1 Monday, 31 March 2003
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 3.02 p.m.
6 JUDGE LIU: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Madam
7 Registrar, could you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number
9 IT-98-34-T, the Prosecutor versus Naletilic and Martinovic.
10 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. For the sake of the record,
11 could we have the appearances, please. For the Prosecution.
12 MR. SCOTT: Good afternoon Mr. President, Your Honour Judge Clark,
13 Your Honour Judge Diarra. Kenneth Scott appearing for the Prosecutor,
14 together with Mr. Douglas Stringer, Mr. Vassily Poriouvaev, Roeland Bos,
15 Marie-Ursula Kind, and Kimberly Fleming. Thank you.
16 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. For the accused.
17 MR. KRSNIK: Good afternoon, Your Honours, Mr. President, Judge
18 Diarra, Judge Clark. Kresimir Krsnik as lead counsel and Mr. Christopher
19 Meek as co-counsel, and Nika Pinter as legal assistant.
20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
21 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours,
22 Judge Clark, Judge Diarra. My name is Branko Seric. I'm a member of the
23 Croatian bar, and I am the Defence counsel for Vinko Martinovic. I am
24 assisted by my co-counsel Zelimir Par, who is also a member of the
25 Croatian bar. Thank you very much.
1 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
2 Mr. Naletilic, can you hear the proceedings in a language that you
4 THE ACCUSED NALETILIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. You may sit down, please.
6 Mr. Martinovic, can you hear the proceedings in a language that
7 you understand?
8 THE ACCUSED MARTINOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I can.
9 JUDGE LIU: We haven't seen you for about five months. Do you
10 have anything to complain? How about your health?
11 THE ACCUSED MARTINOVIC: [Interpretation] It's fine.
12 JUDGE LIU: You may sit down, please.
13 Trial Chamber I, Section A is sitting today to deliver the
14 judgement in the trial of Vinko Martinovic and Mladen Naletilic.
15 The purposes of this hearing, the Chamber will summarise briefly
16 its findings, emphasising that it is a summary only and that the only
17 authoritative account of the Trial Chamber's findings and of its reasons
18 for those findings are to be found in the written judgement, copies of
19 which will be made available to the parties and to the public at the
20 conclusion of this hearing.
21 Before turning to the merits, the Chamber wishes to thank the
22 legal support team, the translators and the interpreters, the court
23 management section, the security, as well as the Victim and Witness
24 Section for having facilitated the conduct of this trial.
25 Now I turn to Judge Diarra.
1 JUDGE DIARRA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
2 The indictment concerned events alleged to have occurred between
3 April 1993 and January 1994 in the course of a conflict between the army
4 of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Croatian Defence Council in the
5 south-western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in particular, in Mostar
6 and the surrounding municipalities. The Prosecution alleged that this
7 conflict was international in nature and that the alleged crimes were part
8 of a widespread, large-scale or systematic attack directed against the
9 Bosnian Muslim population.
10 The accused Mladen Naletilic and Vinko Martinovic have been
11 charged to have committed crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the
12 Geneva Conventions of 1949, and violations of the laws or customs of war
13 in their positions of commanders of the Convicts Battalion and of the
14 Vinko Skrobo ATG respectively. They are charged with both direct and
15 command responsibility under Articles 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute.
16 More specifically, the accused Mladen Naletilic stood trial on the
17 following charges:
18 1. Persecution on political, racial, and religious grounds for
19 having subjected Bosnian Muslim civilians to unlawful confinement,
20 forcible transfer, mistreatments, unlawful labour, as well as for having
21 destroyed and plundered Bosnian Muslim property;
22 2. Inhumane acts, inhumane treatment, cruel treatment, unlawful
23 labour, murder and wilful killing for having forced Bosnian Muslim
24 detainees to perform dangerous or unlawful labour, sometimes knowingly
25 exposing them to a high likelihood of death or serious injury; (Counts 2
1 to 8)
2 3. Torture, cruel treatment, and wilfully causing great suffering
3 or serious injury to body or health as a result of the mistreatments
4 committed against Bosnian Muslim civilians and prisoners of war; (Counts 9
5 to 12)
6 4. Unlawful transfer of civilians for having commanded or ordered
7 the forcible transfer of Bosnian Muslim civilians following the attack on
8 the villages of Sovici and Doljani on the 17th of April, 1993, and in the
9 course of the conflict in Mostar between the 9th of May, 1993, and January
10 1994; (Count 18)
11 5. Extensive destruction of property and wanton destruction not
12 justified by military necessity for the destruction of Bosnian Muslim
13 property following the attacks on Sovici, Doljani, Mostar, and Rastani
14 between April and September 1993; (Counts 19 to 20)
15 6. Plunder of public or private property following the attacks on
16 Sovici, Doljani, Mostar, and Rastani between April and September 1993;
17 (Count 21) and
18 7. Seizure, destruction or wilful damage done to institutions
19 dedicated to religion for having ordered the destruction of the mosque of
20 Sovici following the attack on the village, (Count 22).
21 A total of 17 counts are held against him.
22 The accused Vinko Martinovic stood trial on the following charges:
23 1. Persecution on political, racial, and religious grounds for
24 having subjected Bosnian Muslim civilians to unlawful confinement,
25 forcible transfer, mistreatments, unlawful labour, as well as for having
1 destroyed and plundered Bosnian Muslim property; (Count 1)
2 2. Inhumane acts, inhumane treatment, cruel treatment, unlawful
3 labour, murder and wilful killing for having forced Bosnian Muslim
4 detainees to perform dangerous or unlawful labour, sometimes knowingly
5 exposing them to a high likelihood of death or serious injury; (Counts 2
6 to 8)
7 3. Cruel treatment and wilfully causing great suffering or
8 serious injury to body or health as a result of the mistreatments
9 committed against Bosnian Muslim civilians and prisoners of war; (Counts 9
10 to 12)
11 4. Murder and wilful killing of the detainee Nenad Harmandzic in
12 July 1993 while he was under the responsibility of the Vinko Skrobo ATG in
13 Mostar; or alternatively, cruel treatment and wilfully causing great
14 suffering or serious injury to body or health to Nenad Harmandzic who was
15 allegedly subjected to severe beatings by subordinates of the accused;
16 (Counts 13 to 17)
17 5. Unlawful transfer of civilians for having commanded or ordered
18 the forcible transfer of Bosnian Muslim civilians in the course of the
19 conflict in Mostar between the 9th of May, 1993, and January 1994; (Count
21 6. Plunder of public or private property following the attack on
22 Mostar on 9 May 1993; (Count 21).
23 A total of 18 counts are held against him.
24 Following the presentation of the Prosecution case and pursuant to
25 Rule 98 bis of the rules, the Chamber found that no or insufficient
1 evidence had been presented concerning the incidents described in
2 paragraphs 42 and 47 of the indictment, respectively relating to the
3 alleged death of prisoners as a direct result of their use as human
4 shields on the 17th of September, 1993, and to the alleged mistreatment of
5 Witness B in the base of the KB in Siroki Brijeg.
6 The trial commenced on the 10th of September, 2001, and concluded
7 on the 31st of October, 2002. The Chamber heard a total of 84 witnesses
8 for the Prosecution, 35 for the Naletilic defence, and 27 for the
9 Martinovic defence. Throughout the trial, approximately 2.750 exhibits
10 were admitted.
11 The Chamber will now summarise its findings on the charges held
12 against both accused.
13 JUDGE LIU: Now I turn to Judge Clark.
14 JUDGE CLARK: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Ladies and gentlemen, long after this Tribunal has determined its
16 last case, historians and political scholars will continue to debate and
17 theorise the genesis and causes of the wars in the former Yugoslavia.
18 This is not our task, and we have steered a course away from formulating
19 any theories of our own or findings as to the causes of the war. Our duty
20 as Judges of the International Tribunal is to determine whether the case
21 brought by the Prosecution against Mladen Naletilic "Tuta" or Vinko
22 Martinovic "Stela" is proved.
23 The events surrounding the accusations against Naletilic and
24 Martinovic took place in south-western Herzegovina, the south-most portion
25 of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is the only case so far to deal with this
1 particular region. Traditionally, Southern Herzegovina was the home to a
2 large number of inhabitants who declared themselves as Croats and who
3 shared the Catholic faith and traditions of their neighbours in Croatia.
4 Considering the geographic position of the two countries, this is not at
5 all surprising. The same area was also home to a significant number of
6 Muslims who shared no religious ties with Croatia. Both groups of people
7 speak the same language with regional and traditional variations in accent
8 and some vocabulary.
9 The capital of this area of Herzegovina was the ancient and lovely
10 Ottoman City of Mostar with a culturally diverse population of Croats,
11 Muslims, Serbs, Jews, and others. In the upheaval and tearing apart which
12 followed the expression of national or ethnic identity which occurred
13 throughout the regions of the former Yugoslavia from 1990 onwards, the
14 control of Mostar and the adjacent areas played an important and
15 profoundly tragic part. No people escaped the effects of this episode of
17 Prior to the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, Mostar was an
18 ethnically diverse city with areas within the city which were enclaves of
19 Serbs, Croats, or Muslims. For the most part, however, the city was
20 ethnically mixed with a long history of tolerance. This is evidenced by
21 the presence of Franciscan monasteries, Orthodox churches, a Roman
22 Catholic cathedral, convents, a synagogue, and 19 mosques which had
23 survived many centuries of political change, including more than 40 years
24 of single party socialist rule. The city is divided by the fast flowing
25 Neretva River. The older and more historic part of the city is on the
1 east bank and was traditionally the more Muslim and Serb end of the town.
2 The eastern side was, during the Serb conflict and then the Croat/Muslim
3 war, subjected to merciless bombardment and is now in a state of ruin.
4 The painfully beautiful old arched bridge which stood over the Neretva
5 River for four centuries was blasted and finally destroyed in November
7 Although Mostar and the surrounding region was the battleground of
8 several conflicts between the different groups in the break-up of the
9 former Yugoslavia, this judgement deals only with the short period running
10 from April 1993 to March 1994. The indictment deals only with the
11 conflict between the BH Croats and Muslims. These two ethnic groups had
12 cooperated and fought jointly in 1992 in the Serb-Montenegrin conflict.
13 Sadly, many factors, the rights and wrongs of which it is not our task to
14 adjudicate, led to a bitter conflict and Mostar itself became a divided
15 city with the ABiH on the east side and the HVO on the western part. The
16 war was hard and brutal.
17 In dealing with the background to the allegations in this case,
18 this Trial Chamber has noted a strange uniformity in the description of
19 these tragic events from all the witnesses called. The war with the Serbs
20 is always referred to as the "Serb aggression" or the "Serb and
21 Montenegrin aggression," but the conflicts between the HVO and the ABiH or
22 between the Croats and the Muslims is always referred to as the war. The
23 disappearance of more than 20 per cent of the population of the city
24 following the Serb withdrawal in mid-1992 elicited no regret or adverse
25 comment from witnesses.
1 Many Defence witnesses testified that it was the constitutional
2 duty of Croatia to protect Croats throughout the world and, therefore, the
3 Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Counsel for the defence of Naletilic,
4 and witnesses called on his behalf, asserted that there was no such thing
5 as a "Bosnian Croat." There were only Croats from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
6 Many Defence witnesses objected strongly to this description, yet the same
7 witnesses frequently, no doubt inadvertently, used the description
8 "Bosnian Croat" themselves. There was objection to the use of the name
9 "Bosnia" to describe the country. There is no doubt that some of the
10 country is indeed called Bosnia, and some of the country is traditionally
11 Herzegovina, and the whole entity is known as Bosnia and Herzegovina. A
12 country enjoying such an unfortunately long name is described almost
13 universally by its shortened name, Bosnia. We heard the testimony of
14 witnesses against such a background of sensitivities. For the purposes of
15 this judgement, therefore, we propose to refer to the participants as BH
16 Croats, Muslims, and BH Serbs. Croat simpliciter refers to citizens of
17 the Republic of Croatia. As mentioned previously, the scene of the
18 accusations is Herzegovina in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
19 Many witnesses did their best to recount painful events from eight
20 or nine years ago. Sometimes, however, the level of untruthful testimony
21 presented was disappointing. Some witnesses exaggerated the facts. Some
22 were economical with the truth and some told deliberate untruths. It has
23 been disappointing to note the frequency with which well-positioned
24 witnesses saw nothing, heard nothing, and knew nothing of important events
25 in their local area. It is accepted that in a bitter inter-ethnic
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 conflict the same events can and frequently are described in quite
2 different and sometimes irreconcilable ways. The Trial Chamber allows for
3 this possibility. The Trial Chamber excludes this slant or interpretation
4 of the evidence in the assessment of witnesses who were untruthful. Our
5 comments refer to witnesses who presented untruthful testimony quite
6 deliberately and not from a genuine although objectively misconceived
7 perception of events.
8 At all stages we have approached the evidence from the premise
9 that the Prosecution must carry the burden of truth and that any
10 reasonable doubt raised must inure to the benefit of the accused. Because
11 of the continuing mistrust between the two communities with divided
12 loyalties, unless we found consistency between the evidence of independent
13 sources and the evidence of participants, we rejected that evidence as
14 unreliable. Almost 150 witnesses were heard and a very large volume of
15 documents were presented for the Trial Chamber's consideration.
16 Documents play a key role in this trial. The vast bulk of the
17 documents came from the HVO archive which is retained in Zagreb. These
18 included some of the records from the Heliodrom prison or camp, which
19 document the daily releases of prisoners to work for named units of the
20 HVO and the HV. The HVO archives are a careful, meticulous military-style
21 recording of army reports and orders and equally carefully prepared
22 reports and orders of the civilian administration of the HVO government.
23 The Chamber also received daily reports and weekly summaries from
24 international observers and from humanitarian organisations. The Chamber
25 also received documents which were seized from the headquarters of the
1 Kaznjenicka Bojna in Siroki Brijeg pursuant to a search warrant. These
2 documents confirmed much of the evidence received from seven previous
3 members of the KB and leave no doubt as to the position of Mladen
4 Naletilic, Tuta, as Supreme Commander of the KB.
5 The Chamber also received the humble diary of a careful and
6 observant man who recorded in a pre-used notebook the daily happenings of
7 the HVO command at Orlovac at the old fish farm outside Doljani. This
8 diary records in some detail the comings and goings of Tuta during the
9 period material to the accusations relating to Sovici and Doljani. In
10 spite of efforts by the Defence to minimise the diarist's role in the HVO
11 or to deny his presence at the fish farm, the Chamber is satisfied that
12 this diary is a genuine and reliable document. The Chamber ordered that a
13 photocopy be made of the original diary and a translation be made of this
14 photocopy and compared with the original presented to the Chamber through
15 the witness who had retained it for many years. The Chamber has no doubt
16 as to the authenticity of this diary, which is not to say that the
17 contents of the diary are necessarily true. The diary represents what the
18 writer recorded of events as they occurred to him and has corroborated the
19 testimony of other witnesses as to their treatment when brought as
20 captured prisoners to the fish farm. It has also assisted the Naletilic
21 Defence in placing Tuta in Doljani on the 19th of April, 1993, and not
22 before that.
23 A small number of documents were received from the Muslim
24 component of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the most part,
25 these documents were taken from the same HVO Command at the fish farm in
1 Orlovac and the ABiH overran Doljani in July of 1993. This is how the
2 Rados diary came to the attention of the Chamber which saw and examined
3 the original.
4 All the documents indicate an extraordinary consistency with
5 testimony of witnesses and provided corroboration in contested issues.
6 Having made those preliminary comments, we return to the subject
7 matter of this trial.
8 Mladen Naletilic is aged 56 and was born on the 1st of December,
9 1946 in Siroki Brijeg, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nicknames are a common
10 feature with witnesses in this case to the extent that many persons were
11 known only by their nickname, to the loss of their family identity.
12 Mladen Naletilic has the nickname Tuta and indeed was known by many
13 witnesses only as Tuta, Mr. Tuta or General Tuta. The accused often
14 signed documents using only this name and other documents as Mladen
15 Naletilic-Tuta, hence this nickname Tuta as one of the accused.
16 Siroki Brijeg is 14 kilometres west of Mostar. It is on the main
17 route from Mostar to the Croatian border the sea or the Adriatic coast and
18 approximately 40 kilometres from Doljani and Sovici. By all accounts
19 Siroki Brijeg is an exclusively Roman Catholic town with a population of
20 less than 30.000 people.
21 For its size, Siroki Brijeg plays a surprisingly large part in
22 this case, being the birthplace of Mladen Naletilic and the birthplace or
23 habitual residence of a very large number of witnesses called by the
24 Naletilic Defence.
25 The evidence in relation to where Tuta lived and worked before he
1 returned to live in Siroki Brijeg is unclear. There have been oblique
2 references to his wealth, his villa with landscaping and swimming pool in
3 a terrain with no water supply, his being driven in an expensive car
4 surrounded by bodyguards. For an extended period of his life, he lived
5 outside Herzegovina in Germany and returned to Siroki Brijeg to live and
6 build a villa in the early 1990s. He appears to have been a generous
7 donor to the citizens of Siroki Brijeg, supporting the town's religious
8 and sporting activities while living and working abroad.
9 In 1991, Tuta was in his mid-40s. He is a slightly built man
10 given to wearing longish hair. Photographs taken of him during the period
11 of conflict show a light-framed man with glasses, a beard and longish
12 graying hair. He does not present as the usual military commander.
13 Before he returned to Siroki Brijeg in 1990 or 1991, he had
14 already set up an independent paramilitary group known as the Convicts
15 Battalion, KB, or Kaznjenicka Bojna, with the knowledge and approval of
16 Dr. Franjo Tudjman. This group was described as a special purposes unit
17 engaged in sabotage and infiltrating enemy lines. Under the leadership
18 and tutelage of Mladen Naletilic and his close associate Ivan Andabak, the
19 small group grew in popularity and legend, becoming for its fans the group
20 which was instrumental in the defeat of the Serbs and the liberation of
21 Mostar in the spring of 1992.
22 The break-up of Yugoslavia and single party rule produced a period
23 of extreme lawlessness. Defence counsel for Mr. Naletilic described the
24 early days of the conflicts between the different ethnic groups in Mostar
25 as where every man who had a weapon was a soldier and every man who had
1 enough money could by weapons and uniforms to set up a unit and call
2 himself commander. In spite of the arms embargo, it seems that for the BH
3 Croats, weapons and uniforms were readily available. Later this became
4 the situation for almost all citizens.
5 After the Serb withdrawal, Tuta, who enjoyed somewhat of a cult
6 status, being described over and over again by witnesses as a legend. In
7 the meanwhile, the Convicts Battalion grew in numbers and engaged in
8 continuing combat against the BH Serbs and the forces of the JNA until
9 June of 1992 to emerge again under the HVO umbrella in early skirmishes
10 against the BH Muslim forces in late 1992 or early 1993.
11 Tuta was a close friend and associate of Gojko Susak, Minister of
12 Defence in the government of Croatia, thus affording a line of
13 communication to President Franjo Tudjman. He was associated with Mate
14 Boban, president of the HDZ in BH and president of the HZ HB. There is no
15 evidence to show that he was a member of the HDZ nor that he was a member
16 of the government of HZ HB or the subsequent HR HB. The Defence deny that
17 he played any role during the war and deny that he was the commander of
18 the Convicts Battalion, but we are satisfied that he was a man of
19 influence and importance in the affairs of the Croatian Community of
20 Herzegovina. He was in a position to negatively affect the lives of the
21 BH Muslims during the war.
22 Vinko Martinovic, Stela, is aged 39 and was born on the 21st of
23 September, 1963 in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was brought up in
24 an ethnically diverse area of Mostar called Rodoc. He grew up, worked,
25 and lived in close association with Muslims. Prior to the war, he had
1 mostly been engaged as a taxi driver in Mostar. Many of the witnesses,
2 including his brother and some neighbours, described him as a natural born
3 leader and a patriot. In 1992 when the conflict in Mostar started against
4 the Serb-Montenegrin army, Vinko Martinovic, at the age of 29, joined the
5 HOS, a paramilitary group of BH Croats and Muslims where he became the
6 commander of the Mostar Battalion. He was never engaged politically. He
7 was a local Mostar boy with a basic education.
8 Following the breakdown of relations between BH Muslims and BH
9 Croats, HOS was dissolved and Vinko Martinovic became the commander of an
10 anti-terrorist group, an ATG of the HVO called Vinko Skrobo or Mrmak. This
11 small group was part of the Convicts Battalion, although for the most part
12 they led a fairly independent existence. Vinko Martinovic, who carries
13 the nickname Stela, appears to have prospered as such leader and to have
14 gathered to himself a group of like-minded young men. It is an
15 unfortunately sad fact of life that in wartime, groups of mean-spirited
16 profiteers and bullies frequently emerge. Under the guise of a uniform
17 and the safety of arms and numbers, they proclaim themselves commanders
18 and take over areas to the disadvantage of other citizens and to the
19 benefit of themselves. Vinko Martinovic is an example of those who
20 prosper during war. He rose from a taxi driver to a commander. When he
21 first appeared before the Tribunal, he described himself as a restaurant
22 owner. Throughout the trial, he was presented as a simple foot soldier
23 doing his best to protect his town and area from attack.
24 The 22 counts in the indictment are alleged to have occurred
25 during an international armed conflict and partial occupation of the
1 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These crimes are alleged to have been
2 perpetrated by the Conflicts Battalion with the armed forces of the HVO
3 who the Prosecution alleges were backed and supported by the HV in the
4 municipalities of Mostar and Jablanica.
5 It is alleged that Mladen Naletilic, Tuta, commanded the Convicts
6 Battalion, or KB, within the HVO from its headquarters in Siroki Brijeg
7 and that Vinko Martinovic, Stela, commanded a sub-unit, a so-called
8 anti-terrorist group, an ATG, of the Conflicts Battalion known as Mrmak
9 and later named Vinko Skrobo, on the front line in Mostar.
10 The Prosecution alleges that on the 17th of April, 1993, the HV
11 and the HVO, including the Convicts Battalion under the overall command of
12 Mladen Naletilic, Tuta, participated in attacks on Sovici and Doljani, two
13 villages in the municipality of Jablanica. During this operation, the BH
14 Muslim population were forcibly removed from these villages and their
15 houses and mosque were destroyed. The first part of our findings of fact
16 will therefore relate to these two villages, whether the events occurred
17 within an international armed conflict, and whether Mladen Naletilic,
18 Tuta, was the leader of the KB at the time and whether he was in overall
19 control of the Sovici/Doljani military operation.
20 The Prosecution further alleges that on the 9th of May, 1993,
21 forces of the HV and the HVO including the Convicts Battalion and the
22 Mrmak, later Vinko Skrobo, participated in launching a large military
23 offensive against the BH Muslim population in the town of Mostar provoking
24 the separation of Mostar along the confrontation line, dividing the city
25 between Croats and Muslims.
1 In the closing arguments of the Naletilic defence, the Trial
2 Chamber was addressed on the writings of a professor of law and
3 anthropology who it was alleged had written that this Tribunal "delivers
4 justice that is biased with prosecutorial decisions based on national
5 characteristics of the accused rather than on the available evidence
6 indicating what he has done."
7 The Trial Chamber was also reminded of the Kupreskic decision of
8 the Appeals Chamber which reversed the findings of the Trial Chamber and
9 acquitted the accused, and urged us to apply the same principles outlined
10 in that Appeal judgement.
11 This Trial Chamber can assure the parties that we have heard and
12 given deep consideration to all of the very many worthy representations
13 made by the Defence and the Prosecution counsel.
14 In many instances, both of the accused shared witnesses and
15 adopted similar legal arguments. There was no serious difference between
16 them as to issues argued. Both parties took the position that every
17 material fact was denied and that all facts were in issue. Although Vinko
18 Martinovic in his pre-trial brief accepted that he was the commander of
19 the Vinko Skrobo ATG during the relevant period, at trial he appeared to
20 have resiled from this position and witnesses who had previously been
21 prisoners at the Heliodrom prison were frequently cross-examined as to
22 visual identification of Stela, his headquarters of Kalemova Street or the
23 frontline at the Bulevar.
24 The main thrust of Mladen Naletilic's defence was that he was not
25 the commander of the KB and that the commander was Ivan Andabak. During
1 the Defence case, after more than 50 witnesses had been cross-examined and
2 after seven Defence witnesses had presented their evidence, the Defence
3 became more specific. For the first time the Chamber heard that Mladen
4 Naletilic had resigned from the KB in the early autumn months of 1992 due
5 to failing health and that he therefore was not responsible either as a
6 superior or as a perpetrator of any of the counts charged.
7 Clearly, if the Prosecution cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt
8 that Mladen Naletilic, Tuta, was commander of the KB in April 1993 to
9 January 1994, then all counts against him fail and he must be acquitted.
10 Such a finding would not affect the counts against Vinko Martinovic,
11 Stela, although of course the rejection of much of the evidence against
12 Naletilic would well affect the credibility of witnesses who gave evidence
13 concerning the role of both accused. Before dealing specifically with
14 each count in the indictment, it is proposed to make factual findings on
15 the chronological sequence of events which form the basis for specific
17 The witnesses and documents in this case deal mainly with first
18 the background to the conflict, the involvement of the Republic of Croatia
19 to the conflict, the military picture of the Convicts Battalion within the
20 HVO structures, and the locations of the crimes charged.
21 The accused have been charged with grave breaches of the Geneva
22 Conventions as included in Article 2 of the Statute. The jurisdictional
23 prerequisites therefore are that the conflict must be international by the
24 intervention of another state in that conflict through direct deployment
25 of its troops or by indirect intervention so as to exercise overall
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 control over one of the parties to the conflict. The victims of the
2 alleged crimes must be protected persons.
3 The circumstances leading up to the conflict between the HVO and
4 the ABiH in this part of Herzegovina differ little if at all from the
5 factual and historical backdrop of two other cases already dealt with by
6 this Tribunal. These are the Prosecutor versus Blaskic, and the
7 Prosecutor versus Kordic and Cerkez. Those judgements were delivered on
8 the 3rd of March, 2000, and the 26th of February, 2001. Although both of
9 these cases involve the conflict between the HVO and the ABiH in the area
10 of the Lasva Valley, the essential ingredients relating to jurisdictional
11 prerequisites are identical.
12 The location of the crimes alleged in this case and in Blaskic and
13 Kordic is all within the separate self-proclaimed Herceg-Bosna. As in
14 those two cases, there is ample evidence of deployment of Croatian army
15 troops and equipment in the area of Herzegovina during the period of this
16 indictment. Many, many victims and prisoners who were witnesses in this
17 case had daily sightings of soldiers wearing HV uniforms, driving HV
18 vehicles, and occupying separate areas of the Heliodrom, a former JNA
19 military barracks used during the conflict for the detention of prisoners
20 of war and other mainly Muslim detainees. These troops appeared to fight
21 in separate units under separate commands, thereby belying the Defence
22 claim that they were for the most part volunteers of Herzegovinian origin
23 who had taken up arms against the Serbs for Croatia and, after that
24 conflict, had returned to protect their homes from ABiH attack.
25 This same Defence has been argued and rejected in the Blaskic and
1 Kordic cases and has equally been rejected by this Trial Chamber. The
2 sheer volume of testimony and documents recording the presence and
3 participation of HV troops from reliable independent sources and the HVO
4 archives leaves little doubt on this question.
5 There is ample evidence of Croatia's attempts to conceal its
6 direct involvement in the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina from the
7 documents presented during the trial and referred to as the Presidential
8 Transcripts. These documents were first the subject of debate during the
9 last stages of the trial of Dario Kordic, the former senior political
10 ruler of Herceg-Bosna. The Trial Chamber heard evidence as to the
11 technical details of the taping and subsequent transcription of
12 conversations at meetings which took place in President Tudjman's office.
13 The Trial Chamber received that testimony under Rule 92 bis and
14 was assisted in matters relating to the examination of this extremely
15 valuable archive by Mr. Marko Prlic. This is the first Trial Chamber to
16 rely on the contents of this portion of the Presidential Transcripts,
17 which were immensely helpful in highlighting unambiguous evidence of
18 President Tudjman's deep involvement in the affairs of Herceg-Bosna, the
19 HVO, and the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The findings which follow
20 therefore are made in the context of an international armed conflict.
21 The Trial Chamber finds that Mladen Naletilic, Tuta, was one of
22 the main commanders of the plan to take Sovici and Doljani as part of an
23 overall plan to take Jablanica, a predominantly Muslim town which resisted
24 being included in a Croat dominated Herceg-Bosna. Ivan Andabak and Mario
25 Hrkac, known as Cikota, were with him as commanders of the KB units.
1 In April 1993, the Jablanica area was in a state of readiness for
2 conflict on both sides, and acts of provocation, manipulation of media
3 reports and gross exaggeration of mutual fears were common. The arrival
4 of large numbers of Muslim refugees from the Serb conflict into Jablanica
5 upset the ethnic balance and contributed to heightened tensions. There
6 were troop movements of both sides into the area and roadblocks were a
7 common occurrence after the 15th of April. The local Muslim population
8 was less unprepared than witnesses were prepared to admit. The Chamber
9 has no function in determining the rights and wrongs in the overall
10 political situation which prevailed in the larger conflict. This Trial
11 Chamber does not minimise or condone the subsequent military activity in
12 the village of Doljani where it is agreed that atrocities took place in
13 July of the same year.
14 The Trial Chamber finds that in the local conflict which ensued in
15 Sovici and Doljani, Mladen Naletilic was instrumental in the gross
16 mistreatment of some of the captured soldiers loyal to the ABiH and in the
17 mistreatment of the civilian population and their property. The local
18 Muslims were without doubt outgunned and outmanned in the days of the 17th
19 of April and thereafter. Following their surrender, they became protected
20 persons subject to the protection of the Geneva Conventions III and IV.
21 The commanders of the occupying forces were obliged to follow the duties
22 imposed by these conventions for the treatment of civilians and prisoners
23 of war. Had these conventions been upheld, Mladen Naletilic would not be
24 before this Tribunal today.
25 The 75 to 80 men who surrendered their arms to the HVO that day
1 were not all combatants. They were interrogated by Ivan Andabak, among
2 others, held overnight in unpleasant conditions, and transported the next
3 day to Ljubuski prison. The Muslim houses of Sovici and Doljani were for
4 the most part torched and remain uninhabitable to this day. All the
5 civilians of Sovici were held against their will in either the school
6 building or crowded into a small hamlet under armed guard for almost three
7 weeks when they were effectively expelled to ABiH-held territory. Mladen
8 Naletilic is guilty of their unlawful transfer.
9 Many of the soldiers who surrendered to the HVO in the village of
10 Sovici testified to harrowing mistreatment on the bus on the way to and
11 while in Ljubuski prison. Witness Y was specifically selected for
12 especially cruel treatment. His tormentors were frequently members of the
13 Convicts Battalion who it was reported were beyond the control of either
14 the prison commander or the local police. This same torture and
15 mistreatment became the pattern in the Heliodrom and Siroki Brijeg. The
16 same specific members of the Conflicts Battalion were identified on
17 numerous occasions. They belonged either to the KB unit in Siroki Brijeg
18 or to the Mrmak/Vinko Skrobo unit. They acted with apparent impunity
19 under the command of Mladen Naletilic. Mladen Naletilic must take
20 responsibility for the actions of his subordinates as he observed their
21 treatment of prisoners at Sovici and Doljani and on the bus taking
22 prisoners to Ljubuski and he did nothing to prevent further ill-treatment
23 or to punish his soldiers' behaviour.
24 Some of the ABiH soldiers who refused to surrender and who may
25 have continued to resist the HVO attack were captured a few days later.
1 They were taken to the HVO headquarters in Doljani to Naletilic who was
2 described to them only as Tuta. There they were beaten, tortured, and
3 abused in the presence of and with the participation of Mladen Naletilic.
4 It is a great pity that a man much respected and revered by his soldiers
5 acted as he did. He could with ease have been an example to his troops.
6 Instead, his abuse of captured combatants, his tolerance of the appalling
7 mistreatment of the local ABiH commander by his soldiers, the ordering of
8 the destruction of Muslim houses and mosque in Doljani, the forced
9 transfer of all Muslims out of the area, all set the pattern for future
10 abuse of Muslim prisoners by the soldiers in his Convicts Battalion.
11 Many of the men from the village who became prisoners at Ljubuski
12 were subsequently moved to the Heliodrom and forced to work on the
13 confrontation line in Mostar. One family in Sovici lost three sons in
15 The next scene of enquiry and findings is Mostar. The simmering
16 tensions between the HVO and the ABiH bubbled over on the 9th of May, 1993
17 when a well-organised mass roundup of Muslims to the Heliodrom was carried
18 out. At the same time, there was a massive attack and bombardment of the
19 ABiH headquarters. The roundup involved the civilian population of
20 Mostar. Their only common denominator was their Muslim identity. Young
21 and old, influential or insignificant, they were herded out of their homes
22 in the early morning and directed at gunpoint to collection centres and
23 then to the Heliodrom where no reason for their transfer and detention was
24 given apart from that it was for their protection. It was not deemed
25 necessary to lock up BH Croat citizens of Mostar. The Red Cross and other
1 humanitarian organisations were denied access to the Heliodrom until the
2 international community became involved and effected the release of the
3 women, children, and elderly men. Assurances to release the other
4 detainees were not heeded.
5 Many of the other Muslim civilians were forced to cross the
6 Neretva to the east side of the city. The ABiH soldiers in their
7 headquarters and the civilian residents of the same high-rise building
8 complex remained under siege until they surrendered the following day.
9 The soldiers were then separated from the group and brought by Juka, a
10 commander of a KB unit, to Mladen Naletilic and many other HVO luminaries.
11 The soldiers were physically and psychologically abused by Naletilic in
12 the presence of his soldiers, thereby repeating the pattern set in Sovici
13 and Doljani. These soldiers were then directed by Naletilic personally to
14 the MUP station in Siroki Brijeg, his hometown and the seat of the KB
15 headquarters, where they were held under inhumane conditions and
16 frequently and severely abused.
17 Some of the prominent civilian leaders who emerged from the
18 besieged Vranica building were tortured and mistreated and held in
19 captivity until the end of the conflict. Mladen Naletilic is responsible
20 personally for the torture of Z. Witness FF, one of the ABiH soldiers who
21 surrendered, was the son of a prominent politician. He was personally
22 tortured by Naletilic who, following interrogation, informed him that his
23 father had been executed that morning. The prisoner lost the use of his
24 arm when injured while obliged to repair fortifications on the front line,
25 and he believed that his father was dead right up to the date of his
1 release in March 1994.
2 The soldiers who surrendered in Mostar were held at the MUP
3 station in Siroki Brijeg and were subjected to violent assaults by members
4 of the Convicts Battalion. Some named prisoners were selected for
5 interrogation and torture. The Chamber finds Mladen Naletilic responsible
6 as commander for this torture. There is no reason to suppose that Mladen
7 Naletilic, who had personally directed the detention of these prisoners to
8 Siroki Brijeg following a threat to have them executed, was unaware of the
9 conditions of their detention and their treatment. Similarly, when
10 prisoners of war were subjected to cruel treatment at both the MUP station
11 and the cells in his headquarters at Siroki Brijeg tobacco station, he
12 must bear command responsibility for this prohibited treatment.
13 After some time, the prisoners in Siroki Brijeg were taken out to
14 work on the municipal pool. This pool has been wrongly described as
15 Tuta's pool. Some skilled prisoners of war worked for specified members
16 of the Convicts Battalion. The testimony of these prisoners established
17 that their skills were instrumental in preventing further abuse at the
18 hands of those notorious Convicts Battalion members who assaulted
19 prisoners in their cells and who now had become their masters.
20 The Chamber heard testimony of harsh work conditions undertaken by
21 prisoners for a period of two months during high summer on a canal leading
22 to the Naletilic villa. Defence evidence suggests that this canal was for
23 the installation of radio cables to a hill near the villa and not for
24 Naletilic's personal benefit. Such labour is not prohibited, but the
25 harsh conditions are. Naletilic visited the worksite and was aware,
1 therefore, of the conditions and must bear command responsibility for the
2 unlawful labour. He is acquitted of the charges relating to inhuman
3 treatment, inhumane acts, and cruel treatment as the extreme discomfort of
4 the prisoners did not reach the requisite standard for such findings.
5 The Convicts Battalion had a number of sub-units. Some were what
6 has been described as intervention units who were temporarily attached to
7 other commands for a specific purpose. For the most part, these
8 intervention units had the appearance of a more elite corps being led by
9 professionally trained soldiers. There were also a number of so-called
10 ATGs, or anti-terrorist units, whose role seemed to be to hold the
11 confrontation line in Mostar. These units were of a paramilitary nature.
12 Their members rarely had any professional training although most of them
13 had completed mandatory service with the JNA before the break-up of the
14 former Yugoslavia. These units had no role in travelling to trouble spots
15 and remained in Mostar.
16 Vinko Martinovic was the commander of one of these ATGs which was
17 made up of his old comrades of the HOS. His unit started out as the Mrmak
18 unit and then became the Vinko Skrobo ATG. His base was in the former
19 medical centre which had been damaged in the Serb conflict as may already
20 have been his HOS base at that time. Certainly on the 9th of May he and
21 his followers were already in place there and taking their meals at their
22 usual canteen. There is some evidence that the unit had been resurrected
23 before the 9th of May and was engaged in action as such unit that day.
24 But no finding is made on this point.
25 After some weeks, Vinko Martinovic took his orders from the Mostar
1 town defence and from the Supreme Command of the KB. How the unit first
2 came to be associated with the Conflicts Battalion and Mladen Naletilic is
3 not clear. The Chamber has received convincing corroborated evidence that
4 the Vinko Skrobo unit was part of the Convicts Battalion. The most
5 telling of this evidence was a statement made to a court in Zagreb by
6 Martinovic himself in the presence of Naletilic when he was called as a
7 Defence witness in proceedings unrelated to this trial. The Chamber
8 received the testimony of Jan Van Hecke, a senior investigator from the
9 Office of the Prosecutor who was present in the Zagreb court when this
10 testimony was given. Martinovic stated then that he was the commander of
11 the Vinko Skrobo unit which formed part of the Convicts Battalion under
12 the command of Mladen Naletilic. This testimony further corroborates the
13 testimony of former Convicts Battalion members and the documents seized at
14 the tobacco factory in Siroki Brijeg.
15 Vinko Martinovic's main task was to hold the frontline against the
16 ABiH who were literally shouting distance away. In holding this line, he
17 used many Muslim prisoners from the Heliodrom to carry out work digging
18 and repairing trenches and sandbag fortifications, carrying supplies and
19 generally assisting the soldiers of his unit. The prisoners had a tough
20 existence with harsh living conditions in the Heliodrom and dangerous work
21 conditions at the frontline. Although the HVO used printed forms
22 reminding commanders that the use of prisoners of war for labour was
23 subject to the Geneva Conventions, there was no evidence that these
24 conventions were applied in the Vinko Skrobo unit or area of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Prisoners were forced to work in crossfire without the minimum
2 protection of a flak jacket or helmet and many suffered death and injury.
3 An attitude of complete indifference to the welfare of prisoners
4 prevailed. Their fate defended on Vinko Martinovic's humour each day.
5 There were prisoners who, as friends prior to the war, enjoyed his
6 protection and who were required only to work in the relative safety of
7 his headquarters at Kalemova Street and render free their technical and
8 mechanical skills. Those fortunate ones were not exposed to the dangers
9 of the frontline which were, in general, reserved to former combatants.
10 Many of these testified that they felt safer at Stela's than anywhere
11 else. They were indeed the lucky ones.
12 There were many who were less fortunate. Among the worst excesses
13 committed by Vinko Martinovic against these prisoners was their use as
14 human shields on the 17th of September, 1993. On that day, four prisoners
15 of war were dressed in HVO uniforms and furnished with replica Kalashnikov
16 guns. One of the selected prisoners was so frightened of what was to
17 happen that he fainted and was replaced by another prisoner.
18 The four prisoners in uniform were ordered to walk alongside a
19 tank to draw fire from the other side. The opposing army was aware of the
20 misuse of prisoners in this way and frequently held their fire, hence the
21 wearing of the HVO uniforms on this occasion. In the confusion caused by
22 the firing of the tank into the buildings opposite and the deafening noise
23 of gunfire, the four prisoners armed with replica wooden rifles made it to
24 the other side in relative safety. At least three of them were injured.
25 While the word "human shield" is used in the indictment, "decoy" would be
1 the most appropriate description for the position in which the prisoners
2 were put to draw fire and protect the HVO advance. Vinko Martinovic is
3 personally responsible for the inhuman treatment, inhumane acts, and cruel
4 treatment to the four prisoners in this incident.
5 The Chamber received a wooden rifle into evidence. This rifle may
6 well be the rifle carried by Witness PP that day and subsequently taken by
7 an ABiH soldier in the building on the opposite side. This soldier kept
8 the rifle until 2002, when he gave it to an investigator from the OTP. He
9 described receiving it from a prisoner dressed as a soldier in HVO
10 uniform. His description of the prisoner fits PP's description. PP was
11 shown this rifle and recognised it by a hole which he said had housed a
12 screw holding the rifle strap and which had worked loose. Forensic
13 examination of the rifle could not determine when the rifle was made, but
14 screw holes were noted. The Chamber does not require an identification of
15 the rifles to establish that the event took place.
16 Three prisoners of war signed out to the Vinko Skrobo units lost
17 their lives that day. Others were injured while obliged to collect the
18 injured and fallen HVO soldiers. The indictment charges Vinko Martinovic
19 with the wilful killing of the three prisoners who were killed on the
20 confrontation line that day. These prisoners were clearly signed out to
21 Vinko Martinovic personally and were engaged on the front line in
22 prohibited labour. This evidence cannot, however, rebut the suggestion
23 made by the Martinovic Defence that the three prisoners may have died in
24 an escape attempt during confusion created by the firing of the tank. As
25 all four of the prisoners with the replica rifles made it to the other
1 side, there is the possibility that the three prisoners, Colakovic Aziz,
2 Colakovic Hamdija, and Pajo Enis tried to make a run and were caught in
3 crossfire. Vinko Martinovic must receive the benefit of that doubt.
4 The loss of prisoners' lives at Santiceva Street that day was
5 enormous. Santiceva Street was outside of Vinko Skrobo operations. Vinko
6 Martinovic cannot be held responsible. He is, however, responsible for
7 the unlawful labour of the prisoners on the front line as ordering the
8 unlawful labour and as a commander for the acts of his subordinates.
9 There was no convincing evidence to relate the deaths of prisoners at
10 Santiceva Street as human shields to the Convicts Battalion or Naletilic.
11 He must be acquitted.
12 Several terrifying misuse of prisoners of war occurred in Rastani
13 village, a village to the west of Mostar which changed hands frequently
14 during the conflict. On the 23rd of September, while the Convicts
15 Battalion was engaged in combat operations there, several prisoners were
16 forced to walk five or six metres in front of the Convicts Battalion
17 soldiers and to search houses where it was believed that ABiH soldiers
18 were hiding. This search was carried out in the very real fear of the
19 presence of armija troops as bodies of soldiers of both armies were found
20 in the vicinity and two ABiH soldiers were captured. This incident is the
21 subject of charges of cruel treatment, inhuman acts and inhumane treatment
22 against Mladen Naletilic. Although Naletilic was the commander of his
23 troops on that occasion, the evidence is that he was not actually in the
24 village at the time as he was directing operations from a higher location
25 and may have been unaware of the use to which the prisoners were put. He
1 is therefore entitled to the benefit of the doubt on these charges and on
2 the charges of what was clearly also unlawful labour.
3 When the two ABiH soldiers were captured, they were immediately
4 physically abused by soldiers of the Convicts Battalion whose members on
5 this occasion included BH Croat convicted criminals recently released from
6 the Heliodrom. One of these criminals was about to set fire to the
7 captives when a radio message from Stari ordered that they be brought
8 alive to Siroki Brijeg. The Chamber understands that Stari is Mladen
9 Naletilic. These soldiers did not fare well at the tobacco factory
10 headquarters of the KB. They were kept in solitary confinement in inhuman
11 conditions and beaten on a regular basis. This treatment is the subject
12 of torture charges found against Mladen Naletilic.
13 Returning to the events of September 17, 1993. HVO and SIS
14 documents show that Mladen Naletilic, with two other highly-placed members
15 of the HVO military, was one of the planners of this attempt to take
16 territory and move the frontline. They acted without the knowledge and
17 approval of the HVO Main Staff, an indicator of the power and influence
18 Mladen Naletilic exercised as commander of the Convicts Battalion. There
19 is no evidence that he was aware of the wooden rifles incident. Vinko
20 Martinovic solely bears responsibility for this grave breach of the Geneva
21 Conventions in relation to prisoners of war, and Mladen Naletilic is
22 acquitted of this series of charges.
23 Stela's activities during the war were not confined to the
24 frontline. He and his now infamous subordinates and others were involved
25 in evicting Muslims from their flats and forcing them to leave the west
1 side of Mostar. They were also engaged in the looting of those now
2 emptied flats. The prohibited activity described as unlawful transfer is
3 an almost inadequate depiction of the crime with all its attendant
4 horrors. The very quietly understated text accompanying a video film made
5 by BBC war correspondent Jeremy Bowen shown to the Trial Chamber captured
6 some of the true horrors of unlawful transfers. Civilians in time of war
7 usually suffer depredation of some sort. To minimise the suffering of
8 non-combatants in a conflict, the Geneva Convention IV guarantees
9 civilians that they cannot be moved unless for their own safety. Any such
10 prohibited transfer or deportation is deemed a grave of this Convention.
11 The elderly and young civilians of Mostar were therefore entitled to
12 expect to remain in their homes without HVO or KB soldiers arriving at
13 their door and forcing them out. In Mostar, the Geneva Convention was not
14 heeded. The civilians targeted were moved to the east side without their
15 consent or sanction, without their clothes or necessities and with guns
16 firing over their heads.
17 The Chamber heard very convincing and distressing evidence of the
18 involvement of Vinko Martinovic personally and that of his soldiers in
19 this activity. His unit was the subject of frequent and adverse comment
20 in SIS reports and that of humanitarian organisations. The ABiH commander
21 Arif Pasalic wrote to ECMM observers complaining of this behaviour and
22 naming Mladen Naletilic, Ivan Andabak and Vinko Martinovic for the
23 eviction of many Muslim citizens from their homes at gunpoint and the
24 forcing of these people over the remnants of the old Mostar footbridge to
25 the east side of the city. The Chamber heard and received convincing
1 documentary and oral evidence connecting the Convicts Battalion with the
2 wave of evictions which occurred on the 29th of September, 1993. Vinko
3 Martinovic is guilty of such unlawful transfers and looting for his
4 personal involvement and for the activities of his subordinates. Mladen
5 Naletilic is guilty as a commander who, being aware of the wave of
6 evictions or ethnic cleansing on the 29th of September and the involvement
7 of his subordinates, including Ivan Andabak, did nothing to punish the
8 actions or to prevent their occurrence.
9 Nenad Harmandzic, a former police inspector, was one of Stela's
10 victims. He was specifically sought out on the 13th of July, 1993, at the
11 Heliodrom where he was a prisoner. He was beaten and taunted throughout
12 the day while at the Vinko Skrobo headquarters. When the other prisoners
13 were leaving to return to the Heliodrom, he was left behind. The other
14 prisoners were admonished to forget what they had seen or heard. The
15 prison authorities were told he had escaped. His body was exhumed five
16 years later where it was revealed that he had suffered multiple fractures
17 and a bullet wound to his head. His injuries were such that he could not
18 walk prior to being shot.
19 The Chamber heard the evidence of Halil Ajanic, an acquaintance of
20 Vinko Martinovic for many years and a civilian prisoner at the Heliodrom.
21 He testified to the beating and abuse of Nenad Harmandzic at the Vinko
22 Skrobo base. In spite of the efforts to discredit this simple and brave
23 man who gave his testimony in open court with no protective measures, the
24 Chamber is convinced by the truth of his testimony.
25 The identification of the remains of those of the late Nenad
1 Harmandzic was contested and an expert called to cast doubt on the
2 identification conclusions. The Chamber accepts that there is a question
3 over the height of Nenad Harmandzic when alive and the estimated height of
4 the remains. The Chamber has considered this discrepancy against the
5 other findings at autopsy. These findings included identification by a
6 close relative of his belt buckle, shoe, teeth, cigarette lighter, and
7 most important, the discovery of a bullet embedded in muscle tissue in his
8 right thigh. The close relative was aware that several years earlier,
9 Nenad Harmandzic had accidentally shot himself in the right thigh and the
10 bullet had never been removed. The exhumation team of forensic
11 pathologists were specifically directed to this fact before the autopsy
12 took place. The possibility that another body unrelated to Nenad
13 Harmandzic could also have a bullet of the same calibre in the right thigh
14 negates any discrepancy in the post-mortem height found. No allowance was
15 made when hearing the testimony of the two forensic experts for the
16 possibility of human error in the measurement of the femur or indeed the
17 estimated height of Nenad Harmandzic while living. The Chamber therefore
18 finds that the findings at autopsy, combined with the location of the
19 burial site by the witness who buried the body, determinative. The other
20 evidence of false representations to the Heliodrom authorities that he had
21 escaped, coupled with conversations with the Harmandzic family that he had
22 been killed at the Vinko Skrobo unit, convince the Trial Chamber of the
23 involvement of Vinko Martinovic in his killing. The secret burial and the
24 injuries to the body which are inconsistent with any possibility of flight
25 are all links in a chain of strong circumstantial evidence which convince
1 the Chamber that Vinko Martinovic played a role in Nenad Harmandzic's
2 death. He is guilty of cruel treatment and wilfully causing great
3 suffering to Nenad Harmandzic. His participation before and after the
4 shooting amounts to substantial involvement in his killing in the form of
5 encouragement and practical assistance. He is guilty of individual
6 criminal responsibility of aiding and abetting the murder of Nenad
8 Mladen Naletilic was charged with the destruction of Muslim houses
9 in Sovici, Doljani and Rastani. There was evidence that the houses in
10 Rastani were substantially damaged in previous skirmishes. Mladen
11 Naletilic must be acquitted on this charge. There is compelling evidence
12 that Mladen Naletilic ordered the destruction of the Muslim houses in
13 Doljani. This order was carried out to good effect. No charge is brought
14 in relation to the mosque in Doljani. There is insufficient evidence as
15 to the involvement of the Conflicts Battalion in the burning of Muslim
16 houses in Sovici, and the same situation prevails with the Mosque in
17 Sovici. Mladen Naletilic is therefore not guilty of the charges relating
18 to Muslim property in Sovici. He is guilty of ordering the destruction of
19 Muslim houses in Doljani.
20 The Prosecution case is that all the unlawful treatment of
21 civilians and prisoners was motivated by a discriminatory intent towards
22 this section of the population who were specifically targeted because they
23 were Muslims. The main judgement deals with the legal issues associated
24 with a finding that such persecution existed. It suffices at this stage
25 to say that the Chamber is satisfied from the weight of the evidence that
1 the Muslim civilian population of Mostar, Sovici and Doljani were subject
2 to persecution. Neither Mladen Naletilic nor Vinko Martinovic were the
3 grand architects of this plan and its implementation. They each, however,
4 played a role in giving effect to the plan. The Chamber is satisfied that
5 the detention and subsequent transfer of the civilian population of
6 Doljani and Sovici was motivated by malice towards Muslims and at that
7 they were the object of discrimination. Mladen Naletilic is guilty of
8 persecution of the civilian population of Sovici and Doljani. He is also
9 found guilty of the torture of two civilians referred to previously as Z
10 and FF. These two witnesses were members of or associated with the SDA
11 leadership in Herzegovina and were targeted because they were Muslims
12 associated with certain political beliefs.
13 Vinko Martinovic protested vehemently through his counsel that he
14 never discriminated against Muslims, having many Muslims in his unit and
15 under his protection. The Chamber nevertheless finds that the crimes
16 already proved involving the rounding up and movement of Muslims on the
17 9th of May, 13th of June, and the 29th of September were committed with
18 discriminatory intent. The Muslim civilians of Mostar were targeted for
19 no reason than their Muslim ethnicity. Vinko Martinovic was personally
20 involved in those occasions and therefore bears responsibility under
21 Article 7(1).
22 Mladen Naletilic bears responsibility under Article 7(3) for the
23 unlawful transfer carried out by his subordinates on the 13th of June and
24 the 29th of September, 1993.
25 There are no further charges against the accused after the end of
1 September 1993. It is not the function of this Chamber to deal further
2 with the events in Herzegovina. It is clear, however, that the suffering
3 of the prisoners and civilians continued for a very considerable time
4 thereafter. Prisoners and soldiers continued to die on both sides of the
5 conflict and the beautiful old Stari Mos was destroyed, to the loss of all
6 the peoples of Mostar. As previously mentioned, no group was immune from
7 the terrible suffering. What we know is that following a cease-fire
8 agreement, the war officially ended. Time will tell if the scars will
9 heal and the wonderful fabric of the diverse city described by the leader
10 of the Jewish community in Mostar will return. Mladen Naletilic and Vinko
11 Skrobo are responsible for much of the pain inflicted and must now take
12 the consequences of their actions.
13 JUDGE LIU: For the foregoing reasons, and having applied
14 applicable standards in relation to the cumulative convictions, the
15 Chamber enters the following convictions:
16 Mr. Mladen Naletilic, please stand up.
17 The Chamber finds you guilty on the following counts:
18 Count 1: Persecutions on political, racial, and religious grounds
19 as a crime against humanity, under Article 5(h) of the Statute.
20 Count 5: Unlawful labour as a violation of the laws or customs of
21 war under, Article 3 of the Statute.
22 Count 9: Torture as a crime against humanity, under Article 5(f)
23 of the Statute.
24 Counts 10: Torture as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of
25 1949, under Article 2(b) of the Statute.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Count 12: Wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to
2 body or health as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, under
3 Article 2(c) of the Statute.
4 Count 18: Unlawful transfer of a civilian as a grave breach of
5 the Geneva Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(g) of the Statute.
6 Count 20: Wanton destruction not justified by military necessity
7 as a violation of the Laws and Customs of War, under Article 3(b) of the
9 Count 21: Plunder of public or private property as a violation of
10 the laws or customs of war, under Article 3(e) of the Statute.
11 The Chamber acquits you on the following counts:
12 Count 2: Inhumane acts as a crime against humanity, under Article
13 5(i) of the Statute.
14 Count 3: Inhuman treatment as a grave breach of the Geneva
15 Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(b) of the Statute.
16 Count 4: Cruel treatment as a violation of the laws or customs of
17 war, under Article 3 of the Statute.
18 Count 6: Murder as a crime against humanity, under Article 5(a)
19 of the Statute.
20 Count 7: Wilful killing as a grave breach of the Geneva
21 Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(a) of the Statute.
22 Count 8: Murder as a violation of the laws or customs of war,
23 under Article 3 of the Statute.
24 Count 11: Cruel treatment as a violation of the laws or customs
25 of war, under Article 3 of the Statute.
1 Count 19: Extensive destruction of property as a grave breach of
2 the Geneva Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(d) of the Statute.
3 Count 22: Seizure, destruction, or wilful damage done to
4 institutions dedicated to religion as a violation of the laws or customs
5 of war, under Article 3(d) of the Statute.
6 In determining the appropriate sentence to be imposed on you, the
7 Chamber has adhered to all the formal requirements laid down in the
8 Statute and the Rules and to its obligation to fit the sentence to the
9 gravity of the crimes and the individual circumstances of the accused. As
10 an aggravating circumstance, the Chamber took into account your status as
11 a commander and your position of great influence in that area. The
12 Chamber further found that Defence has not presented evidence as to your
13 medical condition such as to constitute a mitigating circumstance.
14 Furthermore, the Chamber found no mitigating circumstances as your
15 transfer from the Republic of Croatia to the Tribunal was not voluntary
16 and as you have not shown substantial cooperation with the Prosecutor.
17 Taking all these circumstances into account, the Chamber hereby
18 sentences you, Mr. Mladen Naletilic, to a single sentence of 20 years' of
20 Pursuant to Rule 101(C) of the Rules, you are entitled to credit
21 for time spent in detention as of the date of this judgement, together
22 with such additional time that you may serve pending the determination of
23 any appeal.
24 Pursuant to Rule 103(C) of the Rules, you shall remain in the
25 custody of the Tribunal pending finalisation of arrangements for your
1 transfer to the state where you shall serve your sentence.
2 You may sit down, please.
3 Mr. Vinko Martinovic, the Chamber finds you guilty on the
4 following counts:
5 Count 1: Persecutions on political, racial, and religious grounds
6 as a crime against humanity, under Article 5(h) of the Statute.
7 Count 2: Inhumane acts as a crime against humanity, under Article
8 5(i) of the Statute.
9 Count 3: Inhuman treatment as a grave breach of the Geneva
10 Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(b) of the Statute.
11 Count 5: Unlawful labour as a violation of the laws or customs of
12 war, under Article 3 of the Statute.
13 Count 12: Wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to
14 body or health as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, under
15 Article 2(c) of the Statute.
16 Count 13: Murder as a crime against humanity, under Article 5(a)
17 of the Statute.
18 Count 14: Wilful killing as a grave breach of the Geneva
19 Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(a) of the Statute.
20 Count 18: Unlawful transfer of civilians as a grave breach of the
21 Geneva Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(g) of the Statute.
22 Count 21: Plunder of public or private property as a violation of
23 the laws or customs of war, under Article 3(e) of the Statute.
24 Vinko Martinovic, you are acquitted on the following counts:
25 Count 4: Cruel treatment as a violation of the laws or customs of
1 war, under Article 3 of the Statute.
2 Count 6: Murder as a crime against humanity, under Article 5(a)
3 of the Statute.
4 Count 7: Wilful killing as a grave breach of the Geneva
5 Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(a) of the Statute.
6 Count 8: Murder as a violation of the laws or customs of war,
7 under Article 3 of the Statute.
8 Count 11: Cruel treatment as a violation of the laws or customs
9 of war, under Article 3 of the Statute.
10 Count 15: Murder as a violation of the laws or customs of war,
11 under Article 3 of the Statute.
12 Count 16: Cruel treatment as a violation of the laws or customs
13 of war, under Article 3 of the Statute.
14 Count 17: Wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to
15 body or health as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, under
16 Article 2(c) of the Statute.
17 In determining the appropriate sentence to be imposed on you, the
18 Chamber has also adhered to all the formal requirements laid down in the
19 Statute and the Rules and to its obligation to fit the sentence to the
20 gravity of the crimes and the individual circumstances of the accused. As
21 a primary consideration, the Chamber noted that you have been found guilty
22 of heinous crimes, including murder. The Chamber further considered your
23 commander's role and the influence on your unit as an aggravating
24 circumstance. Further, your transfer to the Tribunal has not been deemed
25 voluntary so as to constitute a mitigating circumstance. Considering your
1 prior criminal conduct, the Chamber noted that the conviction of murder
2 rendered by Zagreb County Court is pending appeal and has not taken it
3 into account as an aggravating circumstance. It also has not considered
4 your previous convictions for grand larceny and looting in light of the
5 nature of crimes that you are found guilty of today.
6 Taking all these circumstances into account, the Chamber hereby
7 sentences you, Vinko Martinovic, to a single sentence of 18 years'
9 Pursuant to Rule 101(C) of the Rules, you are entitled to credit
10 for time spent in detention as of the date of this judgement, together
11 with such additional time you may serve pending the determination of any
13 Pursuant to Rule 103(C) of the Rules, you shall remain in custody
14 of the Tribunal pending finalisation of any arrangements for your transfer
15 to the state where you shall serve your sentence.
16 You may sit down, please.
17 The hearing is adjourned.
18 --- Whereupon the Judgement hearing adjourned
19 at 4.32 p.m.