1 Thursday, 14 December 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, please call the
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Mr. President, it is case,
8 IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor against Prlic et al.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I wish to greet everybody as
10 usual, the Prosecution, Defence counsel, the accused, and all the
11 personnel that is supporting the work of this courtroom.
12 I have four oral decisions to render but before that I give the
13 floor to the registrar to give us IC numbers.
14 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
15 [In English] Following parties have tendered lists of exhibits
16 tendered through the witness Ismet Poljarevic. The list tend tendered by
17 the OTP will be given IC number 179. The list of exhibits tendered
18 through 2D will be given Exhibit number IC 180. The list by 4D will be
19 given Exhibit number IC 181. And the list by 6D will be given exhibit
20 number IC 182. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, registrar.
22 Oral decision number 1, regarding exhibits introduced through
23 Witness CK, who was heard on the 4th of December 2006. The Chamber has
24 decided to admit the following exhibits presented by the Prosecution as
25 they have certain probative value and certain relevance. P 09799 under
1 seal. As regards Exhibits P 03160 and P 09086, put forward by the
2 Prosecution, the Chamber notes that these were already admitted on the
3 11th and 13th December 2006 respectively.
4 In addition, the Chamber has decided to admit the following
5 exhibits tendered by the Praljak Defence as they have certain probative
6 value and certain relevance. P 03214 and P 03991.
7 Oral decision number 2, regarding exhibits introduced through
8 Witness CM, who appeared before the Court on the 5th of December 2006.
9 The Chamber has decided to admit the following exhibits tendered by the
10 Prosecution through lists IC 00157, and IC 00171, as they have certain
11 probative value and certain relevance. It is note worthy that Exhibits P
12 09753 and IC 00137 referred to in these lists are admitted under seal.
13 Also, the Chamber has decided to admit the following exhibits
14 tendered by the Stojic Defence and mentioned in list IC 00163 as it has
15 certain probative value and certain relevance.
16 Oral decision number 3, concerning exhibits introduced through the
17 testimony of Witness CN, who was heard on the 6th of December 2006. The
18 Chamber has decided to admit the following exhibits tendered by the
19 Prosecution as they have certain probative value and relevance: P 09754
20 under seal, P 01900, P 09285. The Chamber would like to remind you that
21 Exhibits P 09086 and P 03057 were admitted on the 13th and 14th December
22 2006 respectively.
23 Oral decision number 4, the last one, concerning exhibits, in this
24 case exhibits introduced through Witness CP who was heard on the 7th
25 December 2006. The Trial Chamber has decided to admit the following
1 exhibits tendered by the Prosecution as they have certain probative value
2 and certain relevance: P 09755, under seal; P 09104; IC 00115.
3 I would now like to ask the registrar to move us into private
4 session. For a moment.
5 [Private session]
6 [Open session]
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in public session.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I understood that the
9 Prosecution needs 20, 25 more minutes.
10 MR. KRUGER: That is correct, Your Honour. I'm aiming for that.
11 Thank you.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 WITNESS: SEJFO KAJMOVIC [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are resuming our hearing and
18 I will now give the floor to Mr. Kruger who will continue his examination,
19 his direct examination.
20 MR. KRUGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 EXAMINATION BY MR. KRUGER: [Continued]
22 Q. Good afternoon, Witness.
23 A. Good afternoon.
24 Q. Yesterday afternoon or yesterday evening, when we broke, you had
25 told the Court about an incident where you said Mujo Zuhric had been
1 rounded up and taken off and he never returned. If we can look at that
2 incident for a moment, when you say he was rounded up and taken off, was
3 that from the hangar where you were being held in Gabela?
4 A. Yes, from hangar number 3. He sat three or four metres in front
5 of me.
6 Q. And under what circumstances was he taken away?
7 A. I heard later that they were taking him home, they had taken him
8 home, to fetch some money. I think that was the reason.
9 Q. Who had taken him away?
10 A. At that time, only military police had access to the hangar.
11 Q. And once again, these military police, from which organisation
12 were they?
13 A. The military police of the HVO.
14 Q. Sir, did you at any stage later find out what had happened to Mujo
16 A. Yes, I know. His body was found and was later buried. It was
17 established that he was murdered, an autopsy was per formed. Everything
18 was done. At any rate, he was buried.
19 Q. When was his body found?
20 A. I couldn't tell you exactly, but it happened when it was finally
21 possible to search that area.
22 Q. Was anybody else taken away from your hangar during that period
23 you were in it?
24 A. Yes. Another younger man was taken away. His name was Zujo.
25 Q. Can you tell the Court the circumstances under which Zujo was
1 taken away?
2 A. Yes. He used to sit to my right, about seven metres away from me,
3 close to the wall, and one guard whom we called Shorty, some people knew
4 him personally, insisted that we enlarge those corridors, as we called
5 them, to squeeze together a little more so that they would be more
6 comfortable passing through, and this Zujo, I don't know what came over
7 him, told the guard, "You mean the corridor to Neum or until Neum." I
8 don't know why he said that but we had learned in those days that there
9 were some negotiations going on and he made that remark, that allusion,
10 something to the effect that Alija wants to go to Neum that's probably why
11 he was taken away. This Shorty, called Nikola Andrun, who was on duty
12 then, he was on duty as deputy warden of the camp and Zujo was taken away,
13 never to be seen again. I really don't know what happened to him. Of
14 course, I know that later he was found. An autopsy was performed and he
15 was buried.
16 Q. You've already mentioned a few of the personnel at the camp,
17 Shorty, Marko, Nikola Andrun, Bosko Previsic, could you tell the court
18 from your experience in Gabela, who were the personnel manning this
19 detention centre?
20 A. Without a doubt, Bosko Previsic. He was the be all and end all.
21 Q. And who were the people under him or from what organisation were
22 they, if you know? Or unit?
23 A. I don't know how to qualify it, but all the services that were
24 active there and all the guards, everything was under his command,
25 everything and everyone was subordinated to him.
1 Q. The guards who were working there, were they older people or
2 regular soldiers or regular military policemen?
3 A. I would say the composition was heterogenous. There were younger
4 people and not so young, middle aged men, even some on the other side of
5 40, maybe my age.
6 Q. The guards who were working there, did they wear uniforms?
7 A. Yes, yes. They were all in uniforms, and armed, of course.
8 Q. Did you have any idea from which region any of these guards came
9 from or their units?
10 A. Well, I know that some were locals, some were from Konjic. I know
11 one man in particular who was particularly vile. He was from Konjic and
12 that's even what we called him, the Konjic man. And he also had another
13 nickname and the nickname was "is that fair?" Whenever he played some
14 nasty trick on somebody or did something evil to someone he would
15 say, "Now, isn't that fair?" And this Konjic man had a favourite thing,
16 and that was to make people lie down on the concrete and pretend they are
17 swimming. That was really humiliating and awful sight to see.
18 Q. Just on this point, you have also mentioned Marko. Did Marko have
19 any peculiarity or any habit in this regard, in making the prisoners do
21 A. Yes. Marko was the first person I got to know in Gabela. He met
22 us at the gate. He interrogated us when we came. But already that first
23 evening, or, rather, first night after midnight, he came to the hangar,
24 yelling, of course, he made us lie down and stick our noses into the
25 concrete and kept us lying like that for a long time, I don't know for how
1 long. But I know that my back was hurting awfully and it seemed it would
2 break. He said he would shoot if anybody dared raise their head, and he
3 even fired a shot, although not at us but at the wall.
4 One thing that sticks in my mind in particular from that night is
5 this: There was a man together with us from Stolac, Smajo he was a big
6 man, bulky, but he had advanced diabetes. He was already at the end of
7 his tether when he was brought in, but still he found the strength, he
8 found it in him to ask that man for more water. He was probably having a
9 crisis. However, Marko hit him with a rifle butt or with his rifle. Any
10 way, I couldn't see properly, but we could recognise the sound and we
11 later did see that he had hit Smajo. We thought he wouldn't survive but
12 he did.
13 Q. Sir, yesterday you mentioned that persons, both military and then
14 civilians, came from outside the camp during the first period you were
15 held there, shall I say detention centre, and that they abused detainees.
16 Did this practice stop at any stage?
17 A. Yes. Those raids were more frequent and more brutal at the
18 beginning, those assaults against inmates were more frequent and more
19 violent. However, as of the 13th, it already began on the 13th, I'm sorry
20 I lost the thread. Can you help me?
21 Q. Yes. What I would like to know is, when you arrived from the 17th
22 onwards, you mentioned during that period that people from outside the
23 camp had come in, you mentioned specifically the big military policeman
24 and then the athletically built civilian at one stage?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did that practice stop at any stage?
2 A. Right, yes, it did stop. To our great joy and satisfaction,
3 although the violence, the practice of removing people and killing them
4 did not stop. From a certain moment on, only the military police of the
5 HVO had access to us.
6 Q. How did that come about?
7 A. I can't give you the date but I know that it was several days
8 after I was detained. The commander, Bosko Previsic brought something on
9 a piece of paper, he read it out standing in the door, and he stuck the
10 paper to the wall, or to the door, I don't remember, but I understood the
11 point of that text. It said that he was prohibiting entry to groups and
12 individuals. The gist of it was that only the military police had
13 authorised access.
14 Q. And did that in actual fact occur after that, that only military
15 police had access to people with -- or detainees within the detention
17 A. It did, in fact, occur. From that moment on, only the military
18 policemen came in, they would sometimes remove people, sometimes those
19 people wouldn't come back. We later heard that some of those people had
20 been killed. However, we were relieved to some extent and we were less
21 anxious for our safety. At least we knew that it was only them, that it
22 was no longer the case that any outsider could come in as they pleased and
23 attack us.
24 Q. What about the camp personnel? Did any further mistreatment at
25 their hands occur?
1 A. Well, I can't tell you about the personnel among the guards, this
2 man from Konjic was especially bad. He mistreated us enough for all of
3 them. I think he was a sadist. He had the need to abuse people. He
4 would take people out, beat them up, mistreat them, brutalise them, but
5 on the other hand, there were guards who were very correct, decent, who
6 were human, and as for some of them you could see that they found it hard
7 to be there at all, that they had to be there because they were mobilised
8 or for some other reason and it was obvious that they were not getting
9 any pleasure from their position there. And that gave me some
10 reassurance that there were human beings around us after all, that
11 we would survive.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, you have just broached a
13 subject that I wanted to question you on. You have already answered some
14 of my questions, in fact. You said that among guards, there were those
15 who did not share the attitude and approach of their other colleagues.
16 They had orders that they had to carry out. What I want to know is this:
17 Since you were there on the spot, you were a victim, the conduct that you
18 have described in your eyes, was it dictated by individual character, such
19 as that of this sadist that you mentioned, or was it dictated by
20 instructions or orders such as from the camp commander, which resulted in
21 this particular outcome? Have you thought about this? And as somebody
22 who was an eyewitness, what do you think about this conduct?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I thought that it was
24 up to the individuals. One person would behave in one way, another person
25 behaved in another way, and I don't actually think that anybody ordered
1 anything or maybe they misinterpreted an order, perhaps, where they were
2 told to be a little stricter so I don't know what this tolerance level was
3 but I don't think anybody, how could a normal person order anything like
4 that? I think it depended on the personality of the person concerned,
5 their mental makeup.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, do you think that the director of the
7 camp was aware of what was going on?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am certain that he
9 knew about it, and he opted to gloss over it, but on the other hand, I
10 don't think he ordered individuals to behave the way they did. I have no
11 reason to say.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That's a precise answer. Thank you.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you had contacts with the
14 guards, when you came into contact with the guards, were there any oral
15 exchanges with the guards or were you forbidden to speak to them? And
16 that you weren't able to say anything to them because this was not
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's difficult for me
19 now to explain that and answer it but I think I follow your question.
20 There was a strict regime by which we weren't allowed to move around. It
21 wasn't forbidden for us to talk to guards. I don't know whether the
22 guards were forbidden to talk to us but I do know that people did talk to
23 them. For example, the same day when one of my colleagues was beaten up,
24 an inmate, that same day a guard talked to me, we had a conversation, a
25 very frank one. So I understood this as the guard being sorry for what
1 had happened and that he was sorry for the man who had been beaten up.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. Now, you
3 said that you had a conversation with a guard concerning this particular
4 event. When you had conversations of that kind, private conversations
5 with the guard, would the guard be conscious of the fact that in future,
6 inevitably, everything would come out one day or another, and people would
7 be held accountable? Did the guard realise that? Was he aware of what
8 could come to pass in the future?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really don't know. I can't say,
10 Your Honour, what the guard thought. Sometimes I thought he had had a
11 drink. But he was very lucid in his thinking and showed a humane
12 character and even addressed me as "Efendi," so he knew that I was what I
13 was, that I had that post, and so the conversation relaxed me. And had it
14 not been for that violence to my colleague, whom they beat up, I would
15 have considered that and remembered that as one of the better days in
16 camp, the conversation with that guard meant a great deal to me, because
17 it was important that you could see that there were human beings and this
18 was a human being that I had in front of me.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, my last question but there
20 is another question from the Bench, my last question is as follows: You
21 are a cultivated, well-educated man. When you were confronted with these
22 guards, from your point of view, what was their intellectual level? High?
23 Medium? Average? Zero? What would you say? Could you gauge the
24 character and intellectual capacity of the guards, whether they had a full
25 awareness of the events they were involved in and mixed up in?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that the makeup
2 was heterogenous. There were different people. I don't think among the
3 guards that any of them had a university education or training but
4 regardless of their level of education, they were able to think clearly.
5 So some people thought one way. They acted in different ways and thought
6 in different ways. I don't think it's always important whether you're
7 educated or not, that this doesn't -- your behaviour doesn't necessarily
8 depend on that but I don't think there were any university-educated
10 JUDGE MINDUA: Witness, if I understood you correctly, you said
11 that the camp commander certainly knew about what was going on and your
12 suffering, but that you weren't sure that he had received instructions to
13 mistreat you. That's the first point. And the second point, the second
14 thing you said is that you were able to speak to your guards, and have
15 exchanges with them, conversations with them. Now, my question is this:
16 Was it possible for you to send out a message about your suffering and
17 explain the maltreatment you were subjected to, to the authorities, to the
18 commander of the prison, through one channel or another and to send the
19 message out to a superior authority? If you didn't do this yourself, do
20 you know whether anybody else did? Whether the authorities were aware,
21 the superior authorities, superior to the prison commander, whether they
22 were aware of your suffering? Could you get a message through to them?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that was
24 impossible. It was impossible to send out information like that, because
25 the commander of the prison was himself very brutal. He beat people up.
1 So he was in that, and we couldn't complain to him, certainly not, and as
2 to a higher authority, we couldn't do that either, certainly not. We
3 weren't in a position to do that.
4 MR. KRUGER: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Q. Sir, did you witness the visit of a military officer, a brigadier
6 Dzanko to Gabela?
7 A. Yes, I did see that.
8 Q. Could you give the Court an idea of when this was in relation to
9 when you arrived at the camp or at the detention facility, centre?
10 A. I think it took place some 10 days after my arrival there, after I
11 was brought there, 10 days probably later.
12 Q. And what happened exactly when Brigadier Dzanko came?
13 A. Well, first of all we heard a heated discussion in front of the
14 hangar. We didn't know about the visit. Nobody informed us of it. So we
15 thought it was a spontaneous visit but anyway we did hear this
16 conversation, and realised that it was Bosko Previsic talking to someone,
17 but we didn't know who the other person was, who the visitor was.
18 However, they had a short conversation outside. It was a heated
19 conversation, a heated exchange, and then they went in through the door,
20 the door that I was by, the first door into the hangar, and the man
21 introduced himself. We wondered and tried to guess who he could be, but
22 he said quite openly and introducing himself he said, "I am Brigadier
23 Dzanko." I think that's what he said, brigadier Dzanko, an officer of the
24 Croatian army, and he said that he was there on a private visit and that
25 he had some former soldiers, as I understood it - I think that's what he
1 said - who were with him fighting on the southern battle front. But any
2 way he said he'd come on a private visit so that was that.
3 He toured the hangar, went around the compound, got to see the
4 entire hangar, how the people lived, what their living conditions were
5 like, and he could see that there were no adequate living conditions at
6 all. I think he spoke to some of the inmates for brief moments but any
7 way he insisted straight away, he said that the windows should be opened
8 straight away, and there was a line of windows, small windows, right at
9 the top under the roof, and they were hermetically sealed. He said that
10 the windows should be opened because the door was closed and the windows
11 were closed and we had no air at all. And Boko said or rather not Boko
12 but the commander, Bosko Previsic said that it was impossible to open the
13 windows, that they didn't open, or rather it was impossible because they
14 were very high up. And the other man said, "Well, bring in some ladders
15 or whatever and I'll open the windows myself." Boko said, "We'll do that
16 later, we'll open them later on," but of course he didn't.
17 So that's more or less what happened. That was what the visit was
18 like. We thought the visit was good for us. We felt a certain amount of
19 change. That is to say, the doors were open more frequently, we were
20 given a little more water to drink, little things like that. So the visit
21 was useful.
22 Q. Did you hear any --
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I, perhaps I'm anticipating on you but it
24 strikes me, Witness, that in your written statement, you have said that
25 after that visit, the windows were in fact opened. Now you have said that
1 it never happened. I see a certain contradiction there.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think the windows were
3 opened. Perhaps the doors were opened more frequently. But I don't exclude
4 the possibility that I might have forgotten what actually happened but I
5 don't think now thinking about it that the windows were actually ever
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So you're note sure, is that a correct summing up
8 of your actual situation?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I'd rather venture to say that
10 the windows weren't opened.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
12 MR. KRUGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Witness, did you hear any other conversation between Boko Previsic
14 and Brigadier Dzanko on that day?
15 A. Yes. It was a conversation, a dialogue, in front of the hangar,
16 when they arrived. Well, roughly speaking, what I heard was the
17 substance, the gist of it, and that was, well, he cautioned him, he warned
18 him, and said, more or less, it's not your fault or perhaps it's not your
19 fault, I don't know what he used, that the people are here but you will
20 certainly be responsible for the way in which they live, for the
21 conditions in which they are living, for the fact that they have no air to
22 breathe and no water to drink. Roughly along those lines. He issued a
23 caution. He warned him in that kind of way. That's how I understood it
24 and that's what I actually heard him say more or less.
25 Q. Who cautioned who or who said that to whom?
1 A. Brigadier Dzanko said that to Boko, to the commander of the camp.
3 Q. With the assistance of --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Witness, please,
5 Brigadier Dzanko who apparently belonged to the Croatian army on the basis
6 of what you told us. Perhaps I missed that part, but was he wearing
7 civilian clothes or uniform?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was wearing a uniform. He was in
9 military gear. He looked like a real officer. He looked very dignified
10 and acted in a dignified manner.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And were there any insignia on
12 his uniform, any decorations, patches, flashes, anything like that?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I really couldn't say.
14 Since he introduced himself, it didn't seem important. He didn't have any
15 weapons. He had a broad military belt, army belt. I remember that,
16 green. I can't say whether he actually had any insignia or stripes or
17 decorations or whatever.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, since you saw him and heard
19 what he said and you were an audio witness, you heard their conversation,
20 how could you explain the presence of an officer, a foreign general, on
21 the soil of your own country? Did you ever wonder why or did it seem
22 quite normal to you or did you ask yourself any questions about that?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. As far as
24 Brigadier Dzanko is concerned, all of us saw him. He toured the compound,
25 the whole hangar and everybody saw him. And everybody, I think, could
1 hear him too although I was perhaps in the best position to hear him
2 because I was close by the door. At that particular moment, it wasn't
3 important to me, I didn't think about things like that actually. The most
4 important thing was for the conditions to be improved a little bit so that
5 we could have better conditions there, at least a little better. Now,
6 whether he was Croatian, from Croatia, well you couldn't really
7 differentiate what was what but everything was Croatian at the time, the
8 soil, the air, everything was Croatian there. So I didn't have to think
9 much about that, and to be quite honest, I didn't give it much thought at
10 the time. Of course, I knew what it meant, from the aspects of the
11 sovereignty of the country I belonged to, that is to say
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but that's another story again. At the time, that
13 visit meant to me, or rather it was the priority demand to have living
14 conditions improve and not to think about anything else.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You gave us a detail a moment
16 ago in saying that this Croatian general was paying the visit, paying a
17 private visit, and you even added that there were in Gabela soldiers whom
18 he had commanded previously. Now, these soldiers, were they HVO soldiers
19 or were they soldiers, Muslim soldiers, who were incarcerated, who were
20 imprisoned there? Which?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think or rather I
22 don't think, I'm quite sure, that they were Bosniaks, Muslims, who were in
23 the HVO previously, in the previous period, and I assume, and I do
24 believe, that they fought together with him, that they were engaged in
25 combat with him. They were in his unit. He was their commander.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So if I understand you
2 correctly, former Muslim soldiers who had fought with Brigadier Dzanko
3 found themselves at that point in time prisoners in Gabela, these former
4 soldiers belonging to this brigadier's unit. Were they able to meet the
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I really don't know.
7 He did speak to a few people. Now, whether he knew those people he
8 approached and talked to I really can't say. I don't know. But the fact
9 is that a whole two HVO brigades were manned exclusively with Bosniaks.
10 They were exclusively Bosniak units with a commander who was a Bosniak and
11 the people were rounded up, arrested, and sent to Dretelj camp and some to
12 Gabela, too.
13 MR. KRUGER: Thank you, Your Honour. If I can refer the witness
14 to Exhibit 3731, if we could perhaps call that up on the e-court, although
15 with the assistance of the usher the witness could perhaps just look at
16 the hard copy.
17 Q. Now, sir, this document and its attachment is a report from, or
18 purports to be a report from Nedjeljko Obradovic to General Petkovic, and
19 attached to it is a statement by Bosko Previsic, which purports to be
20 signed by Bosko Previsic. They are both handwritten. Is it correct
21 that the day before yesterday, you saw this document when I showed it
22 to you?
23 A. Yes. Yes, I have seen it before.
24 Q. In your mind, what is reported in this document, does it refer to
25 the incident that you've just described to the Chamber about the visit of
1 Brigadier Dzanko?
2 A. Yes. The date coincides, and it's roughly what he said, some 10
3 days after I was brought in.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise to
5 Mr. Kruger for intervening but it would be a good idea to draw your
6 attention to the fact that the date is wrong in the English version. It
7 says August in the English, whereas in the B/C/S it says July, the 27th of
8 July. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, you're quite right.
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps, Your Honour, to be quite
11 precise, in the heading of the document and in the text of the document,
12 the translation is quite wrong, as to the month, because in B/C/S, the
13 month throughout is July, whereas the English translation has August
14 throughout. Thank you.
15 MR. KRUGER: Thank you, Your Honour. And I thank my learned
16 colleagues for pointing that out to us.
17 Q. Witness, the one thing that I would just wish to draw your
18 attention to before moving on is, in the attachment, and that would be on
19 the next page, that is the handwritten statement purported to be by Boko
20 Previsic, towards or in the final paragraph on that page, it states -- he
21 states, "That is the situation now, that he thought it would get better.
22 'It is good here,' he said. As far as he could see it was not as
23 terrible as he had been told."
24 Now this refers to or this is Boko Previsic's version of what
25 Brigadier Dzanko said. To your recollection, from what you heard, is this
2 A. Yes. I am aware of this statement by the commander Boko Previsic.
3 I don't think it's correct except when he mentioned Dzanko, the brigadier.
4 About all the rest, Brigadier Dzanko never said any of that. Dzanko
5 didn't say any of this. He didn't say this. He was visibly upset by what
6 he saw.
7 Q. If you say he was visibly upset, from -- what did you observe that
8 makes you say that?
9 A. Well, his reaction, the way he reacted, what he demanded of Boko,
10 the commander, Bosko Previsic, his facial expression while he was saying
11 it. I think that I assessed this state of mind of his very well.
12 Q. Thank you. Witness, before finalising on Gabela, I would like to
13 show you one picture and that is Exhibit 9016 and it was page 12 of the
14 set of photographs. There are two photographs on that page. The usher
15 will assist you in a moment or will call it up on the screen. No. It's
16 not that one.
17 MR. KRUGER: Your Honours, perhaps if we could put it on the ELMO,
18 it will be very brief. I've just heard it was page 16, sorry. I had it
19 marked wrong in my version. There it is. That's the one which is now
20 called up.
21 Q. Witness, this hangar, this is a picture of a hangar in Gabela. My
22 simple question is: Is this similar to the hangar that you were held in,
23 hangar number 3?
24 A. Yes. That's what hangar number 3 was like, the one I was in.
25 Two wide doors, a platform for unloading and loading of trucks, roughly
1 that's what it looked like, yes. And the other two hangars looked like
2 that, too.
3 Q. If you look at the side wall, there are some windows which can be
4 seen just behind the trees. Did your hangar also have such little
6 A. Yes, yes. They were little windows like that, right underneath
7 the roof, high up.
8 Q. If we could move down and look at the second picture on that page,
9 and that is the back view of such a hangar. Did your hangar have similar
10 windows to those depicted in this picture?
11 A. Yes. Just such windows.
12 Q. Thank you. Now, sir, is it correct that on the 24th of September
13 1993, you were released from Gabela?
14 A. Yes, that is correct. And that's the date on the piece of paper
15 releasing me.
16 Q. Had you been warned previously that you would have been released
17 or not?
18 A. I didn't know in advance. I didn't even know that day, although
19 it was in the air that something was going on and I had an inkling that
20 maybe we would be released.
21 Q. Is it correct that Boko Previsic himself drove you to Capljina,
22 where you were placed in a house with a number of other imams who had been
23 released from Dretelj?
24 A. Yes, correct.
25 Q. Just for the record, could you name some of those imams who were
1 there with you in that location?
2 A. Sakib Kadric and his son, Omer. I think he was a student in his
3 second year. Sakib Kovacic [phoen]. Ibrahim Blazevic, Ahmed Alic, and
4 Numan Cosic. Those were mainly imams from the neighbouring parishes or
5 dzemats, as we called them.
6 Q. How long did you stay in this location in Capljina?
7 A. A couple of days, three or four days maybe, until the 29th, when
8 we were moved to Croatia.
9 Q. And how did it come that you were moved to Croatia?
10 A. Well, that was the only way we could go. They wouldn't let us go
11 to Bosnia, although we wanted to go there, because our families were in
12 Bosnia, everybody's families.
13 Q. Who wouldn't allow you to go to Bosnia?
14 A. Could you say that again?
15 Q. If you say "they wouldn't let us go to Bosnia," who were you
16 referring to? Who is "they"?
17 A. The HVO, the HVO wouldn't let us. The authorities and the HVO.
18 Q. Did you require any authorisation to go to Croatia?
19 A. Yes. We had to get that. Otherwise we wouldn't have been able to
20 cross the border and leave Capljina.
21 Q. What kind of authorisation was this?
22 A. I have to tell you that during those few days that I was in
23 Capljina, we actually did get a paper from Zagreb containing some sort of
24 guarantee for our stay in Croatia. I think somebody had to assume
25 responsibility for us. And that paper bore the signature of Dr. Adalbert
1 Rebic. I think he was head of the refugee office, and the mufti, Sevko
2 Omerbasic, who was the main imam there in Zagreb, and after that came, we
3 got our papers allowing us to leave Capljina.
4 Q. From Croatia, where did you go to from Croatia?
5 A. We stayed for two months in Croatia, some went on to Germany,
6 before two months were out, to join their families. And I stayed for two
7 months in Podgora.
8 Q. And after two months in Podgora, where did you go then?
9 A. Towards the end of 1993, I went to Germany and I stayed there
10 until the end of June next year when I returned to Sarajevo and then to
12 Q. And did you rejoin your wife and children in Sarajevo?
13 A. Yes. They had already returned to Sarajevo after all the
14 suffering they had been through.
15 Q. Thank you, sir. I want to touch upon one final aspect with you.
16 You have mentioned that you -- or you've testified about seeing the
17 mosques in Recice, Lokve and Aladinici burning. As an imam in that
18 region, did you then or subsequently find out about the destruction of any
19 other mosques in your religious community or the general area of your
20 religious community?
21 A. Well, I only had an opportunity to see the mosque in Visici. As
22 we were leaving Capljina on the way to Croatia, I could see that nothing
23 remained of the mosque. There was not a single stone left standing.
24 Everything had been blown up and completely removed.
25 Q. Now, sir, a final question, then. To your knowledge, as an imam,
1 what was the purpose, to your mind, for the destruction of these mosques
2 that you've told us about?
3 A. Well, I think -- I know the reason, I'm pretty sure. The reason
4 was to destroy and remove all the traces of Islamic tradition and culture,
5 anything that could remind people of Muslims, so that they would never
6 come back.
7 Q. And you, as a Bosniak, and the people from your community who were
8 removed from that area, what would that mean or how would that affect your
9 ability to return to that area subsequently?
10 A. At any rate, it made their return more difficult because even when
11 people started to return, it was made more difficult in those areas where
12 religious buildings had been destroyed - plus there were threats and
13 intimidation - and the first thing people did was to clean up their
14 cemeteries, rebuild mosques, and only after that, rebuild their own
15 houses. That's how return started.
16 Q. And from what period did that return start? And that's my final
18 A. It's difficult for me to tell you when that was because I was
19 already in Mostar in July 1994, I was already involved in my work as imam,
20 I had my duties, and job, and I couldn't really go. I had already tried
21 to go to Visici together with some people, two busloads of people, to see
22 the cemetery there, and Mufti Smajkic was with me but we only managed to
23 go to Buna. We were stopped there by the police, with dogs, and we had to
24 turn back, so we didn't succeed that time. Later on, they started burying
25 the bodies. People started returning, humanitarian organisations helped
1 to rebuild houses, and even mosques were rebuilt and renewed. I am rather
2 happy, in fact, with the situation now. It has improved.
3 MR. KRUGER: Thank you very much, sir. The Prosecution has no
4 further questions at this stage. The remaining documents in the bundle,
5 the Prosecution will submit at a different stage.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's best to take our break now,
7 and we resume in 20 minutes.
8 --- Recess taken at 3.25 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 3.48 p.m.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just before I give the floor to
11 the Defence who will have two and a half hours, there is a question that I
12 wanted to ask and didn't. This commander, Bosko Perisic, do you know
13 whether subsequently, in the years that followed, was he ever prosecuted
14 in your country?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I know that he
16 was tried in Mostar and I think he escaped. He is now a fugitive from
17 justice. He left Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. You say that there
19 was a trial, but to your knowledge, he's a fugitive?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Maybe the Prosecution will have
22 some more information to give us later. Mr. Mundis, do you have any
23 information about this person?
24 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, Your Honours, we are taking certain
25 steps to obtain this type of information. I'm not in a position right now
1 to answer that question with any degree of certainty. But we -- I assure
2 you based on the Trial Chamber's earlier comments regarding some of the
3 cases ongoing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, that we are taking steps to
4 obtain this type of information and perhaps sometime in the early part of
5 next year we might be in a position to have more information.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I will now give the floor to the
8 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] I just want to clarify the
9 situation because my client said, and the witness also said, that the
10 gentleman is a fugitive from justice. There are proceedings ongoing
11 against him but what I want to say is that a verdict has been pronounced
12 just today about -- against his deputy, before the Court in
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Maybe we'll learn about that
15 later. Mr. Karnavas?
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Good afternoon, Mr. President, good afternoon,
17 Your Honours. We have no questions for the gentleman and wish to thank
18 him for coming and giving his evidence. General Praljak has asked for our
19 time. We have provided it to the general, with the proviso that he use it
20 wisely. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To avoid all problems with time,
22 two hours and a half, that's 150 minutes divided by six, that's 27 minutes
24 Ms. Nozica?
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Before I
1 start my examination, I wish to inform you that I received ten minutes
2 from the Coric Defence and ten minutes from the Pusic Defence, but I will
3 use that additional time only if I really need it. Maybe I'll be able to
4 complete within my own time.
5 Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica:
6 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Kajmovic.
7 A. Good afternoon.
8 Q. I have just a few questions for you, and they relate only to your
9 humanitarian work. We highly appreciate, all of us in the Defence team,
10 the testimony that you gave and since we do not often get witnesses from
11 non-governmental humanitarian organisations, we want to clarify just a few
12 points and go through a few documents that have to do precisely with
13 Merhamet. I have to warn you that we must make a brief pause between
14 questions and answers because we speak the same language and we must allow
15 the interpreters to do their work for the benefit of the Trial Chamber and
16 the others.
17 Is it correct that at that time, in 1992 and 1993 that you
18 testified about, when you worked in Merhamet, Merhamet's main logistical
19 bases were in Split and Zagreb?
20 A. I think I have already said that for the most part, both we and
21 Caritas got supplies from the UNHCR, and that was supplemented by what we
22 got from Split and Zagreb.
23 Q. We are not going to deal with the UNHCR. I would like to
24 concentrate on Merhamet and I know that Merhamet performed one part of the
25 job in supplying the civilians with basic necessities, whereas the
1 greatest part of this work was done by the UNHCR. Speaking about Croatia,
2 many organisations were set up at that time in Croatia to send aid to
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina, 228 in total is the figure I have, and 119 were
4 actually from Bosnia-Herzegovina?
5 A. I have to tell you that I never went to Zagreb in my line of work.
6 I went to Split several times.
7 Q. Is it the case that the Islamic community and Merhamet, together
8 with the SDA in mid-1992 and 1993 were involved in certain issues that
9 were important to the Muslim population?
10 A. The times were very tempest two us and hardly anyone could remain
11 standing by but I don't think I noticed any --
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with your leave, I
13 think that something got lost in interpretation or the record, when my
14 colleague asked the last question, whether the witness had knowledge
15 about the activity of various humanitarian organisations in Croatia.
16 The second part of the answer was recorded and the first part was when
17 the witness said, "Yes, I do have knowledge about the activity of such
19 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, my learned friend.
20 Q. Witness, let us look at one exhibit of the Prosecution together,
21 that relates to the cooperation between political parties and charity
22 institutions of the Muslim organisations, P 01794. You have it in the
23 pink binder and you can either find it there or you can see it on the
24 screen. It's the first document in the bundle, and we already have it in
25 e-court. This is in fact a document signed by representatives of the
1 Muslim institutions of Capljina, the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, the
2 Islamic community, the cultural society of Muslims called revival,
3 Preporod, representatives of Merhamet, and the Muslim youth association
4 held on the 2nd of April in Capljina, 2nd of April 1993. Do you know the
5 people who signed this, SDA Capljina, Satko Bitanga, do you know this
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Islamic community, Nazif Basic; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And below that, we see the words, "Main imam," and it says, Hasim
11 Efendi Palic. It's not quite legible. Did I pronounce it well, Hasan
12 Efendi Palic, chief imam. Do you see the document?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did you know this man?
15 A. Yes. He was my colleague in Capljina. Unfortunately he's no
16 longer alive.
17 Q. On behalf of Merhamet, Mr. Alija Suta and I can't see the name of
18 the second person, I think it is Admir Mace is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And on behalf of Preporod, revival, Senad Hasanagic?
21 A. Yes, yes.
22 Q. Let us look at this. Some political issues very topical at the
23 time, were mentioned in this document, points 1 and 2, we can comments on
24 the others as well but these two are purely political. It says in para
25 1, "Support is hereby given to the Vance-Owen plan, signed by the
1 president of the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Alija
2 Izetbegovic, and the president of the Croatian Democratic Union of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mate Boban, as well as the previously signed
4 Muslim-Croatian agreement, and we demand urgent implementation of the
5 signed documents at all levels and wherever possible." Para 2 reads, "We
6 hereby call on all patriotic forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
7 to do everything possible for peace to be restored to this destroyed,
8 scattered, and assailed by the defiant homeland of ours and that we may
9 jointly defend it and rebuild it according to the wishes of all its
10 citizens." Do you remember this communique and do you remember if you
11 took part in it in any way?
12 A. I really can't remember. I probably was aware of it then. It
13 must have been topical at the time but I really don't recall it. You
14 don't see my name here.
15 Q. Yes. But you see the names of people from the Islamic community
16 and Merhamet, who collaborated with you at the time; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You spoke in your statement about the repercussions of the events
19 in Donji Vakuf and Prozor, of early 1993, on the relations between Muslims
20 and Croats in Capljina.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. It transpires from your statement that on the 29th of June 1993 on
23 your way back from Split when you were escorting the Merhamet convoy you
24 were stopped in Doljani at the border crossing -- let's make this clear:
25 That's a border crossing between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did you ever hear about the fact that on the 30th of June, July,
3 that the BH army together with Muslim soldiers who were in the HVO at the
4 time attacked in Mostar North Camp barracks, took control of it and took
5 control of the area around Leticia, Potoci, Rastane, Bijelo Polje and
6 arrested most of the soldiers of the HVO and Croatian civilians? Did you
7 know about these events at the time? And I'm linking that up to the
8 events when you were coming back from Split. So I assume that it was an
9 event that was well known to you in Capljina too?
10 A. Yes, I did know about that. I knew about the conflict in Mostar
11 already in Split.
12 Q. Did you know that this act was condemned by the SDA of Mostar
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. I'm asking you about that because from the first document, we can
16 see that there was cooperation between the SDA, the Merhamet, the Islamic
17 community, so did you know that this act was condemned by the SDA of
18 Mostar, the act on the BH army?
19 A. Well, I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me if it did.
20 Q. We are going to go through the document together because we have
21 it. It is 2D 00082, 2D 00082, you have it in the binder but you can read
22 it here. Perhaps that's easier. It's just one page. There we have it.
23 Let's establish first whether we know who the signatories are. It says,
24 "for the Party of Democratic Action, Dr. Ismet Hadziosmanovic." You knew
25 the man? You know him, do you, from Mostar?
1 A. Yes. I knew who this is about but we didn't know each other
3 Q. And did you know the president of the Muslim Democratic party of
4 Mostar, Mohamed Alic?
5 A. No.
6 Q. You didn't know him or hear of him?
7 A. No, and I don't now either.
8 Q. All right. Now, since you say that it wouldn't surprise you if
9 that was done, let's just go through this document. And it says,
10 "considering the current security in Mostar the Executive Committee of
11 the SDA party of Mostar and the Muslim democratic party of Mostar, at a
12 joint extraordinary meeting, emergency meeting, held on the 30th of June
13 1993 in Mostar, issues the following announcement. Regarding the BH army
14 attack on the HVO units in Mostar, which was announced yesterday on the
15 29th of June 1993, at the press conference of the 4th Corps ABiH army
16 command uncovers all the dirty political games by which the Muslim people
17 are to be brought inside some new Yugoslavia or Greater Serbia." I'm not
18 going to read it all, just parts of it. It goes on to say that the Muslim
19 people, and their politics on BiH territory will never accept political
20 solutions exacted by force by suffering and loss of life of innocent
21 people among the Muslim and Croatian people.
22 Now, point 2, I'm going to summarise. It says at this moment the
23 SDA of Mostar in cooperation with the leaders of the HZ HB, the HVO Main
24 Staff, HDZ county [as interpreted], and so on, are undertaking concrete
25 action to put an end to the hostilities and create conditions for a normal
1 life, normal communication between the two sides. Now, do you remember
2 during that period and we are talking about the 30th of June that
3 activities of this kind were really underway and that after the conflicts
4 that had taken place before that attempts were made to normalise the
5 situation and bring life back to normal in Mostar and the surrounding
6 areas, which included Capljina, too?
7 A. First of all, I have to say that I never agreed with this person
8 Hadziosmanovic and the SDA, the regional SDA party. I think that they
9 betrayed the interests of my country and my people, and I do not justify
10 or support their actions, and quite obviously the regional SDA led by Dr.
11 Hadziosmanovic had collaborated with the HVO. That's quite obvious. I
12 was convinced of that then and I'm convinced of that now.
13 Q. Can we conclude, then, or can I sum up by saying that among the
14 Muslim -- I'm sorry that I have to keep saying "the Muslim," but you know
15 why I have to use this term? I know that we say Bosniaks now but we are
16 talking about this period of time when people referred to the same people
17 as Muslims. So do you allow for the possibility that all Muslims did not
18 have the same vision as to how the problem should be solved. Quite
19 obviously some people had different views and thought the problem could be
20 solved differently, and I'm talking about those turbulent times. So
21 that's the periods we are focusing on now when this was actually taking
22 place there were people who thought this could be solved in a different
23 way, isn't that right?
24 A. For example, if Citluk were to be attacked I would have said the
25 same thing and thought the same thing but do you know where North Camp is?
1 North Camp is in the centre of Mostar so nobody was attacked, all that
2 could be done there was to liberate what was belonged jointly to all the
3 people of Mostar.
4 Q. Mr. Kajmovic, I agree with you and that's why it shouldn't have
5 been attacked especially not by soldiers who belonged to the HVO and were
6 Muslims and were there. But I really don't want you -- to involve you or
7 myself into a military story, the military aspect. I wish to deal with
8 questions of Caritas and the political influence of Caritas on the life of
9 the people in the area. But I'll go back to my question now and that is,
10 and you didn't give me an answer to it, and it was whether in your opinion
11 during that period of time there really did exist a political consensus or
12 whether certain acts were being undertaken from Zagreb and Sarajevo in
13 order to calm the situation down in the area. Am I right there? Can you
14 remember when this happened?
15 A. Yes. You are quite right. Of course, efforts were made to lower
16 tensions but we must bear in mind that at that time too, and much before
17 that time and after that time as well, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, there were--
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina was a Croatian hostage, so that was the problem.
19 Q. You say that Bosnia-Herzegovina was Croatia's hostage. I say once
20 again that I didn't wish to speak about politics. But from the aspects of
21 Capljina, you know that I am from Sarajevo, so whose hostage was I at the
22 time? Any way, we can agree to help the Trial Chamber and everybody else
23 throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina. On all its territory different things were
24 going on, different conflicts were going on between different ethnic
25 groups and even between the same ethnic groups, too. Do you and I agree
1 on that point?
2 A. Yes. I do agree. There were people who thought differently,
3 acted differently.
4 Q. Within any ethnic -- every ethnic group; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Let's go back to the Merhamet now. Merhamet and its task or
7 assignment was to hand out assistance to the civilian population, that's
8 what it did; is that right?
9 A. Yes, that was its principal task.
10 Q. You say it was its principal task. Can we ask whether a charity
11 organisation can provide assistance to the army, for instance?
12 A. As far as I know, I didn't ever say that. I didn't say that it
13 helped the army but it did help the families of soldiers, those who were
14 in the HVO and BH army because soldiers had families, did they not? So
15 the -- Merhamet assisted their families.
16 Q. Yes. I just asked you because you said their principal task so I
17 thought, well, what did you have in mind other than citizens?
18 A. Well, that was the priority task of Merhamet, to help the
19 citizens. First of all refugees and then the citizens as well to provide
20 them with the basics for life. That's the basic goal.
21 Q. But we agree, you and I, that that known of these clarity
22 institutions could hand out food to the army?
23 A. No, and in principle it didn't need to do so.
24 Q. Let us take a look together now at another document. Perhaps you
25 know some of these events. Can we look at document 2D 00283 now, please?
1 I think you'll be able to see it better on e-court because the copy is
2 rather bad. 2D 00283 is the document number. It doesn't seem to be that
3 document. It's a document of the 4th Corps command. Let's wait for it a
4 moment to appear on our screens. We need a bit more time but anyway,
5 thank you. I'm not in a panic over time. We can wait, afford to wait.
6 Have you found it in your binder, Witness, perhaps, so that we can
7 start off? It is 2D in my pink binder, 2D 00 -- here we have it. It's
8 come up on our screens now. Any way we see that it says 4th Corps
9 command. The date is rather important and it is the 11th of December 1992
10 and it says, "information about MTS in the port of Ploce is being sent out
11 by the 4th Corps to the Main Staff of the armed forces of the ABiH."
12 Now, do you recognise some of the events? It says please inform
13 the Merhamet of Sarajevo that in the port of Ploce for already two months
14 clothing and boots for Merhamet Sarajevo have already been stored there.
15 Nobody has taken over these resources and heavy duty has to be paid for
16 the goods remaining in the port. And then it says the above-mentioned
17 information we received from the representative of the Mostar Merhamet.
18 And then it goes on to say if the Sarajevo Merhamet is not able to take
19 over the goods, that it should be done by the Merhamet in Mostar. Now,
20 look at point 2 and that's why I asked you the question in the first place
21 about what the task of Merhamet was. It says up until now we have not
22 received any telefax linked to ensuring food for members of the 4th Corps,
23 and we checked out -- checked this out with the -- Merhamet and they tell
24 us that they didn't receive the shipment either. If it hasn't already
25 been sent, then send a telefax to the Mostar Merhamet and the number is
1 quoted, because the old telefax is -- fax machine is out of order. We can
2 see the signature, BD commander, 4th Corps, A Pasalic. Let me remind you
3 we are talking about the 11th of December 1992. Now, do you know why I'm
4 reminding you of that date? Because I know that in Mostar on the broader
5 region around it, in certain periods of time, there was a greater need for
6 food and that the army had a food supply shortage although I don't suppose
7 that this was the situation at this time. Now from this document, does it
8 emerge that Merhamet of Mostar supplied food to the BH army as well or,
9 rather, the 4th Corps, and did you know anything about that?
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry at this point, Ms. Nozica, I cannot
11 help being a bit astonished at seeing a document which purports to be a
12 written communication from the commander of an army corps written by hand.
13 I cannot remember having ever seen such a document from that
14 level, at least not in the 20th century. In the 19th, yes, I've seen it.
15 But is there any explanation?
16 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, a moment ago when the
17 Prosecution showed a similar document, you saw one written in hand, and it
18 was by a fairly high-ranking officer. That was a problem that was faced
19 in that period of time and we will encounter quite a few similar documents
20 written in hand but I'd like to ask the witness whether he can confirm
21 whether the signatory was indeed the person who occupied that post and
22 whether the witness knows anything about those events. If not, there will
23 be ample opportunity to go through documents of this kind, handwritten
24 ones, at a later date. Unfortunately my country this is not very rare, as
25 you say, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay. Let's leave it at that for the moment.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Arif Pasalic without a doubt was the
3 commander of the 4th Corps. There is nothing doubtful about that. Now,
4 what this is about I really can't say. I wasn't kept abreast.
5 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation].
6 Q. And you never heard about this shipment of clothing that was in
7 Ploce harbour for a long time? I thought you might know something about
9 A. Well, I had heard of many worse cases. 180 trucks of the Merhamet
10 had been seized, so as to boots and clothing, that's negligible, if you
11 compare it to this other instance.
12 Q. I'm not seeking about anything seized but he'll come to that I'm
13 going to speak about the reasons for things seizing things but if we go
14 back to point 3 of this document, we are dealing with the technical
15 reasons and shortcomings. It says, we consider that it is indispensable
16 to have representatives of government and the authorities in Ploce harbour
17 so that these errors committed in points 1 should not be repeated.
18 Especially since large quantities of food, fuel and other MTS, materiel
19 and technical equipment, passes through the port. Therefore, it is
20 necessary to keep in constant communication. So we are not talking about
21 seizing anything. We are talking about the fault on somebody's part for
22 not picking up the goods on time. So that's what this document is about
23 and you can confirm that. Now, whether you don't remember this incident,
24 please say so and we can move on.
25 A. I really don't remember. I can't comment on that.
1 Q. Very well. Thank you.
2 You --
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I just for the record note that this is not a
4 document which is addressed to Merhamet but it is addressed to the secret
5 service. So it's not evidence of direct contact between the army and
6 Merhamet. Is that correct?
7 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I read the heading and I
8 said to whom it was addressed. The 4th Corps sent it to the Main Staff of
9 the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
11 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation].
12 Q. Now let us move on to the last topic and the last document that I
13 have. You have just mentioned, now and before, that some convoys were
14 stopped. You seemed to know a lot about that. You said that you were
15 escorting a convoy yourself on the 29th of June when you were stopped in
16 Doljani. Please, did you know that there was -- there were occurrences of
17 abuse of these aid shipments that Merhamet sent to Bosnia-Herzegovina?
18 Before this incident where you were involved yourself, do you know that
19 sometimes weapons were transported in Merhamet lorries to Bosnia, together
20 with aid?
21 A. I did not say that we were stopped in Doljani. I said that we
22 were taken to Dretelj and arrested. Two of my colleagues remained in
23 Dretelj for a long time.
24 Q. Did you hear of abuses of aid convoys to transport weapons? I
25 know that your colleagues were detained in Dretelj, but you yourself were
1 released immediately. That's why I said you were stopped. Did you hear
2 of instances of abuse? And do you have any knowledge that such things
4 A. I suppose, like in any line of work, there was sometimes abuse,
5 but I'm sure that nothing could be transported to Bosnia without the
6 knowledge of Croatian authorities. It was a very porous and transparent
8 Q. Let us look at Exhibit? --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please repeat the number?
10 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation].
11 Q. This exhibit explains exactly what we've been discussing. 2D
12 00008. It's a large document and I'll go through this document with you
13 very quickly. This is a special report from the military police
14 administration, the section of general and traffic military police. The
15 date is 23rd February 1993. This document has many attachments. It says,
16 "on the 23rd of February 1993, at the Doljani check-point," that's the
17 same place where you were stopped, isn't it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. "The following vehicles were stopped. Licence plates of Gorazde,"
20 and we have the number, "with a trailer, transporting goods on the waybill
21 number" so and so, "transporting humanitarian aid for Merhamet Gorazde. A
22 detailed search at the military police administration, it was established
23 that the vehicles contained not only humanitarian aid but also military
24 equipment (weapons) specified in the attachment." Since these -- this
25 shipment reached Ljubuski, it's obvious that it did cross the border in
2 Can we look at the next page? It's a record of interview
3 conducted on the 25th of February 1993 and this is an interview with one
4 of the drivers who says -- can we scroll down a little? This driver was
5 questioned on the 25th of February and he says, I'll read this, "On the
6 12th of February," it's the second sentence in the second paragraph, "I
7 reported to Merhamet, Split to Suad Sogolj, brother of Sejo Sogolj." Did
8 you know these two persons named Sogolj?
9 A. I really don't know who that is.
10 Q. "Sejo Sogolj, whose vehicle I was driving, the three of us got
11 into the lorry together, went to Zagreb in order to load some humanitarian
12 aid. When we arrived in Zagreb, we reported at Sajmiste warehouse number
13 23. I didn't go into the warehouse, nor did I watch the goods being
14 loaded. I only heard that the inscription on the shipment indicated that
15 it contained medicines and some sort of humanitarian aid. After that we
16 went to Zitnjak and loaded the rest of the goods. Everything was
17 negotiated by Suad Sogolj, and I did not interfere in anything because I
18 was not interested."
19 The translation of this record of interview was in fact --
20 contains only the last page of the translation because there was some sort
21 of mistake when it was uploaded into e-court. The document is 2D 03021.
22 Another driver explains gives the same story approximately but he says,
23 "when I arrived in Zagreb, Ajanovic, Zejnil," second page, in Croatian,
24 it's 2D 03003, let the witness see it, if you have -- you have the binder,
25 but we in the courtroom also need to see it. 0003 are the last numbers.
1 The exhibit number is 2D 00008, page 3. Next page, please. There it is.
2 Zejnil Ajanovic is the second driver. Can we scroll down a little? A
3 little lower. There it is. He says, "When I arrived in Zagreb, I
4 immediately reported to Sajmiste, warehouse number 23 where I used to
5 collect humanitarian aid before. I reported to Suad Sogolj and there was
6 Sefko Omerbasic with him as well as Rizvanbegovic. The three of them had
7 prepared this humanitarian aid for Gorazde.
8 You know Mr. Omerbasic don't you?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. At that time -- he was just assisting Caritas at that time, and he
11 was working mainly with the Islamic community.
12 A. He was mainly working for the Croatian. He was the chief imam for
14 Q. Next page, please. Can we go through all the pages one by one?
15 The next page in Croatian is 2 in this attachment. He says, "I
16 transported weapons even earlier but on those occasions I had papers for
17 legal transportation of weapons. This time, however, I did not. I claim
18 that I did not know anything about it. And any explanation about these
19 weapons could only be given by Suad Sogolj, Rizvanbegovic, and Sefko
20 Omerbasic." Document 30177 contains a description of these weapons. If
21 we look at the next page of this document, and can we move on immediately
22 to the next page, to see the list of weapons? It's an impressive list.
23 We will go through it together. OSA two pieces, military sniper, three
24 pieces, under 6 we see semi-automatic rifle, PM. Isn't that
25 semi-automatic rifle? Four pieces. The witness is probably seeing this
1 in e-court.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] PM is not a semi-automatic
3 rifle. It's a light machine-gun.
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Praljak. I will no
5 longer try to decipher any abbreviations to avoid showing my ignorance
7 Q. Number 12, next page. Under number 12, we see an RPG, we see how
8 many pieces. Under number 3, Zolja hand-held rocket-launcher, six
9 pieces -- sorry, 16, then we have RPG shells, instantaneous RPG shells on
10 the next page we see PAP, although I know what it means, I won't say it.
11 It says 19 pieces. It's a semi-automatic rifle this time. On the next
12 page, it contains -- we see another list. Can we just go through this
13 list very, very quickly and go to photographs?
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Ms. Nozica, I wonder whether in view of a certain
15 tightness of time this is necessary because the witness is not an expert
16 on weapons, as far as I can tell, and he has not said that he has any
17 knowledge of this particular transport.
18 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think it is rather
19 important to discuss this with the witness who was a member of Merhamet
20 and who a personal experience of arrest, as he put it, and I'll accept his
21 term, because of the goods he was transporting. I think it is important
22 to establish that such incidents happened, that weapons were indeed
23 transported together with humanitarian goods. I am sorry if this is
24 taking time. I'm going to finish as soon as possible.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I fully accept that, absolutely. The question is
1 whether one has to go into details and count the grenades. One sees in
2 the pictures there is a lot of them. Isn't that enough?
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm doing this for your
4 benefit because you frequently insist on details. You have the pictures
5 in front of you but the witness doesn't and the rest of the courtroom
6 doesn't. That's why I really wanted to move on to the pictures, as far
7 as -- as quickly as possible.
8 Q. I don't know what the problem is, why we are moving through the
9 document so slowly. Can you go to -- move on to the pictures in your
10 binder and next page then, please go on through the document further on.
11 There it is. Can you please put this in e-court, these photographs, so
12 that we see what I am saying?
13 If we can see another two photographs and I won't insist any
14 further, yes, and one more, please. So we see all that is in this list of
15 weapons and my final question, which you have already answered in part,
16 such things were possible and they did happen, but you were aware of them.
17 Would you be notified if something like this happened.
18 A. I couldn't really know, because I went out to collect supplies of
19 humanitarian aid only two or three times.
20 Q. I didn't mean you personally and physically, but did Merhamet as
21 an organisation have some sort of central head office? Would you be
22 notified of such incidents?
23 A. I can tell you with full responsibility that we never received a
24 gram of flour from the Sarajevo Merhamet. We received more from Caritas.
25 And even if I had been the -- at the very top of Merhamet, I wouldn't have
1 been informed.
2 Q. But you were doing the job of Merhamet in Capljina?
3 A. No, no. My job was to be the imam, and I very occasionally got
4 involved in picking up supplies or procuring something from Merhamet or
6 Q. I wanted to show precisely this: That stopping these convoys was
7 justified because of these incidents.
8 A. No. You are saying that we were arrested because of commodities.
9 Can anybody be arrested because of flour? I know exactly why I was
10 arrested. It was not because of the commodities.
11 Q. No. I'm saying that it makes sense to stop convoys at the border
12 and to search the convoys.
13 A. Yes, but in our case, the goods were not searched and they were
14 not inspected before we were arrest.
15 Q. My colleague tells me that you testified yesterday that you were
16 a member -- just a minute. On page 18 of yesterday's record, you said
17 that you were a member of that body and that you were involved in
19 A. Yes, yes. That I did.
20 Q. That's precisely the reason why I asked you.
21 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] No further questions.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A brief question from me,
23 Witness. On the basis of the photographs, we see that this charity
24 organisation, and I'm going to use the conditional tense here, allegedly
25 carried arms. Now, with respect to your administrative function in the
1 Merhamet, can you give us an explanation for that, how that came about?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't think that
3 could have happened at all without the knowledge of the Croatian
4 authorities. Sometimes they would let through some goods, and then they
5 would stop it and then they would stop them and take them over. So things
6 like that happened. But not convoys and trucks of the Merhamet, but
7 probably some other truck.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We see photographs of trucks
9 there. We have the numbers of the licence plates too. Now, these trucks
10 were borrowed by Merhamet, lent out by them, or were they -- what were
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sure that the Merhamet didn't
13 have its own trucks. So for its services, it had to procure some trucks.
14 It didn't have its own trucks, at least I didn't know of any trucks that
15 it had in its possession, that it possessed.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When there were humanitarian
17 convoys, Caritas, Merhamet or any other charity organisation, wasn't it
18 the practice to place inscriptions up on the trucks carrying the goods
19 which would say, Caritas or Merhamet or whatever, or was that done without
20 any markings, any reference, to the organisation?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They did have some readily
22 recognisable markings so that people knew which organisation and
23 institution was involved. So they were marked. Yes, they were.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, judging by the photographs,
25 were there inscriptions on these trucks or not?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, obviously it was a
2 truck with a Gorazde registration plate and Gorazde was under siege for a
3 few years. It was under an encirclement. So most probably people fought
4 or tried to come by weapons in various ways. Otherwise they couldn't have
5 survived. Although in principle, of course, I don't justify meddling--
6 Merhamet's meddling and involvement in things like that, if it did do
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the time, as a religious man
9 with a responsible post and member of the Merhamet, together with the
10 other responsible individuals, did you raise this type of problem? Did
11 you discuss it, that could throw a dark shadow over humanitarian
12 activities? And if you did discuss such issues, what measures did you
13 take to prevent this type of thing happening?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I didn't talk to
15 anybody, nor was I kept abreast of anything like this going on. I didn't
16 have the need to be involved in anything like that because where I was
17 people were in the HVO ultimately. They were armed. So I didn't have to
18 deal with any issues of that nature.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 Next Defence counsel.
21 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, General Praljak has a
22 few questions about the events that took place at that time.
23 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Good afternoon,
25 Your Honours.
1 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
2 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Praljak.
3 Q. To start off with, let me ask you this: While you were in Gabela,
4 was it more difficult for you to suffer impingements of your dignity or
5 the fact that you were in prison and you had to contend with the hardships
6 that prevailed under those conditions?
7 A. I personally found it more difficult to feel that I had been
8 degraded and suffer degradation because I myself wasn't physically abused,
10 Q. My question is this, then: I hope you'll understand that I'm
11 going to ask you some broader questions about what went on in 1992 and
12 1993, and that my questions do not want to minimise what happened to you,
13 certainly not.
14 A. I understand. You can ask me whatever you wish.
15 Q. Now, it's always difficult for me to fully prepare for my
16 questions if we don't have a pause. Let's clarify the arrival of
17 Brigadier Dzanko down there, and the Presiding Judge, Judge Antonetti,
18 asked you, and you confirmed that, that Dzanko emphasised that he had come
19 there on a private visit; isn't that right?
20 A. Yes, that's what he said, yes.
21 Q. But we did not clarify the question of what he was saying when he
22 said he came to visit some soldiers who were with him, who had been with
23 him. Is that what he said?
24 A. Well, he didn't say that. Obviously he had come to visit the camp
25 and the detainees but among those detainees there were some of his former
1 soldiers. That's how I understood it.
2 Q. Now, do you know that at the beginning of the aggression against
3 Croatia in 1991, there were a lot of Bosniak Muslims, I'm going to use
4 both terms, Bosniaks and Muslims, because we are referring to that period
5 of time, that many of them voluntarily came to enlist in the Croatian
6 army? Do you know that? To join up.
7 A. Yes. I know many of them who fought as volunteers on the Croatian
8 side [as interpreted].
9 Q. Do you know that they had residence in Bosnia-Herzegovina and were
10 over there either doing labour work, kingon [phoen] construction sites,
11 ship-building yards or whatever?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you know that brigadier Dzanko led operations in the south of
14 Dubrovnik or to the south of Dubrovnik, Slano, or for instance --
15 A. No. I don't know that. I'm not aware of that. But I assumed he
16 was somewhere on the southern battle front any way, that he engaged in
17 fighting on the southern front somewhere.
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, just a very slight
19 intervention. On page 50, line 1, the witness said that he knew that
20 Bosniak Muslims voluntarily fought on the Croatian side. That is what it
21 says on the transcript. It says in the Croatian army. The HV. The
22 witness said in Croatia, in Croatia. Perhaps you could repeat that,
24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation].
25 Q. You meant the Croatian army?
1 A. In Croatia.
2 Q. Yes. In the Croatian army, you mean?
3 A. Yes, of course.
4 Q. With good reason, can we assume that Dzanko, Brigadier Dzanko,
5 asked about those soldiers, the ones who were in the Croatian army, and
6 then crossed over later on, after the conflict ceased in Croatia, and
7 there was a truce, that they moved to the HVO and to Bosnia-Herzegovina?
8 A. I didn't even think about that. It wasn't vital, as far as I was
9 concerned. He just mentioned it in passing. It was quite clear to me why
10 he was there. Now, this didn't trouble me where the soldiers were or even
11 who they were. I wasn't interested in that at all at the time.
12 Q. Do you know that the soldiers who were in the Croatian army and
13 were originally from Bosnia-Herzegovina, both Croats and Muslim Bosniaks,
14 after the truce at the beginning of 1992 in Croatia, in large numbers
15 returned to Bosnia-Herzegovina and joined the HVO units and the BH army
16 when Bosnia and Herzegovina was attacked?
17 A. Yes. I'm aware of that.
18 Q. Thank you. We've clarified that point now about Dzanko.
19 I'd like you now just quickly to look at 1992. In the spring, the
20 JNA arrived in Stolac and the Dubrave plateau; is that correct? 1992, the
21 spring of 1992 I'm asking you about.
22 A. No. I don't think that is correct. They arrived in the autumn,
23 did they not?
24 Q. The autumn of 1991?
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. And then the reservists from Montenegro arrived?
2 A. Yes. That was roughly what it was like.
3 Q. Is it also correct that when they entered the Dubrave plateau,
4 those units, that the Croatian Defence Council put up some sort of
6 A. I think a joint resistance was put up by the Bosniaks, the
7 Bosniaks put up resistance, and they were not part of the HVO at the time.
8 If you're talking about the events at Domanovici, when the JNA attacked
9 Mostar and so on.
10 Q. Yes. Now, is it correct that after the arrival of these
11 reservists, the Croats moved out of the area, they fled?
12 A. I do know about that. Some did, some did not.
13 Q. But most of them did. Did the majority leave?
14 A. Well, I think you could put it that way. We could say that they
15 did, yes.
16 Q. Would it also be correct to say that when the reservists started
17 drinking and shooting around in 1992, the spring of 1992, around Stolac
18 and Dubrave plateau, that between 12.000 and 15.000 Muslims left that area
19 and went either to Dalmatia, Western Herzegovina or wherever. Any way,
20 across the river Neretva and Bregava down there. Is that right?
21 A. Yes, it is correct but I'm not sure of the exact figures.
22 Q. All right. Thank you. Is it also correct that at the time, you
23 also went to the island of Brac to join your family?
24 A. No my family did but I left 40 days later.
25 Q. All right. Now, at the time, you and the members of your family
1 or anybody else whom you happened to talk to of your parishioners tell you
2 that they had any kind of negative emotional or structural attitude
3 towards Muslims in the area?
4 A. Well, I didn't have to wait for anybody to tell me that. I was
5 convinced of that, and that's how I experienced it, too.
6 Q. So they took you in with an open heart. Can we put it that way?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And with a pure spirit?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, from other areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina, after the Serbian
11 aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina, already at that time in Croatia,
12 was -- were there hundreds of thousands of refugees from
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Muslims and Croats alike, of course?
14 A. Probably there was a very large number. I know that on one
15 particular day, some people arrived, 5.000 of them, in one day, and they
16 had been held up at Ilidza. So yes, that was correct. And I was in Split
17 at the time, let me just tell you.
18 Q. Is it also correct that Croatia, who was -- a third of which was
19 occupied and at all intents and purposes destroyed, the electricity
20 system, its companies, and so on, found accommodation for those refugees
21 in all the available hotels and facilities, holiday homes, camps that it
22 had at its disposal, in private houses; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, yes, the best possible accommodation under the circumstances
24 was provided to these people.
25 Q. Now, with respect to feeding the population, humanitarian
1 organisations later joined in and the UNHCR. Would that be correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Do you know if anybody had to pay for electricity or water or
4 garbage disposal or any other utilities and things that somebody has to
5 pay for in a country? Did anybody have to pay for services of that kind
6 in Croatia, do you know about that, any of these people who came in?
7 A. I know that some humanitarian organisations, Arabic ones to begin
8 with, did pay some rent to certain families but I think that was
9 negligible if we look at the collective accommodation and the -- for the
10 vast majority of the expelled and displaced population.
11 Q. Do you know of a single case where somebody, a Bosniak Muslim, who
12 was a refugee or displaced person from Bosnia-Herzegovina, at any time had
13 to pay for any medical care and attention that he might need -- have
14 needed in Split, Zagreb, Rijeka, Pula, and so on?
15 A. I really don't know. I myself was in good health so I didn't have
16 to ask for any medical aid but I don't think there were any difficulties
17 in that respect.
18 Q. I'd like now to go back for a moment, if I may, to the
19 word "collaboration" that you used, that the SDA had with the HVO and I'd
20 like to ask you the following: Do you know that the president, or,
21 rather, member of the Executive Board of the SDA of Stolac, Mr. Alija
22 Rizvanbegovic, was excluded from the SDA because he was accused of not
23 working hard enough, especially to organise the Muslims militarily before
24 the Chetniks entered Stolac where he refused any cooperation with the
25 Croats, who insisted on the joint defence -- a joint defence for Stolac
1 before the Chetniks entered, later on created, set up his own authority
2 in Stolac, with the Serbs? Are you aware of that? Do you know about
4 A. I know that something was going on. Now, what form that authority
5 and governance took, I don't know. In my view, he played a very negative
6 role at the time.
7 Q. Do you agree with me that even before the war, and during the war,
8 it is truth that is killed fastest by everyone?
9 A. Yes, but the truth dies last.
10 Q. You mean hope dies last?
11 A. Well, hope and truth, let me tell you.
12 Q. Were you even then able to follow the dissatisfaction rising among
13 some Croats over the collaboration of Mr. Rizvanbegovic with the Croats in
15 A. I cannot tell you anything about the developments in Stolac
16 because I had no contact with them. I don't think I even travelled there
17 at the time.
18 Q. Then you probably don't know --
19 A. I know what happened when the JNA arrived and, of course, I don't
20 approve of that.
21 Q. You don't know that that gentleman organised the setting up of
22 barricades when the HVO, together with some Muslims who had prepared to
23 defend Stolac, organised the defence of the town?
24 A. At that time, I wasn't there. I couldn't really comment on that.
25 It's possible, in view of all that happened in Stolac, that is a
1 possibility, but I really can't comment.
2 Q. Do you know that this same gentleman later became the main
3 ideologist of the Bregava Brigade comprised exclusively of Bosniak men,
5 A. That's a possibility but, you know, I don't even know that man. I
6 really don't know him.
7 Q. All right. All right. It's a very simple answer. You don't know
8 and that's it.
9 The indictment here starts with the so-called agreement on the
10 division of Bosnia between the Croatian president, Franjo Tudjman, and
11 Slobodan Milosevic. Was it simple, within the framework of that alleged
12 agreement, for all Bosniak Muslim refugees, in Croatia, to be sent to the
13 western borders with Hungary, Austria and Italy, and to be told, we have
14 no room for you. We have a war on our hands. Europe is free; they don't
15 have a war there. Would that have been logical?
16 A. I don't know what the plan was. All I know was that Muslims did
17 go to third countries.
18 Q. According to the information that you have, is it the case that
19 over a million and a half people were displaced from Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina in different ways?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you know that Croatia was simply unable to admit 1 million and
23 a half but it did admit 250.000 to 300.000 people, and many others passed
24 through on their way to third countries?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Wouldn't it have been logical, in the June of 1993, to simply
2 prohibit entry to all Bosniaks, all Muslims, who had fled from the Dubrave
3 plateau, to burn all the mosques, and to implement that alleged agreement
4 between Karadzic and Boban, made in Graz?
5 A. Well in my eyes, it's into the an alleged agreement because I
6 heard the participants say on TV that that agreement was reached and what
7 the agreement was concerning Neretva and the left bank of the Neretva.
8 Q. Well, then, can you explain to me why I, Petkovic [as
9 interpreted], led an attack across the Neretva when the Neretva was the
10 border both in Mostar and here, because we were renegades from the
11 accepted policy or because it was our own initiative? How would you
12 explain that?
13 A. I have an explanation. I think the areas of interest were already
14 divided. It was already well established what should be under the control
15 of the HVO and what was to be under the control of the Serbs. We, the
16 Bosniaks, had no place there.
17 Q. Well, I can accept that it is your opinion, but we have to follow
18 some sort of logic. If an agreement was signed saying that the Neretva is
19 the border, then why would I be leading an attack in Mostar targeting the
20 other bank? Why would Croats and Muslims both have to lay down their
21 lives? Why would Croats and Muslims, if it had been agreed that Stolac
22 belongs to the Serbs, all go back if there is an agreement that this is an
23 ethnic Croatian area? The logic fails us. Where does it fail us here?
24 A. I don't know that -- I know that two Bosniaks got killed. I know
25 that none of the Serbs were killed. I don't know about the Croats. I
1 know that the agreement was already reached then. I know that the spheres
2 of interests had been divided.
3 Q. Very well. We heard a document read out here saying that only a
4 Bivolje Brdo, Bivolje hill, three persons were killed but I'm not going to
5 go into that with you.
6 Do you know that the port of Ploce at the time when humanitarian
7 aid was going to Bosnia-Herzegovina, shipped over 700.000 tonnes of
8 commodities to Bosnia and Herzegovina, including to the Muslim
10 A. Yes. I know that. I know even the person at the port who
11 dispatched that, who was in charge of this. His name was Martin Ragus.
12 Q. So it was 700.000 tonnes and that is equivalent to 70.000 lorries
13 with a capacity of 10.000 tonnes.
14 A. Yes, I suppose so.
15 Q. There were certain problems with certain convoys, but 70.000
16 lorries passed. Do you know that it was only with under 5 per cent of
17 lorries that there were any problems?
18 A. All I know is that the only convoys that were safe were those
19 organised by the UNHCR. All the others were not safe. In some places in
20 western Herzegovina, incidents happened where they would unload goods from
21 180 trucks in one go.
22 Q. You know about that?
23 A. I know about the Tuzla convoy.
24 Q. We have discussed the Tuzla convoy many times in this courtroom,
25 and the Trial Chamber knows that 90 per cent of that convoy did pass
1 through, although with difficulty. My question is this: Is it the case
2 that everything that was good was not the subject of discussion but the
3 few scary stories circulate add great deal and were given a great deal of
4 publicity. Isn't that the psychology of war?
5 A. Mr. Praljak, you are talking about this practice to stop Merhamet
6 convoys as if it were something unusual, an individual incident, but it
7 was just normal practice.
8 Q. When you underload 700.000 tonnes in just one port in Croatia or
9 in four ports in Croatia, 700.000 tonnes of humanitarian aid, and that is
10 equivalent to 70.000 lorries carrying 10.000 tonnes each, I did the
11 calculation, only under 5 per cent of those lorries ever encountered any
12 problems. Let us change tack. The army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in end
13 1992 or maybe early 1993, as we heard from the chief of the Main Staff of
14 ABiH, General Sefer Halilovic, numbered 220.000 men -- sorry, no,
15 General Petkovic corrects me, 261.500 men. Do you know of this number and
16 do you know of this statement by General Halilovic, that was the strength
17 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in early 1993?
18 A. They may have had the men but they were not a force because they
19 did not have enough weapons due to the embargo from both sides. They were
20 simply not armed. They had the numbers, maybe, but not the strength, not
21 the force.
22 Q. Never mind. We'll leave that to military experts. But do you
23 know that the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina had tanks, helicopters,
24 howitzers, mortars, that de facto the greatest number of these men had
25 rifles, semi-automatic rifles, otherwise how would they have put up
2 A. Yes. They did have some of those things, but compared to the
3 forces they were fighting, it was negligible. It was nil.
4 Q. Can you imagine any channel for the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
5 to get its military supplies except through Croatia, with the knowledge of
6 Croatia, and with the help of Croatia, with the help of the Croatian
7 Community of Herceg-Bosna and the HVO? Do you know of any other
9 A. Yes. Most of the arms shipments came through Croatia. It was the
10 most available, the most open one.
11 Q. Well, if it was the most open, then there were other channels that
12 were open. Which would you tell us?
13 A. Well, things could also be bought from Serbs, at least that's what
14 I heard, although for a lot of money.
15 Q. Is it the truth that these convoys also carried fuel and oil for
16 the requirements of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, without any delay,
17 without any hindrance?
18 A. I don't know. Some quantities possibly did pass.
19 Q. Very well. I would now like to go back to the beginning of
20 democratic changes in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Is it correct that Mr. Alija
21 Izetbegovic was imprisoned twice in Tito's Yugoslavia?
22 A. Yes. I know he was arrested twice.
23 Q. Is it the case that under that communist regime he fought for the
24 rights of what was then the still unrecognised Muslim nation, Muslim
1 A. Yes. He fought for democracy and human rights.
2 Q. Do you know that while in prison, as a political thinker, he wrote
3 a document titled, "The Islamic Declaration."
4 A. Yes, I know that book.
5 Q. Do you know that on the eve of the first parliamentary elections,
6 when Mr. Alija Izetbegovic was already the leader of the Party of
7 Democratic Action, the SDA, his book was printed with a circulation of
8 200, 250.000 copies and distributed among the members of the SDA?
9 A. I don't know that. I had that book but I bought it myself.
10 Q. Is it the case that this book, "the Islamic Declaration," by
11 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, envisages struggle for a civic state until Muslims
12 in Bosnia-Herzegovina form 50 per cent of the population, whereupon an
13 Islamic state would be instituted? Was that the political platform?
14 A. No. I don't know anybody in Bosnia-Herzegovina who could call
15 himself an academic or a scientist and who thought that way.
16 Q. I'm asking you something else. Does the book say what I just
17 quoted? Is that written in the book, explicitly in our language, or do
18 you not remember?
19 A. Well, it's been quite a while since I read the book but I know
20 that that sort of thinking was not the thinking of Alija Izetbegovic. I'm
21 sure of that.
22 Q. Look, when a book, on the eve of very important structural changes
23 for a state, is printed in 250.000 copies and the author of such a book is
24 the leader of the Muslim Bosniak population, isn't that book considered to
25 be a political manifesto in scientific and academic circles?
1 A. You said that -- you said yourself that under the communist
2 regime, Alija Izetbegovic was imprisoned twice. That book could not even
3 have been printed before. That's why it was printed when it was. I know
4 that we had problems, we who reviewed it, I think, Mr. Filipovic was the
5 one who reviewed it. Those were difficult, hard times.
6 Q. When a book like that is written in prison it is written by a
7 citizen fighting for a certain political idea, would that be right, a
8 citizen, a citizen, and in this case, it was a citizen named Alija
9 Izetbegovic writing, and when it is published, when it is printed, then
10 Mr. Izetbegovic at the same time was the leader of the Bosniak Muslim
11 people; is that correct? Just tell us whether that was the same time that
12 the book came out in 250.000 copies?
13 A. Well, I don't know whether it coincides exactly but thereabouts.
14 Q. Tell me, please, the Bosniak Muslims, intellectuals, sociologists,
15 philosophers, political science experts from Islamic community, from
16 different political parties, anybody, did anybody publicly oppose the
17 stands and positions put forward in that book? Do you know of any such
18 case, or that he questioned Mr. Izetbegovic's positions?
19 A. I don't know that anybody did that and I don't think it was
20 necessary either. I did not see in it what you saw in it.
21 Q. You're an educated man. Do you know that a social -- a
22 sociopolitical climate is made up of many more positions, viewpoints,
23 sentiments, emotions, and so on and so forth, than actual facts, hard
24 facts that can be studied in our rooms with books? Can our nations have
25 perceptions of things that might be wrong but where the emotions are
1 strong, groups, individuals and a whole ethnic group, a whole nation,
2 would that be correct?
3 A. It is true that people have certain prejudicial opinions and
4 perceptions and that they can have negative effects on trends but I don't
5 think that you could class Alija Izetbegovic in that category. He did
6 have prejudices, but --
7 Q. Regardless of that, do you think that the Croatian people in
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, for instance, as far as they were concerned, when they
9 saw a book of that kind come out with those positions and stands, did they
10 cause negative perceptions to arise and a feeling that they might be
11 jeopardised, they might be in jeopardy in a state of that kind. Whether
12 they thought so rightly or wrongly, but do you allow that those are the
13 sentiments that might prevail?
14 A. Yes. That is possible, if they listened to what other people say
15 about the book. But if they read the book themselves then I'm sure they
16 would draw the proper conclusions.
17 Q. Mr. Kajmovic, let's look at it this way: The Koran is a holy book
18 for the Muslims; is that right?
19 A. Without a doubt, yes.
20 Q. Now, does that book address religious, moral and sociopolitical
21 systems in society for those people who believe in that book? That is to
22 say, religious, moral and socio-political organisations and systems, laws
23 or let me express my better the legal and political setup of a country?
24 A. The Koran is first of all a moral code, a moral code of conduct.
25 It also deals with some legal issues and in a way it regulates the life of
1 the individual and the community. So you could put it that way.
2 Q. Do you accept my claim that -- or assertion that I have read the
3 Koran, well-intentioned, and I know its moral fibre? Do you accept that
4 from me as a fact? Do you believe me?
5 A. I don't doubt it for one moment.
6 Q. One of the witnesses that was here before you - he was an imam,
7 too; I don't want to mention his name - in 1992, in Capljina, used
8 publicly the word -- or, rather, for Muslims he said the Koran was the
9 constitution and the jihad was the road? I know what in the Koran
10 interpretation jihad means. Now, my question to you is as follows: Tell
11 me, at that time, with all the turbulent times that we experienced, to
12 utter such a very strong word, which 99.99 per cent of the population does
13 not understand, can you imagine what negative repercussions that causes
14 with another ethnic group? Such as the Croats, for example? So that's my
15 first question. Do you know about that? Can you understand that that can
16 be the case and conceive of something like that?
17 A. Can I -- may I give my assessment or do you want me to just give a
18 yes or no answer?
19 Q. Mr. Kajmovic, I know the meaning and sense of what he was saying,
20 so as far as I'm concerned, you don't have to explain it to me. But what
21 I was asking you was this: What would the perceptions be of what was said
22 on people who didn't know what he had in mind? Would it be negative?
23 A. It can only be negative.
24 Q. Right, it can only be negative. Now, do you also know from that
25 how much energy one must invest in order to suppress those -- that kind of
1 negative reaction amongst your own people, in your own ethnic group, in
2 order to prevent an emotional aggression on the part of individuals? Do
3 you know how much talk, philosophical explanations and energy generally
4 must be invested or needed to be invested at that time in Capljina, I had
5 to do a lot of shouting and everything else, to quell some 20 youths who
6 would like to react in some way?
7 MR. KRUGER: Your Honour --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course, of course. And
9 individuals have to make their contribution. Individuals and institutions
10 must do their utmost to prevent such outbreaks from taking place and for
11 the right kind of communication to be able to take place between people,
12 individuals and so on.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kruger?
14 MR. KRUGER: Thank you, Your Honour. Sorry to interrupt the
15 cross-examination but, with respect, it's gone on for a long time and the
16 discussion may be interesting but I don't know whether it really advances
17 or whether it is really relevant to the case. It requires a lot of
18 speculation on the part of the witness. Thank you, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you.
20 It's quite true, Mr. Praljak, you are taking the witness down
21 hypothetical roads, successive cascade of hypotheticals and one might well
22 ask oneself what the usefulness of it all is.
23 And any way it's 5.30, it's time for our break, and we reconvene
24 in 20 minutes' time, at 10 to 6.00, which will give us until 7.00 and then
25 we'll have to finish.
1 --- Recess taken at 5.30 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 5.52 p.m.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed. I don't
4 know if Mr. Praljak has any more questions to ask because there are other
5 Defence teams that are waiting to cross-examine.
6 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have been
7 given time from the Defence counsel up until 25 minutes to 7.00, when
8 Ms. Alaburic will continue.
9 So I would like to provide an answer first to Mr. Kruger. I owe
10 him an answer why the presentation of things of this kind are necessary,
11 and -- well, because they are founded in the indictment. The indictment
12 starts with 1991 and it speaks about the structured quality of the
13 opinions and minds of the Croatian leadership with a view to doing
14 everything that it says in the indictment to the Bosniak Muslim
15 population. And in that same indictment, I think it was the third
16 protagonist is, Mr. -- Mr. Kruger, is my name as a third protagonist.
17 Now, secondly the society is made up of political views, cultural views,
18 artistic views, emotions, a "Weltanshauung" generally, and every society,
19 an organised society, a democratic society, at times has to fight
20 anomalies which rise to the surface and we are witnesses of that if we
21 watch the news every day, whether there are rebellions from the black
22 population of America or the French citizens of Islamic origin rising up
23 or whatever. Without an understanding of things like that, the things we
24 are discussing here now, in my profound opinion, we cannot understand the
25 spiral of war, and how it overflows and how retaliation comes about. But
1 the law is there to punish, to punish when the physical laws are not
2 abided by and that is why there are so many people who, for different
3 reasons, do not recognise that the law exists. War leads to changes in
4 social systems. There is aggression, there is serious destruction, social
5 and state organisations no longer exist and therefore it is an ideal
6 breeding ground for bringing rise to more individuals with more energy and
7 groups to become multiplied which in times of that kind, where morale is
8 at a low ebb, act according to only their own laws and their own
9 assessments and evaluations, which most frequently lead to what the
10 witness experienced himself, Mr. Kajmovic.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Praljak, I think that was a very good key
12 word what you mentioned, what the witness experienced himself. And that's
13 what he's here to speak about. He is one stone of a wall the Prosecution
14 tries to build. I admire your rhetoric. You have more than a page now in
15 this speech but this is really to let the witness not give opinions of
16 whether he agrees with you or not but to tell us what he actually lived.
17 And I think the Prosecution has opined in saying you go quite, quite far
18 away from that. So may I recall that we have decided that the accused
19 also can ask questions regarding facts where they were personally present
20 and that the very general discourse which we hear, not for the first time,
21 I think, does not help the Chamber. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, if you wish to be
23 of assistance to the Chamber, and if you wish to put forward your Defence
24 case, then you must focus on the witness who is here and above all, the
25 documents that were presented to the witness and to the witness testimony,
1 because he told us some important things about what went on in Gabela and
2 the responsibility of each instance from the commander upwards, civilian,
3 military and political leaders, and in those -- all those authorities
4 played a role. So that is what we are interested in, in particular. Of
5 course, it's very interesting to hear your voice about the Koran. That's
6 also interesting but the fact is we are in a judicial system in which the
7 Judges are going to have to form an opinion and pronounce themselves on
8 responsibility and accountability. So if you waste your time, you will
9 not be contributing to your own Defence case. That's what we wish to
10 tell you. What you're saying is very interesting but very interesting on
11 an intellectual level. But that's not going to help you or further your
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have not
14 heard the Prosecutor ask the witness yet from any crime base aspect
15 whether he knows whether Praljak was in such and such a place at such and
16 such a time or someone else, or whether the witness knows I took part in
17 such and such, whether he has any evidence to prove it or whether he heard
18 about this, whether he knew me earlier, whether he knew my work in the
19 area. None of those questions were asked by the Prosecutor. We didn't
20 hear anything like that being asked.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Praljak, not by you so far and you've had the
22 floor for a long time.
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Very well. Then I can
24 finally ask that question. And I will.
25 Now, regardless of everything, can we put on the ELMO -- for the
1 benefit of Mr. Kajmovic, could you please take this and put it on the
2 ELMO? It was exhibited as Exhibit 3D 00322. I will ask the witness
3 whether he knows anything about it.
4 Q. You heard about the crime in Ahmici, haven't you, on the 16th of
5 March 1993? Sorry, 16th April, 1993.
6 A. Yes. I know the whole truth about that.
7 Q. Would you please open and show us on the ELMO the first thing, the
8 crime committed against Croats in Doljani, Jablanica municipality, 3D
9 13-00178. The first yellow page. On the 28th of July 1993, in Doljani, I
10 will never say Bosniaks or Muslims but I will say some people, some units,
11 killed 63 Croats. Do you know anything about that crime? Have you ever
12 heard anything about it?
13 A. Yes, I know enough to form an opinion.
14 Q. Please open Konjic, 3D 13-0181. In Konjic, in the spring of 1993,
15 according to our information, the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or
16 rather it's 4th Corps, mounted an attack and expelled Croats, and there
17 were 85 victims. Do you know about that case in Konjic?
18 A. I know about all the mass killings in Herzegovina, I think, in
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
20 Q. Could you now open 3D 13-0193, that's Bugojno. Next page, please.
21 Next page. Leaf through it. The overall list of those killed is 118.
22 Did you know about this case as well?
23 A. Yes. About that one and some others, also in Bugojno.
24 Q. I won't go on. There were 45 killed in Zenica, again in spring
25 1993, Kiseljak, 35. My question is, and I think that's a question that
1 has to be asked, is it impossible to prevent the repercussions of such
2 events within the body of one nation? Is it impossible to prevent the
3 effect of such events on a nation?
4 A. Of course, I am horrified over such crimes but I don't see them as
5 justifying other crimes against other people.
6 Q. I'm not talking about justification or alibis. I make that
7 reservation at the very beginning. There is no justification for a crime,
8 except those that criminals make for themselves.
9 A. I cannot accept that at all.
10 Q. The fact that we do not accept justification and we believe there
11 can be no justification means that we should construct a world without any
12 crimes. My question is: Is that possible? How can you stop it? Do you
13 understand what I mean?
14 A. What we need to create is an environment where a criminal cannot
15 get the upper hand and an appropriate philosophy of living.
16 Q. That Konjic man that you told us about, the Konjic man from your
17 story, the sadist who beat people, he does not represent all the people of
18 Konjic. We have one deviant person. How can you stop him? Is that an
19 understandable question that arises in the mind of everyone who ever tried
20 to stop the spiral of war?
21 A. Doubtlessly somebody was responsible and duty-bound to stop him
22 and others like him.
23 Q. We'll move on. You must know certain things even as a regular
24 citizen. Was the mosque in Capljina destroyed?
25 A. No. It's not destroyed. It was damaged a bit on the inside.
1 Q. Was the Orthodox Church in Capljina destroyed?
2 A. I don't think so.
3 Q. Was the mosque in Pocitelj destroyed after the Dayton Accords when
4 the armies were at ease, so to speak?
5 A. I don't know. It wasn't destroyed before my arrest and I can't
6 say anything about Pocitelj.
7 Q. When you went and tried to Visevice and were stopped by the
8 police, was that after the Dayton Accords?
9 A. Yes, certainly.
10 Q. So after the Dayton Accords, after the truce, the atmosphere still
11 reigned wherein you were stopped by the authorities?
12 A. Yes, of course I was. It was the HVO police with dogs.
13 Q. Please, are you aware of the fact -- I think it will be
14 interesting for the judges to hear this before taking the recess -- that
15 there is a Franciscan church in Capljina, the church of the Franciscan
16 order, do you know that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you know that by a decision of the Holy See and the bishop of
19 Mostar, as the executor of that decision, Mr. Ratko Peric, the Franciscans
20 should have -- were supposed to leave Capljina and other priests of
21 another order were supposed to take their place?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Do you know that despite this decision of the Pope, Catholic
24 believers in Capljina walled in the church, surrounded it with barbed wire
25 and defended it with arms? Do you know anything about that?
1 A. Yes. I think the door was really walled in. I don't know
2 anything about the rest.
3 Q. I'm telling you this because we need to understand the people who
4 lived there, those people who believe in that church, you know that
5 Catholics are good believers, go to church regularly, as far as you know,
6 is that true?
7 A. Yes, I know most of the people are good church-goers.
8 Q. You also know that the decisions of the Holy See are final and not
9 subject to appeal. When Rome speaks, that is final?
10 A. Yes. I know it's something like that although it's not really
12 Q. And despite that, do you know that the Franciscans are still in
13 Capljina to date and they won't be thrown out?
14 A. I don't know who is in Capljina. I know there are Franciscans
15 there. I suppose they are in Capljina as well.
16 Q. This little debate had a purpose and the purpose was to show
17 whether it was really possible to exert effective control over the
18 population of Herzegovina who won't even listen to the Pope.
19 Let us now go back to the part where you spoke about schooling in
20 Capljina and you said that a certain number of Muslim students rebelled
21 against the introduction of the Croatian syllabus and language in
23 A. Yes. The children rebelled against this.
24 Q. Please, is it true that in the constitution of Bosnia and
25 Herzegovina, it was said that the official language on the territory of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina was Serbo-Croat or Croatian-Serb until 1993?
2 A. The Serbo-Croat language was the official language, yes.
3 Q. Is it the case that the education system in Croatia had the
4 capacity to print the necessary textbooks and prepare the syllabi and the
5 programmes for Bosnia-Herzegovina?
6 A. Although the times were hard, print works were active. Some
7 important books were printed even at that time, including in Zagreb.
8 Q. Yes. Books that were printed in a thousand or so copies, but
9 textbooks, did we have at the time a grammar of the Bosnian language?
10 A. I don't know which time you're talking about, but not at the
11 beginning maybe.
12 Q. In 1992, let's say, did you have a grammar of the Bosnian
14 A. I suppose there was not. I don't know.
15 Q. Did you have a textbook on orthography, etymology, syntaxes, word
17 A. I don't know but in any case that doesn't mean you have to impose
18 somebody else's language on us. I would rather be illiterate than have
19 something imposed on me, something that I don't want.
20 Q. Do you know the children in Tuzla and Zenica, including Croatian
21 children, had tuition [as interpreted] in Serbo-Croat?
22 A. I wouldn't be surprised. There were things that were taught to
23 them in English or in German as well.
24 Q. Well, at that time in addition to the subjects that are neutral in
25 a way, chemistry, physics, maths, et cetera, in view of the very small
1 differences in syntax, wasn't it reasonable to accept the Croatian
2 language, at least in name, until you get the chance to call your language
3 the way you wanted? Was it an imposition that you couldn't get over?
4 A. Yes, it was. It meant to us the loss of our identity. Why didn't
5 you leave Serbo-Croat that existed before? I wouldn't have minded. I
6 would have continued to be literate.
7 Q. You say you were prepared to accept Serbo-Croat, with the Serbian
8 component in the first place?
9 A. Yes. That's the language I was taught in primary school. I
10 understand it perfectly and even now I don't consider it as a foreign
12 Q. At the time when Sarajevo was shelled, at the time when thousands
13 of people were being expelled, when Vukovar and Dubrovnik were in flames,
14 you thought it was better to accept Serbo-Croat than Croatian as a
15 temporary solution?
16 A. That's what I think. I would never accept Croatian, at any
18 Q. The Prosecutor asked you about newspapers, radio, and television.
19 While there was a repeater at Velez, did you ever feel any coercion from
20 the Croatian side? Were you ever prevented from freely watching
21 television Sarajevo or listening to Radio Sarajevo and reading newspapers
22 from Sarajevo while they were available?
23 A. Well, for a while, we watched TV Sarajevo, at the beginning it was
24 the JuTel television. Later on it became difficult and even impossible.
25 And, of course, we had to watch what we could receive, and we could
1 receive only Croatian channels, in order to have a minimum of information.
2 Otherwise we would have been incommunicado.
3 Q. Were the Croatian channels received even before the war in your
5 A. Yes, I think so.
6 Q. Tell me about the Croatian television radio and newspapers. Did
7 they provide you with exhaustive information on the crime in Ahmici? Was
8 it covered up or was it given publicity and discussed? How many times did
9 you hear about it?
10 A. If you mean television Zagreb, I think they gave it quite enough
11 publicity and they gave it fair coverage.
12 Q. Do you know about Trucina, near Konjic?
13 A. I know of some crimes were committed there but I don't know the
15 Q. On the 16th of April 1993, on the same day when the crime in
16 Ahmici was perpetrated against Muslims, there was another crime committed
17 in Trucina against Croats. Tell me, have you ever heard on Croatian
18 radio, television, or read in newspapers, about the crime in Trucina,
19 and, if you have, how many times compared to coverage of Ahmici at that
21 A. I really can't remember what I read. I read a lot at the time in
22 a variety of magazines, although the situation with newspapers was hard.
23 You could get hold of newspapers, but as to what I read where, I really
24 can't remember and tell you now.
25 Q. You spoke about imposition and about not being prepared to accept
1 the Croatian language. Do you know that in 1992, in Croatia, a special
2 classes, additional classes in Bosnian were organised for Muslim children,
4 A. Yes. I know.
5 Q. Would you be surprised to hear this position that I hold, and I
6 have to tell you that Mr. Kruger and the entire Prosecution often refer to
7 your country as Bosnia instead of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 A. Well, I didn't really notice that. As far as I'm concerned, my
9 country is called Bosnia-Herzegovina and I don't want to split it up but I
10 suppose they have become accustomed to that kind of thing because it
11 existed as Bosnia for a long time, for the longest period of time, in
13 Q. When Herzegovina was a separate area under Herceg Stjepan?
14 A. Yes, but I'm not in favour of separation. Bosnia and Herzegovina.
15 That's what I like to use. That term.
16 Q. I am, too, but if Bosnia existed as an independent state, did
17 Herzegovina from Herceg Stjepan exist as an independent unit under
19 A. Well, I don't know if we can open up this question of Herceg
20 Stjepan and his son who became converted to Islam. Who knows where we
21 would end up if we took that road.
22 Q. Bosnia is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina; is that right, a
23 geographical concept?
24 A. No. I was born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which has its AVNOJ
25 borders. That's where I was born. That's how I understand my country.
1 And that's my country as far as I'm concerned.
2 Q. Yes. We agree but just give me a simple answer to the question.
3 It's a very simple question. Part of Bosnia-Herzegovina is a geographical
4 concept and part of that is called Bosnia, made up of Bosnian Krajina,
5 Semberija, Posavina, Central Bosnia and eastern Bosnia and so on; is that
7 A. Well, it isn't correct, Mr. Praljak. I don't see Bosnia as a
8 geographical concept. I see it as a state, as the country that I was
9 born in and the country I live in. The sovereign state of
11 Q. Mr. Kajmovic, is Croatia, the state of Croatia, composed of- well,
12 let's take France. France is composed of Normandy, Provence, and so on.
13 It has its geographical concepts. We are not denying the state of France
14 as such we are just saying that there are parts that are called Provence,
15 Normandy and so on. Do we agree there?
16 A. No we don't. They are all Frenchmen and women, French.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, I must really intervene. This has
18 nothing to do with court proceedings. This is a personal litigation
19 between Mr. Praljak and the witness and both have different opinions about
20 something. It does not -- you're not under an obligation to assist the
21 Chamber. That I concede that. But this really contributes nothing,
22 nothing whatsoever to the task of the Chamber and it's really a waste of
23 time. I'm sorry to say so. My last intervention has not brought much
24 fruit, I'm afraid.
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Judge Trechsel,
1 I simply cannot agree because the Bosniaks, the Bosniaks,
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina is composed of two --
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Mr. Praljak, it's not about whether
4 you agree. Judge Prandler wants to say something.
5 JUDGE PRANDLER: Mr. Praljak, I really don't like to interrupt you
6 but I listened carefully and with patience as well but after my colleagues
7 here, the Presiding Judge Antonetti and also Judge Trechsel explained why
8 the Chamber is not very much helped by your questions so to say questions
9 quote unquote but I believe it is a kind of lecture, I am of course, as
10 being a Hungarian, I am very much interested in the history of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina and I know something about it. I also having -- I
12 graduated from history as well and I taught history and history of law.
13 But at the same time I really feel that it doesn't help the Chamber if we
14 are listening to you and your explanations about the language and about
15 the history, which I may have some comments, but it is not the very place
16 where we have to discuss the historical antecedents and problems in that
17 region of the world we have unfortunately we have been witnesses to. And
18 that's why I believe us and believe me that it would be better if you
19 would concentrate on those practical issues which are related to the case
20 here, and then to have the Bench really to go to -- and achieve a
21 consensus most favourable one for you and for all those who are involved
22 in this issue. So I thank you for your attention.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, as we are drawing
24 to the end of the year, it is the season of Christmas boxes, presents,
25 gifts. The Chamber invites you, during the holidays and days we have off,
1 to read all the judgements passed by the Tribunal. There are quite a few
2 of them but, as you have enormous working capacity, in reading those
3 judgements you will discover how the Judges work in order to arrive at
4 their conclusions, and if you look at all the decisions and rulings that
5 were made, and judgements made, you will see how history can be integrated
6 into judgements, and maybe when you've done that, you will come to realise
7 that at the level of questions, when you ask your questions, you might
8 think twice and proceed in a different way because as far as we are
9 concerned, it's very simple. At the end of this trial, we are going to
10 have to draw our own conclusions about the facts, whether there was
11 maltreatment in Gabela, et cetera. So we are going to have to determine
12 all those facts, and we are going to determine the chain of responsibility
13 based on witness testimonies, based on orders, documents and so on. So
14 then, as far as you're concerned, we are going to see whether the --
15 whether what happened in Gabela was any of your responsibility. We are
16 going to have to rule on that ultimately and that is how we work. That is
17 how a Trial Chamber functions.
18 Now, you've taken almost one hour discussing historical matters,
19 language and linguistical problems, Serbo-Croatian, Croato-Serbian,
20 whatever, now I'm telling you, I'm giving you this advice, read the
21 judgements, Blaskic, Kordic, et cetera, Naletelic, and you will see how
22 the Judges work.
23 Mr. Karnavas you were on your feet.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President, thank you,
25 Your Honours. I certainly don't wish to interrupt but perhaps I may be of
1 some assistance. We do appreciate the judicial hint that we just
2 received. I think it's always helpful for the Trial Chamber to guide us
3 when we get carried away. Of course, on those rare occasions as we tend
4 to do. Perhaps Mr. Praljak could identify the topics that he wishes to
5 discuss and get some guidance as to those topics, whether those topics
6 would be relevant in assisting you and then topics that are not relevant,
7 then he can perhaps present in another -- with other witnesses.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I may add an observation: I fully accept that
9 history has a certain role to play. What I find difficult to accept is
10 that instead of putting a question to the witness and then awaiting his
11 answer and then going to the next question. Take an example with
12 Mr. Karnavas, he puts a question, he says, yes, no, I don't know, I have
13 forgotten, and sometimes Mr. Karnavas puts a question and we know he
14 accepts -- he expects the witness to say yes. The witness says no. Then
15 comes the next question. You, Mr. Praljak, when the witness says no, and
16 you expect yes, you continue with him and try to persuade him. You argue
17 with him. And this is what makes us lose time because we are not here to
18 teach the witness a lesson. We are just picking his memory and that's
19 all. And that I would like you to accept, please.
20 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes, I have
21 accepted that. I just asked about the geography of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
22 not challenging the statehood of Bosnia-Herzegovina. We'll come to that
23 in due course on the basis of documents, my own documents and so on. All
24 I wanted to do was to link up a province of Bosnia-Herzegovina with the
25 Bosnian language. But we'll skip that.
1 With questions of this kind I just wanted to help us arrive not
2 only at the chain of command, which is quite simple in its structure, but
3 what I wanted to show was, and these questions served that purpose, was
4 what the power of the chain of command was, how powerful it was. Without
5 explanations of this kind we won't be able to do that. Now my last
6 question of the witness.
7 Q. Tell me, Mr. Kajmovic, I was down there in the spring of 1992
8 myself, and after that, but tell me, while I was there, while I was in the
9 area, did you ever hear, that's how we can put it, did you ever hear that
10 I ever said anything or acted in any way in order to produce evil or that
11 by my words and deeds I produced evil?
12 A. I couldn't say anything specific, really I couldn't.
13 Q. All right. We can have that as an answer too. Now, I've read the
14 indictment, Your Honours, of course, and the complexity, the terrible
15 complexity of all this is that we mustn't reduce it to models of extreme
16 simplicity where the truth eludes us. I don't want to argue. I was
17 there. I know the problems on the ground. And not only the structure of
18 the chain of command but how much power the chain of command had or did
19 not have. And through the witness I wish to show how much power existed,
20 how it burgeoned, how it was diminished, how groups started working.
21 Without that I cannot make my contribution to a just judgement.
22 Thank you, Your Honours. Thank you, Mr. Kajmovic. We just didn't
23 understand ourselves -- each other over geography, I think?
24 A. No problem.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There is a question from the
2 JUDGE MINDUA: It's not a question, actually, it's just a brief
3 remark that I would like to make following on from what the other judges
4 have already told Mr. Praljak. Of course, it was very interesting to
5 listen to you and I did listen to you very carefully because I want to
6 understand how -- your way of thinking and things generally, and, yes, you
7 evoked history and geography and spoke about society and so on. But it is
8 precisely the link that we are looking for. We wants to establish the
9 link because crimes were committed and, as the Prosecutor sets out in the
10 indictment, crimes were committed, the Gabela prison is mentioned where we
11 had guards and the HVO prison commander was mentioned, and it could have
12 happened, you might have been the commander of that force at some point,
13 so those are the questions that we face. And you have been able to see
14 that through my questions I always try to understand. Now, the debate
15 that you've been holding with the witness is a very interesting one but
16 what is lacking is the link for us to be able to see and understand
17 whether what was being done in the prison, what was happening in the
18 prison, was something that you had certain responsibility for or certain
19 knowledge of or not. So in my opinion, that is the most important point.
20 And not only to speak in general terms of the difficulties that one has if
21 one governs a state or the geographical problems that one encounters. So
22 it would help the Chamber if you could make the link between the
23 indictment and the witnesses that come here to testify instead of entering
24 into very elaborate debates.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, you've been able to
1 see that the Judges are unanimous on that point, so give it some thought,
2 let it serve as food for thought because what we are telling you is in
3 your own interests and designed to help you because that is what we mean
4 by a fair trial too, to allow the accused to defend themselves, to throw
5 more light on the allegations that have been made by contributing evidence
6 and proof in their defence. Either through the cross-examination or your
7 own documents that you're going to produce in due course and call your own
8 witnesses in due course. Because between now and the end of the trial,
9 the ends of these proceedings, if you keep speaking about the
10 Serbo-Croatian language, about the problems linked to geography, history
11 and so on and so forth, then all the problems that we have to address and
12 provide answers for and rule on ultimately, you won't have helped us and
13 you won't have helped your own interests. So that is what us three judges
14 are trying to make you understand.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. However,
16 90 per cent of what we spoke about was refugees, humanitarian convoys, and
17 so on and so forth. You can't say that all my questions and everything I
18 said was just stories and not linked to the indictment. And secondly, we
19 learnt today that the deputy of the Boko Previsic was convicted to
20 appeared of 12 years in prison so we should see who ordered him, who
21 issued orders to him and so on and so forth.
22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. Perhaps it
23 would be useful to wind up this debate in the following way. I'd like to
24 indicate that my client always reads the indictment and we keep telling
25 him to read the indictment carefully and I have to say that most of the
1 topics raised today, both language, linguistics, history and so on, are
2 derived from the indictment. They are quoted in the introduction to the
4 For example, the question of language, let me remind you, the
5 Prosecution claims that the Croatian language is being imposed on Bosniak
6 Muslims, for example, and that that was a form of Croatisation, not to go
7 into all the other details. So that is a thesis put forward in the
8 indictment and we have to defend ourselves in that way, by providing
10 Secondly, history. History is also in the indictment, because the
11 story begins with the alleged many years on of desire on the part of the
12 Croatian people to take a part of Herzegovina, to create a banovina and so
13 on and so forth. And that's what General Praljak wants to look at, the
14 unity of Bosnia-Herzegovina. You will remember Mr. Praljak's earlier
15 comments, I should like to say technical term that is used in the
16 indictment and in colloquial speech when we say the Bosnian Croats. That
17 concept simply does not exist. What we have is the Bosnia and
18 Herzegovinian Croats and the Bosnia-Herzegovinian Muslims at that time,
19 who are today's Bosniaks, and I'm sure the witness will support me when I
20 say that because that is how every member of that nation thinks today. So
21 it is not that Praljak has broached that area without any grounds. We can
22 speak of the methods he has applied. He is not a lawyer of course so
23 Praljak might not be going about it in the right way but all the topics
24 that he has broached are to be found in the indictment.
25 I know what you're saying, Your Honours, too, that you think that
1 that part of the indictment can perhaps be ignored. However,
2 Your Honours, we have seen here, and I won't go into details because I
3 haven't prepared myself for this debate we have seen judgements in this
4 Tribunal in which some of the facts from the introduction part of the
5 indictment were proved to be or shown to be wrong. So we have to defend
6 ourselves against all the words in the indictment, whether it be in the
7 introduction to the indictment or whichever part of the indictment. So
8 that is what I wanted to bring to your attention. So, Your Honours, if I
9 may be allowed having taken the floor already we've save time by doing
10 this now rather than later on, we would like to refer to the 11 statements
11 we need 300 words more over the limit, so can we use more words as we are
12 writing our reply? And -- we need more words to do it.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. As far as the 25
14 minutes that are left to us, I give the floor to Counsel Alaburic.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours,.
16 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
17 Q. Good afternoon or good evening. You'll have a much easier time
18 with me?
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The authorisation we gave to
20 Mr. Kovacic is not recorded. So the Chamber has granted approval to the
21 defence of Mr. Praljak to exceed the limit set out in the directive in the
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation].
24 Q. Mr. Kajmovic, briefly again about the media, some questions you
25 were asked derived from your answers and could create the impression that
1 the population of the Dubrave plateau could under some circumstances be
2 exposed to other media apart from those from -- which were actually
3 available to you. Tell me, the TV signal was received in the Dubrave
4 plateau from the repeater at Velez?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Tell me, was this repeater destroyed or damaged already in the
7 first attack in the Serb forces? That's how I will call the JNA and the
8 army of Republika Srpska in the area of Stare, in the environs?
9 A. Yes, yes, not only in that area.
10 Q. But that was when the repeater was destroyed. Tell me, was that
11 repeater in the hands of the Serb army throughout that time, the Serb
12 positions in Velez were precisely around the repeater?
13 A. Yes, I think they had full control.
14 Q. What about the press? In 1993, what was available? What could
15 reach the Dubrave plateau? What did you receive?
16 A. I'm not sure whether we had any newspapers coming in. I wasn't
17 able to buy them at the news agents in Capljina. I think there were some
18 magazines from --
19 Q. From Split. Do you remember some newspaper titles, some names of
20 newspapers, some headlines?
21 A. I think the stories were mostly about war events but I couldn't
22 remember a specific topic.
23 Q. Could newspapers printed in Sarajevo, such as Oslobodjenje or any
24 other newspaper be delivered to you in any way?
25 A. Not that I know. They were probably unable to deliver.
1 Oslobodjenje, though, was also printed in Zenica and some other
2 newspapers, too. So yes there were a few possibilities to get some
4 Q. Was it possible for those newspapers to be sold in various
5 population centres, in Dubrave plateau?
6 A. Probably not, since there were none.
7 Q. From what you know, was the HVO, which you said controlled the
8 Dubrave plateau, preventing the delivery of Muslim press, I'll call it
9 Muslim press, meaning newspapers printed in Sarajevo or any other
10 publishing house?
11 A. I really don't know.
12 Q. Could you agree with me that the HVO really did not try to prevent
13 Sarajevo printed press from reaching you?
14 A. I don't know whether that wasn't done or whether it was done. I
15 don't think actually they were tolerated under the circumstances.
16 Q. I want this answer very precise. Do you know that the HVO did
17 anything to prevent Muslim press from reaching the area of Dubrave
18 plateau, yes or no?
19 A. I don't know of anything specific cases. Maybe they seized
20 occasionally a shipment of newspapers. I don't know anything specific.
21 Q. You told us, Mr. Kajmovic, when you were talking about your
22 locality and you said there was a barracks housing the command of the Knez
23 Domagoj brigade. You said the population was largely intimidated by their
24 conduct and you said that soldiers wore black uniforms. Now, concerning
25 that fear, I'll ask you this: Were the combat positions facing the Serb
1 army about ten kilometres away from the place where you lived?
2 A. Yes. That was the distance.
3 Q. Tell us about those positions facing Serb positions. Were they
4 held by the Bregava Brigade and the HVO?
5 A. Yes. One part was held by the Bregava Brigade and another part by
6 mainly by Muslims in the HVO.
7 Q. Yes. Yes. It finally entered the record that it was actually
8 Muslims in the HVO ranks. Do you know that in the first quarter of 1993,
9 HVO included about 1500 Muslims?
10 A. I don't know the exact number but the very fact that there were
11 two brigades comprised of Muslims testifies to a large number of them.
12 Q. Can you tell us what were you actually afraid of when the HVO
13 was in your immediate vicinity, when they had so many Muslims in their
15 A. I think we are at cross-purposes. I wasn't talking about the
16 HVO or the specific prince Domagoj brigade. I was talking about the
17 people who came especially in black uniforms because as you know the
18 regular HVO did not have such uniforms. But these men, and I heard they
19 were Tuta's men, I don't know whether they were or weren't, but that's
20 what people said, that they were stationed in the school building not in
21 the barracks.
22 Q. Tell me, did you ever hear of HOS?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did you hear of them in the context of something good or something
1 A. Mainly in a good context, like people who rose against the
3 Q. Were they dressed as a rule in black, in black uniforms?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, the Prosecutor raised the issue of 1993, April 1993, and I
6 would like to come back to that period. You said one thing that was
7 particularly curious related to documents shown you by my colleague, Mrs.
8 Nozica and by Mr. Praljak concerning Hadziosmanovic, the regional board of
9 the SDA, and you used the term "collaboration" with the HVO.
10 A. Yes. That's what I really believe.
11 Q. Would you agree with me that the word "collaborator" actually
12 means traitor of one's people, the one who collaborates with the enemy?
13 A. That's precisely what I mean.
14 Q. Do you mean to say that you considered the HVO as the enemy of the
15 Muslim people?
16 A. Yes, as soon as they started doing what they were doing, I started
17 viewing them in that way.
18 Q. To what time do you date this change of heart? When did you start
19 thinking of them as the enemy of the Croatian -- of the Muslim people?
20 A. When I stopped seeing them as our defenders, when I started
21 fearing them. When Muslims were still in their ranks I didn't believe
22 they were the enemy. I still felt they were our own army, even though I
23 may have deluded myself but later on they stopped being our own army in my
24 eyes and I started viewing them as the paramilitaries.
25 Q. Tell me about the month of March 1993, if we can put this in a
1 time line. In March 1993, did you see the HVO as the enemy or no?
2 A. Well, at that time, they hadn't started rounding up intellectuals
3 yet so maybe not.
4 Q. Is it the case that it was at that time that Muslims increasingly
5 started leaving the HVO to move to the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
6 A. I don't have any figures but I think that's understandable.
7 Q. Can we look at one document? I gave you a small set. It's
8 document 4D 00469. It's one that we've seen before in this courtroom.
9 00469. I'd like to briefly discuss with you some passages in this
10 official record of the criminal investigation section of the HVO military
11 police. In this record, we read, among other things, about the relations
12 between Muslims and Croats and the rising tensions and in line 2, we
13 read, "Pressure is exerted on Muslims in the ranks of the HVO and the MUP
14 to leave those units and unless they comply, they are threatened with
15 physical liquidation or the burning of their houses."
16 Then we'll move on to another passage that reads, "Lists are being
17 made of people to be liquidated, groups to be liquidated are being
18 designated, and all this is orchestrated by Mehmed Dizdar, Alija
19 Rizvanbegovic," I'll repeat the names: Muhamed Dizdar, Smajo Cerkez,
20 Bajro Pizovic, Esad Suta, Ibro Mahmutovic, Halko, Kemo, Hilmo, Nusreta
21 Balavac, Alija Fejzic, Emir Eminovic, Omer Boskailo, Ala Piric, Velija
22 Piric, Huso Maric, Zijo Boskailo, Muharem Behram, and others.
23 Tell us, Mr. Kajmovic, is any of these names familiar to you?
24 A. I know some of these people. But I'm not familiar with this
25 entire situation you suddenly flashed back to Stolac and I had nothing to
1 do with Stolac. I wasn't even in touch with them. I didn't travel there.
2 I had no insight into what things were like there. And I don't see how
3 the fact that one person moved from one unit to another justifies the
4 burning of their home.
5 Q. We are not dealing with that issue now. Do you know about
6 possible political activities of any of these people? Is there anyone
7 among them who considered the HVO to be the enemy?
8 A. I really don't know. You have to ask them.
9 Q. Can we please now look at -- just one more document, although I
10 had prepared two. This one is by Arif Pasalic. We already invoked that
11 name. The document is 4D 00036. It's a report on the situation and
12 developments in the --?
13 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter missed the number of the
14 Mountain Brigade.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation].
16 Q. Just two or three passages because we don't have time to deal with
17 this more extensively. Para 3 says, "We linked up with our men in the
18 HVO." It's on page 2. On page 2 it says, "Personnel from HVO Capljina
19 has the task to capture Hasetici village and the bridge in Capljina, with
20 the aim of preventing the introduction of troops from Metkovic, also to
21 capture Stolac, in concert with our men in HVO ranks."
22 Tell me, Mr. Kajmovic, did you know anything about the fact that
23 some Muslims in HVO ranks were actually cooperating with the army of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina and they were some sort of Trojan horse in Croatian
1 A. As far as I see, this is a military document. It was signed by a
2 man whom I never met in my life, nor did I have to do anything with him,
3 and I don't see how I can comment upon a document like this.
4 Q. I'm not asking you to authenticate the document. I'm just asking
5 whether you know anything about --
6 A. I don't.
7 Q. This document originated in the beginning of May. Do you know
8 that in May and in June, HVO perhaps expelled Muslims from their ranks?
9 Were Muslims driven out of the HVO in any way?
10 A. No.
11 Q. You answered to my learned friend Nozica that you knew about the
12 events in Mostar of the 30th of June in the barracks of Tihomir Misic and
13 the capturing of the area north of Mostar by the army of Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina with the help of Muslims in HVO ranks.
15 A. We cannot agree on the terminology. You talk about capture and I
16 see it as liberation because it was our territory. It was in Mostar.
17 And you talk about --
18 Q. No. I think the contrary term, the opposite term, would be
19 occupation. I was very cautious and tried to use a neutral term that
20 should not be offensive to you. They simply took control in your book.
21 It may be occupation or liberation but it -- they just took control?
22 A. In my eyes, it was liberation.
23 Q. Do you know that precisely after there event, after the HVO lost
24 control over certain localities because of the conduct of Muslims in its
25 ranks, decided to remove the Muslims from HVO troops? Do you know about
2 A. No, I knew nothing about that.
3 Q. I have time for only one more question. When you told us that on
4 the 13th of July, you left your place of residence, you mentioned that you
5 were hiding from the HVO until the 17th. You were hiding in the woods
6 from the 13th to the 17th of July, lest the HVO found you.
7 A. Correct.
8 Q. And then on the 17th of July, a HVO soldier from your
9 neighbourhood came up to you and told you that for your own safety you
10 should leave.
11 A. Yes. We were not safe even there. We were in fact totally
12 surrounded by the HVO, Oplicici village, Recice, Domanovici, Stolac road
13 [as interpreted], we were encircled by the HVO. But for a while they
14 didn't come close.
15 Q. So the HVO actually warned you that for your own safety, you
16 should perhaps relocate?
17 A. I don't know who they were protecting us from unless it was from
18 them because I was at home.
19 Q. Look, one man may be trying to protect you from another man and
20 both of them may belong to the same entity. But we don't have time to go
21 into that. One HVO soldier warned you to leave for your own safety. What
22 is interesting and important in view of this indictment is this: From
23 what you described as happening next, it follows that you found vehicles
24 that people organised themselves and set out from that area towards
25 Pocitelj fearing that something might happen to them?
1 A. No. We actually had no choice. We got orders to leave and we
2 couldn't discuss it. I told you how the vehicles came. Part of the
3 vehicles were commandeered by the HVO and some people were told to bring
4 their own vehicles and then they never saw them again. I can tell you
5 what kind of decision by the HVO it was but this is probably not the time
6 and not the forum.
7 Q. Witness, but you gave the following answer and I can read what you
8 said, that you mostly for your own safety --
9 A. No. That's what we were told. We were told that we were being
10 evacuated or our own safety but I didn't feel that myself. I felt safest
11 in my own home.
12 Q. Tell us, please, did you try to say that you did not wish to leave
13 your home, that you wished to stay, to remain, regardless of what happened
14 afterwards because there was combat in the area too?
15 A. No, there was no combat in the area, maybe just for two or three
16 days. So there was no danger whatsoever and we did not have a choice.
17 This HVO soldier came for neighbourly relations because the neighbours
18 were good to us and people from Cuckovina and his house was right next
19 there so they were returning some services because once they had left,
20 before the Serbs arrived, they looked after the cattle and their property.
21 Now, as far as the HVO soldier is concerned, I'm sure that he did so out
22 of good neighbourly relations. He was a good neighbour and he said that
23 the trucks would come at 5.00 and that we would have to leave.
24 Q. Witness, I understand you completely. I know how you felt when
25 you left. I know how you must have felt. But at this point in time I
1 would like you to focus on the next question. This man who for good
2 neighbourly relations out of good neighbourly relations came, gave you a--
3 cautioned you.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have already surpassed the
5 time by five minutes.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Just one more minute, I'll just
7 finish this question.
8 Q. The plan because he was a good neighbour came to give you advice
9 and say that for your own safety you should leave, or did he give you an
10 order? Did you -- issue you an order?
11 A. It was an order but we were lucky that we were on good terms
12 generally with our neighbours. So everything ended in a nice way. That
13 is to say we did have to leave but we left in the proper manner.
14 Q. Witness, can we just conclude with what you've just said? Shall
15 we wind up there, that you considered that it was a good thing that
16 everything -- well, if I can speak conditionally, that we -- everything
17 ended in that way?
18 A. Yes, we all returned alive and well.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No questions from the Coric
20 Defence, likewise from Mr. Pusic. Very well. No redirect from the
22 Then on behalf of the Judges, we thank you for having come to
23 testify for two days here in The Hague and answered questions from both
24 sides. We wish you bon voyage back to your country and every success in
25 continuing your religious activities.
1 The hearing is adjourned and we reconvene on Monday, 2.15, on the
2 8th of January. Thank you all.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.06 p.m.,
4 to be reconvened on Monday, the 8th day of January,
5 2007, at 2.15 p.m.