1 Tuesday, 16 July 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [Martinovic Defence Opening Statement]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.24 p.m.
6 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Madam Registrar.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-98-34-T, the Prosecutor versus Naletilic and Martinovic.
9 JUDGE LIU: I'm sorry for the delay because we don't have much
10 time to lose. Yes, Mr. Seric? Would you please continue.
11 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. My
12 learned friends, when Emile Zola was asked, after he had written his
13 well-known text, "J'accuse," in relation to the notorious Dreyfus Affair,
14 why had he addressed a court case, why he, a writer, got involved in law?
15 Why was he writing as if he were a lawyer? And Zola responded to those who
16 criticised him or rather he wrote, "Gentlemen, why do you separate life
17 from law or law from life?" Meaning the facts. "And that is why this
18 terrible judicial mistake has occurred. One needs to address at the same
19 time the Court and the public, inform the former and the later learn about
20 life and about law because that is the only way how you can be
21 protected as well."
22 Yesterday, we adjourned when I was about to indicate how we shall
23 be going to prove that Vinko Martinovic did not exercise direct or
24 indirect control over the members of his unit, as is alleged by the
25 Prosecution. The Defence claims that the act constituting a crime, an
1 accused may perpetrate alone or together with others. The pursued
2 criminal intent rests with the fact that the accused acted with the
3 indispensable intent of committing a crime under international criminal
4 law. The Defence claims that planning, as a form of -- is a form of
5 vicarious criminal responsibility and that the elements of that particular
6 crime are the same as in the crime of aiding and abetting. Moreover,
7 planning is a form of complicity in which the criminal responsibility
8 emerges only after the crime has been committed. The Defence therefore
9 claims that there is no precedent to support the theory that planning of
10 the crime, as laid down by the Statute, can per se be punishable as a
11 separate stage in the commission of such crimes. A person may be punished
12 either for the planning of a crime or for its commission, but not for
13 both, because the perpetrator may not be punished for the planning as a
14 separate stage in the commission of a crime.
15 The Defence claims that instigation is a narrowly defined crime,
16 when the act of instigation needs to be very concrete, both with regard to
17 the perpetrator and the crime in order to prevent the violation of the
18 legitimate freedom of speech.
19 The pursued actus reus, the pursued crime consists in the fact
20 that first the accused has committed an act with a direct intent of
21 provoking a certain executor or a recognisable group that the executor
22 belongs to, to commit a specific crime. Secondly, there is a causal
23 relationship between the act defined as instigation and a concrete crime.
24 The criterion is the causality standard, had it not been for because one
25 cannot speak about instigation if the perpetrator has already decided to
1 commit a crime. I think that it is very important.
2 The Defence believes that there must exist a very strict condition
3 of mens rea, of criminal intent for instigation. A person instigating
4 must intend to directly encourage or provoke a concrete executor, a
5 concrete perpetrator or a recognisable group that the latter belongs to
6 commit a specific crime, whose commission the instigator aspires to. An
7 instigator must not only be aware of all the elements of the crime, the
8 commission of which he instigates but he must also be possessed of the
9 same intent as the perpetrator. The Defence claims that the instigator
10 is criminally liable only within the constraints of his personal intent,
11 regardless of the responsibility of the chief perpetrator.
12 The Defence also claims that they can be no ordering if there --
13 if the relationship between the superior and subordinate is lacking,
14 because it does not suffice to simply be authorised to issue orders. A
15 superior would, in addition to that, need to order a particular person,
16 who is subordinate to him to commit a concrete crime. The issue of
17 general orders or orders related to general issues does not suffice.
18 Between an order and a concrete crime, there is and must exist a causal
19 relationship, and the criterion -- and the criterion, again, is the
20 causality standard, had it not been for.
21 There must also be a very strict condition of mens rea, if one is
22 to determine criminal responsibility for issuing orders. The superior
23 needed to be aware of all the elements which constitute a crime whose
24 commission he has ordered and he also needed to aspire to it, that his
25 subordinate commits a crime. To consider the superior criminally
1 responsible for ordering the commission of a crime, one must show that he
2 pursued the same intent as his subordinate, who is responsible for the
3 perpetration. The important thing is the criminal intent, the mens rea of
4 the superior, rather than that of the subordinate who carried out the
5 order. This was said in the judgement in the Blaskic case.
6 When it comes to aiding and abetting and participating in a joint
7 intent or plan, the Defence claims that the pursuit actus reus has been
8 met in those cases when the accused has helped to commit a particular
9 crime by another person, and his assistance has directly and significantly
10 contributed to the commission of a concrete crime, meaning that that crime
11 would not have happened in the same manner, as likely as not, had the
12 accused not behaved in the way he did, although the conduct of the accused
13 did not have to be a condition conditio siue qua non - for the commission
14 of the crime. It nevertheless, that is his conduct, had to have a certain
15 influence. We claim that the presence of an accused suffices to establish
16 aiding and abetting only, that is only, when this presence has directly
17 and significantly contributed to it a specific crime.
18 In supporting its argument that we shall put forward, the Defence
19 refers to the findings of the Appeals Chamber in the Aleksovski case,
20 where the judgement in the Tadic case is also quoted.
21 An Article 7, paragraph 3 of the Statute shows clearly that three
22 elements need to be proven in order to charge an individual with the
23 superior responsibility for crimes committed by a subordinate. The first
24 is the existence of the superiority and the subordination relationship
25 between the accused and the perpetrator of the crime. The second is the
1 awareness or rather the knowledge of the superior that his subordinate has
2 committed or is about to commit a crime. The Defence claim that the
3 superior-subordinate relationship needs to be such that the subordinate is
4 subordinated to the command of a superior in a concrete military chain of
5 command or his functional equivalent or if the superior is a civilian, he
6 must have the same kind of control over the superior as a military
7 commander would have had.
8 The Appeals Chamber in the Celebici case defined the superior as
9 an individual who has power or powers, either in de facto or in de jure
10 form to prevent the commission of a crime by a subordinate or to punish
11 the perpetrators of a crime after it has been committed. The same Chamber
12 then proceeded to conclude that power or powers to prevent or punish do
13 not emerge only from the de jure powers accorded through official
14 designation, appointment. The Appeals Chamber thus supported the
15 conclusion of the Trial Chamber in the Celebici case that the de facto
16 superiors may be liable to criminal Prosecution if it is established that
17 they had true and effective powers to control the behaviour of their
19 On the basis of the superior position, one might deem as
20 criminally responsible not only persons holding formal command positions
21 but also persons who are proven to have held effective command positions
22 in more informal structures and who had been vested with powers to prevent
23 or punish the commission of crimes by persons who were under their true
24 control. In the absence of formal appointment, it is of utmost importance
25 for the establishment of criminal responsibility, the genuine exercise of
1 power and, in particular, the manifestation of effective control.
2 Effective control is, among other things, has, among other things, been
3 accepted in the judicial practice of the international court as a standard
4 for the establishment of the responsibility of the superior. This
5 effective control also needs to be proven in our case. The Defence claims
6 that that was not the case, especially in the relationship between him and
7 his subordinates.
8 The effective control therefore needs to be proven also in those
9 cases where one has superiors de jure and de facto under whose direct
10 command was the subordinate. The role of the commander as such is
11 covered by Article 87. The concept of a superior is much broader and
12 needs to be viewed in the light of a hierarchy which also covers the
13 control concept. Article 87, one of the additional protocol further then
14 expands the legal obligation of commanders to properly supervise all their
15 superiors, not only the soldiers under their command. The high
16 contracting parties to this protocol and parties to the conflict will
17 be -- will request from military commanders in relation to members of the
18 armed forces and parties under their command and other persons under their
19 control to prevent, and where necessary, put an end to the breaches of
20 Geneva Conventions and this protocol and notify thereof relevant
21 authorities. Therefore, only the persons holding positions of command
22 either de jure or de facto either military or civilian who indubitably
23 form part of the chain of command, either directly or indirectly, with the
24 genuine power to control or punish the acts of their subordinates may be
25 subjected to criminal responsibility.
1 The Appeals Chamber in the same case that I mentioned earlier,
2 established that the level of the de facto power or powers to exercise
3 control, which is the condition pursuant to a doctrine on the command
4 responsibility equals the level based on de jure powers. The existence of
5 a superior position, be it de jure or de facto, be it military or
6 civilian needs to be based on the assessment of the true powers of the
7 accused in a specific case and the same holds true of our case as well.
8 The official position of the authorities may be established through the
9 existence of an official appointment or formal powers with which somebody
10 is vested. The positions in the army are usually very strictly defined
11 and the existence much a clear chain of command based on a strict
12 hierarchy makes it easier to prove generally speaking the chain of command
13 will cover different levels of hierarchy, starting from the definition of
14 the policies at the highest level down the chain of command to its
15 translation into life on the ground. At the top of this chain, political
16 front men may define political goals. The strategic command will then
17 translate those goals into concrete military plans in cooperation with
18 high government authorities. At the next level, this plan is forwarded to
19 high military commanders responsible for operative zones. The last link
20 in the chain of command is the level of tactical commanders who directly
21 command the troops.
22 Your Honours, my question is not merely rhetorical. It is a
23 proper question to be asked in this case, and we shall clear it up in our
24 case. Where is, in this chain of command, where is my client, Vinko
25 Martinovic, in this chain? Nowhere. And we shall prove that.
1 The element of consciousness, which is required pursuant to
2 Article 7(3) of the Statute, is divided into two different types of
3 situations. The first one, the first situation, requires the superior to
4 be aware that his subordinates are either committing or about to commit a
5 crime. In the second situation, there was a -- the superior had reason to
6 know that the subordinate was about to commit such acts or had done so.
7 As far as the indispensable element of the consciousness is concerned, the
8 first situation, in which the superior knows, is in the know, does not
9 seem contradictory, the real knowledge that can be defined as
10 consciousness, as the awareness that the relevant crimes were either
11 committed or are to be committed may be proven by direct evidence or
12 circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence allows for them to be a
13 base for the following conclusion. The subordinate must have been aware
14 of the crimes committed by his subordinates.
15 Depending on the position of the authority and the level of
16 authority of the superior, therefore, whether it was a military or a
17 civilian position, either de jure or de facto, depending on his level of
18 responsibility within the chain of command, the evidence which is required
19 to prove the actual, the real, knowledge, the real awareness, may be
20 different. For example, the actual awareness of a military commander is
21 easier to prove if one takes into consideration the fact that he is
22 probably a member of an organised structure who is bound by defined
23 systems of reporting. In the case of a de facto commander of a less
24 formal military structure or civilian officials who are de facto in the
25 positions of power, the standard of proving the fact must be higher and
1 the burden of proof is on the Prosecution and not on the Defence. The
2 Defence claims that the allegations, "he had a reason to know," refers to
3 a situation in which the superior has the material information which, if
4 it was analysed, would indicate that the subordinates are about to commit
5 a crime or had committed a crime. It is alleged that without the evidence
6 on the criminal activities of the subordinate, the omission of the
7 commander of the superior and his failure to carry out an investigation
8 according to the Defence, does not imply the superior's responsibility.
9 In the Celebici case, the Trial Chamber adopted a good legal
10 approach, when it rejected the standard, "he had the reason to know." The
11 Defence here claims that the standard for -- to prove the control can be
12 found in Article 86(1) of the supplementary protocol 1, in the way that
13 this Article was interpreted in the Celebici case. It was established
14 that the command responsibility cannot be proven on the basis of the fact
15 that the commander should have invested more effort in order to learn
16 about the behaviour of his subordinates.
17 When we talk about a failure to take the necessary and reasonable
18 measures in order to prevent or punish the perpetrators, the Defence
19 claims that the measures have to be indispensable and reasonable, that
20 they have to be inconsistent with the situation, as perceived by the
21 commander, and not from putting the situation in a broader perspective.
22 Further on, one must prove that the subordinate had the legal authority in
23 order to undertake certain measures, and furthermore, that he had a
24 material, substantive possibility to do that. According to this defence,
25 between a failure of the subordinate to take a measure and subsequent
1 commission of a crime, there must be a cause. What is important here,
2 what is the most important here, when it comes to establishing the
3 relationship of -- between a subordinate and a superior, is the effective
4 authority allowing the subordinate to take measures.
5 The formal authority to take measures must be interpreted within
6 this context in assessing whether the subordinate has indeed failed to
7 undertake certain measures. This Trial Chamber, in this case, has to go
8 beyond the formal authority if he had them at all. I'm implying my
9 client. And see whether he had any material possibilities to undertake
10 certain measures. We are going to prove that such authority, Vinko
11 Martinovic, did not have. The punishment and the duty -- and the task and
12 duty to punish somebody appears naturally after the crime has been
13 committed. People who become in charge of the command after the crime was
14 committed are under the same obligation. This implies a duty to carry out
15 an investigation in order to establish facts and to report to the
16 superiors about these crimes.
17 Your Honours, I know that after this presentation of our part of
18 the case, I am going to say something that may sound funny and that may
19 belong to a closing brief rather than an opening statement, but when
20 things are added and subtracted, to speak in arithmetic terms, the
21 conclusion is that my client is here by mistake, that he is sitting on --
22 in this courtroom by mistake, and that he has ended in the prison here in
23 Scheveningen by mistake.
24 Your Honours, the acts of crime may be committed only with
25 predetermination, with -- they cannot be committed by accident. And the
1 Prosecutor is trying to prove that. If there is no premonition on the
2 parts of Vinko Martinovic, I have to prove that, and I must tell you that
3 in our presentation of evidence, we will try to prove that and I hope we
4 will succeed.
5 Your Honours, I must say that I'm not sitting in front of the
6 knights of the round table and I do not expect that King Arthur will
7 appear and decide by a simple gesture, by simple strike of a sword. I'm
8 here sitting in front of you, Judges, but let me ask you: Can we separate
9 facts from the law? Is it not the job of our lawyers -- of us lawyers?
10 Do I have to speak about the law only in my closing brief? What the
11 Defence is going to prove from the legal aspect, this may be too late, and
12 it would be even later still in the appeals. You're not a jury,
13 fortunately or luckily, but you are people, and I'm not speaking in
14 abstract terms. Everybody here in the courtroom has to be a human being
15 first and foremost. Sophocles rightfully says the following about the man
16 in Antigone. He says, "there are very many great things but nothing is
17 greater than the human being. The beasts, the animals, everything is less
18 worthy than the man." Athens in the period of Sophocles had about 400.000
19 inhabitants, some of them rich, some of them poor, some of them peasants,
20 some of them noblemen. It was full of different peoples, people
21 who were not citizens of Athens. Some of them were foreigners some of
22 they are were slaves, craftsmen, tradesmen and they belonged to all races
23 and religions. Sophocles is not concerned with anybody's origin, with
24 anybody's wealth, with anybody's religion. He speaks about the man, the
25 human being, who can be good and bad, who can be wise or stupid, so the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 real man, as the man is. Ernest Bloch also wrote about human beings and
2 said that "people are volatile beings and they resemble nature because the
3 nature is also volatile. It can be magnificent. It can be kind and
4 generous but it can also be cruel. And so can the human -- the man.
5 Today, the man is reflection of the volatility of the nature which
6 surrounds him."
7 "Over the time, the man is fighting for survival. He is being --
8 he is suffering cold and heat. He is being destroyed by earthquakes and
9 floods. He suffers from epidemics. But the man goes on. He has learned
10 how to wage a war against the nature and animals. Unfortunately he has
11 also learned how to destroy everything around him. The man has conquered
12 and is -- continues to conquer the nature. He is discovering its laws.
13 He is mastering the laws of nature. Both to his benefit as well as to his
15 "The man's restlessness and curiosity have turned him into the
16 conqueror of the earth, the sea and the sky. He is now travelling at the
17 light -- at the speed of wind and sound. He concurs mountains and depths
18 of the sea. Here, on the Earth, he defies nature, he changes it and
19 creates life. He has created robots to work instead of him. The wisdom
20 of the human being has discovered a lot of things but there are still a
21 number of questions in the nature that surrounds him, in the space above
22 him, and the question is where from, where to, what and why? And thus and
23 hence the reason for his restlessness that will accompany him in the
25 Now my colleague, Mr. Par, is going to continue with his part of
1 the opening statement. Thank you very much.
2 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Par, to keep the consistence of the opening
3 statement could I suggest that we make a break until you finish your
4 presentation? Or you believe your statement is too long that we have to
5 make a break during it?
6 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] I plan to finish within one hour, so
7 maybe you should decide whether we should break now or later on. I don't
8 really mind one way or another.
9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. We will hear your statement,
10 then we'll break.
11 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in this part of the
12 presentation, I intend to present the views of the Defence for Vinko
13 Martinovic, according to the counts of the indictment and I wish to tell
14 you how we want to proceed in the presentation of the Defence case. By
15 the indictment, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal has
16 charged Vinko Martinovic with several crimes, crimes against humanity,
17 grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, the violation of laws and
18 customs of war allegedly committed in Mostar from the period from April
19 1993 until the end of January 1994. That is during the armed conflict
20 between Croats and Bosniaks in the area of Mostar.
21 By their content, these crimes comprise persecutions of Bosnian
22 Muslims, forced labour and inhumane treatment of prisoners of war,
23 torture, murder, alternatively qualified as cruel treatment and causing
24 pain, forceful resettlement of Bosnian Muslims and destruction and looting
25 of their property.
1 During the presentation of his case, the Prosecutor tried to prove
2 that Vinko Martinovic is responsible on -- for all of these charges,
3 either as an individual or according to the principle of command
4 responsibility. In order to prove his case, the Prosecutor used documents
5 obtained from military archives, from the AID, the secret Muslim police,
6 as the Prosecutor himself calls it, various international intelligence
7 sources. We heard testimonies by different international experts and
8 witnesses, Bosnian Muslims, victims of war, who had all previously been
9 questioned by the secret police, AID, as well as witnesses, foreign
10 mercenaries, who had joined the war for motives which were certainly not
12 The objective of all this evidence was to substantiate the
13 indictment and turn Vinko Martinovic, a common foot soldier and commander
14 of a small unit on the separation line, into the main culprit for all the
15 evil that happened in Mostar.
16 Many persons, many services, and secret services were interested
17 to see Vinko Martinovic sacrificed, and that the real perpetrators and
18 those who gave orders could hide behind his back, but the Prosecutor's
19 case already showed that the way Vinko Martinovic is portrayed in the
20 indictment is simply unsustainable.
21 In the presentation of its case, Vinko Martinovic's Defence will
22 present to this Honourable Court evidence by which it will address every
23 count in the indictment and prove that Vinko Martinovic is not responsible
24 for the crimes he has been charged with.
25 We shall prove that Vinko Martinovic has been offered to this
1 Tribunal as a scapegoat by Bosnian and Croat secret services, who acted
2 in concert with representatives of the international community and who,
3 after a well organised media campaign, chose Vinko Martinovic as the
4 person who was the easiest to be brought before this Tribunal, because he
5 does not have any political backing, because he's not a member of any
6 political party or option, because nobody protects him, he has no
7 political influence, he has no political friends who could complicate his
8 extradition, and here he is now before this Tribunal, answerable for the
9 things that he has nothing whatsoever to do with, to answer for the plans
10 of the Republic of Croatia and Herceg-Bosna to answer for the
11 establishment of the Heliodrom, to answer for the resettlement of the
12 civilian population, to answer for the participation in an international
13 conflict, to answer for the things that he saw for the first time when he
14 saw the indictment.
15 The accused before this Tribunal know only too well that they have
16 to fear most the parts of the indictment that they don't understand. The
17 parts of the indictment where they are not even mentioned, the factual
18 context, the general assumptions of the indictment. In other words, the
19 general prejudices which have been created by them, about them, and about
20 the war, in which they participated, by the CNN and other international or
21 local media who simplified the war and split the participants in the war
22 into good guys and bad guys. The task of this Defence is to return Vinko
23 Martinovic to the separation line in Mostar, to the Bulevar street in
24 front of the health centre, medical centre, where he was with his group of
25 some 40 soldiers, from the first day to the last day of the conflict. It
1 is our task to bring him out, to take him out of the big picture,
2 portraying an international conflict, to bring him and take him out of the
3 political plans devised -- designed in Zagreb and Mostar, because it is
4 simply not his place to be there, and the Prosecution -- Prosecutor
5 himself did not show any proof that would tie him to any of these plans.
6 Vinko Martinovic did not have any political or military authorities, and
7 therefore he could neither participate or create systemic campaigns that
8 might have negative impacts relative to the political goals that can be
9 reduced to the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
10 The main thesis of the Defence, with regard to all of these
11 allegations in the indictment, is that Vinko Martinovic participated in
12 the conflict between Bosniaks and Croats in Mostar in 1993, but he did not
13 participate in the implementation of the plans to divide Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina, as has been implicated by the indictment. Although we are
15 aware of the fact that negative facts do not have to be proven, still, the
16 Defence is going to use witnesses and documents in order to prove that
17 thesis during the presentation of their case.
18 The second thesis of the Defence that we are going to prove is
19 that Vinko Martinovic, at the beginning of the war in Mostar, was in the
20 same position as all the other able-bodied individuals, i.e. that he did
21 not have a possibility or a reason to avoid participation in this
22 conflict. The war in Mostar started with a Serbian aggression. Vinko
23 Martinovic joined the defence of his town, together with his neighbours,
24 Muslims and Croats. He became a HOS commander, known for his courage and
1 On 9 May, 1993, the conflict between Croats and Muslims started in
2 Mostar for reasons unbeknown to Vinko Martinovic, and again he did not
3 have either a choice or a reason not to join the defence of his
4 neighbourhood, his house. He finds a position on the separation line, and
5 this self-organised defence later on resulted in the establishment of his
6 unit. He became the commander of that unit. He is placed under the
7 command of the town. And this is where he stayed until the end of the
9 There were thousands of such soldiers in Mostar like Vinko
10 Martinovic, on both sides of the town , people who found themselves in the
11 while wind of the war against their will and in that war they joined
12 military units in the way dictated to them by the circumstances.
13 In both parts of the cities, of the town, there were such
14 commanders as Vinko Martinovic. There were dozens of them. His command
15 responsibility was based on his special authority towards a group of
16 soldiers that he commanded in the conditions of a self-organised army,
17 without the existence of a firm military structure and without any real
18 command over the unit which was composed of volunteers, who were kept in
19 the army only by their personal motive to defend their own homes.
20 What did that unit do on the separation line? Did they commit war
21 crimes? Did Vinko Martinovic, as their commander, was responsible for
22 that as the Prosecution claims that he was? The Defence is going to prove
23 that Vinko Martinovic in his capacity as the commander of the ATG Mrmak
24 unit which was later on renamed and became the Vinko Skrobo ATG is not
25 responsible for the crimes that -- with which he is charged by the
2 Count 1 of the indictment is entitled, "Persecutions." In this
3 count, Vinko Martinovic is charged with the persecution based on
4 political, racial and religious basis, which is qualified as crime against
5 humanity, which is punishable by Articles 5(H), 7(1) and 7(3) of the
6 Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal. The crimes which are
7 relevant to Vinko Martinovic in this count are given in paragraphs 26 to
8 30 and 32 and 34 and represent the central point of this indictment,
9 because by their general incrimination, they compose, they comprise all
10 the other acts which are mentioned in the indictment.
11 Paragraph 1, count 1, of the indictment says that in the critical
12 period, that is between April 1993 and January 1994, Vinko Martinovic, as
13 the commander of the Mrmak unit, together with other leaders, agents and
14 members of the HV and HVO, planned, aided, ordered committed or instigated
15 the systematic persecution of civilians, Bosnian Muslims, on political,
16 racial, national or religious basis in the entire area for which it was
17 claimed that it belonged to the HZ HB or HR HB, and that he did that by
18 the following means: by unlawfully detaining, forcibly transferring and
19 deporting civilians, Bosnian Muslims, that he exposed Bosnian Muslims to
20 torture, inhumane acts, murders and wilful deprivation of life, causing
21 sufferings, using Bosnian Muslims for forced labour and as human shields,
22 destruction and looting of buildings and plundering of public and private
23 property, and so on and so forth.
24 Therefore, these incriminations, persecution, comprise all the
25 other acts which are mentioned in other counts of the indictment,
1 effectively all the other crimes are consumed by the count 1 of the
2 indictment. Therefore, we believe that it is absolutely unsustainable to
3 qualify them separately and ask for the accused to be -- to be held
4 responsible for one crime under different qualifications.
5 Just briefly, by such legal qualifications, the accused is brought
6 into a more difficult position than the one he would have if he was tried
7 in the country where the crimes were allegedly committed, the country
8 whose citizen he is and whose citizens are both the accused and the
9 aggrieved persons. This is the basic objection to -- of the Defence to
10 the legal qualifications in the indictment, and represents the request for
11 the equality of arms which is the basic right of the accused. However,
12 let's go back to count 1.
13 In contrast with this Prosecution's allegation, the Defence claims
14 that the Prosecution's charges are incorrect and it will prove that the
15 accused Vinko Martinovic did not commit crimes under this count. The
16 Defence will show that during the period covered by the indictment, Vinko
17 Martinovic had no military or political powers that could link him with
18 the planning, instigation or commission or any strategic acts in Mostar,
19 let alone the area of Herzegovina as such, and that he was no well-known
20 ill-famed executor of ethnic cleansing against the Bosnian Muslim
21 population as the Prosecutor alleges.
22 This picture lacks foundation and it is what the indictment is
23 based on, supported by Bosnian and Croatian media and, again, supported,
24 propped up, by doubtful and fabricated information of the Bosnian and
25 Croatian secret services, all with a view to meeting the interests of the
1 international community to find persons to be tried for crimes committed
2 during the war, at all costs, so that the war could finally be put an end
3 to it and so that other international projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina could
4 start to be translated into life. However, this time, the person of the
5 accused was picked out by wrongly because he objectively, in view of the
6 position that he held, could not commit all the crimes that he is charged
7 with, and therefore, he can not either assume the responsibility, the
8 burden of responsibility for others who were above him or next to him,
9 that is the plan to shift the burden to Vinko Martinovic cannot succeed if
10 the trial is fair.
11 Witnesses for the Defence and some documents which were disclosed
12 to the Defence by the Prosecution will attest to that. Small, ordinary
13 people who are personally persecuted, the detainees of the Heliodrom, the
14 detainees in the Vinko Skrobo unit will testify about that. They will
15 speak about the role of Vinko Martinovic in the war in Mostar, about the
16 establishment and tasks of his unit, his treatment and attitude to Muslims
17 during that critical period of time, how Vinko Martinovic protected
18 Muslims against persecution, how Muslims came to him to seek protection,
19 how they asked when detained to be allotted to his unit because they would
20 feel safe there. They will speak about the conflict, which existed in
21 Mostar at the time, and they will speak about the chaos which reigned in
22 Mostar at the time when the conflict between Croats and Muslims started
23 they will talk about military gangs, dressed in HVO military uniforms, who
24 evicted Muslims from their flats and plundered their property by
25 misrepresenting themselves and saying that they were members of Stela's
1 units, using false names like calling themselves Stela or "Stela's boys,"
2 and also referring to false orders allegedly issued by Stela and the
4 The Prosecution's documents testify to that. These witnesses will
5 testify about Stela's reactions in those cases when he would be told that
6 persecution was being carried out in his name.
7 The Defence will show that the unit under Vinko Martinovic's
8 command had a task which required its permanent presence at the
9 demarcation line and that around the town, there were different units
10 arrived from other parts of Herzegovina who committed crimes together with
11 certain groups in Mostar.
12 Vinko Martinovic's unit, with the limited number of people which
13 was somewhere between 50 and 80, throughout the war held one of the most
14 vulnerable points at the demarcation line and never left that front line
15 and they did not do that because otherwise, it would have opened a passage
16 for the enemy to break through into the west part of the town. Therefore,
17 it was objectively not possible for this unit to abandon the front line
18 and join the tasks of the systematic persecution in Mostar and in
19 Herzegovina, as is alleged by the Prosecution.
20 The witnesses for the Defence will explain to the Court the role
21 of this unit in two major waves of persecution, as the Prosecution alleges
22 which according to paragraph 26 of the indictment happened on the 9th of
23 May, 1993, and early July, 1993. These witnesses will explain that the
24 unit under Vinko Martinovic's command, originally called Mrmak and
25 subsequently Vinko Skrobo, did not even exist on the 9th of May, 1993,
1 although Vinko Martinovic, and many members of this future unit
2 participated in the fighting on the 9th of May, 1993, but they did so
3 having self-organised themselves to defend their homes and their
4 neighbourhoods. The Defence will prove its postulate that Vinko
5 Martinovic cannot even theoretically be held accountable for persecutions
6 performed on the 9th of May, 1993, because at that time he was not -- he
7 did not command any unit and did not participate in any persecution. A
8 unit under his command was formed only later, that is towards the end of
9 that May 1993, when the military situation in the city became more stable
10 and when the military organisation at the town level was set up.
11 In relation to alleged persecutions happened in July 1993, we
12 shall show that this unit did not participate in it because at that time
13 it was manning the participation line next to the health centre on the
14 Bulevar in Mostar. So the question hanging in the air is who then
15 persecuted Muslims in West Mostar, who is it that turned, that made Vinko
16 Martinovic into an accused for these persecutions? And how did this
17 happen? If this thing is not true and the other thing is not true, then
18 how did all this come to pass?
19 The Prosecutor's thesis of the planned, systematic implementation
20 of ethnic cleansing with the planners in Zagreb, with the operatives in
21 Herzegovina and the executors in the streets of Mostar is to our mind a
22 bureaucratic, a paper thesis which runs counter to the nature of the
23 so-called ethnic cleansing. We deem that ethnic cleansing, once it
24 starts, becomes an unstoppable process which follows its own momentum and
25 that there is no need for a plan or a planner, because ethnic cleansing
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 already includes, already subsumes a drive, an inertia to move on.
2 Because it is very simple: "I expel you. You expel my brother. You
3 plunder me, I plunder your brother. You set my church on fire, so I put
4 fire to your mosque." And that is the governing principle.
5 Now, who is then the one who does it? Who plans that? Well, it
6 is being done by people who have been expelled. Those who have been
7 expelled, who have become expellees. Those who have already been
8 ethnically cleansed from their homes or villages. However, that
9 individual is nowhere in the uniform of his army. He goes, looks for a
10 place under the sun. He looks for a new home. And how will he find one?
11 He'll expel somebody else. Ergo, persecution is performed by former -- by
12 the expelled persons. The plunder is done by the plundered, expulsions by
13 the expelled. So it is a process which once -- which starts with the
14 first plundered house, with the first destroyed house of worship, with the
15 first expelled person, and how does it stop? Well, it stops when
16 everybody has lost the security of one's home, where everything has been
17 plundered and finally when the international community arrives to take
18 stock of things.
19 Ergo, it is not indisputable, it is said in this courtroom, that
20 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, this method, called ethnic cleansing, was
21 introduced by Serbs. At the time of the Serbian aggression on
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that process could not bypass the streets of the
23 town of Mostar.
24 Nobody had to plan how to do it in Mostar, because that particular
25 wind finds its own corridors and it blows away everything that it meets in
1 its way. The Defence will set out to prove, through its witnesses, that
2 the citizens of Mostar, of all ethnicities, who happened in Mostar at the
3 time of the Croat-Bosniak conflict, that Vinko Martinovic and his comrades
4 in arms, people from his part of the town, simply happened to be in their
5 heart of -- at the heart, at the centre of the fighting in Mostar, the
6 fighting that he did not want, did not plan, did not instigate, but he
7 sided with that side which brought together members of his people and the
8 neighbours from his street, he fought at one particular point with the
9 only single idea in his mind to defend his home. At the same time, things
10 happened in this town which were absolutely beyond his grasp, that he had
11 no say in, in which he had no hand, and for which he may not be held
13 And now we come back to this question, who then expelled those
14 Muslims from West Mostar and who is it that turned Vinko Martinovic into
15 an accused for persecutions? How did that come to pass? And we can ask
16 some further questions but who expelled Serbs from Mostar? Where are the
17 Serbs? Who expelled Croats from East Mostar? Who is accused for the
18 expulsion of Serbs and Croats from Mostar? How did that happen? Did --
19 was that ethnic cleansing too? Perhaps there is some other expression
20 which does not associate a criminal responsibility. Serbs, Croats and
21 Muslims expelled one another from Mostar. They were expelling one
22 another, because such a war befell them that did not -- that did not allow
23 you to feel safe in the enemy territory. There is no state, there is no
24 police, there is no regular troops, there is only war, which has escaped
1 Some left of their own. Others fled. The third were expelled.
2 The fourth were captured. And their houses were moved into by those who
3 had been expelled from their own houses. And that is how the town was
5 The war put on the citizens of Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina the
6 uniforms of their peoples and pursuing their own survival, they expelled
7 one another from their homes.
8 Witnesses for the Defence, ordinary, small people know this story
9 because that story is their lot, and they know only too well that there is
10 no individual who could be marked in a manner in which Vinko Martinovic,
11 Stela, is marked by this indictment. There is no such individual.
12 Witnesses for the Defence will tell us how tales were spun and
13 yarns told about heroes of war or criminals in order to encourage one and
14 intimidate others with a view to propaganda, political -- pursuit of
15 political and military goals in order to dissimulate one's fear and for
16 hundreds of other reasons and that is how the story grew about Stela as a
17 hero in the liberation of the city, to then the story about him as a war
18 criminal who needs to be surrendered to The Hague Tribunal.
19 Witnesses, active participants, in the media coverage of the war
20 in Mostar and witnesses acquainted with the work of secret services at the
21 time will testify how certain centres of political power used the media to
22 prepare or organise actions, the purpose of which was to present Vinko
23 Martinovic in a manner in which he is treated by the -- in the indictment
24 today, so that he could be transferred to The Hague Tribunal. His
25 transfer to the Tribunal met the request of the international community,
1 and that was a simple one: Give me somebody to account for crimes in
2 Mostar, give somebody -- give me somebody like Vinko Martinovic. Why he?
3 Because he holds no political position, he holds no military post. He has
4 no political friends, he has no political patron, he has absolutely -- he
5 can not reveal any major secrets, and whether he comes here, then all of a
6 sudden he'll be disclosing all sorts of secrets. No, he can not do that
7 why not? Because he was never present in the decision making places in
8 any case, he is nevertheless sufficiently well known to it appear as
9 somebody very important, to see as a person who could be held accountable
10 for it.
11 In close relationship with count 1, persecutions, are also charges
12 in the indictment related to forcible transfer of the population, plunder
13 of private and public property, described in paragraphs 18 and 21, and
14 qualified as grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and
15 violations of the laws or customs of war. Although the Defence deems that
16 during its case, the Prosecutor has not produced a single -- any relevant
17 evidence regarding facts indicated in this -- in these counts, the Defence
18 will prove that Vinko Martinovic and his unit never and in no way
19 participated in the commission of these crimes.
20 With regard to the forcible transfer of the population, the
21 Defence claims that Vinko Martinovic's unit did not abandon the separation
22 line and thus could not participate in possible actions involving the
23 expulsion of the population. It is another Defence's thesis that no
24 forcible transfer of the population took place, in the sense in which it
25 is claimed by the Prosecution. They were organised transfers of the moves
1 of the population from one to the other part of the town, across the
2 separation line, but these moves from one to another part of the town were
3 not forcible. Those were moves, transfers, organised by some humanitarian
4 and other organisations and in agreement between -- in agreement reached
5 between military and political structures in the two parts of the town at
6 the request of citizens who themselves wanted to leave a certain part of
7 the town for personal reasons, safety reasons, reunification of families
8 and the like.
9 In decision-making, concerning these moves of the population and
10 organisation of the transfers, Vinko Martinovic and his unit played no
11 role, except being a unit on the line who were therefore bound to enable
12 an unobstructed and safe crossing of the civilians across the front line
13 at the orders of the superior command.
14 Witnesses for the Defence, soldiers from his unit, citizens from
15 Mostar and the detainees in the unit will confirm these claims.
16 With regard to the charges under item 1 -- 21, excuse me, on the
17 plunder of public and private property, it is the Defence's postulate that
18 the Prosecutor has not produced relevant evidence with regard -- that
19 would concern Vinko Martinovic, but the Defence will, through its
20 witnesses, soldiers from the unit, detainees in the unit and citizens who
21 were exposed to the plunder of their property, to prove that Vinko
22 Martinovic and his unit did not commit these crimes. We shall prove that
23 there were numerous cases in which diverse criminal gangs which plundered
24 misrepresented themselves as members of the Stela's unit or Stelici,
25 Stela's boys, and we shall also prove that Vinko Martinovic has always
1 reacted very harshly in order to very strictly in order to prevent such
2 situations and plunders and even personally, he addressed the citizens of
3 Mostar by radio requesting that all the cases of plunder and persecution
4 in which somebody referred to his unit or brought up the name of his unit
5 be reported.
6 Vinko Martinovic personally took under custody all of the soldiers
7 that he would catch in the act of plunder and always went to the rescue of
8 citizens who had reported attempts to plunder their property.
9 Counts 2 to 8, unlawful labour and live shields as inhuman
10 treatment and wilful killing. Within the context of the indictment,
11 within these counts, the indictment starts from the existence of the
12 Heliodrom Camp from which prisoners of war were sent to work in individual
13 units and on such occasions they were exposed to inhuman treatment.
14 During its case, the Defence will produce witnesses who will be detainees
15 from the Heliodrom, who were sent to work in the unit commanded by Vinko
16 Martinovic. We shall also have as our witnesses soldiers from this unit
17 and witnesses who were familiar with the situation regarding the detainees
18 in this unit.
19 We shall also produce certain documents disclosed to us by the
20 Prosecution which show how the detainees from the Heliodrom were sent to
21 individual units. These -- this evidence will show that the accused Vinko
22 Martinovic had nothing to do with either the formation or the management
23 of the centre at the Heliodrom or other detention centres, that neither he
24 nor his units were part of any organised unit in detention centres. They
25 will also show that not a single detainee in the Heliodrom was arrested by
1 Vinko Martinovic's unit and that this unit has never had its own prisoners
2 of war. The evidence will show that under the orders of the command of
3 the Mostar defence and -- was how the detainees were sent to work in
4 individual units rather than pursuant to orders from individual units.
5 Individual units could not independently take prisoners from the Heliodrom
6 because the detainees were under the jurisdiction of units which ran the
7 Heliodrom and the commander of the defence of Mostar. Therefore all the
8 responsibility for the treatment of prisoners of war rests exclusively
9 with the administration of the Heliodrom and the command of the defence of
10 Mostar and individual units such as the Vinko Skrobo ATG only performed --
11 only executed the orders of superior commands relative to prisoners of
12 war. In a situation when all the able-bodied population were mobilised
13 for Defence, the units were issued orders to take over prisoners of war so
14 as to help them to perform individual jobs, and these units could not
15 refuse to obey these orders and refuse to take up these detainees because
16 that would mean to sabotage the defence tasks. The Defence will show that
17 Vinko Martinovic in no manner whatsoever had a hand in the incarceration
18 of civilians and prisoners of war in detention centres, that he absolutely
19 had no hand in the detention centres, and that he never took any decisions
20 concerning the use of prisoners of war in forced labour.
21 Within this particular count of the indictment, it is alleged that
22 these prisoners performed certain jobs on the fronts line under
23 conditions -- under dangerous conditions because they were exposed to fire
24 and that the mistreatment of prisoners took place. The Heliodrom
25 detainees were being sent to work in this unit will testify in the
1 Defence's case and they will tell us what was their position in the unit,
2 they will tell it us about the conditions, about their living conditions,
3 jobs that they had to perform, and whether they were indeed exposed to
4 danger. And we shall then hear that in that particular unit, the
5 detainees felt safer than in other units, and safer than at the Heliodrom
6 itself. We shall also hear that some of them asked Stela to invite them
7 to work in his unit so that they would not be assigned to some other
8 units. We shall also hear that they partook of the same meals as the
9 unit's soldiers in the restaurant called Hladovina, that they moved
10 without any guards or supervision, that they went home to see the members
11 of their families to have a bath, a change of clothes, that they were paid
12 for individual jobs and the like.
13 We shall also hear that none of the detainees was killed on the
14 front line, which was in Stela's zone of responsibility and in the
15 physical jobs which the detainees performed from time to it time in the
16 unit's zone were under conditions which in no way endangered their lives.
17 Namely it is quite true that on the confrontation line, the positions of
18 the parties to the conflict were separated but only a few dozen metres.
19 There was only a street between them, that is the Bulevar, and that from
20 both sides of this front line one could see what was going on on the other
21 side. On both sides, they were prisoners of war performing for those
22 units individual physical jobs, and those prisoners could be told apart
23 from the soldiers because they did not wear uniforms.
24 Both parties knew that the non-uniformed people moving or working
25 for the unit are prisoners of war and therefore they were in no danger of
1 enemy fire because nobody wanted to fire at one's own people, and that was
2 an unwritten rule. And the prisoners of war knew that and they were not
3 at -- their life's were not at risk at that time when they were with the
4 unit. Moreover, the unit also provided protection from the enemy fire,
5 such as, for instance, a high walls made of high barriers made of sand
6 bags or trenches that were dug, or cross trenches that offered safe
7 protection to both soldiers and prisoners of war. From the detainees we
8 shall hear that Vinko Martinovic Stela did not permit that the detainees
9 be exposed to danger and also prohibited any harassment of the detainees
10 or the inhumane treatment.
11 We will hear from the detainees that they turned to Vinko
12 Martinovic on several occasions asking for his help. They even asked him
13 to intervene on their behalf so that they could be joined with their
14 families and leave Mostar. In these cases, Vinko Martinovic helped them
15 to obtain the necessary documents and so on and so forth. In these counts,
16 a special place is given to the charges relative to 17 September, 1993,
17 when Vinko Martinovic allegedly issued an order to give wooden rifles to
18 the detainees who were supposed to go along a tank, and charges on using
19 the detainees as a human shield, in which allegedly three of the detainees
20 were killed. After the end of the presentation of his case, the
21 Prosecutor abandoned the charges for the human shield and the Court made a
22 decision that the Prosecution failed to prove the situation with the human
23 shield and the killing of the detainees in the zone of Stela's unit. A
24 similar story is with the rifle -- wooden rifles. We shall hear the
25 testimonies of former members and detainees, from the unit, and they will
1 talk about the events that took place on the 17th of September, 1993.
2 This was a regular military operation in which all the units on the line
3 took place. It was a failed and very short-lived operation which
4 represented an attempt to move the separation line.
5 We shall also hear testimonies of eye witnesses, participants in
6 that operation, they will testify about the movement of the tank, they
7 will say that there were no detainees with wooden rifles next to the
8 tank. They will testify to the effect that the operation described in the
9 indictment would have been illogical and undoable under the given
10 circumstances. They will also testify to the fact that the story about
11 the detainees, about wooden rifles, spread all over Mostar, that it was
12 carried by newspapers and that that story was told by some detainees who
13 fled across the separation line, that that story at the beginning was not
14 linked with this particular unit, and that only later on, when the
15 indictment against Stela became public, the story had it that the alleged
16 soldier belonged to Stela's unit. Although the eye witnesses on -- and
17 the participants in the event on the 17th of September, 1993, are all
18 clear that this did not happen in the area of responsibility of the Vinko
19 Skrobo unit.
20 During this trial, we heard information that there is a wooden
21 rifle, which according to the testimony of one Prosecution witness was
22 taken away from him and stored in a museum. It was already proven during
23 the Prosecution case that it was a false piece of evidence and this will
24 be additionally proven by the Defence witnesses.
25 Closely related to these counts is the interpretation found in
1 counts 9 to 12 relative to the torture and wilful causing of suffering.
2 Witnesses for the Defence, former members of the unit and detainees from
3 the unit, will testify to the fact that Vinko Martinovic, Stela, never
4 personally used force or tortured the detainees, that he prohibited his
5 subordinates from doing so, and that in cases when he learned about any
6 such instances, he took appropriate measures. We will also hear that
7 Vinko Martinovic expelled from his unit a certain number of soldiers who
8 were prone to alcohol, drugs and violence, and all for the reasons that
9 these individuals were prone to maltreating detainees and that they were
10 prone to criminal acts.
11 Counts 13 to 17 talk about the murder, wilful killing and wilfully
12 causing great suffering on Nenad Harmandic. Alternatively this crime
13 has been qualified as cruel treatment, and this is the only charge of
14 murder in this indictment. But even the Prosecutor was not sure that it
15 was actually murder. That's why he alternatively qualified it as a cruel
17 The Prosecution's allegation that Nenad Harmandic was brought to
18 Vinko Martinovic's unit and that he was beaten and killed in that unit and
19 that Vinko Martinovic knew about that, that he didn't do anything to
20 prevent that and to punish the perpetrators, is not sustainable, and the
21 Prosecutor's case has already shown that he does not have any proof for
22 such an allegation.
23 Contrary to that, the Defence claims the following: It is correct
24 that Nenad Harmandic was brought together with a group of detainees from
25 Heliodrom to the Vinko Skrobo unit but his condition was already very bad,
1 he had been beaten already in the Heliodrom camp, where he had been
2 regularly beaten by soldiers in Heliodrom and some other detainees who
3 wanted to revenge themselves for Nenad Harmandic's doings during the time
4 when he was an active policeman. The Defence will prove that Vinko
5 Martinovic was not present whether Nenad Harmandic was brought to the unit
6 and when he subsequently learned about his presence, he interviewed Nenad
7 Harmandic, he saw his condition and on the same day he returned him to the
9 Former members of the unit will testify about the stay of Nenad
10 Harmandic's in the Vinko Skrobo unit. Those members of the unit who
11 were present during Harmandic's stay in the unit and they are the
12 witnesses who are going to testify to the condition -- Harmandic's
13 condition when he arrived in the unit and when he left the unit. During
14 the presentation of the Defence case, we are going to hear two experts,
15 doctors, and one forensic expert who are going to give their expert
16 opinion on the evidence presented by the Prosecutor during the
17 presentation of his case. The first of these pieces of evidence is the
18 findings of Dr. Dobraca, Dr. Zuja; who performed the autopsy of the bodies
19 excavated in Liska Park in Mostar and during the -- their post-mortem
20 they identified one of the bodies as the body of Nenad Harmandic. During
21 the Prosecutor's case the Defence disputed this identification and during
22 the presentation of the Defence case, the forensic expert will point to
23 the mistakes made during the post-mortem and the identification of the
24 body carried out by Dr. Dobraca and Dr. Zuja. The Defence will also prove
25 that the identification is a scientifically unreliable.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Another proof that the Prosecution presented and that the Defence
2 intends to dispute, via one of his witnesses, expert witnesses, is the
3 testimony by Witness HA. The Defence will present medical documents,
4 medical documentation about the condition of health of that witness, and
5 the expert psychiatrist will give the evaluation of the psychological
6 condition of this witness based on this documentation.
7 This expert testimony will show that this person is of such an
8 impaired psychological condition that he cannot give credible testimony
9 because he suffers from a grave impairment of memory, understanding and
11 We will also hear witnesses who will talk about the testimonies of
12 some of the Prosecutor's witnesses who presented their hearsay evidence as
13 their own evidence, and the Defence will call these people who have
14 personal knowledge about this information. So in short, this would be the
15 main positions of the Defence, regarding the counts of the indictment that
16 the Defence is going to dispute during the presentation of its case.
17 We have envisaged the testimonies of a total of 35 witnesses, out
18 of whom two will be expert witnesses. One of them background witness who
19 will be talking about the military and political circumstances and the
20 international conflict, will present a limited number of documents most of
21 them furnished by the Prosecution during the presentation of the
22 Prosecutor's case and the number of documents who will serve as the basis
23 for expert witnesses' testimonies. Defence witnesses will testify in
24 groups and according to themes, so we will have three basic groups of
25 witnesses. One of them will be members, former members, of the unit who
1 will testify about the circumstances relative to the units and the events
2 that took place in the section -- on the section of the front line manned
3 by the -- Vinko Martinovic's unit. They will also be talking about the
4 circumstances of the attitude towards the detainees, persecution and the
5 role of Vinko Martinovic and others. The second group of witnesses will
6 consist of the former detainees from the Heliodrom who were assigned to
7 work in the Vinko Skrobo unit and who spent a certain time in that unit as
8 prisoners of war. These witnesses will talk about their personal
9 experiences, relative to the attitude towards detainees, their position,
10 and the attitude of Vinko Martinovic towards the detainees.
11 The third group of witnesses will be comprised of the citizens of
12 Mostar who lived in the western part of Mostar, close, in the vicinity of
13 the Vinko Skrobo unit. They will present their personal information and
14 knowledge about the persecution, looting of property and the role of Vinko
15 Martinovic and his unit in this event.
16 We will start with the last group first, and the soldiers will
17 come last, because of some technical circumstances which dictated the
18 schedule of our witnesses. In addition to these three groups of
19 witnesses, we will have some other background witnesses who will talk
20 about the general situation in Mostar and the role and position and the
21 significance of Vinko Martinovic in the events which took place in
22 Mostar. They will be talking about the targeted media and intelligence
23 campaign aimed at sacrificing Vinko Martinovic as the person who could be
24 charged with the crimes committed in Mostar. Vinko Martinovic's Defence
25 has opted for a simple defence based on the testimonies of common people
1 from Mostar who have suffered during the conflicts between Croats and
2 Bosniaks. These people of various -- different ethnic backgrounds are
3 direct eyewitnesses of all the events, and they will be asked to present,
4 to share with us their personal experiences, to tell us what they saw and
5 what they heard because we believe that this is the true story in which
6 everybody knows who everybody was and what everybody did.
7 These testimonies and other pieces of evidence which will be
8 presented by the Defence during the Defence case will show that the
9 indictment against Vinko Martinovic is not -- cannot be substantiated.
10 The Defence will prove that Vinko Martinovic was just a foot soldier on
11 the Defence line in an unnecessary conflict that he himself did not choose
12 and that in his capacity, he participated in military operations but he
13 did not commit any crimes that are -- that he is charged with, and --
14 either as an individual, either according to the principle of command
16 This would be all from me, Your Honours, and this brings my
17 presentation to it the end. Thank you very much.
18 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You are exactly on time. We
19 will have a break and after that, we will have our first witness in this
21 We will resume at 4.30.
22 --- Recess taken at 4.01 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 4.32 p.m.
24 JUDGE LIU: Could we have our witness now? Yes, Mr. Usher, please
25 bring in the witness.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE LIU: Good afternoon, Witness. Can you hear me?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, yes, I can.
4 JUDGE LIU: Will you please make the solemn declaration in
5 accordance with the paper the usher is showing you, please?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
7 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 WITNESS: JADRANKO MARTINOVIC
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
11 Yes, Mr. Seric?
12 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
13 Examined by Mr. Seric:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Witness, can you please introduce yourself to the
15 Honourable Court?
16 A. My name is Jadranko Martinovic. I am Vinko Martinovic's brother.
17 Q. Mr. Martinovic, I'm going to give you some instructions in order
18 to facilitate this testimony of yours. I have to emphasise one thing.
19 The speed is not important. I'm referring to the speed of my questions
20 and speed of your answers. The most important thing is for you to make a
21 pause after my question and before you start giving your answer. Can you
22 please use the screen that you have in front of you and try to follow the
23 rate of the interpretation? You will see the black dot at the end of the
24 sentence. When it stops, then you start giving your answer. It is going
25 to make the life of our interpreters easier and believe me, although it
1 may sound surprising, it will be even faster if you follow the simple
3 What were your relationships with your brother Vinko Martinovic?
4 Did you grow up and live together? Did you, during the war, maintain
5 regular contact?
6 A. We have brotherly relationship. We lived together in our family
7 house, in one house, and we had normal relationship. There is nothing to
8 say about that relationship. Throughout the war, we maintained regular
10 Q. Are you familiar with the allegations in the indictment against
11 Vinko Martinovic?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge about the events which are
14 described in the indictment?
15 A. Yes, of some of them, but not about all of them.
16 Q. Can you tell the Honourable Court where does the knowledge come
17 from, the knowledge about the events that you know of?
18 A. During the war, I was in Mostar throughout the war, and I spent a
19 lot of time with my brother, and in a certain way, I was a participant in
20 the events that took place in the town of Mostar, and that is the origin
21 of my knowledge.
22 Q. At the beginning, can you tell us something about Vinko's life
23 before the war? What did he do and what did he live on?
24 A. Vinko Martinovic had a lower educational degree. He finished
25 school for apprentices. Mostar had a very well developed industrial
1 production so it was very desirable in the town to have a trade, a
2 craftsmanship, in order to be able to find employment in the town of
3 Mostar. He worked for a very short time in his trade but he mostly
4 engaged in commerce, and for a while he was also a taxi driver.
5 Q. From the time you spent with him, from the knowledge of his world
6 views, could you tell us something about his positions, about Muslims and
7 Serbs who lived in Mostar together with Croats? As we all know, as this
8 Honourable Court knows.
9 A. I believe that he did not have any particular position. He
10 mingled with them and I don't believe that anybody in Mostar had a
11 position towards Muslims and Serbs.
12 Q. Are you saying that nobody in Mostar actually cared what the other
13 person's religion or ethnic background was? Is that what you were
15 A. I don't know if anybody else cared or not, but our father, Vinko's
16 and my father, finished his education in the school which was known as
17 Mejtef. That was a Muslim school.
18 Q. After the changes in sociopolitical organisation and the breakdown
19 of Yugoslavia was Vinko politically engaged in any organisation?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Did he, at the time, publicly show his political views and
22 particularly views involving the relationship between Muslims, Croats and
23 Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the town of Mostar?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Did you personally find political engagement at the time, or did
1 you promote publicly some political or other options?
2 A. No.
3 Q. What was your personal attitude towards the position of Croats in
4 Bosnia and Herzegovina, as it was at the time?
5 A. I don't think I had any particular position. Their position was
6 the same as the position of all the other peoples.
7 Q. Do you remember, during the Serb aggression against Mostar, where
8 was your brother and how did he react to the Serbian aggression against
10 A. During the Serbian aggression against Mostar, my brother resided
11 in the -- in one of the Mostar neighbourhoods whose name is Rodoc. This
12 neighbourhood is in the vicinity of the former airport, the former
13 military airport, which was the first to be occupied by the Serbian Army
14 or the Yugoslav People's Army, whatever it was at the time. And
15 therefore, this was the first unsecure -- insecure area of residence in
16 Mostar and this is where the first houses were destroyed and set on fire.
17 In the vicinity of that place. Several thousands of people abandoned that
18 neighbourhood when the first skirmishes started and Vinko was among those
19 people. Most of those people spread all over the town and Vinko found
20 himself in a village in the vicinity of Mostar, where he joined a HOS
22 Q. What happened at the time with you personally?
23 A. I was in the town, like everybody else.
24 Q. What was this HOS? What kind of an organisation was it, the one
25 that Vinko Martinovic joined?
1 A. Well, in Mostar, HOS was the first military formation, if you can
2 call it a military formation, with some kind of weapons, and ready to
3 engage in actions against the Serbian army, who were trying to block the
4 roads, that is to obstruct our movement, so they were the only ones which
5 gave us some feeling of security because it was the only organisation
6 which offered some resistance when everything else looked pretty hopeless.
7 Q. Do you know who were Vinko's comrades at arms in that HOS unit at
8 the time?
9 A. Well, you see, when the Serbian troops, that is the Yugoslav
10 People's Army came to Mostar, after the airport, that is the military
11 airport, which they took, they also took a considerable part of the east
12 side of Mostar. Those people, those boys who had already been in a way
13 expelled from their homes, that is some because of fear, some because they
14 found it physically impossible to live anywhere else, joined HOS, so they
15 were say in the beginning, in the early days, a considerable number of
16 Serbs and Croats too.
17 Q. Were you aware then, or do you know today, what were the HOS
18 objectives in Mostar at the time?
19 A. They had only one objective, to liberate the town, or rather to
20 drive away those Yugoslav military units from the town.
21 Q. How do you know that?
22 A. Well, you're asking me about my brother. Of course I know.
23 Q. Did you discuss it with Vinko at the time?
24 A. Well, of course, I don't know how this will sound but I'd like to
25 say that my mother, my brother, my sister, my wife, my children and
1 Vinko's family also, and many other families, Muslim and Croat, left the
2 town of Mostar. Mostar became a dead town. Shells were falling. There
3 was nobody to look after our laundry. We didn't have enough to eat. So
4 in organisation I was the one who was responsible for that kind of things,
5 to see to the laundry and things, and that is why we were together quite
6 often at that time in those days.
7 Q. And where did you become active in HOS at that time too? Or in
8 some other formation?
9 A. The instruction, well, no, not instruction, but it was acceptable
10 for everybody to report in his neighbourhood community or the
11 municipality, to get some assignment. Somebody would be sent to clear the
12 ruins, somebody else. And that is how I reported to the neighbourhood
13 community, the one that I lived in, and I was assigned to the 4th
14 Battalion of the Croat Defence Council.
15 Q. Did Vinko Martinovic have a commanding role in HOS?
16 A. Martinovic was the commander of the HOS staff in Mostar.
17 Q. And Vinko's role in HOS, and in the struggle against the Serbian
18 aggressor, how was it viewed by the citizens of Mostar? I mean all
19 Mostarians regardless of their ethnic origin?
20 A. Well, you see, it was the first war for all of us, and I do not --
21 I cannot wish to anyone to experience it. You have a rifle in your hands
22 and do not know what to do with it. And I think this applies to eight out
23 of ten men, when somebody -- someone has enough courage to bring together
24 a dozen or so people then gradually the number begins to increase and then
25 you hear some gunfire in a town where until then something like that
1 wasn't even imaginable. Then obviously everybody looks up at that group
2 of people who opened fire on a much stronger enemy, and what do I know?
3 And then of course, stories begin to be told, and that's how it was. I
4 believe the attitude of people was very positive, very favourable, even
5 more than that, people called asking for rifles, for weapons, especially
6 since these lads in HOS were not afraid, they did not fear this much
7 stronger enemy, and they were quite ingenious too. I can tell you, for
8 instance, one incident which added to the HOS reputation. Mostar was a
9 city which was rife with fear, with gunfire and all that. And one day
10 when shells never stopped hitting the town all day, on that building where
11 HOS was and then Vinko or somebody else, I don't know, thought of
12 something, I don't know who exactly, but at any rate, from that area here,
13 one could hear loud, very loud music, that is some songs, which were aimed
14 against the Serbian aggression. As a matter of fact, they put up two or
15 three powerful amplifiers or a thousand volts or something and it helped
16 people, because people were afraid they were in shelters or something,
17 some makeshift shelters and that boosted the morale very much because all
18 of a sudden one could hear music all over the town so these young men,
19 they were ingenious, they were brave, they were not afraid, and I believe
20 that they had a very positive, very favourable influence there.
21 Q. How do you interpret the fact that it was Vinko himself who became
22 a HOS commander?
23 A. Well, Vinko, in his younger days, liked to chop wood. I'm sorry
24 but -- and when his father would say or rather to him and to me, "Well, we
25 need some wood," then I would do it in a special way, well, do I a little
1 bit today and perhaps I'll do it tomorrow or perhaps I'll do it in the
2 morning, whereas Vinko had a very simple approach. He would just pick up
3 the axe and chop the wood. So Vinko was a very clear, direct, no
4 particular philosophy, I hope you won't get me wrong but what he did, he
5 applied himself to whatever he had to do and so he simply imposed himself
6 on them. Not to mention his appearance. I mean no mention of that. So
7 it wasn't difficult for him to become a commander. I suppose he has it in
9 Q. And what -- how did this HOS unit end eventually?
10 A. Eventually, it met with a rather inglorious end. After -- well,
11 I'd say its end was very poor. And Vinko was fortunate or unfortunate, it
12 is up to the Chamber to decide, Vinko had 60 or maybe 70 soldiers of
13 Islamic faith or Bosniaks in his unit, and the rest, the 30 or so per cent
14 were Serbs or Croats. Was it a coincidence or not, was it deliberate, I
15 really cannot say, but those were men that he palled up with, those were
16 people that he fought the war against the Serbs and after a while it
17 became a problem in the town itself and we discussed it a hundred times,
18 must have. He didn't really want to talk about it but once we read in
19 some newspaper or other that Mr. Alija Izetbegovic had said how HOS units
20 were the elite units of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and people as
21 people folk as folk, suddenly something began to happen and I take the
22 liberty to say that perhaps he will get angry with me, but when he no
23 longer had the control over the situation, that is the Croats began to
24 feel that they were a minority, Muslims started sporting some special arm
25 bands or some special badges, the Serbs were pretty lost, they didn't know
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 which way to turn and at the same time the HVO became the proper army,
2 proper military formation, on the left bank, the Mostar Battalion began to
3 take shape at that time which was the forerunner of the Army of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, who were saying that HOS were their own. On the other
5 hand, Vinko didn't know whether to turn left or right, and at some point,
6 I think it all culminated when a visit was paid to Vinko. I was present
7 there, that is a representative of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina or
8 rather that Mostar Battalion, that is of the Muslim army at that
9 particular moment, came to request him that the weapons depot literally be
10 sold, not turned over but sold to the BH Army, and there were some rather
11 disagreeable situations at that time, and Vinko simply lined up his troops
12 and said, "Well, each his own rifle, and join whichever army you like."
13 So I think this was a rather inglorious end to that unit.
14 Q. And what then happened to him, to Vinko, after that? Did he join
15 somebody else?
16 A. No. Vinko seemed pretty resigned, pretty disenchanted, pretty
17 disappointed at that time, until then he used to walk around the streets
18 and people liked to see him because he was a defender, he defended the
19 town, the streets, the small streets, but then there was this -- these
20 problems, he couldn't understand, whether he had this unit or not and I
21 suppose he must have also earned some enemies because he wasn't one to
22 give in easily. He thought that this unit could resist the enemy but he
23 didn't have no troops or anything when it disbanded so he removed his
24 uniform when the war started.
25 Q. But did he become politically active, did he join a party did he
1 come to hold some political or military post?
2 A. No.
3 Q. And what about you at that time?
4 A. Are you asking me about the time when the war with the Serbs ended
5 and then this -- the period that ensued? Well, I worked.
6 Q. And what did you do?
7 A. Mostar was destroyed city, and I'm a -- I've got technical
8 training, so for me and people of my trade, there was more than enough
9 work for us. From an analysis of the destroyed buildings to plans for the
10 reconstruction, plans for the reconstruction of the town.
11 Q. Mr. Martinovic, in March, 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina proclaimed
12 its independence. Do you know what did Vinko Martinovic think about that
13 at the time? How did he see it?
14 A. I hope my brother won't hold it against me but I think that he
15 didn't take any sides.
16 Q. Can you tell us what was or is your personal view?
17 A. Regarding what?
18 Q. Regarding the fact that Bosnia-Herzegovina was proclaiming its
19 independence and becoming an independent state?
20 A. Favourable. I think the purpose was pursued by all the republics
21 was to split away from Yugoslavia and that it was viewed favourably.
22 Q. So do you know, at that time I mean, if Vinko Martinovic in any
23 way whatsoever participated or took part in any political activities
24 related to the establishment of the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna?
25 A. No, he did not.
1 Q. Did you personally participate in some political activities
2 related to Herceg-Bosna, that is Croat Community Herceg-Bosna?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Do you know whether Vinko Martinovic voiced any views regarding
5 the establishment of the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna?
6 A. No.
7 Q. And what did the establishment of that -- of that community, the
8 Croat Community Herceg-Bosna, mean to you?
9 A. Well, to me it meant the equality before law of all the peoples in
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina, the first, the second and the third, and the
11 protection of these interests.
12 Q. Were you -- did you know what were the views of your neighbours
13 who were of other ethnic backgrounds, Muslims in particular?
14 A. I think that they varied. I mean I suppose that if somebody
15 thought differently, I'm not sure that he would tell me that. So people
16 that I worked with, people that I socialised with, I do not think that
17 there were any particularly adverse reactions.
18 Q. In April, 1992, the Croat Defence Council was set up, as the
19 supreme executive, administrative and defence authority of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina. What did it mean to you in Mostar? Did any changes
22 A. I cannot tell you exactly whether that -- whether we started to
23 fight better against the Serbs or something, but the fact that there was
24 an army on the ground who would be fighting in that war against the
25 Yugoslav People's Army and that was the feeling we had, nothing else.
1 Q. Do you know what was your brother's opinion about the Croat
2 Community of Herceg-Bosna -- of the Croats Defence counsel? Did he join
3 the Croat Defence Council? I mean in 1992.
4 A. No. Vinko was with HOS.
5 Q. And what about you? Did you join the Croat Defence Council?
6 A. Yes, I did, and I've already said I was with the 4th Battalion of
7 the Croat Defence Council.
8 Q. Do you have or did you have any knowledge as to the views of your
9 Muslim neighbours? Did they join the Croat Defence Council?
10 A. I was issued with a uniform and boots, and whatnot by a Muslim but
11 one could join only the Croat Defence Council or HOS, so whether a soldier
12 gladly goes to war, I don't know, but whoever joined could join only the
13 HVO at that particular time.
14 Q. In April 1993, the first conflicts between Muslims, Bosniaks, and
15 Croats started outside Mostar. Did it find any reflection from what you
16 know on the relations between Croats and Muslims, Bosniaks, in Mostar
18 A. Well, an ordinary man is usually the last to find something out,
19 something that he should perhaps know a little earlier and the same would
20 apply to those events. In Mostar, we didn't have an adequate media
21 coverage, we didn't have enough electricity or water let alone good
22 information, so that this information mostly reached the town as some
23 information that is one would discuss it always with a question mark,
24 whether is it true or not? Did somebody fall out or not? So in Mostar,
25 it did not necessarily mean that it was a war straight away. That is in
1 Mostar it was not really properly covered, not as somebody who would have
2 a distance might do.
3 Q. But from what you know, at that period of time, then, that is
4 after April 1993, was there any harassment of Muslims, their dismissal
5 from work, attacks on their houses in Mostar, especially people of
6 prominence, public figures, do you have any knowledge about that?
7 A. Listen, if you're asking me about that period when things
8 happened, as they happened in Central Bosnia or whatever went on there, at
9 that time, I think I can say under full responsibility that it was not
10 happening in Mostar. I do not think that anything like that was recorded
11 in Mostar at that time. Now, whether there was something verbal, I cannot
12 know that, but that the house was in flames in Mostar at the same time or
13 a few days after it burnt, I don't know, what did you say, in Ahmici or
15 Q. Yes?
16 A. No, I can positively say that that was not the case.
17 Q. From your contacts with your brother, what was his reaction to the
18 news about fighting between Muslims and Croats? I mean in Bosnia, did it
19 affect his attitude towards Muslims in any way?
20 A. I'd like to begin by saying I mean when you say "news," well, it
21 wasn't a particularly bombastic news. It again sounded, you know, you
22 talk with people and somebody says, well, you know this nonsense happened
23 everybody's got some weapon, something will happen, some stupid thing will
24 happen, so we didn't really take it that way, that it could escalate and
25 reach Mostar. So how Vinko reacted? Well, at that time, Vinko was
1 involved in his own business, a little bit, and as I have said he was
2 pretty disenchanted and he still behaved like somebody who was been
4 Q. Mr. Martinovic, do you remember the 9th of May, 1993? And if you
5 do, why do you remember it?
6 A. Yes, of course. Yes, I do remember it.
7 Q. Can you tell us briefly what did you do that day? What did you go
8 through that day?
9 A. That day, early in the morning, I was on my way back to Mostar,
10 because I'd been to see my parents and my family, and they were in Omis as
11 emigrants. I was to enter that town across a crest, a hill crest called
12 Zovnica, from which you can see Mostar as if in the palm of your hand and
13 I had a friend with me who had also gone to see his family in Makarska and
14 we met on the way. I cannot give you the exact time but I'd say that it
15 could not be after half past 9.00 in the morning, and the first thing was
16 that we were stopped by the military police at Zovnica. They asked me
17 where we were going, who we were, what we were, and we said that we were
18 going home, a little bit taken aback but then we heard that there was
19 gunfire in the town and that it was in disarray, that there was some
20 commotion. So we both reached a neighbourhood restaurant, and in that
21 restaurant, we found already a few dozen people, some in civilian, some in
22 uniforms, a few policemen, some with, some without weapons, and there we
23 learned that there was fire in the -- in the town or more specifically at
24 Rondo, that there was an exchange of fire, that a policeman had already
25 got killed there, that nobody could get to him and, I don't know. So of
1 course, it became unsafe there because there were all sorts of vehicles
2 dashing to and fro, ambulances, private people with rifles and civilians
3 in uniforms running up and down, information, disinformation, noise, and
4 at some point, perhaps after 15 minutes or an hour, you just don't know,
5 time flying by and you really lose a proper sense of it, Vinko turned up
6 with three friends of his.
7 So what's going on, so is it true, is it true that the Muslims
8 have crossed or rather come to Rondo, that there was gunfire all around?
9 And so on. Then a couple of windows on a building right next to the place
10 where we were began to ring and shattered and then we, all of us, well, I
11 can't say like some army but we started moving. And now I have to say
12 this now aloud, we started moving towards the enemy. I want to point out
13 that it was very chaotic, that one didn't know who was firing at whom, who
14 was firing from where, in which building there were troops, that is armed
15 men, in which there were none, and I want to point out that concretely
16 with Vinko were two friends of his I do not know, they were Muslims, who
17 were as lost, as confused, and I suppose much more embarrassed than I was
18 because it was quite clear that they would be firing at Muslims. I want
19 to say that I was with a group of seven, eight men. We were all in
20 civilian clothes, and at some point I found myself next to civilian
21 facilities, that is private houses. And it was the first time in my life
22 that I saw a warrior, a combatant, with a green bandana, who, seeing me,
23 opened fire from his automatic rifle, crying out, shouting,
24 "Allah-u-ekber" and at that place there are still marks on the wall. It
25 was patched up but one can see it easily.
1 And we were there until 4 or 5 clock in the afternoon because we
2 dared not go forward, we dared not go backward. We didn't know what to
3 do. And throughout, whilst all this was going on, this gunfire and all
4 that, and you can hear the ambulances and you can hear cries for help, and
5 the tires screeching and screams round buildings, general din, shouts,
6 snipers, not snipers [as interpreted] and so on and so forth. Around 6.00
7 in the afternoon that same day, we were near a building which we called
8 the health centre.
9 Q. Sorry, may I interrupt you for a moment and then we shall move
10 on? Do you remember, Mr. Martinovic, the names of those two men who were
11 with Vinko that day when you saw him and when you -- who you told us were
12 Muslims? Do you remember their names?
13 A. Absolutely. One of them I know just first name and the last name,
14 and the other one I know just the pseudonym or nickname.
15 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Can we go to the private session, Your
16 Honour so we can actually hear those names?
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go to the private session, please.
18 [Private session]
2 [Open session]
3 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. You said that you moved towards the medical centre. What happened
6 A. I can only try and continue along the same lines in a nutshell, it
7 was a pitifully sight, you cannot go forward, you cannot go backward. You
8 do not cope. The night is falling, there is shooting all over. In a
9 nutshell it was really chaotic. Later on we met with some other people.
10 And then it was either us or them who came out of certain facilities, and
11 then around 6.00 in the afternoon, I'm not really sure of the time, Vinko
12 came out of somewhere and, with his commanding voice, he said, "This is
13 not the place either for you or for them." And told us to go, to leave.
14 But it was easier said than done. I couldn't go anywhere. I didn't know
15 whether I could go back or whether I could go forward. I didn't know
16 where I would be safe. There was shooting from all the buildings.
17 Somehow, I returned to the same restaurant where I started from. That was
18 our local pub where we used to drink coffee every day. This is where I
19 returned. We continued talking. The night fell but we didn't have any
20 accurate information.
21 Q. According to what you saw, the group of people that you were
22 moving with, was that a unit, a formation? Did it have its commander?
23 Did it look like an organised group of people?
24 A. I owe you an explanation before I answer this, because some things
25 will obviously not be clear. I was a member of the HOS, like so many
1 others, and I was never stationed in any barracks because there were no
2 barracks, and all of us who had arms carried the arms with us, and we
3 would take our weapons home. When I went home to take my weapon, because
4 there was shooting all over the place, and I believe that it was a logical
5 move, anybody else would have done that, then my neighbour left my
6 building to go -- together with me. He asked me, "What's going on?" I
7 told I don't know. But there seems to be some fighting with the Muslims.
8 That all happened some 250 to 400 metres as the crow flies from the
9 building where I lived. And that was when I saw that fighter, a member of
10 the BH Army, when what happened happened. There was some five or six men,
11 together with me, of whom one of them is today a director of a bank,
12 another one is a -- the owner of a car garage, the third one is the owner
13 of a drive cleaning shop, and I can give you their names if I need to do
14 that. So these were the people who just happened to be there.
15 Q. Where exactly did you see the BH Army soldier, on the western
17 A. In the courtyard of a house some 50 metres below the round about,
18 below the Rondo on the western side of it.
19 Q. What happened to Vinko on the following days after the 9th of May,
20 1993? What did he do? Where was he?
21 A. Vinko was on the front line. He remained at the place from which
22 he chased me away. He was there with a group of soldiers who reported to
23 him. These were all the men that he was together within the HOS.
24 Q. What did you do on the days following the 9th of May?
25 A. To be honest, I was on the street all day long. I hung around the
1 restaurant, because I wanted to obtain as much information as possible. I
2 would rarely see anybody these days, just the people who would go to the
3 place of conflict and then when they would return I would ask them to tell
4 me what they saw.
5 Q. So what you saw on the street and based on that, what was the
6 situation in the Western Mostar? What was the security situation? Did
7 the number of troops go up? Did the number of armed men increase?
8 A. In those days, and I would say it was for a month or so, Mostar
9 was transformed and changed. During the war with the Serbs, Mostar was a
10 peaceful town, because it was under a lot of shelling, there was not a lot
11 of moving going on, and you knew which places were more or less safe, and
12 this is where people gathered. There was no -- not much moving but during
13 this subsequent conflict, and for the next month or so, Mostar looked
14 like, I don't know how to describe it, there was a lot of troops, a lot of
15 vehicles, a lot of confused people. There was chaos. The situation was
16 chaos, there was no electricity, there was no water. It is very difficult
17 to describe the situation. However it was a very bad experience and I
18 would not wish that experience upon anybody. We had been through a war
19 already, and the -- this new situation is an experience that nobody wanted
20 to be -- have to go through.
21 Q. Did you notice that there was a change of attitude towards
22 Muslims? Were any measures taken against the Muslims who resided in the
23 area under the control of the Croatian Defence Council, during the early
25 A. The answer is no.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Do you know how the Muslims in Mostar reacted to the conflict that
2 started on the 9th of May, 1993?
3 A. I know, of course I know, just like the Croats on the other side,
4 the reaction was fear on both sides, and the most often heard comment
5 would be, "It's nothing. It is much ado about nothing. It will amount to
6 nothing." Because it was so strange that these two people would be waging
7 a war against each other. The most common reaction was this is just
8 stupid. It is just the politicians who did not reach agreement but when
9 they will it will not amount to anything because at the time there was
10 still a lot of Muslims in the HVO they had still not left the HVO.
11 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, when are we planning
12 our next break, just to help me to plan for my examination?
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, we could stop here or we could continue to sit
14 for another ten minutes. It depends on how far you're going in your
16 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Both solutions I find both solutions
17 convenient. So maybe we can take a break now and then I will continue
18 after the break. Thank you.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will take a short break. We will take about
20 20 minutes break. We'll resume at ten minutes to 6.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 5.27 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 5.53 p.m.
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Seric?
24 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Mr. Martinovic, this indictment claims that there were 2
1 persecutions of people from Mostar. The first one after the 9th of May,
2 1993, and the second one in the early days of July of 1993. Would you
3 agree with these allegations?
4 A. Are you referring to the first one or the second persecution?
5 Q. Let's first talk about the first persecution after the 9th of May,
7 A. So in May, 1993, I already said that the situation in the town was
8 more than chaotic, so nothing can be excluded. I can't say that something
9 did happen and something did not happen. However, people were running
10 away on both sides. So everybody who had something upstairs and who found
11 himself in the area where the fighting was going on, would run away, on
12 both sides. I personally would have run away. So much about that in the
13 month of May.
14 Q. And in July 1993? Or after, rather? After the 30th of June,
16 A. Several months into that conflict, when it could already be said
17 that it was actually a war and not a skirmish, that we all hoped for, I
18 believe that on both sides, it was clear that it was not just any conflict
19 but something that would take a long time, and I think at that time it was
20 logical that every member of every side would take to their own respective
21 side. I know for a fact that dozens of Muslims who had realised that it
22 was their place to be with their people, their own way, the same was true
23 of the Croats. I have members of my family whom I painstakingly moved
24 from the left bank to the western side. I believe that the people
25 spontaneously decided it take to their own respective side. I believe
1 that it was not orchestrated it was just a spontaneous reaction.
2 Whether this is persecution, it is very hard for me to say.
3 Q. Where were you personally at the time, after the 30th of June,
5 A. In Mostar.
6 Q. Do you know if there were, within the HVO, some instructions about
7 the need to ethnically cleanse the western part of Mostar?
8 A. No. I don't know that, but to be honest, I was not in the
9 position to be given such an instruction or such an order so that I would
10 be aware of such an instruction.
11 Q. Let's go back to the events that took place on the 9th of May,
12 1993, and after that day. Can you please tell us whether Vinko Martinovic
13 in any way participated in the persecution of Muslims in Mostar after the
14 9th of May, 1993?
15 A. Absolutely no.
16 Q. According to your knowledge, was it at that time that the Mrmak
17 unit, later on the Vinko Skrobo unit, was established?
18 A. I don't want to make a mistake in my answer. I don't know what
19 you mean when you say "at that time." But I know for a fact that it was
20 not immediately after the 9th of May, because if it had -- if that had
21 happened during the first days after the 9th of May, then I would have
22 been a member of that unit, so it didn't happen for a month or even
23 longer than that, because during those first early days, it was very
24 hard to know who was doing what. So I -- I -- my answer is no.
25 Q. Do you know how the unit was established?
1 A. On the separation line, i.e. at the place of the conflict, Vinko
2 remained there and people started rallying around him. These people were
3 those same people who had been with him in the HOS, who had remained in
4 Mostar. A lot of them had left Mostar before that. And that, with time,
5 that group of people became a unit. I asked Vinko at some point how come
6 the unit was called Mrmak. Vinko had a dog, a boxer, whose name was
7 Mrmak. I don't think that Vinko really believed in those early days that
8 that unit would stay on, that it would continue. So I think that at the
9 time, it was just a joke for him, in a way. He really did not believe
10 that this unit would be transformed into anything big.
11 Q. Do you know how did it come about that Vinko Martinovic became the
12 commander of that unit?
13 A. No. I do not know that, but I can make an educated guess. I
14 suppose he was simply got stuck on that separation line, pigheaded as he
15 was, he wouldn't step back, and as people came along, as I have said, he's
16 a natural leader. I suppose he was born that way.
17 Q. Were you a member of that unit, ever?
18 A. No.
19 Q. How is it, then, that you know so much about the circumstances,
20 about the situation, in the unit and certain things that happened there on
21 the front line and at their base?
22 A. This last word you used, "base," it was less than 70 or 80 metres
23 from the building that I lived in. I believe that is your answer. I saw
24 my brother regularly. I saw those men. I was simply there. I was
25 present there like many others.
1 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge whether some members of that
2 unit, Vinko's unit, participated perhaps in the persecution of Muslims on
3 the 9th of May or later? Do you have any personal knowledge about that?
4 A. On the 9th of May, nobody could expel anyone because on the 9th of
5 May, everybody was firing at everybody else so that on the 9th of May, it
6 never crossed anybody's mind to do anything like it. On the 9th of May,
7 there was nothing like that happened. I can claim that under full
8 responsibility. But after that, a soldier who finishes his shift, leaves
9 the rifle, goes home.
10 Q. Do you know whether Vinko Martinovic knew about that and what was
11 his reaction to it, if you know that?
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott.
13 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President I think I've been silent completely up
14 to now but this now goes to the point of pure speculation, his state of
15 mind. I know hearsay is widely accepted by the Tribunal but nonetheless,
16 there are limits.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Seric. You may put your question another way
18 or you may skip this question completely.
19 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] I will skip that question, Your
20 Honour. No problem.
21 Q. Did Vinko Martinovic at that time, according to what you know,
22 have any military authority that would allow him to take any decisions
23 concerning the treatment of Muslims?
24 A. Absolutely not.
25 Q. The indictment alleges that the second wave of persecutions
1 happened in July, that is after the 30th of June, in July, 1993. Do you
2 remember what was the situation in Mostar like at that time and what
3 happened to Muslims then?
4 A. I believe I've also answered it sometime ago, to that question, at
5 least in part. Muslims wanted to cross to the other bank because the war
6 was going on and the Croats from the east bank wanted to cross to the
7 left bank. The war was going on. And both sides of Mostar, if I may put
8 it that way, were full. If I may put it that way, there was a surplus of
9 people. Muslims must have had 15 or 20.000 refugees from East
10 Herzegovina, Central Bosnia, what Serbs had expelled a few months
11 earlier. The Croats on the right bank must have had 4.000 or 5.000, I
12 didn't count them to give you the exact figure, I do not know but there
13 must have been no less than 4.000 or 5.000 Croats expelled from East
14 Herzegovina, Jablanica, Konjic, east part of Mostar, complete chaos. So
15 I'm not justifying it for one second but everybody, of course, cares about
16 his own roof. I am not justifying it, I'm merely stating facts. So
17 everybody was expelling everybody and forcing everybody out and forcing
18 everybody in.
19 Q. And what was Vinko's position at the time? Where was he?
20 A. Well, where he always was, at the front line.
21 Q. During that period of time, and I'm referring to the period after
22 the 30th of June, 1993, or if you like, at some other period of time
23 during that conflict, did Vinko's attitude towards Muslims change?
24 A. Absolutely not. Listen, somebody who is born in Mostar, grew up
25 in Mostar, was schooled in Mostar, is the same thing. I mean it's like
1 that even today. You're attitude does not change. So I claim that
2 Vinko's attitude did not change. He still had other Muslims in his unit,
3 just as he had many Serbs during the war against the Serbs. Vinko is
4 simply a child of Mostar, and things like that do not change like that.
5 It is another matter when circumstances are different, when you're at the
6 front line and you have an enemy facing you, then you're not interested in
7 that. But in a normal situation, in normal social relations, then Vinko,
8 and this is not pathetic, Vinko was simply not able to change his idea of
9 somebody overnight or anything like that.
10 Q. Then how do you explain the fact that this indictment alleges, and
11 that is what literally the indictment literally stays, Stela and his men,
12 Stelici, pursued the policy of persecution against the Bosnian Muslims?
13 A. You asked me that in a relatively short sentence. The important
14 thing to say, before I say anything else, is perhaps that for the duration
15 of the war, the war against the Serbs and the war between the Muslims and
16 the Croats, to put it that way, Vinko never stopped being a warrior,
17 without any political support, without any pedigree and at the same time,
18 without mercy, he was fortunate in the beginning and then unfortunate
19 later on, to have after the -- to have come out of the war against the
20 Serbs and later on against the Muslims, he and his units, as a hero. He
21 was one of the first to pick up his rifle. He fought and all that. And
22 then he ended up as he did. In the second part, Vinko took up the rifle
23 again. So you have a tragic-comic situation I might even say. Up this
24 front line of 30 or 50 metres that is one street, one Bulevar and those
25 boys called to one another across the street, they communicated because
1 they knew one another. They were together either in HOS or the HVO, they
2 were all together so they would shout to one another, "Come on, don't
3 fire," or"throw that tin," or something, and that worked. So very many
4 people because of that wanted to cross from the left to the right and from
5 the right to the left side. It is hard to believe but very many people
6 wanted to take across a bag with food, which is just human. That is
7 somebody whose family is left on the other side, then he says, "Come on,
8 let me through because I've got those my folk. So let me go through." So
9 Vinko could do that. He could stop the fire. He could say his name and
10 say, "Come, don't shoot, because we've got this bloke here who wants to
11 take some food over." So I mean, I know what it sounds like when you say
12 front line, but, no, not really, because this conflict, it was everybody's
13 conflict except those soldiers' conflict, those who fired shots there, and
14 that conduct of Vinko on the line and that's in that second part, I
15 presume drove crazy those who wanted to fight. I'm telling you that. I'm
16 putting it to you. Since at this part of the front line, at this part of
17 the long line because it was common knowledge that one could get through
18 and there would be no fire for five or seven days, it was possible because
19 they would talk together and would agree we won't open fire. Then on the
20 other side, Muslims, would bring units which were not local, which were
21 not from Mostar then they brought from that bank, units made from people,
22 I don't know, from Jablanica or made of those refugees and then regularly
23 in a -- there would be a shell hitting parts of Vinko's units or a bomb or
24 something. Because that is what they suited them, because war agreed with
25 them. And that is why I think that it was at about that time that this
1 play, I won't call it a conspiracy but this play began, this game against
2 Vinko because Vinko saw this war in his own way. He had to be there and
3 he knew what mother, father, children were, and he stood there.
4 Q. Are you aware of how there were people who falsely introduced
5 themselves like Stela's men? Stela's boys, Stelici?
6 A. On various occasions, therefore, on various occasions when I
7 personally saw that, and I can give you an example because it's very
8 simple, an example when a few friends approached me and then I spoke to --
9 with Vinko in order to clear the matter up. So it happened on several
10 occasions. But here I'll give you my personal example. I was in the
11 apartment when one could hear the siren, when one could hear a vehicle,
12 two shots in the air, and there were some Muslims there, and I came out on
13 to the balcony and I have to tell you that I was living on the first floor
14 of that building, there was a very high -- high ground floor and then the
15 first floor which was about the level of a normal second floor. And
16 downstairs there were two guys and I can really say they were lads because
17 neither was over 20, and they had weapons in their hands. And I asked
18 them, "Yes, boys, what do you want?" Are there any Muslims here? Yes,
19 there are. You'll show us who they are. We need to empty. Why do you
20 have to do that? Don't ask. Stela said so.
21 I did not know them. I more or less knew all the Stela's soldiers
22 because when I leave my apartment I have to pass by the base. And again,
23 while perhaps these are some new soldiers, perhaps these are new men. So
24 I tell them, "Lads, nothing doing. And you can tell him that." And I
25 made a sign as if I'd pay or something so to stop playing, or I said,
1 "I'll come downstairs and we shall clear it up." Of course they did not
2 wait for me. I want to point out that in the building in which I lived,
3 and there are 12 apartments, in three of them there were Croat families,
4 the rest were Muslim families. One night, I can mention the last name of
5 the family, I don't think there is anything -- one night, the Badzak
6 family were not in their apartment in the morning. That is, somebody had
7 come and taken them away. And I saw it as my personal defeat, my personal
8 defeat. Afterwards, I spoke over the telephone with Mrs. Badzak and she
9 was nice to me, thanked me for being in the building all the time, because
10 it had yielded some result against the break-ins of those night hordes.
11 She also sent greetings to Vinko and when I asked her if she knew who had
12 taken her away, she said that they were Stelici, Stela's boys. And then I
13 asked her how did she know that, know that they had said that they were
14 his boys, but that she knew that they couldn't be.
15 A third example. My personal friend and friend from work, after
16 the war, against the Serbs, left Mostar and went with his wife to
17 Germany. He's a Croat by ethnicity, and his wife is of Islamic faith.
18 And one day, he called me to ask me, because we were close friends, to ask
19 me to ask my brother to have his soldiers out of his flat and his
20 mother-in-law's flat, because she had been expelled from the -- from the
21 apartment, and driven across the river to the other side, to the east side
22 of Mostar. So I went to Vinko, to tell him that it was no good, that this
23 kind of rumour could be interpreted in different ways, and if something
24 like that happened, it would only confirm the rumour. So if there was
25 such -- because a friend had just called me and he knew that it was his
1 soldiers who were in his mother-in-law's apartment. I personally went to
2 that flat with three of Vinko's soldiers, and in that apartment, we found
3 two soldiers, one was a Croat from Konjic, another was a Croat from Opuzen
4 whom nobody had ever seen before. So I called back Zeljko Juric, my
5 friend from Germany and asked him to tell his mother-in-law to call the
6 international police, which was already in Mostar or some such
7 organisation, and tell them that neither Stela or Stelici were in her
8 apartment, and that in point of fact, she could return to her apartment
9 whenever she liked. Of course, accompanied by that police. And he was
10 quite embarrassed. He apologised. But that was the information that he
11 had received.
12 And later on, I tried to find out more, and I came to know that
13 lady quite well, and she exactly recounted to me the incident which took
14 place in that building, the building that she lived in. And it was like
15 this, roughly: There was a noise on the staircase, on the -- and some
16 questions which were asked, "Stela, shall we try this door, shall we try
17 that door, Stela, Stela?" Somebody making believe that they were asking
18 that. Of course those two soldiers left that flat. Nobody ever punished
19 them for that. That lady returned. She only thanked me, and the whole
20 neighbourhood around her continued to believe that it was Stela who had
21 evicted her from her apartment, and I can give you more examples if you
22 want me to.
23 Q. But why did they say that they were acting on Stela's behalf
24 rather than some other name?
25 MR. SCOTT: Again, I think that calls for pure speculation. How
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 does he know why -- unless he had a conversation with the men.
2 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Seric, can you rephrase your question?
3 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours, but I withdraw that
4 question. I'll move on, and I think it will be faster.
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
6 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Did Vinko Martinovic do something in that regard? Did he take
8 some steps?
9 A. Listen, the last example I gave you shows more or less how it --
10 what were the measures taken when the culprit would be found. So those
11 two guys who were in the flat simply left and nothing. As for Vinko, on
12 several occasions, he sent some lads in his unit packing. He reported
13 possible excesses. It is a fact, but I personally think that nobody can
14 produce a document that any member of his unit evicted somebody and
15 entered that flat. So if you mean sanctions in that regard, I do not
16 think that so. I do not think there was anyone to apply any measures
18 Q. But did he perhaps try to communicate with the public by a media?
19 A. When this practice gained momentum, that is whenever something
20 happened in the town people would start shouting that it was done by his
21 unit, by men from his unit, but simply nobody ever brought anyone from his
22 unit to say and take a photograph of him or bring him to court or catch
23 him red-handed. And Vinko and I discussed it a great deal at that time.
24 Vinko is too simple a person to see anything behind that, but I can say
25 freely that we even argued a little bit because I was telling him to give
1 up everything or to find some way to put an end to it. I can freely say
2 that I even forced him, that I drove him crazy with my insistence. So
3 that when he sat down and thought about it, and realised that it was going
4 too far, and then there was an incident at the separation line, then he
5 went to radio Mostar and I believe it was the only broadcast electronic
6 media that had some coverage. And then he said something that is that
7 every crime had a full name, that it shouldn't be associated with his
8 unit, that he was inviting citizens to report it to him, and so on and so
10 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge whether soldiers in Stela's
11 unit ever truly participated in the persecution as is alleged by the
13 A. No, I do not have any such personal knowledge.
14 Q. How did Vinko treat Muslims at that time? And what was your
15 Muslim neighbours' attitude to him?
16 A. I do not know how it will sound to this Court but Vinko is to this
17 day the favourite of the neighbours, a pet of the neighbours there, both
18 Muslim and Croat. And I believe I've answered your question. I think
19 their attitude is more than favourable.
20 Q. Did your Muslim neighbours turn to him for protection?
21 A. Yes. On several occasions, and I have personal knowledge of that,
22 because on several occasions, I went to see Vinko on somebody's behalf,
23 when somebody was threatened, and yes, the answer is on several
25 Q. Do you know or can you give us any specific examples, if you do,
1 can you give us the names, if you want to give us the names we will go to
2 the private session.
3 A. Yes, of course I do.
4 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Can we go to private session,
5 Mr. President?
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go to private session.
7 [Private session]
13 Page 13786 – redacted – private session
6 [Open session]
7 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Do you know what happened with Muslims, members of Vinko's unit,
9 the Vinko Skrobo unit?
10 A. One has to admit that there were also Croats who were members of
11 the BH Army, and again, one has to be honest and admit that their parents
12 were not very happy about that fact. The same was true of Vinko's unit,
13 but the only difference being that in Vinko's units, there were a lot of
14 Muslims. After a certain time, in agreement with Vinko, they just crossed
15 the separation line and abandoned the unit for a simple reason. Their
16 families were on the other side. So it didn't make sense for somebody to
17 shoot at the side where his family was, and there were never any problems
18 with that, to do something like that.
19 Q. Did Vinko maintain contact with these men, regardless of the fact
20 that they went to the other side? Did he maintain contacts with them? Do
21 you know anything about that?
22 A. I am trying to remember some examples to illustrate my answer. A
23 relative of mine, whose name I can mention, this gentleman died two years
24 ago, but his two children and wife still live, his last name was Sopta and
25 his first name was Tomo, he remained on the left side. He came in touch
1 with me via my friend, a lawyer from the left bank, I can tell his name
2 but not in an open session. And what he wanted to do, he wanted to get
3 away from the left bank, and then I asked Vinko what could be done about
4 that? And Vinko said, "You will wait a few days, and when the troops are
5 changed over, on the other side, then I saw how this was arranged. There
6 was some shouting, there was some arrangements, agreements, there were
7 contacts obviously because these people knew each other.
8 Q. Throughout all this time, the relevant time, where were you, what
9 did you do, what was your attitude towards Muslims?
10 A. Where I was, and where I worked, there were also Muslims working
11 with me. So the attitude was always the same.
12 Q. Do you know if detainees from the Heliodrom were brought to the
13 Vinko Skrobo unit?
14 A. Yes, I do know that.
15 Q. Do you know how they came, how they were brought to the unit?
16 A. I had an opportunity on one occasion to see a lorry in which they
17 were brought.
18 Q. Did you have the -- a way to find out what the treatment of these
19 detainees was?
20 A. On several occasions, I would go either into town or to work. I
21 would see among those detainees somebody I knew well or some of my
22 acquaintances. A number of times, I would take that person home to have a
23 bath. They were neither hungry nor thirsty. Sometimes they just wanted a
24 cigarette. But all of them wanted a bath. So I would take a number of
25 them to my home to have a bath. And nobody had anything against that.
1 They would be strolling around in the street and if anybody of them could
2 go to it my place to take a bath, then I assumed that everything else was
4 Q. Did you know what they did? What was their task?
5 A. In the part where I saw them, they -- their task would be to clean
6 somebody's courtyard, to clean the vehicles, to repair a bonnet of a
7 vehicle. They would be leaning against a wall. They would be spoke
8 smoking. That is as much as I know.
9 Q. You said in that part. Is that close to the medical centre or
10 close to the base?
11 A. The medical centre is the place that I did not visit, for two
12 reasons. My brother wouldn't let me. And the second, I did not have any
13 business being there. So it was close to the base, close to my apartment.
14 Q. Do you personally know whether, during such work, some of the
15 detainees were either injured or killed?
16 A. No. I think that nobody did. There were several detainees who
17 were always there, and they would talk to me, and I believe they would
18 have told me if something like that had happened. These are the guys that
19 I would regularly take home to have a bath.
20 Q. Did you ever hear of somebody called Nenad Harmandic and did you
21 know him personally?
22 A. I heard of him. I didn't know him personally.
23 Q. When did you hear that name?
24 A. When I read the indictment.
25 Q. Did you then find out who the man was?
1 A. No. What I read in the indictment is what I read in the
2 indictment. Then I made some inquiries and it was only then that I found
3 out who he was.
4 Q. Do you know anything about the destiny of Nenad Harmandic? Do you
5 know personally anything?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Did you ever talk to your brother about him?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. When was that and where, can you tell us?
10 A. When I first read the indictment against Vinko, it was published
11 somewhere, I don't know in which paper it was, but all the papers carried
12 that indictment because that indictment was somebody's victory. So
13 everybody read it, not just me. And most people did not understand that
14 indictment, but all of us noticed the name of Harmandic because that was
15 the only name in the indictment. At the time, Vinko was already in prison
16 in Zagreb, and I think that it was the first and last time when I talked
17 to Vinko about that, because before that, and after that, I didn't have
18 the chance to talk to him.
19 Q. Can you tell us what Vinko told you about this?
20 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott?
22 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I'm going to object. I know that we
23 have a liberal policy towards hearsay here but at least where I come from,
24 purely self-serving hearsay is highly objectionable. Let me just make
25 the point further this way: This brother could have had an extensive
1 discussion with his brother after the indictment on all sorts of topics
2 and I don't think it would be appropriate for him to come in here and then
3 relate to us secondhand all of his brother's positions on all the
4 allegations against him. I object.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour -- Your Honours, if I
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Seric, after consultations, we believe that
10 this part of the evidence is not relevant at all and is highly
11 self-serving in this aspect. So we would like to ask to you skip this
13 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour. I don't
14 want to discuss things with you because one does not discuss things with a
15 Trial Chamber, but I really did not understand. What I understood was
16 that I should skip this question. But what preceded that I did not
17 understand. This is a witness. This is not just a brother. This is a
18 witness under an oath.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Yes. We understand that. In some
20 jurisdictions, we have -- there are very strict limits to the testimony of
21 a close relative to the accused. But here, it seems to me we have a very
22 broad discretion to hear this witness. But when we evaluate the evidence
23 given by this witness, we will take that factor into consideration.
24 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] All right. I must repeat that I do
25 not understand because it seems that this witness should not have been
1 here in the first place because if he is the accused's -- the brother of
2 the accused, then it goes without saying that he is lying.
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Seric, as a matter of fact, whatever your
4 client said to his brother has very little weight for the evidence
5 purposes. So if you insist, we could allow you to ask this question to
6 this witness but, as a matter of fact, we put very little weight on this
7 part of the evidence. You have to understand that.
8 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I shall
9 skip the question.
10 Q. Did you talk to anybody else about that? And what did you learn?
11 A. About what now? I'm confused.
12 Q. About the destiny of Nenad Harmandic.
13 A. During the war in Mostar, there were some very ugly scenes of
14 killings, murders and accidents. I don't know how this is going to sound
15 to you. After a certain while, investigations were started or rumours
16 started circulating. Not knowing who Nenad Harmandic was, in a crowd of
17 people after having read the indictment, friends asked me, "What is it
18 with your brother? What does this it mean is he going to be okay? Is he
19 not going to be okay?" Then somebody said to me, "Hold on. I saw Nenad
20 on so and so date." And the other one says, "Well, I heard that he left
21 here or there." So there were several versions of this event. What my
22 brother told me is not even important.
23 Q. Thank you very much.
24 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, can we move to private
25 session for one question?
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go to the private session, please.
2 [Private session]
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
13 Page 13795 – redacted – private session
13 Page 13796 – redacted – private session
16 [Open session]
17 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Do you know if Vinko Martinovic took any disciplinary measures
19 against those soldiers who violated the discipline of the unit?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Any examples?
22 A. It depends. For example, a soldier would -- who would have been
23 thrown out of the unit would come to me and would tell me, "Can you please
24 talk to your brother? I didn't do anything bad." Then I would know that
25 it was a matter of classical disobedience, which was a classical sin
1 amongst the soldiers. If Vinko was the one who told me that he had thrown
2 somebody out of the unit, then I would know that that soldier had done
3 something major. So when something like that had happened, there was no
4 use of him to report that soldier to either the military or the civilian
6 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I would like to move on
7 to another subject but I can see it is 7.00, but I promise to finish
8 tomorrow within the time frame that I said I would, and that is three
9 hours for the direct examination.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, Witness, I'm afraid you have to stay in The
11 Hague for another day, and tomorrow we will continue your testimony. So
12 as I did to other witnesses, during your stay in The Hague, do not talk to
13 anybody about your testimony today, and do not let anybody talk to you
14 about it. Do you understand?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll resume tomorrow afternoon.
17 Yes, Mr. Par?
18 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] If you will allow me just a technical
19 matter regarding this witness, for tomorrow, if I can inform the Trial
20 Chamber, I'm going to mention some numbers. We have submitted, as the
21 Defence to this Trial Chamber, and to the Prosecution, the list of our
22 following witnesses, who belong to the first group, consisting of six
23 witnesses, and we intend to adhere to that sequence in that list we
24 mention that a witness under number 2, who should come second in a closed
25 session. We mentioned that the witness would arrive only tomorrow, and
1 therefore, he can give his testimony -- he may give his testimony the day
2 after tomorrow. What I would like to it announce now is that if
3 Mr. Martinovic's testimony is over tomorrow before the end of the day,
4 then it will not be witness number 2 on the list who will appear
5 tomorrow but witness number 3. If we do not finish before the end of the
6 day, then we will adhere to the order that we have furnished you with in
7 our list of witnesses.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much for the information. We'll resume
9 tomorrow afternoon.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
11 7.02 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday,
12 the 17th day of July, 2002, at 2.15 p.m.