1 Tuesday, 29 August 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
7 the case number, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Good day, everyone. Case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus
10 Prlic et al.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'd like to greet everyone
12 present today, the witness, members of the Prosecution, members of the
13 Defence, as well as all the accused.
14 There is a decision I need to render on the admissibility of
15 documents that concern the testimony given last Thursday. There were four
16 documents that I will now refer to slowly. There was document P 08436,
17 which is a death certificate. This document has been marked for
18 identification. The Chamber is asking the Prosecution to provide it with
19 the judicial decisions referred to in the document and mentioned at the
20 bottom of the document, and we will make a decision, having examined the
22 We admit P 08608 into evidence.
23 We also admit into evidence the following document as requested by
24 the Defence: P 08715. As far as this exhibit is concerned, we realise
25 that sometimes the documents provided by the Prosecution are also
1 documents that the Defence wants admitted into evidence. Sometimes the
2 same exhibit could have two numbers, a P number and a D number.
3 I'm asking the registrar on the legal officer as well as the
4 Defence to examine this problem at a later date, but we should either give
5 such documents one number or take into consideration the fact that the
6 same exhibit, same document, can have a number of numbers. But for the
7 moment, P 08715 is admitted into evidence, and we will see whether we'll
8 have a Defence number for that.
9 We also admit into evidence 2D 0113, but I would like the Defence
10 to scan it by using the e-court system, because so far this has not been
12 Very well. Mr. Registrar, perform your duties, the duties
13 necessary for these four documents.
14 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. [In
15 English] The following documents are tendered with the August 24th date
16 and admitted with today's date: P 08715; 2D 00113; P 08436 marked for
17 identification as per your oral decision dated today, under seal; P
19 Thank you, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
21 I also take this opportunity to inform everyone present that you
22 will be leaving us. I believe that today is your last day. You'll be
23 assuming another post in another international organisation. On behalf of
24 the Judges, would I like to express my regret, or our regret, but your
25 destiny's elsewhere. Since the beginning of this case and even during the
1 pre-trial phase, you have performed your duties in an absolutely perfect
2 manner, and it's with regret that I note that you will be leaving us. I
3 wanted you to be aware of the fact.
4 We'll be continuing with the hearing of the witness today. The
5 cross-examination will now commence. We have six hours and 45 minutes for
6 the cross-examination. I won't waste any more time, and without further
7 ado, I give the floor to the Defence now.
8 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We
9 have a few questions for the witness on behalf of our client.
10 WITNESS: WITNESS BJ [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Cross-examination by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Witness. I'd like to ask you something
14 in connection with the questions put to you yesterday. There was some
15 questions put to you by the Presiding Judge, Judge Antonetti, and it
16 concerns page 35 of the transcript, of yesterday's transcript. It
17 concerned the Spanish Battalion's liaison officer within the HVO, and
18 yesterday you said that you did not have a liaison officer in the
19 headquarters of the Croatian Defence Council; is that correct?
20 A. Affirmative. I did say that during sometime there was one, but
21 the question has to do with a particular period of time in the course of
22 which there was no liaison officer.
23 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... know whether the HVO had a
24 liaison officer of its own, a liaison officer who cooperated with UNPROFOR
25 and the Spanish Battalion?
1 A. I don't think so. There was some officers who were the usual ones
2 in that particular detachment, but they were not actually liaising as such
3 with us.
4 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, with your
5 permission, I would like to show some documents to the witness. We have
6 hard copies for the Chamber and for the accused --
7 THE INTERPRETER: For the witness, interpreter's correction.
8 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] This will facilitate the
9 cross-examination. So with your permission, could we show the witness
10 these documents.
11 Q. Could you have a look at P 05220. It's a Prosecution exhibit.
12 I've marked it with a yellow piece of paper. I've marked the part that
13 might be of interest to you. That's the very first document. Please have
14 a look at that document then.
15 Have you had a look at it? You can see a chart that was made by
16 the Spanish Battalion. If you have a look at the yellow sticker at the
17 beginning of the document, you'll see where the chart is. It's a blue
18 sticker. I apologise.
19 Have you found that sketch, that chart?
20 A. Is that on the upper right-hand side of the document?
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. It says "The operative zone of Southeastern Herzegovina" on the
24 map. It's a chart. Page 57 in the document. Have you found that?
25 A. Do you mean by that the flowchart of the HVO?
1 Q. Yes. Have a look at the part where it says "HVO Mostar." It
2 says "Liaison officer with UNPROFOR, Bozo Raguz." Have you found that?
3 This is a sketch or a chart that was made by the Spanish
5 A. That is right.
6 Q. Thank you. Could you then have a look at the following document,
7 which is P 02108. It's a Prosecution document. It's the next one in the
9 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] And could we please use the
10 e-court system and have this document on our screens. The date is the 7th
11 of June, 1993.
12 Q. Do you recognise this document? It's a daily summary of
13 information. It's a document that comes from the Spanish Battalion.
14 Could you just find the date, the 7th of June, 1993.
15 A. I can see it.
16 Q. There's a part that concerns the evacuation of a wounded Muslim as
17 requested by a certain party. This was confirmed by the liaison officer
18 of the HVO who liaised with the Spanish Battalion, and he was Bozo Raguz,
19 Colonel Bozo Raguz. It was on the 7th of June, 1993. Have you found that
21 A. Yes, I can see that, but there was a liaison officer that was
22 appointed, but that doesn't mean he was always with us constantly on a
23 standing basis. Only once in awhile. And this time it was exactly the
24 same liaison officer that we saw in the flowchart but at the time it could
25 have been somebody else, but it just happens that this time it is the same
2 Q. Perhaps you haven't understood me. I wasn't saying that he was
3 permanently present in your battalion, but the fact is that there was a
4 liaison officer that the Spanish Battalion had to liaise with the HVO.
5 I've only selected two documents in which his name is referred to.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, it appears that a
7 colonel, a high-ranking officer, was the official liaison officer for the
8 HVO. He was SpaBat's official liaison officer. Did this colonel have a
9 telephone, a walkie-talkie? Was it possible to contact him around the
10 clock, seven days a week?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We could get in touch with
12 headquarters and then we would ask to speak with someone, either Raguz or
13 anybody that we would want to speak with, but we didn't have a specific
14 interlocutor that was appointed to deal with us officially and constantly.
15 He may have been a liaison officer, but there may have been others as
16 well. But can you consider them to be liaison officers when they're not
17 actually physically present at your disposal? Thank you.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Spanish on English channel] ...
19 [Interpretation] ... been mentioned in an official capacity by the HVO.
20 Wouldn't the reaction be to immediately phone the colonel or the general
21 rather than an ordinary private?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] During my six months in Bosnia, I
23 only came across colonels and soldiers, nothing else.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So are you trying to say that
25 all the soldiers were colonels?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No. I simply meant that all
2 the officers that we got in touch with ranked as colonels. I don't know
3 whether they actually were colonels, but they had that rank. I never met
4 any lieutenants or captains. Now, that does not mean they did not exist.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
6 Mr. Ibrisimovic, please carry on.
7 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 Q. Could we have 6D 00033 on the screen for the witness.
9 This is the last document in the bundle that we have provided you
10 with. It's the very last document. That's the document. That's the very
11 last document. It's an order.
12 A. I do have both documents. I have it in English and in Croatian.
13 Q. I'll read it out. The interpreters can follow me. It's an order
14 on assignment dated the 22nd of March, 1993, and in this order Mr. Bozo
15 Raguz is appointed as a -- to the post as officer liaison with UNPROFOR
16 as of the 22nd of March, 1993. And this is the same person referred to
17 in the Spanish Battalion documents.
18 A. Yes. There can be no doubt. I met that colonel, and I know
19 precisely who Colonel Raguz is, and he was -- he was appointed as such,
21 Q. Thank you. Could you please have a look at the penultimate
22 document in the bundle. It's P 02291. It's a Prosecution document. It
23 comes from the HVO, but you also have the Spanish translation, which I
24 think has been marked with a green sticker. Have you found that? It's a
25 document -- have you found it?
1 Please read out the third paragraph and forgive my Spanish, but it
2 starts with the words in Spanish, "prente havel para contactos" [phoen].
3 A. I couldn't hear the translation.
4 Q. Paragraph which starts with the words "prente havel para
5 contactos." Could you read it out in Spanish. It says "Prente, HVO para
6 contactos" [phoen].
7 A. "Faced with HVO with contacts for FVO [phoen], Mr. Berislav Pusic
8 has been put in charge." Humo and Pusic were detached to take care of the
9 priest. That was a literal translation from Spanish.
10 Q. It doesn't say in the transcript that Mr. Busic was there on
11 behalf of the HVO, for contact for liaison, for liaising with UNPROFOR.
12 Mr. Berislav Pusic had been appointed to that post. That's how it was
13 interpreted by the interpreters in the booth, and there is a reason for
14 which I have said this. I said on behalf of the HVO and for contact with
15 UNPROFOR, for liaison with UNPROFOR. On behalf of HVO, Mr. Pusic is
16 appointed. I didn't say that he had been assigned as the liaison officer
17 for UNPROFOR. That's what it says in the document in Croatian.
18 If you have a look at this it document, it concerns a humanitarian
19 mission authorised by Mr. Bruno Stojic. It's a matter of permission,
20 giving permission. It's not an order; is that correct?
21 A. We're speaking about the authorisations to be able to take the
22 priest out of Mostar, is that it? And to take plasma to the Mostar
23 hospital. Is this the document we're talking about?
24 Q. Yes, that's precisely it.
25 A. Well, that is the document that was used as an agreement in order
1 to be able to take the blood plasma to the hospital in Mostar the same day
2 lieutenant Munoz was killed and after the death of Munoz we went to the
3 area in Mostar where the priest was to be found and this was the agreement
4 that was signed on the day before with the permission that was granted by
5 Mr. Bruno Stojic, and I have no idea though whether you're asking a very
6 specific question about this authorisation. Are you?
7 Q. No. I just wish to confirm that it is a permission, a permit, not
8 an order, that's all.
9 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] And I just want to say,
10 Mr. President, that when the witness read this out in Spanish, the
11 interpretation was that Mr. Pusic was appointed as a contact person. So
12 it's not an order. The document does not represent an order. And
13 paragraph 13 of the indictment and paragraph 13 of the pre-trial
14 Prosecution brief, that's what it refers to, and footnote 61 of the
15 pre-trial brief where the Prosecutor wrote that Mr. Pusic was appointed
16 liaison officer, whereas quite obviously this was not an order, and the
17 liaison officer was somebody quite different, quite another person. It
18 says, "Appointed Berislav Pusic as an HVO liaison officer to UNPROFOR," in
19 the indictment.
20 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I wonder whether there is not a problem with the
22 translation, because in the English-speaking translation I read: "On
23 behalf of HVO, Mr. Berislav Pusic is appointed as liaison officer with
24 UNPROFOR." End of citation. And in that sense I read this -- this
25 document as being -- and being labelled a permission, but it has also an
1 element of an order, because, for instance, it will serve as an order to
2 roadblocks which control traffic, and by showing this permission, these
3 roadblocks are ordered to let the vehicles pass. So I think it's -- it's
4 difficult to say it is this but not that. It is this and that, rather.
5 But I stand to be corrected. I'm just trying to understand. Thank you.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott.
7 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, in addition to that point which is
8 similar to the one that I was going to make, there's two other points.
9 Further on this particular document it appears that counsel again is
10 asking this witness to interpret what Mr. Stojic meant, and as
11 Judge Trechsel just mentioned the document speaks for itself and beyond
12 that again, counsel is doing nothing more than asking this officer, a
13 Spanish officer, an officer in a different army to interpret apparently
14 what he thinks Bruno Stojic meant when he signed the document. That's
15 objection number two.
16 Objection number 3, Your Honour, is to the procedure. I don't
17 it's proper, with all respect to my learned friend, to engage in argument
18 while we have a witness on the stand. He can put his questions to the
19 witness, he can make his point, but then to stop as we go and say, by I
20 way I want to make my argument now and refer to particular parts in the
21 indictment. I don't think that's proper examination and I'm concerned
22 frankly, Your Honour, more generally that we go further -- as each day
23 goes by we go further and further into strange and diverse practices where
24 people are popping up at any time expressing opinions, making comments,
25 and I would object to that.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Now, permission in the
2 B/C/S, I take note of the fact that this document was sent to Canarias, to
3 the interpretation or translation service, because we have the 11th of May
4 at 12.15, apparently, when Carlos has translated the document from the
5 B/C/S into Spanish, and the Spanish translation is the text.
6 Now, since the witness is here, all we have to do is to ask him to
7 read this out in his own language and to tell us how the Spanish interpret
8 the document.
9 So, Witness, you have this document, the translation of it in
10 Spanish, in your own language. So tell us how you understand it. How do
11 you understand this document? What does it mean? What does it say?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we understood this document
13 to be was a written permission by the ministry of defence to allow
14 movement at that time on that day to carry or ferry blood to the Mostar
15 hospital. It was an HVO permission pursuant to the agreements negotiated
16 the day before, and we needed, therefore, permission so that our armoured
17 cars could show this document and be allowed through the roadblocks so as
18 to arrive to the eastern side of Mostar.
19 Remember that there was a conflict going on. There was a front
20 line in Mostar which had to be crossed.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you. But can you
22 read paragraph 3 out in your own language, in Spanish. Paragraph 3, read
23 it out in a loud voice. It begins with "Frente."
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Vis-a-vis HVO for UNPROFOR
25 contacts, Mr. Pusic is charged to deliver the priest. Mr. Umon [phoen],
1 Mr. Pusic were in charge."
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you've just read
3 that out in Spanish, the third paragraph, and on the basis of the French
4 translation you said that the person who was in charge for contacts with
5 UNPROFOR was Mr. Berislav Pusic. So it does not say liaison officer it
6 just says the person in charge of contacts in this particular case. Is
7 that how you understood it? Is that what it says?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. For this specific case this
9 person was charged. It was not the liaison officer.
10 Once again allow me to talk about this liaison officer business,
11 because it seems as though there was a permanent liaison officer
12 appointed, but in practice we did not deal with one single person at
13 headquarters, hence my saying that there was no permanent liaison officer,
14 if this can help sort matters out.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but as far as you're
16 concerned with the plasma and things like that, if there was a problem
17 then the person to contact in the HVO, it was Mr. Pusic, was it?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, according to the advice
19 received from the HVO.
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, the problem that occurs is
22 that the English translation speaks of a liaison officer. That's the term
23 used. In the English text it says "liaison officer," whereas the person
24 in charge of contacts, that might be somebody other than a liaison
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] If I might be allowed to make an
2 observation here. Linguistically speaking, "officer" means more than
3 "officier" in the military sense. We can speak of an officer who is a
4 civilian person, who performs an office, that is to say has a duty to
5 perform. So that's what the word "Officer" can also mean in English.
6 Perhaps the linguistic people amongst me might contradict me, but I think
7 that that is the case.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No. The problem comes from the
9 following fact: As we have armies, HVO and UNPROFOR, for instance,
10 there's a liaison officer who is a military person. This -- a liaison
11 officer is never a civilian. He's always a military person. Now, there
12 might be a case of semantics where the liaison officer can also be a
13 civilian, and that's what we have in this present case, it's a matter of
14 semantics. So to distinguish this, it wasn't a colonel or general but it
15 was Mr. Pusic.
16 I'm going to give the floor to the Defence if they wish to
17 belabour the point, but as far as I'm concerned we've clarified the matter
19 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
20 His Honour Judge Trechsel said this before me. What I was going to say,
21 that it was a wrong interpretation into English, and I would like to ask
22 the translation service to translate the document again, and then it can
23 be tendered. That's why I made the introduction and asked the witness to
24 read out the paragraph in Spanish. And it was the footnote -- footnote 61
25 was the reason that I asked the question to show that it was not an order
1 but that it was permission.
2 Thank you, I have no further questions.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to ask the registrar
4 to give me the calculation of time. How much time have we used for that
5 first Defence team? And now we come to the second Defence counsel.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Good morning, Mr. President; good morning,
7 Your Honours.
8 Good morning, sir.
9 Mr. President, we have no questions for this witness. Our time,
10 however, we would like to donate to the Praljak Defence team. We
11 understand they have more -- need more time. So thank you very much.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So your 47 minutes
13 you're going to cede to Mr. Praljak; is that right?
14 Counsel for Mr. Stojic, next Defence counsel.
15 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, sir. I'm going to cross-examine
18 you now on behalf of the Defence counsel of Mr. Stojic.
19 We still have on e-court and on our screens this document, and I'd
20 like to have the document stay there, but before we look at the document,
21 I'd like to ask you something else linked to this event of the 11th of
22 May, 1993.
23 How did you participate? In what way did you participate, you
24 personally, in transporting this plasma from the western side to the
25 eastern side? What was your role?
1 A. As the longest-serving officer of the two armoured vehicles that
2 were going to transport the plasma, I was in charge, although military
3 command was exercised by Colonel Munoz who was in charge of the armoured
4 unit. I was in charge of reaching eastern Mostar and deliver the plasma
5 to the Muslim hospital, and later on pick up a chaplain or priest, who we
6 didn't know where he was at the time, to bring him to the Croat or western
7 part of Mostar. And this we did.
8 And may I add the following that has not been heard yet: We also
9 ferried a Muslim woman to the Croat hospital in Mostar for kidney
10 treatment. I cannot remember her name.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you have a problem with the
13 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I was just waiting for the
14 interpreters to complete the interpretation. It was a little slower. So
15 we'll be able to understand each other better if we make pauses.
16 Q. Now, tell me, please, Witness, whether you before this day, that
17 is to say before the 11th of May, whether you took part in any
18 negotiations and agreements with respect to the passage of this convoy,
19 and did you -- do you know who in fact transported the plasma? Was it
20 plasma going from the hospital from western Mostar? Or was it somebody
21 else who was the organiser of the transport for the plasma? Do you know
22 anything about that, any information along those lines?
23 A. On the afternoon -- on the previous afternoon we had come with an
24 agreement with the HVO man to allow the two armoured cars to pass through
25 to the eastern part of Mostar. We carried the blood in the actual
1 armoured car. There were no other vehicles involved. So we took the
2 plasma from the Medjugorje headquarters to the Muslim hospital itself.
3 Q. Do you remember whether this plasma reached Medjugorje under the
4 International Red Cross organisation, which tried to transport plasma and
5 some other things to eastern Mostar?
6 A. I think to remember that the International Red Cross did
7 participate because with us we had a doctor belonging to the International
8 Red Cross. He was with us in the armoured vehicles.
9 Q. When you say that you negotiated with both sides, did you take
10 part personally in those negotiations?
11 A. No. It was not my duty nor my mission to do so. Normally its he
12 the 5th section of the command staff that is charged with that -- with
13 that. It wasn't my mission.
14 Q. Who told you, and when, what your mission was, what you were there
15 to do? Specifically speaking for that day.
16 A. The -- my director chief was the one who issued the orders to me
17 personally for the transferral of the blood, which we did, and this
18 pursuant to military discipline.
19 Q. Can you tell me what the order was? Did it say exactly where the
20 plasma was to be transported, how, where the priest was, and that kind of
21 thing? Could you summarise and paraphrase the order?
22 A. Well, it's difficult to recall exactly what the order was, but I
23 could say transport of blood plasma to the Muslim hospital in Mostar,
24 picking up a priest according to orders who is in a house in eastern
25 Mostar, to ferry him to the western part of Mostar. I recall no more.
1 I believe there was a written order which you may be able to find
2 amongst the Spanish documents, but I do not recall.
3 Q. As far as I understood it, in the mission you -- I think you said
4 that you did something that was not included in the mission because you
5 said that you transported a young Muslim woman from one bank to the other.
6 I don't think that was in the mission itself, stipulated as such.
7 A. Quite right. When we found ourselves in the Muslim part, the
8 Muslims asked us to take that Muslim woman who required kidney dialysis
9 treatment, and there were no means in situ. We asked whether we could
10 take her to the other side. We had no problem in so doing, and we
11 believed that no problems would arise.
12 And when it comes to the death of the lieutenant and the problem
13 that -- that took place there, well, I took the decision to bring her with
14 us in the armoured vehicle. I do not recall her name. And when we opened
15 the trap door of the vehicle, the lady just left in a hurry, absolutely
16 terrified, and we never saw her again.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you say that you put the
18 woman in the armoured vehicle, was this transport -- what -- did the HVO
19 know about this transport or not?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm trying to remember whether we
21 radioed our general headquarters, but I don't think so, and therefore the
22 HVO were not informed about the presence of this woman. I don't think so.
23 But I'm doubtful as to whether via radio from our headquarters we informed
24 of this, but I seem to recall that there was no communication with the HVO
25 about the fact that we were transporting this lady. And in no document
1 will you be able to find this incident narrated because it was my personal
2 decision at the time to do so.
3 Q. So you did have authority to take decisions of this kind. You
4 could do that without any problems?
5 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I do apologise. Perhaps that is my
6 phone. If it is, I apologise.
7 Q. So you had authorisation to be able to put somebody in your APC.
8 You didn't have to inform anybody of that, of doing something like that?
9 A. Once again, I don't remember whether via the radio I informed my
10 superior officer of this. I don't think I did. I don't think I did.
11 But, yes, I did have sufficient authority to take a decision involving
12 humanitarian aid or helping a person, a civilian, that might need our
14 Q. May we now take a look at the permission that we have on our
15 screens that we discussed earlier on, and I'm interested in the second
16 sentence. Can we confirm the second sentence of this permission and --
17 [Spanish on English channel] ... as you state it was, or that this role
18 concerning the transport of the priest, Ivan Vuksic. It is the second
19 sentence in front of you, about Father Ivan Vuksic, and I'm going to read
20 it out. It says: "Good officers of UNPROFOR will be used for transport
21 of Father Ivan Vuksic who is at present on the left bank of the river
23 Is that what it says? Have I read it out properly?
24 A. Yes. That's so. We were meant to ferry Mr. Father Ivan Vuksic to
25 the other side of the Neretva River.
1 Q. So from this permission it would emerge that you -- it was your
2 goodwill to do so or, rather, that you were asked by the HVO to do that
3 while you were transporting the plasma. Would that be right?
4 A. Well, if I remember correctly, we had to deliver the plasma and
5 take the Catholic priest from the Muslim area. That was the agreement. I
6 think that everyone was in agreement, the HVO and the Muslims.
7 Q. May we now take a look in this same document, the first sentence.
8 It says: "Whereby SpanBat is granted pass after of its two APCs to supply
9 Mostar hospital with plasma."
10 Can we confirm that in this permission there are no figures
11 mentioned with regard to the APCs or the crews of the APCs, no elements on
12 the basis of which anybody would be able to identify which vehicles were
13 concerned and which men manned those vehicles in crossing from one part of
14 town to the other? Am I right in saying that?
15 A. I think it's quite clear. It is said that two armoured vehicles
16 are involved and the personnel, the usual personnel, plus the plasma. Two
17 command staff, myself and somebody else, an interpreter, and an
18 International Red Cross --
19 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... that. I do understand that.
20 I'm just asking you whether you and I agree that this permission doesn't
21 stipulate the actual persons or the number of vehicles, the number of APCs
22 crossing. Is that right?
23 A. It does mention two vehicles, but it does not mention people.
24 Q. Thank you. I'd now like to move on to another area, and that is
25 the event that took place on the 11th of June, and I'm linking these two
1 events up. It is the event in which Jesus Aguilar was killed. You said
2 yesterday that a commission was established to investigate this case.
3 Isn't that right?
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. Do you know of any action on the part of this commission that was
6 undertaken, and did you take part in the work of the commission at all?
7 A. No. I was not part of the investigating commission, and I know
8 nothing about the results they arrived at. We were informed later in the
9 command staff meetings general information, but I don't have first-hand
11 Q. But I seem to remember you saying yesterday what the opinion of
12 the commission -- of the commission was, and you even draw the conclusion
13 that the commission completed its work and determined how the event had
14 happened. Is that wrong? Today you say that you were just informed at
15 the meeting of some general points and not of the details. So which of
16 the two is correct?
17 A. I don't think there's a contradiction here. I had general
18 information about the work of the commission, to wit how Lieutenant
19 Aguilar had been killed, from where the shot had come and where -- whether
20 the person who had in fact killed lieutenant Aguilar had been investigated
21 or questioned. And this is what we were told. The whole of the command
22 staff were told. And this is what I said yesterday.
23 Q. I'm just going to ask you to take a look at some documents that
24 are relevant to the work of this commission. May we first look about the
25 daily information summary. It is 05111, Prosecution exhibit. And can we
1 look at the date the 11th of June, please.
2 Here we can see the last line where it says 11th of June, and you
3 have it in Spanish. This daily information summary, you have it before
4 you. Well, then, we can follow more easily. I will go through this
5 rather quickly.
6 We can establish, then, that on the 11th of June it says that
7 during the transport of the medicines to the hospital officer Jesus
8 Aguilar Fernandez was killed; is that correct? Let's look on the 12th of
9 June. The 12th of June, line 3: "Meeting with minister of defence Stojic
10 in Medjugorje in order to clarify the circumstances concerning the death
11 of lieutenant Aguilar." Is that correct?
12 And then on the same page we have the 13th of June, meeting in
13 Mostar with deputy HVO minister Ivica Lucic and the commission for
14 Lieutenant Aguilar in order to clarify the circumstances of his death. Is
15 this correct? Very well.
16 Well, then, please, let's look at the next page, the 15th and the
17 16th. The next page of this daily information summary.
18 I don't see the 15th and the 16th. Oh, yes. Here it is now.
19 Thank you.
20 There's only one entry for the 15th: "Meeting between UNCIVPOL
21 and the HVO [Realtime transcript read in error, "UN"] civil police in
22 Medjugorje in order to consider the deaths of Lieutenant Aguilar."
23 And then we have the 16th, line 3: "UN civilian police in
24 Medjugorje took statements from the crew of Lieutenant Aguilar's vehicle."
25 Is this correct?
1 A. Sorry, I haven't been able to find it. Yes. Yes, I can find it
2 here now. That is correct.
3 Q. Then -- well, it's D, underneath D.
4 Could we now have on e-court, P 02741.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think we ought to
7 correct the transcript, because on page 21, line 12 and 13, lines 12 and
8 13, we read in English: "Meeting of UNCIVPOL and the UN civil police in
10 [Interpretation] Was that the civilian police of the United
11 Nations or the HVO civil police? Because in the document in front of us,
12 it says the civil police of the HVO, civilian police of the HVO. So which
13 is it? I'd like some clarification. And may we have the document on
14 e-court, please, the one we had a moment ago, with respect to the death of
15 the Spanish lieutenant.
16 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you. You are quite right. I
17 wasn't following the transcript. In the document of the 15th of June it
18 says meeting between the UN civil police and the civil police of the HVO.
19 Could we now see document P 02741. Dated the 13th of June. And
20 in Spanish it's on page 2. The title is "Other activities."
21 I don't see it in e-court. It should be on page 2, "Other
22 activities." Yes, here it is.
23 The date is the 13th of June, the date of the entire document, and
24 it says: "At 1715 hours the minister of defence Stojic, the
25 representatives of SpaBat held a meeting in the SpaBat headquarters in
1 order to consider the circumstances of the incident where Lieutenant
2 Aguilar was killed. It was decided that a joint commission should be
3 established consisting of representatives of the HVO and the SpaBat in
4 order to clarify all the circumstances. Later SpaBat asked the UN civil
5 police for assistance so that the appropriate investigative actions have
6 already been undertaken."
7 Could you please have a look at another document, P 02761.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. What's the question?
9 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] By Your Honour's leave, I wish to
10 look at all the information concerning this and then I will put my
11 question at the end. The witness said he knew there was a commission. He
12 knew that this commission worked, and he also said that he knows what the
13 result was, that he knew the distance from which the shot came. He was
14 able to identify approximately the building from which the shot was fired.
15 So I would like to go step-by-step to reach the end result, and I will try
16 to do so very quickly.
17 P 02761. Is that the document we have before us? If it is, then
18 in Spanish could the witness be shown page 2, "Other information."
19 Q. Page 2, underneath it says "Other information." The date is the
20 14th of June, 1993. "Other information," yes. It's at the bottom of the
21 page. "At the second meeting with Minister Stojic in the SpaBat premises,
22 it was decided to continue the investigation into the death of Lieutenant
23 Aguilar. Leo Sorensen, the chief of UN civilian police will be in charge
24 of the investigation. It was also agreed that an officer of the army of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina will participate in the work of the investigation
2 Did you know that in fact the UN civilian police and Leo Sorensen
3 who was in charge of it was the person appointed as the head of this
4 investigation team?
5 A. As I did not participate in the commission, I do not recall the
6 name of the person in charge of the investigation. I was not there at the
7 commission nor did I participate at the commission therefore I do not
8 recall the name exactly. If this information happens to appear within a
9 document from the higher command of the -- that that could very well be
10 the case but I do not recall.
11 Q. Very well. Do you remember that the UN civilian police was
12 involved in this investigation at all?
13 A. I seem to remember that, yes, that there were -- that they did
14 participate. I commented these, that the commission had the support of
15 the Spanish Battalion as well as the Croat forces. There was no
16 inconvenience in investigating the death of the lieutenant. There were
17 other two or three deaths and I cannot mix one investigation with the
18 other, but I think that, yes, I believe that they investigated the death
19 of Lieutenant Aguilar and that's what they did.
20 Q. Could we now have on e-court document 2D 00117. This is a
21 document issued by the Defence department dated the 14th of June, 1993,
22 and it's information provided by a member of the commission, Ivica Lucic,
23 in connection with this event. As this information has been translated
24 into English, for you sake I will read it out slowly to see whether it
25 reflects the situation we have seen from the documents we have looked at.
1 We do not have a translation into Spanish.
2 On the -- the date is the 14th of June, 1993. It's issued by the
3 Defence Department, and it says: "After the meeting of HVO
4 representatives attended by head of Defence Department Bruno Stojic, head
5 of Defence Department assistant Ivica Lucic and chief of military police
6 Valentin Coric with the representatives of UNPROFOR Spanish Battalion,
7 second in command Vice Colonel Castro and Major De Salas, it was agreed
8 that head of Defence department assistant Lucic and Major De Salas will go
9 to Dracevo where they were establish facts necessary for solving the case
10 of lieutenant Fernandez's death:
11 "On this occasion the following was established:
12 "All damage to UNPROFOR vehicles was on the right-hand side. The
13 gunshots came under an angle of at least 45 degrees to 90 degrees --" my
14 attention was been drawn to the fact that in the transcript it says right.
15 It should say left, was on the left-hand side.
16 "... the gunshots came under an angle of at least 45 degrees to 90
17 degrees, and the nature of the damage to the armour these the shots were
18 fired from a distance of about 50 metres, from a height of about ten
20 "Captain Fernando Alvares found a steel bullet mass which was 21
21 millimetres long, 6 millimetres wide, in a bag and tire of the
22 transporter, which -- the carrier, which suggests a bullet of 7.62 by 51
23 calibre or 7.62 by 54 calibre.
24 "Based on conversation with doctor Major De La Tores by analysing
25 the autopsy results, we know that the entry wound had a diameter of 0.5 on
1 the inside of the left shoulder blade, and the diameter of the exit wound
2 was 1.5 on the right side of the neck."
3 I know this is taking time, but as you cannot follow in English, I
4 do have to read this to you. It says is that: "The bullet pierced the
5 anti-armour vest, the bullet-proof west, the purpose of which was to
6 protect against mortar shell fragments, broke multiple bones, two
7 vertebrae and two shoulder blades, and on exit pierced two layers" -- my
8 colleague has told me that the French translation is behind, so I'll wait
9 a little. "... indicating a high initial velocity and kinetic energy,
10 because the armour did not stop the spinning movement of the bullet.
11 Based on the effects of the bullet, ricochet can be excluded and a firing
12 distance of 50 metres at the most is implied. Taking into account the
13 direction of the channel, it can be concluded that the bullet was fired
14 from the height of a two-storey building, taking into consideration the
15 height of the vehicle in which captain Fernandez was standing on the floor
16 leaning to the left side."
17 On the next page, page 2, it says that HVO positions were visited
18 near the bank and the -- and the grammar school and that it was
19 established that nobody was standing at salient or advanced positions.
20 I'll skip over some parts. Because at those positions the -- the grammar
21 school and the bank there is no optical view of the site of the event, and
22 all this has been handed over for inspection to the representative of
23 SpaBat, Major De Salas, and the UNPROFOR civilian police.
24 I'll scoop over the passage which explains how the commission was
25 established and who its members were, and then there's a passage which
1 says "Major De Salas with our people visited our most advanced positions.
2 He climbed up to places where our soldiers never go because it's too
3 dangerous. He made video recordings, and he made sure that there is no
4 possibility of shooting from these positions."
5 And then we have a conclusion here made by Mr. Lucic, or, rather,
6 he simply conveys the conclusion of the commission, which concluded that
7 it was it the Muslim military that shot at the UNPROFOR vehicle from the
8 position of the fourth primary school Revija and Hotel Bristol, and that
9 Lieutenant Fernandez was shot from positions at Revija Hotel Bristol by a
10 machine-gun with a calibre of 7.62 by 54 or an automatic rifle, 7.62 by
12 The commander of the Muslim forces is Semir Drljevic also known as
13 Lovac or Hunter. Have you met this person?
14 A. No, I do not recall having met this person.
15 Q. From this report, we can see there are some important differences
16 from what you said yesterday. You were talking about the distance of the
17 building from which shots -- the shots were allegedly fired. You spoke of
18 a distance of 800 metres. So I wish to ask you now: On the basis of what
19 you drew these conclusions yesterday. Was it on the basis of information
20 you received from someone or was it your own conclusion? Because my
21 understanding yesterday was that you yourself participated in the
22 investigation when you spoke of the distance, the building, the angle of
23 the shot. Where did you get all this information?
24 A. Well, I insist that I did not participate in the investigation,
25 that I only was privy to the information that I received that emanated
1 from the commission -- commission's investigation, which was composed of
2 representatives from our high command and they reported to us on the
3 conclusions arrived at by the commission as well as information given to
4 us on the places or locations where the commission thought this shot would
5 have come from, and the distance or the -- of the shooting and the calibre
6 used of the particular weapon, and that's the information that I received
7 to yesterday.
8 And this information here, this report that you've just read is a
9 document of the Croat defence forces, and I do not know whether they are
10 trying to lay the blame on us or they're trying to exculpate themselves.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Previous translation continues] ... would like to
13 At what time did you get the information you have just spoken
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's very difficult to ascertain a
16 precise time. On a daily basis we had continuous meetings, and every
17 morning we had meetings as well as in the afternoons at different times of
18 the day, and the following day after the death of the lieutenant we talked
19 about the matter and we were receiving information on a constant updated
20 basis. I cannot recall precisely what time.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
22 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] By your leave, Your Honours, I will
23 round off this topic. I have two more documents to show before the break.
24 Excuse me, Your Honour. I didn't see that you wished to put another
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A technical question. The
2 Defence has just told you that the lieutenant was hit by bullet that
3 penetrated his left shoulder blade. The shot obviously came from the
4 height unless he was standing askew at that point in time. According to
5 the conclusions drawn, the armoured vehicle had bullet traces. They came
6 from the left. These hits were from the left. The entrance point and the
7 exit point of the bullet seems to demonstrate that the calibre used was
8 7.62. Machine-guns use bullets of such calibre. Other weapons do too,
9 but given the conclusions of the autopsy and given the damage inflicted by
10 the bullet according to what we've been told the kinetic force was such
11 that the bullet must have been shot from a distance of about 50 metres and
12 not from a distance of 800 metres. As an officer, you know that the
13 velocity of a bullet diminishes with regard to the distance. The further
14 away one is the less the velocity is.
15 According to this document, the shot was fired at close range, and
16 according to what we've been told, the bullet wasn't fired by the HVO but
17 by the Muslim forces. So as a Spanish Battalion officer, what would your
18 comment be?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yesterday, I also said, Your Honour,
20 during one of the questions, I can't remember what question it was being
21 asked of me, that every time at that something happened different parties
22 would put the blame on the other party. And what I can see here in this
23 document is that perhaps they're trying to lay the blame on the other
24 party. In relation to the techniques of the weapons, the techniques of a
25 sniper of the calibre of 7.62 has got sufficient force to cause the damage
1 inflicted on the lieutenant. This perforated the bullet-proof vest twice
2 on two occasions breaking the bones as mentioned there of the two
3 vertebra. I do not know whether this was the weapon belonging to a sniper
4 or a Kalashnikov that also uses a 7.62 calibre. If it is the weapon used
5 by a sniper, I do not know exactly which weapon, but both can actually
6 cause or inflict that sort of damage on the lieutenant.
7 In relation to the impact caused on the APCs, on that date they
8 were completely covered. They were -- they had been completely impacted
9 upon. Every time they went through an area of conflict either the Tito
10 Bridge or the demarcation line they were fired upon, therefore the impact
11 of the gun as well as on the tyres, as well as on the actual cars
12 themselves that was on a constant basis. Even the young lieutenants would
13 often bet on who was the one to receive the most number of bullets. And I
14 don't know if this technical answers your question, Your Honour. I would
15 like to know perhaps if you have the report of UNCIVPOL, the civil police
16 of the UN, who actually was responsible for the final report and to which
17 I ascribe a lot more credibility. Not that I'm not attaching credibility
18 to this, but this is what I would like to know. Thank you.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A while ago there was a document
20 from the SpaBat, and it said that when the vehicle crossed the Tito Bridge
21 there were fires that were shot. So we can imagine the scenario quite
22 clearly. The vehicle was heading towards the bridge, crossing the bridge.
23 The lieutenant was standing on the vehicle. There was a burst of fire
24 which unfortunately resulted in the lieutenant's death. The burst of fire
25 was opened from the left. So did it come from in front or from the left
1 side. But technically speaking it seems that the burst of fire came from
2 the left. It didn't come from behind or from in front or from the right.
3 So what would you say from a technical point of view?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] SpaBat carried out investigations of
5 the place from which it is believed the shot was might both from one side
6 and the other the way that the lieutenant was standing when the bridge was
7 being crossed, he was not actually outside the armoured vehicle. He was
8 actually crouching in it. He was crouching in it but his head was
9 visible. So the shot actually crossed his back, went through the back and
10 came out on the left-hand side. The bullet-proof vest, therefore, was
11 crossed by the bullet and, according to the bullet-proof vest and how it
12 was impacted by the bullet, it was clear that it was fired from the
13 left-hand side. So we tried to locate precisely where that shot was fired
15 There was a camera also that was taken to the place. A camera was
16 attached to a -- the spot where we believe that the shot was fired from.
17 A shot was fired from there and we believe this is exactly the place.
18 There are pictures that we took that -- we took then of the zone, line of
19 confrontation along the Mostar boulevard precisely taken at the place
20 where we believe the sniper was hidden. And we can also see perfectly
21 well from that place the Tito Bridge where the -- where the lieutenant was
22 shot and killed.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: It is implied in your last answer that you do not
24 believe, you doubt that the description of findings read out by Ms. Nozica
25 is correct. You are saying that they pretend facts which do not
1 correspond to what the investigation of the Spanish Battalion found. Is
2 that correct?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This report is dated three days
4 after the death of the lieutenant. So they didn't really have time for a
5 very thorough investigation, and I don't believe in the findings of this
6 report. Personally, I do not attach credibility to that.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Just a minute. The
8 subject is important that all the Judges have questions to put the
9 witness. I'll give the floor to my colleague.
10 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, I'd like follow up on a
11 question put to you by Judge Trechsel, because you don't seem to have much
12 faith in the investigation that was carried out jointly by the UN civilian
13 police and the HVO civilian police. That's the report that we've been
14 presented with by Defence counsel, Ms. Nozica.
15 My question is as follows: On your side, was there another joint
16 report compiled by the UN police together with the Spanish army or with
17 the Muslim army?
18 And my second question is: Is there a general joint report
19 compiled by all the forces present, the purpose of which was to arrive at
20 a conclusion that everyone could accept, a conclusion with regard to the
21 death of the lieutenant we have been discussing?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This report, if I -- my memory
23 doesn't fail me, because of its heading it comes from the Croatian Defence
24 Council. It is not a report from the investigating commission. I did not
25 take part in the work of the commission but I do remember however that the
1 investigating commission, the UN police always took part in it and there
2 was a final report and I would imagine this final report, it does exist,
3 it is filed somewhere. I'm sure it does exist I don't remember having
4 seen it actually with my own eyes has I have never actually taken a look
5 at this particular report of the Croatian Defence counsel either. The
6 only information I had was such information as I got from one of my
7 colleagues who was taking part in that investigating commission and that
8 was the information he gave to the whole of the command staff. But I
9 insist that this document stems from the Croatian Defence Council and not
10 from the investigative commission. Thank you.
11 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, by your leave I have
12 two documents but as they are in English it will take me some time to read
13 it out, so I think it might be a good idea to have a break now for the
14 sake of the interpreters.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll have our break now. It's
16 20 to 11.00, and we will resume at 11.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 10.40 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will now resume.
20 Ms. Nozica, I've been informed that you have taken up 43 minutes
21 so far, which means that you have some time left, but try to proceed
22 rapidly. In theory, you have another two minutes.
23 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have just as much time
24 left as I have already used up, since that's the amount of time you
25 granted me yesterday.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yesterday, we granted you 45
2 minutes, and according to the calculations made, you have already used up
3 43 minutes.
4 Yes. I do apologise. I have made an error. You have an hour and
5 a half all together.
6 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's really not a
8 Could we use the e-court to have 2D 00116 on the screen.
9 Q. While this is being done, I would ask the following. You have
10 heard the analysis of the HVO. Would you completely exclude the
11 possibility that this bullet came from the side of the ABiH, the side of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Would you exclude such a possibility?
13 A. Well, I believe that the commission investigating the death of
14 the lieutenant obviously does cover all possibilities. It would go into
15 every single possibility, BiH or the HVO or indeed an accident or not.
16 Q. Very well. I still don't have document 2D 00116 on the screen.
17 Could we scroll down to the first page. That's the previous document,
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, while we're looking
20 for the document, you have present the documents that come from the HVO,
21 but the Judges are asking themselves the following: The -- the UN
22 conducted an investigation. Where are the conclusions of this
23 investigation? You haven't found them or if investigation was conducted,
24 conclusions must have been reached.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with your permission
1 this is something I will deal with very soon.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will wait in that
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
5 Q. We have a letter here signed by Mr. Bruno Stojic. The date is the
6 14th of June, which is the same date as the date of the previous
7 information we had a look at from Mr. Lucic. It is addressed to Julian
8 Garcia Vargas, the Spanish minister of defence. Can you confirm that this
9 gentleman was in fact the Spanish minister of defence at the time this
10 letter was compiled? You have to answer because we cannot see. You are
11 nodding in the transcript.
12 It's a long letter so I won't read the entire letter out, but I
13 would like to say that it contains all the elements that Mr. Lucic
14 mentioned in his information. I would like to draw your attention to the
15 part of the letter that concerns the minister. In the Croatian version
16 it's on page 2. Just a minute. We'll find this in the translation too.
17 In the translation it's page 0009. It says: "Minister," that's
18 how it starts. It says: "Mr. Minister," Mr. Stojic is writing to the
19 minister. "This case is completely clear to us and we are truly sorry
20 about what has happened. We find it all the more regrettable that the
21 fact that the death of lieutenant Fernandez is being used for political
22 purposes and is the subject of manipulation. Your offices told us on the
23 12th of this month that you contacted them on two occasions and insisted
24 that they accuse the HVO of murder, but being honourable men, they did not
25 want to do this, and they did not want to draw any conclusions until an
1 investigation had been conducted. We believe that the death of the late
2 Fernandez was made good use of by someone to accuse the HVO without any
3 grounds and to create a feeling of animosity on the part of the HVO
4 towards the Spanish soldiers and to UNPROFOR in general, and to prevent
5 UNPROFOR from fulfilling their tasks because of the failure of the BiH
6 side to cooperate.
7 "In order to inform the Spanish and international public of the
8 truth, and in particular for the sake of Fernandez's family and for the
9 sake of all the members of the Spanish army who were present in the area
10 and still are in the area, today in Bosnia and Herzegovina for their sake
11 we insist that a full investigation be completed and that the truth be
12 determined by having recourse to any international and expert
13 investigative commission that would act as an intermediary."
14 And finally it says: "We want to maintain a correct relationship
15 and good cooperation with members of the Spanish Battalion in this area.
16 "Mr. Bruno Stojic."
17 This letter was forwarded directly to SpaBat so that SpaBat could
18 forward it to the minister of defence in Spain. Mr. Stojic never received
19 a reply to this letter, and I would like to ask you whether you know
20 anything at all about this letter and whether these elements have been
21 mentioned, because there are certain accusations that concern the minister
22 and his attempts to accuse the HVO, Croatia, and President Tudjman. Did
23 you ever hear anything about this?
24 A. I didn't know about the existence of this letter. I didn't even
25 have a faintest idea the existence of this letter. I wasn't aware of it
1 at all.
2 Q. Very well. Now having put the ... [No interpretation] I would
3 like to see the following document 2D 118 on the screen. It's an UNPROFOR
4 document dated the 13th of July, 1993.
5 It's from Mr. Sorensen, a letter from Mr. Sorensen, who was
6 responsible for heading the commission. That's the correct document.
7 It's also been signed. We can see the Croatian version on the other
8 page. And since this letter is in English and it's not long, I'll read it
10 You can see that the date is the 13th of July, and it's addressed
11 to the Commissioner of the UN police. It's from Leo Bang Sorensen who is
12 the commander of the Mostar police station.
13 It concerns the death of Aguilar Fernandez Francisco and it
14 concerns the Spanish Battalion in Mostar. The text is as follows: "With
15 reference to the letter of the 16th of June, 1993, from Mr. Albert
16 Benabou, it was agreed that the UN civil police would complete the
17 internal investigation into the above-mentioned subject.
18 "Following this agreement, the Spanish authorities, represented
19 by Colonel Angel Morales Diaz-Otero and his legal advisor in conjunction
20 with the HVO authorities, represented by minister -- the minister of
21 defence of Herceg-Bosna Mr. Stojic, agreed that a special team from UN --
22 the UN civilian police would carry out an investigation on behalf of the
23 Spanish authorities. It was also agreed that the HVO Civil Police would
24 monitor the intern investigation on behalf of the Spanish authorities.
25 "Part of the agreement states that having completed the
1 investigation on both sides, Mr. Leo Bang Sorensen should consult with the
2 chief of the HVO police, Mr. Filipovic, and the chief of the BiH police,
3 Mr. Maslesa, with regard to their inquiries.
4 "The UN civil police are not in a position to fulfil this
5 commitment, due to the fact that the CIVPOL investigation team has been
6 transferred outside of Mostar.
7 "For your information.
8 "Leo Bang Sorensen."
9 Have you ever had the opportunity of seeing this document?
10 A. No. I'm afraid I was not aware of the existence of this
12 Q. Very well. I think that this information from the president of
13 the commission dated the 13th of July, 1993, is such that we can now
14 conclude with this subject.
15 I have one more question with regard to these events though. Do
16 you know where the medicine came from, the medicine that was transported
17 on that occasion? I think you mentioned something yesterday with regard
18 to that subject can you remember what you said? Who sent that medicine to
19 the eastern side of Mostar? Do you know anything about that?
20 A. Well, I think I remember that the medication left from the
21 Croatian hospital of Mostar directed to the Muslim hospital of Mostar.
22 The Croats demanded that there should be a TV crew accompanying the
23 mission of delivery of the medication to the Muslim hospital.
24 Q. So the medical supplies came from the HVO hospital in western
25 Mostar. Could we put it that way?
1 A. No. From a -- from a Croat -- from the Croat hospital towards the
2 Muslim hospital. Indeed, yes, from the Croatian hospital to the Muslim
4 Q. Yes. That's in fact what I said. That's fine. Yesterday, I
5 think I understood you in a somewhat different way, and as a result I've
6 prepared a number of documents that concern these medical supplies that
7 were sent to the hospital in the eastern part of Mostar. It's from the
8 assistant deputy of the Ministry of Defence, from the health department.
9 Since we're moving on very slowly we'll try and deal with this at a later
10 stage. Let's now move on to another subject.
11 Have a look at document 1717, P 01717. It's -- it's a journal, an
12 operative journal. We can have it on the e-court. 1717 is the number.
13 The date, 16th of June.
14 But first there's some questions I'd like to put to you, and the
15 diary, the journal, mentions a number of events.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The registrar has just pointed
17 out to me that pursuant to Rule 70, document 1717 is a confidential one.
18 Is that correct, Mr. Registrar? So if there is a question you would like
19 to put to the witness, it should be done in private session.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you. Because I'll be
21 using this document for a while.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Unless there are general
23 questions you want to put to the witness without going into the details
24 that might make it possible to obtain more precise knowledge.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I'll first put the question to the
1 witness and we'll see.
2 Q. Under the date, 16th of June, 1993, you have an event described
3 which relates to the detention of a translator in the Konjic pocket. Do
4 you remember this event? Did you participate in this event? Is there
5 anything at all that you can tell us about this event?
6 A. I do have a vague idea. What I read here is perhaps what I
7 remember. There was a kidnapping of an interpreter in the Konjic pocket,
8 but I didn't take part in that myself. It was the Jablanica detachment
9 who took care of that and I personally have no specific memory of it.
10 Thank you.
11 Q. That's quite enough for me, but could we just go through this
12 document very briefly and establish what actually happened. If you see
13 the date the 16th of June in the document -- well, we can go down to the
14 send line where it says, "The representatives of the UNHCR, military
15 monitors, went to the Konjic pocket to hold a meeting with the commander
16 there. They did not request SpaBat escort, and at the end of the meeting
17 a group of HVO soldiers threatened them with their weapons, fired into the
18 air, detained their interpreters, and forced the representatives to leave.
19 And they threaten them while doing so. It seems that the HVO personnel
20 who detained the interpreters did so without the knowledge of the
21 commander of the pocket who had met the representatives. They even
22 threatened the HVO escort, the HVO escort that accompanied the
23 representatives." And then the names of the interpreters are listed. And
24 then it says: "Contact was established with the HVO in order to find a
25 solution to the incident."
1 You don't have the interpretation?
2 A. [No interpretation]. I know the letter.
3 Q. I'm not receiving any interpretation. I don't know what you said.
5 Mr. Stojic is mentioned here, so let's please pay attention to
6 this part.
7 JUDGE PRANDLER: I believe you have not got interpretation so far,
8 because actually you are -- you are speaking very fast. So please try to
9 speak slowly, I would like to ask you, Madam Nozica, and also Witness BJ.
10 Thank you.
11 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
12 Q. I wanted to look at the lower part of the document. It
13 says: "Contact was established with the HVO in order to find a solution
14 to the incident. At 1800 hours, two letters were received, one from
15 General Lasic and another from the chief of the HVO Defence, Stojic, in
16 which the command of the Konjic pocket was ordered to release the
17 detainees. At 1845 hours, a platoon in the Jablanica detachment was
18 ordered to take the letters and try to get the detainees released."
19 Let's have a look at the next page because this event also
20 transpired on the 17th of June, 1993. In the third line it says
21 that: "Contact was established with the HVO headquarters so that they
22 would order that the prisoners be released. They decided to send in
23 Colonel Zarko Keza [phoen] to the Konjic pocket."
24 And now at the end it says: "At 1300 hours, two telephones and
25 INMARST was used." You must be familiar with that. That must be a
1 special telephone line that you used. Am I right in saying that?
2 A. Affirmative, yes. We know of the use of them.
3 Q. So "those two telephone sets were put at the disposal of the
4 commander of Konjic pocket and the HVO Defence Minister Stojic so that
5 they could establish communication. Once this had been done, Zuric, who
6 is the pocket commander, told the SpaBat unit commander that he would
7 receive a reply at 1700 hours. So he would be told whether the detainees
8 would be released or not."
9 "At 1700 hours, he said that he would provide a reply at 1700
10 hours on the following day.
11 "After intensive negotiations took place in the HVO headquarters
12 and in the ABiH, and with the continual presence of the SpaBat platoon in
13 the Konjic pocket, the interpreters and the driver who had been detained
14 since the previous day by the HVO were released."
15 As far as this event is concerned, there were several SpaBat
16 reports. It was an interesting event which took place over a two-day
17 period, so I'm not surprised you're familiar with the event.
18 Since you know how things worked there at the time, could you tell
19 us why you provided these two satellite phones on the 17th of June, 1993?
20 Could one conclude that at that point in time Mr. Stojic did not have any
21 phone contact with the Konjic pocket, with the area where these events
22 took place?
23 A. As I have refreshed my memory by reading the document, I recall
24 more about it. And it's our opinion, we felt that the detention of
25 interpreters aimed at being able to gain access to the HVO headquarters,
1 and we put -- we made available these telephones in order for them to do
2 so. But it wasn't I personally who made available these telephone lines.
3 It was the Jablanica detachment that did so. And if I'm not mistaken,
4 somebody said that an intelligence colonel also was allowed to enter the
5 pocket in order to ease or to speed up the freeing of the interpreters.
6 Once contact was established, the driver and interpreters were freed
7 without any problems.
8 Let me stress that always -- in such cases we always had
9 cooperation from HVO and Mr. Stojic. We always did have their
11 Q. I'm very pleased to hear that, but what I'm interested in here is
12 in two points, and they are these: First of all, let me tell you that
13 Colonel Keza, from these documents we see that he did not reach those
14 places because he was stopped by the BH army. Now, I don't have time to
15 go through all the documents, but they are your reports and that's what it
16 says in one of them. That's the first point.
17 The second point is this: I repeat that this means that
18 Mr. Stojic was not able to establish any other contacts without the
19 satellite telephone that you supplied.
20 And the second question: Doesn't it seem to you that Mr. Stojic
21 was not a greet authority for those persons, because after he called up it
22 was said that they would decide whether they would release them at all?
23 And then they said, "We will decide that tomorrow." Then telephone
24 conversations once again, and then only after those were they released.
25 A. It is an opinion, but I always thought in the Konjic pocket --
1 that the Konjic pocket was not really, truly subordinate to military
2 discipline as we understand military discipline in Western armies. And
3 they did not follow HVO orders to the letter. They obeyed them more or
4 less. They had moral authority, the HVO authorities in Mostar, of course,
5 but the orders were not followed to the letter, as I said.
6 Q. Thank you. And now finally I'd just like to just focus your
7 attention to the question where you said that you had good cooperation
8 with Mr. Stojic at all times. So I'd like to go back because I was saying
9 to the question about Mr. Bozic. You said yesterday that you had
10 extremely good cooperation with him and that when you succeeded in
11 reaching him the problems that you had were mostly solved. Would that be
13 A. It's correct to say that. It's correct to say that he was the
14 best interlocutor we had to solve problems. Aside from that, I could tell
15 you about all sorts of incidents in which he did not solve the problems
16 and in which he himself caused a few problems, but it's anecdotal or
17 isolated events.
18 Q. And this is the last thing I want to ask you -- for that I need
19 document 2D 00115 on e-court, please.
20 Do you recognise this document or, rather, what's on our screens,
21 what we're seeing in front of us? Do you recognise that?
22 A. Yes. It's the coat of arms of the Canarias grouping. And it's a
23 plaque, in which I cannot read what it says, but normally it's given as a
24 souvenir to those who have cooperated or who have had links with us during
25 our mission.
1 Q. May we zoom into the plaque? Well, I'll translate what it says on
2 the plaque for him. It says: "To Mr. Bruno Stojic from the Spanish
3 Battalion of UNPROFOR with gratitude." That's what it says on that little
4 plaque there.
5 And can I conclude precisely from what you said a few moments ago
6 that Mr. Stojic was mostly the person who responded in positive fashion to
7 your requests and that you had a good cooperation with him? Is -- was
8 this the reason that he was granted this plaque of gratitude?
9 A. I said that it was the Canarias grouping, but, no, it wasn't the
10 Canarias grouping. It was the Malaga grouping that gave this plaque to
11 Mr. Stojic. But perhaps the Canarias group may have given a gratitude
12 plaque. It's a tradition with us, the personnel who has cooperated with
13 us or cooperates with us regularly and without any problem, is normally
14 given as a plaque -- as a gift, as a souvenir, and this message or a
15 message to that effect is in fact given. It's out of courtesy, out of
17 Q. Thank you very much for your answers.
18 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] And thank you, Your Honours. That
19 completes my cross-examination.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just one last question. I'd
21 like to go back to the death of Lieutenant Aguilar. If I understood you
22 correctly, an investigation was put in place to answer a number of
23 questions, and in view of the document that the Defence showed you a
24 moment ago, the mission left Mostar, UN mission left Mostar. Now, as far
25 as you were concerned, was there no investigation when they left Mostar,
1 or when they left Mostar did they continue their investigation? What do
2 you know about that?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I was surprised by the letter
4 in which it was said that the civil police withdrew from the case. I had
5 no knowledge of this. I was certain that the investigation had come to
6 completion and that documents, final documents deriving from that
7 investigation had been presented. So I was surprised by this letter of
8 which I knew nothing. I was in fact convinced of the conclusions that I
9 was basing my declarations -- on which I was basing my declarations this
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I assume that the death of
12 colonel -- of Lieutenant Aguilar gave rise to a lot of emotion.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, a great deal. It wasn't the
14 first death in our group, so perhaps it was not such a shock as the first
15 time we had a -- a deceased. But obviously the dead of a colleague was
16 something shocking to our country.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. We can
18 continue. Who is next?
19 Just a moment before I floor to the Defence counsel, I think that
20 my colleague would like to ask a question.
21 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, may I go back to the death
22 of Lieutenant Aguilar for a moment. It is rather troubling because we've
23 just observed that the Trial Chamber did not know whether there was a
24 report about this lieutenant, but if we go on to the next topic, we will
25 have to know what the conclusions are of the UN police and the civilian
1 police and their reports because the documents presented by the Defence,
2 according to you, were not complete. So what should the Chamber conclude?
3 Could you give us some more information? They don't seem to be reliable,
4 you said.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Following the death of
6 Lieutenant Munoz, the UN civil police did investigate because I was
7 directly involved and I know that there was a final conclusion. I have
8 not seen a document to that effect, but I take it that in the UNPROFOR
9 archives or files you will find that.
10 As for Lieutenant Aguilar's death and investigation, well, we were
11 finally convinced, I cannot say we came to conclusions because there is no
12 final document there are no conclusions; however, the Spanish Battalion
13 was convinced as to the facts, and I was very surprised to see this letter
14 from the Mostar civil police force saying that investigations are going to
15 be stopped because they're not going to be in Mostar. I had no knowledge
16 of this and I know not if there is a final report. These commissions work
17 slowly, so perhaps work took a long time. But I cannot say any more.
18 And it's true. I cannot say that these documents are fully
19 reliable. I don't want to ascribe reliability just one side and therefore
20 I cannot say that I can accept this document. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to complete the
22 question posed by my colleague. You spoke about the death of
23 lieutenant Munoz, and I'm looking at the transcript here. You said you
24 were directly involved and that you learnt that there was a final
1 Now, this leads me to ask you the following question: In the
2 indictment, which you don't have in front of you but I say -- I can tell
3 that you in paragraph 115 it says that people beginning -- belonging to
4 international organisations were killed or wounded on occasion, follow as
5 a result of HVO fire. And then in the annex we have two victims, but
6 there is no mention of Lieutenant Aguilar or Lieutenant Munoz. So the
7 Chamber will have to make its conclusions based on paragraph 15. But you
8 have just made a conclusion regarding Lieutenant Munoz. You said that you
9 arrived at a final conclusion yourself. So what was this final
10 conclusion? Who shot Lieutenant Munoz?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know whether a conclusion
12 was reached, but listening to you, what you said is not what I said
13 exactly. I said that an investigation did take place, that the civil
14 police investigated the case. I was alongside the police force, the
15 Norwegian police in this case, and when the investigation came to the end
16 they took the results. I don't have the final conclusions. I never saw
17 the final conclusions however I'm convinced as to what happened because I
18 participated in the investigations but I never saw a document, a
19 conclusion document. And allow me to remind you, because I think it is
20 necessary to recall that we had another -- another casualty in our
21 grouping in the Canarias task force due to a mortar shot in Jablanica, a
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you're saying as
24 far as Lieutenant Munoz is concerned, you had no knowledge of a final
25 investigation and conclusion conducted by the people who were in charge of
1 the investigation. That is to say the Norwegian police. That's what I
2 can see on the transcript on page 48, line 5 where you said this. So you
3 cannot in fact tell us where the shot came from, whether it was a shot
4 from the Serbs, the Muslims, or the HVO.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, of course lacking the final
6 conclusions or results I cannot so say. I am convinced about something
7 but that's what it is. It's something I'm convinced about.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And what are you convinced of
9 what? What are you convinced of?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm certain that it was a mortar
11 shell from the Mount Hum locations and that they knew perfectly well that
12 the ones in the area at that time were Blue Helmets.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you're telling us that it was
14 a shell from Mount Hum.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Hum is the mount's name.
16 H-u-m, Hum.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, on to the next Defence
18 team. Mr. Praljak's Defence counsel. You have two hours and 15 minutes.
19 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Yes. Good afternoon, Your Honours.
20 On behalf of General Praljak, a brief cross-examination conducted by
21 myself, after which General Praljak, in keeping with the guidelines you
22 gave him last time, will be asking the witness some questions which are
23 solely of a technical and military nature.
24 Cross-examination by Ms. Pinter:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning to you, Witness. My name is Nika
1 Pinter attorney from Zagreb, and together with Mr. Kovacic we represent
2 General Praljak's Defence.
3 As I've already said, I -- my cross-examination will be brief,
4 just two short questions, and then General Praljak will be asking you
5 questions about the events that took place almost 13 years ago, and I'd
6 like to ask you to do your best to remember those events and answer the
7 questions to the best of your recollections.
8 Yesterday, my colleague of the Prosecution asked you, and this was
9 in June when you discussed your arrival to Herzegovina and Mostar, he
10 asked you about your meeting with General Praljak or, rather, he asked you
11 about General Praljak, and you mentioned that you had heard of
12 General Praljak and that you knew that he was a member of the Croatian
14 Now, that part of your answer came when we were discussing letting
15 through the ambulance taking a wounded member of your group, transporting
16 a wounded member of your group. Is that correct?
17 A. Yes. I believe that when we talked about the injured, that is to
18 say Lieutenant Munoz, and we were allowed to go through because General
19 Praljak was, as it happens, around there then, it was said that he was a
20 member of the HV army, and I believe there were photos of him in his
21 uniform with the insignia which so attests.
22 Q. When you did see that photograph of him with a uniform with
24 A. If I remember well, I met General Praljak in a meeting at
25 Medjugorje, and I could say that it was just the day before what happened
1 to Lieutenant Munoz, and, if not, a day later in a Croat paper there was
2 an interview published and the photos accompanying the article were
3 included in our reports. We stated that he was wearing the HV army
4 insignias or badges.
5 Q. Very well. Now, tell me if you know why on the 11th of May
6 General Praljak was in Mostar in the first place. You don't know?
7 A. I know not. He may well answer, but I don't know.
8 Q. Fine. Do you know that General Praljak was born in Grabovina,
9 Capljina municipality, which is in Herzegovina?
10 A. Yes, I did know this because of his personal history file which we
12 Q. If you had his CV at your disposal, then I'm sure you know that
13 General Praljak, throughout your mandate there, the time you spent in the
14 territory of Herzegovina, was not a member of the Croatian army. Is that
16 A. We had information that he was. I don't know whether it was
17 correct or not, but our information stated that he belonged to the Croat
18 army before he came chief in the Serbo-Croat army. I don't know whether
19 this information was correct or not, but I'm not mistaken, that was the
20 information we had.
21 Q. I don't know whether there's been a mistake in the translation or
22 whether the witness said something different, but let me ask you this way:
23 Was it a Serbo-Croatian army? Because in the transcript it says, "I don't
24 know whether it was correct or not, but our information stated that he
25 belonged to the Croat army before he became chief of the Serbo-Croat
1 army." That cannot be correct.
2 A. I don't know. Maybe I said Serbo-Croat, but I meant to say
4 Q. Very well. Now, may we have on e-court the following document, 3D
5 00363. It's a set of documents that I'm going to show you which relate to
6 the relieving of duty and appointing of General Praljak --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you provided us with a set
8 of documents?
9 MS. PINTER [Interpretation] Yes.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ah, yes. It was the registrar
11 that forgot to hand it to us.
12 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Well, for once the registrar got it
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour the documents
16 were also handed over to the Spanish booth, so this will facilitate
17 interpretation. The document is 3D 00363.
18 Q. It will come up on your screen but the interpreters will interpret
19 as well.
20 I do apologise. I seem to have made a mistake myself. That's not
21 the right document. The document is 3D 00278. 3D 00278.
22 Never mind. It's not on our screens yet, but let's not waste our
23 valuable time. It is a decision by the personnel department of the
24 Ministry of Defence, and the date is the 15th of June, 1993, and as of
25 that date the military service of Slobodan Praljak terminated in the
1 Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia. Major General Slobodan
2 Praljak on the 1st of June tabled a request to go to the Republic of
4 Have you received the translated document or, rather, have you
5 received the interpretation of it? Was that customary -- is it customary
6 procedure in the army to issue a decision terminating active military
7 service? Do you know this as a general rule, as a general practice?
8 A. Well, I don't know about the Croat army. No. I mean, one has to
9 request a leave, and until the leave is granted declaration of intent is
10 not enough. One has to receive it in writing.
11 Q. Yes, but the decision made by the Ministry of Defence by which
12 somebody's active military service ceases is a different matter. Does
13 that mean that he ceased to become a people of the Croatian army at that
14 point in time when this decision was made and issued?
15 A. As far as I'm concerned, yes, that is so.
16 Q. Just a moment. I apologise. Give you some time. Yes, document
17 3D 00280 next, please.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm turning to the Defence with
19 regard to this document, which states that Mr. Praljak was leaving the
20 Croatian army as of the 1st of June, 1993. If you're going to tender
21 this -- want to tender this into evidence, then what the Judges want to
22 know is article -- and in service in the armed forces which results in the
23 text that appeared in the Official Gazette, 5291. That would allow us to
24 look at the regularities, whether this was regular practice or not.
25 You'll have time to do that between now and later on. Perhaps
1 after the break.
2 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Yes, we will hand in that rule.
3 Your Honour, I'd just like to tell you that this decision of the
4 15th of June was written on the 15th of June, and General Praljak's
5 request was made on the 1st of June. So that is 3D 00310.
6 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I'd just like to note for the record
7 what the document says, at least in the English translation, is not that
8 Mr. Praljak left the Croatian army but he was released from active service
9 in the Croatian army. I think that is an important difference.
10 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] If I may respond, Your Honours. We
11 shall adduce a series of documents that will clearly show this. However,
12 I believe this document speaks for itself because it says that Slobodan
13 Praljak's active duty military service has been terminated, and at that
14 point he ceased to be active member or indeed a member of the Croatian
15 army. The date is the 15th of June.
16 Q. Witness, you have before you a document which is
17 entitled "Request," or "Application," we preceded the issuing of the
19 A. That is how it appears in the French language and I do have a copy
21 Q. Very well. After General Praljak was no longer an active-duty
22 member of the Croatian army, he was appointed commander of the HVO Main
23 Staff by a decree of President Mate Boban.
24 And could we please have document 3D 00279 on e-court. The date
25 is the 24th of July, 1993. I hope you see it on the screen.
1 On the 24th of July, we can say that General Praljak became the
2 commander of the HVO Main Staff. Do you agree with this conclusion?
3 A. The document appears in English.
4 Q. You haven't received it in Spanish?
5 A. I'm sorry.
6 Q. However, can you hear the interpreters translating it into
7 Spanish? Because we have provided a copy to the interpreters.
8 I will read this out to be on the safe side. "Republic of Bosnia
9 and Herzegovina, Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, Croatian Defence
10 Council, Defence Department Main Staff, 24 July, 1993." I won't read out
11 the number.
12 "Notification for all HVO units.
13 "We hereby inform all HVO HZ HB units," that means the Croatian
14 Community of Herceg-Bosna, "that pursuant to the decree of the president
15 of the HZ HB, Mr. Mate Boban, Major General Slobodan Praljak is appointed
16 to the post of commander of the HVO Main Staff.
17 "This notification is to be communicated to the lower levels of
19 The date is the 24th of July.
20 Do you agree with me that as of the 24th of July Slobodan Praljak
21 became the commander of the HVO Main Staff? You left the territory of
22 Herzegovina after the 23rd of September when the last report was lodged by
23 your group in September, 1993, but I will put a question to you to round
24 off this series of questions. Do you know when Slobodan Praljak was the
25 commander of the HVO Main Staff?
1 A. No, I do not know. We knew already when he had been appointed to
2 the -- as commander of the HVO Main Staff, but I do not recall the date.
3 After I left Bosnia-Herzegovina, I left contact -- I lost contact and I
4 did not receive much information after that.
5 Q. You did not receive information about what was happening in the
6 area after your departure?
7 A. No. Once my mission had terminated in Bosnia, I did not
8 officially receive any further information. In relation to the
9 information that I had received, the task force that came after the
10 Canarias task force was task force of parachutists that I was familiar
11 with. That was the only information I could have received but not
12 official information.
13 Q. Therefore, you could not discuss the contents of any documents
14 issued after you left Bosnia-Herzegovina? After September, 1993, that is.
15 A. Well, reports were never discussed. Either they're received or
16 they're not received. And on a general basis we did receive information
17 as to what the situation of operations was there in a general sense, but
18 never on a particular basis in terms of what the operations were like.
19 Q. Thank you very much. I have one more document. 3D 00280. It's a
20 document whereby Major General Slobodan Praljak is discharged from his
21 duty at a his request on the 8th of November, 1993.
22 We will now move on to another topic, after which I will give the
23 floor to Mr. Praljak.
24 Yesterday, we saw some footage from Spanish television showing the
25 stopping of the convoy in Citluk, the convoy which on the 25th of August
1 was supposed to enter eastern Mostar, and you were present on that
2 occasion escorting the convoy. You said that the convoy was stopped.
3 Could you please confirm that the convoy was stopped by refugees?
4 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour. Before we go on to that, I
5 just wanted to -- I was checking the transcript to make sure that there
6 was no question. The last exhibit was shown to the witness with no
7 question. It was simply put forward to the Chamber. I just want to
8 indicate the Prosecution does not dispute the date that Mr. Praljak left
9 as commander of the HVO. It was on approximately the 8th or 9th of
10 November. It's not disputed. It's in the indictment, exactly that date.
11 However, we do not accept that it was as a result of illness, and that
12 will be a disputed point. Thank you.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Ms. Pinter, you mentioned
14 document 280, according to which Major General Praljak was relieved of his
15 command as a result of medical problems, and it was effective as of the
16 8th of November, 1993. The witness should then be asked the following
17 question: Although he had left earlier on, was he familiar with the fact
18 that General Praljak had been relieved of his command? And this would
19 have made it possible to establish a link between the document, your
20 question, and the witness. And then you could take advantage of this by
21 asking him whether he was aware of the fact that General Praljak was ill.
22 He would then say, "Yes, I did," or, "No, I didn't," because quite rightly
23 the Prosecution has pointed out that you refer to a document and then you
24 move on to another subject.
25 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. Before
1 showing the document --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please. There's
3 something that Judge Prandler would like to add.
4 JUDGE PRANDLER: A follow-up question I would like to ask from
5 you, Ms. Pinter, concerning the issue when we have here two documents.
6 The first one which you just referred to, that is the document 3D 00280,
7 which -- in which Major General Slobodan Praljak was relieved of his duty
8 at his own request. It was signed by Mate Boban, about which we are now
9 talking. But at the same time, if you compare with another document in
10 the same file, it is number 00695991, and it is about a -- in
11 French, "Demand," in English, "Application." It was dated as a matter of
12 fact on 20th of October, 1993, in Medjugorje, and in this General Praljak
13 asked the following in his application to the ministry of defence of the
14 Republic of Croatia, and in the second paragraph of that application it
15 says: "I am filing this application for readmittance to the minister of
16 defence of the ministry of defence of Croatia with the hope that my
17 application will be approved." "With the hope that my application will be
19 Frankly, my question is if he asked to be released from the Main
20 Staff at his own request in October of 1993 as a result of his illness, I
21 do not see the logical line that at the same time that even of 10 days
22 ago of that request, he requested the Croatian Ministry of Defence to be
23 readmitted to the Ministry of Defence in Croatia. So I wonder,
24 Ms. Pinter, if you would be good enough to explain what are the
25 connections between the two requests. Thank you.
1 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I think that this will be much better
2 explained by Mr. Praljak himself when he rises to his feet, because he's
3 familiar with the procedure and why he had to write this on the 20th of
4 October, because proceedings take time. The procedure takes time. But
5 General Praljak will explain it better himself.
6 All I can say is the following: General Praljak submitted a
7 request to be released from the HVO, and at the same time he asked to be
8 admitted into the Croatian army. As all this involves certain procedures,
9 there are different dates on the documents. What we wished to show was
10 that after he left the HVO in November, 1993, General Praljak asked to be
11 taken back into the Croatian army but not so that he could be an
12 active-duty soldier, rather that he could return to the Ministry of
13 Defence where he had a job which was less demanding and less fatiguing
14 than the work he was doing in the HVO since his health no longer permitted
15 him to continue with that work.
16 I began asking something about the convoy stopped in Citluk on the
17 25th of August, and I asked if you would agree with me whether it was
18 refugees from Bosnia who stopped the convoy and there were some attempts
19 to let the convoy pass through, but that it was stopped in Citluk for some
20 four hours; is this correct.
21 A. Affirmative, yes. There were refugees, civilian personnel who
22 surrounded the APCs and they actually stood in front of the APCs and they
23 detain the convoys for a period of two or three hours, perhaps four hours.
24 I'm not going to argue that but approximately two or three hours from my
1 Q. Yes, we agree with that. And it was only after General Praljak
2 arrived that the convoy was able to pass. I will now show you some video
3 footage, and I will ask you to take a look at it, after which I will put
4 one or two more questions to you and that will be the end of my part of
5 the cross-examination.
6 MR. SCOTT: Well, Your Honour, to continue what Mr. Mundis was
7 saying last week, there's a number of items that are not in dispute. The
8 Prosecution does not dispute for one moment that Mr. Praljak was involved
9 in allowing the convoy to proceed through Citluk, that he intervened.
10 We've seen this video before. He was also shown in the video the
11 Prosecution showed yesterday very briefly, and there is absolutely no
12 dispute about this whatsoever. I don't see any reason to show the video
13 yet again in the courtroom.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Pinter, if you want to show
15 the video it means that you have a certain reason to do so, there is
16 something you want to add to what we have already seen. Mr. Praljak is
17 raising his hand to say that he doesn't agree.
18 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] He doesn't agree but it's very short
19 footage, less than a minute, and I do have a reason for wanting to show
20 it. The Prosecutor left it out yesterday deliberately.
21 MR. SCOTT: I'm going have to object to that part. It's on the
22 tape. I saw it myself. Mr. Praljak is on the tape, and we can play it
23 again if that's necessary. So I object to that characterisation by
24 counsel that we deliberately left it out. I'll ask that we play the tape
25 again to show that that's absolutely not correct.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll have a look at
2 the video. Go ahead.
3 [Videotape played]
4 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] This is not about love. I have
5 eight trucks here. They have to be taken to the Croatian people in Vitez
6 and Vares. Eight dead bodies have to be brought from Mostar. This is not
7 about love. The convoy has been inspected. We have to save people, the
8 people up there. What has happened has happened. The army will do its
9 job. To feed the Croats in Vares, in Zepce, in Vitez, we have to let this
10 through. There's no discussion about it. Let's go."
11 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] That's enough. Before putting a
12 question to the witness, I just wanted to check whether Your Honours have
13 received the transcript of this video and whether it's in your files.
14 Otherwise, I will have to say something about the text.
15 The video is 3D 00366 for the record and for purposes of
17 Q. I'll just put one question to you after this video. Does this
18 correspond to the situation you remember as you remember it?
19 A. Affirmative, yes. That was the case. It reflects exactly what
20 took place there in Citluk.
21 Q. It's a fact that General Praljak solved this not in a military way
22 but in an instinctive and humane way. Would we agree? This was not done
23 by military methods. Before him there were civilians.
24 MR. SCOTT: Sorry, Your Honour. I don't understand the question.
25 What would be a military method as opposed to what was done here? I don't
1 understand the question, Your Honour. Objection.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, a question has been put to
3 you. We just watched a video, and the Judges noted that there were a
4 number of UN armoured vehicles, the passage of which had been obstructed
5 by civilian population, and they did not seem very happy. We also saw
6 some wooden obstructions, et cetera. So we saw an individual who climbed
7 up onto the first vehicle. He was wearing a military uniform but had no
8 insignia on him. So in fact one could say we don't really know who
9 climbed onto the vehicle. And then we heard this individual give a sort
10 of humanitarian speech. He said there are Croats in certain places that
11 need to be provided with food, that the crowd was obviously not happy.
12 They did not agree. And then this individual said, "We have to move on."
13 And then the first vehicle started moving forward and the obstruction was
15 These images are very strong images. We see that the UN had been
16 obstructed and one sole individual made it possible for the convoy to move
18 So when you see such images, as an officer, would you say that the
19 operation concerned is a military one or would you say, as was implied in
20 the question put to you, that a member of the military tried to convince
21 those obstructing the vehicles that certain humanitarian considerations
22 should be given weight and the convoy should be let through? As a member
23 of the Spanish Battalion, what sort of conclusions would you draw from all
24 of this?
25 Naturally, as Judges, we are quite capable of assessing the nature
1 of the situation, but as you were a high-ranking officer in the Spanish
2 Battalion, what sort of conclusions would you yourself arrive at? Having
3 said that, naturally the Judges have their own conclusions that may or may
4 not agree with the ones that you can draw from the images shown.
5 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, because we seem
7 to have a problem. Fine now. Please continue.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That particular APC where
9 General Praljak got on top, I was -- happened to be there, but I do not
10 get shown on the video. It was the first truck, the first APC, part of a
11 convoy. It was a very difficult time. It was becoming more and more
12 violent as time went by, and I recall that one of the ministers of
13 Croatia, he was there with the refugees, tried to convince the crowds that
14 we could be let through. He did not manage to achieve this, and
15 General Praljak, in a sign of authority, he arrived. He got on top of the
16 APC. He addressed the crowds, and he managed to persuade them.
17 And of course we did not use any military methods. He did not
18 send any soldiers to let the vehicles through, but with his voice and his
19 authority he managed to achieve what we were after, which was to be able
20 to be let through with the convoy. And having spoken to the crowds he
21 managed to achieve this and we were let through.
22 And I recall this incident because it was an act in which it
23 wasn't a very easy moment for us and they managed to be let through.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Did you also give a medal for good cooperation to
25 General Praljak?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that time, there is a saying in
2 Spanish that says, well, "If -- if you are born and with good manners, you
3 will be greeted accordingly." And I'd like to mention this in relation to
4 that as a way of answer to your question, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If we have understood you
6 correctly, you're saying that it is Mr. Praljak's intervention that made
7 it possible for the convoy to move and to accomplish its mission, because
8 Mr. Praljak addressed the crowd and told them that it was necessary for
9 them to bear in mind certain humanitarian considerations, not to think of
10 military objectives, et cetera.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time I heard that, even
12 though the interpreter was next to me, the interpreter did not interpret
13 that. I never managed to understand what he said. Now I'm able to
14 understand. At the time I did not understand what he was saying. I knew
15 that he was speaking in Croatian language and that he managed to convince
16 or persuade the crowds to let us through. At the time I did not
17 understand what he was saying in that language.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Pinter, we have a few more
19 minutes until the break.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
21 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I have completed my part of the
22 cross-examination. Now the general will continue, but I wanted to answer
23 the question concerning the document where it appears I did not put a
24 question to the witness about the document.
25 Actually, before I show the document, I asked the witness when he
1 left Bosnia-Herzegovina and his mission, and whether he knew that the
2 general was relieved of his duty, and that is why I felt I could show the
3 document. Thank you.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is 12.30. We'll now have our
5 20-minute technical break and we will resume at ten to 1.00.
6 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 12.58 p.m.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll now resume. We have 45
9 minutes left, and I'd like to remind Mr. Praljak that he has permission to
10 put technical questions to the witness, but he should avoid making
11 comments, declarations, or he should also avoid declaring his innocence.
12 So as a high-ranking officer, you may put technical questions to another
13 high-ranking officer. You have the floor.
14 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour,
15 although I don't remember ever having said that I was innocent. I don't
16 remember ever having addressed that problem in such a manner.
17 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Witness. Since time is short as usual,
19 I would be grateful if you could provide concise answers to my questions,
20 say, "I know," "I don't know," or "I can't remember," and this will make
21 it possible for me to get through all the questions that I think I should
22 put to you and that might help us clarify certain matters. Thank you very
24 Let's continue with the subject of the convoys on the 20th. On
25 the 21st, a convoy of 16 vehicles passed through, and then a few days
1 later there was a second convoy, a 300-tonne convoy providing food and
2 medical supplies for the other side.
3 My first question is as follows. Do you know that the food and
4 medical supplies were intended both for the civilian population and
5 members of the military on the left side of the river?
6 A. I understand that.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 A. I understand that was the case indeed.
9 Q. According to your testimony, didn't you say I was on the first
10 vehicle and remained there for the first 30 kilometres right up until
11 entry into Mostar, and this was seen in the film, in the video shown by
12 the Prosecution yesterday. Was that your testimony?
13 A. Yes. Well, it was my APC, but I don't know whether it was 30
14 kilometres or 20 kilometres. We went all the way down to the Mostar
15 valley. That's all I can remember.
16 Q. Do you accept my explanation that that was because of -- in the
17 fear that some fool might obstruct the convoy on that road once again?
18 A. Well, I understand that you didn't want any problems with that
19 convoy until it had completely left the city of Citluk and it was already
20 well on the road to Mostar, yes. I understand that.
21 Q. Do you know that prior to that event, and this is what you have
22 said yourself, the minister of the foreign affairs of the Republic of
23 Croatia Mate Granic addressed the same people, the same crowd, and
24 then-president of the HVO government Mr. Jadranko Prlic?
25 A. I -- I remember the Croatian minister. I didn't know he was the
1 foreign affairs minister. I thought he was the minister in charge of
2 refugees. But I do remember him. I don't remember Mr. Prlic.
3 Q. In a lengthy excerpt that concerned the same event certain things
4 could be seen, and my question is as follows: In such a war, the war that
5 you yourself experienced, the difference between what one wants and what
6 one can actually realise in the field was often considerable.
7 A. Sorry, couldn't hear the translation at all.
8 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... receiving any translation,
9 any interpretation. It's fine now.
10 A. [Previous translation continues] ... now. Thank you.
11 Q. In that war, do you often notice that there was a great difference
12 between what one wanted to do and what one was actually able to do?
13 MR. SCOTT: I object to the question, Your Honour. Who? Are we
14 talking about people on the HVO side? Are we talking about the Spanish
15 Battalion? I think it's sheer speculation to ask this witness questions
16 like that unless there's further foundation.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, you want to put
18 this question to the witness for what purpose? What event does it
20 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] It concerns Mr. Granic and
21 Mr. Prlic.
22 Q. The goodwill existed, but the possibility of actually doing what
23 one wanted to do was a different matter; is that correct?
24 MR. SCOTT: I still object, Your Honour. There's no foundation
25 that this witness has any idea of what Mr. Prlic or Mr. Granic intended.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, we fail to
2 understand the purpose of your question. You have just said that
3 Mr. Granic, the minister of foreign of affairs of Croatia intervened, but
4 his intervention didn't bear any fruit. Similarly, Mr. Prlic intervened
5 with the crowd but obtained no results, and then you intervened and that
6 had results. Are you trying to demonstrate what your role was in
7 comparison with the role of the other two mentioned what are you trying to
8 demonstrate to the witness. The Prosecution says there is no foundation
9 for such a question. The Judges also wonder about the matter. We're
10 trying to see things clearly ourselves.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I would like to add a more technical comment.
12 The fact that not only in war but in life we often cannot by far achieve
13 what we want to achieve is so common that it must not be proven. It falls
14 under article -- under Rule 94(A), really. It's not something that we can
15 take evidence on. It's common knowledge.
16 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I'll move on. Thank you.
17 Q. After the convoy had entered Mostar, yesterday we saw when
18 watching the video that there was 105-millimetre howitzer on the Muslim
19 side. We also saw some soldiers. Could you tell me how many artillery
20 weapons the ABiH had on the left bank of Mostar?
21 A. Artillery, I didn't see anything. I did see mortars but no
22 artillery weapons, none whatsoever. It doesn't mean that they weren't
23 there. I personally didn't see them.
24 Q. Thank you. Could you tell me, in the Marsala Tita Street, which
25 you drove down, it seemed very damaged. It's a street that you had passed
1 through before the conflict between the ABiH and the HVO. Was that
2 street, was that road in such a damaged situation even prior to the
3 beginning of the conflict in Mostar?
4 A. There were many damaged areas. Not as much and as intensely as
5 afterwards, but there were already many damaged areas.
6 Q. Prior to the conflict between the ABiH and the HVO in Mostar, the
7 conflict that started on the 9th of May, 1993, prior to the conflict,
8 whenever you went to eastern Mostar, did you notice even a single mosque
9 that hadn't been either damaged or completely destroyed?
10 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I didn't get -- I didn't get the
11 translation. I don't know if there was an answer or not but -- sorry.
12 I again object to the question unless there's foundation for how
13 much this witness spent in Mostar prior to the 9th of May. The testimony
14 is that he arrived on the 19th of April only about two weeks or so before
15 this happened. There's been no testimony that he was in fact in Mostar
16 prior to the 9th of May, and before he's allowed to answer that question I
17 think some foundation should be laid.
18 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I may to respond.
19 [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may respond to that. The
20 problem is that the Prosecutor is also using documents that concern a
21 period prior to the arrival of this witness and documents that concern the
22 period after the witness's departure. That can be seen in the list of
23 documents. The documents will probably be part of this testimony, so we
24 should make a decision about this.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Praljak is
1 putting a question to you. It interests me. I don't know whether my
2 colleagues are interested in this question. Yes, apparently that is the
4 Prior to the 9th of May -- you arrived there in April, but between
5 April and May did you ever move around Mostar? Did you have the
6 opportunity of examining the streets, the churches, the mosques? Were you
7 in Mostar prior to the 9th of May?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Affirmative, yes. I was in Mostar.
9 I did take a walk on the streets, and I went into the shops. I went to
10 the Muslim area. No problem.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Praljak put a
12 question to you just a minute ago prior to the 9th of May. Could you see
13 with your own eyes buildings that had been damaged or destroyed? I am
14 putting a general question to you. Prior to the 9th of May, did you see
15 any buildings in the town that had been damaged by various projectiles?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the whole area where we were
17 there was a great deal of damage. Practically every single bridge was
18 down and there were many constructions, houses probably, mostly houses
19 destroyed. We thought it was from the previous Serbo-Croatian war.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] From the previous war I'll
21 conclude and then give the floor to my colleagues.
22 Mr. Praljak also mentioned a mosque. Prior to the 9th of May did
23 you see any mosques that had been destroyed, partially destroyed, damaged?
24 Did you yourself see this with your own eyes?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't recall that. I can't say
1 there wasn't or that there was one but I can't recall personally.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Actually, the question was put in negative terms,
3 whether you had seen any mosque which was completely intact, not damaged
4 or destroyed. Do you recall having seen any mosque that looked okay?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think so. Yes, I think there were
6 totally undamaged mosques. At least the minarets looked perfectly
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation].
9 Q. On the left or the right bank of the Neretva River?
10 A. I think it was the left. When I say the left, I mean East Mostar,
11 Muslim Mostar.
12 Q. Could we now place a document on the ELMO, please. The number is
13 3D 00369. The date is the 31st of July, six days after I was made
14 commander of the Main Staff. And the order --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We can't see the document on the
16 screen because it hasn't been correctly placed on the ELMO. Could
17 Madam Usher please sort the problem out.
18 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, there seems to be some confusion. The
19 document which the lady just putting on the ELMO, it is in the e-court so
20 we can get it on the screen.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It doesn't matter. We can see
22 it now.
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation].
24 Q. I'll read it out, and I would be grateful if it could be
25 interpreted, translated.
1 Under number 1: "I order members of the HVO officers and the
2 ranking officers in the zone of responsibility, the following: Commanders
3 in the command on all levels have no right to stop, control, or search
4 UNPROFOR weeks."
5 Under item 2: UNPROFOR units should be allowed to move around
6 freely, and they are to be offered full protection and are to be
7 guaranteed -- they are to be guaranteed free movement in the previously
8 approved directions and routes that will be promptly submitted to you."
9 Under 3: "Humanitarian aid convoys are not to be permitted to
10 pass through without having fully inspected their loads. After the
11 convoys have been searched, they shall be allowed to move on in the
12 previously approved directions under escort and with occasional
14 Were you familiar in any way with this order of mine?
15 A. No, I was not aware of this one at all. This one specifically I
16 was not aware of.
17 Q. Under item 3, or with respect to item 3, were you aware of the
18 fact that humanitarian aid convoys were used to transport a lot of medical
19 supplies that were no longer valid? Their expiry dates had already been
20 reached. Are you aware of fact that such convoys were used to -- to
21 transport goods intended for sale on the black market? They used such
22 convoys for trafficking in goods. Are you aware of the fact that one
23 often received information according to which such convoys were used to
24 transport high-risk waste from certain chemical factories located in some
25 of the countries that donated this aid?
1 A. I had no idea of any of these things that you have mentioned.
2 Q. Thank you. Although you left the area, did you learn from the
3 newspapers or in some other way that 136 tonnes of medical supplies
4 remained in the Mostar hospital, and these medical supplies had been
5 produced in 1951 or 1952, et cetera, and it had been -- they had been
6 provided -- these medical supplies had been provided as humanitarian aid
7 in these convoys?
8 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I'm going to object again; witness has
9 already testified earlier today that he did not keep himself -- stay
10 informed, or follow developments in the area after he left at the end of
11 September. We're just wasting time.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
13 But when your convoys transported humanitarian aid, and in
14 particular medical supplies, did SpaBat officers examine the contents of
15 the convoys, the loads transported? I don't know where Mr. Praljak
16 obtained this information, but he is saying that medical supplies produced
17 in 1951 and 1952 were discovered in a Mostar hospital. So they were over
18 40 years old, and they can't have been valid. So did you examine such
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] I have to correct something. He
21 didn't say medicine, he said medical supplies. That could include
22 bandages or other items that one does not consume. It could also include
23 objects that although very old can be used.
24 Perhaps it would be better if Mr. Praljak could be more precise to
25 the information or the origin of this information.
1 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. President, could Mr. Praljak
2 also mention the high-risk or toxic waste that he has referred to. In
3 which country did it come from? Because we're now confusing humanitarian
4 aid and invalid medicine, all sorts of products.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Praljak, please be
6 more precise when putting your question to the witness.
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation].
8 Q. In the humanitarian aid convoys -- my question concerns these
9 humanitarian aid convoys. You can either say -- agree with me or not.
10 But in these convoys, there were a lot of -- there was a lot of medicine
11 over 40 years old, and such medicine couldn't be used. And I'm mentioning
12 this because the hospital in Mostar, after the end of the war, had to burn
13 136 tonnes of such medicine. I wasn't referring to any other medical
14 supplies. I was referring to a lot of smuggled goods that were smuggled
15 by using these humanitarian convoys. My question was whether you are
16 aware of the fact that weapons were also smuggled through in such convoys
17 together with food or tinned food and such weapons were produced in the
18 territory of Croatia. We'll mention this later on. And I also mentioned
19 other information we had. I want to know whether you had such
20 information, information according to which certain people wanted to use
21 those convoys to transport toxic waste to the salt mine in Tuzla or other
22 places on the way there.
23 We knew about that, and this is why, as can be seen in item 3, we
24 had to control such convoys. We had to examine such convoys, to make sure
25 that Bosnia and Herzegovina didn't become a territory where waste would be
1 left, because a lot of money was spent on such things. My question is --
2 MR. SCOTT: Objection, Your Honour.
3 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Whether you had knowledge of
4 any such information.
5 MR. SCOTT: [Previous translation continues] ... what Mr. Mundis
6 has said last and we've said earlier. Can we understand now that
7 Mr. Praljak is giving evidence? He's making declarations of fact in court
8 and then this is evidence that the Prosecution can use against him in the
9 future? He is giving --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. Mr. Scott,
11 that's not quite right. Mr. Praljak says that he issued an order, and in
12 paragraph 3 it says that humanitarian aid convoys shall be permitted to
13 pass only after having been examined, and he is asking the witness
14 whether he was aware of fact whether there were humanitarian convoys that
15 were transporting either medicine or -- that was no longer valid or toxic
16 waste or weapons. Toxic waste would be transported to Tuzla or they would
17 transport other good, they would smuggle other goods. So this question
18 relates to a document that he himself signed, and he is asking the witness
19 what his opinion is, because the accused is saying that in paragraph 3 of
20 this document it says that humanitarian convoys should be controlled
21 because there were rumours according to which arms were being smuggled
22 through in this way. And he mentioned a hospital in Mostar in which
23 faulty medicine had to be burnt. The witness will just have to answer by
24 saying, "I don't know anything about that, or yes that's correct or that's
25 not correct." Your objection is just wasting time. The Judges would like
1 to know whether the accused's allegations are true or not.
2 Mr. Karnavas.
3 MR. SCOTT: I most respectfully disagree. The document itself
4 says nothing about any of these things. It is simply Mr. Praljak on his
5 feet making factual assertions in the courtroom and asking this witness,
6 if he speculates, to agree with him. There is nothing in the document
7 that says anything about toxic waste or about weapons or about medicines
8 being over 40 years old. There's nothing in the document. The only thing
9 we have in the courtroom is Mr. Praljak getting up and making factual
11 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may be --
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, if I may be heard just very briefly and I
14 don't mean to interrupt General Praljak's cross, but there is one
15 document, P 02286, generated by -- or having come through this particular
16 gentleman, and there is a reference at least in the document itself on
17 page 6, I'll just read it very quickly. It says: "This has led to
18 reinstatement of escort for convoys throughout the whole journey, and on
19 one occasion BH command asked the Spanish Battalion to check the loads on
20 the lorries in Metkovic to guarantee that there was no repeat of the
21 incident last month when a shipment of ammunition was found in a UNHCR
23 This is a document generated by this gentleman's organisation.
24 Clearly there had been at least one incident where ammunition was found
25 being transported by the UNHCR, well, in one of their lorries, and so it
1 would appear that this would justify the line of questioning that
2 General Praljak is asking. And I also want to mention that these are
3 documents that we received from the Prosecution. So obviously they are
4 aware of this incident, and I'm rather disappointed at the objection being
5 raised by Mr. Scott.
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I consider, and you
7 mentioned this as well, although I don't know whether it's clear to
8 everyone in court, Mr. Praljak is asking these questions relevant to the
9 document being shown. So he -- here a search of the trucks is called for.
10 Now, the reasons can be justified or unjustified. So he's asking
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So, Witness, did you have
13 knowledge of an incident by which an UNHCR convoy contained any weapons?
14 So the answer can either be yes or no.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. My second question:
17 We have just seen that there's an order asking the HVO to check
18 humanitarian convoys. Now, you in SpaBat, did you know that the HVO
19 wanted to visit humanitarian convoys and search them? Yes or no once
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Excuse me, President, but my answer
22 can only be the same one. All parties said and alleged that humanitarian
23 convoys were also being used to transport ammunition, to smuggle goods.
24 It is something that they repeated continually, ever since I arrived in
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Praljak, we have
2 ten more minutes, because after ten minutes we're going to conclude the
3 cross-examination which will continue tomorrow because Mr. Karnavas would
4 like to deal with some matters till quarter to 2.00. So you have ten
5 minutes left, and we'll continue with the cross-examination tomorrow
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation].
8 Q. Sir, when you were on the eastern side of Mostar, east bank, in
9 Marsal Tito Street, in the houses together with the inhabitants and
10 population, was the 4th Corps command put up there as well as the military
11 police of the BH army? Were they located there too? And the command of
12 the Mostar Brigade of the BH army? Were they located and put up in the
13 town itself, mixed amongst the civilian population?
14 A. The general headquarters of the armija, was it mixed up with the
15 civilian population? I do think so. They were, in fact, housed in a
16 house that was surrounded by civilian houses. I'm not sure whether that
17 is your question, however.
18 Q. Yes, that's the answer to my question, but in another building was
19 there the headquarters of the Mostar Brigade of the army of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in the third building the headquarters of the
21 military police of the BH army, the 4th Corps of the army of
23 A. Yes, that's right. The general headquarters were there. But I
24 would have to see an actual map of the area to see exactly where they
25 were located, but yes, they were in the area.
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Would the usher now place
2 two documents -- or, rather, hand two documents to the witness, put them
3 on the ELMO. Would Madam Usher put these two documents on the ELMO,
4 please. 3D 000345 of the number of the first document. And so we have
5 3D 000345 is the first document.
6 This one here. Madam Usher, would you take this document, please.
7 Madam Usher, would you take this document from me and put it on the ELMO
9 Q. Sir, I have marked south here, south, east, and at the bottom I
10 put North Camp, which was previously used by the Yugoslav People's Army.
11 So I've marked North Camp. And I've also marked where the railway station
12 in Mostar is, that is to say in the northern district of Mostar.
13 The black dots, four black dots shows the compound that was called
14 and referred to as North Camp, the area it covered. It's a large area.
15 It takes up almost a quarter of the whole area of the town. Do you know
16 about the existence of North Camp under the control of the BH army on the
17 left bank? After the 30th of June, 1993.
18 A. I cannot pinpoint the place you're talking about.
19 Q. I have marked it with dots. But as it's black and white, I can't
20 find the dots now. It is the Neretva River, the left-hand corner where
21 the road joins the river, meets the river, right down until you get to the
22 bridge, this bridge across the Neretva River. Almost at the bridge
23 itself, not quite. So go right, please, right along the road, take your
24 pointer right along the road, towards the south, move southwards, along
25 the road, that's right, just keep going straight, straight, straight,
1 straight, pointing to the road until a point that I'm -- stop. Then
2 towards the Neretva River. Down towards the river. Straight down towards
3 the river. And now that is the border. The Neretva River is the border.
4 So it was at the entry into Mostar on the north side.
5 Do you know that that entire area was known as North Camp, which
6 was the former barracks of the Yugoslav People's Army?
7 A. Yes, I did know about the existence of that.
8 Q. Now, please place the other map on the ELMO, the second map, the
9 one in colour.
10 From the south side of Mostar, and you passed by that way very
11 often, very frequently, you had South Camp, what was known as South Camp.
12 Once again, a former barracks of the Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA. And
13 I have marked that with JL. And the airport I have placed "Airport" there
14 where the airport is.
15 Do you know of the existence of that other camp, South Camp, with
16 all the infrastructure that was constructed by the Yugoslav People's Army?
17 A. No, I don't recall, though I'm a bit lost. I'm a bit lost. I
18 don't remember that one.
19 Q. From the Buna, when you entered Mostar from the south, the camp
20 was on the left-hand side of the road facing the river Neretva.
21 A. Yes. Yes, I know the area, but I do not recall a camp there.
22 Q. It was a barracks, the former JNA barracks, a large compound with
23 residential buildings, a training centre, and so on. Do you remember it?
24 Never mind.
25 My last question for today: You as a professional soldier, how do
1 you explain the fact or understand the fact that all the commands of the
2 BH army were located among the civilian population and not housed in the
3 barracks whether in South Camp or North Camp, although all the facilities
4 existed. A good infrastructure existed with complete protection. So how
5 do you as a professional army officer explain this move on the part of the
6 BH army commanders? Did you ever wonder when you were down there why that
7 was the case?
8 A. Well, it's easy to answer. They were trying to mingle with the
9 civilian population so as to prevent injuries and casualties among them
10 unless the civilian population were also attack.
11 And Your Lordship, I would like to ask a question given that I
12 have the floor now.
13 When I was in Mostar, when the Muslims complained of being
14 attacked and bombarded, there was a time when they were firing from behind
15 the hospital with howitzers. So they had behind the Muslim hospital
16 mortars, and obviously the Croats shot back, and in thus shooting back the
17 hospital was hit. I had to say this because I believe it is important
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation].
20 Q. We'll come back to that fact through two of your documents whereby
21 you insist that mortars of the BH army move away from the --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll go into that tomorrow.
23 Mr. Registrar, can we have the blinds lowered, please. We have to
24 do it quickly, because there's a trial in this courtroom immediately after
1 Very well. Madam Usher, would you escort the gentleman out of the
3 Sir, you'll be back here at 9.00 for the hearing tomorrow
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Witness.
6 [The witness stands down]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, you asked for
8 three minutes of our time. Go ahead quickly.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you Your Honour, Mr. President and
10 Your Honours. In keeping with your -- with where we left off last week in
11 respect to cross-examination I would like to bring something to the Court
12 and you could get back to us because there is a rule in this Tribunal
13 under the Rules of putting your case to the witness. It's an Anglo-Saxon
14 rule not in the United States but in other places, and it's part of the
15 rules here.
16 And by way of example, I wanted to share with you yesterday the
17 gentleman was asked a question with respect to the motives of the Muslims
18 for keeping the convoy from -- from leaving Mostar, and this is in August.
19 And the exchange took place, just for the record, on page 32, and then it
20 got -- he picked up again and gave us his answer on 45 and 46, and
21 specifically on lines 18 to 22 he says the reasons why.
22 Now, I don't want to take up too much time so I won't go into the
23 reasons that are clearly stated on, as he put it, in the record, but then
24 in the Prosecution document 0P 1717, which the Prosecution was reading
25 from and taking excerpts from, on page 158, dated 31 August, 1993, there
1 is another reason being given, and it says right here and I'm just read it
2 very quickly: "It seems that the objective of the BH in detaining the
3 SpaBat convoy in Mostar was to gain time to reorganise their units in the
4 area. What they achieved was that the Croats were not putting the
5 pressure on them during that time."
6 Now, by way of -- I mention this for two reasons. One, I chose
7 not to cross-examine on this particular point under the belief that since
8 this gentleman did not write the report and the report would come in I
9 would actually be able to make reference without there being a complaint
10 that I was not acting due diligently by not putting the question to the
11 witness and having him give us an explanation as to why this is in, in the
12 particular report since he did not generate it. So I -- we need some
13 clearance on that. When -- to what extent can we rely on not having to
14 put questions to the witness if the document is coming in, because
15 normally I would put the question to the witness and ask him to reconcile
16 his explanation on the record which he says that actually they were being
17 kept there so that the Muslims wanted to given the interns a taste of what
18 it was like to live under those conditions versus what is in the document
20 So this is -- and I mention this because this is a time-consuming
21 process, number one.
22 Number two, I also use this opportunity to show how the
23 Prosecution is cherry picking from their own documents. This is their
24 very same document that they were making reference to. Here is a clear
25 answer that obviously they know. They heard the gentleman give his
1 explanation, and this is something that the Prosecution should have, in my
2 opinion, in good faith, if we are to accept the method bona fide, put the
3 question to the witness and say, well, here in your own document it says
4 this. How do you reconcile it, your answer with this document? And this
5 is my second point.
6 And the point is on this side of the aisle because we're in an
7 adversarial setting we simply cannot take the Prosecution at their bona
8 fides. This is an adversarial process, this is the way it's done, and we
9 need some guidance from the Trial Chamber. I accept the comments we made
10 last week I'm trying to rethink my entire approach on how to cross-examine
11 within the time constraints but this is something that I would like the
12 Trial Chamber to at least consider and think about and give us some
13 guidance. Not today, of course, but to just think about it.
14 And I believe Mr. Murphy wanted to say one or two words with
15 respect to it Eric who is leaving us.
16 MR. MURPHY: [Interpretation] Mr. President and colleagues of the
17 Defence -- my colleagues of the Defence have given me a very agreeable
18 task, and that is to say a few words to Eric who has always helped us out
19 in the best possible way, and we'd like to wish him every success in his
20 future undertakings. And I'd also like to express the hope that his
21 departure will not leave the Defence counsel without the facilities they
22 need in e-court. We hope we'll not be found wanting.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Well, we'll be meeting in
24 a while, and we can go ahead. Unless Mr. Scott would like to reply to
25 Mr. Karnavas, but quickly, please.
1 MR. SCOTT: Not to reply to Mr. Karnavas, Your Honour, but in line
2 of Mr. Murphy's comments. The Prosecution would be remiss if it did not
3 express its best wishes and thanks to Mr. Frejabue. Thank you very much
4 and best wishes.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I invite you back
6 tomorrow morning at 9.00.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.51 p.m.,
8 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 30th day
9 of August, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.