1 Thursday 20 June, 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 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: Mr. Krsnik, are you ready for your witness?
9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours, yes,
11 JUDGE LIU: Are there any protective measures for this witness?
12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Like with the
13 previous witnesses, face distortion and a pseudonym.
14 JUDGE LIU: Any objections? Mr. Stringer? Mr. Scott? I'm
16 MR. SCOTT: No, Your Honour, not really. It's not clear to the
17 Prosecution why such a man would need protection but we won't oppose it.
18 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. So the request is granted. Mr. Usher
19 could we have the witness, please.
20 [The witness entered court].
21 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, Witness. Can you hear me?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, yes, I can.
23 JUDGE LIU: Would you please take the solemn declaration, please?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
25 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
1 WITNESS: WITNESS NM
2 [Witness answered through interpreter].
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. You may sit down, please.
4 Yes, Mr. Krsnik.
5 Examined by Mr. Krsnik:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness.
7 A. Good morning.
8 Q. A few instructions that I normally give to every witness.
9 Whatever you say is being interpreted, so try to find a certain pace, a
10 certain speed, so that you do not speak too slow or too fast. The best
11 procedure for you would be to look at the dot on the screen and when the
12 dot stops, start giving your answer. In this courtroom, we are all going
13 to call you Witness NM, and you make sure that you do not say anything
14 that would reveal your identity because protection measures have been
15 granted for you. Do you understand? Can we proceed?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, I would kindly ask the usher to give you the name -- the
18 piece of paper with your name, if that indeed is your name, then just say
19 yes. You can lean back in the chair, approach the microphone so that you
20 can feel comfortable.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Let's start. Introduce yourself to this Chamber without saying
23 your name.
24 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Can we please go to private session
25 just in case? Private session means that only us, only we in the
1 courtroom can hear you.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go to the private session, please.
3 [Private session]
12 Page 12742 – redacted- private session
20 [Open session]
21 JUDGE LIU: Now we are in the open session.
22 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Please be so kind and very briefly, as I want to get to the point
24 as soon as possible, and to the facts that I want to discuss with you, can
25 you just briefly describe for the Chamber the situation in Siroki Brijeg
1 did you manage to defend it and save it and then can you please continue
2 by telling me something about the end of 1992 and liberation of Mostar?
3 Just briefly, please.
4 A. After the shelling of Siroki Brijeg, the situation was psychotic,
5 a lot of population had to be evacuated towards Croatia. At the time,
6 people who were at the forefront of the municipal staff, I mean
7 Mr. Naletilic, Mladen Naletilic, who was -- who had arrived from the west,
8 and to my mind, he was -- he, there, he had learned about freedom the way
9 it existed in the west, and who played a major role in the organisation of
10 the defence of Siroki Brijeg, especially at that time when the situation
11 was so bad in Siroki Brijeg, after the shelling, given that the Serbian
12 army was so close.
13 Q. Please be so kind and tell us whether you participated in the
14 operation of the "June Dawn"? What was that operation? Were you a member
15 of any unit and if you were, what unit was that?
16 A. Yes. I did participate in the June Dawn operation. That
17 operation was an operation to liberate Mostar. The boundaries of Siroki
18 Brijeg, Citluk, Capljina, Stolac municipalities, I participated as a
19 member in the Convicts Battalion on the axis, on the liberation axis
20 which was assigned to the municipal staff of Siroki Brijeg.
21 Q. Can you tell us about this unit, the Convicts Battalion? Who was
22 its head? Did you have any specific task in that operation? Who was
23 leading you?
24 A. The Convicts Battalion was a unit composed of volunteers, which
25 was composed of volunteers from Siroki Brijeg municipality, who had some
1 previous war experiences because they had already been active as
2 volunteers in late 1991, in the southern theatre, war theatre, in the
3 vicinity of Dubrovnik, and as such, they organised this unit, the Convicts
5 Q. Can you tell the Chamber who was the founder of the Convicts
6 Battalion, as far as you know?
7 A. I believe that one has to emphasise the role of Mr. Mladen
8 Naletilic, Mr. Zarko Odak, Mr. Ludvig Pavlovic, Mr. Ivan Andabak,
9 Mr. Tomas, Mr. Mikulic.
10 Q. Tell me, please, do you have any idea why it got the name the
11 Convicts Battalion? Can you please explain to the Chamber? Maybe you
12 have your interpretation of that.
13 A. My interpretation and my opinion why the unit was called the
14 Convicts Battalion is this: This unit had a psychological effect when --
15 with regard to the enemy, and its name, the convicts, were meant to deter
16 the forces of evil, which wanted to devastate the -- whatever good was
17 there, for the Croatian people. When I say "the convicts," I mean that
18 the biggest punishment for the aggressor would have been to lose either a
19 battle or the war. On the other hand, at the time, the public opinion and
20 the information that I had at the time were such that the name is -- was
21 given to the Convicts Battalion because it was organised by the people who
22 had been politically persecuted during the communist regime.
23 Q. Let's go back to that operation to liberate Mostar. In that
24 operation, the Convicts Battalion, did it have a commander? If it did,
25 who was its commander? And was the operation completed successfully?
1 A. The municipal staff had a specific task during the operation, June
2 Dawn and the task for the Convicts Battalion was to take the key feature,
3 sorry, Orlovac, after which they were to continue combat operations in
4 order to take the features together with the Mostar forces.
5 Q. Okay, then. I have to interrupt you. So the operation ended
6 successfully. You did not tell me whether the battalion had a commander
7 and who was its commander.
8 A. At the time, the head of the Convicts Battalion was
9 Mr. Naletilic. There was also Mr. Andabak.
10 Q. Very often, we have heard in this courtroom, on -- this was said
11 by my colleagues, "the officers of the Convicts Battalion." Did the
12 Convicts Battalion ever have officers? If it did, when was that and how
13 many commanders were there in the Convicts Battalion, as far as you know?
14 A. At the time, that is at the beginning of the war in Herzegovina,
15 there were no officers at all.
16 Q. And later on?
17 A. Later on, when the home guard brigades were organised, then the
18 first ranks were awarded and this was published in the public gazette.
19 Q. When was that?
20 A. I think it was at the beginning of 1994.
21 Q. Let us clear up this matter straight away. If you please, who
22 commanded the Convicts Battalion? How many commanders were there? Who
23 were those people?
24 A. In the first place, I mean Mr. Naletilic. Clearly, there was also
25 Andabak there, and it was coordinated through the municipal staff, those
1 people that I mentioned.
2 Q. And did this command structure change over time or did it always
3 remain the same?
4 A. After the liberation operations of the boundaries of the
5 municipality of Siroki Brijeg, the liberation of Mostar, and predominant
6 facilities in the directions of Gacko and Nevesinje, the mountain Velez,
7 Bijelo Polje and Stolac.
8 Q. We'll come back to that later. Will you please answer my question
9 first. So the question was did the command structure change and, if you
10 can briefly tell the -- Their Honours what you know about that? And
11 whenever you mention months, then tell us also years to avoid any
12 objections by the Prosecution and also full names.
13 A. The command structure in the Convicts Battalion in August,
14 September, perhaps October of that same year, 1992, during the conflict,
15 during the struggle, a number of lads had matured, who were selected --
16 who came out by natural selection, who gained authority in those battles,
17 and there, Mr. Mario Hrkac, Predrag Mandic, Stanislav Kraljevic, and a
18 number of other lads stand out in particular. But sometime, therefore in
19 September or October, Mario Hrkac became the commander of the Convicts
20 Battalion, clearly along side Mr. Andabak, who was always there.
21 Q. And in 1992, they were the only commanders, there were no other
23 A. At that time, they were the only commanders, and there were no
24 other commanders.
25 Q. And was that the situation in 1993, too?
1 A. Yes, it was.
2 Q. Very well. Tell me, please, we heard in this courtroom that
3 Mr. Andabak was an alcoholic. Is that true?
4 A. No, sir, that was not true. Mr. Andabak suffered from diabetes.
5 He was very gravely ill and he was not an alcoholic at all.
6 Q. And did he get insulin every day?
7 A. Yes, he took insulin every day, and we knew it.
8 Q. Tell me, please, at that time, do you know, at that time, I mean,
9 1992 and 1993, do you know something about the funding? I do not mean
10 only the Convicts Battalion but all the units, how were the units funded?
11 A. At that time, the municipal staff, in January, the municipal
12 staffs which were in operation, in those municipalities where the Croats
13 constituted the majority in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it was the municipal
14 staffs which at that time in the early stage and later on, when the
15 organisation became better, the municipal staffs started doing it for the
16 major part in those early days and the logistics centre in Grude were the
17 one who is did that.
18 Q. What period of time did you have in mind?
19 A. 1992 and I also believe later on in 1993.
20 Q. Now, very briefly, can you tell us what units are there in Siroki
21 Brijeg, apart from the Convicts Battalion?
22 A. At that time, if you are talking about 1992, the Siroki Brijeg,
23 that is the municipal staff, which coordinated all these activities had
24 three battalions, Poskok, Convicts Battalions and those who roughly be the
25 units that were there.
1 Q. Fine. Tell us, where were you quartered as soldiers, that is
2 those others and the Convicts Battalion in Siroki Brijeg?
3 A. Those were volunteer units at that time. There were no military
4 facilities in the municipality of Siroki Brijeg. There are about 20.000,
5 30.000 inhabitants and they practically had no army structure so all of
6 the men, all the units spent nights at home.
7 Q. I see. And tell us, please, did you have lineups, hoisting up,
8 saluting the flags, in a facility of a kind called the tobacco station?
9 A. No. What lineup? At that time there were no lineups, no reviews,
10 no salutes to the flag. It wasn't organised at that level. Those were
11 all the embryonic stages of the organisation so that there were no
13 Q. And what about 1993?
14 A. Not even in 1993. There was nothing of that in Siroki Brijeg.
15 Q. Were there any prisons in the tobacco station? I mean we heard
16 here in the courtroom that there was some kind of prison in the tobacco
18 A. No, I don't recall any prison. I don't think there was any prison
19 in the tobacco station at Siroki Brijeg.
20 Q. And did you have your command there?
21 A. Yes, in the tobacco station, or rather in the compound of that
22 tobacco station, there was this building where we were -- where the
23 Convicts Battalion had its makeshift command.
24 Q. Good. Fine. Now, tell me, if you know when and where did the
25 unit called Baja Kraljevic originate?
1 A. Yes, I know that because I was a member of that unit at the time.
2 So it was born after the liberation operations against the Serbs and the
3 battles fought to liberate Mostar. And after that, I believe it was
4 decided at a higher level that is at the Main Staff of the ministry, to
5 set up for that area for that zone, a special purposes unit, and since we
6 were given a military facility with proper infrastructure in the Heliodrom
7 camp, which was on the way, which was on the way in which the units of the
8 Convicts Battalion were progressing, when they were liberating Mostar.
9 Q. Right. We heard here that Baja Kraljevic was part of the Convicts
10 Battalion. So my question is Baja Kraljevic parts of the Convicts
12 A. It is not true that the Baja Kraljevic unit is a part of the
13 Convicts Battalion.
14 Q. Just briefly, when did it happen, which year? Will you please
15 explain to the court?
16 A. It is 1992 that -- as I've already said, that after the fighting
17 for liberation in June or perhaps late June and perhaps in the beginning
18 of July, Baja Kraljevic unit was established and it had its military post
19 code and that is 1724. The military code of the Convicts Battalion, post
20 code of the Convicts Battalion was 1717. So that absolutely these two
21 units had nothing in common except that about ten of us members of the
22 Convicts Battalion joined that unit in the very early day. Mr. Predrag
23 Mandic was appointed the commander and I was an instructor. I was
24 responsible for the drills and was the deputy commander of -- deputy
25 commander in charge of those duties.
1 Q. Tell me, could you be issued any orders by Mr. Naletilic?
2 A. No. At that time, Mr. Naletilic did not command. Sometimes in
3 September or October or perhaps August of 1992, he was no longer the
4 commander of the Convicts Battalion, because we all knew that he had a
5 serious lung complaint, so that Mario Hrkac Cikota was appointed the
6 commander. About ten of us went and a new unit set up so we contributed
7 to the development of a new unit, and no front line commander or anything
8 could have Mr. Naletilic above him.
9 JUDGE DIARRA: [Interpretation] Mr. President I didn't understand
10 this passage. Was Mr. Naletilic the commander or not in September or
11 October? Could you please repeat that?
12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, Your Honour.
13 Q. So will you please slow down? Because Her Honour is receiving
14 interpretation in French, which is being taken from English so, you
16 A. Your Honours, Mr. Mladen Naletilic, at that time, I'm not sure
17 whether it was September or October, but he stopped being the commander of
18 the Convicts Battalion. That was that time, September or October.
19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Right. Your Honours, my apologies,
20 we meant the command structure of Baja Kraljevic and the witness's
21 identity could be disclosed. We are so concerned with moving ahead and
22 performing well that we forget about these things. Please take care, if
23 you are referring to your office, to your duties, then please say so in
24 advance so that we can ask for a private session, all right?
25 Q. Now, tell Their Honours what was the chain of command? Who would
1 issue orders to Baja Kraljevic?
2 A. Right. At the levels, the Tiers that were above us were the Main
3 Staff, the ministry and the Presidency, and we were attached as an unit to
4 an area of responsibility in Southeast Herzegovina, and when we would go
5 to a particular area of responsibility, we would then be seconded, we
6 would be attached to the commanders of those areas. So there we would be
7 under the command of the commander to whose area of responsibility we have
9 Q. And what was the nature of your unit?
10 A. That was an intervention unit, where the front line was under
11 threat Baja Kraljevic unit would come to intervene.
12 Q. And where is the Convicts Battalion now and what is its nature
13 now, right let's move on to 1993 and let's stick to 1993?
14 A. The Convicts Battalion remained in Siroki Brijeg.
15 Q. And what was its nature?
16 A. Well, same, it continued as an intervention unit and following the
17 chain of command as I have just told you, there were superior tiers, and
18 that was how Baja Kraljevic unit operated.
19 Q. Right. Do you know -- I mean do you personally know, and let's
20 start with May, June, 1993, to the end of that year, did you meet up with
21 the Convicts Battalion? Did you engage in any joint actions? If yes,
22 where was that, generally, what you know personally?
23 A. Yes. We had our joint combat operations but I think that the
24 Convicts Battalion, after the attack and aggression by the MOS forces on
25 the 30th of June, 1993, on Bijelo Polje, North Camp, suburban parts of the
1 town of Mostar, after that the intervention unit was in sector north, and
2 sector north was a part o the operative zone East Herzegovina, which was
3 split down into three zones, sector north, sector of city defence and
4 sector south. So that the intervention units at different periods of
5 time, had their areas of responsibility where they undertook intervention
6 operations, and I remember this particular date because at that time, with
7 the Baja Kraljevic unit, I went, as an intervention unit, to Bijelo Polje,
8 which had been attacked, and I stayed there with the unit for some 20, 25
9 days. And that, at the time, in the area of Djubrani, there were -- there
10 was the Convicts Battalion as the intervention unit in the area of
11 responsibility of the Siroki Brijeg Brigade, and I believe that it stayed
12 there right up to the end of 1993, perhaps November or December.
13 Q. Now, please, be so kind as to tell this Court, this Honourable
14 Court, how long, to your knowledge, did the Convicts Battalion exist? Or
15 rather -- no, let's not talk about the Convicts Battalion. Perhaps I'll
16 later come to Baja Kraljevic again, you already mentioned this in the
17 beginning so will you please explain the Honourable Court whether the
18 Convicts Battalion ceased to exist formally and if so, when? And what
19 kind of reorganisation was that, which year, which month?
3 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Sorry, I need this to be redacted or
4 perhaps we should go into private session, just in case, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go to the private session, please.
6 [Private session]
14 [Open session]
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Witness, you may answer that question.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When the Convicts Battalion ceased
17 to exist, Mr. Andabak, who -- and he was there at the time, I believe he
18 was assigned to the Main Staff or the Defence Ministry. And this -- and
19 those men who were members of the units, they were given the opportunity
20 to join guards brigades. Naturally, with the clearly defined
21 organisation, where everything went according to the book, and there was
22 the book, and with all the necessary documents existed, so such a guard
23 brigade which was in terms of its organisation was to have about 3500
24 people, and it could accommodate everybody who wanted to become a
25 professional soldier. Clearly, if that individual met the criteria, which
1 at that time had been laid down for that particular formation.
2 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Witness, I appreciate that you were a witness of your time and I
4 am very happy that I could get you here and ask you to explain certain
5 things to the Honourable Court because I see that you were in that area
6 for the duration. So I will ask you now a couple of more questions in
7 order to try to draw a more precise picture. We've seen many documents
8 but I will not waste my time on that because I presume that my learned
9 friend will do that. In many documents, we saw Tuta ATG, and then Tuta's
10 units, then references in 1993, personally, to commander Mladen
11 Naletilic. So my first question is whether there was any such thing as
12 Tuta ATG.
13 A. There was never such thing as the Tuta ATG.
14 Q. Do you then have some explanation for that? How can one then see,
15 have references to the Tuta ATG or to him as a commander? And you told us
16 that he was not a commander in 1993.
17 A. Yes, I said that, and that is true. However, since at that time
18 that I was talking about, the liberation operations, June Dawn, Mr. Mladen
19 Naletilic's role in that operation, to all intensive purposes he was, at
20 the time, considered as one of the key people in the liberation of that
21 area, parts of the municipality of Siroki Brijeg, and the town itself. Of
22 course, together with all the other men and units from Mostar, Siroki
23 Brijeg and those other municipalities, Capljina, Citluk and so on and so
24 forth. So that he was held in high regard and respected, and people of
25 the area were no end grateful to him. And as regards the Tuta ATG, and
12 their new commander now. It is more out of respect, it is for the sake of
13 the time we spent together, which was sealed with blood. And that is how
14 in 1992, we called Mr. Naletilic commander, and so on and so forth. And
15 especially it found its reflection in that later stage, in 1993, when --
16 Q. I was about to ask you, sorry to interrupt you, so how did you
17 address, if you met Mr. Naletilic in 1994, 1995, how would you address
18 him? Or other soldiers, other military?
19 A. Well, it is precisely that team from that time, there was always
20 warmth, there was always friendliness, commander, and within that context,
21 and I can give you an example, I still, when I, for instance, meet the
22 Minister of Defence of the federation from the time, Mr. Vlado Soljic, and
23 still say, "Mr. Minister, shall we go and have some coffee," even though
24 he's not been a minister for six or seven years now but at the time when
25 these areas were liberated he was a minister and so when we meet, I still
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 say, "Mr. Minister." My men and my officers commander, address me as
2 commander even though I left them some five, six, no, seven years now.
3 Q. I see. Do you know who Tutici, "Tuta's boys" are, did anyone
4 refer to you as Tuta's boys?
5 A. Oh, come, no, never, ever did anyone call me that or that team of
6 the Convicts Battalion. Nobody ever called them that. But I will allow
7 that it is possible that there were people at the time, when the misuse
8 began, you know how it happens, when you acquire your authority by your
9 deeds and since Mr. Mladen Naletilic was a warm-hearted man, as he treated
10 well those men who were volunteers, not only in the Convicts Battalion,
11 and other units too and they approached him for some assistance, he was
12 always ready to help those people who had come to seek some assistance,
13 but in my opinion, it was largely misused by some other people who
14 followed a different motive. Clearly there were some who needed
15 assistance but it grew into a habit then which then culminated in
16 different details, in here in such a manner of communication, so when
17 somebody says we are Tutici they go to a municipality and say we are
18 Tuta's boys, Tuta sent us and so on and so forth, in order to solicit
19 something, to get something, to get out of -- from other people at the
20 same time on -- because of that name, while at the same time Tuta and his
21 men know nothing about that. I know there were cases of that kind.
22 Q. Can you tell this Chamber whether it was true that the goal, the
23 objective of the Convicts Battalion and Mladen Naletilic was to expel
24 Muslims from the area where they -- there were conflicts during 1993?
25 A. It is an insult, it's out of the question to say that the goal of
1 Kaznjenicka Bojna, of the Convicts Battalion, or any other unit of the
2 Croatian Defence Council would be ethnic cleansing and expelling Muslims
3 from the area of any municipality or any town at the time. That is not
4 true. That is not correct.
5 Q. What was the position of Mr. Naletilic on the war with Muslims?
6 Do you know, if you socialised with him?
7 A. Yes, I can confirm to this Chamber that Mr. Naletilic, on a number
8 of occasions when we met each other, and I know that he said that to other
9 people as well, that he absolutely advocated the unity of Muslims and
10 Croats. He was simply a person who belonged to that sort, as we say, in
11 Mostar, and nobody from that area, at the time, nobody understood what was
12 going on when the first conflict started. Nobody realised that this would
13 escalate, and become a war, a full-blown war between Muslims and Croats.
14 Q. You said that he belonged to the kind of people that we call down
15 there the Croat of the old kind. This did not enter the transcript the
16 first time. Can you please just in one sentence tell us what did you mean
17 by saying a Croat of the old kind, of the old grand?
18 A. That is what we say about those people who advocated the joint
19 life of Croats and Muslims, Croats and Muslims living together, and this
20 arose from the historical life, joint life, of Croats and Muslims in that
22 Q. I would now move on to my last two topics, the first one would be
23 did you participate in the operation in April, 1993, the operation that
24 took place in Sovici and Doljani?
25 A. Yes, I did participate in that operation.
1 Q. Can you please describe for the Chamber what you saw? Because we
2 are all very interested in that. From the beginning to the very end.
3 I'll try not to interrupt you. If necessary, I will maybe guide you
4 through your testimony by some subquestions.
5 A. At the time, in April, 1993, as far as I can remember, I was in
6 charge of the drill, the drills in the Baja Kraljevic unit, whose
7 commander I was at the time, and on the 17th of April, on behalf of the
8 operation zone Southeastern Herzegovina, we were given the full combat
9 readiness order. I believe that this was one or two hours -- two hours
10 after midnight. At the time, we stayed in the barracks, Mr. Baja
11 Kraljevic and myself. And then around 4.00 or 5.00 in the morning, we
12 received another call from the duty operations officer, and I believe it
13 was Mr. Raguz of the Southeastern Herzegovina operations zone, and that
14 we were ordered to go, as an intervention unit, to the Sovici and Doljani
15 sector. We also received information that there had been aggression
16 against the Croatian areas that we are supposed to be in full combat
17 readiness and that the attack is to be expected precisely on that axis,
18 the Sovici Doljani axis or sector. In the early morning hours of that
19 day, Mr. Mandic and myself and some of the troops which at the time were
20 in the barracks, half of the troops were at home at the time, so we.
21 Q. Can I please interrupt you? Are you familiar with this order? Is
22 that the order? This is Exhibit D1/107.
23 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Can you please, Mr. Usher, show it to
24 the witness? We all have it.
25 A. I have never seen this order, but it does confirm that the
1 information that we received from the operations, duty operations officer,
2 about the open aggression of Muslims, that all the units were in full
3 combat readiness, that all the leaves were to be terminated, that a
4 battalion from Posusje was being sent towards Jablanica.
5 Q. Okay. You don't have to read the document. It speaks for itself,
6 and that the additional units were being mobilised in Siroki Brijeg,
7 Ljubuski, Citluk. Whose order is this?
8 A. This is the order of the Chief of the Main Staff to all the
9 operation zones.
10 Q. All right. You may continue, be as concise as possible. I know
11 it is not easy.
12 A. In the early morning hours, we departed on the axis Mostar-Siroki
13 Brijeg-Posusje and arrived at the Risovac sector where one part of the
14 troops of the Posusje Battalion, the Siroki Brijeg Battalion had been
15 already. There were some other troops. I don't know who they were. I
16 can't remember. In contact with them, in order to gain as much
17 information, we tried to find out what the situation was, what it was all
18 about, because we did not have enough information. We thought some --
19 somebody would arrive and that we would be given a specific task. It was
20 said to us that on behalf of the Posusje Battalion, one of their groups, a
21 dozen of them, had left from Sovicka Vrata towards the BH Army checkpoint
22 which was visibly reinforced by the Muslim forces between Sovici and
23 Sovicka Vrata. As they were descending, mortar fire was opened on that
24 group, and on the general area below Sovicka Vrata towards the road that
25 we had taken to arrive. Obviously, since we had received information from
1 the people who were up there that the battles, that the terrible
2 aggression took place in the area of Konjic municipality, on the villages
3 with the Croatian population, they were killed and injured in the Herceg
4 Stjepan Brigade, on the strength of which was the Mijat Tomic Battalion in
5 the region of Doljani. When the fire was opened, Mr. Mandic and myself,
6 went with some of our troops, Mr. Mario Hrkac, with the troops in the
7 Convicts Battalion, we said to the lads, to the lads from these municipal
8 battalions, the Siroki Brijeg and Posusje Battalion and other units who
9 were there, that we would be -- we would take the most difficult axis and
10 that we would undertake the necessary operation in order to take those
11 facilities which were the key facilities towards Sovicka Vrata and the
12 valley between, Cvrsnica, and together with our units, the Baja Kraljevic
13 and the Convicts Battalion, we went on the axis Strazbenica Pasije
14 Stijene, where the fire line and the fire points were -- belonged to the
15 MOS forces. We engaged in combat, and sometime in the afternoon, around
16 1600 hours, I believe that we took the area of Pasije Stijene. We
17 continued on the axis along the Bacina Mountain.
18 Q. I apologise, I have to interrupt you. We are in the break time
19 already, unless the Honourable Court wants us to finish this topic. And
20 then make a break.
21 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think we have to finish this topic at least so
22 that the transcript is consistent. And by the way, how long are you going
23 to take, Mr. Krsnik, in your direct examination, if I may ask?
24 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] It won't take long. I started at
25 9.11 and I believe that I will need another 15 or 20 minutes, not more,
1 because I would like to start my next witness today. Maybe we won't be
2 able to finish that witness but at least I want to finish my
3 examination-in-chief of that next witness.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Let the witness finish this topic, then we'll
5 break. Then you will take about 10 to 15 minutes to wind up your direct
6 examination. Yes.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After we took Pasije Stijene, that
8 was on the 17th, we continued.
9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
10 Q. I again apologise for the interruption. I will ask the usher in
11 order to provide the Honourable Court with the insight into what you're
12 describing, I am tendering 6.2 and 6.3, and 8.2. I have in hand in case
13 our Madam Registrar doesn't have them.
14 Please take the pointer. Whenever you mention a feature or a
15 place, you can point them to us.
16 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Please can you put these photos on
17 the ELMO, put them on the ELMO? And the witness will choose --
18 Q. Witness, when you talk about features or sites, can you please
19 choose the photo and show us what you're talking about? You can actually
20 show -- point on the photos.
21 A. I believe that this is Sovici village, and this northern part
22 here, from the west, this is the area of Pasije Stijene, and further
23 down, there is Sovicka Vrata. We were behind Strazbenica. We came to
24 Pasije Stijene. That is west of Sovici. We proceeded towards the
25 northern part
1 of Sovici, towards the Bacina Planina Pass, towards Rama, and we continued
2 along the Bacina Planina, on the rims downwards, towards --
3 Q. There are other photos. Maybe you can show us on those photos?
4 A. I think we can best see it on this photo. I believe that this is
5 the other side of Bacina Mountain. Here you can see the road between
6 Doljani and Sovici, and we continued taking features, Pomen, Oklanica,
7 Pisvir, 944, which I believe is somewhere here, and downwards towards 902,
8 and then we descended to Kosna Luka. This lasted for some -- it was on
9 the 17th, 18th and 19th, when we descended along this axis. In the
10 meantime, we heard that after the first day, the commander of the
11 battalion, who had organised this fire line, and who had organised this
12 line to -- facing the units of the Croatian Defence Council, and if you
13 look at the valley between Bacina Mountain and Cvrsnica, you can see that
14 this is the area, if that -- if you can take a Bacina Mountain and Sovicka
15 Vrata that this is the area from which you can feed your troops and this
16 is an exit towards Posusje and further on.
17 Q. Please, let's go back and concentrate in order to finish this
19 A. So --
20 Q. You heard that somebody had surrendered?
21 A. Yes, the commander, Mr. Ovnovic, I believe that he was the
22 commander of that battalion.
23 Q. Did you hear that or did you witness that?
24 A. No, I didn't witness that because me -- I and Mr. Mandic and
25 Mr. Hrkac, we were on this axis, but I heard it on the Motorola, that he
1 had surrendered, and that the battalion had surrendered in Sovici, and
2 their command and the troops. We continued towards -- and during these
3 three days, somewhere around here, around Ilijina Grude, that is a rock
4 below Doljani.
5 Q. Can you show it on the photo?
6 A. You can't see it too well but roughly it is below these peaks, if
7 this is Pomen, Oklanica, Pisvir, Ilijina Gruda is somewhere around here.
8 From these hill tops, some of the troops from our units were descending
9 and met sniper fire or some other burst, and Mate Markic and Goran Andric
10 were killed by that fire, and then somewhere below Kosna Luka and then
11 further on towards Jablanica, that was one day after the 19th, in the
12 afternoon, that was when Boka Barbaric, a member of the Convicts Battalion
13 got killed. Since we had three killed and several
14 wounded, and since we had the task in this operation to -- since our task
15 was completed, a team came and pulled out Mr. Boka Barbaric's body, and
16 Mr. Mandic and I remained for a while in order to introduce the home guard
17 units. We remained there for a very short while. We arrived in Doljani
18 village around 5.00 in the afternoon, 5.00 or 6.00 in the afternoon. And
19 when we got there, we saw that there were troops there. We saw Mr. Mladen
20 Naletilic, because somebody had already informed him, somebody had already
21 fetched him, somebody had already informed him that Boka Barbaric had got
22 killed. Boka Barbaric was one of those who had joined the battalion very
23 early on.
24 Q. Just briefly, what happened next? And did you and your unit and
25 the Convicts Battalion, during these operations, ever enter Sovici
2 A. No. We didn't. We took the features north and northwest of
3 Sovici and towards Jablanica. We took them one by one and we could not go
4 down there.
5 Q. My learned friend is going to examine you on that. What happened
6 next? You pulled down the dead bodies, you saw Mr. Naletilic, and what
7 happened next?
8 A. Our unit withdrew, we withdrew to Siroki Brijeg. Mario Hrkac
9 remained below Kosna Luka and towards the elevation 902, he said he would
10 man the line there, that his home guards would man the line, that there
11 was no need for all of us to remain there and that he would join us in
12 Siroki. We went towards --
13 Q. Okay. Just tell us where you went and where -- when you arrived?
14 A. We went towards Siroki Brijeg. We stopped in Risovac because
15 Mr. Naletilic was in the car in front of us. He stopped for a moment to
16 tell us that he would go and pick up his children at Mate Zelenika's
17 place. That is on the main way towards Posusje. Actually 200, 300 metres
18 off that road. That was where the Mate Zelenika's house was. And then he
19 told us that we would meet in Boka Barbaric's house.
20 Q. Where is Boka Barbaric's house?
21 A. The house is very close. It is in the neighbourhood where
22 Mr. Naletilic lives.
23 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe that we have
24 finished there topic. After this we are going to say a few words about
25 Rastani and I will wind up with that.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will resume at 11.00.
2 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 11.04 a.m.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik.
5 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Witness, we have ten minutes still and I'd lake to complete your
7 examination today so please be very specific and brief. Do you know
8 anything about the 23rd of September, 1993, and so-called Rastani
9 operation, that is Rastani front line? What do you know about that,
11 A. On the 23rd of September, I know that the Baja Kraljevic unit was
12 tasked with intervening, with carrying out an intervention action, in the
13 area of responsibility of sector north, on the Goranci, Jedrinje, Djubrani
15 Q. Sorry, will you slow down to make things easier for us, Goranci,
16 Djubrani, Jedrinje, J-E-D-R-I-N-J-E.
17 A. And I remember exactly the task with which we were issued by the
18 sector commander. And that order said that we were to link up with the
19 Siroki Brijeg Brigade in the area of Jedrinje facing Bucici, to pull out
20 the casualties and fatalities and set up the front line and bring in the
21 forces of the Siroki Brijeg Brigade. And he told me that in the early
22 hours of the morning on that same day, along Djubrani, Goranci, Golubic,
23 Velika, Mala, Vlajina or Arapovo Brdo, a unit of the Convicts Battalion
24 had been sent to that area, because in that area, the -- it was to be the
25 link up with the Siroki Brijeg Brigade and that that area, front line had
1 been attacked, so the Convicts Battalion went there for an intervention
2 action, and we stayed there for about four or five days. And during those
3 four or five days, we mopped up the ground and I remember exactly how we
4 entered Jedrinje, because there were dead and wounded there, and I
5 remember how we found there wounded who was alive, Robert Primorac, who
6 had studied with me in Zagreb at some point in time. He had lost a finger
7 and he also had a -- was wounded in the leg, and he was so muddled that he
8 did not know whose troops had arrived, ours or Muslim forces. He was in
9 shock. He was all muddled. There were dead bodies around him. And he
10 had spent the night there on the front line, and said that there were a
11 number of lads who had been taken away, captured, in that operation. We
12 had, I believe, two dead and six or seven wounded lads.
13 Q. Right. And my one-but-last question. Was there a commander of
14 the Rastani front line and if so, who was that and when was he appointed
15 to that post and meanwhile, I will ask for Exhibit D1/390.
16 A. Yes. There was the commander, as far as I can remember. I
17 believe that at that time, that at that time it was the area of
18 responsibility of the city defence, if this is September, of those three
19 sectors that I mentioned before, this was the city defence sector, and
20 that as this order here says, that Colonel Milan Stampar is appointed the
21 commander of the Rastani front line and that all the units in the Rastani
22 area are to be subordinated to him.
23 Q. You can look at this order, are you familiar with it, it must be
24 it, then, are you familiar with it?
25 A. No, I'm not familiar with this order but it is Mr. Stampar, it
1 concerns Mr. Stampar and I know that he commanded the Rastani front line
2 and all the units who would go to that particular area would then be
3 attached to him, that is subordinated to him.
4 Q. You see, it says something here, IZM Djubrani, what does it mean,
6 A. IZM means forward command post Djubrani. Djubrani is a rather
7 large area so IZM means forward command post.
8 Q. I see. Forward command post, very good. Will you just read to
9 me, please, the date of this document, D1/390?
10 A. The 25th of August, 1993.
11 Q. I see. Thank you very much. Do you know Ralf Rudiger?
12 A. Yes, I do.
13 Q. Was he ever a member of your unit in Baja Kraljevic?
14 A. No, he was not a member of Baja Kraljevic, because he did not meet
15 the criteria. He was rather prone to alcohol and so ...
16 Q. And when did you meet him?
17 A. I believe in 1992 sometime.
18 Q. I see. Now can I ask Madam Registrar for my last question, for
19 Exhibit P704? It is said that this is the list of all the members of the
20 Convicts Battalion. So will you please look at it, just the names and
21 please comment on it. It is said here that this is the payroll of
22 December, the 2nd of December, 1993, for November, 1993.
23 A. As this is here indicated I do not know what this means, what
24 these groups mean.
25 Q. No, just leaf through the list and if you see some name --
1 A. Here in the command, Zeljko Ravic. Josip Bosnjak, at that time
2 was a deputy. I commanded the 3rd Brigade of Mostar HVO and Zeljko
3 Bosnjak was my deputy at the time.
4 Q. In the 3rd Brigade, you mean?
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 Q. Yeah, right, go on.
7 A. I don't know what these ranks here mean next to names. Captain,
8 captain, because at that time, there were no ranks in units. Otherwise,
9 it would have been carried by Narodni Novine, by the Official Gazette, had
10 there been any ranks. I don't know what these groups mean.
11 Q. Very well.
12 A. From what I know, Zeljko Vukoja came after Mario Hrkac was killed,
13 that he became the operative commander of the Convicts Battalion along
14 side Andabak, of course. This here, these people, I have no idea who
15 these are. This group 4, I have no idea who these people are. Group 5, I
16 have no idea what -- what these groups mean. Uh-huh, here is Andabak.
17 That's all right. Culafic, Kontosic, I have no idea who these people are.
18 Ivan Hrkac, I know him. It's a man who at that time worked for the police
19 on Hvar, we are good friends and I know that. Danko Pilnovac is the chief
20 of police in Siroki Brijeg so that he couldn't be here.
21 Q. Tell me, there are also some female names. Do you know them, on
22 the first page, for instance?
23 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Could we go into private session,
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go into private session, please.
1 [Private session]
12 Page 12773 – redacted – private session
12 Page 12774 – redacted – private session
12 Page 12775 – redacted – private session
7 [Open session]
8 JUDGE CLARK: Thank you both of you. That was my memory. That's
9 why I was wondering about the cross-examination. Thank you.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Cross-examination. Mr. Scott.
11 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. There are some Defence bundles of
12 documents that should be distributed. They are already -- have they gone
13 out? I assume that the Chamber's have been distributed as well.
14 Mr. President, let me explain to hopefully avoid confusion. There are two
15 separate bundles and it is -- there is no magic to it except that it came
16 a point in time in preparation it was easier to divide them into two
17 separate bundles. The first bundle that I'll be dealing with the first
18 bundle that I'll be dealing with starts with Exhibit P173.3.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
20 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think this is
21 absolutely unacceptable. Yes, the examination may go on, I don't object
22 to that, but that we get binders and that the Prosecutor uses some 15
23 documents dated 1991 -- excuse me.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, 2001.
25 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I really think what, and then we
1 shall say we shall all wrap it in the gift paper of credibility and what?
2 Do not interrupt me, please, Your Honours.
3 MR. SCOTT: We have a witness present.
4 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Please do not allow the Prosecutor to
5 interrupt me when I'm speaking.
6 JUDGE LIU: I understand you object to the bundle of documents
7 furnished by the Prosecution but if in the Rules there is no limitation of
8 presenting the documents to this courtroom. Some documents may be
9 recently issued but it might be relevant to this case.
10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, please, can we then
11 know when is it exactly that the Prosecutor came by those documents?
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, you could raise your objections to
13 this document but do not go into the details, because we have the witness
14 in the courtroom. And he has not been cross-examined yet. You have to
15 understand that we only admit the document after the witness is out of the
16 courtroom. We understand that you object the use of this document but I'm
17 sorry to say that there is no limitations in the Rules forbidding any
18 document that is used. When it comes to the points of admission of those
19 documents, you may raise your objections. Let's see what the Prosecution
20 is going to use this document for.
21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with your leave, just a
22 moment, why does the Prosecutor request that we do not discuss it in front
23 of the witnesses when his witnesses were there, he said why should the
24 witnesses go out? That was the Prosecution's position when their
25 witnesses came here to testify. It is all in the record, and now he
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 changes that the situation be reversed.
2 JUDGE LIU: You may proceed, Mr. Scott.
3 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Cross-examined by Mr. Scott:
5 Q. Let me ask you first, sir, it may be, Your Honour, in some of
6 these background personal issues I suppose unfortunately we will have to
7 be -- well maybe these aren't identifying, I will try because I don't
8 think anyone could hold a number of these positions. I'll try without
9 being in private session. Sir, in listening to your testimony I just want
10 to talk a little bit about your military background and positions because
11 some of that was not clear to me. You said that you first joined the HV,
12 that is the Croatian Army, as a student volunteer in 1991; is that
14 A. Yes, that is correct.
15 Q. And at that period of time, how long did you remain in the
16 Croatian Army?
17 A. Until April, 1992.
18 Q. And as of the time you left the Croatian Army, sir, what rank or
19 position did you hold?
20 A. At the time, I did not hold a rank.
21 Q. And when you joined the Croatian Army, as you've described, was
22 that your first involvement in a military organisation?
23 A. No. Before that, I served in the regular army for 14 months, in
24 the former state.
25 Q. And did you obtain any certain -- any particular rank during that
1 period of service?
2 A. No.
3 Q. So would it be fair to say -- I mean it may not be the exact
4 terminology used by the Croatian Army but what many people would consider
5 your rank do you remember that during that entire time was perhaps a foot
6 soldier or private?
7 A. Yes. I was a foot soldier. I had some duties in 1992.
8 Q. And did you ever attend a military academy in the course of your
9 military career?
10 A. No. I apologise. After the war, I was at the Croatian military
11 school and I was at the war school of the Croatian Army school, and I was
12 at the command school of the Croatian Army.
13 Q. All right. And those were all after the conflict primarily with
14 the Muslims in 1993?
15 A. That is correct.
16 Q. Now, sir, when you went to return to Siroki Brijeg and became
17 involved in a unit there, did you continue to hold any rank or membership
18 or position in the Croatian Army?
19 A. No. I did not have a rank, nor -- when I arrived in Siroki
20 Brijeg, I had duty as an instructor of training, of drills.
21 Q. And then sometime after leaving the HVO, did you become a member
22 of the Croatian Army, the HV, again?
23 A. During the operations to liberate the Northwestern Bosnia, that
24 was in 1995, after the Tudjman-Izetbegovic agreement signed in Split.
25 Q. All right. My only question is: So was it in 1995 that you
1 joined again the Croatian Army?
2 A. After all the wars that took place in the area of Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina, I wanted to resolve my status in the Croatian Army.
4 Q. What was the highest rank, sir, that you ever obtained in the
6 A. The last rank in the HVO was general --
7 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Can we please move to a private
8 session? These things are -- can identify this witness and can I ask my
9 learned friend to make sure not to repeat something like that? Because
10 there are no hundreds of generals in the HVO.
11 JUDGE LIU: Well, if you request, we'll go to the private session,
13 [Private session]
12 Pages 12782–12786 - redacted – private session
11 [Open session]
12 MR. SCOTT:
13 Q. Sir, my only question about this document, and again, please don't
14 mention your name or any other specifics about the document other than the
15 things that I'll be careful to ask you about, but at some point were you
16 granted disability benefits based on your military service? That's just
17 simply if you can assist us, please, just yes or no. Sir, in terms of the
18 content of the document I'm only going to ask you one question on the
19 second English page or for that matter it may be simply easier for
20 everyone's attention to the next page, third page in the English version,
21 just simply a list of essentially information 1 through 9, if you could
22 find the page, sir, the last page, of the Croatian language version that
23 has a number of items 1 through 9, and I just simply ask you to confirm
24 that is it correct, sir, and Mr. President, I don't think this information
25 is sufficient to identify a specific person, if counsel or the Court
1 disagrees I'm sure they will guide me -- is it correct, sir, that as a
2 member of the Convicts Battalion, you were wounded on the 19th of January,
3 1993, in Gornji Vakuf? Is that right?
4 A. At the time, I was not a member of the Convicts Battalion. I was
5 a member of the Baja Kraljevic ATG.
6 Q. All right. As a member of the Baja Kraljevic ATG, were you
7 wounded in Gornji Vakuf on the 19th of January, 1993?
8 A. I was slightly wounded.
9 Q. And as a member of either the Convicts Battalion or the Baja
10 Kraljevic ATG, were you also wounded in Doljani on the 16th of April,
12 A. No. I was not wounded on the 16th of April. Again, I assert that
13 I was a member of the Baja Kraljevic unit. I was hit by a bullet in the
14 Motorola that I was carrying, on the belt, and it scratched me. It tore
15 off the antenna, and this did not prevent me from continuing fighting in
16 the unit.
17 Q. All right. Let me ask it, I don't want to quarrel with you as
18 much as possible about these things, is it correct that you were struck,
19 you or something on your body was struck by a bullet on the 16th of April,
20 1993, in the vicinity of Doljani?
21 A. Yes. That was south from Doljani towards Jablanica.
22 Q. And is it correct, sir, then, that as a member of the Baja
23 Kraljevic ATG were you then again wounded or injured to some -- to any
24 degree on the 20th of June, 1993, in a place called Boksevica?
25 A. Yes. In the Baja Kraljevic unit, I was wounded on Boksevica on
1 the 20 April -- no, 20 June, 1993. And Mr. Mandic and I were wounded at
2 the same time.
3 Q. All right. Now, sir, you were granted a -- as a result of this --
4 as indicated in this document, at least, you were granted a 40 per cent
5 permanent disability. Now, sir, you're not -- some of the qualifications
6 you've made in the last few minutes, you're not indicating in any way, are
7 you, that there was anything false about that?
8 A. These injuries were slight injuries, and it is correct that I was
9 wounded on Boksevica, and in the Matkovic sector.
10 Q. The extent and nature of your injuries as you've told us about
11 this morning which I appreciate, was that -- would those commonly be
12 characterised then under the HVO benefits system as resulting in a 40 per
13 cent permanent disability?
14 A. I never took this disability, although during that stage, when all
15 those who had been wounded were being registered and -- I wanted this to
16 be recorded for the posterity that during the fight for the Croatian
17 people, I was at the disposal, and that I had gone through certain stages
18 and that I did experience -- I did experience the feeling of being hit by
19 a bullet in the fighting.
20 Q. All right.
21 MR. SCOTT: Can I have the usher's assistance, please, and if I
22 may suggest, perhaps with the usher's assistance to keep the papers
23 straight, if the binder could be shown to the witness so we could move
24 rather quickly through about five or six exhibits, if that's possible?
25 The next exhibit I specifically want to direct his attention to, the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 witness's attention to is P173.3. The numbers are on the English version,
2 the way we prepare exhibits for the Prosecution in trial is to put the
3 numbers on the English page, not the B/C/S page. There should be a number
4 in the upper right corner P173.3.
5 Q. Do you have it, sir?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. All right. Now, before I ask you any other document -- excuse me,
8 questions about this exhibit, did you ever know a man in the Baja
9 Kraljevic unit called Goran Pavlovic?
10 A. Goran Pavlovic I know. I can't remember whether he was in the
11 Convicts Battalion, but in any case, he is a guy who was wounded in
12 October, 1992, south of Mostar somewhere around Vrada -- I think the
13 name of the place is Vranjevici.
14 Q. Sir, I'm going to refer to the item because the page numbers in
15 the English and Croatian versions may be different. On the list, if you
16 can please finds item number 87? Is that your name on this list,
17 indicating the rank? It's not on the ELMO. I'm not going to ask to you
18 state your name, please, but is that you on the list indicated as
19 captain? Number 87. Yes?
20 A. Yes. This is my name, but what is this form? What time does
21 it -- what date is it all?
22 Q. If you direct your attention?
23 A. Yes, I see, 15 September, 1992. I could not have the rank of a
24 captain at the time, because at that time, there were no ranks in the HVO
25 units. There were some markings of the duty, of certain commanders, of
1 brigades, or battalions, or companies, but the first ranks were conferred
2 upon individuals, I believe in early 1994, so that this here is not true.
3 This rank of captain or any other rank indicated here.
4 Q. All right. Well, I understand you disagree with that, sir, but
5 let me direct your attention please now next to item 77, Goran Pavlovic,
6 and if you will just -- taking the document at face value, sir, just
7 taking what is stated on the document at face value, can you assist the
8 Chamber in any information you can provide as to why the rank for
9 Mr. Pavlovic was, apparently the original rank suggested was marked out,
10 above it appears to be the abbreviation for Colonel, Pukov, and then to
11 the right of that is written the name, the rank for major, and the words
12 "Tuta's personal request." Can you shed any light as to why
13 Mr. Naletilic wanted this man to be given this particular rank.
14 A. Well, since Goran Pavlovic was a member, and I believe one of
15 those lads that belonged to the old team, he possibly spoke with
16 Mr. Naletilic, probably to -- if at that time he had already been wounded
17 and I said that he had been wounded, so perhaps he asked somehow to have
18 his status resolved but I repeat, as for the ranks at that time, there
19 were no ranks at that time. You can go to Narodni Novine in that period
20 and you will never see a decision on the ranks, on the granting of ranks
21 at the time, so I do not agree with this promotion to colonel or major and
22 I do not know what it said underneath this, this which has been crossed
23 out, and as for this request of the gentleman, if that is -- if of all
24 these men who are listed here, here, the signature, or if it is, if
25 Mr. Naletilic did write that, then it could be the good intention,
1 perhaps, at Mr. Pavlovic's request. I don't know if my answer satisfies
3 Q. Thank you very much. We are going to have to move on. I would
4 have to just put it to you, sir, so the record is clear, that it's the
5 Prosecution case that there are a number of documents from this time which
6 in fact indicate ranks but I understand your position. Can I ask you,
7 please, to look at P564.2? Very quickly, sir, if you can assist, I simply
8 want you to confirm, are you the second person listed on that list, and is
9 that accurate information as of the date of this document, 12 August,
11 A. I don't know to -- how accurate is this information, if it is
12 dated August, 1993, and if as a signatory, we have commander Viktor
13 Markotic, "Civi," so I do not think this information is accurate and I do
14 not know what is this report meant for.
15 Q. Let me just ask you, is it correct that as of the 12th of August,
16 1993, you were a member of the Baja Kraljevic ATG and in fact, you were
17 someone who came from the Siroki Brijeg municipality?
18 A. It is true, I was born in Siroki Brijeg, and I still live there,
19 and the unit, Baja Kraljevic, was not in the staff of the Siroki Brijeg
20 municipality and what it says here, those who belong to Siroki Brijeg
21 municipality, and therefore do not need to have been sent mobilisation
23 Q. Can I direct your attention to Exhibit P934? And sir, this states
24 that it is a list of the dead and wounded during the execution of past
25 operations and the ranks of the Convicts Battalion and the Baja Kraljevic
1 ATG, and then there is a list of some 53 names. Are you number 22 on this
3 A. Yes. Yes. This is my name.
4 Q. Can you assist the Chamber, please, within this particular
5 document, why are the Convicts Battalion and the Baja Kraljevic ATG
7 A. I don't know when this document was created because there is no
8 date here, no number, no class, no signature. Men -- I know men in this
9 list. Marko Lovric, I know when he was killed, Franjo Pastelek was in ATG
10 Baja Kraljevic and he was killed in November, 1992. Danko Radman,
11 Stanislav Kraljevic, I mean I know those men. And I do not know who wrote
12 this and who was this list sent to, and why were these put together. But
13 I do know, and I put it to you, that Baja Kraljevic, that unit, looked
14 after its dead and its killed, and that the Convicts Battalion unit did
15 the same. I don't know if this can be of any help to you. The military
16 code of the Convicts Battalion was 1717. And the military code of the
17 Baja Kraljevic was 1724. And here in the heading, I do not see it say
18 anywhere that particular fact. I don't see it anywhere.
19 Q. Sir, I've given you the document I have. I understand the
20 concerns you've expressed I cannot give you something I do not have. But
21 isn't it true, sir that the Convicts Battalion and the Baja Kraljevic were
22 so closely identified one with the other that it was common for them to be
23 listed together or for the member of the Convicts Battalion to be commonly
24 referred to as a member of the Baja Kraljevic unit and vice versa, a
25 member of the Baja Kraljevic unit to be identified as someone with the
1 Convicts Battalion?
2 A. I have already said that they are two different units with their
3 different military codes, different markings, and surely, men who were in
4 those units could not identify themselves with some other unit. Members
5 of Baja Kraljevic were its members, and they said so proudly. But there
6 were members in Baja Kraljevic who in the early stages were with the
7 Convicts Battalion. So that possibly there could have been some men who
8 said, yes, I'm a member of the Convicts Battalion, and so on. But it was
9 a very clear in those units themselves.
10 Q. Can I ask you to please look at P738?
11 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Scott, this will be the last document we are using
12 before the break.
13 MR. SCOTT: Very good, Your Honour.
14 Q. Sir, if you can just confirm for me, this is another states that
15 it is another listing of persons of the Baja Kraljevic ATG dated the 4th
16 of January, 1994, and are you the person listed in item number 2?
17 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if such confirmation is
20 sought, then the witness should be allowed to read and check every name.
21 JUDGE LIU: I think so. I think the witness is provided with that
22 document already.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My answer would be that Mr. Predrag
24 Mandic, the first one on the list, was at that time appointed commander of
25 the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Guards Brigade set up in November -- in
1 December, 1992, and Josip, I'm here, Josip is it with that brigade, Slaven
2 Lasic is with the new brigade, and of -- and a large number of men from
3 this list are members of that brigade so that this document, I cannot
4 consider it an authentic document because most of the members were members
5 of the 2nd Guards Brigade of the Mostar HVO.
6 MR. SCOTT:
7 Q. To finish up, I know we are at the break time but, sir, for the
8 purposes of a document like this would you not agree that this indicates,
9 for instance, the members of these particular individuals in their prior
10 unit up to the time in early 1994 that it became part of the 2nd Guards
11 Brigade? Isn't that what this document indicates?
12 A. I do not know. If I said that the 2nd Guards Brigade was
13 established and if in its development and the establishment and order on
14 its foundation said, and that the selection of men in the command of that
15 brigade had already been carried out, Mr. Mandic has just after January at
16 the time when he was the commander of the indicated unit, Baja Kraljevic,
17 he was wounded after that, he was severely wounded in the end of that
19 Q. That's beyond the scope of my question.
20 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President we can stop there for the break, if it
21 suits the Chamber.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will resume at quarter to 1.00.
23 --- Recess taken at 12.18 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 12.47 p.m.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott, please continue.
1 MR. SCOTT: Thank you.
2 Q. Sir, if I can ask you to look next at Exhibit 812. Sir, this
3 document is titled, "list of members of the Convicts Battalion registered
4 in the Siroki Brijeg Defence office." It appears to be dated the 24th of
5 July, 1996. I want to start please I want to directs your attention
6 because you've mentioned this several times up in the upper left part of
7 the first page it says, "Military post 1717." Just to confirm again
8 you've said this morning that 1717 was the military code for the Convicts
9 Battalion; is that correct?
10 A. It is correct that the military post code of the Convicts
11 Battalion was 1717.
12 Q. And is it correct, sir, that you were listed in this list as -- at
13 item 30, 30?
14 A. That is my name but I do not know what would I be doing in this
15 list, if this document is of 1996, as you said, 1996.
16 Q. Well, sir, in the Croatian language original will you please look
17 at your name, item 30? Is that not your signature in the far right
19 A. No. This is not my signature.
20 Q. All right. And is this document not prepared over the name, I'm
21 not suggesting anything about the handwriting at the moment, but over the
22 name Mladen Naletilic, Tuta? Is it, sir?
23 A. Yes. On this form, there is the name, yes, it is written here,
24 Mladen Naletilic.
25 Q. Under the title on the form of commander, authorised person,
2 A. It is not correct that at that time, Mr. Naletilic was the
3 commander, authorised person. It is possible, if the Defence office was
4 comparing some documentation perhaps it relates to 1992, if they were
5 trying to update some documentation for the Siroki Brijeg archives. In
6 that case, it is -- then it would be correct if it refers to 1992. But
7 since this is the 24th of July, 1996, at that time Mr. Naletilic had --
8 held no command office. And it is also possible that --
9 Q. All right, sir, I'm sorry I do not want to interrupt you but I'm
10 trying to move us along but please finish your answer.
11 A. It is possible, I remember that Mr. Naletilic, at some point in
12 time, was in the Siroki Brijeg municipality. That is in the municipal
13 hall of Siroki Brijeg, whether he was deputy mayor or something. So
14 perhaps that motivated him to put down certain things which date to 1992.
15 That would be my comment with regard to that document.
16 Q. Not with regard to that document but just generally in terms of
17 your examination, you said, you were quite categorical in saying you had
18 never heard anyone use the terminology, Tuta's ATG or Tuta's men, that
19 sort of thing, but sir, isn't it quite common, wouldn't it be quite normal
20 when people in referring to a particular unit might refer to it buy the
21 commander's name such as for example someone in this courtroom might
22 describe this court as Judge Lieu's courtroom. It may be Trial Chamber I
23 but isn't it correct that people would commonly refer to a unit by the
24 commander's name?
25 A. Possibly. It is possible that at that time, somebody addressed
1 somebody or referred to somebody, perhaps within that context, meaning all
2 of us who were at that time together with Mr. Naletilic in the Convicts
3 Battalion. Perhaps somebody from that time, and within the context of
4 that time, but I do not remember that anyone ever addressed me or called
5 me Tuta's man or Tuta's boy or Tutici and so on.
6 Q. In terms of your comments about Mr. Naletilic being for unity of
7 Muslims or Bosniaks and Croats, you don't mean that in the way that they
8 were equal, do you?
9 A. I know that in 1992, Mr. Naletilic, if I may put it that way,
10 socialised and was welcome amongst the Muslim population in Herzegovina,
11 or more specifically in Mostar.
12 Q. Sir, when you say unity, isn't it fair to say that people like
13 Mr. Naletilic and other members of the senior Bosnian Croat leadership,
14 they meant unity was fine as long as it was under HVO control, correct?
15 A. I wouldn't be able to answer you in that way. That is to just say
16 whether this is correct. I think it is rather the other way around. In
17 the struggle against the common enemy, common aggressor, I think the
18 Croats and Muslims cooperated very well because a large number of the
19 population chased away from other parts of Bosnia, from Eastern Bosnia,
20 were very well received in Herzegovina, and there were no particular
21 problems there. Now, there could be some later things behind which was
22 some other motive but I can also give you my view on that.
23 Q. All right. Well, unfortunately again we are pressed for time,
24 sir. You said that you arrived in Doljani during the time of the
25 Sovici-Doljani action, that you arrived in Doljani and Mr. Naletilic was
1 already there. Can you clarify, please, what day or date -- I guess not
2 day in the week but what date was it when you arrived in Doljani and
3 Mr. Naletilic was already there?
4 A. We found Mr. Naletilic there on the 19th, in the afternoon, in the
5 village of Doljani but we as the unit arrived there on the 17th of April,
6 in the early morning hours.
7 Q. All right. That answers my question, sir, forgive me but again I
8 just wanted to know what date that was and I appreciate you're indicating
9 the 19th of April. Then when you say that the Baja Kraljevic unit
10 withdrew to Siroki Brijeg, can you again -- and you said Mr. Naletilic was
11 in the car in front of you, and again my only question is, can you
12 clarify -- identify that date? What date was it that you with drew to
13 Siroki Brijeg?
14 A. I think it was the 19th of April, the 19th of April, yes.
15 Q. And is it accurate to say, sir, that you, you personally, did not
16 go back to the Doljani-Sovici area after that, at least not in April,
18 A. To the area of Sovici and Doljani, we as the unit intervened there
19 in July, 1993. When the --
20 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... in the interests of time I'm
21 trying to give you very direct questions, please. After the 19th of
22 April, when you said you withdrew to Siroki Brijeg, did you go back to
23 the Doljani-Sovici area during the month of April, not July, during the
24 month of April, 1993?
25 A. No. We did not return to the area of Sovici and Doljani in April.
1 Q. All right. Sir, is it correct that around the early October,
2 around early October, 1993, you were given command of the 3rd HVO
4 A. Yes. That is correct.
5 Q. Could I ask that the witness please be shown Exhibit 621? Can you
6 confirm, sir, that this is a record, an HVO record, indicating your
7 promotion or naming to that position?
8 A. I never saw this document before, because this is a proposal by
9 the Main Staff of the HVO to the Defence Minister, [redacted]
15 Q. Sir, it also indicates?
16 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, Mr. Scott, can we please
17 redact this and make sure that the witness is not identified? Can we
18 redact his position, please?
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
20 MR. SCOTT: It's a fair request, Your Honour. Perhaps we should
21 go to private session just for a moment.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go to the private session, please.
23 [Private session]
20 [Open session]
21 JUDGE LIU: Now we are in the open session.
22 MR. SCOTT: Thank you.
23 Q. Isn't it correct, sir, and you may have touched on this in your
24 direct examination, but I'd like to confirm, that unit was based largely
25 on or built from, if you will, the Convicts Battalion? Correct?
1 A. Not only of the members of the Convicts Battalion. During this
2 reorganisation, four guards brigades were formed and 2nd Guards Brigade
3 consisted of all the units in -- from zone of responsibility of Mostar.
4 So they became professional. So the military police, the Convicts
5 Battalion, the Baja Kraljevic, effectively all the smaller-sized units
6 which belonged to their respective municipalities, they from then on
7 became integral parts of that guard unit -- guard brigade.
8 Q. Did that include, sir, the Vinko Martinovic's unit known as ATG
9 Vinko Skrobo? Excuse me, my apology.
10 A. Yes. His unit also became incorporated in the 2nd Guards Brigade,
11 that is Mr. Martinovic's unit.
12 Q. And sir, isn't it correct to say that Vinko Skrobo unit was
13 incorporated into the 2nd Guards Brigade because it was part of the
14 Convicts Battalion? That was incorporated into the 2nd Guards Brigade?
15 A. No. That is not correct. The Vinko Skrobo unit had its zone of
16 responsibility, its commander, and it was not a part of the Convicts unit
17 and it did not -- it was not incorporated into the brigade as such. As
18 soon as the 2nd Brigade was formed, all the smaller units were dismantled
19 and from then on.
20 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, the interpreter missed a large part
21 of that.
22 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, one large part, sentence,
23 did not -- did not get translated because the witness was too fast. So
24 can -- when he was explaining about the smaller units incorporated and
25 that they ranked from -- squads, platoons, and other smaller units.
1 JUDGE LIU: Witness, you may reanswer that question. I'm afraid
2 that the interpreter might have lost something in your answer.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the 2nd Guards Brigade
4 incorporated the units from the area of responsibility of the Mostar
5 territory, those units which were active in either professional or
6 semi-professional capacity were incorporated into the guard brigade. And
7 obviously, all of them were first dismantled, they did not remain as they
8 were previously, they were transformed, and adapted to the new
9 establishment, and that is from squad, infantry squad, infantry platoon,
10 all the other elements that guards brigade have, the artillery,
11 anti-artillery, and all the other services accompanying such a
12 professional unit.
13 MR. SCOTT:
14 Q. I have to end it there. Based on what you told us about your
15 military career I think it's fair to say that many by some measures would
16 consider it quite successful, which causes me to ask you do you consider
17 yourself or that you were a good officer?
18 A. Mr. Prosecutor, it is not for me to say that. It is for others to
19 say. But people with whom I worked and my superiors probably made a
20 selection based on my abilities.
21 Q. It's fair to say, you were promoted up through the ranks to
22 increasingly senior positions. You were, if we had time, you received
23 numerous awards or commendations from the Republic of Croatia, I think at
24 least five or six, so many people considered you a good officer; is that
1 A. Probably, yes.
2 Q. And in your role as an experienced and apparently much promoted
3 officer, did you consider that you took all steps to exercise command and
4 control over the units and soldiers under your command?
5 A. As far as that is concerned, when we are talking about different
6 times and different circumstances that I personally found myself in,
7 obviously that all the knowledge that I had acquired in the universities
8 and the abilities I tried to implement to incorporate in the media in the
9 environment that was called the army or the army potential, and I also to
10 a large extent, I believe, that I succeeded in my intentions, but
11 obviously, there were, in such a mobilised situation, when -- if we look
12 at the years 1992 and 1993, it is possible that there were some deviations
13 by individuals who could not have been selected for their characteristics,
14 for their psychological traumas for their previous war experiences, did
15 they lose somebody to the war, did somebody, a member of mayor family got
16 killed? And only in 1994, I believe that the military vertical and
17 horizontal chain of commands became established in the proper sense of the
19 Q. All right, sir, because of the time I'm going to be quite
20 selective in the documents that I can direct you to so I'll only pick one
21 of this particular group. If you could please look at P703.4? [redacted]
5 A. I'm not sure that at the time I had tools available to me. It was
6 improvisation on my part as the commander. I improvised some things in
7 order to impose some disciplinary measures. One of them was a pay cut.
8 In order to draw the attention of other members of this unit to the fact
9 that I can take disciplinary measure if some deviations were found in the
10 communication within the units but in this particular case, I would like
11 to say that this is a reserve brigade, which was based effectively on
12 mobilisation. Its units were mobilised so there was no selection of
13 people. People could not be segregated based on their character traits.
14 Q. I need to go forward. My only other question to you about this
15 document, is you indicate in your order, you characterised whatever the
16 underlying conduct was as involving a serious violation, I think in one or
17 two instances a place a term you use. I know this is sometime ago but I
18 just wonder if you can assist the Chamber if you recall what conduct of
19 these two men was being punished at that time?
20 A. I can't remember what disciplinary measure and based on what I
21 imposed by this order.
22 Q. That's understandable, sir?
23 A. I can't remember exactly. I don't want to say something that does
24 not reflect the truth.
25 Q. That's understandable.
1 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour?
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik.
12 Q. Sir, isn't it a fact that during 1993, in the conflict between the
13 Bosnian Croats and the Bosniaks or the Muslims, and that Muslim prisoners
14 were widely used in forced labour by the HVO? Correct?
15 A. Yes. There were instances of units using those prisoners who were
16 conscripts, but I think it was in their areas of responsibility for some
17 works. I don't know what exactly they did but I did hear that there were
18 such instances.
19 Q. In fact, sir, units under your immediate command made widespread
20 use of Muslim prisoners in forced labour, didn't they?
21 A. Which units are you referring to, sir?
22 Q. Well, for instance, the 3rd Brigade that you were commanding.
23 A. Which unit of the 3rd brigade?
24 Q. Well, again, sir, unfortunately because of the statement
25 constraints if I can ask you to look at Exhibit P935, I believe -- it's a
1 very, very thick exhibit, Mr. President, and I don't know if it was put in
2 all the binders or because of the volume it may have not but do you have
3 it, Mr. Usher, do you in your -- it appears that you do. I can see it
4 from here.
5 Q. Sir, if you'll please look at Exhibit P935. It's a very
6 voluminous collection of a form, what appears to be a standard form. I
7 can't pretend that I've looked through each one of these but the vast
8 majority of the pages seem to bear your signature as the approving
9 officer. Isn't that true? And as I leaf, just so the record is clear and
10 I'm not accused of misleading anyone, as I leaf through here again now
11 admitted there are, there are other signatures besides yours but I think
12 it's fair to say a very, very substantial number percentage of this bundle
13 bears your signature, doesn't it? While you're considering that, sir, if
14 you want to look, I understand you may want to look at the documents, let
15 me assist the Chamber and counsel, Mr. President, there is one translation
16 of the form on the top page and we think the form itself is always --
17 wealth substantially the same, which seems to say this: Order for
18 requisitioning prisoners, name of unit, work location, number of
19 prisoners, the date, the first and last name, person in charge, ID number,
20 taken over by, and then to the right of that, approved by. Sir, isn't it
21 true that your signature is on a substantial number of these forms?
22 A. I don't know that I have signed such orders but this could be my
23 signature. I was not the person in charge of the military prison and I
24 could not issue approvals, I could issue requests, but approvals for the
25 requisition of these prisoners, I did not have such authority but if you
1 will allow me, Your Honours, I would like to mention that I joined the 3rd
2 brigade at the beginning of the month and that I had a takeover or the
3 handover of the brigade between the 4th and the 20th of October, and that
4 at that time, that brigade had its communication, its life, and within
5 that one month or two months that I had spent in the brigade, I acted very
6 little. I may have overlooked some things, and I will allow that that may
7 have happened, and I would like to mention that the -- one of the units of
8 the 3rd Brigade was in the sector of the defence of the town. That was
9 the 4th Battalion which was under the command of.
10 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... I'm trying very hard to
11 finish this cross-examination. If we can just look at one example, the
12 very first one, which -- if you want to look -- confirming the last four
13 digits in the number that's marked on the top right corner of the page,
14 7946, that's your signature, isn't it?
15 A. This could be my signature but there is no date on this --
16 whatever it is, the order, there is no date.
17 Q. All right, sir. Isn't it true that you knew that not only were
18 prisoners being used but many of them were being taken out of the most
19 hostile conditions and many of them were being wounded and killed or
20 otherwise abused? Isn't that true?
21 A. I don't believe this to be true, for the following reason. The
22 3rd Brigade was of a mixed composition up to the month of May or June of
23 that same year, while its commander was Ivan Primorac. The battalions in
24 this brigade, the 8th Battalion, the 9th Battalion, all of them were made
25 up of Muslims and Croats in the ratio of 40 to 60 maybe, and they acted
1 jointly against the common enemy, and then this early stages.
2 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... sorry, I wasn't asking about
3 the composition of the units. Let me direct your attention, please, to an
4 exhibit which is marked as P657.1, and sir, I'll have to tell you that the
5 cover, the table or summary that's been prepared in the top is not yet
6 been translated, but attached -- attached to it or the Croatian language
7 documents, the ten documents that correspond, the entries, so if you want
8 to confirm presumably you will, what the table is based upon, you can
9 look at the attached B/C/S document, sir. And I'm going to suggest to
10 you, in the interests of time, that all of these indicate that these
11 soldiers were taken out on your request or under your approval if you look
12 at the Croatian language documents, I believe you will see in all
13 instances in the first or second line, your name. Is that correct? Sir,
14 I'm going to tell you again so that we can move forward in these reports
15 there are many indications of detainees being wounded, some allegedly
16 escaped, in one instance it indicates that a group of detainees, item 6,
17 came back from labour having been badly beaten. This was a widely known
18 practice, wasn't it, sir,? And you knew this was going on, you knew
19 prisoners were being taken out exposed to the most dangerous conditions
20 and many soldiers -- many of them, none of these indicated as being killed
21 but in fact many were being wounded and killed, correct?
22 A. As far as this document goes, which indicates that I was the
23 person in charge, and that the prison warden says that it is on my
24 request, I don't see any such request here. But I will comment upon the
25 military prisoners, prisoners of war. I can tell you that the other side,
1 the Muslim side, wanted to draw to the military prisoners to the -- front
3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... but we have a few minutes
4 left and my question was not what happened often the Muslim side but what
5 happened to these particular prisoners and to Muslim prisoners in
6 general. Sir, would you please look at Exhibit P644? You're
7 familiarising yourself with that, sir, isn't it true that on the 14th of
8 October, 1993, General Milivoj Petkovic, the deputy commander of the HVO
9 Main Staff by that date ordered item 1, "I hereby prohibit the use of
10 prisoners to carry out any type of work in the brigade zones of
11 responsibility." I assume this order found its way to you, correct?
12 A. Possibly, possibly, it could all be accurate, but I'd like to
13 comment on this order. I repeat that at that time it was the time of the
14 handover of duty between the former commander, between the future
15 commander and my takeover, and this whole procedure lasted about 15 or 20
16 days, and it was at that time that this order arrived. So I cannot say
17 that at that time, I mean I joined the unit with war experience. We had
18 no contact with any prisoners or any captured persons.
19 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... I understand your answer and
20 I think it's clear, I think you've given it I'm not trying to be unfair to
21 you. This was a changeover period at least at the beginning of the taking
22 command of the brigade. I understand that, my question to you is this:
23 Are you telling this Chamber that you were unaware of General Petkovic's
24 order not to use prisoners in forced labour?
25 A. No. That is not what I wanted to say. Here under item 2 it says
1 if however this sort of activities is allowed the permit shall be issued
2 by the main staff.
3 Q. Are you telling this Chamber, then, sir, that in all the instances
4 in this thick bundle of documents, which covers approximately a month or
5 two, that all those were approved by the Main Staff?
6 A. No, no. That is not what I want to say at all. But there was the
7 military prison, there were those investigative authorities, and clearly,
8 any deviation of the order that had been issued would have been sanctioned
9 at the relevant level of authority if it had to deal with the breaches of
10 discipline or non-compliance with orders, whatever happened in those
12 Q. Can you usher please assist in providing the witness or directing
13 him to P686.1? Yes, there should be a Croatian language version there,
14 Mr. Usher.
15 Q. Sir, again our time is limited. There appears to be a report
16 issued by Josip Praljak, the deputy warden of the central military prison,
17 often referred to as the Heliodrom. On the 24th of November, 1993. I
18 want to direct your attention to -- try to assist you as much as I can in
19 terms of the Croatian version -- I think on the Croatian version, sir, if
20 you will look down to about the fourth paragraph on that document and in
21 the English version, Mr. President, approximately the third paragraph on
22 the second page, starting with the words, "With the approval of." Again
23 I'm not going to use the witness's name and, witness, I'll caution you not
24 to use your own name in the document -- in reference to this document
25 which of course will have to be puts under seal. Does the document, does
1 Mr. Praljak's report not indicate that with your approval, the 3rd
2 Brigade commander, the warden made an exception for that particular
3 brigade as regards the release of prisoners for labour, it being clear
4 that the detainees were to work with in the barracks compound at the
5 following task: Skipping down, "however, derelictions occurred as
6 follows." The request says, 'the barracks compound' but they take
7 detainees outside the compound where escapes by detainees, deaths and
8 woundings have occurred. Reports on all of this have been submitted to
9 our superiors." So isn't it further true, sir, that very deliberately, it
10 was being indicated these prisoners were only taken out to work around the
11 barracks but in fact they were being taken out for forced labour at other
13 A. I think that this has to do, as it says here, if this document is
14 authentic, and for me this is the first time to see it, to see this
15 document, and this report, because I did not get this report from the
16 prison warden. If there was -- if I, as the commander of that brigade,
17 have committed some error then I should have received this report. At
18 that time, on the other hand, no other suggestive document which would
19 have drawn my attention, that I erred in the performance of my command
20 duties, I received nothing else. If this had to do with sending prisoners
21 to work, within the barracks compound, and then be engaged in logistics,
22 kitchen workshop, cleaning the building.
23 Q. All right, sir, I think the Chamber has your answer. I must move
24 on. Did you ever issue orders, sir, for Muslim property and houses to
25 be --
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
2 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me.
3 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Now, Your Honour, I merely wanted to
4 ask, I do not know, we have only ten minutes to go. There may be
5 redirect. You may also have questions. We are not in session tomorrow.
6 I do not know. It will be up to you. Shall we have to keep this witness
7 until Monday? I'd really like to finish him today, because the
8 Prosecutor, you see, I never objected to the time of the
9 cross-examination, I never objected to the duration of the
10 cross-examination but that time is long overdue for the end of it. I
11 don't know. Can we stay a little bit longer perhaps today? Because I'm
12 sure that you will have some questions too.
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, I don't think could finish this
14 witness today. Since we just have a few minutes left, which is five or
15 seven minutes left. So this witness has to stay here over the weekend.
16 Mr. Scott, could I ask you to ask one more question? Then we'll
17 stop. We have to stop a little bit earlier today.
18 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour. I think the Chamber will have
19 been able to observe this morning, I hope that I've really tried to go as
20 quickly as possible. And not be discourteous to the witness. And if I
21 have, if he believes I have been discourteous to him then I apologise.
22 Q. If I can direct your attention to one last document for the day,
23 sir, excuse me, my apology before Mr. Krsnik expressed his concern, my
24 question to you was this: Did you ever authorise or order the
25 confiscation of Muslim property?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. I do not remember ever ordering or commanding the confiscation of
2 any property.
3 Q. Sir, the last document I'd like you to look at very briefly so we
4 can meet the President's schedule is Exhibit 708.2. Now, sir, before
5 anyone else says so, I'm going to say right off that that signature does
6 not look like other signatures that seem to be yours, so I'm not
7 suggesting, I don't want to be understood as suggesting that that's
8 necessarily your signature but this is an order issued over your name and
9 over your position, is it not, to -- on the 4th of December, 1993, to
10 seize various items from Muslim houses in the locality of Buna for the
11 needs of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Company? Correct?
12 A. This document is not accurate because I did not sign it and this
13 is not my signature.
14 Q. Can you assist us, please, is that the name or the signature of a
15 person, a deputy or a person that you can assist the Chamber with? I
16 certainly don't know the signature but can you assist us, sir? Do you
17 recognise that name as being one of your deputies or someone that you
18 worked with at that time?
19 A. This is the 3rd Battalion, 1st Company of the 3rd Brigade which
20 was in the area of responsibility Buna Ortijes. And well, now, this
21 document, who could have signed it, I can say and I say it under full
22 responsibility before this Honourable Court that this is not my signature
23 and that I cannot remember really because I was the commander of that
24 brigade for a very short time and I cannot really remember who signed
1 Q. All right, sir, my last question, Mr. President, is, and again I'm
2 not going to argue with you about the signature but isn't it true, sir,
3 this was done based on your authority? If you didn't sign it, you knew
4 this was being done, didn't you?
5 A. How could I know that this was being done? At that time, that is
6 December, 1993, I was engaged intensively in the implementation of the
7 task that I was given, and that was the reorganisation of units into
8 guards brigades.
9 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I have no further questions at this
11 JUDGE LIU: Well, Witness, I'm sorry to say that we did not finish
12 your testimony today, that you have to stay in The Hague until next
13 Monday. As I did with other witnesses, I have to remind you that during
14 your stay in The Hague, you are still under the oath, so do not talk to
15 anyone about your testimony and do not let anybody talk to you about it.
16 Do you understand?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
18 THE INTERPRETER: We could not hear the end of the sentence, we
19 are sorry.
20 JUDGE LIU: The usher will show you out.
21 [The witness stands down]
22 JUDGE LIU: We might have some scheduling problems for the next
23 few weeks sitting time. This Trial Chamber will get in touch with the
24 Registrar to sort out all the problems. As I promised to Mr. Meek that we
25 will render our decision concerning the recess, we will try our best to
1 hand it down tomorrow.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott.
3 MR. SCOTT: Sorry, Mr. President, I only do this because you need
4 to leave the bench, but I do believe I have an obligation to counsel and I
5 want to be fair about this. Mr. Meek asked me today again about your
6 position so I want to be clear about this. I think it is clear but let me
7 be absolutely clear. In concept, if all of the things being equal we
8 would not object to the breaks. I think we've tried to make that clear if
9 it assists counsel in some ways and we have been going at a rather full
10 pace in many respects but the Prosecution's concern was that there would
11 not be some shortening of the schedule in such a way that it would come
12 back and affect the manner of examination.
13 JUDGE LIU: We have received your written submissions.
14 MR. SCOTT: In any event, I had told Mr. Meek that I would make
15 that point made and I wanted to be -- keep my word.
16 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. We will resume next Monday.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
18 1.45 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
19 the 24th day of June, 2002, at 9.00 a.m.