher perhaps as you tell us your
12 story, perhaps we could use this map and point at these places to Their
13 Honours and thus explain what went on that 9th of May -- 8th and 9th of
14 May, according to your knowledge.
15 JUDGE LIU: What's the number of this map?
16 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] D1/132. I asked the usher yesterday
17 and today to make some room for this map. No, this map cannot be put
18 here. It is just too big.
19 MR. KRSNIK: Mr. Usher I asked also yesterday that we must have a
20 place for this map because it's very big. Sorry, I forgot.
21 [Interpretation] Perhaps we could put it over the booths and put scotch
22 tape to put it over the booth.
23 THE INTERPRETER: No, the interpreters must be able to see the
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer?
1 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, it's quite early. Could I suggest
2 we take our last break right now and then come back in half an hour and
3 then go for the rest of the day and that would enable them to set up the
5 JUDGE LIU: Well, maybe, Mr. Krsnik, if you want to use a big map,
6 you have to inform the Registrar and let them prepare for that.
7 Well, okay. We'll break until ten past 12.00.
8 --- Recess taken at 11.40 a.m.
9 --- On resuming at 12.15 p.m.
10 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Krsnik, are you going to finish this witness this
12 MR. KRSNIK: Yes, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
14 THE INTERPRETER: We are sorry but the counsel's microphone was
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, he said, "Yes."
17 Mr. Stringer, can you see the map?
18 MR. STRINGER: Not really, Your Honour. It's my understanding
19 that the technical booth will be able to focus in and put it on the
20 television screens so we'll see how it goes.
21 JUDGE LIU: Very good. Yes.
22 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] But, Your Honours, I did give the
23 Prosecution a copy of the map, a copy of the same map.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik.
25 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Before we move on to the 9th of May and this map, would you be
2 able to tell the Court, could you state better what you are telling us?
3 We are still talking about one of your soldiers who was arrested on the
4 9th of May?
5 A. Yes, if I'm correct, it was Zeljko Krtalic.
6 Q. But do you know if some other HVO soldiers were detained one of
7 those days?
8 A. Yes, I'm aware of that. On the 8th, that is on the 7th, [redacted]
9 [redacted] Toma Lasic was detained.
10 Q. Slower. And please, Witness, be so kind, I and the Chamber cannot
11 really anticipate what you will say. [redacted],
15 A. Toma Lasic was detained.
16 Q. And who else, how many men, number?
17 A. He was detained near the Neretva Hotel. When I asked those who
18 had been detained, they said that on the -- in the evening of the 8th,
19 there were 20 Croats detained.
20 Q. Were they exchanged later on?
21 A. Later on, there was an exchange. Whether they were all exchanged,
22 I do not know. I know about some of them.
23 Q. And now another question. Between the 9th or 10th or the 11th or
24 the 12th of May, until the 30th of June, were there any incidents until
25 the 30th of June, in Mostar, of course, if you have any personal knowledge
1 of it?
2 A. There were no conflicts and perhaps if there were any incidents
3 they were not worth mentioning.
4 Q. You mean until the 30th of June?
5 A. Until the 30th of June.
6 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Could the technical booth now let us
7 see the tape so as to finish with this group of prisoners? The
8 translations were handed over both for the Chamber and for the
9 interpreter's booth.
10 [Videotape played]
11 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "The Croatian side procrastinated
12 with the prisoners. About some 400 civilians that were exchanged on both
13 sides. Everthing was done with a five-hour delay because of the exchange
14 lists. The commander of the Muslim units in Mostar, Arif Pasalic offered
15 many civilians, Muslims to which he had personally issued [indiscernible]
16 right Neretva bank. It is interesting to note that no Croatian soldier
17 was taken prisoner in direct Muslim-Croat conflicts but when returning
18 from the defence lines towards the Serb aggressor. I was transporting
19 [indiscernible] captured on Monday morning at 6.20.
20 I was taking the water, you know, up there to the main road and
21 then two soldiers came running out of the wood in front of me, then they
22 took me out of the car the other took the [indiscernible] to the car. I
23 was in detention for 18 days. I was arrested in the apartment and how did
24 it that happen. Well, my next-door neighbours, they came to the door with
25 a rifle. This unfortunate man was physically mistreated at the Drace
1 prison. The first day were the hardest when my nose bled because of the
2 blows and I probably had a minor brain concussion but they gave me no
3 x-rays, no pictures. I was dizzy all the time and I kept falling down.
4 In the former SDA building, turned into prison, there was no
5 physical mistreatment. We were not physically mistreated. There were
6 individual cases but we were not mistreated by and large. Nobody hit me
7 but the food was bad, there -- you couldn't take a bath, you couldn't wash
8 your face. I did not change my clothes for 90 days. You could wash your
9 hands only and garbage was collected every day. It was dirty. You can
10 not imagine a routine medical examination at the Mostar hospital the
11 following medical finding was given. There is a total of 37 patients of
12 whom four are civilians 33 soldiers, of them two were wounded, one
13 gravely, and the one sustained light injuries. The former case has a
14 fracture of the upper leg, mostly a wound from explosion, while the others
15 mostly we have several of them who had suffered injuries by blunt
16 instruments, altogether the situation rather good, satisfactory."
17 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] This is D1/50, Your Honours.
18 Q. Witness, first, did you see this on Croatian television? Do you
19 know those men and do you know when this exchange took place?
20 A. No, I did not see it on television. I cannot remember exactly
21 when the exchange was but I think it was sometime around the 26th or maybe
22 the 28th of June, 1993.
23 Q. Excuse me, the date?
24 A. 26th or the 28th June. I cannot remember exactly. I cannot
25 remember the date exactly. But -- and I recognised here soldier Toma
1 Lasic and I recognised also another soldier who was a member of the Siroki
2 Brijeg volunteer battalion, Miljenko Puljic called Piga. He was detained
3 in the area of Bugre Plahovine at a place called Dracevice as he was going
4 to his positions on the 9th of May, together with Igor Covic, Stanic.
5 Q. And as for this TV tape, we said that they were in the prison
6 called the SDK. Is that the SDK you mentioned?
7 A. Yes, the self same and there was only one.
8 Q. And where was this SDK building?
9 A. The SDK building was near the building of Dracevica building near
10 Tito Street, on the east side, controlled by the BH Army.
11 Q. Thank you very much. And now I'd like you, Witness, to stand up.
12 You have a microphone here but take your pointer with you. You will have
13 to take your earphones just in case.
14 MR. STRINGER: Just a point of caution, Mr. President, and I don't
15 know whether they are able to keep the witness's face protected at the
16 time he's standing at the map.
17 JUDGE LIU: I see. Could we go to the private session. Just for
18 a while.
19 MR. STRINGER: Yes, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go to the private session, please.
21 [Private session]
13 Pages 10214-10221 – redacted – private session
15 [Open session]
16 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
17 Q. We ended with this meeting of a sort.
18 A. Well, I heard about this meeting and after the meeting, an order
19 was made to cease with all the armed operations.
20 Q. Did ceasefire begin?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. How long did it go on?
23 A. It went on until the 30th of June, 1993, as I had elaborated upon
24 it before, when the BH Army attack was launched on the Northern Camp on
25 the 30th of June, 1993.
1 Q. Now, can we discuss the 10th of May, 11th or 12th, as far as I'm
2 concerned. Can we now speak about the establishment of the defence line
3 inside Mostar town?
4 A. Yes, we could speak about the establishment of a defence line but
5 at that time, we had peace and ceasefire there.
6 Q. Can you tell us, after this ceasefire agreement, how were the HVO
7 troops and units deployed in Mostar, to your knowledge?
8 A. Yes. I have some knowledge of that. They were deployed -- in
9 fact they were divided among three sectors, the entire zone was divided
10 into three sectors.
11 Q. The zone or the town?
12 A. The zone of the town. So all the way from Bakina Luka to the
13 destroyed Carinski Most bridge, there was one sector. The second sector
14 stretched from the Carinski Most bridge to the grammar school. And the
15 third sector was the sector from the grammar school to Podhum.
16 Q. Before we discuss the structure of command in Mostar, would the
17 usher please be kind to give you documents from D1/114 to 122? From
18 D1/114, 115, 116, 117, 119, 120, 121, 122. Would you please browse
19 through these orders.
20 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I've just been reminded by my
21 colleagues that in the transcript, document D1/118 is omitted but it was
22 given to the witness by the usher.
23 Q. Did you read it?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Question to you, as a professional soldier. If an army, armed
1 forces, are preparing an attack, how long in advance should this be
2 prepared? For example in Mostar?
3 A. Depends on the capabilities of the command preparing it to do so,
4 but it must certainly be in a period of seven to 15 days in advance.
5 Q. What can you see in these orders, or do you know the orders?
6 A. Yes, I'm familiar with them and the orders show that weapons, the
7 weapons that had been available to the op zone, operative zone Mostar, so
8 one could see which were available for the op zone Mostar and which
9 belonged to the units inside the town of Mostar, which did not provide the
10 security sufficient to -- or the power sufficient to use them to prevent
11 further escalation of the attack operations launched by the BH Army.
12 Therefore, the commander of the operative zone used, in fact, exercised
13 his right to provide for additional interesting weapons and troops and
14 bring them from Citluk, 20 kilometres away, and from Ljubuski, 40
15 kilometres away.
16 Q. Are these orders indicating that the army troops were not ready
17 and prepared at all?
18 A. As far as the scale and the power of the attack is concerned,
19 well, judging on the basis of these two factors, one can say that they
20 were not prepared at all.
21 Q. Thank you. Let's proceed. Can you tell us who is the commander
22 in the sectors that you had mentioned in Mostar?
23 A. Sector 1 is...
24 Q. Could we go to closed session, please?
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will go to the private session, please.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Private or closed?
2 JUDGE LIU: Private or closed session?
3 MR. KRSNIK: Private session.
4 JUDGE LIU: Private session, please. Yes.
5 [Private session]
3 [Open session]
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Then sector north, which covers
5 Vojno and all the way to the area of Planac, towards Rakitno and then the
6 sector called town, Grad, which covers the city itself, and its suburban
8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Who is in command in these new sectors then?
10 A. Sector 1.
11 Q. You don't have to give us the names but tell us who is above them
12 in the chain of command?
13 A. The operative zone.
14 Q. When was the operative zone command established in the town?
15 A. Somewhere at the beginning of July, I don't know exactly the date.
16 Q. Very well. Now I'll give you a specific question. Who is the
17 commander of the units deployed along the Bulevar street?
18 A. The command -- the defence command of the town of Mostar is --
19 well, in terms of management, organisation and defence matters, is in the
20 hands of the operative zone.
21 Q. To be more specific, let me ask you the following: Who is the
22 commander of the units of the 4th Battalion, ATG Benko Penavic, ATG Vinko
23 Skrobo, the 9th battalion and the military police battalion as they are
24 deployed from whom --
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer?
1 MR. STRINGER: I'm not clear exactly what the period of time is
2 now that we are talking about, because there appear to be changes that the
3 witness is talking about in the structure or the command in the region of
4 Mostar and so if we are going to talk about the units positioned along the
5 Bulevar, we'd like to know what periods of time specifically and under
6 whose command they were with in these specific periods of time.
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik. You may clarify that for us.
8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think that we are all
9 listening to what is going on in this courtroom from the 12th of May until
10 the 30th of June. The witness explained everything, and then he explained
11 what happens at the beginning of July, when the city defence command took
12 over, and this is the periods I was putting my questions about at this
13 point in time. In June, they were divided into three zones. Now they are
14 in sectors under the command of the city defence. I think that we only
15 need to go step by step, and I'm sure that the translation,
16 interpretation, is not that bad.
17 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer.
19 MR. STRINGER: I'm trying to follow closely and understand. I
20 just want to have a good understanding of what the witness is saying,
21 that's all. In my view, counsel is not directing this examination in a
22 way that leads to the most clear and fullest understanding of the
23 structure of these units during the various periods of time that he's
24 been talking about so I respectfully disagree with counsel about the
25 clarity of his direct examination on this point.
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, I think the Prosecutor is entitled
2 to have those matters clarified.
3 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Witness, from the 12th of May to the 30th of June, how was the
5 city of Mostar divided and who is in command?
6 A. It was divided into three sectors, and I already gave the names of
7 those who were in command in the respective sectors. This was the
8 operative command along the defence line. And each unit that had its own
9 members deployed along the defence line at that time had to take care
10 about tour of duty and about the need to get new members to be able to
11 perform all the duties. However, it was generally believed that this type
12 of command did not meet the requirements, and the operative zone had the
13 right to reorganise along the lines in which, according to them, the
14 defence would perform the best.
15 Q. Thank you. Who is in command at the beginning of July, in command
16 of the units that are deployed on the Bulevar?
17 A. The units that perform the defence assignments in the Bulevar, in
18 the sector of the town, is under the command of the commander of the
19 sector called town, Grad.
20 Q. Can anyone else, in addition to him, give orders to the units
21 along the Bulevar street?
22 A. The chain of command is known. The commander of the
23 operational -- operative zone can give orders also to smaller, lower
24 units, just as the chief of the main command can give orders to the units
25 under his command directly, which was not a very fortunate solution in
1 practical terms.
2 Q. How the shifts organised along the defence line and where do the
3 troops having performed their shift go, having finished their duty along
4 the Bulevar defence line?
5 A. The shifts were determined depending on the conditions or
6 circumstances under which assignments were carried out. When it was very
7 hot or very cold, the shift lasted for three or five days, and when the
8 weather was normal, it could take seven days. After completion of their
9 shift, the troops went to their respective homes.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, I think there is a question that
11 this witness has not answered yet. Before the objection raised by
12 Mr. Stringer, you asked, "To be more specific, let me ask you the
13 following: Who is the commander of the units of the 4th Battalion, ATG
14 Benko Penavic --
15 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] This is what I was going to ask, Your
16 Honours. I wanted to ask him this to clarify things first generally but
17 as of now, I can assure you, Mr. President, I'll be very specific.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] First, let us make clear whether
20 these soldiers have their garrison -- their barracks, their garrisons.
21 Q. So where do they go having performed their shift along the defence
23 A. They go to their homes.
24 Q. Which are located where? For example, where are the homes of the
25 troops, members of the 4th battalion, Benko Penavic and Vinko Skrobo?
1 A. As far as I know it, most of them were in the location of Banovac,
2 then in Panjevina, Podhum, in other words, in the zone which they in
3 most cases also covered along the defence lines.
4 Q. Once again, the same question, who is in command of the 4th
5 Battalion? We are moving from Podhum towards the secondary school, the
6 4th battalion, ATG Benko Penavic and then I'll ask you to explain what is
7 in fact ATG, ATG Vinko Skrobo and the 9th battalion. You know we are
8 moving from Podhum towards the secondary school. Who are the commanders
9 of these units?
10 A. For sometime, the 4th Battalion --
11 Q. On the defence line along the Bulevar Street?
12 A. Yes, yes. They would change because the commander of the 4th
13 Battalion had been wounded. Therefore the 4th Battalion was under the
14 command of --
15 Q. We are not interested. We are not interested in the commanders of
16 these units. I want to know who were they under the command of?
17 A. The commander of the town defence.
18 Q. Could anyone else, in addition to this person, also issue orders
19 to these units until they are deployed on the Bulevar, the defence line?
20 A. I told you before how the chain of command went, in the HVO,
21 orders could be issued at different levels and some command levels could
22 be skipped.
23 Q. If I understand you well, from more levels than one?
24 A. Yes, more levels than one.
25 Q. Now, let me give you a specific -- put a specific question to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 you. Could Mladen Naletilic give orders to the units deployed in Bulevar?
2 A. I didn't understand you.
3 Q. Could Mr. Mladen Naletilic issue orders to the units deployed
4 along the Bulevar, Vinko Skrobo or any other?
5 A. To my knowledge, he could not, because he was a civilian.
6 Q. Had he not been a civilian, could anyone issue orders to them?
7 A. No. I told you who could issue orders to these units.
8 Q. In logistic terms, who is -- who provides the supplies to these
10 A. Logistically, in the op zone and in the military organisation,
11 these units are supported by the logistics of the zone in which they are
12 performing their assignments.
13 Q. Uh-huh. Tell me, another ATG which did not have a permanent
14 defence line, like the other two mentioned before, when they would reach
15 the defence line, could they operate independently, any ATG, for example
16 the Convicts Battalion?
17 A. No.
18 Q. For example, you, as the commander -- for example, need the
19 assistance of an ATG and you bring them in, they come to your position.
20 Who is the commander of such an ATG?
21 A. If I ask for their assistance and the cause of this is the fact
22 that we cannot carry out the assignments with the troops that are
23 available, and assistance is usually sought by addressing myself to the
24 operative zone of eastern Herzegovina, the troops that are sent to help
25 me, until they had finished their assignments, would be under my command.
1 Q. Now, one question my colleague reminds me that I forgot to ask
2 you. And where is the logistics physically accommodated in Mostar or
3 somewhere else, I don't know really, but my question is where is the
5 A. The logistics in Mostar, it was in two or three different places
6 depending on the means. Part of the logistics was accommodated in the
7 compound of the brigade command. That was my case.
8 Q. Uh-huh. And what about those units which are on the Bulevar?
9 A. That logistics was in Mostar and whenever -- whenever people are
10 sent to the defence line, a sufficient combat gear is provided and at the
11 request from the logistics base.
12 Q. Witness, did you have your unit on the Bulevar?
13 A. Yes, during the period under consideration, I had a part of.
14 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Can we go into private session,
15 because the identity might be disclosed again just for a few minutes.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go into private session, please.
17 [Private session]
13 Page 10234 – redacted – private session
15 [Open session]
16 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Did you ever see at those meetings in the army command, did you
18 ever see Mr. Martinovic there?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Did either of them have a rank in 1993?
21 A. Well, I do not know if they did. I didn't.
22 Q. When were the ranks introduced?
23 A. I think sometime when the reorganisation started. [redacted]
1 [redacted]. I cannot really say.
2 Q. And until that March, 1994, how was the commanding -- the chain of
3 command organised? How did you issue your orders or any other commander?
4 A. Through respect, one commanded and the example.
5 Q. Yes. By respecting authority and behaviour. And were the
6 commanders elected from the lowest ranking unit to the highest one?
7 A. As a rule.
8 Q. I'm sorry, Witness, I'm looking at the questions. Witness, did
9 you ever see Mr. Mladen Naletilic at the Heliodrom?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Tell me, please, when somebody -- I'll say it, the Convicts
12 Battalion, what does it mean?
13 A. You mean how we perceived the Convicts Battalion or how was it
15 Q. Well, I always try to remember that the indictment has to do with
16 1993. So when we say the Convicts Battalion, what is it? Where is it?
17 You know what I mean. I mean what does it cover?
18 A. The Convicts Battalion is a formation unto itself and we saw that
19 it was formed by men who were persecuted, punished, under the communist
20 system and it brought together the best guys from Siroki Brijeg, and
21 unfortunately, houses were few and far between from which some father of
22 the family did not serve his communist term. For instance, my father --
23 Q. Excuse me. Let us slow down. It is true that we are coming to
24 the end but let us slow it down. You said that your father was singing
25 and therefore he -- you have to explain to the Court?
1 A. Well, I can quote you the song, if you would like me to.
2 Q. No, there is no need.
3 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] The witness wanted to say.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, let's skip this question. Let's skip this part.
5 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Where was the Convicts Battalion quartered or rather where did
7 those men live, if you know? And did the Convicts Battalion ever, to your
8 knowledge, man a section of the segment of the line?
9 A. No, not as far as I know.
10 Q. And where did they live?
11 A. Well, most of them lived in Siroki Brijeg, as far as I know.
12 Q. Was there barracks in the Siroki Brijeg where members of the
13 Convicts Battalion lived, do you know about that?
14 A. There has never been barracks in Siroki Brijeg.
15 Q. And what was the tobacco station?
16 A. You said it yourself. Those were buildings -- those were
17 buildings that belonged to the tobacco factory but they had been
18 destroyed. And one couldn't sleep in them.
19 Q. And was there a prison at the tobacco station that you would be
20 aware of?
21 A. No, I'm not aware of that. I never went there.
22 Q. Witness, we are moving towards the end of our examination. I will
23 show you a couple of documents. Do you know something about the Juka
24 Prazina's unit? Do you know who Mr. Juka Prazina is?
25 A. I do. I do not know exactly when he arrived. They told us that
1 he arrived across Igman from Sarajevo and his unit was put up in the
2 compound in which the brigade command was. I saw him often on a bike,
3 riding around.
4 Q. I will show you P234 -- P249, excuse me.
5 MR. KRSNIK: Madam Registrar, it's no problem. 249.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've read it.
7 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Tell me, please, is this unit commanded by Mladen Naletilic?
9 A. What it says here, "Mr. Juka Prazina to be designated the
10 commander of the unit."
11 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters do not have the text.
12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
13 Q. And who founded this unit?
14 A. We see the signature of the head of the defence department, so it
15 is the defence department in this order.
16 Q. No, I'm asking you whether you know it because it says it is
17 affirmed here that Mladen Naletilic had it under his command?
18 A. I do not know about that.
19 Q. My colleagues warn me that I forgot to ask you another question
20 concerning the Convicts Battalion. Will you now be so kind as to explain
21 to Their Honours how does the Convicts Battalion go into action? Who
22 calls them up? Who commands them? What is nature of that unit? Slowly.
23 I think it is my last question.
24 A. The Convicts Battalion is, from my military point of view, a
25 special purpose unit for more complex combat missions, requiring better
1 armament, more -- higher valour, more determination more military prowess,
2 mental and physical fitness.
3 Q. Who calls it, how he calls it and when it gets there, where it was
4 called, who commands?
5 A. Specifically I say when I needed it and I needed it on the 19th of
6 September, 1993, so I called them and I asked through the operative zone,
7 not it, I asked for assistance from the operative zone, and who it turned
8 to then, I do not know, this unit -- a part of the unit or a larger part
9 of the unit or that unit arrived to the place I needed and performed the
10 task I required.
11 Q. And when it came to you, who -- under whose command was it?
12 A. I ordered what needed to be done in the combat sense of the word.
13 Q. You said 19th of September if I heard you well, which year?
14 A. 1993.
15 Q. And how long was this unit with you?
16 A. I couldn't say exactly how long, but I say four, maybe five days.
17 They went in two directions because I was commanding at the time the
18 sector north, my sector had been attacked.
19 Q. And could it be that it was with you on the 23rd, 23rd of
20 September, 1993?
21 A. Yes, Barazic led the unit that was with me and it was with me at
22 the time.
23 Q. Please, do you know, in 1993, who was the Convicts Battalion
24 commander, to your knowledge? Let us move to the private session because
25 I have another question that has to do with you.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will go to the private session, please.
2 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President. I think before we get
3 to the second question, my suggestion would be that we not move into
4 private session until we've gotten an answer to the question that was just
5 put to the witness, which was, who was the commander of the Convicts
6 Battalion? I don't think that requires us to be in private session.
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] No. I'm asking that we go into
9 private session.
10 JUDGE LIU: In this case, we will go to the private session.
11 [Private session]
13 Page 10241 – redacted – private session
24 [Open session]
25 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. And my very last question: It was alleged here that the Convicts
2 Battalion was in Rastani on the 23rd of September.
3 A. I said that the Convicts Battalion followed the direction of
4 Jedrinje for me and see who was there and who was killed there, and on
5 that occasion, it was established who was killed there, and that someone
6 -- followed the direction of Golubici and Marko Clanac to recover the
7 lost positions and once again hand them over to the home guards to look
8 after them.
9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I have no
10 further questions. Thank you, Witness.
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Seric?
12 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I merely
13 wish to notify you that our questions and our time we have ceded to
14 Mr. Krsnik so we do not have any questions for the witness.
15 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. Well, I'm afraid it's time for
16 the break.
17 Witness, as I warned you yesterday, during your stay in The Hague,
18 do not talk to anybody about your testimony and do not let anybody talk to
19 you about it. I'm afraid we have to keep you for another day.
20 We'll resume at 9.00 tomorrow morning.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m., to
22 be reconvened on Wednesday the 17th day of April,
23 2002, at 9.00 a.m.