1 Tuesday, 14 November 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, would you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. President.
8 Case IT-04-74-T, the Prosecution against Prlic et al.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'd like to welcome all those
10 present, the representatives of the Prosecution, the Defence, the accused.
11 We're going to hear a witness today and start off with that. The Trial
12 Chamber has found several kilogrammes of documents on its table which
13 we're going to examine in due course.
14 As I've already said, I said yesterday, we rendered a decision
15 with respect to the duration of the trial, and in conformity with that,
16 there will be 190 hours for the Prosecution to present its evidence, and
17 we're going to try and speed up the proceedings and use some of the
18 technical measures, and we're going to bring in one or two viva voce
19 witnesses. That will be a technical measure. Then we will round it off
20 with 92 ter witnesses and the 92 bis witnesses.
21 So that is food for thought for the Prosecution, because I'm sure
22 that is an interesting route to explore. And we're going to look at all
23 the objections made with respect to the cross-examination, et cetera.
24 Now, as far as the exhibits are concerned, the ones that you wish
25 to tender will be on a list, on a document, and the registrar will give an
1 IC number, which he has done, and the registrar can go through them
2 document by document and give us IC numbers for them with respect to the
4 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. The parties
5 have provided the registry with lists of documents to be tendered through
6 Mr. Safet Idrizovic. The documents provided by 1D will be given IC 78;
7 the documents provided by 2D will be given IC 79; documents provided by 3D
8 will be IC 80; the documents by 4D, IC 81; documents by 5D, IC 82;
9 documents by 6D, IC 83. 3D has also provided a list for documents to be
10 tendered through Mr. Fahrudin Agic; that will be given IC 84. The Office
11 of the Prosecutor has provided a list of documents to be tendered through
12 Witness BZ, and that will be IC 85.
13 Thank you, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
15 Mr. Mundis, the witness that will be shown in will receive the
16 same protective measures? You have the floor.
17 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. My colleague Mr. Poryvaev
18 will be taking the witness. The witness -- perhaps it's best for my
19 colleague to explain it. But with respect to the documents, the
20 Prosecution proposes that the documents can be discussed in open court.
21 We would ask that they not be broadcast outside the courtroom and that
22 they be placed under seal, pursuant to the request of the Rule 70
23 provider. This would be very similar to the method that was used with an
24 earlier Rule 70 witness.
25 With respect to any other protective measures, my colleague
1 Mr. Poryvaev will be in a position to address those.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
3 MR. PORYVAEV: But I think we should go into private session for
4 some moments.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's move into
6 private session.
7 [Private session]
11 Pages 10093-10099 redacted. Private session
3 [Open session]
4 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We're back in open session,
5 Mr. President.
6 MR. PORYVAEV:
7 Q. Witness, when you were overtaking your functions from your
8 predecessor, did you overtake all the documentation that was at the
9 disposal of your predecessors?
10 A. Indeed. As I said, during the -- when we were still in Spain, we
11 were receiving every single report that was produced in the area. And
12 when we took over from the previous battalion of Spain positioned there,
13 the relief team received the entire file of documents that had been
14 produced during that previous mission.
15 Q. Witness, what were the main functions of your section?
16 A. The mission of my section was to offer the head of the battalion
17 the information required so that he could take his decisions in an
18 informed manner.
19 Q. Were you authorised to make your own decisions when your chief,
20 your immediate superior, was away from the area of your responsibility?
21 A. Yes, indeed. Within the sphere of work carried out by my section,
22 when the chief was away, I would assume his responsibilities.
23 Q. Did you have a task of interviewing local military personnel?
24 A. Yes, I personally took part in some interviews and contacts.
25 Q. Would you clarify, please, for the Trial Chamber, at what level
1 did you have contacts with the military personnel in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
2 A. I took part as a member of my section in all the high-level
3 meetings that were held involving the Spanish contingent, and I also
4 spearheaded some medium-level meetings with local commandment.
5 Q. When you say "high-level meetings," what kind of highness do you
7 A. Normally, high-level meetings would mean those meetings where the
8 participants were high-level politicians, holding presidential positions,
9 such as President Izetbegovic or President Boban, or with other key
10 commanders of the military forces, such as Halilovic and Petkovic from the
12 Q. And who represented Mr. Halilovic?
13 A. I'm sorry, I don't understand the question.
14 Q. What party was represented by Halilovic?
15 A. Colonel Halilovic was the commander-in-chief of the Belgrade
17 Q. And what was the subject matter of your interviews with the local
18 military authorities? I mean, the main subject matter or main subject
19 matters of your talks with them.
20 A. Mainly, our mission was to facilitate or guarantee humanitarian
21 aid flow. All of the interviews were attempting to reach agreements to
22 enable this humanitarian aid flow to continue. This was the main
23 objective. Obviously, to achieve this, we tried to ensure that the
24 conflicting parties reached agreements by ceasing hostilities, and we
25 hoped in that way that humanitarian aid would be able to circulate freely
1 throughout the territory.
2 Q. Witness CB, please remind the Trial Chamber what was of
3 responsibility of SpaBat battalion, SpaBat UNPROFOR.
4 A. Our area of responsibilities for the SpaBat began in the south
5 with the border with the Republic of Croatia, around Metkovic, and
6 extended up to -- practically up to Sarajevo, to the south of Sarajevo in
8 So our mission was to guarantee that the route following the
9 Neretva River, which was basically from Metkovic to the suburbs of
10 Sarajevo, remained open for the free flow of humanitarian aid convoys.
11 Later, as the conflict progressed, at a certain point in time, we
12 received a supplementary order which extended our responsibilities to
13 include acting through the presence of our troops as a mitigating force
14 for conflicts in the area, to calm the conflicts.
15 Q. At this point, let's stop, because we'll continue this issue a
16 little bit later on, I mean your additional functions.
17 Witness, as your mission --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There is a question.
19 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Prosecutor, excuse me. Before we
20 move to another subject, I have one question for the witness.
21 Witness CB, you have said that you participated in high-level
22 meetings, that is, with President Izetbegovic and President Boban, in
23 areas where the Spanish battalion was present, and at the intermediate
24 level with military representatives, such as Generals Halilovic and
25 Petkovic. I just want a clarification. Did you personally take part in
1 meetings with those personalities, or is it your section that was
2 represented at those meetings? Maybe another person, not you.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I personally took part in these
4 meetings, but I should also indicate that my role in these meetings was a
5 secondary role. The representation both of my section and of the Spanish
6 Battalion was held by staff who had been there longer than myself.
7 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. So, Witness CB, as your mission was coming to the end, did you
10 participate in the drafting of any final document as a report of the whole
11 mission of SpaBat in the area of your responsibility as from April, 1993,
12 through October, 1993?
13 A. Yes, indeed. I took part actively and in a fundamental way in
14 drafting the overall report concerning the work of my section.
15 Q. Was this document drafted in Bosnia-Herzegovina or already in
17 A. The drafting was completed in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
18 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like witness to be shown Exhibit 4698A. I
19 mean the final report of Witness CB.
20 Just, Your Honour, for explanation, this exhibit is a full version
21 of our previous document, Exhibit 4698, but a full version with documents
22 added to our initial version after we requested additional documents,
23 missing documents, on your decision.
24 Q. Witness, please turn in this document, exhibit, to page 7. Page
25 numbers were assigned in all versions. Witness, I don't ask you to read
1 the names on this page, but you see here the list of staff members of your
2 section. Is it correct?
3 A. It's correct.
4 Q. Then, if you scroll the document down, you will see the range of
5 information that your section was supposed to receive on a regular basis.
6 You see here weekly "Infsum, daily information summary, daily sitrep,
7 disposition on warring factions, current situation map, picinfsum,
8 picinfsum Sarajevo, daily intrep."
9 Further, you see that each information is processed and
10 distributed to subordinate units. Is that correct? Was this information
11 also distributed to the subordinate units?
12 A. Yes, Your Honour. These are documents that we received from the
13 area of operations, and we distributed them to our subordinate units.
14 Q. Now I would like you to turn to pages 64, 66, of this same
15 document, the same exhibit.
16 Here, you see the sources of information that were used by your
17 section for producing your reports. Among others, I mean various kinds of
18 reports of deep reconnaissance unit, you see radio programmes, local
19 press, humanitarian agencies, meetings with other platoons, exchange
20 information with British and Canadian battalions, interviews that you have
21 just mentioned, and information -- exchange information with ECMM, and
22 also meetings with other sections.
23 Are those actually the sources of your information?
24 A. Indeed. Those were the sources of information that we used.
25 Q. Including media -- media, local media, and radio programmes, and
1 so on?
2 A. Yes, sir. We had interpreters whose job it was to give us a daily
3 summary of the local media - written media, radio, and television, where
5 Q. And my next question: Did you receive information from the local
6 population by conducting -- just having contacts with them, talks?
7 A. Yes, sir. On several occasions I had the chance to meet with the
8 local population. Over and above this, it was a standard rule in the work
9 of the whole of the Spanish Battalion that every contact we had with the
10 local population had to be reflected in the report, which ended up in my
11 section, and the majority of these reports ended up being included in the
12 final report.
13 Q. I suggest that you had contacts both with the Croats and the
14 Muslims and the Serbs in that area of your responsibility. Is that
16 A. It's correct.
17 Q. You mentioned that all kind of information was reflected in the
18 reports. What kind of reports were produced by your section?
19 A. My section drafted mainly daily reports showing information. The
20 information included in these reports was all information relating --
21 excuse me, which we considered could have had an influence in our own
22 operations and in the distribution of humanitarian aid.
23 Q. And now a very important question about the grades of credibility
24 of your reports, because you were the only section which drafted reports
25 with certain grades of credibility. Just give the Trial Chamber a very
1 brief overview of the grades of credibility.
2 A. The standard procedure in the Spanish Army is to assign to every
3 item of information a letter and a number. The letter refers to the level
4 of credibility of the source of the information. It goes from A to F,
5 with the greater credibility at the top and the lower credibility at F.
6 The number is related to the reliability of the information, of the
7 information contained in that report. It goes from number 1, most
8 reliable, to 6, which is the least reliable.
9 When reports are written, while the report is being drafted, every
10 item of -- every element included in the report is categorised in this
11 way. When the report is completed, we look for the lowest qualification,
12 the lowest degree, and that is applied to the overall report as a whole.
13 That is why you can see reports which have a certain grade, but
14 within that grade there are certain elements which might have a higher
15 degree of reliability, but the overall grade given to the report is
16 usually -- sorry, is always that of the level assigned to the element with
17 the lowest grade within the report.
18 Q. Witness CB, I've seen a lot of reports produced by your section
19 and noticed that most of them were given a C2 grade of credibility. That
20 means "fairly reliable and probably true." Does it mean that, for
21 example, you did not include information which was under F, for example,
22 "reliability cannot be judged," or under 6, "truth cannot be judged"?
23 MR. MURPHY: Well, Your Honour, that's an extremely [previous
24 translation continues], and perhaps instead of the Prosecutor putting
25 words into the witness's mouth about whether C2 means "fairly reliable and
1 probably true," it might be better to have the witness's own explanation
2 of that coding.
3 MR. PORYVAEV: Maybe it's correct, but I think that such kind of
4 military menus are very well known to everybody in this courtroom and no
5 need to lose our time.
6 MR. STEWART: I'm afraid that's just not right, Your Honour. I'm
7 speaking as one person to whom these things are not familiar and I
8 associate myself with Mr. Murphy's intervention.
9 MR. PORYVAEV: Okay, but what is done can't be undone. The
10 question is answered.
11 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, the purpose of my objection was not
12 to --
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we lose time on
14 irrelevant objections, this subject has already been dwelled upon at
15 length. We have seen these letters and numbers many times, so maybe it
16 makes no sense for the Prosecution to raise that again.
17 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you. Thank you very much, Your Honour.
18 Q. Witness, just briefly, again, could you describe the steps of
19 drafting your daily intreps? As an example, let's take Exhibit 0213 --
20 sorry, 02143. This is intrep 1, 5, and 7, the 29th of April, 1993.
21 A. Yes. Yes. To draft this report, we received all the reports
22 produced by subordinate units, by patrols who, at the time, we had
23 deployed throughout the territory in the area under our responsibility,
24 and by individual activities that some member of the battalion had taken
25 part in. It might be a meeting, for example. And all of these reports
1 came to my section.
2 From all of these reports, we extracted the information that we
3 considered worthwhile for our commander, and using that, we drafted the
5 As we selected the information to be included in our report, we
6 graded it as we went. As I have explained, we used a letter and a
7 number. Once we finalised the report, it was re-read and we graded it at
8 the lowest possible ranking, and that final grade referred to the entirety
9 of the document.
10 As to the issue of whether there are reports with -- the fact that
11 we don't have any reports with a lower figure, I can say that if we felt
12 they were absolutely outrageous, we quite simply did not include them.
13 Q. My next question, Witness, is: You see an end time of 21.30.
14 What do you mean by the "end time"?
15 A. That is the time at which the report arrived, the last interim
16 report arrived, which was used in creating this final summary.
17 Q. In paragraph 2 -- or paragraph 1, sorry, with several
18 subparagraphs, you see, "Zone of Influence." Could you explain, what did
19 you mean by "Zone of Influence." We know zone of responsibility or area
20 of responsibility. Is there any difference?
21 A. Yes. Usually a zone of influence is broader than zone of
22 responsibilities. Zone of influence is an area in which there are events,
23 and these events might affect our force's activities or might lead to
24 other happenings within our area of responsibilities.
25 Q. Does it mean, for example, that you also, for example, mentioned
1 Maglaj, Prozor, Gornji Vakuf, which were not within the area of your
3 A. Yes, sir, because all of the events occurring outside of our area
4 of responsibility could, in some way or another, influence the development
5 of events in our area of responsibility.
6 Q. And also you have here "Comments." What is the status
7 of "Comments"? For example, here you have, at point such-and-such: "The
8 HVO prevented the Spanish from continuing its march in the direction of
9 Sovici." I'm not asking about the gist of this comment but the status of
10 the comment.
11 A. What are written as news are either facts that we have observed or
12 declarations by third parties. What is written as comments is our
13 valuation or the valuation given by our section to those facts. This is
14 to guide the chief concerning the significance of this information, what
15 this information might mean.
16 Q. Then your second step, you would send this report to Kiseljak
17 UNPROFOR headquarters; right?
18 A. Yes, sir.
19 Q. Did you ever receive any feedback from Kiseljak?
20 A. Yes, indeed. Every day -- every night we completed the report and
21 we sent it to the general barracks of UNPROFOR in Kiseljak, and the
22 following morning, we would receive from Kiseljak the report drafted by
23 them which covered all of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
24 Q. Let's, for example, take Exhibit 02269. This is a fax from
25 Kiseljak, dated the 10th of May, 1993. On page 1 -- have you found it?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. On page 1 you see that SpaBat is one of the recipients of this
3 document. Is that correct?
4 A. Indeed, that is correct. This is received from the UNPROFOR
5 general barracks, and we, the Spanish Battalion, were one of the
7 Q. Did you familiarise yourself with these kinds of documents?
8 A. During my time in Bosnia, this kind of document, I read it every
10 Q. Are you familiar with this particular document?
11 A. Yes, sir. This, in form, relates to a day in May, 1993.
12 Q. On page 2 of the document - again, I will not discuss the gist of
13 the report about Mostar; I will only ask you about the source of this
14 information - was this information provided to Kiseljak headquarters by
15 your section?
16 A. Indeed. All of this information was contained in the daily report
17 that we sent to Kiseljak the day before.
18 Q. Thank you very much. Now, very briefly, about the procedural
19 drafting of insums. What is the difference between intreps and insums?
20 As an example, let's take Exhibit 2185.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me, if I may I intervene for one second.
22 Your Honours, as you well know, we're trying to save time. We've
23 had a gentleman from SpaBat come over here and testify as to all these
24 procedures. I think one question could have been asked early on, such as,
25 "The procedure used in SpaBat, was that universal?" If the answer is
1 yes, then obviously we can move on; otherwise, we're just repeating. I'm
2 just trying to save some time, and I think that's the way the procedure
3 should be from now on.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you, Mr.
5 Karnavas, for this observation. It follows common sense.
6 Some of these questions have already been dealt with, so please
7 try to follow the comment of Mr. Karnavas and focus on the main things, on
8 the principal things, because everybody knows how things worked in
10 MR. PORYVAEV: Okay. Thank you very much. I will follow your
12 Q. The only question to this document: It was drafted in Madrid.
13 Did you receive these kinds of documents?
14 A. Yes, sir. As can be seen on the first page, the recipients of
15 these documents, the first one is Jacan, the first recipient, and this is
16 the head of the Canary Islands group, which was part of the UNPROFOR
17 Spanish Battalion.
18 Q. Thank you very much. Let's move on.
19 Witness, as it's known from your witness statement, at some point
20 you were moved to the Jablanica area. (redacted)
4 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you very much.
5 Q. It is also well known from your statement that at some point you
6 were wounded and then you took a leave. Did you continue receiving
7 information about your area of responsibility afterwards? And were you
8 updated on the events that happened in your absence?
9 A. Indeed. During the time that I was in Jablanica, my second took
10 on the responsibilities as deputy in the Medjugorje barracks, but
11 Jablanica, that detachment received all the information produced in the
12 Medjugorje headquarters. So I was perfectly updated about all the events
13 occurring in that area through the reports that I received from Kiseljak,
14 and I was informed, through the reports from my section and through
15 Kiseljak, of all of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 For about 30 days I was out of action, and during that time, 15 of
17 the days I spent in the Republic of Croatia. When I was there, I did
18 receive daily information concerning developments of events. And in the
19 second 15 days, I was in Spain. When I was in Spain, I no longer received
20 daily reports, but once I was reincorporated into my previous position, I
21 received the entire file for the section. All of the elements of that
22 section offered me a series of briefings and lectures to bring me up to
23 date on the situation.
24 Q. Thank you very much, Witness. Now let's move to your area of
1 MR. PORYVAEV: Your Honour, maybe I will not repeat each time
2 Exhibit 468 -- 98A, but I will say "final report."
3 Q. What was the importance of Jablanica in terms of its situation in
5 A. The city of Jablanica was a centre of communication, a very
6 important one. It is situated on the main road linking the coast to
7 Sarajevo and the central part of Bosnia. Furthermore, it was the
8 headquarters of a hydro-electric station, which had a lot of strategic
9 importance in the area. I could add that the interethnic situation in the
10 area was very complicated, with various different communities, where you
11 had one minority ethnicity faced with a different ethnic group.
12 So the situation was very complicated, and this caused us not only
13 problems but also a lot of work to be done.
14 Q. Please open your final report, on page 40. Have you found it?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Is the area of responsibility, I mean Jablanica, reflected
17 correctly in your report?
18 A. Yes. It accurately reflects the situation in that place at that
20 Q. Witness, is it correct that you just took over your functions on
21 the 20th of April, 1993? And as from that moment, you were acting in your
22 position; correct?
23 A. On the 20th of April, 1993, is when the transfer of authority
24 occurred. The Malaga and Canarias detachments changed over. They handed
25 over to the Spanish Battalion that I belonged to. This transfer of
1 authority meant that from that time onwards the Canarias detachment, which
2 was in charge of all of the missions, the documents, et cetera, but I have
3 to also say that --
4 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, there's a problem with the sound.
5 A. -- area of -- personnel from other sections started to contribute
6 to the drafting of these documents. And with this transfer of authority,
7 elements of the previous battalion remained in the section and they helped
8 us to understand the material that we received, the information that we
10 Q. What was the first information received by you?
11 A. When we appeared in the area of operations, the previous battalion
12 informed us via briefings of their missions and operations that they were
13 in charge of and that the Spanish Battalion was in charge of, and this
14 included -- this included our missions and the effects on the local
16 Q. What was happening in Jablanica at that time?
17 A. At that time in the area of Jablanica, our colleagues informed us
18 that they had reports of strong combatant activity from the HVO and the
19 armija from the -- receiving orders from Sarajevo and from Slatina. They
20 told us also that all of this information was provided by staff from
21 outside of the SpaBat because the conflicting parties did not let the
22 UNPROFOR troops and personnel enter into this area.
23 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to open Exhibit 2008.
24 This is intrep 148, the 21st of April, 1993.
25 Q. On page 3, according to -- I will help you find it. "According to
1 Muslim sources ..." Did you receive such kinds of information from the
2 Muslim side?
3 A. Yes. Yes. Our colleagues in the Jablanica detachment gave us
4 this information after having held meetings with various people in charge
5 of armija in that town.
6 Q. Now let's move to Exhibit 2012. This is intrep 149, dated the
7 21st of April; page 5 in the English version and page 4 in the Spanish
8 version, the part relevant to Jablanica.
9 A. Yes, Your Honour.
10 Q. You see, "According to intelligence received from HVO ..." and
11 further goes a description of the situation.
12 A. On the one hand we have the information regarding bombing. This
13 is information that the Spanish personnel reports as a result of direct
14 observation. And then in the paragraph that has other information, the
15 information that refers to detention by the police of 15 people is also a
16 direct observation. The remark you have there is our evaluation of this
17 information, what it might mean.
18 And then with the title which says "According to information
19 received from HVO sources ..." it refers to a meeting with several members
20 of this Croatian Defence Council, during which this information was handed
21 to us.
22 At the end, there is a remark which is the evaluation; in other
23 words, what we think all this information might mean.
24 Q. Witness, what were your personal observations at that time?
25 A. My personal observations? May I stress that this is a report
1 prepared on the 22nd of April, and at that date I was in the Medjugorje
3 As for the situation in Jablanica, most of the information was
4 obtained through direct observation and contacts, that the information
5 coming from HVO providers are contacts that existed already in the
6 previous grouping, which, during the previous six months, these contacts
7 had given information on a, more or less, regular basis, which was then
8 checked and so on. Therefore, the level of credibility of this
9 information was high.
10 Q. When did you first appear in the Jablanica area?
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, the question that the
12 Judges have to deal with and decide about Jablanica is to know who
13 launched the offensive. Was it the HVO or was it the BH army? On the
14 basis of your own observations and the documents you had in your hands,
15 who launched the offensive? That's a very clear question. Who?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. As far as I know,
17 when we arrived in that area, in April, 1993, the Croatian Defence Council
18 launched an offensive in that area, coming from the west towards the east,
19 towards Jablanica, and mainly in the valley where we have Doljani and
20 Sovici populations.
21 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may we respectfully suggest that
22 counsel's question was an absolutely suitable introduction to Your
23 Honour's question, that logically counsel's question, as just asked when
24 Your Honour put his question, was exactly the right question as a lead-in
25 to Your Honour's.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When a Judge asks a question,
2 there's no need for a previous introduction. So I'd like to make that
3 point clear.
4 Please proceed.
5 MR. PORYVAEV:
6 Q. So my question was: When did you first appear in Jablanica? And
7 what did you see in the area of Jablanica, in the villages in that
9 A. In Jablanica -- I went to Jablanica on various opportunities
10 before I was assigned to that area in full term. I can't remember exactly
11 what the date was, but I do remember that after an agreement that was
12 signed by Generals Halilovic and Petkovic, with our support, a series of
13 patrols were dispatched to conflict areas. I must repeat: I don't
14 remember the exact date, but I do remember having taken part in the patrol
15 that went to populations of Sovici and Doljani. And I went to visit the
16 school of Doljani where we found some 60 men, older men, who were under
17 the custody of the Croatian Defence Council.
18 During its activities, the patrol's activities, I was able to
19 observe that there was dead cattle. We didn't see any human remains. The
20 majority of the houses had been destroyed, some of them quite clearly as a
21 result of armed weapon attacks. Others were burnt down.
22 And along our route, our way, we had to cross various check-points
23 under the charge of the Croatian Defence Council. And I do remember,
24 having seen how General Halilovic addressed these older men, which were --
25 who were detained in the Sovici school, and I do recall we had to abandon
1 our visit in a rush, because in the Konjic area some problems had arisen
2 and we had to proceed in that direction.
3 Q. Witness, who else participated in that, let's say, visit to the
4 Sovici village, from the HVO side and ABiH side and from SpaBat side?
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please.
6 Mr. Petkovic.
7 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the
8 Prosecutor asked the witness a question as to when he came to Jablanica
9 first. The witness didn't give a date but started with his narrative.
10 I'd like to remind him that it was the 3rd of May. So his first arrival
11 in Jablanica was on the 3rd of May, 1993, because he never answered the
12 Prosecutor's question when he arrived. He explained what happened when he
13 had already arrived, but that was the date. So that's what I wanted to
15 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you very much, but I don't need your
16 assistance because I want to show the witness a document relevant to the
17 date of this visit and the meeting.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, Your Honour, the problem I'm having --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll give you the floor in just
20 a moment, but the question General Petkovic asked, I was going to ask
21 myself. I was wondering myself, because he said that he went to Jablanica
22 and I asked -- I wondered whether it was before or after the offensive. I
23 wondered that myself. And then when he went on to recount what he did, I
24 concluded that it was after a military phase, a military stage. What was
25 lacking was the date, and General Petkovic has just told us that the visit
1 took place exactly on the 3rd of May, 1993.
2 What did you want to ask, Mr. Karnavas?
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour, Mr. President. The direct
4 examination is rather difficult to follow. Why? Because we're not
5 getting a narrative. We spent a lot of time, almost a whole session, on
6 going over information that we already have, explaining what this term
7 means, what that term means, how a form is filled out.
8 What I think would be most appropriate, both for the Trial
9 Chamber's position and for us as well, is to get a narrative from the
10 gentleman. Who, what, where, when, why, how; for him to tell us his
11 story. Then you have something to work with; we have something to
12 cross-examine on. The documents can come in a lot easier that way. But
13 we need a narrative first. Otherwise, it becomes extremely difficult for
14 us to figure out what we need to confront.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think, Mr. Karnavas, that was exactly what we
16 were getting to when General Petkovic interrupted, and perhaps it would be
17 good if such interruptions would really be kept to an absolute minimum.
18 It is not possible in these proceedings, and it's not correct, that
19 whenever a witness says something which an accused thinks is not correct
20 that he immediately intervenes and tries to rectify it.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: And I totally agree with you, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Good.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: But the Prosecutor needs to control the direct.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That's okay.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: He's directing. What happened? When?
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm not contradicting you at all.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: And the witness was getting a little bit ahead of
3 himself, and good for him, but let's be directed.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Let's celebrate our accord without taking the
5 time of the Chamber.
6 MR. PORYVAEV:
7 Q. Witness, please open Exhibit 1 -- 2192.
8 A. Your Honour --
9 Q. Page 34 in Spanish --
10 A. Before that, I'd like to make some clarification. Before I was
11 sent to Jablanica in a continuous manner, for various reasons I was able
12 to visit Jablanica on various different occasions, but I did not stay
13 there continuously until later on.
14 In one of those opportunities, I was meeting in the Jablanica
15 detachment where General Petkovic and General Halilovic took part, which
16 we referred to before. But before that date, I had already been in that
18 Of course, when we came to the operation area, the Spanish
19 Battalion, and because of our responsibility in the section, we did some
20 reconnoitering of the whole area. That was in the first week when I took
21 up my functions. In that first week, I already went to Jablanica at least
23 What I was referring to was being in Jablanica in a permanent
24 position, and in that situation, I seem to remember that that was towards
25 the middle or end of June. But that does not mean that I hadn't been in
1 Jablanica before then.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So if I understood you correctly, the first time
3 you were in Jablanica was before the 27th of April.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's correct, Your Honour.
5 MR. PORYVAEV:
6 Q. Yes. Spanish, page 34; English, page 45. Exhibit 2192, dated the
7 3rd of May, 1993, intrep 162.
8 Were you present at that meeting and round of talks between
9 Mr. Halilovic, Pasalic, Petkovic, and Lasic?
10 A. Yes, Your Honour.
11 Q. Do you know if there was any agreement reached as a result of
12 those negotiations?
13 A. I remember quite clearly the agreement. Each of the parties was
14 interested in visiting certain areas where they had carried out military
15 actions. The armija VH [as interpeted] were interested in visiting
16 Doljani and Sovici, and the Croatian Defence Council was interested in
17 visiting the pockets north of Jablanica, between Jablanica and Konjic.
18 And I do recall that the Croatian Defence Council expressly wanted to see
19 the Konjic monastery, where there were Catholic religious officials who
20 were being detained.
21 Q. Witness, was there any decision with respect to the civilians
22 arrested in the school building? Do you know about that?
23 A. There was no decision taken at that time, but I do remember that
24 later I took part in an exchange of prisoners, or several. During these
25 exchanges, somebody gave me the information that part of the prisoners
1 that the Croatian Defence Council was freeing came from Doljani and
3 Q. Witness CB, my next question will be: At the beginning of the
4 examination, you said that at some point your functions, I mean your
5 SpaBat functions, were expanded. Do you remember when it happened, and
6 why, and to what extent your functions were extended?
7 MR. PORYVAEV: Your Honour, perhaps we should make a break because
8 three minutes are left, and the questions I said, the witness may have
9 some time to think them over.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's take a break,
11 but it will be half an hour. We'll reconvene at 4.15.
12 --- Recess taken at 3.43 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 4.16 p.m.
14 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. Witness CB, my question before the break was: What happened that,
16 at some point, the end of April, 1993, the functions of SpaBat UNPROFOR
17 were expanded?
18 A. As I said, the functions of SpaBat and UNPROFOR, but I'm talking
19 more specifically about the Spanish Battalion, were to guarantee
20 humanitarian aid flows. As the situation deteriorated, given the problems
21 between the Croatian ethnic group and the Bosnian Muslim community, in the
22 city of Mostar, there was a meeting. If my memory serves me correctly, it
23 was a General Pellnas who brought this about. He was the head of the
24 United Nations forces, and he managed to get an agreement for a cessation
25 of hostilities signed between the Croatian defence forces and the armija,
1 which is the forces of the Sarajevo government.
2 One of the terms of this agreement was the presence of UNPROFOR
3 troops within the city of Mostar, with the intention being that its mere
4 presence would calm the situation and encourage the conflicting parties to
5 be evermore reluctant to commit violent acts. This occurred towards the
6 end of April.
7 From that time onwards, apart from convoy escorts for humanitarian
8 aid and all of the tasks associated with these escort missions, the
9 Spanish patrols were in charge of patrolling the east and west sides of
11 Q. Thank you very much. Witness, did you participate in any meetings
12 that were celebrated in April, 1993, with respect to the situation in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in particular in Mostar?
14 A. As I mentioned before, the transfer of authority from the previous
15 Spanish Battalion to the one that I was operating in happened on the 20th
16 of April. I personally got involved on the 19th of April. I think I
17 remember correctly that there was this meeting under the auspices and the
18 chairmanship of the head of the UN observers, and I think this was
19 actually prior to my arrival. However, later, there were other meetings
20 where both parties took part, and I did take part in those meetings.
21 Q. And who participated in those meetings on behalf of HVO and on
22 behalf of ABiH and international community? And if you remember the
24 A. I seem to remember reading a report on this meeting, drafted by
25 General Pellnas, who chaired the meeting as a representative of the
1 international community of the United Nations, and by the defence --
2 Croatian Defence Council. I think it was Halilovic, accompanied by
3 General Lasic, who was the local officer in charge of Mostar. On the
4 Muslim side, I think it was Colonel or General Halilovic and Pasalic, who
5 was in charge of the area of Mostar for those forces.
6 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to be shown Exhibit --
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. According to the record, General
8 Halilovic figures twice; I think once in a Croatian hat and then in a
9 Muslim hat. Probably you wanted to say "Petkovic" when you said
10 "Halilovic" the first time; is that correct?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I'm sorry, sir. The first
12 time, on the Croatian Defence Council, it was Colonel Petkovic and Colonel
13 Lasic, and on the armija BiH, it was Colonel Halilovic and Colonel
14 Pasalic. Thank you.
15 MR. PORYVAEV:
16 Q. So I would like you to take a look at Exhibit 02054.
17 A. Yes. This was the report I was talking about, personally drafted
18 by Colonel Pellnas. As I, indeed, said, it was on the 28th of April,
19 which is the day before I arrived in Medjugorje.
20 Q. So is the date the 28th of April?
21 A. 18th, 1-8.
22 Q. And do you know about the decision made by General Pellnas as a
23 result of his numerous meetings with representatives of both parties?
24 A. Yes, indeed. A copy of the agreements, apart from the report
25 written by Pellnas, a copy of the report came to our Spanish Battalion,
1 and from there, that's where the order was given to deploy troops in
2 Mostar concretely.
3 Q. I would like you to take a look at the same exhibit, pages 6, 7.
4 On these pages you'll see information of some events which occurred in
5 Hotel Mostar, in Mostar city. What really happened there? Do you have
6 any knowledge about that?
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE PRANDLER: Excuse me. I'm sorry to interrupt you, but at
9 least when I look at this document, 2054, I do not see here numbers as far
10 as the pages are concerned. So I'm not quite sure -- now I may have
11 discovered something: Very, very small letters on the right-hand side,
12 but then I -- excuse me, then I find it. Thank you.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed.
14 A. In the Mostar hotel, there was a headquarters for the armija BiH.
15 In accordance with the agreement's terms, this had to be abandoned by
16 these armija BiH troops, but they said that they could not leave it
17 because of sniper-fire coming from the west side of the city.
18 So General Pellnas asked the Spanish Battalion for support so that
19 they could evacuate this building with a certain measure of safety.
20 Indeed, protected by the Spanish Battalion, they arrived at the building.
21 They brought out the equipment and material and evacuated them to East
22 Mostar. With this, the Croatian defence force agreed that this particular
23 part of the agreement had been fulfilled.
24 Q. Witness CB, when did you first appear in Mostar?
25 A. As I said before, in the first days upon our arrival in the area
1 of operations, we carried out reconnaissance activities in the area. I
2 cannot give you the exact date, but I know that it was in the first week
3 of my arrival. I did go through all of the area covered by the Spanish
4 Battalion, including all of the detachments, et cetera. And a major part
5 of that reconnaissance activity was in the city of Mostar.
6 Q. And what were your personal observations in Mostar at that period
7 of time?
8 A. My personal impressions were that I was in a city divided, in
9 fact, not only divided by the river, and that there was -- there were more
10 people of Croatian descent living on the west side than the other way
11 around, and there were Muslim people living on the east.
12 My personal observation and those of other members of the Spanish
13 Battalion, whose reports came to my knowledge, they saw enmity between the
14 Croatian ethnic group and the security forces and military forces against
15 the Muslim population. They put pressure on the Muslims in various ways,
16 which led us to believe that the intention on the part of the Croatian
17 forces was that the Muslims abandon the west part of the city.
18 Q. When you're talking about pressure in some ways by the Croats on
19 the Muslim population, could you expand a little bit more. What do you
20 mean by that? What kind of pressure?
21 A. To be able to give a concrete example, in the signed agreement,
22 there was mention of a free circulation of people, and we're talking about
23 civilian people between both parts of the city. A bus system was set up,
24 under the escort of the Spanish Battalion, to transport people from one
25 side of the city to the other. And I believe one day Croatian people
1 wanted to go to the east side of the city, and they could do so without
2 any major problems, and the military forces in the east side of the city,
3 armija BiH, didn't actually put up any opposition to this movement of
4 people. But, however, when Muslim individuals tried to cross to the west
5 side of the city, their way was blocked by the security forces of the HVO.
6 Q. Did you have talks with the local population at that period of
8 A. Indeed. I was in contact with the local community on one side and
9 on the other, and during these conversations I could observe that the
10 Muslim population living in the east side of the city were living in a
11 state of fear. They told me that there were cases of forced expulsions
12 and members of a family could be rounded up and forced to head to the east
13 side and live in -- and they had to leave all their belongings in their
14 houses. There was a whole series of circumstances such as, for example,
15 the owners of the shops and businesses in the west side of the city
16 refused to serve Muslim customers, et cetera.
17 Q. When talking about some agreement celebrated between the parties,
18 I would like you to take a look at Exhibit 02012. Intrep, the 21st of
19 April, 1993. Spanish, page 3; English, page 4-5.
20 A. Indeed.
21 Q. But was this agreement fulfilled in full? I mean, in part, at
22 least, "all civilians bearing arms shall surrender them, all matters
23 should be completed by the 23rd of April," so on and so forth, about
24 barricades and so on.
25 A. No, indeed, this agreement wasn't fulfilled in its entirety.
1 Q. But were there any attempts from both sides, goodwill, just to
2 implement that agreement?
3 A. I would like to make it clear that I think those that signed the
4 agreement did have the will to implement it, but once they were signed at
5 the general level, at the level of the generals, it's not necessary -- you
6 don't necessarily get the same will at the medium level of command in the
8 If you look at the comments, you will see that it says that the
9 tension could lead to an outbreak of violence between these two factions
10 or in the area between the armija and the defensive forces of Croatia, the
11 Croatian forces in Mostar.
12 It seemed that on the part of the Croatian defence forces, there
13 was a real will to reach agreements. The posture, the stance, of the
14 representative of Mostar in the Croatian defence forces was more militant
15 and did not -- and did not seem so intent on having this implemented.
16 Q. Witness, I'm sorry, but a little bit -- maybe there is some
17 confusion or an error in the transcript. You say that "... on the part of
18 the Croatian defence forces, there was a real will to reach agreements.
19 The posture, the stance, of the representative of Mostar in the Croatian
20 defence forces was more militant ..." There is something inconsistent.
21 Maybe you will rephrase your response to make it easier to understand.
22 A. Indeed.
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you allow me, I
24 would like to say one thing.
25 In the first part of the witness's answer, it is clearly stated
1 that at the level of generals there was goodwill to reach agreements, but
2 the problem occurred on the medium level of command. And precisely --
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have now understood.
4 Very well. Can you confirm the following: At the high level of
5 command of the HVO, you felt that they wanted an agreement; however, at
6 the level of local commands, they were not on the same wavelength.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We are talking about the months of
8 April and May in 1993, and the impression that we had is that the chains
9 of command were exerting their power but tended to diminish as you went
10 down the chain of command.
11 My personal experience I can share with you, and that is that the
12 meetings in which I took part, where there was Colonel Petkovic,
13 personally, I saw a will to reach an agreement and have them implemented.
14 I cannot say the same for other meetings in which the HVO representatives
15 were present, and they were of a lower rank than Colonel Petkovic.
16 MR. PORYVAEV:
17 Q. For example --
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I just add a question. You have now referred
19 to the Croat side. Does the same apply, in your experience, your opinion,
20 to the ABiH side? Was there the same thinning of authority: Goodwill at
21 the top, less goodwill farther below?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Indeed.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
24 MR. PORYVAEV: Sorry.
25 Q. You just mentioned other people from the Croatian side, the lower
1 level, were against such kinds of agreements and implementation. For
3 A. I repeat that my personal observations and the impression that I
4 had from this meeting, for example, that General Lasic from the Croatian
5 defence forces, operating in Mostar, was less inclined to sign an
6 agreement and even implement them.
7 Q. So, Witness, finally, the decision to expand your functions was
8 made. Do you mean some order issued on that issue? By whom that order
9 was issued?
10 A. Well, via the signed agreement between these two parties and
11 chaired by Colonel Pellnas, the UNPROFOR headquarters issued an order
12 signed by --
13 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, the interpreter does not have the
15 A. And having received no news of the intentions to full out -- to
16 fulfil these orders, the Spanish Battalion got in touch with those in
17 charge of the Spanish mission, and having received the order and the
18 authorisation from the Spanish forces, the order was implemented under the
19 orders of UNPROFOR.
20 THE INTERPRETER: It was General Morillon before.
21 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you very much. I would like the witness to
22 be shown Exhibit 02011.
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. Yes, perfectly. This is the message coming from the UNPROFOR
25 headquarters in which the Spanish Battalion is informed of the new concept
1 of operations and in which we are ordered to deploy patrols both in Mostar
2 and in the Jablanica/Konjic area.
3 Q. How many patrols did you deploy in Mostar?
4 A. In principle, there was one patrol in the west side and one in the
5 east side of the river, east and west of the river.
6 Q. Did you receive reports from them on a regular basis?
7 A. Of course. The patrols drafted reports. Once there was a change
8 in patrol, the incoming, the returning, patrol would draft a report which
9 described occasionally all of the incidents that had taken place, which
10 might be contact with the local community, with the conflicting parties,
11 their observations, et cetera, et cetera. All of this data would be
12 drafted into a report which came to the section where I was working, and
13 one of the sources that we used for drafting our daily report was this
14 report from the patrol.
15 Q. Witness, so it's a fact well known that the international
16 community failed to prevent the armed conflict in Mostar which broke out
17 on the 9th of May, 1993. What was the first information you got about the
18 start of the conflict on the 9th of May?
19 A. The 9th of May, yes, indeed. This is when the conflict broke out
20 between the two parties openly. The initial reports that we received came
21 from the patrols in the city of Mostar which immediately reported via
22 radio a bombardment, a very heavy bombardment, over the east side of the
23 city. Later, the patrols' reports informed us of how events had developed
24 throughout the city. If I remember correctly, this was in the 9th of --
25 the 9th -- the night of the 9th of May or the very early morning of the
1 10th of May. I can't remember well.
2 Q. And what was happening with the population of Mostar during these
4 A. The civilian population of Mostar, mainly in the area close to the
5 boulevard and towards the east, which were the most heavily affected
6 areas, the local civilian population took cover as best they could, but
7 there were a lot of casualties among the civilians. They suffered as a
8 result of this conflict.
9 The connection between East Mostar and the north of Bosnia, going
10 towards Jablanica, was cut, and they started to have difficulties in the
11 east part of the city, difficulties getting supplies, basic necessities.
12 At one point the supply of running water was cut off in the east side and
13 so the civilian population had to go and get water from the Neretva River.
14 Q. Witness, let's stop at that. Let's still go back to the 9th of
16 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like witness to take a look at Exhibit
17 2241. This is intrep 167, the 9th of May, 1993. English, page 4;
18 Spanish, page 1.
19 Q. Have you found it? There is a comment to this document, to this
20 passage of the document. "The HVO seems determined to take absolute
21 control of the whole city. It seems unlikely that fighting will stop
22 until it has achieved its objectives."
23 What allowed your section to make such kinds of conclusions?
24 A. Depending on how the fighting developed in Mostar, we had
25 different declarations via personal contacts mainly with members of the
1 Croatian defence forces. Personally, I remember hearing a prominent
2 member of these defence forces saying that the Muslims already had
3 Sarajevo and that Mostar should be Croatian.
4 Given this data, we concluded that there was an insistent interest
5 among the Croatian Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina to make Mostar its
6 capital, its symbolic capital, which entailed, or at least some people
7 felt, that it was necessary to expel anyone belonging to a different
8 ethnic group.
9 Q. Did you observe any facts of expulsion of the Muslim population?
10 A. Personally, I don't remember seeing that personally. I do
11 remember reading reports which stated that this was going on. I remember
12 seeing in even television video images of these expulsions, and you could
13 see civilians grouped together and held by Croatian defence forces in a
14 football stadium. And I received reports, checked by myself, referring to
15 the fact that at given points in time, the police of the Croatian defence
16 forces were painting the houses that had housed Muslim families in the
17 west part of the city, and that these civilians had been expelled from
18 these houses.
19 Q. Did SpaBat have an opportunity of observing all these actions from
20 the centre of Moscow -- sorry, Mostar?
21 A. Yes. The patrols which were in the city at the time when this
22 strong fighting broke out and when the heavy bombardment began - and on
23 the east side there were replications and there was an overall exchange of
24 fire - our patrols withdrew from the danger zone and took up positions for
25 observation from which they could observe the events happening in the
2 I believe that I recall that the patrol in the west side of the
3 city withdrew to a place around about the hospital, the Croatian
4 hospital. From the parking of that hospital, there was an observation
5 vision; there was a good vantage point to see most of the city. And from
6 there we could observe the bombardments as well as the way that the
7 Croatian defence forces herded people towards the football field near the
9 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to take a look at Exhibit
10 2286. This is intsum 29; page 5 on both versions.
11 Q. I mean the passage beginning with the words, "On the 9th" -- "On
12 the day of 9th of May, at 5.00 ..." Have you found it?
13 A. Yes, I've found it.
14 Q. Is the situation in this intsum described correctly, accurately?
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Before the gentleman answers the question, I'm not
16 sure that I understood whether the gentleman was in Mostar at the time.
17 Now he's being asked to verify what's in a report of which he wasn't an
18 observer of. I think that, you know, it's one thing for him to describe
19 what he was told, what was put in the report, but now he's being asked to
20 vouch for the contents in the report, and I think there is a distinction.
21 MR. PORYVAEV: Your Honour, I disagree with Mr. Karnavas, because
22 before this, just some minutes ago, the witness just told the Trial
23 Chamber that he was receiving reports.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll try and shed some light on
25 the matter, in order to save time.
1 Sir, on the 9th of May, 1993, where were you?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was in the headquarters of the
3 Spanish Battalion in Medjugorje.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Right. At the headquarters of
5 Spanish Battalion in Medjugorje, did you have constant contacts with units
6 of the BritBat in Mostar?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's true.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Right. Now, how did you
9 establish that contact, by radio or how else?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] By radio, Your Honour. Apart from
11 the patrols that when they returned, they gave reports immediately. So we
12 had occasional information by radio and we had more detailed information
13 in written reports.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And on the basis of what you've
15 just told us, the Judges of this Trial Chamber, can they draw the
16 conclusion that at the headquarters of the Spanish Battalion, they were
17 specifically informed about the developments on the ground, whether they
18 be combats or general events on the ground? Would that be right?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Spanish Battalion -- sorry, the
20 headquarters of the Spanish Battalion were perfectly and occasionally
22 MR. PORYVAEV:
23 Q. Please answer my question as for Exhibit 2286, because the
24 question was put and I need a response. Was the situation described
25 correctly in that document?
1 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me, Your Honour. It's the same objection.
2 It's hearsay information.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, if I asked the
4 question, it was for the witness to confirm that he was kept abreast.
5 Now, according to our ruling, you save your objections to the
6 cross-examination. So we're not going to interrupt the Prosecution's
8 I came to your help because I asked the witness whether he was
9 kept abreast, and he has just explained to us that he was kept abreast
10 perfectly. So if you want to go into the matter further, you can do so
11 during your cross-examination time. But allow the Prosecution to conduct
12 its examination-in-chief as they see fit, and then, in the light of what
13 has been said, we will be able to --
14 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm not trying to interrupt their
15 cross-examination. I'm entitled to make a record, and the record is: Now
16 we're asking the witness to vouch for the truthfulness. It's one thing
17 for the gentleman to say, "I received hearsay information." Hearsay
18 information can't come in. I don't have objection to that. But now to
19 vouch for the hearsay information and to say that the hearsay information
20 was true, accurate, and complete, that's where I draw the line, because
21 now we're going into the weight. That's the point that I wish to make.
22 So I have no problems with him saying, "This is what's in the
23 report. This is what I was told." But to vouch for the veracity of
24 what's in there, I believe that's one step too many.
25 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I add as I --
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Mr. Stewart.
2 I'll respond to what's just been said.
3 We're talking about hearsay. The witness has just said that he
4 had permanent connection with people from the Spanish Battalion in Mostar,
5 and that that information was in realtime. So where is hearsay
6 information there?
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Hearsay information, Your Honour, is an
8 out-of-court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted
9 therein. He did not observe it. He's being told. I'm not saying what
10 he's been told is untruthfulness, but I think it goes to the weight. It
11 is hearsay. It's not direct knowledge. He didn't observe it. Had the
12 gentleman observed it, I wouldn't be up here, because then it would be his
13 words and he could be saying, "Yes, this is what I saw, and this is
14 accurately reflected in the report." He's being told, and I think there
15 is a distinction. That's all. I'm not trying to interrupt.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stewart.
17 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour. Well, I feel some slight guilt
18 here because I certainly signalled to Mr. Karnavas that I supported his
19 objection and encouraged him. So, Your Honour, I would just like to put
20 on record that Mr. Petkovic's counsel do associate themselves 100 per
21 cent. There is difference -- with what Mr. Karnavas says. There is a
22 difference between a witness having told the Court that the reports were
23 reliable generally in his experience, which is entirely legitimate because
24 he was there. Once he's told the Court that the reports were reliable,
25 then the Court can look at the reports. But the witness, as Mr. Karnavas
1 says, is not in a position then to say, "Yes, I personally can verify
2 them." He's told the Court enough.
3 Moreover, Your Honour invited the witness to say whether the Trial
4 Chamber could conclude something. Your Honours, that's a decision for
5 Your Honours; it's not for the witness. The witness tells the Trial
6 Chamber the facts. Whether the Trial Chamber can properly reach the
7 conclusion is ultimately for Your Honours, when Your Honours write your
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: This dispute is quite interesting and very, very
10 theoretical. I do not think that it is, in any way, practically,
11 practically, in the effect, at the end of the day, of any use to the
12 Defence. And I think it's an exercise in style. I can understand that
13 counsel engage in this, because that's the way they are trained and that's
14 the rules they are trained in. But it's not universally recognised
15 rules. It's small nuances. And we're really losing time on this. I'm
17 MR. PORYVAEV: Just a small remark. The document I was referring
18 to is an intsum. I made a difference between intrep and intsum. That was
19 the reason for my question, whether the information was reflected
20 correctly, as came from Madrid, from the higher level. That was the
21 reason for that question.
22 Q. Now, Witness, just take a look at your --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The witness wishes to reply.
24 Witness, you wanted to say something?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This report is drafted in the
1 headquarters of the higher unit of the Spanish Battalion, in the chain of
2 command of the Spanish forces, and it's drafted in Madrid. What I can
3 verify is that the information referred to on the 9th of May, 1993, is an
4 accurate reflection of the information provided by my section concerning
5 the events in Mostar on that day.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Please proceed.
7 MR. PORYVAEV:
8 Q. I would like you to take a look at your final report, page 34.
9 Final report, page 34, from the words "The day at 5.00 ..." But what I'm
10 interested in, actually, is the passage: "When the fighting started, the
11 SpaBat company, which was in the area, withdrew to safe zones in the
12 vicinity of the Croatian hospital. However, at 12.00, at the request of
13 the HVO, they were compelled to leave the city."
14 Were you really compelled by the HVO to leave the city?
15 A. Indeed. As I have already stated, when the bombardment started in
16 the east of Mostar and when there was the exchange of fire, the
17 western-based patrol withdrew to observation points from which they could
18 continue observing events in the city. The zone selected was the parking
19 lot of the Mostar hospital.
20 At 12.00, by radio, the headquarters of the Spanish Battalion
21 learned that the Croatian defence forces patrol had approached the patrol
22 of the Spanish Battalion, and requested or ordered that they leave the
23 area, because if they did not abandon the area, they could get hurt in the
24 exchange of fire.
25 The patrol chief at that time interpreted this order as a threat.
1 He reported that to the headquarters of the Spanish Battalion, and there,
2 the decision was taken for the patrol to leave that position.
3 Q. Now take a look at page 35 of the same report.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please. A
5 follow-up to what you've just said, Witness. You said that parts of the
6 Spanish Battalion thought that this was a threat. Now, there are two ways
7 of reading this. Either they wanted to protect them and say, "Don't stay
8 there because otherwise you might be hit by a shell," or they said, "If
9 you stay there, we're going to shoot at you." So what is the exact sense,
10 the exact meaning, of what was said, what the HVO unit said?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that particular time, the person
12 that spoke with the Croatian defence forces and asked the Spanish patrol
13 to leave is a Spanish officer, and we understand this as being credible.
14 He interpreted what was said by what has been cited textually, as well as
15 via the attitude shown by the Croatian defence force representatives as a
16 threat, and that's how it was communicated back to us. The head of the
17 Spanish Battalion, given this information, decided to have the troops, the
18 patrol, withdraw.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as the command of the
20 Spanish Battalion was concerned, the fact of withdrawing, what would that
21 mean? Was it so the observers weren't present? This patrol next to the
22 hospital, what was the reason for their withdrawal? Was it military
23 interest, political interest, or some other interest? So what was the
24 interest in having the international observers withdraw?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The conclusion that we reached was
1 that there was some interest on the part of the Croatian defence forces in
2 not having any international observers witnessing what was going on.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're telling us what
4 happened. Now, to the best of your knowledge, in the town of Mostar --
5 you were in Medjugorje, but, as you've already said, you had contacts with
6 your comrades there. So, in Mostar, were there any internationals?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand that, yes, there were
8 information media there. I'm not entirely sure, but I understood that the
9 presence of the Spanish Battalion there was uncomfortable for the Croatian
10 defence forces.
11 MR. PORYVAEV:
12 Q. Yes. Now we'll turn to page 35 of the same report; I mean the
13 passage that starts with the words: "In consequence of the agreement
14 signed by Halilovic and Petkovic ..."
15 A. [In English] Halilovic, mm-hmm.
16 Q. Yes.
17 A. [Interpretation] Indeed.
18 Q. When did you return to Mostar?
19 A. On the 14th of May, the patrols in Mostar were reunited, and, as
20 the report states, there were observations that there was an increasing
21 frequency of firing upon our patrols. Mainly we were able to detect the
22 origin of this fire on our troops. The fire was coming from the western
23 part of the city, which was the part controlled by the Croatian defence
24 forces. Although I would like to reiterate that I did say "mainly."
25 There were occasions when sometimes the fair came from the armija side,
1 but to a much lesser extent.
2 Q. In this report you also mentioned, on the previous page,
3 that: "The HVO controls keep the city under total siege." Please, could
4 you explain your conclusion of the total siege. What did you mean by
5 "total siege"?
6 A. Indeed, in all of the roads leading to Mostar, there were
7 check-points staffed by forces from whichever conflicting party dominated
8 that area. This was a practical -- this was a practice that was quite
9 common throughout Bosnia.
10 From 5.00 in the morning, on the 9th of May, these check-points,
11 manned by the Croatian defence forces, prevented any UNPROFOR vehicles
12 from entering the city. Acting in this way, from our point of view, this
13 led to an isolation of the city, and they prevented our access to the
15 Q. Witness, in a -- sorry.
16 JUDGE PRANDLER: I would like to ask a question.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone.
18 JUDGE PRANDLER: Mr. Poryvaev, I would like to ask a question of
19 the witness, also concerning page 35, the first paragraph.
20 At the very end of that paragraph, there is a sentence which says,
21 and I quote: "To face up to the HVO offensive, the BiH needs to transfer
22 to the city all the units it was using to cover the front with the Serbs
23 so that that territory remains completely unoccupied."
24 Most probably it is due to a translation from Spanish to English,
25 but for me, the very word "unoccupied" would mean "undefended." So most
1 probably the issue was that the territory of -- that territory of
2 Herzegovina which was beyond Mostar, as far as the front line between the
3 BiH, HVO, and the Serb forces, Republika Srpska, that it was not, in a
4 way, unoccupied but undefended. I wonder if the witness would confirm
5 this understanding. Thank you.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is a military
7 document and sometimes we use military language. When we
8 say "unoccupied," it means it has no military defence capacity. It
9 doesn't mean that it cannot be observed, for example. Quite simply, we
10 noted the fact -- in fact, we received the information that the units of
11 the ABiH, which were staffing these areas, were imprisoned in Mostar next
12 to the boulevard, and they were in opposition to the Croatian defence
13 forces there. Obviously, they left elements there, but they didn't leave
14 any military defence capacity behind them.
15 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you.
16 MR. PORYVAEV: May I continue?
17 Q. Yes. Witness CB, my next question is about the bridges in
18 Mostar. What happened to bridges during this attack in Mostar as from the
19 9th of May?
20 A. From the 9th of May, we observed that there was concentrated fire
21 on certain bridges, which were the bridges used to go from one side of the
22 city to the other, since the city was divided by the river. Via reports
23 and conversations with the Croatian defence forces for the development of
24 the operations from a military point of view, we arrived at the conclusion
25 that the Croatian defence forces were attempting to isolate the Muslim
1 part of the city, which was basically on the right riverbank, the east
2 bank of the Neretva River. I'm talking about the Donja Mahala
3 neighbourhood and its surrounding areas, which were controlled by the
4 ABiH. But --
5 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry. The interpreter corrects: This was
6 on the west side of the river.
7 A. We saw more intense fire on the Tito Bridge and on the bridge
8 known as -- I beg your forgiveness, Your Honour. It was known as the old
9 bridge, but in fact there's a date upon which the bridge could no longer
10 be used for the passage of vehicles. People on foot could pass only.
11 As far as the bridges are concerned, I can't actually give any
12 more information than that.
13 Q. I would like you to turn to your report, page 34. Final report.
14 A. Yes. It's the Bijela bridge. The Bijela bridge is north of
15 Mostar, on the main highway that joins Mostar with Jablanica. So on the
16 13th of May, this bridge was bombed and destroyed.
17 Q. By whom?
18 A. By units of the Croatian defence forces. The intention being of
19 blocking communication via highway between the eastern part of Mostar and
20 the central Jacan part; the Jablanica area, in other words.
21 Q. Thank you. Witness, I would like to pass on to another topic that
22 is relevant to the arrest of Muslims. And I would like just not to split
23 in two the periods of time as May, July. Just for the sake of saving
24 time, the whole period of your mission in the area of responsibility, did
25 you observe facts of arrests of Muslims, Muslim population?
1 A. That's right. Apart from the visit to Sovici and Doljani that we
2 mentioned before, in Mostar, from the 9th specifically, we observed
3 civilians being gathered in the football field and later on taken by bus
4 to the area known as Heliodrom.
5 I personally did not go to the Heliodrom, but I informed that
6 staff from my section did visit the Heliodrom - and there are reports
7 regarding this - and so did other international organisations, other
8 members from UNPROFOR, such as UN military units and Red Cross, et cetera.
9 Q. Did you have knowledge about the arrests of Muslims further, I
10 mean after May?
11 A. In Mostar, in the Mostar area, from the 9th of May, an operation
12 began by the security forces of the Croatian defence forces. This
13 operation ended up in detention of all the Muslims who were living in the
14 eastern part of Mostar.
15 Aside from that, I don't really know the exact date, but as a
16 result of the counter-attack launched by the armija BiH, an operation
17 which led to occupying the northern headquarters and the southern part of
18 Mostar, the south-east of Mostar more specifically, a series of events
19 took place and Muslims were, once again, detained en masse from villages
20 between Capljina and Stolac.
21 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like witness to turn to Exhibit 3271, page
22 5. 3271. 3271.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is a report drafted by the
24 UNPROFOR headquarters.
25 MR. PORYVAEV:
1 Q. Who provided information to UNPROFOR headquarters?
2 A. All the information regarding the Spanish Battalion sector results
3 from the report drafted by my section on that day.
4 Q. Thank you very much. Witness, my next question, that's about the
5 Heliodrom. So did you have free access to Heliodrom?
6 A. During the entire time of the operation, and mainly from the 9th
7 of May onward, freedom of movement, our freedom of movement, was very
8 restricted. We could only go to places where we were allowed to go. We
9 couldn't force entry anywhere.
10 One of the areas or places which were beyond our reach was or were
11 the installations of the Heliodrom. It was only when it was possible to
12 reach agreement at a relatively high level - what I'm talking about is
13 either intervention from the Chief of Staff of the Croatian defence forces
14 or General Lasic in charge of the area - only if that was agreed we could
15 go jointly with the international organisations, such as the Red Cross, if
16 I'm not mistaken. However, we couldn't just go whenever we wanted and so
17 on. It always depended on a pre-agreement, and we were always accompanied
18 by members of the Croatian defence forces.
19 Q. So, Witness, did you get your first information about the
20 prisoners at Heliodrom from other organisations? Correct?
21 A. Yes. I seem to remember that the first information we received on
22 what was inside the Heliodrom came from the United Nations Military
23 Observers. And I would say that -- I refer to within the Heliodrom,
24 because what our patrols were able to observe was that the personnel
25 gathered in the football field would be transported by bus, with a
1 military escort, towards the Heliodrom.
2 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to look at Exhibit 2414.
3 That's SpaBat intrep 173, dated the 15th of May. English, page 5;
4 Spanish, page 3.
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. It's a report prepared by my section which is based on the report
7 prepared by the military observers of the United Nations.
8 Q. So this intrep describes what was happening inside the Heliodrom
9 facilities; correct?
10 A. That's right. This is the information that was given to us by the
11 UN military observers after they visited these installations.
12 Q. Next exhibit, 2446. English, page 5; Spanish, page 3.
13 A. Yes, the information resulting from that visit, which I personally
14 was not involved in but some representative of my section did take part.
15 I can't remember exactly who it was at this stage.
16 Q. Did you have knowledge about some other detention facilities on
17 the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina run by the HVO?
18 A. From the Croatian defence forces side, we got information from
19 other detention centres, such as Gabela, and I, myself, visited Dretelj.
20 When I went to Dretelj, it was a military barracks outside
21 Capljina, and I went to interview the military staff of the unit which was
22 assigned to those installations. So going to the offices of the
23 commander-in-chief of this military unit, I observed staff carrying out
24 cleaning activities, and that person was escorted by armed military
25 staff. So when I asked who this staff was, they quite naturally told us
1 that they were war prisoners interned in this camp, and they were used to
2 carry out maintenance tasks in these installations. We were not allowed,
3 although we asked for that, to visit the installations where these people
4 were lodged.
5 Q. Witness, did you have an opportunity of visiting the west part of
6 Mostar, just in the period from May through, let's say, September of 1993?
7 A. Yes. As we said, from the end of April onwards, quite a number of
8 meetings took place, and agreements come to with the intention of putting
9 them into effect. On several occasions I was able to go to Mostar, the
10 eastern part as well as the western part, to interview those in charge of
11 the Croatian defence forces as well as the armija BiH.
12 Q. You just claimed here in the courtroom that East Mostar was
13 isolated at some point. When did you get a first chance of visiting East
15 A. I'd like to repeat that we're talking of military reports. So
16 when it is said that one area is isolated, it means militarily isolated.
17 We were able to have access to eastern Mostar with the authorisation of
18 the Croatian defence forces. So either we crossed the so-called Tito
19 Bridge, or one could enter eastern Mostar from the highway coming from the
20 south, southern part of the city, from where the airport is. In either
21 case, it was necessary to have the authorisation of the Croatian defence
22 forces. Otherwise, it was impossible, because check-points just stopped
23 anybody from coming in.
24 In spite of having had the authorisation from the Croatian defence
25 forces, there were occasions where the staff in charge of one or another
1 check-point would block our way, would not let us have access, even if we
2 showed them the authorisation obtained, signed personally by General
3 Petkovic. But there were situations where the staff in charge of the
4 check-points took no notice of these authorisations.
5 I would like to repeat that, in spite of all that, I visited both
6 eastern and western Mostar on several occasions. Thank you.
7 Q. And what was your observations about the humanitarian situation in
8 East Mostar?
9 A. In eastern Mostar, the situation reached a critical level. There
10 was no food, but not to an extreme level. We were much more concerned by
11 the fact that there was no drinking water, because the population was
12 going straight to the Neretva River to get water, with the resulting
13 complications that might arise from that.
14 The health of the population, the condition in which all the
15 sanitary installations were in eastern Mostar, that was really very
16 serious. One hospital was over-full and had to resort to very few
17 medicines answer material necessary for doctors to carry out their work.
18 Q. But did the military convoys have free access to East Mostar? I'm
19 sorry, humanitarian convoys, not military convoys. Humanitarian convoys.
20 A. No, they did not have free access. Every time a humanitarian
21 convoy wanted to go to eastern Mostar, that had to be negotiated
22 beforehand with representatives of the Croatian defence forces and reach
23 some sort of agreement with them. And these negotiations to gain access
24 could take days, weeks even. And when an agreement was reached, the
25 Croatian defence forces demanded distribution amongst Croatian refugees in
1 Mostar and Ljubuski, for example. They came from Central Bosnia mainly.
2 And even so, there were occasions, after having obtained an agreement and
3 all the authorisations required, we reached one check-point, so what
4 happened then was that the humanitarian convoy and the escorting Spanish
5 Battalion forces were forced to turn back.
6 Q. When that agreement was reached?
7 A. Every humanitarian aid convoy was subject to a special agreement
8 for its entry into Mostar. So every time that we were informed of a
9 humanitarian convoy ready to enter Mostar, we had to contact the Croatian
10 defence forces and enter into negotiation with them. These negotiations
11 sometimes could take days. Usually, there were present in these
12 negotiations some ACNUR representative there.
13 MR. PORYVAEV: It seems to me we can take a break now, before I
14 pass to the second -- to the next topic.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will then take a
17 Registrar, will you please tell me how much time the Prosecutor
18 has used up so far, but I believe he has another hour left available to
20 You have already used 127 minutes -- 125 minutes. Anyway, we are
21 now going for a 20-minute break.
22 --- Recess taken at 5.38 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 5.59 p.m.
24 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Witness, in several reports you refer to the facts of sniping the
1 international vehicles and some violent actions with respect to soldiers
2 and members of several humanitarian organisations. What were your
3 knowledge -- what was your knowledge about those facts?
4 A. Mainly, as of the second entry of the patrols in Mostar, and here
5 I'm talking about the 14th of May, 1993, it could be observed that our
6 patrols were fired upon with increasing frequency. The reports of the
7 patrols reflect these facts and, furthermore, this can be observed in the
8 damage incurred by our vehicles.
9 Similarly, we received reports from other members of the
10 international community, for example, military observers of the UN, of
11 these facts to such an extent that these observers actually had to leave
12 the city of Mostar because they did not have the means of protection for
13 their staff necessary.
14 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to turn to Exhibit 2423.
15 That's SpaBat intrep 175, 17th of May, 1993. English, page -- pages 5-6;
16 Spanish, page 2.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I understand that you're
18 referring to the final paragraph in which there is an item of information
19 concerning convoy drivers of trucks which were part of the humanitarian
20 aid convoy.
21 MR. PORYVAEV:
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. It was common practice to subject these humanitarian aid convoys
24 to searches on many occasions, and this was carried out by those staffing
25 the check-points. Very often, these staff demanded either a payment in
1 cash or a certain proportion of the cargo in order to let the vehicle
2 through. This happened despite the fact that the convoys did have the
3 corresponding authority for free passage.
4 Furthermore, these drivers, if they tried to defend the cargo that
5 they were transporting, there were occasions where they were physically --
6 they were victims of physical aggression. And all of these reports did
7 come back to us.
8 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like witness to turn to Exhibit 2844.
9 English, pages 2-3; Spanish, also pages 2-3.
10 Q. That's about UNMO vehicles.
11 A. Yes, indeed, I do personally recall receiving military observers
12 in this vehicle, and verified the damage that the vehicle had received.
13 Q. And there is a conclusion in paragraph two: "The gunfire came
14 from the west zone and actually hit one of the vehicles." Is that
15 correct? And who investigated this fact?
16 A. Members of the Spanish Battalion, given the impact on the vehicles
17 and the position of the vehicle at the time when it received this damage,
18 the members of the Spanish Battalion, with technical knowledge in terms of
19 being able to identify the source of fire, did actually arrive at the
20 conclusion that they came from positions occupied by Croatian defence
22 Q. Now I'd like you to turn to your final report, page 36. Just from
23 the words, "In the city, incident follows incident ..."
24 A. Yes. A humanitarian aid convoy which had had its cargo destroyed
25 in both parts, after it had unloaded its cargo in the west part, the
1 drivers were held. The Spanish Battalion intervened, and they
2 communicated with our interlocutors in the Croatian defence forces and
3 managed to get our drivers released.
4 Q. Thank you very much. Witness, what were your personal
5 observations of the shelling of East Mostar?
6 A. I repeat that, from a military point of view, and depending on how
7 the situation was developing, it seemed clear to us that the intention of
8 the operations of the Croatian defence forces had as its objective that
9 the civilian population leave East Mostar. The logic behind this was
10 confirmed to us by members of the Croatian defence forces themselves, who
11 argued that once the civilian population left East Mostar, the forces of
12 the armija would no longer have a reason to be there and the Croatian
13 defence forces would have had a successful operation.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, sir, could you be a bit more precise --
15 [Spanish on English channel]. Could you tell us who it was and --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This particular phrase, that once
17 the civilian population had left East Mostar, the defenders of the ABiH
18 would no longer have any reason to be there, was by Slobodan Bozic.
19 Sometimes he was called the Minister of Defence within the Croatian
20 defence forces; at other times he was introduced as an official liaison
21 person. He was our point of contact, our main point of contact.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And you heard him, with your own
23 ears, say that?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
25 MR. PORYVAEV:
1 Q. What kind of weapons were used by the warring factions in Mostar?
2 A. In the area of Mostar, when it came to the Croatian defence
3 forces, they used all kinds of armament that they had in their possession
4 at that time, from artillery of a large-size calibre to lighter weapons.
5 On the armija BiH side, I recall that we did find some mortars of 125
6 calibre. There weren't many of them. And those were the largest sized
7 weapons we found in that area. On the Croatian defence forces side, there
8 was a wide range of armament, from lots of different kinds and from lots
9 of different places.
10 Personally, I remember artillery of 155-millimetre calibre and
11 anti-aircraft cannons, which were used for firing from the land. And
12 these were located around the Hum suburbs. And there was more than one
13 tank. I remember one tank, the T-35 model, which was found on the top of
14 Mount Hum. The civilians and combatants in East Mostar were particularly
15 fearful of this tank. Because of the way it was perched at this vantage
16 point, it could have find very accurately on to any part of the east part
17 of the Mostar city.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, a question that the Judges
19 are highly interested in: Was there any technical possibility for the
20 Serbs -- that the Serbs could have shot at Mostar, targeted Mostar?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, in our reports, they did
22 reflect the fact that at times we observed impacts whose origin was
23 actually difficult to identify, but it seemed to be that these impacts
24 were caused by firing from the Serbian lines. And this coincided with
25 periods of relative calm in the city, which led us to believe that,
1 obviously, after these impacts, activity in the city increased and there
2 was a greater exchange of fire between both parties. This led us to
3 believe that the Serbs, who had a dominant position over the city of
4 Mostar, were following and monitoring activities in the city, and when
5 activity increased, they tried to stir up these conflicts even more by
6 firing as much at one side as the other. So they would fire just as much
7 into the east side as the west side.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is a hypotheses that the
9 headquarters of the Spanish Battalion put forward, or do you say that on
10 the basis of indisputable elements, that this could have been the case?
11 Because you've just told us that the Serbs saw that between the Muslims
12 and the Croats there was less tension; then they would ignite tensions by
13 firing a few shots, by well-targeted action. Is that what you mean to
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The only way to determine a force is
16 to carry out a detailed analysis of the impact, and what we were living
17 through at that particular time made it impossible for us to conduct this
18 kind of detailed analysis. However, the data that we did have concerning
19 these specific impacts led us to believe that they had not come from the
20 Croatian defence forces' positions, nor from the armija. So the only
21 logical conclusion was that one, that they came from afar. For us, it was
23 MR. PORYVAEV:
24 Q. Witness, just my question: What about the correlations of impacts
25 from the Croat side and the Muslim side? Because they were just shooting
1 at each other.
2 A. Generally, the volume of firing from the western part, the
3 Croatian defence forces part, towards the east of the city was much
4 greater than the returning fire from the armija's positions. This is
5 perfectly -- easily explainable because the number of heavy weapons in the
6 Croatian defence forces' territory was considerably greater than the
7 weapons held by armija.
8 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to turn to Exhibit 2414.
9 English version, page 4; Spanish, 2.
10 Q. Mostar shelling, this part of the report. They say about the
11 frequency, "discharged every two minutes." Was it actually the case in
12 May, 1993, from the Croatian side?
13 A. Yes, indeed. The information which was drawn from direct
14 observation was that artillery and mortar fire had been observed at a rate
15 of once every two minutes, between the hours stipulated or reflected in
16 the report.
17 Moreover, there is a small pause and then fire resumes, but at
18 this stage, instead of being artillery and mortar fire, it was
19 rocket-launchers. I can't remember the exact technical characteristics of
20 these rocket-launchers, but I remember that they were rocket-launchers
21 that were mobile and they had once been the property of the former
22 People's Army of Yugoslavia.
23 MR. PORYVAEV: Next exhibit, 2423. That's about the shelling of
24 the 17th of May. English, page 5; Spanish, page 2.
25 Q. You mention here "SpaBat calculation." Who was or who were those
1 persons who were making those calculations?
2 A. Our very own patrols managed to have a record of the explosions
3 that occurred in the city.
4 Q. Did the shelling continue further? I mean, during the summertime,
5 in the autumn 1993.
6 A. The military operations in Mostar continued throughout our whole
7 stay in the area, the whole stay of my battalion. The intensity varied,
8 naturally. It wasn't always as intense as day in question, the 17th of
9 May, but the conflict and the exchange of fire and shelling continued
10 throughout this period.
11 Q. Please now take a look at Exhibit 8 -- sorry, 4813. Intrep 286,
12 5th of September, 1993. I mean the passage that starts with the
13 words "Seventy-five explosions ..."
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Is it correct that correlation can be such as indicated in this
16 report: Four, five, in the Croat area and the rest in the Muslim area?
17 A. Yes. I repeat: This is a direct observation from the Spanish
18 Battalion personnel. Among other things in the reports, they had to
19 provide a reflection of these explosions that they observed, and they had
20 to differentiate between the different areas from whence these explosions
22 Q. Witness, did you receive information, reports, about any
23 casualties as a result of those shellings in East Mostar?
24 A. Yes, I received information, and I also observed the results of
25 these explosions in my visits to East Mostar. I recall visiting on more
1 than one occasion the East Mostar hospital and witnessing the bodies and
2 cadavers deposited there. And I saw many burials in the cemeteries, these
3 ad hoc cemeteries which were set up in East Mostar, notably in public
4 parks. The public parks were used for burials for those who had passed
5 away in the shelling.
6 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like to take a look at Exhibit 409 --
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I ask for a question in between?
8 MR. PORYVAEV: Excuse me.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, have you ever noted, do you know
10 anything about, a mortar of the ABiH being in position near the hospital
11 in East Mostar? Does that mean something to you?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, we observed a position. We saw
13 some mortars in East Mostar. Near the hospital? Well, yes, relatively
14 near the hospital. We, at that time, had the impression that - again, I
15 repeat, from a military point of view - we thought these mortars were
16 positioned where they could be located. Their presence at the hospital,
17 well, they weren't right behind the hospital or right next to it. They
18 were relatively close to the hospital. But, really, in the East Mostar
19 area, there was very little space available to -- very little space for
20 positioning a weapon of that size.
21 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you. Exhibit 4951. English, page 5;
22 Spanish, page 2.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Which paragraph were you referring
25 MR. PORYVAEV:
1 Q. "The Muslim quarter was shelled during the morning."
2 A. Yes, indeed, this information was provided by the patrol. As
3 being -- reflected here, the patrol suffered -- was very close to
4 shelling, and you could see how the casualties were transferred to the
5 hospital in that area.
6 MR. PORYVAEV: Next exhibit, 4995. English, page 5; Spanish, page
8 Q. "Today, 60 artillery ..." Have you found it?
9 A. Yes, I've found it, the final paragraph talking about the shelling
10 of Mostar. Here, again, information provided by the patrol.
11 Q. They talk about three people dead and two wounded. Were there any
12 casualties among your SpaBat soldiers in East Mostar as a result of
13 shelling or sniping?
14 A. Yes. In the area of Mostar, we suffered two dead and several
15 wounded - I can't remember the exact number of wounded now - in various
16 activities. I remember the two dead; they were two officers. One was the
17 result of shelling and the other was the result of a sniper attack.
18 Q. And what about the damage caused by the shelling in the area
19 controlled by the Muslim part?
20 A. The east part of Mostar mainly was left like any war-torn zone.
21 It was destroyed. Many, many buildings were structurally damaged. The
22 area of the boulevard, which was the confrontation line throughout the
23 period of conflict, was completely destroyed. There was not one single
24 building left in a usable state. And on the other side of the river, the
25 Donja Mahala neighbourhood, the area covered by the armija on the western
1 bank was completely destroyed, and the area on the east, almost entirely
2 destroyed. Very few buildings were left untouched in that area.
3 Q. I would like you to turn to your final report, page 84.
4 MR. PORYVAEV: Your Honour, I have very few questions left. I'm
5 very disciplined and I will finalise my examination-in-chief today/this
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. 84?
8 MR. PORYVAEV:
9 Q. Yes. "Use of tanks." Okay. If I'm wrong, just -- no reference
10 to the document, just your knowledge of the use of tanks by -- during that
11 war. Okay. Did you find it?
12 A. Yes. I think it's page 87 in the Spanish version of the final
14 Q. Yes. Correct.
15 A. Yes. We observed the use of tanks mainly by the Croatian defence
16 forces, which is logical, actually, because in our area of
17 responsibilities, the landscape, from a military point of view, made it
18 very difficult for tanks to be used in the area controlled by the armija.
19 From a military point of view, I repeat: Tanks were used more as a mobile
20 item of artillery than a combat vehicle itself. And to talk about the
21 well-known Mount Hum tank, we found other tanks as well, very modern
22 tanks, T-55, for example, in the immediate surroundings, in the immediate
23 suburbs, of Mostar, and when you leave Mostar, heading towards Ljubuski,
24 there were tanks.
25 Q. Thank you very much. Witness -- I'm sorry.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In this paragraph, it is stated
2 clearly that the HVO used four to six tanks, T-55, that caused great
3 damage in Muslim settlements, and also that some BH army members were
4 wounded as a result of this action. You say these tanks were used in
5 Jablanica and Doljani as well.
6 This summary written about the tanks, is it based on what members
7 of the Spanish Battalion saw with their own eyes?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the paragraph on page
9 87, which begins with the letter L, talking about tanks, is a summary of
10 what was observed and reflected in the daily reports drafted by the
11 Spanish Battalion.
12 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you.
13 Q. Witness CB, what is your personal knowledge about the HV
14 involvement in the armed conflict between HVO and ABiH?
15 A. I'm going to try and divide the knowledge I have of this subject
16 into the area of Mostar and the area of Jablanica.
17 In the Mostar area, mainly stemming from the counter-attack
18 launched by armija in which the northern barracks, Tihomir Misic, and the
19 confrontation line was shifted towards Bijelo Polje and Potoci, we started
20 to observe the presence of staff, of personnel, and materiel which showed
21 emblems of the army of the Republic of Croatia.
22 In the area of Ploce, where we had a liaison officer with the
23 UNHCR, from there, the humanitarian aid convoys set out. And around the
24 depots of the UNHCR, there was a military base of the army of the Republic
25 of Croatia, and we saw vehicles and personnel heading north towards
2 Later, in the very city itself of Mostar, we observed -- again, I
3 saw just as much staff and vehicles which were clearly identified as
4 belonging to army of the Republic of Croatia. This was in the area of
6 In the story of Jablanica, the personnel with whom we had
7 relations of the armija BiH informed us that in the Croatian bags, in the
8 pockets, in the enclaves of that area, there were -- that they had
9 observed Croatian army personnel. Personally, I received two ID cards
10 which, according to the members of the armija, these were ID cards from
11 soldiers that were killed in the area, and these ID cards, I repeat, were
12 of the army of the Republic of Croatia.
13 Moreover, on more than one occasion I was shown a body which,
14 according to the sources in the armija, had been recovered in the north of
15 Jablanica, and they were wearing the uniform with the distinctive insignia
16 of the Croatian army. And I personally saw the coat of arms on that
17 uniform, on that body, and it was from the army of the Republic of
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You seem to make a distinction
20 between Jablanica and Mostar. I'd like to come to Mostar. Did you
21 personally, with your own eyes, see vehicles or troops belonging to the
22 Republic of Croatia? You said they had insignia, patches, but did you see
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you tell us more precisely
1 the day, the hour, the place - if you remember, of course - the
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I recall with the most precision
4 what I was talking about close to Jablanica, because, I repeat, at that
5 time I was sent there by my section and I received -- I received the ID
6 cards in my hand, and the patch. I saw the body myself.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're talking about Jablanica,
8 whereas I am referring to Mostar, I'm focusing on Mostar. Did you see in
9 Mostar, after the BH offensive, the arrival of troops, apparently coming
10 from the Republic of Croatia, with equipment and weapons? Did you see
11 that with your own eyes?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I saw in the western part of Mostar
13 the odd vehicle in which you could clearly see the number plate of the
14 army of the Republic of Croatia, "HV," perfectly distinguishable from the
15 Croatian defence force plates, which were HVO. And inside I saw that the
16 personnel were wearing the coat of arms -- the patch with the coat of arms
17 of the army of Republic of Croatia.
18 More concrete detail, I'm sorry, Your Honour, I would not be able
19 to give you right now.
20 MR. PORYVAEV:
21 Q. Just one question. Was it a military vehicle you just told Their
22 Honours about?
23 A. Yes, it was. I personally remember seeing a light vehicle, a jeep
24 kind, and two or three lorries. I can't remember precisely. Now, the
25 rear part of the lorries was covered up, and I ignored whether they were
1 transporting people or materiel.
2 Q. Let's go back to Jablanica. I would like you to take a look at
3 Exhibit 3705. That's English, page 8-10; Spanish, 2-4.
4 A. I'd like to state vis-a-vis this report, which was written the
5 25th of July -- the 25th of July, I was in Jablanica's detachment. That
6 is why the information on the vehicles going from Dracevo to Medjugorje is
7 not directly done by myself. It was provided by some of our patrols.
8 MR. PORYVAEV: Next exhibit, 3724. English, page 4; Spanish, page
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. Here, you can see two types of information about the same matter.
12 The first one, you can see it in page number 3. These are the routes
13 between Grude-Ljubuski-Metkovici-Dracevo. And I've got to say exactly the
14 same thing: These are the reports of the 25th of July. I was in
15 Jablanica. All the information vis-a-vis this area Jablanica/Konjic, I
16 did myself, I provided that information myself. And here is where you can
17 see the information vis-a-vis the military ID. And on page number 6,
18 Spanish version, you can see the drawing I did myself of the armband that
19 I observed in the corpse or in the body that was shown to me.
20 Q. Thank you. And the last group of questions, Witness, you have
21 already explained to the Trial Chamber that at some point, at some point,
22 there were some facts of shelling of BSA --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What did you want to say,
24 Mr. Praljak?
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] We have discussed this King
1 Tomislav affair many times. A couple of exhibits have been introduced.
2 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic first proclaimed it a regiment of Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina. It was composed of Croats and Muslims who, in April in 1994,
4 prepared themselves in Basko Polje, and Zuka was one of them. He had --
5 MR. PORYVAEV: Excuse me. I don't know if this is an objection or
6 a statement.
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I just wanted to ask this.
8 It's objection. We just wanted to -- I think we just need to clarify this
9 immediately, because we keep coming back to it.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: We don't. We don't. I have stated before, and
11 Mr. Karnavas agreed, that when there are objections to what a witness
12 said, that can be dealt with later on but it's not a reason to interrupt
13 immediately. This is just disrupting, I'm sorry.
14 MR. PORYVAEV:
15 Q. I will continue. Yes. You just explained to the Trial Chamber
16 that there were some facts of shelling on Mostar on the part of BSA. Do
17 you know anything about the involvement of BSA in the armed conflict on
18 the whole -- on the territory of Mostar city or the whole of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the area of your responsibility and area of
21 A. First of all, I'd like to pinpoint that during April up to October
22 of 1993, the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina was very complicated. The
23 circumstances in Mostar were totally different to what was happening in
24 Jablanica and had nothing to do with Maglaj or Bihac, and so on.
25 So both the reports from the headquarter of UNPROFOR, they were
1 talking about collaborations in the reports between some of the parts of
2 the Croatian council or the ABiH with the BSA. In the area of
3 responsibility of the Spanish Battalion, we observed in Jablanica, mainly
4 in Ljubina, the area which was at the western area of Konjic, the city of
5 Konjic, where we observed that there was collaboration between those who
6 were defending this area, which belonged to the Croatian forces, and the
7 BSA. This collaboration mainly was supported with artillery, artillery
9 The ABiH launched several offences against this area, against this
10 pocket, and they were rejected by the artillery barriers, fire barriers,
11 from the positions of the Serb -- the Serbian and Bosnian army. And that
12 area, that, so to speak, pocket, was totally isolated. But I remember
13 when visiting that part, I remember seeing that the munition was not
14 lacking, and I remember even seeing strange movements, strange movements
15 amongst the staff, which seemed to belong to the BSA.
16 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to take a look at Exhibit
17 2979. This is a Kiseljak headquarters report, dated the 27th of June,
18 1993. Page, actually, 10, and page 9 -- page 9 in e-court, yes. Page 6
19 in e-court. Yes, yes. Page 6 on e-court. Page 7. Yes, page 7 and
20 paragraph 2; and page 10, hard copy.
21 MR. STEWART: I wonder if counsel could just give a paragraph
22 number. Many of these documents are paragraphed, and there are rather a
23 lot of page numbers given in that brief introduction.
24 MR. PORYVAEV: It's paragraph 5 and paragraph 2.
25 Yes, Your Honour, just one second. Everything is all right now.
1 Q. Is this the situation you were talking about?
2 MR. STEWART: I'm sorry, Your Honour, where are we? Paragraph 5
3 and paragraph 2, and page 6 and page 7 and page 9. All through this
4 examination, counsel has either not given paragraph numbers or given the
5 wrong ones. But really now I'm simply lost. Please, where are we?
6 MR. PORYVAEV: First of all, it's the first time that I make such
7 kind of error. No need to invent things here.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you please tell us the
9 page number. We have it on the screen. It's 16 --
10 MR. PORYVAEV: Page 6 of 8. The ERN, the last digits, 43.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That's the page on the screen.
12 MR. PORYVAEV: On the screen, yes, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That's page 9.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The comment on the situation and the
15 operations in the area at Jablanica-Konjic is a reflection, a truthful
16 reflection, of the comments of my section in the daily reports -- in the
17 daily reports of the previous day of the issuing of this report.
18 MR. PORYVAEV:
19 Q. Thank you very much.
20 MR. PORYVAEV: Your Honour, this was final question. I'm very
21 thankful to the witness for his testimony.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
23 As for admission of evidence, you will do it as envisaged by the
24 decision, which means you'll make a schedule and then we will mark the
25 numbers which will help us all gain time.
1 MR. PORYVAEV: I will have that tomorrow.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
3 Defence, you have three hours, as envisaged, tomorrow.
4 Mr. Praljak.
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I have a request, Your
6 Honours. As we have only one witness, obviously, and he's a professional
7 military man, who very swiftly went through heaps of documents, including
8 a huge number of statements, "I have seen, I haven't seen, we found out,"
9 et cetera, it is not possible to follow at that speed, and I would be very
10 grateful if you could grant me and General Petkovic some more time so as
11 to be able to arrive at precise facts that could establish the truth in
12 this matter.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Picking up where General Praljak left off, Your
14 Honour, it would appear that much of the testimony that we heard today has
15 already been heard from previous witnesses, and I point this out because I
16 know we're trying to save time and trying to be efficient. Well, I have a
17 criticism of the Prosecution. I think that a lot of this information is
18 cumulative and it's repetitive. But when they introduce all these
19 documents, it does force the Defence, then, to spend a lot of valuable
20 time in court going over that.
21 So I join General Praljak's request, but I would also request from
22 the Trial Chamber to perhaps instruct the Prosecutor to go back and to
23 make sure that when they bring a witness, such as this gentleman, who has
24 come from very far away - and, incidentally, he was a marvelous witness,
25 marvelous both in the way he answered the questions, very precise, very
1 careful, didn't speculate; so I commend you, sir, and we're grateful that
2 you're here - but nonetheless, I think we could have saved the UN some
3 money and saved ourselves a little bit of time. Thank you.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have heard both parties. We
5 will discuss it again among Judges tomorrow, and we will answer
6 Mr. Praljak's request. For the moment, we have decided to give everybody,
7 together, three hours to be divided as you see fit. You can give
8 Mr. Praljak two hours, if you wish, or you can give him the entire
9 cross-examination time. Anyway, tomorrow we will impart to you our
10 decision regarding his request that some other Defence counsel have
12 It is time to call it a day. We will reconvene tomorrow at
13 2.15 p.m.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 15th day of
16 November, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.