1 Tuesday, 30 May 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, would you call
7 the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Good
9 morning to one and all. This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor
10 versus Prlic et al.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Well, we know the
12 Prosecution, Defence. We have the witness here. And of course good
13 morning to all the other people in the courtroom.
14 As you know that today we are sitting in two sessions, the morning
15 and in the afternoon as of 4.00 p.m., especially as the witness to be
16 examined is arriving. But I've been told that the -- his plane is
17 arriving at 7.00 p.m., which means we'll hear the witness tomorrow
19 Now, as far as the Defence is concerned, you have three hours left
20 for the cross-examination. If you use those three hours prudently, we can
21 finish this morning or around 1.00, 1.30, perhaps, and then we won't have
22 to sit at 4.00 this afternoon, have an afternoon session.
23 So we're going to have this morning's session certainly, and
24 tomorrow's session, Wednesday, 9.00, with the next witness. And I'd like
25 to remind you that tomorrow's witness - I have done the maths - the
1 Defence has five hours and a quarter. So in theory, if you use your five
2 hours, 15 minutes of cross-examination, we should be over with our work
3 tomorrow with the second witness, which means automatically that we won't
4 be having a session on Thursday morning because we will have run out of
7 (redacted)We're going to have a session not at 9.00 but at
8 2.15. So it will be the Tuesday session starting at 2.15, which will give
9 us all a chance to have a good rest.
10 There you have it. We're not going to waste any more time.
11 Having said that, I'm going to give the floor to Counsel Kovacic. I think
12 he has a few more minutes of question time left.
13 Mr. Kovacic.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Yes, you're
15 right, I have very little time left, but I'm sure we'll get through it in
16 the time you've given us, because I have consulted with my colleagues.
17 I'd like the registrar to have under Sanction, played under
18 Sanction on the monitor some photographs that I'd like to show you.
19 WITNESS: MILIVOJ GAGRO [Resumed]
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 Cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic [Continued]:
22 Q. Good morning.
23 A. Good morning.
24 Q. I don't have to introduce myself; we started the cross-examination
25 yesterday. I'd like to show you some photographs of Mostar immediately
1 after the Yugoslav army was suppressed from Sarajevo. We haven't seen
2 these in the courtroom yet, and you as the mayor of Mostar and as a real
3 Mostar man born and bred, who I am sure have remembered every bit of
4 destruction the city suffered to tell us whether that is what it was like.
5 We have quite a number of photographs to see and our time is short. I'll
6 just show them one by one slowly, go through them slowly one by one, and
7 then we can comment at the end with a few words. And I'd just like to ask
8 you to tell us to stop if you think that some of the photographs don't
9 relate to that -- that time or that they're not the right photographs.
10 But as I say, I claim that these are photographs of the situation --
11 depicting the situation in Mostar up until the point the Yugoslav army was
12 pushed out, and the damage that was done during that time when the army
13 attacked Mostar.
14 So that, then, is the old bridge. We've seen that. Perhaps just
15 a brief comment. Yesterday we said that there was some sort of
16 protection, protective covering on the bridge. Is that it, for the
17 passers-by, the pedestrians?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. The old bridge once again. This is Kula Tara right next to the
20 old bridge?
21 A. Yes. It's part of the old bridge, in actual fact.
22 Q. On the other side?
23 A. Yes, that's right.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 A. This is a broader view, depicting one of the towers. And this is
1 the approach to the road towards the old bridge.
3 (redacted)Kujundziluk, this is right next
4 to the bridge?
5 A. Yes, this is the approach road with ancient shops which lead
6 directly onto the old bridge itself.
7 Q. Is that the same quarter?
8 A. Yes, the same quarter, and this is a characteristic building and
9 room from which you could see --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please.
11 Mr. Registrar, I would like to have the following line struck: From lines
12 1, 2, 3 and 4 from page 4. Please continue.
13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. As I was saying, this is the same quarter.
15 A. Yes. That's it. It's difficult to identify the exact location,
16 but, yes, indeed that is part of the area leading up to the road and
18 Q. The same quarter?
19 A. Yes. This is a detail, in greater detail. It's the other side,
20 once you've crossed over the old bridge.
21 The same thing again.
22 And this is a little further away from the old bridge.
23 New housing blocks, residential buildings in Donja Mahala.
24 This is the school in Donja Mahala.
25 That's the railway bridge in Bacevici.
1 Q. We spoke about bridges yesterday and you said that all the bridges
2 except for the old bridge had been destroyed.
3 A. Yes, that's right. I think there were seven.
4 Q. So this is the railway bridge.
5 And the air force bridge, as it was called.
6 Hasan Brkic bridge.
7 Hasan Brkic bridge from another angle.
8 Once again Hasan Brkic bridge, a detail of it.
9 A. Yes. That is Lucki bridge, one of the old bridges built during
10 the Austro-Hungarian times.
11 This is the central bridge in the centre of Mostar.
12 Yes, that's the same bridge on the other side.
13 This is the Carinski bridge.
14 Q. What side was Carinski bridge on in relation to the old bridge;
15 upstream, downstream?
16 A. Upstream from the old bridge you have Tito's bridge, Carinski
17 bridge -- no. Yes, and Lucki bridge. So I think that would be right.
18 Q. All right. Fine.
19 A. This is the railway bridge to the north, on the railway line
20 running to Sarajevo. And the bridge in Vojna. This bridge served as a
21 communication line between two settlements in the northern valley of
23 Q. You mean north of town?
24 A. Yes, north of town. This is the Neretva Hotel, along Tito's
25 bridge, which we saw a moment ago that was destroyed.
1 Q. So that's the centre of town.
2 A. Yes, that's the centre of town. It's called Musala. And in times
3 past, it was the central square.
4 And this is an annex to the Neretva Hotel.
5 Q. That was destroyed as well, as we can see.
6 A. Yes. This is a newly built hotel, the last new hotel that Mostar
8 This is Hotel Bristol. There's an old part to the hotel. This is
9 the new part. It is across the water from the Neretva, and the two hotels
10 were linked by Tito's bridge.
11 This is the Hit department store. It was a hit, if I can put it
12 that way; a modern department store.
13 Q. Now we've seen all the bridges -- not bridges, I'm sorry, I meant
14 hotels. Was there any large hotel left standing that wasn't bombed?
15 A. Not in the sense of a classical hotel but only as an old people's
16 home, and it's called Hotel Ero.
17 Q. All right. We're going to see a few other buildings. This is the
18 department store and the commercial centre.
19 A. Yes, the commercial centre, the shopping mall that was built.
20 This is a more modest department store.
21 Q. Very well. What's this?
22 A. This is the street called Mostarski Bataljon in the centre of
23 Mostar, and mostly all the buildings in the centre had shops downstairs on
24 the ground floor. And living quarters upstairs.
25 Q. I see. This is the same area, is it?
1 A. Yes, it is. This is the primary school that is a little more to
2 the north of the Neretva and Bristol Hotels.
3 This is -- it says "Kirurgija," but we call this the new hospital.
4 Q. We're going to see a number of hospital buildings, but we have not
5 included those that suffered minor damage. So I'm just going to ask you
6 something about this set of buildings. This is the new hospital, as you
7 said. This is the health centre, Dom Zdravlja.
8 Now, do you happen to remember other medical institutions that
9 suffered damage?
10 A. Well, I don't -- I don't think any building was left intact, but I
11 can't tell you what all the damage to the different buildings was now.
12 Q. Thank you. Now we have a few religious buildings. This is the
14 A. Yes. It was the symphonic orchestra building, musical institution
15 of late, used that way. And this is the interior of that same building.
16 Q. We once again have Marsal Tito Street?
17 A. Yes. We called that one of our main streets.
18 This is part of the Marsal Tito Street in the south of town.
19 Q. We see a whole series of houses that have been completely
20 destroyed. Now, was that at the beginning of the conflict or, rather, the
21 beginning of the attack by the Yugoslav People's Army or what?
22 A. I really can't say. I'm not quite sure.
23 Q. All right. Fine. Now, this says the building of the military
25 A. I don't know about that particular name, but I do know that that
1 was the building we had held our Assemblies in.
2 Q. You mean the Municipal Assembly meetings?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. I think that at some time during history that building might have
5 been called the military command building.
6 A. I don't know about that.
7 Q. But when it was destroyed, it was the municipal administration
9 A. Yes, it was the municipal administration building and the Assembly
10 hall where the Assembly sessions were held.
11 Q. Thank you. Is that the same building?
12 A. Yes, that's the same building but viewed from the other side.
13 This is the Svjetlost bookstore, which might have been across the
14 road from the previous building we saw.
15 Q. All right. Fine.
16 A. Yes. This is an old school once again in that same street, Marsal
17 Tito Street. You can see it on the map today.
18 And this is another building there.
19 This is a building that has been renovated. It is right along the
20 old bridge and you can see how it's been reconstructed.
21 Q. It's also the Mekteb?
22 A. Yes, it is. And today it is a museum in Herzegovina.
23 And this is a building that we used, we had financial -- part of
24 our financial administration there.
25 Q. The social accounting service?
1 A. Yes, the social accounting service and other financial offices.
2 Now, this is the Razvitak department store. It was a
3 mixed-purpose building. On the ground floor there was a department store
4 and above that there were apartments. Due to the force of the destruction
5 and explosion, there was a big fire and now none of the top floors exist.
6 They all had to be knocked down. So you'll be able to see the department
7 store on the ground level and then all the rest cleared.
8 And this is another shop in Marsal Tito Street.
9 Q. This is the railway station in the same street, is it?
10 A. Yes. It's at the beginning of Marsal Tito Street. Well, not
11 really the beginning, but we refer to that whole area as Tito's Street,
12 and this railway station is at an entrance where the new railway station
13 was built and the bus station. And that's still in a pretty bad state.
14 It doesn't look this bad as it does on the photograph, (redacted)
16 Q. Yes. This is another residential building.
17 A. Yes, it is also residential building on Tito's Street also.
18 Now, this is our historic square, Musala.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott.
20 MR. SCOTT: I request to go into private session for a moment,
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 2770-2771 redacted. Private session.
5 [Open session]
6 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We're in open session,
7 Mr. President.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Right. We're in open session.
9 You have a photo before you. To the best of your recollections,
10 can you date this destruction, destruction done to this building? What
11 year would that be?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot say with precision. But I
13 should like to again refer to this document on the ecocide and urbicide of
14 the area of the city of Mostar, and there one can find in very explicit
15 and detailed terms all the facts about the urbicide which occurred after
16 the pull-out or, rather, the expulsion of the Yugoslav People's Army from
17 the city.
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. It is hard to make such a distinction, a temporal one, but,
20 Witness, today when we started looking through these photographs, I asked
21 you that if you knew that some of these photographs referred to some
22 destruction in the later stages of the war, to say so.
23 A. I cannot say with precision. I cannot give you an answer to that.
24 Q. Okay. Let us go on and see whether these are the buildings that
25 are in question.
1 When we went through the bridges --
2 A. Well, as far as the bridges are concerned, I can say that they
3 were destroyed during the conflict.
4 Q. About the Old Mostar zone, did you say that that was also
5 devastated during the conflict? Are you sure about that?
6 A. Yes, I am.
7 Q. Do you know what building this is?
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you say "the conflict,"
9 which conflict are you referring to, between which two sides?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We are referring now to a period of
11 conflicts between the defensive forces of Mostar and the Yugoslav People's
13 THE INTERPRETER: And the Yugoslav army; interpreter's correction.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. This is the Vakufski Dvor, the Vakufski mansion, the Brace Fejica
16 Street. What part of the city is this?
17 A. This goes on from the very centre, the very core of downtown
19 Q. The magistrate's and the police building in the same section, in
20 the same street?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. This was in the period while you were mayor of the city. Do you
23 recall that?
24 A. Yes. We had the land registry in that building.
25 Q. And it was destroyed during the attack of the Yugoslav army?
1 A. I cannot claim that.
2 Q. You were the mayor of the city at the time. Do you recall that
3 the building in which one of your administrative sections was was actually
4 destroyed, and you cannot date it?
5 A. No. No, I cannot, simply because you are asking me to give you a
6 bit of information that I just cannot give you from -- I cannot glean from
7 the overall wholesale tragedy which befell Mostar. I cannot pinpoint that
8 particular bit of information.
9 Q. Yes, but, Mr. Gagro --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, Counsel Kovacic asked
11 you a very precise question. He said you were the mayor of the town, and
12 there's a building here that is next to the magistrate's office and
13 police, and it was destroyed, and you say, yes, it was destroyed, and then
14 you added a detail, and you said, "In that building we had the land
15 registry department."
16 Now, counsel is asking you who bombed that building and caused the
17 destruction, and then you say, "I don't know."
18 Now, at the time, you yourself were the mayor. Who was the
19 aggressor in Mostar?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Yugoslav army was.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Could there have
22 been anybody else apart from the Yugoslav army that could have been doing
23 damage of this kind at the time?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Right. Then by deduction, a
1 process of deduction, who caused this destruction?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If that happened in that particular
3 period, it could only have been the Yugoslav army.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Please proceed.
5 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. The same section, the shops in this street, do you know at what
7 time that was shelled?
8 A. No.
9 Q. The same part of the city, the same zone.
10 A. No.
11 Q. Can you assist us, Mr. Witness? As a born and bred man from
12 Mostar, you obviously had many acquaintances and friends and so on, and
13 someone was deprived of their house, of their car, of their other property
14 every minute in that period. So could you please help us by referring to
15 such events in order to try and recall the exact period. Of course I'm
16 aware that it is difficult for you to exactly know the time each
17 particular building was destroyed or blown up, but you lived there, and
18 you are perfectly able to associate these events or to place a date on
19 some of them.
20 A. But I repeat, you insist on a detail for a specific destroyed
21 structure, one building, whereas Mostar suffered a wholesale catastrophe,
22 a global one, as it were.
23 Q. All right. And precisely that catastrophe, we can see that the
24 city was in a terrible state.
25 A. Yes, it was, and this is what I said initially.
1 Q. And I agree, but I'm trying to actually define the situation up to
2 the point when the defensive forces of Mostar expelled the Serbs from
3 Mostar, including their artillery, and prevented further damage from
4 occurring. I'm trying to depict a situation in which you were the mayor
5 and that you yourself described for us yesterday. I'm trying to describe
6 the circumstances under which this happened. So please try and link these
7 things. I know that it is difficult. And please do try to recall some of
8 the events at least for some of the buildings depicted in some of these
9 pictures, whether they were destroyed in the first wave.
10 A. Why do you not accept -- would you not accept this explanation
11 that I'm giving you, that we have documents, photographs of each destroyed
12 building, and we presented that in a study which the city offered under
13 the title "Urbicide of the City of Mostar"?
14 Q. As regards that particular paper, my Defence team has used
15 different sources. The variety of sources are precisely from that paper
16 that you're referring to.
17 A. So you could have actually specified precisely the documents that
18 the paper identifies and the dates.
19 Q. We could have done that, and we will be able to do all sorts of
20 things, Mr. Witness, but please, I'm only trying to make the best use of
21 your presence here as a witness for you to assist us on the -- in
22 discussing the subject at hand.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, yes, we have
24 someone on their feet.
25 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
1 Drawing on my poor experience from some of the previous sessions, please
2 keep track of the time because I don't want to have my Defence team
3 constrained in terms of time, and please stick to the agreed schedule.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Bear that in mind,
5 Counsel Kovacic.
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I accept this objection, but I
7 actually could not have assumed that discussions of this sort would have
8 come, about especially as refers the sources of materials. I thought that
9 the witness was aware what the sources were.
10 Q. But all right then. So your position is the same in respect of
11 any future photographs I might show you. You are quite certain that they
12 -- so, please, if you are certain that they were destroyed at the time
13 that I imply, please just confirm that.
14 This is the Mujaga Komadina building. Also in the centre of the
15 building, the Herzegovina building in the centre. Do you remember when
16 that building was destroyed?
17 Let us go on. These are residential blocks. Where is Crnica
18 settlement relative to the city?
19 A. It is on the right bank across from the Brothers Fejic. This is
20 the central zone but on the right bank.
21 Q. Thank you. So these are a couple of industrial facilities and
22 buildings. Yesterday you mentioned the damage they had suffered too.
23 Extensively. This is the main post office on Mose Pijade Street, the
24 residential building in the Carina settlement. Also the same settlement,
25 other residential buildings; the youth centre Rondo, that is in the Rondo
1 area; the archives of Herzegovina that is at Mejdan; the residential and
2 office building, also in Mejdan. The residential and office building in
4 A. I can say about this one because we were there on the -- all the
5 Crisis Staff -- or the Crisis Staff was there, rather, so it is possible
6 for me to say.
7 Q. This one, you mean?
8 A. Yes. That is actually proof that we were shelled there.
9 Q. And who did the shelling?
10 A. The Yugoslav army did.
11 Q. Thank you. That -- that is -- this is in the vicinity, the Tekija
12 -- is it in the vicinity, this residential building in Tekija?
13 A. No, it is not.
14 Q. Very well. The Luka residential quarter?
15 A. Yes. That is the southern part of the city.
16 Q. Luka again, the residential buildings, residential buildings of
17 1st of May, residential buildings in the Semovac settlement. The office
18 and living quarters in the same zone. The residential and administrative
19 building in the same zone.
20 The Kresin Sokak, which part of Mostar that?
21 A. That is the old party of the city.
22 Q. Also residential quarters. Do you recognise this?
23 A. No.
24 Q. This is the same area of the housing building of the residential
25 buildings. Now here we have Balinovac. What part of town is that?
1 A. It's the Western part, extreme western district of Mostar, towards
3 Q. So this exit towards Citluk and Siroki Brijeg is an important
4 road, is it?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. This is the Cim building. It's a catering establishment. Can you
7 describe it?
8 A. This road was the only communication that the town was left with.
9 If you wanted to go outside the town under siege, and 500 metres up
10 towards there are serpentines. It's a hairpin bend road and this is an
11 area where the Yugoslav army held positions or held -- targeted all those
12 wanting to enter and exit the town, and as I said yesterday, 15 civilians
13 were killed in that way, 15 citizens of Mostar.
14 Q. As we can see, a series of buildings were destroyed.
15 A. Yes. All the buildings in that vicinity.
16 Q. Thank you. This is Jesenica.
17 A. Jesenica to the south, the southern reaches. Near today's
18 Heliodrom. And you have the airport opposite.
19 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have more photographs
20 to show, religious buildings, commercial buildings, but we need 15 more
21 minutes of time for that. I don't want to take that time for the -- from
22 the other Defence teams, although I think that it would be important for
23 us to see, but we'll find a different occasion. But I'd like to tell you
24 that on page 3 at the beginning of the transcript, line 13, it should
25 read, or we should be more precise, and it says the army, reference was
1 made to the army, whereas it was the Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA, as
2 is the usual term used. Or abbreviation, if you like.
3 Mr. Gagro, thank you for cooperating. Thank you.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The next Defence
6 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll go next, Mr. President, and I'll try to be
7 somewhat brief.
8 Cross-examination by Mr. Karnavas:
9 Q. Good morning, sir. From looking at the photographs, Mostar looked
10 a little bit like Dresden after World War II.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness repeat his answer, please.
12 The interpreters could not hear him. Could the witness --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's what happened when the last
14 attack took place.
15 MR. KARNAVAS:
16 Q. Right. Now, from looking at the -- from looking at the
17 photographs, it would appear that, at least at that particular time in
18 Mostar, not a whole lot of things were --
19 A. I'm not getting the image on my screen. Do I need to press a
20 button or something?
21 Q. Probably you need to press LiveNote, but I don't know if --
22 perhaps you could be assisted. I'm not going to be referring to
23 photographs. I just want to talk a little bit about what we saw.
24 It would appear to me that at that particular time in Mostar life
25 was pretty hard.
1 A. Yes, absolutely correct.
2 Q. Looks like maybe you didn't have electricity all the time.
3 A. At the beginning, we did our best to see that the utilities were
4 functioning, including electricity, until there was such large-scale
5 destruction that we were just not able to ensure that they were
7 Now, if I might be allowed to add. I know that in our attempts
8 the Yugoslav People's Army blocked our main transformer station supplying
9 Mostar with electricity, and in an attempt to have it repaired, we asked
10 the international observers to help us out. And when we were approaching
11 that facility, when a representative of the international community
12 appeared in white, dressed in white, he was killed.
13 Q. Okay. And I take it, along with electricity, you could say the
14 same thing for running water; that wasn't available all the time?
15 A. We were lucky, because the main supply and the drinking water
16 supply came from the western side, from the Cim area, so that we were able
17 to ensure proper supplies for the town. It was only where -- in the areas
18 where the bridges were destroyed that we weren't able to resume water
19 supplies for that side.
20 Q. That's right. That would have been for the other side, for the
21 east side.
22 A. Yes, the other side. Right.
23 Q. Okay. Now, I want to clarify a couple of points that were
24 mentioned yesterday and today as well with respect to your position at the
25 time. You told us yesterday that there were elections, and as a result of
1 the elections you were a member of the Assembly; correct?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. And as I understand the system as it worked back then, then
4 members of the Assembly would vote among themselves for various
5 candidates, and of course, as a result of those elections among the
6 Assembly members who were elected, you were elected president of the
8 A. Yes, but the coalitions were already well known; who had the
9 majority in parliament, in the Assembly, and who had the possibility of
10 being elected, and that's how the candidates were put forward. And I said
11 that the three national parties, HDZ, SDA, and SDS, had formed a coalition
12 following the example of the same way of organisation for the parliament
13 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mostar entered into a coalition which -- the HDZ
14 of Mostar entered into a coalition with the SDA and SDS, and they won the
15 majority - 65 per cent - and they thought they could put forward their
16 candidates with realistic possibilities for them becoming the top men in
17 the Assembly.
18 Q. Right. Now, I just want to stick on -- discuss a little bit about
19 the technical aspects of your position and the other positions, because
20 there may have been some misunderstanding created yesterday when they kept
21 referring to you as mayor of Mostar. You, sir, were actually the
22 president of the Assembly; correct?
23 A. That's right.
24 Q. Okay. Now, below the Assembly you have the Executive Board;
1 A. That's right.
2 Q. The Executive Board has a president?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. The president is more like the mayor as opposed to the president
5 of the Assembly.
6 A. Yes, but he wasn't given those competencies.
7 Q. Okay. Now I just want to explain a little bit as I understand it
8 from my work when I was up in Brcko and I had an understanding of how the
9 system was working. As I know it - and correct me if the system was
10 different in Mostar - at that particular time, the -- the Executive Board
11 was responsible for coming up with a plan as far as what legislation
12 should be drafted. Of course it would be coordinated with the Assembly,
13 but that was part of the Executive Board's responsibility through their
14 departments; correct?
15 A. Yes, that is correct. They proposed certain decisions which we
16 verified, and then they would implement them.
17 Q. Right. Now, when you say "we," that would be the Assembly;
19 A. Yes, that's right.
20 Q. Now, you as the president of the Assembly, unlike, say, in other
21 countries, you didn't have any real special powers other than one vote
22 like everyone else; right?
23 A. Yes, yes.
24 Q. Of course there has to be a president or at least somebody who
25 would represent the Assembly, and that would you as the president.
1 A. Right. I was called the first among equals.
2 Q. Exactly. And you could say the same thing about the -- the
3 president of the Executive Board. He was first among equals as well, was
4 he not?
5 A. Yes, but in the sphere of his authorisation and remit.
6 Q. Exactly. And being first among equals doesn't mean that you get
7 to make decisions on your own that would affect everyone else; right?
9 A. Right.
10 Q. Now -- now that we've clarified that and now that we know that you
11 weren't the mayor and we know a little bit about what the functions of the
12 president of the Assembly are, I want to talk about the Crisis Staff. As
13 I understand it - and again, correct me if I'm wrong - as I understand it,
14 the law as it existed back then provided for a situation where a Crisis
15 Staff could be created in the event of emergency situations.
16 A. Yes. It was always assessed as to how far the institutions of
17 power and authority in a local community could function.
18 Q. Right. But in other words, it wasn't something that you would
19 have to improvise, you'd have to -- it wasn't something that you had
20 created, this Crisis Staff. It was already built into the system and, in
21 time of need, it would activate itself; correct?
22 A. That's right.
23 Q. And the whole purpose of having a Crisis Staff is so that you
24 don't have a hundred Assemblymen, as you would have in Mostar, trying to
25 make a decision, because decisions need to be made on a rather quick
1 basis; right?
2 A. Right.
3 Q. And would it be fair to say - and again, correct me if I'm wrong -
4 that while the Crisis Staff is operating, for all intents and purposes the
5 Assembly is no longer functioning as it were, or as it had been.
6 A. I've already said that.
7 Q. I just want to make sure we're all clear, that's all. All right.
8 Now, you told us yesterday that your understanding and belief and
9 memory, sometime around the middle of February of 1992 the Crisis Staff
10 was established; right?
11 A. That's right.
12 Q. And as I understand it, normally speaking, the Crisis Staff would
13 be composed of the president of the Assembly, the President of the
14 Executive Board, the chief of police, maybe the chief of the Territorial
15 Defence, and maybe a few others; right?
16 A. That's right.
17 Q. In this instance, if I understood you correctly, you indicated
18 that in Mostar, along with you there were members of the various political
19 parties. And I mention this because I couldn't help but notice
20 Mr. Hadziosmanovic's name there. Ismet. I'm sure you know him very well.
21 He was a member of the Crisis Staff; right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And he was the head of the regional SDA party but also, you know,
24 the president of the SDA for Mostar.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And normally someone holding that position, being the party leader
2 and with all its responsibilities, normally they don't have an executive
3 role to play; in other words, being a member of the Executive Board. They
4 have other functions, party functions; correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Okay. Now, I want to talk a little bit about -- go through very
7 quickly, if we could, some of these decisions just so we can have a sense
8 of what was happening. And before I do that, I just want to see if you
9 would agree with the gentleman that testified here before, someone by the
10 name of Pejanovic. He testified in open court. He lived on the east
11 side. He was a fireman. He was the head of the fire department. You
12 might even know him.
13 A. Yes, I do know him personally.
14 Q. Right. And he had indicated that it was around the 11th of May,
15 1992, that he left the east side, but in actuality, it was around the 13th
16 or so of May, 1992, when -- when more or less the east side was overrun by
17 the JNA and everyone crossed over, more or less, to the west side. Would
18 that be correct, the timing of it?
19 A. Could you tell me what it was he said exactly?
20 Q. Well, he had indicated that at least he left his post on the 11th
21 of May because of the heavy attack, and around the 13th or so people were
22 fleeing. And in fact, during some rather brilliant cross-examination from
23 Mr. Praljak, if I may say so, he brought out the fact that folks as they
24 were fleeing from the east to the west were actually jumping into the
25 Neretva and having to swim over. There was that kind of a panic going on
1 as they were trying to get away from the JNA forces that were attacking.
2 Would that be a correct assessment of the situation?
3 A. That is right, yes. Correct.
4 Q. Okay. Now, having that date in mind, I want to fast forward a
5 little bit, or go back a little bit. As I understand it -- I have a
6 decision here that appears -- you signed, and if we could have it on the
7 ELMO -- or on the e-court, I apologise. It's 1D 00494. It's a decision
8 dated 12 December, 1992.
9 A. I'm sorry, but I don't have it on my screen.
10 Q. We're going to wait, okay? I'm just giving you sort of the
11 warm-up. When you -- do you see it on the screen?
12 A. Yes, I can see it now.
13 Q. Do you recognise this document?
14 A. Could I read the whole -- see the whole document on the screen?
15 Q. Sure. And I even have a hard copy for you if you like.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, do you see the -- do you see your name there?
18 A. I do.
19 Q. Is that your signature?
20 A. It is.
21 Q. Okay. So there is no dilemma that you are the author of this
22 particular document, or you signed this document.
23 A. That's right.
24 Q. And this is a decision dated 12 April, 1992, where you in your
25 capacity as the commander of the Crisis Staff establish -- or you appoint
1 a commander for the Territorial Defence of Mostar, and the gentleman's
2 name is Hasic; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And it would be fair to say, would it not, if we look at the
5 preamble, it says that this is pursuant to a decision by the Presidency of
6 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it's dated 9 April, 1992. Right?
7 A. Right.
8 Q. And I take it - and correct me if I'm wrong - that perhaps you
9 waited so long in making this appointment because you were waiting for
10 some sort of a decision from the Presidency of the Republic of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was located in Sarajevo; right?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. Right. But if I understood you correctly, the JNA came in in
14 November or December of 1991 and all hell was breaking loose -- or
15 September. And if we go on, September, October, November, December,
16 January, February, March, and it's not until April that the good folks in
17 Sarajevo wake up and decide that folks in Mostar should activate the
18 Territorial Defence and appoint a commander; right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Okay. All right. Now -- rather strange, don't you think, that
21 they would wait all this long?
22 A. Well, we just followed orders from them.
23 Q. I understand. But what I'm saying is rather strange that the
24 folks back in Sarajevo --
25 A. You would have to ask the gentlemen who functioned that way over
1 there. You'd have to ask them.
2 Q. Okay. And I take it around this time, too, all hell is breaking
3 loose around Sarajevo, too, because they're under siege, aren't they?
4 A. If I may be allowed to say that we'd already lost all the weapons
5 we had, that the Territorial Defence had of the Municipal Assembly of
6 Mostar at that time. The JNA had already done its best to take our last
7 bullet, the last bullet that we had in our warehouses as a reserve to
8 activate the Territorial Defence. And let me also add that the citizens
9 had bought all that with their own money, purchased it all with their own
11 Q. Right. And --
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, might I have -- might I have a
13 clarification, because I'm a bit confused.
14 On line 14, the question says that at that time finally they, the
15 folks in Mostar, appoint a commander.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Right.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That gives the idea that this document is
18 appointing a commander. As I read the translation of the document, the
19 document authorises the commander, who already exists, to name aides.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Maybe I'm wrong, so I would like you to clarify.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: And it could be that you're absolutely correct, but
23 let's go through it.
24 Q. A Territorial Defence existed prior to this point in time;
25 correct? I mean, I don't want to get into a long discussion about the All
1 People's Defence and what have you, but in essence a Territorial Defence
2 would have existed in every municipality including the Mostar
3 municipality; correct?
4 A. Absolutely.
5 Q. Okay. Through this document, through this decision, it says here
6 that you're authorising this gentleman, Hasic, to appoint his aides and
7 other workers. Was Hasic at that particular time, was he already the
8 commander of the Territorial Defence?
9 A. I'm not quite sure whether we in the Crisis Staff had already
10 proclaimed Hasic commander of the Municipal Staff, if this decision refers
11 just to the fact that he should appoint and put forward his co-workers,
12 which was necessary for them to be able foundation properly.
13 Q. All right. So can I take it at least -- can I take -- can I
14 understand this decision at least to reflect the fact that even if Hasic
15 was a commander at the time, he did not have the requisite aides in order
16 to carry on the functions of a -- of the Territorial Defence of Mostar?
17 A. I have to say that we could activate our Territorial Defence --
18 or, rather, had we been able to do that, everything would have functioned
19 differently. But we were left with just 200 active policemen who carried
20 weapons. All the rest was beyond our reach.
21 Q. Right. But I guess -- and I -- I just want to draw a couple of
22 points on this. One, your decision is based on a decision that was made
23 in Sarajevo at the Presidency level 9 April, 1992; correct?
24 A. Yes, that's right.
25 Q. We already know that as early as September, 1991, the winds of war
1 are blowing in a southerly fashion from the Republic of Croatia, and
2 they're coming down to Mostar; right? Not to mention there are some other
3 ones raging from south to north, you know, or from other directions,
4 because even Sarajevo is under siege at this point; right?
5 A. All I can say is that I agree with what you've just said.
6 Q. All right. And I -- and I guess I'm asking whether you find it
7 rather strange that Alija Izetbegovic, the president of the Presidency,
8 who is supposed to be in charge of this country and looking after the
9 welfare of everyone, including the Croats, why on earth is he waited until
10 9 April, 1992, to react?
11 MR. SCOTT: Objection, Your Honour. Several objections. I
12 realise this is cross-examination, but for a long time now these questions
13 have been overly argumentative. Counsel's putting his -- making his
14 closing argument rather than putting questions to the witness.
15 Secondly, as Mr. Karnavas has said the last couple of days, this
16 question assumes facts not in evidence. There is no evidence whatsoever
17 about what Mr. Izetbegovic was doing during this time, no evidence. So
18 what Mr. Karnavas has just said is nothing more than a wild assumption.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, Your Honour, we know from the witness that
20 nothing was done be Mr. Izetbegovic. I merely asked if he knew. Now, if
21 the gentleman doesn't know, I'll move on. Maybe we'll hear it from
22 Mr. Kljujic or some other witness, but I'm perfectly happy to move on if
23 the Court feels that the Prosecutor's objection should be sustained.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In order to clarify this
25 question, this decision that you signed where the commander of the
1 Territorial Defence of Mostar is authorised to appoint aides, people to
2 help him in his tasks, you signed this decision on the 12th of April.
3 However, after that, in this same document, refer to a decision of the
4 Presidency of -- in the preamble of Bosnia-Herzegovina on the integration
5 of all forces in the republic.
6 Now, was that not linked to the creation and establishment of the
7 BH army, which led to the fact that in fact the Territorial Defence was
8 included into the BH army? Was this not -- decision not taken in that
9 context? Can you explain that to me, please? Because in your decision,
10 you refer to the decision of the Presidency, which we don't have in front
11 of us, but you also mention the fact that it has to do with the
12 unification of all the armed forces, because the proclamation of a state
13 of war had already been made. So wasn't this the moment when you were
14 pooling all available resources? So you as the signatory, what can you
15 tell me about that?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We just did the job and assignment
17 that we received from the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. But that doesn't say
19 -- tell me anything to execute assignments. Which ones, pursuant to this
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, no. I think it was more a
22 formal matter. It just stated matters officially. We knew what we had to
23 do. The Territorial Defence didn't exist any more. The people existed,
24 but there were no weapons. We didn't have the weaponry that we ought to
25 have had, so it was all too late.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But could you look at the
2 document in B/C/S, please, because the English document, the English
3 version, don't seem to reflect what it says in the B/C/S.
4 I looked at the addressees, the list of addressees of your
5 decision, and in the B/C/S document we see that you were sending copies to
6 MNO Sarajevo. After that it says MUP BiH Sarajevo, and then RSTO
7 Sarajevo. Whereas in the English version, in the English translation, it
8 says -- ah, yes, I see, it's on the second page. I should have looked on
9 the second page. Yes. Right.
10 But anyway, this order, you were informing Sarajevo about it
11 because it was an important order; isn't that right? Otherwise, why would
12 you have informed Sarajevo about the order?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we were just fulfilling our
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So addressee number 5, MNO, what
16 is that?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's the Ministry of National
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There you have it, the National
20 Defence Ministry.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Ministry of Internal Affairs is
22 the next one.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Fine. If you were
24 informing the Ministry of National Defence in Sarajevo, that means that
25 your decision was related to the question of the armed forces.
1 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation].
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation].
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, and I hope to clear up a
4 lot of this, because I dare say, with all due respect, there were some
5 assumptions perhaps that were made in the questions posed that do not --
6 are not reflected in some of the documents.
7 Q. Let's take it a step back. I just happen to have this
8 proclamation of immediate threat of war, okay? Perhaps we can put it on
9 the ELMO -- oh, it's already in. I apologise. It's 3D 00275. Perhaps we
10 can see it. And I have a copy --
11 A. I cannot see it.
12 Q. Okay. [Interpretation] Take it easy. [In English] Okay. We
13 don't -- apparently we don't have it in B/C/S, but I'm sure we have some
14 fantastic translators and interpreters who are assisting us, and they
15 could help us out here. So perhaps I can read slowly, and it could be
16 translated for the gentleman.
17 Sir, this is -- if we look at the bottom, it says -- we have a
18 date 8 April, 1992. If we go to the top, we see it's from the Official
19 Gazette. The preamble reads: "Pursuant to provisions of amendments ...
20 of the constitution of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
21 and on the recommendation of the Assembly of the Socialist Republic of
22 Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina, at a session held on 8 April, 1992, issued the following:
24 "Decision on the proclamation of an immediate threat of war.
25 "I. An immediate threat of war is hereby proclaimed in the
1 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
2 Mind you, again, this is 8 April, 1992, and you've already
3 indicated - not just you but others - that the JNA had been actively
4 engaging in war activities in Bosnia as early as September. We'll go on.
5 "II. During the immediate threat of war, the Presidency of the
6 RBH shall be expanded to include the Chairman of the RBH Assembly, the RBH
7 Prime Minister, and the Commander of the Territorial Defence of the
9 Sounds like they're establishing a Crisis Staff themselves,
10 doesn't it?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. Then we go to Article III: "During the immediate threat of war,
13 the RBH Presidency shall issue decrees with force of law and decisions on
14 appointments and dismissals which will be submitted for approval to the
15 RBH Assembly as soon as it is able to meet."
16 These are emergency measures that are normally taken; right?
17 These are normally taken under emergency situations; right?
18 Now, I take it --
19 A. Right.
20 Q. I take it it is based on this that you then ask, in your decision,
21 for Mr. Hasic -- you say, "... is hereby authorised to appoint his aides
22 and other workers necessary -" and I underscore that word "necessary" -
23 "for the functioning of the Mostar municipal Territorial Defence Staff."
24 Now, from that it would -- I mean, if we use a little logic, I can
25 only suspect that the Mostar Municipal Territorial Defence was not in fact
1 functioning, which is why you're issuing this decision based on what the
2 folks in Sarajevo have done for him to get going and appoint the necessary
3 personnel for the functioning of the Territorial Defence; right? Is that
4 a yes?
5 A. I agree.
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. [No interpretation].
8 Q. I didn't get the translation on that. I'm sorry --
9 A. They didn't have the state of facts clearly presented to them.
10 Q. Right. Well, and as you've indicated, by this point all the
11 weapons from the Territorial Defence have been taken, so it's a bit like
12 closing the door -- the barn door after the horses have run out, if you
13 get my expression.
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. Now --
16 A. I understand what it is that you're targeting at, and that was
17 objectively so, but what can one do? Life was a quite different matter,
18 and we were forced to organise ourselves in a different fashion
19 altogether, organising ourselves as we were enjoined upon to do, and of
20 course we had to handle the everyday situations as best as we could.
21 Q. I understand it, and, sir, don't think for one moment that I do
22 not appreciate the difficult situation that you were in, nor am I being
23 critical. I'm just bringing out certain facts that were brought upon you,
24 not that you created.
25 Now, if I could look at -- if we could look at another document,
1 because now we have -- we have a decision to Hasic. If we could look at
2 1D 00495.
3 Here - and this may help with one of the questions raised by the
4 president -- okay. I'm told that we cannot find it. We have it for the
5 ELMO in your language. Okay. Here it is.
6 All right. If you could just sort of rest your eyes on this
7 document a little bit.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay. We see that the date is 17 April, 1992. So that is five
10 days after you've already made the decision. Okay. It takes Mr. Hasic
11 five days in the middle of this chaos, in the middle of this emergency
12 going on, it takes him five days and he makes his appointments, and could
13 you tell us, sir, where does he send this notice to?
14 A. I cannot see the top of the page.
15 Q. Okay.
16 A. Actually, to the Republican Territorial Defence Staff of the
17 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Republican Territorial Defence
18 Staff, sent by the Municipal Staff of Mostar, the Territorial Defence
19 Municipal Staff of Mostar about these appointments, according to our
21 Q. Okay. And that republican staff, is that in Sarajevo, by any
22 chance, or is that in Mostar?
23 A. No, it is not in Mostar. It is in Sarajevo.
24 Q. Okay.
25 A. All the institutions of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina were
1 concentrated in Sarajevo.
2 Q. Okay. So if I get this -- if I get it right, you issue a decision
3 being the Crisis Staff commander for Mr. Hasic, and then Mr. Hasic, after
4 waiting five days, makes his appointments, doesn't notify you and instead
5 notifies Sarajevo. Is that -- is that what I can conclude from this
6 document? Because I don't see you on the mailing list.
7 A. It probably wasn't that important that we should be informed.
8 Q. You don't think it was important?
9 A. We knew that that particular segment of the defence of Mostar
10 could not function.
11 Q. Right. Which then brings us to the April 29th decision, because
12 by this point it would appear that you're reaching out to the only
13 available realistic option, and that is the HVO; right?
14 A. That's right. And, actually, we said so by our decision.
15 Q. Exactly. So -- and you could see why I'm bringing these out. You
16 see, I'm stringing it along because it seems by the 29th you have no
17 choice, and in fact, thank God, there is an option out there to assist in
18 the defence of Mostar.
19 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, again I'm going to object to the
20 argumentative nature of these questions. This is argument.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll move on, Your Honour.
22 Q. Now, if we look at this decision, and this is P 0 -- yes.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation]. [Interpretation] It
24 mentions the members of the STO and the fact that they were changed. Does
25 this mean that -- yes, it's working now.
1 It says there's the former OPSTO, and there's a list of 13
2 individuals. Does this mean -- this means -- or does this mean that the
3 former one was still functioning?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it does. Formally, yes. The
5 appointment of new people had not been resolved, but it was reorganised.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So this body was restructured.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is correct.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President. And since you brought us
9 to that point, I guess maybe I should spend a little more time on this
10 document. Again, 1D 00495.
11 Q. If we look at the first seven names that Mr. Hasic appoints, he
12 puts himself first as the commander. Then we see chief of staff. That's
13 a pretty important position. Chief of security, medical service,
14 quartermaster service, financial service, personnel and mobilisation.
15 It seems to me that if he had to appoint all these people, that
16 Territorial Defence, for all intents and purposes, was on paper only and
17 wasn't functioning; correct?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. And is it not correct, sir, that you as the commander of the
20 Crisis Staff, along with the other members of the Crisis Staff, should
21 know of these appointments and should be kept abreast of what the
22 Territorial Defence is doing, because after all, it's based on your
23 authorisation, your decision, that he's having to make these appointments;
25 A. Yes, our decision. That's correct.
1 Q. And based -- at least based on this piece of paper that we have -
2 again, 1D 00495, Mr. Hasic's appointment list - it would appear that you
3 are not served with a copy and you are not notified even though you are in
4 Mostar, Sarajevo is under siege, and somehow he manages to communicate
5 with Sarajevo but doesn't have the wherewithal to communicate with you,
6 the commander of the Crisis Staff?
7 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, again I'm going to object and this time
8 let me illustrate exactly the point very specifically. The witness
9 already answered the previous question. If you look at page 39, line --
10 line 14, Mr. Karnavas puts the same question, he's just put this question,
11 and at line 20 the witness answers "Yes, our decision. That's correct."
12 The question has been answered. Everything that follows after that is
13 simply an argument by Mr. Karnavas.
14 Now, I object. I know it's cross-examination, but I object to
15 continued argument. The witness answered the question and then
16 Mr. Karnavas makes a speech.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, this is proper cross-examination. I'm
18 trying to assist the Trial Chamber here. But I'll move on to the next
20 Q. Now, we have the decision on the 29th, and since we're running out
21 of time, I don't want to take the time on going through the preamble, but
22 obviously there is a preamble there which sets out the reasons why you're
23 having to issue this decision; correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Okay. But one cannot help but notice that in this preamble you
1 notify, or you alert everybody, the whole public, that the decision is
2 made in part because Mostar is under partial occupation; right? It's
3 right in the preamble that Mostar is under partial occupation.
4 A. Right.
5 Q. And in fact, it was. It had been; right? Okay.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And --
8 A. We were very realistic in appraising the situation that we had
9 found ourselves in.
10 Q. Right. Right. Now, we -- I don't want to spend too much time in
11 here with this document, but if we look at it very briefly, you obviously
12 -- I want to focus a little bit on point VIII, more specifically the very
13 last or the second to last article. It says: "The crisis --"
14 A. Could I have it on my screen again, please.
15 Q. It's P 00180. I apologise. I'm labouring under this new
16 technology. Okay. That's not it yet. We're going to get to it.
17 A. Okay.
18 Q. I believe that's it.
19 A. What item did you say I should look at?
20 Q. Item VIII. We can see it right here. Right there.
21 A. Item VIII, yes.
22 Q. I'll read the English and follow along. If you need to correct my
23 translation, you go ahead. "The crisis headquarters of the municipality
24 of Mostar shall -" I underscore the word "shall" - "establish as soon as
25 possible the temporary Executive Council which will ensure the functioning
1 of the government bodies of the Assembly of the municipality of Mostar."
3 A. Yes, that was logical, because with its number, the Crisis Staff
4 could hardly service the overall requirements of life in the city.
5 Q. I totally understand you. And we have the nine members. But, you
6 know, it strikes me a little bit -- I must say a little odd that assuming
7 -- assuming your memory serves you right that the Crisis Staff was
8 established as early as February 15 - on or about - 1992, here we are
9 April 29th and it's only through this decision that the Crisis Staff at
10 least recognises that it needs to set up a temporary Executive Council.
11 I'm sure there is some reason, but you can see that perhaps there was a
12 lag of time between the establishment of the Crisis Staff and this
14 A. Well, you see, we had not been aware of how long the crisis
15 situation would last. And had it been able to resolve it over a short
16 period of time, there would have been no need to transform the basic
17 structures which actually managed the functioning of the city and its
18 life. And that is what we had been expecting, that things would calm
19 down, that this calamity would bypass us. So we waited for the nick of
20 time, as it were, to actually assess that it was indeed necessary to
21 reorganise the structures managing the life in the city, and that is the
22 reason why that was so.
23 Q. You were able to function in peacetime, but under this situation,
24 you were not able to function.
25 A. Yes. I'll have to draw your attention to one fact, and I'm
1 speaking from a personal angle. I did my utmost to establish
2 communication with the Yugoslav army. As part of that, we co-opted into
3 our Crisis Staff the commander of the Mostar garrison, Mr. Pantelic, who
4 was present when difficult situations were being discussed, and we wanted
5 to cooperate with him in order to address certain critical moments, and he
6 was ready to do so. He was very cooperative.
7 But to understand the entire situation, when the Titograd Uzice
8 Corps and its forces arrived, that was absolutely outside the control of
9 our own garrisons. So that communication between General Torbica, who was
10 the commander of that corps and had his command post in Kifino Selo, which
11 is 40 kilometres away from Mostar, so that we were unable to communicate
12 at any time. But through Mr. Pantelic, as our official garrison
13 commander, we had his assistance in establishing such communication. I
14 cannot tell you in detail how that actually evolved, in every single
15 detail, but it was difficult.
16 Q. Okay. If I understand you correctly -- and I don't know where we
17 are with the break, but if I can just understand you correctly, don't
18 assume that I'm being critical, because I'm not, but as the events were
19 unfolding, you were doing your utmost to keep danger at bay, negotiating,
20 you know, walking that tightrope, and then at some point, as you say, the
21 Montenegrin reservists come in -- or you say Titograd; I assume that's who
22 you're referring to -- and by that point now you're at the precipice and
23 there is no room to manoeuvre. It seems you were doing your best for
24 several months to try to resolve the situation peacefully and then, all of
25 a sudden, you found yourself with no other choice; correct?
1 A. Correct. I can say that I'm proud to have been able to manoeuvre
2 for such a long time at the expense of personal misunderstandings, with
3 falling out with many of my associates who didn't appreciate my reasons,
4 because I managed for us to avoid this conflict, and we did this for a
5 long time prior to the Presidency's proclamation of the immediate threat
6 of war.
7 Q. I agree. I agree, and --
8 A. Very well.
9 Q. And you should be commended by that.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: And right now I think we need to take a break.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, I agree. We should have a
12 break now. It's half past ten. We'll have a break until 11.00 since we
13 need a half-hour break for technical reasons. We will resume at 11.00.
14 --- Recess taken at 10.36 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at is 11.02 a.m.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll now resume.
17 MR. KARNAVAS:
18 Q. Okay. I have a few more questions. I'll try to hurry up.
19 Now, getting back to this decision of April 29th, again, if we
20 focus our attention on paragraph VIII, again I just want to make sure that
21 I understand it. What it's calling for is the establishment of an
22 Executive Council which actually would be sort of like an Executive Board
23 to run the day-to-day business of the Mostar municipality; is that
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. Okay. And -- and of course that's necessary because the Crisis
2 Staff itself can carry out that function.
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. Okay. Now, yesterday we looked at a document. It was P 00190.
5 And this was the document that was a decision issued by the HVO appointing
6 a Special Purpose Council, if you recall that.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, just -- if we could look at this document for a second. It
9 shows that -- first of all, it's dated May 7, so that would be
10 approximately six or seven days after your decision; right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And can we assume -- can we assume that in spite of the emergency
13 situation and the raging of the war in Mostar, at least as of May 6th the
14 crisis headquarters had yet to establish an Executive Council as it had
15 mandated in its own decision of 29 April, 1992?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. All right. So even though you told us yesterday you had not seen
18 this particular decision, you nonetheless commented - and correct me if
19 I'm wrong, and I'm going to paraphrase a little bit - you thought, based
20 on what is contained in the document, the tasks that this Special Purpose
21 Council undertakes are vital and necessary under the circumstances.
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. And if we look -- if we look at some of the names -- for instance,
24 the first name, Neven Tomic, you know who he is. Right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Prlic of course we talked about, and some of the others, including
2 at the very end we see Camil Salahovic, also known as Limi, correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And Camil Salahovic, just for those of us who don't know him, was
5 at this point in time the vice-president of the SDA in Mostar; correct?
6 A. I'm not certain, but I think you might be wrong.
7 Q. Okay. Would he be a close associate of Mr. Hadziosmanovic at this
8 time and period?
9 A. I don't think so.
10 Q. Okay. All right. Now, the names of these people here, if I could
11 use a word, technocrat, would it be fair to say that these individuals
12 bring with them a collective body of knowledge and skills necessary for
13 running the day-to-day affairs as if they were in fact part of an
14 Executive Council as was mandated by the decision of 29 April, 1992?
15 A. I'd say that under item 2, the task of the council for the needs
16 of the Mostar municipal staff in the HVO is as follows -- well, with
17 regards to these tasks, unfortunately it doesn't mention or, rather, it
18 neglects the Crisis Staff of -- the HVO Crisis Staff of Mostar
20 Q. All right. Okay. Fair enough. Be fair to say also that the
21 Crisis Staff has neglected the folks of Mostar because here it is six days
22 later and the HVO is having to at least establish a Special Purpose
23 Council to carry out the functions that the Crisis Staff should have
24 carried out perhaps long before this -- this period.
25 A. Yes. You could understand it in that way, but I wouldn't agree
1 with you.
2 Q. Okay. Now, the HVO was entrusted with protecting the city,
3 protecting the citizens, and fending back the JNA and the aggressors,
5 Q. And in doing so obviously they would need resources; correct?
6 A. Absolutely.
7 Q. They would need to look to the municipality, to the Crisis Staff,
8 or perhaps to a non-existent Executive Council to provide them at least
9 with the necessary resources to carry out the task that was given to them
10 by the Crisis Staff; correct?
11 A. That's correct. Could you just show me a document that they
12 addressed to the Crisis Staff, however, with such request? I would be
13 grateful if you could do this.
14 Q. I agree with you on that, but then again you must show me a
15 document where the Crisis Staff establish an Executive Council. Because
16 again, if we could go back - and I don't want to be critical - but if the
17 Crisis Staff was established back in February 15, 1992, as a result of a
18 crisis, and here it is April 29 we have a decision, and then as late as
19 May 7th still there is no Executive Council, you would agree with me at
20 least there is a need -- there is a need for a Special Purpose Council,
21 especially - especially - when the town is in essence in flames, is
23 A. I'd like to tell you about how I perceive these events. It's not
24 as if we didn't have any resources, you know. With this decision, we
25 would just verify to confirm all the functions that were essential in
1 order to make sure that the town was supplied and secure, but throughout
2 the entire period of the Crisis Staff's activities, certain things
3 functioned properly.
4 Q. I agree with you. And certain things were lacking, and certain
5 things were needed; right?
6 A. [No interpretation].
7 Q. Okay. And we can argue about the establishment of the Special
8 Purpose Council, but you in fact, sir, indicated that what it was tasked
9 to do was vital and necessary under the circumstances. Okay.
10 A. Correct.
11 THE INTERPRETER: And could the witness please speak up when
12 answering the questions.
13 MR. KARNAVAS:
14 Q. You have to speak up a little bit. You have a very soft voice.
15 A. Very well.
16 Q. Now, just to remind ourselves, this is May 7th. The next document
17 that we looked at yesterday was dated May 15, 1992, and -- and this is
18 P 00209.
19 Now, we have it in the system, however, I would kindly request to
20 put the -- a cleaner copy in your language on the ELMO, because I think
21 the preamble is hard to read. Perhaps with this clean copy, and of course
22 if it -- first we'll look at it. We'll see if it is a true and accurate
23 copy, if it reflects that which it is supposed to reflect, and then I'll
24 ask you some questions.
25 Okay. Now, if you could look at it, sir. Look at it carefully
1 and tell us whether that is the same document that we talked about
2 yesterday, the one that was signed by Jadran Topic. This was the order
3 disbanding the Crisis Staff.
4 A. I think so.
5 Q. Okay. And would you agree with me at least that at least the copy
6 I provided you - not that I want to take any particular credit - but at
7 least mine is a little bit more readable and you'll be able to at least
8 help us out here. Right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. All right. Having said that, perhaps you could glance at it. And
11 I don't want to go into it in great detail because we'll be able to read
12 it and hopefully we'll have it translated, because I see the English
13 translation is lacking, certain words being illegible, it's fair to say
14 that this preamble, does it not, sir, give us sort of a historical
15 context, a background of what preceded?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Okay. Now -- and so from this preamble we can see that at least
18 at the state level and, even somewhat at the local level, there is an
19 understanding and perhaps an appreciation that there is a dangerous
20 situation that needs to be rectified and that as a result the HVO has
21 taken it upon themselves to disband the Crisis Staff and to more or less
22 take over the activities; correct?
23 A. I don't know what you base such an assumption on.
24 Q. All right. Well, remember we started with -- we started with
25 Mr. Pejanovic. May 11th to May 13th he was talking about. And we talked
1 about right around this period of time, because this is May 15th, we
2 talked about people having to swim the Neretva, rather fast and cold body
3 of water, as they're trying to escape from east to west. And it's within
4 this context.
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. That's what I'm talking about. So at least you could -- we could
7 agree that one would appreciate the urgency in the situation in trying to
8 establish some sort of working order in Mostar under these most difficult
9 circumstances; correct?
10 A. Very well.
11 Q. All right. And as I understand it, sometime in June, unlike what
12 the Prosecutor said yesterday that the JNA left, they were chased out;
14 A. Very well.
15 Q. They were chased out by the HVO and others.
16 A. Yes, I agree with that.
17 Q. Okay. Now, I want to make sure that there's no misunderstanding
18 on one point, and perhaps I'm the cause of this confusion. At the state
19 level at this particular point in time, at the state level, BiH, such as
20 it was, there is no military force to speak of, is there? There's no, you
21 know, JNA, you know, for BiH; right?
22 A. No.
23 Q. All we have are Territorial Defences; right?
24 A. That's right.
25 Q. And in some places, as in Mostar, for instance, first the weapons
1 were siphoned out by the JNA, and virtually these municipalities were left
2 to fend for themselves, to try to protect themselves. So in other words,
3 there's nothing that they can look at in Sarajevo. They may be able to
4 send a telegram to say here is the list of people we're appointing, but in
5 essence Sarajevo can't do anything for Mostar at this period of time;
7 A. Correct.
8 Q. Okay. And in fact, that is why -- that is why you reach out on
9 April 29th to the HVO to help out, and indeed they do help out; right?
10 A. Right.
11 Q. Okay. Good. Now, I just have a couple of -- a couple of other
12 matters, very quickly. More like a point of clarification, if anything.
13 Yesterday -- yesterday you were reminded by the Prosecution of a
14 particular document. It was a conclusion -- it was a conclusion from the
15 Herzegovina Regional Community, topical regional community meeting that
16 was held on 12 November, 1991. Do you recall that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You attended that -- you attended that meeting. You attended the
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And by the way, I'm speaking of 1D 00487. Now, I've been to some
22 of these meetings. Not party meetings, but I've been to similar kind of
23 meetings where normally a sheet is passed around for all the participants
24 to write their names and maybe even sign their names so we know who was
25 all at the meeting; right?
1 A. Right.
2 Q. And the fact that you've signed in that you were present doesn't
3 necessarily mean that that signature carries any weight with respect to
4 any conclusions that were found or purported to have been found later on;
6 A. That's a correct interpretation.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: If you'd put the third page on the ELMO for the
9 Q. Now, if -- if -- okay. Now, the way -- okay. And that's your
10 signature, by the way, we were talking about, number 22?
11 A. That's right.
12 Q. Okay. And all this signature means --
13 MR. KARNAVAS: And, Madam Usher, you can just relax. I don't
14 think I'll need you any more for right now.
15 Q. But that signature, all it reflects is that you were present;
17 A. Right.
18 Q. Okay. Now, normally the meetings that I attend to similar to
19 these sorts of meetings, the first thing that happens is you might have a
20 discussion on whether you're going to adopt the minutes of the previous
21 meeting; correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And that's to make sure that when a conclusion or minutes are
24 drafted later on, post-meeting, that those who might agree to it have an
25 opportunity to read it, analyse it, and make sure before they say yes or
1 no that they know exactly what they're agreeing to or not agreeing to;
3 A. That's correct.
4 THE INTERPRETER: And could the witness again be asked to speak up
5 because the interpreter is having difficulty in hearing his answers.
6 Thank you.
7 MR. KARNAVAS:
8 Q. You have to speak up, all right?. Don't be shy around here.
9 We're all friends.
10 A. I didn't deny that.
11 Q. No, I know that. Now, the last thing I want to point out is this:
12 You're -- assuming you didn't agree to these conclusions, can we also not
13 assume that none of these names that are on this piece of paper
14 necessarily agree or disagree with these conclusions, based on the
15 signature itself on the sign-up sheet?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. Okay. And so -- and I don't want to give away anything because
18 we'll have to wait for other witnesses to come, it might be that we have
19 to wait to see what other documents are generated after this particular
20 meeting to see what, if any, of these conclusions were actually adopted or
21 proposed, adopted, and implemented; right?
22 A. Right.
23 Q. Okay.
24 A. And we shall also see who signed them.
25 Q. Exactly. Exactly. Okay. Sir, I want to thank you very, very
1 much. I hope it wasn't too painful.
2 A. You're welcome.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm reminded, Mr. President, I'm supposed to
4 introduce some documents. There are three documents --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Do so but rapidly, please.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: 1D 00487, 494, 495. Thank you, Mr. President and
7 Your Honours.
8 Thank you, sir.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
11 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. [In
12 English] The following exhibits are therefore tendered and admitted today
13 with the following references: 1D 00487, 1D 00494, and 1D 00495. Thank
14 you, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Kovacic, I forgot to
16 mention the photographs.
17 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wanted to save time
18 and do this at the end. I also suggest the photographs be given an IC
19 number, and I'll provide the registrar with a CD and hard copy of the
20 photographs, that they can be integrated in the system. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And there are no documents you
22 want to deal with?
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] No. We have no other documents.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Registrar, could
25 you deal with the IC number for the photographs.
1 THE REGISTRAR: The bundle of photographs presented today will
2 bear the reference IC 00021. Thank you.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's have the next
4 Defence team now, then.
5 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Gagro, good morning to you. My name is Vesna
7 Alaburic, attorney from Zagreb, and here I'm Defence counsel for General
8 Milivoj Petkovic.
9 My questions will require a little less time than my colleagues
10 because we've clarified many issues, but before I go ahead with my first
11 question, I'd like us to clear up one of your questions which was recorded
12 on page 12 of the transcript, lines 12 to 16. When Mr. Kovacic showed you
13 photographs from the publication, Uziteit [phoen], you were asked what
14 that publication was and it says here that urbicide occurred after the
15 Yugoslav army had left town. That's what the record says. Now, can you
16 explain to us -- explain this to us? Did you mean that the book was
17 compiled after the army had left Mostar and the book contains photographs
18 of buildings which were destroyed by the Yugoslav army?
19 A. Well, I don't know who interpreted this otherwise, but that's the
20 fact as it says. Urbicide is a document compiled after the Yugoslav army
21 was expelled from Mostar.
22 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please, at the time when you were performing
23 your functions in Mostar, did you ever meet General Milivoj Petkovic?
24 A. No, I didn't. I can say unfortunately I didn't have the pleasure
25 of meeting him.
1 Q. Well, during the time that you had -- were going about your
2 functions, did you ever hear of General Milivoj Petkovic?
3 A. No. Although I like the name, and I assume you know why.
4 Q. I can well believe that. Now, in view of the fact that you didn't
5 know my client nor did you hear about him during the material time, the
6 time you're telling us about, I'm going to ask you a few questions because
7 I do consider that your knowledge and experience will help us clarify
8 certain parts of the indictment. So I'm just going to make a short
9 introductory address and say that in the indictment and the counts against
10 our clients, it says, first and foremost, that the Croatian Community of
11 Herceg-Bosna was proclaimed by extremist nationalist elements of the HDZ
12 of the BiH, and then it goes on to say that with the establishment of the
13 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna a joint criminal enterprise started of
14 ethnic cleansing and aiding and abetting ethic cleansing of the Muslims,
15 and then it goes on to say that in the joint criminal enterprise members
16 of the municipal members of the organs of power and authority took part as
17 well as member of the HDZ, and all that beginning with November, 1991.
18 So since at that time you held prominent posts in the municipal
19 organs and were a member of the HDZ yourself, I'm going to ask you a few
20 questions in that regard.
21 You told us, and this was recorded yesterday on page 15, line 1,
22 of the transcript, that you supported the idea of a Herceg-Bosna; is that
24 A. Yes, that is correct.
25 Q. Now, do you consider yourself to be an extreme nationalist of the
2 A. No, I don't.
3 Q. Would you agree with me when I say that the idea of a Herceg-Bosna
4 was supported by all members of the HDZ?
5 A. Absolutely correct.
6 Q. Would you also agree with me when I put it to you that the idea of
7 Herceg-Bosna was supported by plebiscite by all Croats living in the areas
8 of the municipalities that are associated into Herceg-Bosna?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Thank you. Now, in view of the fact that the political party, the
11 Croatian Democratic Union in the indictment in a certain way is said to be
12 an organisation which gave shape to some criminal enterprise, and you were
13 a member of that political party, I'm going to ask you to comment parts of
14 the statute of the Croatian Democratic Union, and may we have the document
15 on e-court. The Prosecution number is 00013. P 00013. And could it be
16 shown -- could we see pages 2 and 3. Pages 2 and 3, and the page begins
17 with the purpose for the establishment of the Croatian Democratic Union of
18 BH. May we have page 2 displayed, please.
19 Perhaps it would be simpler if we were to place the document on
20 the ELMO. May we have the technical booth's assistance. Pages 2 and 3 we
21 need. Thank you, here we have it.
22 In Article 10 of the statute, point 10.1. It says the following,
23 that the HDZ, among other things, will strive for the embodiment of
24 statehood and sovereignty of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 Is that so? Was that how it was, Mr. Gagro?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. In point 10.5, it says that the Croatian Democratic Community will
3 strive for the linking up and inclusion of Bosnia-Herzegovina into the
4 European Community of Associated Nations.
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. On the next page, page 3 --
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters note that they do not have the
8 English version of this document.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. So we're looking at page 3, point 10.8, which is rather a lengthy
11 point, but there are certain sections which I consider to be very
12 important, so I'll read them out. It says the following: "The HDZ of BiH
13 will endeavour to implement its programme in a legal manner, proposing
14 constitutional, legal, and socio-political changes for the faster
15 emergence from the crisis and the gradual implementation of full
16 parliamentary democracy. The HDZ-BiH is resolutely in favour of including
17 -- having BiH included into the European Community and the modern
18 integration of the world. Everything must be done along those lines to
19 have BiH take part in the Alpe-Adria community and that that should be as
20 efficacious as possible and demand that BiH be accepted into the union of
21 European Regions, ARE. All efforts and goals of the HDZ-BiH should be
22 geared towards realising the social -- to realising social freedoms and
23 justice, morals and work, especially the happiness and well-being of all
24 peoples -- of all people without any differences who consider BiH to be
25 their homeland.
1 Q. Was that how it was, Mr. Gagro?
2 A. Yes, and it was on this basis that we in fact compiled this
3 document, and that's why I supported it.
4 Q. Tell us, please, on the basis of this statute and programmes and
5 principles of this kind, would it be proper to conclude that the political
6 party known as the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina fully wished to see a
7 sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina as a member on an equal footing of
8 international associations and the international community in general?
9 A. Yes, we said that clearly through our statute and you've just read
10 that out.
11 Q. Thank you very much. Could you tell us, please, Mr. Gagro,
12 whether today in Bosnia-Herzegovina political discussions are being held
13 about a unitary set-up for the country?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Tell us, is one of the options for a unitary establishment and
16 organisation of Bosnia-Herzegovina one of them?
17 A. That is one of them.
18 Q. Would one of the solutions be the existence of three national
20 A. That is one of the variants as well, yes.
21 Q. And is there a third option, to retain the present solution with
22 two entities?
23 A. There are solutions of that kind being bandied about as well.
24 Q. Is there another solution linked to a proposal from Republika
25 Srpska to follow the example of Montenegro and organise a referendum, one
1 of the options too?
2 A. That is the latest one, the latest option. And the Serbs having
3 lost Montenegro are proposing that option and exerting pressure on the
4 international community to give some thought to that about Kosovo, a
5 solution for Kosovo, which is looming on the horizon.
6 Q. Thank you very much. Now, tell us, all these concepts, all these
7 options for an internal structure of the country, are discussions being
8 held quite openly about all those as variations, the pros and cons being
10 A. Yes, absolutely. But I think that the situation in the HDZ is
11 seeming to loom up again in the same relationships that existed before
12 this unfortunate conflict, and today too we have divergencies within the
13 HDZ itself over a concept of a solution for the future, that is to say how
14 Bosnia Herzegovina should be established and organised in the future.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers kindly be asked to slow down,
16 please, and make pauses between question and answer, thank you, for the
17 benefit of one and all.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Not only in the countries of the former Yugoslavia but in other
20 countries too, is it usual that within one political party there are
21 different views of one and the same problem?
22 A. Yes, that is correct. That's the democratic principle, yes.
23 Q. Thank you. Yesterday, Mr. Gagro - and this was recorded on page
24 48 of the transcript, lines 9 to 11 - there was just one sentence in which
25 you mentioned the contribution of the Bosniaks in raising tensions in
1 Mostar and the entire region as well, and you mentioned that it was only
2 later that you happened to learn that the Bosniaks, too, or, rather, the
3 Muslims at that time, tried to organise themselves and realise some of
4 their goals. Can you clarify what you meant?
5 A. Well, it's like this: Just as we Croats in the HDZ before, and
6 today, too, had differences of opinion and divergent opinions about the
7 political rules and policy to be pursued within a party and in discussions
8 amongst parties, so also the Bosniak side had different options which were
9 not only always unanimously accepted. That is why I said that their
10 options were not always the same and supported by one and all.
11 Q. Could you be a little more precise and tell us what those options
12 were and who the protagonists of those options were, ones which did not
13 contribute to co-existence between the Muslims and Croats?
14 A. Well, I can tell you quite openly, Mr. Ismet Hadziosmanovic, who
15 was president of the Regional Board of the SDA of Mostar was a member of
16 the Crisis Staff, our Crisis Staff. However, the replacement of the
17 Crisis Staff meant that Mr. Hadziosmanovic was replaced too, and the new
18 temporary government - let me put it that way because I don't know what it
19 was actually called - accepted and took in other Bosniaks without the
20 original Bosniaks, the Bosniaks who had originally participated and been
21 members of the Crisis Staff. So that would be an answer to your question.
22 Q. I'm not sure I followed you there. Did you mean to say that
23 Mr. Hadziosmanovic was somebody who was an extremist and opposed to
25 A. No; quite the contrary. He was very cooperative. Yes, he was
1 very cooperative until the situation escalated, and he had opponents for
2 other options, and that's why they endeavoured to eliminate him.
3 Q. Can you name the people who were opponents to Mr. Hadziosmanovic?
4 A. Well, I don't think I would like to name the people and enter into
5 these inter-party debates.
6 Q. Thank you. That's all from me, Mr. Gagro.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Just a very brief question
8 following on from what you said a moment ago. You said that you regretted
9 not having met General Petkovic and that Mr. -- you had sympathies for
10 Mr. Petkovic. Could you explain those sentiments. You mentioned some
11 sentiments that you had with respect to Mr. Petkovic.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What I said referred to the fact
13 that we had the same name. So that's why I felt this affinity towards
14 him. We have the same name. But this is the first time I see
15 Mr. Petkovic, here today in the courtroom.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Counsel Alaburic.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Counsel.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do apologise, but
19 just one slight intervention with respect to the transcript. On page 60,
20 line 1, I think there was -- the answer was mistakenly recorded about some
21 topical relationships within the HDZ, so that in line 3 of that answer on
22 page 60, it says: "[In English] ... today too we have divergent SIS
23 within the HDZ ..." [No interpretation]. [Interpretation] It's been
24 recorded as SIS, S-I-S, which is a secret service, intelligence service.
25 That's wrong.
1 THE INTERPRETER: It's not SIS, it's divergencies, the plural,
2 interpreter's note.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, would you like to
4 tender any documents? The statute and the HDZ document, would you like to
5 have that tendered? And there are several articles within that statute.
6 You were referring to just certain parts, beginning with Article 8. We
7 don't have articles 8 to 7 -- 1 to 7.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] It's like this, Your Honour: The
9 statute was adopted as Prosecution Exhibit P 00013 and we already
10 discussed it. We discussed it when we listened to expert witness
11 Mr. Donia.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So that document is
13 already in evidence, and the number is P 13. Thank you.
14 The next Defence counsel.
15 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Cross-examination by Mr. Jonjic:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Gagro, I'm going to be asking
18 you several questions as Defence counsel for Mr. Valentin Coric.
19 Yesterday during your testimony, and today too, in describing the
20 situation in Mostar at the end of 1991 and the beginning of 1992, you said
21 that the situation was fairly chaotic as far as the functioning of the
22 town was concerned.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You also mentioned that the level of destruction of the town was
25 considerable, and I'm talking about destruction during the Greater Serbia
1 occupation or occupation by the Yugoslav People's Army and the struggle of
2 the town to defend itself and become liberated.
3 A. Exact -- that's exact.
4 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] May we see document 5D now 01091. If
5 we don't have it in the e-court, then perhaps we can put it on the
6 overhead projector.
7 Q. Do you see that document, Mr. Gagro? You can probably see it in
8 its entirety, and we can all see it partially. This is a comment of
9 General Perisic of 19 of April, 1992, which instructs the artillery units
10 of the Yugoslav army to shell targets in the city; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Tell me, the targets which are indicated here under item 2 are in
13 fact civilian targets. These are parts of the city.
14 A. Can you be more specific?
15 Q. Cim, Ilici?
16 A. Yes; Cim, Ilici, Donji Brijeg, Bijeli Brijeg, Donja Mahala.
17 Q. These are city sections?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Tell me, the 19th of April was Easter according to the new
20 calendar, it was the Catholic Easter. Do you remember that the shelling
21 took place on that Easter day?
22 A. There have been so many instances of shelling that I really
23 couldn't tell whether it was Easter or any other day for that matter.
24 Q. Very well. Thank you. Tell me, at that time in that period,
25 which is to say March and April, 1992, as the Crisis Staff president you
1 met on a number of occasions with UNPROFOR representatives, did you not?
2 A. Yes, I did.
3 Q. These meetings with UNPROFOR, however, did not yield much fruit,
4 so that on the 29th of April a decision was adopted whereunder the Crisis
5 Staff was entrusting the HVO with the defence of the city; right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. One of the signatories of that document is Dr. Ismet
8 Hadziosmanovic as well?
9 A. Yes, he is.
10 Q. Dr. Ismet Hadziosmanovic at that time was the president of the
11 city organisation, the municipal organisation of the SDA of Mostar?
12 A. I suppose also of the regional one.
13 Q. The regional one as well, okay.
14 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] Can the registrar please display on
15 the ELMO document 5D 01092, please. We can't see it in electronic form,
16 but we can physically display it, show it to you. We have the English
17 translation as well.
18 Q. Mr. Gagro, in the short period did you manage to see what this is
19 about, this short time? This is Dr. Ismet Hadziosmanovic who introduces
20 himself as a member of the Crisis Staff, addressing the citizens of Mostar
21 precisely on that date, the 29th of April, 1992.
22 A. Yes. This clearly speaks about the decision that we signed.
23 Q. So this is Dr. Hadziosmanovic commenting on Radio Mostar the
24 reasons for the adoption of that decision.
25 A. Yes, and explaining to the public why it was adopted.
1 Q. Yes. If you look at page 1, halfway down the middle, you will see
2 that he explains also the differences in the ways that -- in the response
3 of the Muslims and the response of the Croats to the occupation of Mostar.
4 Can you find that?
5 A. Yes, I read it.
6 Q. So it is a fact that the Croatian people was aware that this would
7 indeed happen one day, whereas the Muslims didn't have a clue.
8 A. Yes, they were aware, because they participated together with us
9 in the city structures given the situation that obtained and the
10 organisation of the Muslims at that time.
11 Q. So we can describe Mr. Hadziosmanovic at that time as the leader
12 of the most influential and strongest Muslim party?
13 A. In the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, yes.
14 Q. So in this statement that he read out on Radio Mostar he actually
15 acknowledged that the Muslims were unprepared for what had befallen them?
16 A. Yes, that is a fact.
17 Q. Thank you. If you look at page 2 of this statement or, rather, of
18 this communique for the public, Dr. Hadziosmanovic comments on the
19 position of the Territorial Defence. As yesterday and today we referred
20 to it repeatedly, do -- are we agreed, Mr. Gagro, that Dr. Hadziosmanovic,
21 in the fourth and fifth line of page 2, refers to the JNA as the political
22 and military aggressor and a part of the armed formations which are
23 subsumed under the concept of the TO?
24 A. Yes. This is the Territorial Defence that was --
25 Q. Inherited, you mean inherited.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Would the speakers please not overlap.
2 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Because this is the Territorial Defence which was inherited from
4 the Yugoslav system and was predominantly, do we agree, in Serbian hands,
5 therefore the leadership was predominantly Serbian?
6 A. If we are talking about the Mostar TO, it was not.
7 Q. No, generally speaking.
8 A. Well, generally speaking --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Will both of you please slow
10 down. Please.
11 THE INTERPRETER: And the interpreters also add and also pause.
12 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. I'm talking about the republican level of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 A. I think that requires a broader explanation. Based on the method
15 for the Territorial Defence of Mostar employed for it, we expect that that
16 was the model which was applied to the entire territory of Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina. We in the Territorial Defence had a command that was of
18 Croat and Serbian and Bosniak composition, and at the moment the
19 reservists arrived, and perhaps even before that, I'm not quite certain at
20 this point, the General Staff of the Yugoslav army simply excluded from
21 the Territorial Defence and its command all non-Serb staff.
22 Q. Thank you very much.
23 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] Can we perhaps now see in e-court
24 document 5D 01094. If we do not manage to see it in e-court, then again
25 we can see it physically. We can see it this time either -- please, can
1 we see it physically. And I apologise for this type of technical
3 Q. This, Mr. Gagro, is a quite short excerpt from the book by General
4 Stjepan Siber. Tell me, he is a general of the army of B and H?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can we have the next page. Of course this is the first, the cover
7 page of the book, and on the next page the highlighted section describes
8 the ethnic composition of the republican staff of the Territorial Defence,
9 does it not?
10 A. Yes, it does.
11 Q. And it notes that this was the way it was. Would you please read
12 it out.
13 A. "50 per cent of Serbs -- 60 per cent of Serbs, 30 per cent of
14 Muslims, and around 10 per cent of Croats."
15 Q. Continue.
16 A. "Personal staff and financial departments with 100 per cent
17 Serbians, there could be no talk about a national parity or the equality
18 of the representation of the peoples."
19 Q. What does it say about the structure of the Territorial Defence of
20 the republican level?
21 A. First of all, it confirms what I said about Mostar and its set-up.
22 Q. Thank you. Yesterday, on page 48 of the transcript, you referred
23 to the fact that analogously to what in your view was the HVO, actually
24 the Muslims follow suit in their action, the Bosniaks, and you say that
25 they too had some sort of a temporary interim government; is that correct?
1 A. I -- I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch your drift. What government
2 are you referring to and in what period?
3 Q. In mid-1992.
4 A. After the expulsion of the Yugoslav People's Army.
5 Q. Yes. Did the Muslim side on the east bank, on the east side of
6 Mostar which was still functioning as a unified undivided city because
7 there were no conflicts between the Croats and the Muslims as yet, did the
8 Muslim party form any special separate bodies?
9 A. I have to clarify. As the Croatian Defence Council had already
10 well advanced in its organisation, the -- we pushed the Bosniak side to
11 actually expedite its own organisation. We didn't insist to have
12 individuals directly engaged in HVO forces. We asked them to define their
13 army -- military structure organisationally and that it should be within
14 the HVO. And while the HDZ was still functioning, they managed to -- to
15 set up a battalion, and that was a big thing. And perhaps an even
16 different type of unit but, being no military expert, I cannot enter into
17 their military structure.
18 Q. So it was the 15th of May, 1992, that you were relieved of your
19 duty and divested of all your powers?
20 A. Yes, and of all my burdens.
21 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] Will the registrar please try to show
22 us document 5D 01093. We will have to display it on the ELMO again.
23 Q. Mr. Gagro, this is a document which says the Crisis Staff of
24 Mostar Municipality on the top; right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. We don't know who signed it, but obviously the date is the 15th of
2 May, 1992, precisely the date I referred to?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. The date on which you were relieved of your duties?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can you explain, please, what does this mean, the end of this
7 first sentence, "... and inform the Crisis Staff of the TO of actions
8 taken" ? Does this mean that there was a separate TO Crisis Staff?
9 A. Probably this formal one, this Territorial Defence that was -- and
10 of course I'm only making an assumption because I see this document for
11 the first time now, but the association that I have is that it was after
12 all accepted that -- that the commander and his team, the Territorial
13 Defence commander and team, were still formally functioning.
14 Q. Excuse me. I failed to comprehend. The Crisis Staff of the
15 municipality is one thing and the Crisis Staff of the TO is another thing.
16 A. Yes. No such concept existed. Someone made use of that. I
17 really fail to see.
18 Q. Do you perhaps recognise the signature?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Apart from yourself, was anyone else authorised to sign a document
21 on behalf of the Crisis Staff?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Can you rule out the possibility --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There is a stamp on the
25 document. It says the Mostar -- it says Crisis Staff, Mostar 1. Is this
1 a stamp that you used when you were at the head of the Crisis Staff?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it wasn't. No.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You've never used this stamp?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
5 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Thank you. Can you rule out the possibility for this to be an
7 organisational governmental form installed by the Bosniak Muslim side?
8 A. Well, I can assume, because of the name indicated here, Arif
9 Hadziosmanovic, and I don't know who that is.
10 Q. Thank you very much. Yesterday and today, Mr. Gagro, we saw a
11 document on the appointment of the Special Purpose Council which has 13
12 members, with Jadran Topic actually appointing the 13 members of that
13 council, and we saw that there were five Muslims among them. You yourself
14 said that one of them was Mr. Jaganjac who was the only one who did not
15 come from Mostar, but you knew him. So you said so.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. Today, we saw that -- the Defence team of Mr. Prlic
18 actually showed you a document where the commander of the Territorial
19 Defence of Mostar appoints his aides. That is the document of the 15th.
20 A. Yes.
21 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] Can the registrar please show us that
22 document. This is 1D 00495. I think we had it in electronic form and
23 we'll be able to see in that form again now.
24 Q. There, Mr. Gagro, we saw that the Special Purpose Council, that
25 five Muslims had been appointed to that council.
1 A. That is without a doubt.
2 Q. Well, if we can see that document, if we manage to have it
3 shown ...
4 Among these first seven people who have some commanding or leading
5 roles, tell me, are there any non-Muslims among these first seven?
6 A. No.
7 Q. So they're all Muslims?
8 A. That is correct.
9 Q. Thank you very much. And I only have a last question for you, a
10 concluding one. Today, to questions by the Defence team for General
11 Praljak, by Mr. Kovacic, you were shown numerous photographs and you
12 referred to a book called "The Urbicide of Mostar."
13 A. "The Urbicide of the City of Mostar."
14 Q. "The Urbicide of the City of Mostar." Tell me, in this -- this
15 book contains documents about the devastation of the city by the Yugoslav
16 army and its associated forces, the Chetniks, et cetera.
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. Tell me, was this book a joint Croato-Muslim project, in
20 A. Yes, it was.
21 Q. And was this book -- is -- has it been -- does it document in an
22 authentic fashion the extent of devastation?
23 A. There is no reason to either conceal or simplify that. It does.
24 Q. Thank you. And a final question: Was this book sold over the
25 counter or could it be obtained in other ways?
1 A. I don't know that.
2 Q. Thank you very much.
3 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no further
4 questions. And can we tender the documents shown to the witness under
5 numbers 5D 01091, 01092, 01093.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Registrar.
7 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. 01094. Thank you.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. President. Those exhibits will therefore be
10 tendered and admitted under the following references: 5D 01091, 5D 0092
11 [sic], 5D 00 -- sorry, 01093, and 5D 01094. Thank you.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Ibrisimovic.
13 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
14 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. One correction. When
15 listing the documents, a number was omitted. The second exhibit should be
16 01092. The number 1 was omitted. It's page 72, line 19. And in line 20
17 we have an additional number: It should be 5D 01094. Number 6 has been
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. That's correct.
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I
21 just have a few questions I'd like to clarify certain matters.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] I think Mr. Jonjic has already addressed this
24 matter but, Mr. Gagro, a minute ago you saw an order shown to you by
25 Mr. Coric's Defence team. It's an order from General Perisic. He ordered
1 that civilian targets in Mostar should be shelled; is that correct?
2 A. Yes. It's not only that he wrote this for his units. He also
3 contacted us over the phone and said, "You'll now be put underground."
4 Q. My colleague mentioned the date 19th of April, 1992, and you then
5 said that there were so many of them that I couldn't remember them all.
6 So my impression was that shelling was very frequent or done on a daily
8 A. Almost on a daily basis, so we were happy when we could fall
10 Q. After the JNA or the Yugoslav army - call it as you will - was
11 driven out of Mostar, from the direction of Podvelezje was Mostar shelled
12 in 1992 and was this continued in 1993?
13 A. Yes, but it wasn't shelled as intensively as when there was
14 fighting in Mostar itself. They tried to take the town by surprise to
15 maximise the consequences of their shelling.
16 Q. Mr. Gagro, did you witness the fact that General Perisic ordered
17 that Mostar and other towns in Bosnia-Herzegovina should be bombed by the
18 air force?
19 A. Yes. A helicopter squad was sent in to launch missiles at the
20 Franciscan church in Mostar.
21 Q. Did you notice that Yugoslav planes bombed Mostar?
22 A. I don't know whether they used planes to bomb Mostar. I think
23 that they would use artillery more frequently. Land -- land-based
25 Q. Just one correction to the transcript. Page 73, line 20. It
1 hasn't been recorded that the bombing of Mostar was also carried out -- or
2 the shelling of Mostar was also carried out from the direction of
4 With regard to the shelling or bombing, on such occasions were
5 buildings in Mostar destroyed? I'm referring to JNA bombing and shelling.
6 A. Yes, we have seen photographs, but it was difficult for us to talk
7 about this. I didn't want to pre-judge anything, but it's true that the
8 damage was extensive as a result of the army shelling.
9 Q. In the course of such shelling were there human casualties on both
10 sides of the river?
11 A. Absolutely.
12 Q. Yesterday in the course of your testimony you mentioned a place
13 called Uburak. Do you know where that is?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Is it in the vicinity of Mostar?
16 A. Yes, it's in the immediate vicinity.
17 Q. Would it be true to say that after the JNA was driven out of
18 Mostar a mass grave of Bosniaks and Croats was found?
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. Those people who, unfortunately, when the Serbian forces and JNA
21 launched an attack on Mostar, those people weren't able to cross over, to
22 flee to the western bank.
23 A. Unfortunately, an honest citizen in Mostar thought that there
24 should be mutual respect between citizens in Mostar. That's the attitude
25 they had. Unfortunately, it was a mistake to trust those who had come to
1 occupy us.
2 Q. When this mass grave was exhumed, it was established those people
3 had been killed.
4 A. Yes, that's correct.
5 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
6 Mr. President, I have no further questions.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To follow up on the questions
8 put to you, you said that General Perisic phoned you and said that you
9 would be destroyed. Did you answer the phone call?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. But he didn't say that we
11 would be destroyed. He said that we would be placed underground. That
12 means that if you want to survive, then you should dig in deep into the
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And he carried out the shelling
15 after the phone call?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the document that was
18 presented a minute ago regarding the order on shelling, it says that they
19 were going to shell locations where there were fundamentalist paramilitary
20 forces. When you spoke to him on the phone, is that what he told you?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. But he called me an Ustasha,
22 and that said everything about the way in which he perceived us.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Praljak.
24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Further cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
1 Q. In the document that Mr. Jonjic has shown us, since the lawyers
2 are not soldiers, one thing was omitted. I'd like to ask the question --
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One minute, Mr. Praljak. You
4 said that the lawyers are not soldiers, but I assume that perhaps they
5 were soldiers before they came lawyers. Do continue.
6 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
7 Q. General Perisic says that there would be three artillery hits on
8 Mostar. The first shelling would last for 70 minutes, the second shelling
9 120 minutes, the third one 40 minutes, a total of 230 minutes. Could you
10 show that document so that we can see this that just concerns that day,
11 and I would like to thank the Chamber.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. We'll place the document
13 on the ELMO.
14 Yes. Have a look at the document. Mr. Praljak, put your question
15 to the witness.
16 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation].
17 Q. Witness, under item 3, can you see what it says about the shelling
18 of Mostar? And "VU" means an artillery attack. Can you see that?
19 A. Yes, that's correct.
20 Q. Is it 70 minutes on the first occasion, 120 minutes on the second
21 occasion, and 40 minutes on the third occasion?
22 A. That's correct.
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
24 Mr. Gagro. Thank you, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. All Defence teams
1 have taken the floor. Ms. Nozica, I believe you haven't said anything.
2 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Just for the sake of the transcript,
3 Your Honours, I would like to say thank you, but we have no questions for
4 Mr. Gagro.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: An omission on my part, Your Honour. I had made
7 reference to a document, and I made reference to it as 3D 00275. That was
8 the decision on the proclamation of an immediate threat of war, and
9 perhaps we should give it a Defence number, 1D 00498. I'm told that's the
10 correct procedure. So I'm following my orders from my co-counsel.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President. This document
13 will therefore be tendered and admitted under two different Defence
14 numbers, and this particular one will therefore be assigned the reference
15 1D 00498. Thank you.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Scott, any
18 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. Before I do that, I would like to,
19 before it's forgotten again, to tender the exhibits from the direct
20 examination. I was again hoping to save time at the end of the day, but
21 -- on Monday, but let me please tender those exhibits. Exhibit P 00071,
22 P 00135, P 00157, P 00190, P 00199, P 00209, P 00219, and P 00221, Your
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
25 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I'm sorry.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
2 MR. KOVACIC: I would object just one of those evidence. This is
3 P 00157. [Interpretation] I can back this up with arguments. This is the
4 article from the Croatian newspaper Vjesnik. This document has very
5 little probative value, if any, because according to the title of the
6 article, this article was drafted on the basis of a telephone conversation
7 that the journalist had with Boban in Mostar. The journalist was in
8 Zagreb and Boban was in Mostar.
9 Some witnesses have already said that the telephone lines were
10 practically down, and when the telephone lines functioned, the quality was
11 so bad that one wonders whether one can really speak about communication
12 or not. If you can't hear the question well and if you can't hear part of
13 the answer well, I don't think we can talk about communication in such
14 cases. I would say that this document has practically no probative value
15 at all, and I see no reason for admitting this document into evidence.
16 Thank you.
17 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Before I hear what
19 Mr. Scott has to say, I note that we have the article that was published.
20 It was on Saturday, the 8th -- the 11th of April, 1992, that the article
21 was published, and it -- the transcript of a telephone conversation
22 between a journalist and Mr. Mate Boban. So that's what we know.
23 Mr. Scott.
24 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, in the trial to date the Defence have put
25 in a number of newspaper articles. The witness commented on this article
1 and about Mr. Boban's characterisation of what had happened with the
2 Crisis Staff. What Mr. Kovacic says I must say is very creative, but
3 there's no evidence whatsoever that on the day that Mr. Boban was
4 interviewed that there was not a crystal clear line of communication
5 between Mr. Boban and the -- and the reporter, and to say otherwise is
6 pure speculation.
7 I think the document does have probative value, the witness
8 commented on it, and we stand by our offer of the exhibit.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Judges, who have discussed
10 the matter among themselves, believe that the Defence counsel hasn't
11 proved that there were communication difficulties when the journalist
12 spoke to Boban, and as a result we admit this document into evidence.
13 Admitting a document into evidence doesn't mean that when it comes
14 to the Judges' deliberations the document will be given probative value.
15 This document will be considered together with other documents, other
16 exhibits, and this doesn't mean that the Defence can't use other witnesses
17 or other documents to show that the contents of this article are false.
18 We have all the numbers are listed. Mr. Registrar, perform your duties,
20 THE REGISTRAR: [Previous translation continues] ... tendered and
21 admitted with today's date. These are: P 00071, P 00135, P 00157,
22 P 00190, P 00199, P 00209, P 00219, and P 00221. This completes the list.
23 Thank you, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Scott,
1 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I have -- I do have, in light of the
2 questions that have been raised in cross, a number of questions for
3 redirect that I am sure that I cannot finish in the next seven minutes. I
4 would ask to be able to put these questions and prepare some additional
5 documents and present the questions at 4.00, please.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You haven't understood what I
7 said this morning. This morning I said that we could finish this morning.
8 We could continue working until 1.45 p.m. As a result, there would be no
9 hearing from 4.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. So we could have our break now,
10 resume after the break and continue working until 1.45.
11 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In that case, we'll have our
13 break now. It's 12.20. We will have a 20-minute break, and we will
14 resume at 12.40, and we will have one more hour at our disposal.
15 --- Recess taken at 12.24 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 12.43 p.m.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott.
18 Re-examination by Mr. Scott:
19 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Gagro. Just a few questions following from
20 questions from Defence counsel. Sir, just to be clear, then, as I
21 understand your evidence as to most of the locations that were shown to
22 you by Mr. Kovacic this morning, you cannot be sure when the particular
23 destruction or damage shown in those photographs occurred, actually
24 occurred; is that correct?
25 A. No.
1 Q. It's correct that you cannot know -- sorry, the nature of the
2 question and answer, sir, I'm going to have to ask for some clarification.
3 You do not know the actual dates or times of the destruction or damage
4 shown; is that correct?
5 A. This is correct.
6 Q. Can you tell the Judges, please, some of the various -- some of
7 the buildings, locations and structures, they were in and around the city
8 of Mostar. Were they hit or damaged on more than one occasion during the
9 period between 1991 and 1994?
10 A. A number of times. But if you insist upon a detail related to
11 destruction and damage, I have to mention that when it comes to the
12 destruction of the bridges, when they were destroyed this had
13 repercussions on the surrounding buildings; it affected the surrounding
15 Q. Of course. And there are no -- I do not believe there's any
16 dispute about the bridges, if that assists everyone. So the photographs
17 that were shown to you today, if these photographs had been taken, say, in
18 1994 or 1995, or any time thereafter, these photographs would show the
19 cumulative damage or destruction to these buildings and locations; is that
21 A. Possibly.
22 Q. Now, sir, on whether you were the mayor of Mostar, you said at
23 page 23 of the transcript this morning, line 3, when these questions were
24 being put to you by Mr. Karnavas, he was asking you about the head of the
25 Municipal Board, and at that citation you said this man, however, "wasn't
1 given those competencies," but this part of your answer was not followed
2 up or explained. When you said that the head of the Municipal Board was
3 not given the competencies of the mayor, can you please explain that
5 A. The president of the Municipal Board is not the correct term. The
6 President of the Executive Board. The concept of Executive Board, that is
7 something that could reflect the tasks of the board.
8 Q. Well, we can go back, if need be. Perhaps we can go back to page
9 23 of today's transcript.
10 I may have misspoken. You said -- I believe it does refer to --
11 let me make sure. Sorry. Let me find my reference. Yes. The reference
12 to Executive Board. You said in your testimony this morning when put --
13 questions were put to you about the head of the Executive Board, and then
14 your answer to that question was: "He -" this person - "wasn't given
15 those competencies." So I ask you again, can you please explain in what
16 way the head of the Executive Board was not given those competencies.
17 A. Well, in the sense of defining any decisions unless they were
18 verified by the Assembly.
19 Q. Sir, let me ask you this way: I don't know the word in your
20 language for mayor that might have been used, but when people during this
21 time, 1991, 1992, addressed you using your official title, how did they
22 address you?
23 A. President of the municipality.
24 Q. And was there any other person or position in the structure of the
25 governing authorities of Mostar municipality who would be considered the
1 mayor if not the president of the municipality?
2 A. According to our statute, there was no alternative.
3 Q. And you were the head or chief of the Mostar Crisis Staff from the
4 time of its creation until it was ordered disbanded on the 15th of May,
5 1992; is that correct?
6 A. I was president of the Crisis Staff.
7 Q. Were you the senior or top official, sir, of the Crisis Staff from
8 the time of its formation until 15 May, 1992?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. Now, can you tell the Judges when the JNA or -- and/or the
11 Montenegrin forces arrived in the Mostar area on the 19th of September,
12 1991, what did they do?
13 A. The first thing they did was to enter and deploy - I've already
14 said that - partially around the airport, partially around the Heliodrom,
15 and partially around the North Camp.
16 Q. And when did they enter into and occupy more of the - excuse me -
17 the city of Mostar proper and the centre of town, if they did?
18 A. It wasn't straight away. It was a long time afterwards. It was a
19 checkmate position that we lived in. We lived in their presence,
20 alongside their presence, without any serious difficulties for a long
22 Q. How long did that continue?
23 A. For about a month and a half to two months.
24 Q. Sir, you said in your testimony today at page 43, line 20, and in
25 fact you were proud that "for such a long time I managed us -- I managed
1 to avoid this conflict." For how long did you manage to avoid the
2 conflict, or to put it differently, when did the large-scale conflict or
3 the fighting with the JNA forces begin?
4 A. Well, after the 15th of February, or possibly the beginning of
5 March even. But for the most part, this coincided with the beginning of
6 an all-out war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 Q. And when was that, sir?
8 A. Well, I think that was the 7th of April. I think that could have
9 been there. I'm not quite sure.
10 Q. Sir, you're going to have to keep your voice up. Again you're
11 speaking very, very softly, and one can hardly hear you.
12 The 7th of April. So is it correct, sir, that you have not
13 intended today to give the Judges the impression that there was continuous
14 fighting between the 19th of September, 1991, and the 7th of April, 1992,
15 have you?
16 A. No. No. That was not my intention at all, because that's just
17 not true.
18 Q. So the questions that were put to you about when various steps
19 began to be taken to further organise things, to further organise the
20 Crisis Staff, to further take certain steps, this in fact involved a much
21 shorter window of time, didn't it, starting around -- only around the 7th
22 of April, 1992.
23 A. That's right. Our greatest problem was that they began to expand
24 their area of occupation. They passed through town. There was
25 provocation. Then they acted in such a way as to display their force and
1 might and everything that goes with that display of might and force. But
2 we didn't let ourselves be provoked, and we didn't enter into direct
3 clashes with them.
4 Q. Until when, sir?
5 A. Well, probably the date that we mentioned, the 7th of April.
6 Q. Now, can you tell the Judges when the new Territorial Defence of
7 Bosnia and Herzegovina was established. Not the Territorial Defence or TO
8 which existed under the JNA structure, but please tell the Judges when the
9 Territorial Defence of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina was first
11 A. I didn't understand your question.
12 Q. Sir, do you recall that there had been something called the
13 Territorial Defence under the JNA structure? Is that correct?
14 A. Correct, yes.
15 Q. And once Bosnia and Herzegovina became an independent state and
16 was recognised, when did Bosnia and Herzegovina establish a Territorial
17 Defence distinct from the old JNA Territorial Defence?
18 A. I don't think it was changed at all. I assume that it was,
19 according to the principle of each republic, creating its own Territorial
20 Defence, and it did not live through a transformation of any kind. Maybe
21 just in the commanding structures.
22 MR. SCOTT: Could I ask that the witness please be shown Exhibit
23 P 00150.
24 Q. Sir, if you can look at that document, please, and can you tell
25 the Chamber is that a document, a decision issued around the 8th of April,
1 1992, by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, establishing the
2 Territorial Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And if I could ask you to please have the Exhibit 1D 00495
6 If I can direct your attention, if you have that, sir, to the
7 first line starting after the first list of seven names. Do you see the
8 language where it says: "The following members of the old STO have
9 remained"? And directing your attention to the next line after the next
10 list of 13 names, does the document not also say: "The following members
11 of the old OK STO Territorial Defence Staff reported to this staff." Sir,
12 doesn't this document indicate, the document shown to you by the Defence,
13 that these are references to the old TO, or Territorial Defence, the one
14 that existed at the time before the TO created on the 8th of April, 1992?
15 A. Well, on the basis of this document, quite obviously there was
16 just a transformation that took place in the organisational sense, in the
17 structure and leadership of the Territorial Defence.
18 Q. Sir, as of April and May, 1992, the lawful government in
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina was the government of the State of Bosnia-Herzegovina
20 with its seat in Sarajevo; is that correct?
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. If you could direct your attention, please, to Exhibit P 00209.
23 For the registry's assistance.
24 If you have that, sir, I'm directing your attention -- if you
25 could please find --
1 A. I see that.
2 Q. -- toward the end of the first paragraph --
3 A. The Crisis Staff is being disbanded and all its --
4 Q. Before that, sir. Please, before that. If you look toward the
5 end of the first paragraph on that document, if you can find the language
6 that was pointed out to you before, it says: "Watching almost approvingly
7 the deployment of the Serbian and Montenegrin reserve forces." Can you
8 find that, please. Do you see that language?
9 A. I haven't found it because it's rather a poor copy to begin with,
10 fairly illegible.
11 Q. Perhaps the Defence copy could be used. If we could put that on
12 the ELMO, which I do agree is indeed a better copy.
13 All right, sir, again, just to assist you, if you can direct your
14 attention and find the language which says, I think it's towards the end
15 of the first paragraph, but perhaps the paragraph format has changed, but
16 language that says: "Watching almost approvingly the deployment of the
17 Serbian and Montenegrin reserve forces." And just when you see that
18 language --
19 A. Yes, I can see that. "Watching almost approvingly," and so on,
20 "strategic points above the town."
21 Q. Very well. Sir, do you agree that your Municipal Assembly and
22 your Crisis Staff was "watching almost approvingly the deployment of the
23 Serbian and Montenegrin reserve forces"?
24 A. Only if my efforts not to enter into a conflict with them is seen
25 as being approving or approvingly, then I can accept that.
1 Q. Sir, you were asked questions earlier today about whether you
2 supported the concept or the creation of something called a Croatian
3 Community of Herceg-Bosna, and before we end your testimony, I'd like to
4 give you a further opportunity. When you say you supported such a thing,
5 tell us about the form or nature or characteristics of a Croatian
6 Community that you personally, not somebody else, but that you supported.
7 What was your concept of this Croatian Community that you say you gave
8 your support to?
9 A. Not to tire the Judges, I would just like to refer to a document
10 that Mrs. Alaburic offered through the statute of the Croatian Democratic
11 Community of Herceg-Bosna where it states quite explicitly what the
12 programme and platform of the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina is. I have
13 nothing to add or subtract from that, but if you want to hear my opinion,
14 then it was highlighted in one of the articles of the statute of the HDZ
15 of Bosnia-Herzegovina which I respect and acknowledge as the bases upon
16 which I built up my principles for approving the creation of a Croatian
17 Community of Herceg-Bosna.
18 MR. SCOTT: If counsel can assist us --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Mr. Scott.
20 MR. SCOTT: There it is. If counsel could assist me. I don't --
21 did not note down the number of that exhibit when it was referred to.
22 Perhaps Ms. Alaburic could help me. The document she was referring to.
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] It was the statute of the Croatian
24 Democratic Community -- union, and the number is P 00013, and the exhibit
25 was admitted into evidence during the testimony and examination of expert
1 witness Mr. Donia.
2 MR. SCOTT: Thank you very much. I'm much obliged.
3 With the assistance of the registry, please, could you display to
4 the witness Exhibit P 00013.
5 Q. Now, sir, with that document in front of you can you please point
6 out the specific language that you say illustrates or reflects your view,
7 your view of a Croatian community that you gave your support to? And
8 again, sir, I specifically ask you to give your personal view and not the
9 view of anybody else. You say you gave your support to the creation of
10 something called a Croatian community. I want you to tell the Judges very
11 clearly the nature of such a community that you endorsed.
12 A. Well, then, could you find me the article which speaks about the
13 statutory provisions of the Croatian Democratic Community, the people in
14 charge of the screen and the exhibits and e-court, please, with their
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, we'll have to go through
17 the articles, then, one by one. Can we scroll down the articles.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Down some more, please. Here we
19 are. 10.1, article 10.1. Can we stop there, please.
20 MR. SCOTT: All right. For the record so there's no dispute about
21 that, the article 10 -- section 10.1 says: "Ensuring the right to the
22 Croatian people to self-determination including the right to succeed and
23 achieving the statehood and sovereignty of the Republic of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina." Is that the language you're referring to, sir?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, my final question to you, sir, is: You also said this
2 morning - or perhaps it was this afternoon - that there was a plebiscite.
3 You said there was a plebiscite, at page 56, line 22. You said there was
4 a plebiscite to vote for and approve the creation of the Croatian
5 Community of Herceg-Bosna. Could you tell the Judges when that plebiscite
6 was held and who organised it.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I don't recall that being in the
8 record. Perhaps we could have a page and --
9 MR. SCOTT: Page 56, line 22, please. And if I could have the
10 assistance ...
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you read out what the record
12 says, please.
13 MR. SCOTT:
14 Q. Yes, I will. Question starting at line 21: "Would you also agree
15 with me when I put it to you that the idea of Herceg-Bosna was supported
16 by plebiscite by all Croats living in the areas of the municipalities that
17 are associated into Herceg-Bosna." And your answer, at line 24, was,
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Counsel Alaburic.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I thank my colleague Mr. Scott for
21 reading out that question, because there was an error in the translation.
22 I didn't ask about the support that was demonstrated through a plebiscite.
23 My words were plebiscitary support to the Croat populations. Plebiscitary
24 support. There plebiscitary is an adjective meaning unanimous, without
25 any opposition, whole-heartedly, by acclamation, or whatever other
1 synonyms you like to choose. So it wasn't actually a plebiscite that was
2 implemented, it was unanimous support to the idea of Herceg-Bosna by
3 almost all the Croats living in the area of the municipalities that were
4 unified into Herceg-Bosna.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the programme which related to
6 culture, cultural organisation, historical organisation, and so on.
7 That's what the decision to establish it stated, yes.
8 MR. SCOTT: I appreciate very much the clarification by counsel
9 which indeed is a bit of a different answer than what would have otherwise
10 been in the record.
11 Q. However, I still put my question to you because it's still been
12 represented that there was some sort of virtually universal expression of
13 support. So I'm just going to ask you, sir: Apart from what was said in
14 the transcript, was there ever any sort of a plebiscite or referendum in
15 which the people living in the territory claimed by the Croatian Community
16 of Herceg-Bosna could express their support and endorsement of that
17 concept and that entity in the same way that there was indeed a referendum
18 for the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Was there any such
19 plebiscite or referendum; and if so, tell me when it was.
20 A. I don't think so, no.
21 MR. SCOTT: No further questions, Your Honour. Thank you very
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I have a few questions, unless you
24 have a few of your own.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just if it has to do with what
1 was just said during the re-examination, because redirect focuses on that.
2 Go ahead.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: I agree. I agree, Mr. President.
4 Further cross-examination by Mr. Karnavas:
5 Q. First I'm going to go down the list. You're referred to as the
6 top official of the Crisis Staff. Again, doesn't that mean that you only
7 have one vote, just like everybody else, first among equals, nothing more
8 nothing less? Is that yes?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Okay. Secondly, just -- again, I -- and I apologise for having to
11 go over this ground again: You were the president of the Assembly.
12 That's a legislative body, not an executive body, like a mayor; correct?
13 A. Yes. But at that time, it wasn't defined in statutory terms that
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I was going to ask you this
16 question, because it's something that concerns me too. With your leave,
17 we'll place Exhibit 135 on the ELMO, or we'll have it appear on the
18 screen. It's a meeting that wasn't held but the document was referred to.
19 There we have it.
20 So this is a document that you did not sign because you said you
21 weren't familiar with this document, but let's have a look at the
22 beginning of the document dated the 12th of March, 1992. It says that
23 pursuant to Article 139, et cetera - I'll skip that - but apparently 20
24 members of the Assembly contacted you on the 11th of March. It says that
25 for the 13th session of the Municipal Assembly -- well, it means that --
1 that means that there had already been 12 previous sessions. So the
2 Municipal Assembly of which you were the president was functioning because
3 at least 12 meetings had been held. So can you confirm that?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That's correct. Very well.
6 Mr. Karnavas, a minute ago you asked the following: You said there's a
7 Municipal Assembly, and you're the president. Mr. Karnavas asked you if
8 you could say whether there was an Executive Board, and if there was,
9 according to Mr. Karnavas, this Executive Board also had a president, and
10 that would be the mayor in fact. You were the mayor of the Assembly, and
11 the Executive Board was the body that acted. Is that how things
12 functioned or not? During the 12 previous meetings, the 12 meetings that
13 preceded the 13th that was not held, was there an Executive Board in
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And who was the president of the
17 Executive Board?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to find this. He was a
19 member of the Mostar Crisis Staff. His name was Ismet Bajric.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Ismet Bajric. So he
21 was the president of the Executive Board. So was he in fact the mayor,
22 the person who implemented the decisions taken by the Assembly of which
23 you were the president?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. When was the Crisis Staff
1 established? Apparently it was on the 29th of April, 1992.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, earlier on.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Around the 15th of February, as I've
5 already said.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On the 15th of February. When
7 the Crisis Staff had been established, the Executive Board and Mr. Bajric,
8 whose name you have provided us with, did the Executive Board continue to
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, as soon as the Crisis Staff
11 was formed, all powers transferred to the Crisis Staff.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And at that point in
13 time did you adopt a decision that disbanded the Executive Board?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. That was automatic.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Automatic. Very well. So
16 according to what you say, as of the 12th of February, 1992, when the
17 Crisis Staff was established, the Executive Board no longer existed. In
18 fact, you then had two roles. You were the president of the Assembly, but
19 you were also the person who had to take steps, who had to act in an
20 executive matter.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. When the Crisis Staff was
22 formed, the Assembly ceased to function, in fact, and I ceased to be its
23 president. I then became the president of the Crisis Staff.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So we can understand
25 what you're saying as legal experts, when the Crisis Staff was
1 established, all the institutions that had functioned previously stopped
2 functioning and it was the Crisis Staff that was responsible for dealing
3 with all problems.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. I don't want to add more confusion to the situation, but I just
7 want to go back again. The Assembly is a legislative body; right?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. Now, it is the executive body, the Executive Board, that draws up
10 the plan, and it's their departments within the Executive Board that
11 actually do the drafting of legislation that then goes to the Assembly,
12 and then they would go ahead and pass it or reject it, correct, or send it
13 back for amendment?
14 A. Well, anybody could draft these things. No administrative body
15 had to do this. The Assembly had the right to specify the task and say
16 that anyone could deal with certain tasks. Experts could deal with
17 certain tasks. The Assembly could make such decisions. It's logical for
18 your institution to deal with such matters and to prepare such material,
19 but we didn't have to assign tasks to anyone in particular. We could
20 assign tasks to those whom we trusted the most, and we had to decide about
21 this at the Assembly.
22 Q. Okay. Needless to say, it is the Assembly that sits on top of the
23 Executive Board.
24 A. Right.
25 Q. Okay. Now, I just want to move on with some of the other points.
1 Talking about occupation. Was mentioned, and I guess the Prosecutor
2 stressing April, 1992, but I want you to go back in history a little bit.
3 Isn't it a fact that Bosnia-Herzegovina was used by the JNA as a staging
4 area from which they could attack the Republic of Croatia prior to that?
5 A. That's what I've already said in my testimony.
6 Q. I just want to make sure that we're clear on this. And of course
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, or the president of the Presidency of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Sarajevo government didn't do -- didn't stop the
9 JNA from using the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina to attack the Republic
10 of Croatia, did it? I'm not saying whether it could or not. I'm just
11 saying it did nothing. Isn't that a fact?
12 A. They didn't do anything.
13 Q. Right. Just like they didn't do anything, and in fact they did
14 not even react other than say, "It's not our war," when Ravno was razed to
15 the ground and people were slaughtered; correct?
16 A. Well, there are various interpretations which give a different
17 viewpoint on the way in which Mr. Izetbegovic responded. I wouldn't want
18 to go into such analysis. I know what Mr. Izetbegovic stated, but I think
19 that was his personal statement. There were other members of the
20 Presidency; there were two Croats there, there was the Prime Minister who
21 was a Croat, so --
22 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
23 A. -- all of these factors resulted into statements and viewpoints
24 that differed from the statements and viewpoints of Mr. Izetbegovic who
25 was the president of the Presidency, but this statement was his personal
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, the Judges are
3 wondering how the issue you have raised relates to the re-examination.
4 We're trying to understand that, although we have grasped the finesse of
5 your questions.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. Great. Great. I'm trying not to go too far
7 off the farm, but I think I'm still on safe territory.
8 Q. Now, the one thing that I wanted to comment on was, you know, on
9 the May 15th decision, or order where they -- they asked you whether you
10 were watching almost approvingly, that phrase. Obviously it's sort of --
11 it's a hurtful phrase in a sense, but if I understand it - and correct me
12 if I'm wrong - you were hoping for the best, but as time was going by the
13 JNA was taking more and more territory, occupying more and more. It's a
14 bit like, say, Chamberlain with Hitler. You know, appeasing, hoping that
15 maybe Hitler won't do anything, won't take any more countries in Western
16 Europe, and there you are, you had the JNA day after day encroaching to
17 the point where, there it is, April. There's no more Territorial
18 Defence --
19 MR. SCOTT: I'm wondering if there is a question, Your Honour.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: There is a question.
21 MR. SCOTT: I'm hoping for a question.
22 MR. KARNAVAS:
23 Q. There is no effective weapons in the Territorial Defence. There
24 is nothing left. Isn't that what we're talking about, what that they put
25 in, whether rightly or wrongly, that you waited, hoping the situation
1 would stop, yet the JNA continued, along with the Montenegrin reservists,
2 to take more and more territory.
3 A. Yes. But I would like to express my own viewpoint with regard to
4 that. We knew that the policies of a Greater Serbia, that the policies
5 established to create a Greater Serbia and the idea that the border should
6 be Karlovac and Virovitica was an idea they were trying to implement by
7 adopting a wider programme. Since they weren't able to implement this
8 programme, this plan, they had reserve secondary option. That was to have
9 a border at the Neretva. That's why they first came to Mostar, in order
10 to achieve their objectives of a Greater Serbia. They thought that if
11 they couldn't achieve their objectives in Croatia, then they'd try to hold
12 firm to border the Neretva. And this was demonstrated by the destruction
13 of the bridges on the Neretva.
14 We weren't naive. We knew what was going on, but we were aware of
15 our weaknesses. As I have said, we were aware of the fact that we had
16 forces that were inadequate to confront the troops and the army from
17 Serbia who were armed to the teeth, the troops that had come from
18 Montenegro, too. And their only idea was to establish a border at the
19 Neretva. That was the sole objective.
20 So what should we do since we had no weapons? They would have
21 defeated us in two days. In our wisdom - and I believe that we were wise
22 - in our wisdom we tried to postpone a decisive battle until we had the
23 pre-conditions for defending our homes. And that is why we
24 procrastinated, why we engaged in negotiations, why we held meetings. The
25 first commander of the corps, Topica [phoen], was first there, he was then
1 replaced because he wasn't sufficiently radical. He wouldn't talk to us.
2 Then they sent Mr. Perisic who also came to speak to us, to discuss things
3 with us. So we would often meet at the northern camp in the Mostar
4 barracks commander's office. We would speak there. And the questions
5 were why are you here? What do you want? And finally he said that he
6 heard that there was some sort of forces on the other side. They had to
7 defend themselves against these forces. Unfortunately, this was HOS
8 propaganda from Ljubuski where they had demonstrated that they had some
9 kind of force. 40 men were used to demonstrate this force.
10 Q. Let me stop you here for a second. But during this period --
11 during this period while the TOs -- the weapons from the TOs are being
12 stolen or siphoned off and everyone else is asleep and it's almost
13 midnight in Sarajevo, the HVO at least is preparing itself for what, you
14 know, it looks like it's going to be a conflict ahead; correct?
15 A. Well, naturally. That's what we discussed. That's why we went to
16 Zagreb, we had meetings, and why we tried to see how we could create the
17 pre-conditions that we required to defend ourselves.
18 Q. Why did you go to Sarajevo? I assume Sarajevo was functioning at
19 that point in time. The central bank was working. They were able to
20 provide the pensioners with their pension funds. They were able to
21 provide all the amenities that a state is supposed to provide to its
22 citizens, or was it the Sarajevo, like Mostar, was more or less under
23 siege and unable to take care of itself let alone take care of the whole
24 country, including Mostar?
25 A. I think you're right. They weren't in a position to deal with the
1 problems that they had, let alone with the problems throughout the
2 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3 Q. Thank you very much, sir.
4 Questioned by the Court:
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Does that mean that if Sarajevo
6 could have solved the problems, you would have gone to Sarajevo, not to
7 Zagreb? But since you went to Zagreb, that was because, in your opinion,
8 Sarajevo couldn't help you solve the problems you faced on a daily basis
9 in the field, and that is the reason in fact for which you went to Zagreb?
10 A. Well, I didn't go to Zagreb very frequently. We only went there
11 once a lot earlier, before matters became complicated. We discussed what
12 was in store for us, and we discussed the solutions we might find to the
13 problem. Perhaps there are documents to this effect, but there were 20
14 letters that we sent to all the representatives in Sarajevo concerning the
15 problems we had. This was after the JNA arrived in Mostar. Mr. Stojic
16 was there. He probably read those letters that we addressed to everyone,
17 seeking assistance. Unfortunately, we received no such assistance, and
18 that was a significant problems for us.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I have understood this
20 correctly, Mr. Scott had something to say.
21 MR. SCOTT: I don't believe so. I did have one additional exhibit
22 but I don't know if there are additional Judges' questions.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. My very last
24 question. It concerns your testimony yesterday. You referred to the HOS,
25 and you said that General Kraljevic had been killed, that then there was
1 some lobbying, and finally the HOS became part of the HVO. Can you
2 confirm this? And in your opinion, when did the HOS members actually
3 become part of the HVO? Answer the question if you can. If not, just say
5 A. I assume that you understand how this worked. There wasn't a
6 decision according to which they said we'll now move from one area to
7 another, from one room to another. Things developed spontaneously and
8 over a fairly lengthy period of time. So the less extreme members of the
9 HOS moved over, crossed over more rapidly than others who stood by their
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What happened to those who were
12 more rigid?
13 A. Well, they ended up in -- in a blind alley as a result of the
14 steps taken by those who were stronger than they were. So they couldn't
15 act in the territory that they were located in.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Yes, Ms. Nozica.
17 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I apologise, but with the leave of
18 the Chamber, I'd first like to explain why I have taken the floor. In
19 this part of his testimony, the witness mentioned the name of my client.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. That's what I heard.
21 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] With regard to that reference, may
22 I --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Of course.
24 Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Gagro, you just mentioned Mr. Stojic. You
1 said he was there. Please tell me, what did you mean by "there"?
2 A. Well, as far as I know, he was the assistant minister of the
3 interior in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I apologise. This term is perhaps
4 not quite correct, but that was our altitude towards the central
5 authorities. We called the central authorities "there." We would say
6 that they were "there."
7 Q. Yes. And we would say that you were down there. That's quite
8 common in Bosnia. For the sake of the transcript, can we say when
9 Mr. Bruno Stojic had that position in the Ministry of the Interior of the
10 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
11 A. Well, when the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina was
12 established, the newly elected government, Bruno Stojic represented the
13 HDZ, and he was the assistant minister of the interior of Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina, and I think that he was elected at the same time as the
15 entire government of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
16 Q. Would that be correct to say that it was after the multi-party
17 elections in 1990 and right up to 1992, April, May, 1992? Is that the
18 period that you had in mind?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Did you have any information according to which the Ministry of
21 the Interior, or to be more specific, Mr. Bruno Stojic, given his field of
22 competence in that ministry, provided to the town of Mostar weapons and
23 other materiel and equipment during the period preceding April, 1992? And
24 you have said with regard to that period that you contacted the state
25 organs for aid, for assistance, requesting assistance during that period.
1 Do you know anything about this?
2 We don't have documents about this right now because this wasn't
3 supposed to be the subject of your testimony. I'm only interested in your
4 information, and we will present documents through other witnesses.
5 A. Unfortunately, according to the information I have, the police or
6 the security services centre in Mostar had 200 automatic rifles and some
7 additional weapons for the reserve forces. I assume that they had 700
8 pieces altogether and no more than that. Unfortunately, the assessment
9 that we only had such weapons made it clear to us what we could expect.
10 That's why we tried to avoid provoking a conflict until it was possible to
11 engage in a conflict.
12 Q. Please answer this question. It's very important for me. Did you
13 have any information according to which perhaps some of those 700 weapons
14 were received during that period of time from the Ministry of the
16 A. I have no such information.
17 Q. I just have one more question I would like to put to you and it
18 relates to a question put to you by Mr. Scott. On a number of occasions
19 in the course of your testimony today you said that the Crisis Staff in
20 Mostar was established on the 15th of February, 1992.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You said yes. It hasn't been included in the transcript. It's a
23 bit difficult to hear your answers.
24 When you were examined by Mr. Scott, you said that the war in fact
25 started on the 7th or 8th of April. Very briefly, as I have not got much
1 time left, why did you establish a Crisis Staff in February?
2 A. In February, we came to the conclusion --
3 Q. Please finish your sentence.
4 A. In February, we came to the conclusion that war was inevitable.
5 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I have no other
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please be brief since we don't
8 have much time.
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I'll be very brief, but the question
10 was direct and I do have to react.
11 Further cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic:
12 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Gagro, when reference was made to the
13 photographs that I showed you, and this issue was raised again a while
14 ago, you said that the photographs taken in relation to urbicide were
15 taken in the autumn of 1992; would you agree with that?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. Are you aware of the fact that a certain group of people were
18 involved in this project? There were Croats and Muslims and they provided
19 archival material, there were various specialists, cameramen, directors,
20 equipment, et cetera?
21 A. I agree with that.
22 Q. Would you agree -- agree that the material compiled was compiled
23 in an honest manner?
24 A. I think so.
25 Q. So the material reflected the situation in Mostar?
1 A. At the time that those documents were compiled.
2 Q. Very well. And in your opinion, given the material that you saw
3 after the war, given the material you are familiar with, and given the
4 fact that you know what the situation in Mostar was during the war, would
5 you agree that the damage inflicted to various buildings in the course of
6 the Croat and Muslim war was damage that added to damage that had already
7 been inflicted? It wasn't completely new damage. What had been destroyed
8 was destroyed, but it could be destroyed even more fully.
9 A. Yes. When you're destroying a town, when you're razing a town to
10 the ground, you can hit the same building ten times in one day or over a
11 period of one month or a period of one year. One didn't proceed segment
12 by segment when it came to destroying the town. The town was destroyed in
13 the way that was possible.
14 Q. Very well. Thank you.
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Naturally, Your Honours, we'll bring
16 in the material that the witness has referred to as soon as it's possible.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, let's deal with your
19 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. We would tender Exhibit P 00150 at
20 this time.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Registrar.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President. This exhibit will
23 be therefore tendered and admitted with today's date under the reference
24 P 00150. Thank you, Mr. President.
25 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, if I may. I have one technical matter
1 to raise, a legal issue. At page 87 of the transcript today, lines 4
2 through 7, Mr. Scott asked the witness the following question: "Sir, as
3 of April and May, 1992, the lawful government in Bosnia-Herzegovina was
4 the government of the State of Bosnia-Herzegovina with its seat in
5 Sarajevo; is that correct?" And the witness answered, "Correct."
6 Your Honour, I wish to make a technical objection to the
7 admissibility of that answer as falling outside the competence of this
8 witness. It's a legal question which the Trial Chamber may have occasion
9 to rule on at a later time, and though it may not be of great importance
10 that the answer is on the record, I do want to be on the record as making
11 the objection.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Your objection has been recorded
13 in the transcript.
14 Mr. Gagro, on behalf of the Judges, I would like to thank you for
15 having come to testify at the request of the Prosecution. You have spent
16 two days in The Hague, and I hope that the questions weren't too trying
17 for you. I thank you for your contribution to establishing the truth, and
18 on behalf of the Judges I wish you a safe trip home. I will now ask the
19 usher to escort you out of the courtroom, and the Victims and Witnesses
20 Unit will then assist you.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'd like to thank you, too, and I'm
22 glad that I have been able to assist you in determining the truth and
23 nothing but the truth.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 [The witness withdrew]
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, tomorrow we will be
2 continuing with the cross-examination of the witness, and I assume he's
3 catching his flight now. The registrar will provide the Registry with all
4 the necessary information so that the witness can be met at the airport so
5 that he can be taken to his hotel and so that he can appear tomorrow
6 morning for the hearing at 9.00, or 9.00 and one minute -- or not at 9.00
7 and one minute but at 9.00 sharp. Everyone will have enough time. I'll
8 try and be a little less loquacious so that everyone has sufficient time
9 to put questions to the witness and also that Mr. Praljak has sufficient
10 time for his questions if he wishes to put them.
11 Thank you, and I will see everyone tomorrow at 9.00.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 31st day
14 of May, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.