1 Thursday, 15 February 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The Accused Stojic not present in court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, call the case,
8 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President. This
9 is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 On this Thursday I would like to say good morning to all those
12 present in the courtroom, the Prosecution, the Defence, and the members of
13 the registry who are assisting us in our proceedings. I take that Mr.
14 Stojic isn't here today, but I think he has a medical check-up. He will
15 be represented by his counsel; is that right?
16 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, yes, that's correct. There's no problem
17 with proceeding in Mr. Stojic's absence today.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
19 We have a witness who is going to be introduced into court, but
20 before that could the registrar read out the IC numbers, please.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Mr. President. Several parties have
22 submitted lists of documents to be tendered through Witness A. The list
23 submitted by OTP shall be given Exhibit number IC 412. The list submitted
24 by 2D shall be given exhibit number 413. The list submitted by 3D shall
25 be given Exhibit number IC 414. The list submitted by 4D shall be given
1 Exhibit number IC 415. The OTP has submitted a list of objections to 2D's
2 list of documents tendered through Witness A. That shall be given IC 416.
3 Thank you.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I am now going to read an oral
5 decision having to do with documents tendered through Witness CY, who
6 appeared in 29 January 2007.
7 The Chamber has ruled to admit P 08489 under seal. It is 08486,
8 under seal. The document was tendered by the Prosecution through the list
9 IC 00266 on the grounds that the document represents probative value and a
10 certain relevance.
11 Furthermore, the Chamber has decided to admit Exhibit 4D 00489
12 under seal, tendered by the Petkovic Defence team, based on list IC 00267,
13 on the grounds that the document has certain probative value and certain
14 relevance. This decision was a unanimous decision made by the Judges.
15 We're now going to have the witness shown in.
16 Mr. Registrar.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, before the witness does come in, I
18 would like to go on record with respect to what we received yesterday as
19 part of the proofing notes, because I think it's rather important. As you
20 well know, Your Honour -- Your Honours, we were provided with the
21 gentleman's statement. We were also provided with the -- with the
22 summary. Of course we understand that the summary is just that, what they
23 expected the witness to testify to and there must be some flexibility as
24 to what the witness will actually testify to and as to what counts of the
25 indictment the testimony would go to, so we -- I say that with the full
1 understanding that we cannot expect the Prosecution to be absolutely
2 perfect on each and every occasion as to what each and every witness will
3 testify to.
4 However, yesterday afternoon we receive what amounts to proofing
5 notes, but it's not just proofing notes. The scope of the testimony now
6 is drastically different. There is -- the information that the witness
7 intends to testify to is significantly more than what it was intended.
8 Now, why is that a problem? Because we're in the middle of a
9 trial. Normally what our practice is, is do our own investigation as part
10 of our own preparation for each and every witness. It becomes virtually
11 impossible at times to do extensive research in the middle of a trial in a
12 late afternoon when the next day the witness is about to appear.
13 Now, in light of the topics that the gentleman wishes to testify
14 to, all of which, all of which are -- seem to be new to us today, I think
15 it's only fair that the cross-examination be delayed. The gentleman is
16 here. We'll hear his direct, but I think a fair amount of time should be
17 provided to the Defence in order to meaningfully prepare for
18 cross-examination. We know that it's an inconvenience for the witness.
19 It certainly is not -- the Prosecution is not being prejudiced, but at the
20 same time, if cross-examination were to go on today and to -- for -- and
21 for the entire testimony of this witness to take place today, I believe
22 that it would amount to manifest injustice for all of the accused here in
23 court. Thank you.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would just like to
25 say that I wholly support what my colleague Mr. Karnavas has said, and one
1 of the new areas that the Prosecution has informed us that the witness
2 will be testifying about, about the old bridge, was not mentioned at all
3 in his original statement, and therefore we have not prepared for that
4 area. But we consider it a very important area which is very
5 controversial. We have a lot of evidence to the contrary, and we have --
6 the right to explore this area, so I fully endorse what Mr. Karnavas has
7 already said.
8 If the Prosecution is changing the scope and it certainly is
9 because it's more than double. Then the only solution will be to bring
10 the witness in, in due course, for the cross-examination or an additional
11 cross-examination, and then we would ask for more time to be allotted to
12 us. Thank you.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecution.
14 MR. BOS: Your Honour, the Prosecution is not going to deny that
15 the witness yesterday in proofing gave a lot of new evidence that is not
16 in his statement, in his written statement, and if indeed the Defence
17 needs more time for cross-examination on these new elements, the
18 Prosecution would not object for the witness to be cross-examined later
19 on, on these topics.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. As far as I'm
21 concerned, I have taken note of what you have said, and this new element,
22 the old bridge topic, it is quite true that the old bridge was not a topic
23 that was mentioned at the beginning. So if the Prosecution has nothing
24 against the requests made, then this will be the subject of
25 cross-examination at some later date. But I'm very surprised, let me say,
1 that the Defence, since we've been sitting for almost a year now, that the
2 Defence is telling me now that it is not capable of cross-examining a
3 witness on the topic of the old bridge at this point in the trial. It is
4 absolutely amazing as far as I'm concerned. I have said that I have taken
5 note of it, but I really can't understand why that is, because we have a
6 commander of this unit in Donja Mahala. He is the witness. We know where
7 Donja Mahala is.
8 Even I myself, without knowing what he said in written form
9 previously, there are some automatic questions that must be asked him
10 without having specially prepared. So I'm stupefied. And to discover
11 that you need time to prepare, well, maybe. I know that you have a lot of
12 work to get through, a quite considerable work, in actual fact, but with
13 your high professional level, which you have demonstrated on a number of
14 occasions throughout these proceedings, I'm sure would have allowed you to
15 broach the topic of the old bridge and to go to the heart of the matter
16 and ask essential questions.
17 Mr. Karnavas.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You who is a great professional.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Precisely because I believe in due diligence,
21 Your Honour; that's the problem. Yes, I can stand up and, from the seat
22 of my pants, as they say, conduct cross-examination. I want to be
23 prepared. I want to be very thorough. There's a lot -- there's a lot
24 more information, not just the bridge itself, but I want to be very
25 thorough because I do represent Mr. Prlic who deserves to have the best
1 possible trial, and I would be doing a disservice to Mr. Prlic if I just
2 simply stood up and did a cross-examination half prepared, or even 80 per
3 cent prepared. Mr. Prlic is not entitled to 50 per cent of due process,
4 or 80 per cent of due process, or even 90 per cent of due process. He is
5 entitled to 100 per cent of due process. I'm trying to give him that, and
6 perhaps I'm not as good as you might be suggesting, but I do try to be as
7 professional as possible, and I think my colleagues will share with me the
8 fact that these sorts of new information, this sort of new information
9 deserves to be looked at and checked at carefully.
10 So I don't want to give the impression that we cannot do a cross,
11 but it's not a proper cross. And if we're going to do it, let's do it
12 right. And this is new information and -- and I'm just trying to be a
13 professional, Mr. President. I'm not trying to delay the proceedings.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you.
15 Just a moment, please. Perhaps we can find a solution.
16 As far as the Prosecution is concerned, Mr. Bos, would the ideal
17 thing be for you not to ask questions on the old bridge? Can you do that?
18 Because as far as the old bridge is concerned there will be other
19 witnesses. So is it really useful to broach the topic of the old bridge
20 with this particular witness? Perhaps we could leave that out and do that
21 with other witnesses.
22 MR. BOS: No, Your Honours. I would really like to have this
23 witness to speak about the old bridge. This witness is -- actually was on
24 the bridge on -- on the night of the 8th of November, and he saw, you
25 know, the type of damage that was done on the bridge, which I think is
1 important enough for this witness to -- to be heard on this. So -- but
2 one of the solutions may be, Your Honours, that this witness --
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, within the 400 lists --
4 400 witnesses that you have on the 65 ter list, is that really the only
5 witness that you have to examine about the old bridge?
6 MR. BOS: Your Honours, I'm not saying that this is the only
7 witness on the old bridge but I'm saying that's -- the evidence that he
8 gave on the old bridge is important evidence and we want to hear that
10 And, Your Honours, if I may have a suggestion. What we could
11 do is have the examination-in-chief of this witness this morning and
12 then have a cross-examination maybe on Monday. We can maybe adjust the
13 schedule in such a way that we can have the cross-examination on
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No, I don't agree on that
17 Yes, Mr. Praljak.
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Without any desire to bring
19 Mr. Kovacic and Mr. Karnavas in a difficult position with respect to their
20 right to cross-examine and the procedure on the part of the Prosecution.
21 As far as the old bridge is concerned, I can say that I stand ready.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, I represent Mr. Prlic. I don't
23 represent Mr. Praljak. Mr. Praljak may be ready, but I am not ready for
24 my client, and I made it very clear. And I fully support the Prosecution
25 that they should be able to present all of their evidence. And it's not
1 just the bridge. It's about sniping, it's about sniping positions,
2 there's all sorts of new information, and while Mr. Praljak may be ready,
3 I am not and Mr. Prlic is represented by me. And unless Mr. Prlic is
4 willing to waive his rights to a fair trial I don't believe that I should
5 be going forward on behalf simply because one accused thinks that he is
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to ask Mr. Karnavas
9 if -- if there was a cross-examination opportunity on Monday discussing
10 the topic of the old bridge whether that would be acceptable.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: I believe that would be an acceptable solution,
12 Mr. President. That would give us at least sufficient time to have our
13 investigator look into some of the matters that are being mentioned for
14 the first time by this witness. I think that would be a reasonable amount
15 of time. And I apologise for raising my voice, but I rarely, rarely ask
16 for continuances.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Chamber has made
18 an oral ruling and will grant the request made; the cross-examination, but
19 just on the topic of the old bridge, will be held on Monday.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: No, Mr. President, no. We would like the entire
21 cross-examination on Monday. Because, as I've indicated, he's talking
22 about sniping positions for the very first time. He's talking about all
23 sorts of things. It's not just the old bridge. Yes, he mentions the old
24 bridge, but there are other things. This is a completely new statement.
25 Radically new. That's my whole point, Mr. President. It's not just
1 something that was in passing.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are going to go round the
3 table once again with the new elements -- as far as new elements and
4 topics are concerned, I just see that being the old bridge, because Hum
5 and the sniping incidents have been explained at length already. So
6 fundamentally speaking, there's only the old bridge to address. That's a
7 new topic. The -- let me turn to the Prosecution.
8 Does the Prosecution feel that there are knew elements, new topics
9 with respect to what was in the written statement?
10 MR. BOS: Your Honours, as -- as Your Honour yourself just said,
11 as far as the sniping is concerned, yes, there are a couple of new
12 elements but we've been discussing sniping for, you know, for several
13 weeks now. So if you compare to the evidence -- to the old bridge yes
14 there is new evidence as far as sniping there are a couple of new elements
15 but I wouldn't compare it in the way with -- with the evidence of the old
17 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I may. The sniping, of course we
18 are all aware of the subject matter because we were dealing with that for
19 couple of weeks, but this is the witness who was not mentioning nothing
20 related to the sniping. So we have to go back and prepare for this
22 [Interpretation] I apologise for speaking in English. Perhaps it
23 would be more proper in Croatian.
24 But, Your Honours, I think that it would be a very reasonable
25 solution and quite obviously the Prosecution is that way inclined, and we
1 are ready, and my client has said that if he is ready -- if he needs to,
2 he's ready today. But it's a question of all the technical elements and
3 preparations and so on. So I think that would be a reasonable solution
4 and a minimum loss of time, if the examination-in-chief were to be
5 completed today and we start off with a normal cross-examination in its
6 entirety at a later date.
7 I would like to ask a little more time than would usually be
8 accorded me for my cross-examination.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There are a number of subjects
11 the Chamber had to deliberate about. First of all, as to time. One hour
12 30 minutes is what the Prosecution has asked for, for the
13 examination-in-chief on the sniping and the old bridge. But since we have
14 new elements with respect to the written statement, the new topic being
15 the old bridge, the Chamber gives one more hour to the Defence. So they
16 will have 2 hours and 30 minutes.
17 Having said that, the Prosecution will conduct the
18 examination-in-chief today. Mr. Praljak's Defence have told us that they
19 are capable of cross-examining on any military subject. We'll begin their
20 cross-examination, and if the other Defence teams wish to participate
21 before the end of the day they are -- they can do so, and then on Monday
22 we'll take up the cross-examination for Mr. Prlic in its entirety.
23 Mr. Prlic will conduct its entire cross-examination on Monday, and they
24 will deal with the sniping as well as the topic of the old bridge.
25 That is our ruling, and having said that, let us have the witness
1 brought in.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like
3 to apologise to Mr. Karnavas. I wish to avoid any misunderstanding or
4 meddling in anything else but to say that I am ready as far as the old
5 bridge is concerned. It doesn't mean that Mr. Karnavas might be ready in
6 his Defence case for Mr. Prlic. So I do apologise if I have made a faux
7 pas in this courtroom and I'd like to apologise to Mr. Karnavas if that
8 has been the case.
9 MR. BOS: And if I could just take this opportunity to make a
10 clarification on the record that -- the impression was given that this
11 witness in his statement doesn't talk about sniping, but that is
12 incorrect. If you read paragraph 11 of his written statement, that deals
13 with the witness -- snipers on Stotina and so --
14 MR. KARNAVAS: [Microphone not activated]
15 MR. BOS: To a certain extent.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: But not the extent of the proofing.
17 MR. BOS: The impression was given that there wasn't any evidence
18 on sniping in his statement, and that's just what I want to make clear on
19 the record.
20 [The witness enters court]
21 WITNESS: MIRO SALCIN
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] First of all, let me see whether
1 you are receiving the interpretation of my words in your own language. If
2 so, please say yes.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can hear you and I can understand
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, first of all, I would like
6 you to take the solemn declaration. Could you give me your name, your
7 family name, and your date of birth.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Miro Salcin, also known as Mira. I
9 was born on the 9th of October, 1950 in Mostar at Donja Mahala at Gojka
10 Vukovica Street.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm the deputy of the commander of
14 the firemen brigade's unit in the city's firemen brigade.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, have you ever testified
16 before, before a local court or before an International Tribunal about the
17 events that took place in your country in 1993 or is this the first time
18 that you actually testify?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have never testified about these
20 events before.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you please lead -- read
22 the text of the solemn declaration that the usher is giving to you.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
24 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may be seated.
1 There are a few things that I need to tell you about your
2 testimony. First of all, we had a procedural issue to deal with, and
3 unfortunately you will have to stay until Monday. You will be taken care
4 of by the Tribunal, and hopefully this will not cause any problems to
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will stay for as long as you need
7 me, and I can go back when I'm finished. I can go back any time.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. That's good news.
9 Secondly, I would like to tell you that your examination is going
10 to take place in the following way: First of all, you're going to answer
11 questions put to you by the Prosecutors that you have already met with,
12 and we have envisaged that the Prosecution will have an hour and a half at
13 their disposal. During the examination-in-chief they will show you
14 documents that you must have seen with the Prosecutors when they were
15 proofing you. When that ends, the Defence teams, which are seated on your
16 left, there are a number of Defence lawyers there, as well as the accused,
17 will have an opportunity to put questions to you as well. The Chamber has
18 given two hours and a half for their cross-examination.
19 The Judges that are in front of you - usually there are four of us
20 but today we are three - will also have questions to ask you. Between the
21 three of us, the Prosecution, the Defence, and the Judges, when they put
22 questions to you, try to be as precise as possible and up to the point,
23 because we -- we are in the so-called oral procedure, and we have
24 documents translated into English, and we also have the transcript that is
25 in front of you on the screen. Everything you say will be recorded, so
1 please be as precise as possible in your answers. Answer not quickly but,
2 rather, slowly to allow the interpreters to interpret your words, because
3 we are working in three languages and it takes time for the
5 If you do not understand the question, do not hesitate to ask the
6 person who has put it to you to repeat it.
7 If during the sitting at any point in time you feel a medical
8 problem, please signal to us that that may be the case and we will stop
9 the proceedings.
10 This is in very general terms how your examination is going to
11 take place today and on Monday. Having said this, I'm going to give the
12 floor to the Prosecution. We have an hour before the break.
13 Mr. Bos, I give you the floor.
14 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Examination by Mr. Bos:
16 Q. Good morning, Mr. Salcin. Mr. Salcin, I'm first going to read out
17 a rule 65 ter summary of your statement.
18 The witness was a residents of Donja Mahala in Mostar. He was the
19 commander of a company of men who were in charge of the defence of the
20 Donja Mahala area. No humanitarian aid was received directly into Donja
21 Mahala. They received their aid via a pulley system which they used to
22 get aid across the Neretva River into Donja Mahala.
23 In July 1993, the HVO began to fill tyres with explosives and
24 rolled them down Mount Hum into the Donja Mahala area. Muslim detainees
25 were used for forced labour and had to load the explosive-filled tyres
1 onto trucks for the HVO. Detainees told the witness that Mladen Misic and
2 a 4th HVO battalion were the ones responsible for rolling the tyres. They
3 also dropped improvised bombs from a small aeroplane onto the East Mostar
5 There was a day light curfew because of the danger of snipers who
6 were indiscriminate as to who they targeted.
7 Mr. Salcin, is it correct that you provided a statement to the
8 investigators of the Office of the Prosecutor on the 8th of July, 2005?
9 You have to -- have to give an answer.
10 A. The statement is correct and I signed it.
11 Q. And at the time that you provided this written statement, did you
12 answer the questions of the investigator truthfully?
13 A. Yes, I did. I swear by everything that I answered truthfully.
14 Q. Did you answer the questions freely, without any coercion?
15 A. I answered all the questions freely, and I only spoke about things
16 that I saw with my own two eyes.
17 Q. And at the conclusion of that interview, was your statement read
18 back to you in the Bosnian language?
19 A. Yes, fully, and I also read it.
20 Q. And did you then sign the statement in the English language?
21 A. I signed both versions.
22 MR. BOS: If I could ask the usher now to provide this witness
23 with a bundle of documents.
24 Q. Witness -- Witness, you've been provided with a bundle of
25 documents, and I would like to ask you to look at the first document in
1 this bundle, which is labelled 09834. Is this document a copy of the
2 English statement, and does it bear your signature?
3 A. Yes. This is statement that I signed in the original, and now I
4 have a copy of it before me.
5 Q. Yesterday when you met with myself and an investigator, you
6 were -- were you given an opportunity to review your statement, and did
7 you wanted to make any corrections to the statement? Is that -- maybe ...
8 A. I just had one objection with regard to the shelling of Donja
9 Mahala by the Serb army and the HVO. I stated at the time that 90 per
10 cent of Mostar in Donja Mahala, in the local commune of Donja Mahala, was
11 destroyed by the HVO and only 10 per cent were destroyed by the Serbs from
12 their positions, and this is a true estimate which I stand by, and this
13 would be the only correction to my statement.
14 Q. What you just stated, Witness, does that refer to paragraph 12 of
15 your statement? Could you take a look at your own statement at paragraph
16 12. Is that the paragraph you've just been referring to?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And if I could draw your attention to paragraph 8 of your
19 statement. You have paragraph 8 in front of you? Is there anything you
20 wanted to correct in paragraph 8 of your statement?
21 A. In paragraph 8 it says here that I was the company commander of
22 Donja Mahala, and it doesn't mention that I was a captain and then
23 assistant commander of another battalion in the sector from the old bridge
24 to Cekrk. That would have been my formation at the time.
25 Q. You've been referring to another battalion. Which battalion was
2 A. This was the battalion that was on the right bank of the Neretva,
3 and the Mahala company was just one part of the battalion, which had three
4 companies all in all.
5 Q. But what was the name of the battalion? That was my question.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Witness.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The true name of the --
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Witness. The
9 Prosecution asked you about the battalion, the -- in which you were an
10 assistant command -- a commander. When you met up with the investigators
11 of the Prosecution, and that meeting lasted for two or three days in 2005,
12 the investigator didn't ask you to which battalion exactly you belonged.
13 He didn't ask you to -- to explain the structure of the military unit that
14 you belonged to.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, they didn't ask me about that.
16 I don't -- I was never asked that before yesterday.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When the investigator first saw
18 you, he knew that you were a member of the BiH army and he did not concern
19 himself with what exactly you did? He didn't want know your rank or
20 things like that?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. Nobody asked me about
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How many hours did you spend
24 talking to the investigator in July 2005?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not more than two hours.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
2 Mr. Bos, please proceed.
3 MR. BOS:
4 Q. Witness, my question that I had put to you and you haven't given
5 an answer yet, what was the name of this battalion?
6 A. The true name of the battalion was the 2nd Battalion of the 441st
7 Motorised Brigade.
8 Q. Now, while you have your statement still in front of you, could I
9 ask you to turn to -- to paragraph 11 of your statement. And, Witness,
10 let me ask you some additional questions regarding this paragraph 11 of
11 your statement where you talk about snipers who were in houses on the
12 small hill next to Mount Hum called Stotina. That's what you're saying in
13 your statement.
14 Let me first ask you, how do you know there that were snipers in
15 the area called Stotina?
16 A. I was born in the area, and this is where I played as a child.
17 There were snipers in various locations, and I would respond to their
18 fire, and I claim with full responsibility that I had to protect women and
19 children and that I had to respond with fire to all the fire opened from
20 various sniper nests. That's how I knew where those snipers were and how
21 many there were.
22 Q. Let me first ask you, from which army were these snipers?
23 A. All the snipers that I personally saw walking about were from HVO
25 Q. You're saying that you personally -- personally saw snipers
1 working -- walking about. Can you give any specific units when you say
2 they were from HVO units? Can you give names of specific unit?
3 A. I didn't know exactly what units they belonged to, but I was so
4 close to them that I could see them. I knew them. I even knew their
5 rifles. Through my binoculars I could even see the numbers on their rifle
6 butts. If I saw them today, I would be able to recognise each and every
7 one of those snipe shooters -- sharpshooters, because the distance between
8 us was not more than 2 or 300 metres.
9 Q. Okay. You've stated a couple of things. Let me first ask you:
10 You've stated that you could see their rifles. Can you give the Court
11 information as to what rifles these snipers were using?
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, could you -- just a moment.
13 Wait. Could you describe -- you were at 200 metres and you could see them
14 through your binoculars. Could you describe the appearance of those
15 sharpshooters? How did they look?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were four of them as I was
17 watching through the binoculars; one of them had grey hair. He had a
18 pony-tail, and he had a hunting rifle with a sight, and he had black
19 camouflage uniform.
20 Another one was younger. He had a black bandanna on his forehead,
21 and he wore the rifle that we call the bone breaker.
22 The third one was in a striped blue and white T-shirt, and next to
23 him was a young child with -- and there were some detainees with him. The
24 last one who -- was at a bunker. He was thin and he wore a very special
25 camouflage uniform. He wore a 12.7 sniper, the very large one. I was
1 wondering why -- why there were two or three detainees around them. I
2 didn't understand that behaviour. My colleague, who is now deceased,
3 told -- showed me that that person was carrying his arm like this. And
4 then when I looked I could see better that he was either wounded or his
5 arm was crooked. I would still recognise him. He was very thin and his
6 arm was bandaged, and his sniper was a very large one, the 12.7 sniper.
7 This is what I saw on that particular day.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have just described the four
9 individuals, and this is a good clarification because so far nobody has
10 told us that there were prisoners around snipers. Who were the prisoners?
11 Were they civilians? Were they members of the BiH army? The Serbs?
12 Foreigners? Who were they?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Those were civilians who had been
14 brought from Heliodrom. One group was digging trenches and constructing
15 bunkers and the other group, we couldn't see them well and he took them to
16 the house, the three or four of them. I didn't allow my men to shoot.
17 Only three or four hours later, when they came out of the house, we
18 realised that these people had been digging holes in the wall as loopholes
19 [as interpreted]. Only on the following day the snipers started opening
20 fire. On that particular day, on the first day, fire was not opened.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I understand you well, you're
22 saying that there were people who had been brought from Heliodrom with
23 them. When one of these snipers opened fire, if they did, the civilians
24 who were around them, the people who had been brought from Heliodrom, they
25 witnessed the shots that came from Stotina; is that correct.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it is. That is precisely so.
2 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, how do you know that the
3 persons who were next to the snipers were prisoners; and secondly, how do
4 you know that they had been brought from Heliodrom?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They wore civilian clothes, and they
6 were sitting on the tops of the rocks on the separation line, so we could
7 see them. We could see their faces. That's why we didn't shoot. They
8 were so close to us that we could hear them talk amongst themselves.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At 200 metres we can indeed hear
10 people talk. Did you actually hear the conversations? What were they
11 saying to each other?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were afraid. I heard only a
13 few of them saying, "If we only had water, to have a sip of water." On
14 that day it was so hot that it was not easy to bear the heat without
15 water. I did not dare give them any because I was afraid that I might be
16 hit by one of the snipers.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Another thing that you
18 indicated, but that was very fast; maybe that has escaped everybody else
19 but it didn't escape me. You said that you had seen a young child next to
20 one of the snipers. I'm wondering whether this was the sniper's child or
21 whether this was a child that had been brought from somewhere, from
22 Heliodrom perhaps, or maybe that was a child that resided in the
23 neighbourhood. Who was the child?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The child appeared from the nearby
25 house, and while the detainees were digging the trenches it was playing
1 with a rifle. It was looking through the optical device. It was a
2 10-year-old boy who was playing with the rifle. I don't know whether
3 the rifle was loaded. I suppose that it was, and that child was playing
4 with the rifle, looking through the optical devise and things to that
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
7 MR. BOS:
8 Q. Witness, in answer to -- to some of the questions of the Judges
9 you gave a description of the four persons that you saw on that day, and
10 you said two had camouflage uniforms. Were you close enough to see
11 whether these camouflage uniforms also had badges on them and, if so, what
12 kind of badges did they have?
13 A. I did not discern the insignia; they were small. But I know that
14 they wore camouflage uniforms. The two of them, since it was hot, it was
15 the month of July, they took their camouflage blouses off, and they walked
16 in their T-shirts, and their uniforms were hanging on the door of that
17 house all that time.
18 Q. Witness, how often were these snipers shooting in the area of
19 Donja Mahala where you were operating?
20 A. It depended on the situation. Sometimes two days would pass
21 without a bullet being fired, and there were days when there was constant
22 shooting from dawn to dusk. They had their reconnaissance and when they
23 were advised that somebody was moving across the bridge they would start
24 shooting. It was only when they had information that there were targets
25 in sight they would open fire. They wouldn't do it randomly.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, a question that I wanted to
2 ask somebody for a long time but the witnesses that have been here so far
3 probably could not have been able to answer. You are a perfect witness
4 for this question, because you were the commander of 120 people in Donja
6 You've just told us that there were four snipers, that in July
7 you saw four of them, and you added to that that from time to time they
8 would open fire. They would shoot. Very well, then. There were four
9 individuals. You were the commander of a group of 120 people who were
10 not maybe there at the same time, but bearing in mind the potential danger
11 of -- coming from these four persons, how come that your unity and you as
12 their commander did not stage a command operation or any other kind of
13 operation to take the control of that zone which was situated not more
14 than a couple of hundred of metres away? You're saying that you could see
15 them at a hundred to 200 metres' distance, and this is where their sniper
16 nests were. How come that as the commander of that unit is didn't occur
17 to you to take control of that zone? There were quite a few of us, and
18 there were only four of them very close to you. Maybe behind them there
19 were other elements that prevented you from doing that. I don't know.
20 Can you explain?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my company defended the
22 zone from the Bulevar to Cekrk. I had 120 mean at my disposal on the line
23 that was about three kilometres long. We did try to break through and we
24 did take the situation on the area on the 21st of September. I found
25 sniper -- snipers there. And then they had shelled us with howitzers.
1 And if you -- if it ever happens that 10.000 of shells fall on you, then
2 you understand. On the 22nd of September, they pulled Donja Mahala to the
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In line 18 you say that on the
5 21st of September you tried a break-through and you found snipers. Did
6 you -- did you imprison them? Did you arrest them?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I personally led that group.
8 Whatever was there before was either killed or arrested. Nobody was --
9 was either killed or fled. Nobody was arrested. I don't know how many
10 were kill.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There was one who was killed?
12 How many were killed on the HVO side?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I saw three. On the Visnjica hill,
14 I was wounded at that time, and I was dragging another wounded soldier.
15 So I was wounded in the arm and in the leg. I barely pulled through.
16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there was just a
17 language subtlety there. I don't feel that the witness is answering the
18 question you have asked him about. He's talking about a possible action
19 at Stotina, but it's difficult to reconstruct it all because the sentences
20 are not very well linked together, so there might have been some
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Let me repeat the
23 question, because I also realise that there was some problems of
24 comprehension and interpretation. Let me ask the question again.
25 I understood it that on the 21st of September there was an action
1 on the part of the BH army, and you were in the Donja Mahala unit and its
2 commander, that this action was against the lines held by the HVO. Now, I
3 understood it that during this operation you told us that among the
4 snipers that there were three who were killed. Of the snipers there were
5 three who were killed and the other fled because you didn't arrest or take
6 anyone into custody because everybody fled.
7 Now, I understood it that during that operation you yourself were
8 wounded. Is that the fact it have? Is that what you told us? If not,
9 put us right.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. The action was a
11 continuous one at Cekrk and Stotina and the upper part of Hum, and this
12 action was led by my deputy so that I did not have an insight into the
13 lower part of the action, because on that day 155 howitzers and 130
14 cannons attacked us so that there were shells falling on both sides of
15 the positions, and there were both -- there were wounded on both sides
16 and destroyed houses on both sides. So it was very difficult, a
17 difficult situation, and it was all we could do to pull out and save
18 our lives.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, what I'm interested in,
20 Witness, is this: The action that concerns Stotina, within that action,
21 the members of the HVO who were positioned at Stotina, were they
22 wounded, killed, arrested, or did they flee? So that is my specific
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know about that. I don't
25 have any information about that. I wasn't there on the spot. I was 150
1 metres away up on Hum. There were wounded on both sides, but as to the
2 exact figures and information, I can't tell you more.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So these three who were killed,
4 where were they killed?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The three who were killed were
6 killed 150 metres above Stotina at a hill called Visnjica. It's at a
7 higher elevation. It's midway up Hum. So they had nothing to do with the
8 action at Stotina and Cekrk. That was a separate group. We didn't expect
9 it. We didn't know it existed. It was in the old Austrian bunkers, and
10 they attacked this bridge with the 12.7 snipers.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thanks to Mr. Kovacic, we have a
12 much clearer idea of the events. So what you're saying is there was one
13 action on the 21st of September, but before that at Stotina there was
14 never any action of that order which would incapacitate the snipers.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as a commander, I feel
16 extreme pressure. When you experience people placing 1.000 civilians,
17 unarmed civilians, men, women, and children, women carrying small children
18 and they're shooting at them, well, we would have taken those positions
19 very easily had there not been thousands of civilians. When the war broke
20 out, Donja Mahala had 2.000 inhabitants. On the 1st ever August it had
21 5.000 inhabitants. They brought in so many civilians that they ate up all
22 our food reserves, for example.
23 And led me add this: Our water supply and electricity supply was
24 cut off.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now, in your group
1 of 120 men, did you not have your own sharpshooters, your own snipers to
2 do what in military terms is called counter-sniping, particularly in
3 reducing and eliminating the opposite side's positions?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We didn't [as interpreted] have as
5 many snipers as they had. We did have counter-sniping, but this was an
6 action not led by 120 men but by 12. I led 12 men. The other men were
7 deployed along the Bulevar to the old bridge to Semovac and along the
8 Bulevar. So this action was actually only led by 12 men, and they were
9 led by two commanders. One of them was killed. I was spared.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for giving us those
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me, Mr. President, but I'm told that there
13 may have ban slight error in the translation. Could we ask -- could the
14 question be posed again that you posed, Mr. President, whether they had as
15 many snipers as the other side, because I think -- I'm told that the
16 answer was that he indicated that they did have as many as the others.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 Sir, I didn't ask you if you had as many snipers. I asked you
19 whether in the group of 120 men, whether you had snipers, and your answer
20 was that you just had 12 men to man the attack. Could you explain?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please. A combat
22 company who -- that -- the people who are commanders, generals, have a
23 company of 126 men, and you know what a company has to have, two mortars
24 and anti-armoured unit, two snipers, a sower, what we called a sower, and
25 so on. Now, on our side people went into action when they were carrying
1 the wounded, carrying food, and protected them when crossing open spaces.
2 That's the only time they went into action. Ordinary people shot just to
3 prevent a sniper from killing men, women, and children carrying water,
4 because women and children would be killed when they went to fetch water
5 around feels from kitchens and so on, and they were shot at.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you're saying that in the
7 company you had two snipers. Where were they positioned, those snipers?
8 You said, "we had but two," only two, so where were they positioned, your
9 two snipers? And two snipers within the company.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] One was at Hum. We didn't have
11 real sharpers. We didn't -- snipers. We didn't have the proper weapons.
12 People didn't have the weapons people didn't have the weapons to defend
13 themselves. We just had the ordinary M-48 rifles. They're Mauzer's of
14 7.9 calibre. They're not much to speak of had we had real snipers like
15 the other side then nobody would have ever functioned from a sniper
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, with all due respect to the witness, I
18 believe, now that he's hearing your questions, he's either confabulating
19 or he's changing his testimony completely. He went from, "We had as many
20 snipers as they did," then he indicated they had 12. Now he's down to
21 two. Now he's not -- they're not even snipers. "We didn't have the
22 weapons." I think the question should be posed, did they have as many
23 snipers as the other side, because that's what the gentleman said on
24 direct examination to your question, and now he's changing his testimony.
25 And please remind him he's under oath.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, in your language did you
2 say that you had as many, just as many snipers as the HVO, or did you say
3 that you had less, that you had two? What was it you said exactly? Could
4 you be specific, because the Defence seems to be telling me, and
5 Mr. Karnavas understands B/C/S, that you said that you had as many, just
6 as many as the other side.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Judge, I'm 57 years
8 old. When the war began I was 42. This is what I said: We did not have
9 adequate sniper weapons, but we did have anti-sniper activities against
10 every sniper nest that was shooting at us. I was shooting, too, and I've
11 taken the solemn declaration. There is no hole at Cekrk where I did not
12 fire a hundred bullets. You don't know what it feels like when you see
13 mothers and children, three, four, seven years old, are expelled by the
14 shooting of a sniper and that's what happened to my mother and my daughter
15 and my brother's family. They were expelled. Nobody can explain this to
16 you unless you've experienced it. I was watching all this going on from
17 Hum, and I couldn't do anything. It's not the same if your mother, who is
18 75 years old, is being shot at or your daughter-in-law, whoever. There
19 was a 70-year-old woman who was shot at. And we targeted military
20 persons. Had I had a tank, I would have shot them all.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is our concern to know
22 whether your unit had what we have qualified in military terms as snipers.
23 You said that you launched counter-sniper operations and that you yourself
24 fired, and we understand that, you being a commander. But my question is
25 a very precise one. In your particular unit in Donja Mahala, were there
1 specialists who could shoot at the snipers of the HVO?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's exact. We just had two men
3 who were in charge of returning fire when they started targeting civilian
4 targets and the people, when they killed someone, when they -- on the
5 bridge. When they killed a woman and -- women and children. More men
6 were hit and killed in carrying these wounded people here and there. So
7 there were always dead and always people killed when we went to fetch
8 those who had been killed and injured and carried them.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You said there were two. That's
10 why I asked you the question a moment ago. I asked you whether those two
11 men, those two men, whether they were positioned in general terms -- or
12 where were they positioned in general terms? What was their position?
13 Where were they?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] One of them was positioned exactly
15 in the direction of the Kamenica bridge near Hum, because that wasn't
16 where the tyres fell. So he was only monitoring the situation at the
17 bridge. The other was at Hum. The other was positioned at Hum, and I
18 have to tell you that part of Hum descending towards Donja Mahala was
19 under the BH army control. We had reconnaissance men there, intelligence
20 men there, and other men who always monitored the situation in that area.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On the basis of what you just
22 said, can we conclude that in the positions facing Stotina, the four that
23 you indicated, you did not position a sniper.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't. I did not. I didn't have
25 anybody to put there. Had I had someone, I would have put them there.
1 Since I wasn't in the area myself all the time, I couldn't be
2 there all the time, then that's it.
3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it is really not my
4 intention to take away your time. I think that a lot of the problem
5 arises from the following: The witness uses the plural "we" when he
6 speaks about himself and when he speaks about his company of which he was
7 the commander and when he refers to the whole of the BH army. That is my
8 impression. He always uses the first person plural, the "we." I must say
9 that I didn't understand half of what he said. I'm not clear on what he
10 said at all.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, in your answers, would you
12 please take care and distinguish what you yourself did in the area, that
13 is to say you could say, "I," use the first person singular, and when you
14 use the first person plural and say "we," you mean other people as well.
15 Now, Mr. Bos, please proceed. We have ten minutes or a little bit
16 before the break.
17 MR. BOS:
18 Q. Witness, you've testified earlier that -- that you've seen several
19 of these snipers yourself. I'm going to show you a photograph, and I'm
20 going to ask you to make some comments on that photograph.
21 MR. BOS: And if the witness could be shown -- if we can put this
22 photograph on the overhead projector.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do know about this.
24 MR. BOS:
25 Q. Witness, do you recognise this photograph? And if we could put
1 the ELMO covering the whole --
2 A. I do recognise this. This is the settlement behind Stotina which
3 you could see from Hum only when you're up at Hum. You couldn't see it
4 from Mahala. This one, that one.
5 Q. If we can get a bit of a wider angle for this photograph, and if
6 we can move maybe -- yeah. Can we get a wider angle of the complete
7 photograph? Well, then we'll have to shift the photograph a bit. I
8 wonder if it's not better to have another photograph. Let's use this
10 Witness, can you -- can you indicate on this photograph where you
11 saw snipers operating? And you can --
12 A. From left -- from right to left. The first sniper nest was in
13 this small bit of wood here. The prisoners dug communicating trenches and
15 The second sniper nest was here where there was a reconnaissance
16 man, a scout. And the shooting came from that small window.
17 And the third nest was here, and the fourth was over here. I
18 can't recognise it, but anyway, they targeted Mahala directly, in a
19 straight line. It was right by the Neretva, on the edge of the hill but
20 you can't quite see it here on this photograph. And that's where the
21 sniper with the 12.7 weapon shot.
22 Q. Witness, you've indicated four positions. Could I ask you with
23 the marker to first mark -- you know, mark the first position with a
24 circle and put a number 1 there. Could you put a number 1 at the first
25 and -- yes.
1 A. [Marks]
2 Q. And you're saying the fourth position isn't actually visible on
3 this photograph?
4 A. It's over here, over here. Right that way, right that end,
5 further on.
6 Q. Let me ask you a question about the -- the first position that
7 you've indicated, because it seems that there's -- that this is -- that
8 you indicated, you know, some bushes. What was actually there, because
9 it's -- it's a bit difficult to see.
10 A. There was a wall here, a two-metre wall with some weekend cottages
11 over there. And the communicating trench was dug there and so he probably
12 came there in the morning and waited there for the women and children came
13 out to be able to -- we only saw this when the leaves fell, because they
14 were deciduous leaves and we could see them once the trees were bare in
15 this thicket here.
16 Q. Witness, the houses that are depicted on this photograph, were all
17 the houses there in 1993 as well?
18 A. Yes, but they've been built up now. They were destroyed,
19 devastated by the Serb aggressor in 1992, because in 1992 there were Serb
20 units here. But since then they've been refurbished.
21 Q. Now, you've indicated a fourth position which you are not able to
22 mark on this map. Let me give you another photograph, Witness. Again, if
23 we can put this on the -- maybe we can first get an IC number for the
24 first photograph. Mr. Usher, if we --
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment. Sir, on that
1 first photograph you have put two numbers, 1, 2, 3, and 4. Could you
2 place your initials there, please.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I just put three numbers, 1, 2 and
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, 3. We can't see the
6 fourth. Would you place your initials there, please. Put your initials
8 Mr. Registrar, a number for the photograph, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: That will be given Exhibit number IC 417,
10 Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. 417, IC 417, yes.
12 MR. BOS:
13 Q. Witness, you've now been given another photograph. Again, do you
14 recognise what this -- is depicted on this photograph?
15 A. Yes, I recognise it very well. I went there three times in 1992
16 and 1993. I know the area very well. This is the entire area of
17 Stotina - that's what it's called - and it's exactly 100 metres above sea
19 Q. Witness, maybe -- again could you mark on this photograph with
20 number 1, 2, 3 and 4 the four positions that you've been referring to?
21 A. Yes, I can. One, two, three, and the fourth one was here. There
22 was a bunker here, a bunker, a communicating trench which allowed entrance
23 into this house, and the sniper was particularly active from that point
24 number 4.
25 Q. You've marked four dots on the photograph. Could you give them
1 number 1, 2, 3, 4, as you have indicated. Could you put a number 1, 2, 3,
2 and a 4 next to these dots.
3 A. [Marks]
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, on this photograph we can
5 see the four points or positions where you saw the snipers. You yourself,
6 where were you on this photograph when you saw them? Can you indicate to
7 us the place you were at when you said you were able to see them?
8 A. A little higher up Hum hill here in a cave called Crvena. And it
9 says "We're all Tito's. We're all Tito." Because when Comrade Josip Broz
10 Tito died, the people wrote up here, "We are all Tito," and you can see
11 that place from the main road.
12 And two men were there mostly. Not all the time, but mostly.
13 MR. BOS:
14 Q. Witness, if I can make a follow-up question on this. Did the ABiH
15 control the complete Hum mountain?
16 A. No. No. The BH army couldn't. It just went on a need-to-go
17 basis. We didn't dare appear there because we could have been hit by a
18 shell. We didn't even have an ordinary gun, let alone a tank. And we
19 didn't dare shoot from that spot to disclose our positions, our
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please. If I
22 understand you correctly, you said that you were in a cave that was called
23 Tito's cave, and with your pen you indicated the direction, because
24 apparently we can't see it on the photograph.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, with a red pen.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You've indicated that you were
2 above Stotina; is that right?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, in the direction -- it's about
4 250 metres above sea level.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Right. Two hundred and fifty
6 metres. Now, you've put a dot on the white margin. So we have 1, 2, 3,
7 4, the four positions. Now, as the crow flies how far are those positions
8 from your dot in the margin where you were, denoting the cave, the red
9 cave where you were at?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A maximum of 350 to 400 metres.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. So with your
12 binoculars, you saw what you described to us; right? And the others,
13 they -- or, rather, those four, they didn't know that you were very close
14 to them? Didn't realise that?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, they did not. They had
16 absolutely no idea, because we didn't show ourselves at all. We didn't
17 dare show ourselves, make any moves.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. The legal officer is
19 asking for a larger map. Can you -- do you not, Mr. Bos, have a larger
20 map so that we could see clearly where he was located?
21 MR. BOS: Maybe we can try this photograph.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here. Exactly here at this spot.
23 Do you want me to draw a circle there? Right here. There's a depression
24 here, and we slept there. We spent the night there when it was cold. It
25 sometimes rained. And we were there for two or three days and then went
2 MR. BOS:
3 Q. Maybe you could put a number 1 next to that circle.
4 MR. BOS: And if we could get an IC number for this particular
5 map, Your Honour.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Marks].
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So can you now show the spots,
8 the four spots, positions, where the men were that you were able to see,
9 the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4, the four positions.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] One, 2, 3, 4.
11 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] A question from the Bench. On that
12 map, Witness, can you also indicate the direction that the snipers were
13 shooting at? What direction were they shooting with respect to the four
14 points, 1, 2, 3, 4? Show us the direction, the trajectory of the shots
15 when they were shooting, as you say, against civilians and the unarmed
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That particular day or what,
18 Your Honours? I don't understand the question. Do you mean on that day
19 while I was watching or the whole month? Because we went there on several
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Stewart.
22 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, to some extent the witness's last
23 comment may confirm this. I just want this to be clear that the witness
24 is being asked - again to avoid confusion - what he himself can say from
25 his own personal observation so that we do have a clear distinction
1 between what he can say and what he might be reporting second or
2 third-hand or, worse, from somewhere else.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. I can show you what I
4 saw hit in my neighbours' places, and I'm ashamed really. I saw them kill
5 a cow here. They killed a horse there. On this side they killed a cow
6 and a calf, a fowl. And in this little park they killed a cow and a mare,
7 and they killed a horse over there.
8 I issued an order, Your Honour, which was a curfew, to enforce a
9 curfew from morning to night, and nobody was allowed to go out without our
10 permission. And as soon as our scouts told us the sniper was up there we
11 would hide the civilians. The only time when people could move around was
12 at night.
13 When their snipers had nothing to do, when they were idle, they
14 first hit a dog at my house, and then they shooted at cats and anything
15 else that was moving around in this area.
16 All I can show you is where -- roughly where people were killed.
17 I was -- I was at one place when three men were killed in the space of one
18 day, and another man was wounded in the leg. The bone was broken, but he
19 remained alive. I can't say anything else about the others who were
20 killed because I wasn't there when they were killed.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You said that you had a scout,
22 and this scout, where was he?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here, below Pijesak. This was the
24 safest place. No tyre from Hum could fall here, and this is where he --
25 was his reconnaissance command. The tyres would fall at the distance
1 from -- of 300 metres to this -- houses was a natural hiding place
2 against tyres. Usually those were young lads between 18 and 25 who were
3 fast, who could run fast, who could go there and move around very quickly.
4 I'm only sorry to say that a lot of them were killed. Actually, none of
5 them stayed alive and they were all members of my unit.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The counsel has asked you a very
7 important question. He wanted to know what you saw yourself and what you
8 heard from others. Could you please be very precise and answer
9 Mr. Stewart's question. At a given moment at any given place, did you
10 yourself witness sniper shots that came from Stotina and that wounded,
11 killed somebody or an animal?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will just confirm that there were
13 people who always remained alive, who survived. I was a witness in the
14 month of August near this house. The man was Resezovic Kemal, and he
15 worked with me. And Smaja Kljak was next to him. He was a well-known
16 person in Mostar. He had a restaurant. He was an invalid. Both of them
17 were killed -- wounded by a sniper, and the third person, Zulfo Maric, is
18 still alive but was wounded. This is what I saw with my own two eyes. I
19 was 50 metres away from the place. This is my house here.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And what was the exact date when
21 you witnessed that? Do you remember the date when this happened?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't remember the date. I know
23 it was in the month of August. I'm sure that it was August, but I can't
24 remember the date, because at the time I was also wounded.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In any case, it was in the month
1 of August, and -- and the shots, where did they come from? You were
2 there. You saw everything at a distance of 50 metres. Where did the
3 shots come from on that particular day?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here, from this house here, in this
5 direction. It was a straight line from this house to the place.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I believe that it should be said
7 that the translation has not been recorded correctly because the witness
8 speaks too fast, and I believe that there is a problem with the witness's
9 testimony. I would like to point out to page 39, line 7. I believe that
10 the witness said that Mr. Resezovic Kemal, who was together with him, was
11 carrying something. And you mentioned the name of that thing, and we may
12 conclude that it was a weapon.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was a pot for lunch.
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Very well, then. And I believe
15 that next to him there was a person who was walking who was bedridden.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Actually, he had suffered a stroke.
17 It was Kljak Smaja. The whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina knows that man.
18 Everybody knows him. You know him. I'm sorry that now he's dead.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to make a 20-minute
20 break and we will resume in 20 minutes.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.34 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall now resume.
24 MR. BOS: Your Honours, before we continue maybe we still need two
25 IC numbers for two of the maps that have been marked, and so if I could
1 ask the witness to put his signature on this map and also the map
2 underneath it, and if we can get two IC numbers for these maps. Maybe --
3 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
4 MR. BOS: If we can show the map which is now on -- on the ELMO,
5 and if we can get an IC number for this particular map. This is the
6 second map that was shown to the witness.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
8 THE REGISTRAR: The smaller map will be given Exhibit number IC
9 418, and the larger map of Stotina will be given Exhibit number IC 419.
10 MR. BOS: Both of them are large maps. The smaller map has
11 already been given a number which is IC 417. So could this be IC 418?
12 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. They will be 418 and 419.
13 MR. BOS:
14 Q. Witness, I'd like to move on to another topic, but I have just one
15 more question. You've spoken about an ABiH attack on the 21st of
16 September. What I wanted to know is, did the ABiH take over the area of
17 Stotina on -- on the 21st of September? Did they take control over that
18 area after that attack?
19 A. No. No.
20 Q. Thank you. Could I now ask you, Witness, to look at Exhibit 01017
21 in the bundle.
22 A. I have an objection.
23 Q. What is you want to say, Witness?
24 A. You have forgotten two snipers on the top of Hum which were lethal
25 and which managed to kill everybody they shot at. Nobody survived their
1 action, and you've forgotten those two sniper nests on Hum.
2 Q. Well --
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you have just told us
4 that we have forgotten two snipers on the top of Hum which also opened
5 fire, which were deadly. Is that what you're saying?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And these snipers, what happened
8 to them? Were they killed? What happened to these snipers?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I couldn't even see those snipers.
10 I only know that every bullet they fired killed a man because it was shot
11 at a diagonal of 90 degrees, and they would shoot a man in the neck. The
12 exit wound would be around the kidney area because it came from the hill.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're saying that -- that you
14 saw these snipers or you were told about them? Are you just speculating,
15 or did you actually see them?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I saw them through the binoculars,
17 and they wounded me as well. I looked at them shooting, and I can point
18 their exact places to them.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the interpretation it says
20 that you were wounded by one of them.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When was that? When were you
23 shot at? On what day?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 23rd and 24th September, 1993. In
25 between these two days when the operation was over.
1 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I observe, this is getting, with
2 respect, completely out of hand. Ms. Alaburic is doing the
3 cross-examination of this witness, but Your Honours will appreciate I'm on
4 my feet because sniping has come up and we're in this case together
5 anyway. What the witness has been doing has been mentioning in very
6 sweeping, general terms matters which in many instances are not even
7 alluded to in his statement, but we should, with respect, remind ourselves
8 that when we were dealing over the last two or three weeks with the sort
9 of incident which the witness has just mentioned in a sentence or so, we
10 spent perhaps two, three hours considering just that incident and just the
11 details of that incident in a detailed, proper way with then a proper
12 opportunity to cross-examine, and those detailed incidents formed the
13 basis of the expert report, or they're the foundation, and the expert
14 report looked at those in detail. What we're getting from this witness
15 are a series of assertions which are like the one-line summary in the
16 report which was no more than really alerting everybody to what it was
17 we're going to have to deal with by thorough evidence. This is a
18 completely inappropriate and unfair way of dealing with these subjects.
19 It simply does not present the case properly and does not give the Defence
20 remotely a fair opportunity to grapple with these issues.
21 MR. BOS: If I could just --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stewart, don't confuse the
23 matter. The expert testimony is one thing. The statement of a witness is
24 another thing.
25 MR. STEWART: With respect, I wasn't. I wasn't confusing and I
1 want to make that clear. I mentioned the expert report, but I was
2 concentrating particularly on the way in which that series of factual
3 witnesses fed into the expert report. Those things went together, and it
4 was apparently because it was acknowledged that the incidents had to be
5 examined one by one in detail that the factual witnesses came -- came
6 here, Your Honour. So, please, I'm not -- even if I may appear to be, I
7 wish to make it clear I'm not confusing those issues. The contrast is
8 primarily between the sort of factual evidence sought to be given today
9 and the sort of factual evidence given in relation to those incidents.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 MR. BOS: If I could just briefly respond to this in this
12 particular evidence with respect to snipers on Hum hill is something the
13 witness is referring to in paragraph 11 of his statement, Your Honours.
14 MR. STEWART: In about three words, 10 words. That's my point,
15 Your Honour. You can't just say something like that and then go into all
16 these details. I've made my point about the contrast with the other
17 witnesses anyway.
18 MR. BOS:
19 Q. Witness, let's focus our attention on Exhibit 01017, which I think
20 you have in front of you. Do you recognise this document?
21 A. I do. I'm familiar with this document. This is a document issued
22 by the local commune of Donja Mahala, which was the closest to the place
23 where shells were falling as well as tyres from Hum hill. And they kept
24 the record on the dead, wounded, burnt houses, and everything that
25 happened during the night. Such things always happened after 10.00 in the
2 I can slow down a little if you want me to.
3 This was written by a man who buried all people in the courtyard
4 of the house because -- actually, it was a school, because we didn't have
5 the time to bury them in a cemetery. We buried them next to each other in
6 gardens, in courtyards, in the school courtyard. So much from me on that
8 Q. And what was the name of the man who -- who has written this
9 report? Do you remember his name?
10 A. He's still alive. Nedzad Basic is his name. He was the
11 commissioner of the local commune.
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have a problem
13 because we don't have the Croatian original of the document. We only have
14 the English translation and the witness is obviously commenting upon the
15 English version, or he's looking at something else that we don't have. We
16 only have the English translation. And we only got a small portion of
17 that if we look at what the witness has before him.
18 MR. BOS: If I can clarify, Your Honours. This was a document
19 which was in both B/C/S and English. The original document was in both
20 languages so that why there isn't a translation. The document has six
21 pages and it has three of B/C/S language and three in English, in English
23 MR. KOVACIC: I'm afraid there must be some confusion then,
24 because I have a document in my hand, P 01017, and it is less than half
25 page English. There is no Croatian original, and we check and we didn't
1 get it, and it seems that the other Defences as well didn't get it. But
2 maybe I'm wrong. I don't know.
3 MR. BOS: Well, the complete document has an ERN range from 1813
4 to 1819 so the complete document has in fact seven pages.
5 MR. KOVACIC: It's interesting that all the Defences are having
6 just this one-page document and which is less -- it is about one-third of
7 the page on English. Nobody seems to have anything else.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you will allow me
9 an explanation for my learned friend from the Prosecution. In the chart
10 that was submitted to us as regards this document for this witness, it
11 says that this document has only one page because the last number --
12 digits are 1819 to 1819 [as interpreted]. Without any doubt this is only
13 one page. Maybe we could place the document on e-court and this would
14 allow us to see the B/C/S version that we don't have.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you please
16 put the B/C/S version on the e-court.
17 Mr. Praljak.
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we really try
19 to prepare ourselves professionally in order to answer all the questions
20 when we receive material, but how can one do that if we don't know the
21 date when something happened, when a death occurred, if we don't know
22 whether the person in question was a woman, a man, a soldier, where the
23 incident occurred, how it occurred, from which position it was shot or is
24 it thought that shots came from? We cannot examine this witness based on
25 documents we received, at least in this part, because we don't know when,
1 how, where, date, medical documentation, nothing. We don't have any of
2 those things that would assist the Defence and us accused to prepare
3 ourselves and to put such questions that would lead to the resolution of
4 this situation. We only get our stories and then facts are incorporated
5 in those stories to --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, this document which was
7 drafted by the municipality of Donja Mahala, in B/C/S and in English, this
8 document, was it disclosed to the Defence according to Article 68 and 66
9 of the Rules of Evidence and Procedure?
10 MR. BOS: Your Honour, the document is certainly in e-court, and I
11 don't know if I can draw a conclusion from that that if it's in e-court
12 that it should also have been disclosed to the Defence. I mean, as far as
13 I can say that, yes, the complete document was disclosed, but I base that
14 on the fact that it is in e-court. But, Your Honours, I just have --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ibrisimovic.
16 MR. BOS: -- one question on this document --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment. Mr. Ibrisimovic
18 has asked the floor. He wants to intervene.
19 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Obviously the course of this examination shows that Mr. Karnavas was
21 absolutely right. What I'm trying to say is another thing. The statement
22 from this witness was taken in 2005. Whatever the Prosecutor is asking
23 now he could have asked during the interview of this witness.
24 I'm going to quote you: When the procedure was established
25 according to 92 ter Article, you said that the Prosecution cannot disclose
1 a statement and then introduce new elements to the statement. This is a
2 typical examination of such a situation.
3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] We received the number of documents
4 in the proofing and irrespective of the fact whether we have it or not we
5 download it from various systems. However, the document that is now on
6 the screen corresponds in number. The number is ERN -- this ERN number
7 does not correspond. But this is a different document. It has a
8 different ERN number. It has nothing to do with what we were given as P
9 01O017 [as interpreted]. Irrespective of the time when it was disclosed
10 to us, it is simply a different document.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, the Defence says that
12 this document P 01017 that they have does not correspond with what they
13 see on the screen. There is a mismatch between the number and the screen.
14 MR. BOS: We have just pulled up the records, and according to our
15 records, this document was disclosed to the Defence on the 12th of
16 November 2005 as an attachment to the statement of this witness. This
17 document was actually attached to the statement of this witness.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, One page. One page, one page was, you
19 know, now you're showing four pages. It was one page. Now just confess
20 error and we can move on.
21 MR. BOS: Your Honour, it's -- our record says that there were six
22 pages disclosed. The ERN range is 13 to 19. It's -- but, Your Honours, I
23 can move on because I only have a question in relation -- well --
24 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise
25 to my learned friend. I would just like to say by way of explanation
1 there is difference between the P number and the ERN number. The ERN
2 number is in the right-hand corner. It is typed out. And when the P
3 number is disclosed then the document is searched for by the ERN number.
4 The ERN we received with the document or the document that we have
5 downloaded, one can see that this is the ERN number that was given to us
6 in the chart and that we have down loaded the right document. The
7 document that the Prosecution informed us about. The ERN number on the
8 screen is different from the ERN number on the chart. In order to avoid
9 any confusion, if we put this document on the ELMO, you will see that the
10 ERN numbers do not correspond to each other.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
12 Mr. Usher, could you please go and fetch the document from
13 Mrs. Tomic and could you please put it on the ELMO. They will then this
14 be able to compare the two ERN numbers.
15 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] If I may be of assistance.
16 Now that you look at it, here, in the upper right corner, you can see
17 04231819. Go back to the front page, please. Put the front page back.
18 This is the number. Now turn to the proofing chart for this
19 witness. The number -- the next page, please. The number here
20 corresponds to the number of the document. It is encircled 04231819, and
21 this is the ERN number, and I believe that the situation is clear now. I
22 believe that now you understand what we have been trying to communicate to
23 you all this time.
24 MR. BOS: Your Honours, I think I now understand what -- what the
25 problem is, and thank you, Counsel, for clarifying, because I didn't
1 realise what the problem was.
2 What's been explained here is that this -- what we see now on the
3 screen is the exhibit list that was -- that was submitted to the Defence
4 for this particular witness, and it seems here there's -- there's a
5 mistake in the ERN number because it only says 19, 19, and it should have
6 said 1813 up to 1819. So it was disclosed, but if you work on the basis
7 of this list you would think only this one page would have been disclosed
8 -- would have been used. So I understand the difficulty, but --
9 JUDGE PRANDLER: Before -- yes.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] The learned friend is right. Just
12 one page was given to us and this is precisely what we are saying.
13 Irrespective what it says in the database, we received just one page.
14 This is correct. We don't know whether this document maybe has 17 pages.
15 Nobody knows. Just the Prosecutor knows. Nobody else does.
16 JUDGE PRANDLER: If I understood it correctly, Mr. Bos said that
17 that was what they have disclosed was not only one page but with a wrong
18 number. But let us listen to him to clarify if -- what was really the
20 But before he will be doing that, let me also say that the Chamber
21 has displayed flexibility this morning when we ruled that actually the
22 cross-examination will be continued on Monday, and really I would like to
23 ask all of us here around the table and in the courtroom to -- to be
24 flexible enough also and to continue our audience here. As a matter of
25 fact, the -- as you recall, the Prosecution received one and a half hours
1 to present its case and the Defence two and a half hours, which means one
2 hour more, and therefore I believe that the Defence will have the
3 opportunity to be prepared during the -- the rest of the week and during
4 the weekend. I know that it is a bit of rather urgent issue which could
5 have been avoided otherwise, but I also would like to recall that we are
6 here a quarter past 11.00, and the Prosecution was not given the chance to
7 finish its -- its direct. So I would like to ask everyone now to proceed
8 in a calm manner and to finish with this issue in due time. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos.
10 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. If we could just look at the page which the Defence also has, that
12 one page that was shown on the e-court.
13 Witness, you have this document in front of you. Now, we spoke
14 about the document briefly. Now, reading this paragraph, and if you read
15 the six -- the sixth line from the bottom, does it read that: "On the 9th
16 of November, 1993, Ustashas from HV and HVO bombed the old bridge"? Can
17 you read that sentence?
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel. Microphone for the
20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] It's working now. Your Honours, I
21 apologise. I'm really embarrassed to interrupt, but at the beginning of
22 the whole thing we said that this short document is not the one that we
23 have. That line does not exist in our text. We have something else. The
24 Prosecution doesn't want to understand this.
25 Give us a five-minute break. Let us compare our papers. Let us
1 see what we've got. It seems that we are talking at cross-purposes. It
2 is as if we were speaking German and the Prosecution was speaking Dutch.
3 Again, he has given us a document that we do not have at all.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, you have put a question
5 on the document that finishes with numbers 1816, and they're saying they
6 have 1819, and that in the document with finishing in digits 1819, nothing
7 is mentioned to the effect describing the old bridge. This is what
8 Counsel Kovacic has just repeated.
9 I don't want to lecture you, Mr. Bos, but first of all there is a
10 mistake in the provision of your services. You have disclosed to Defence
11 a document under number 1819, and the Prosecution is now drawing your
12 attention -- attention to the fact that they have the document in English
13 1816, 1817, and 1818. I will not -- going to insist. If I were you I
14 would just move on to something else.
15 Mr. Kovacic.
16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise for being a
17 nuisance, but my colleague has just checked the e-court and we have
18 established that the integral document that the Prosecution is trying to
19 convince us that it was disclosed was placed on e-court earlier today. So
20 we couldn't see it. We didn't have an opportunity to see it. Since we
21 have lost so much time, we believe that this document is nothing but a
22 political pamphlet which has nothing to do with the truth, and I'm sure
23 that even if it is admitted it will not be taken into consideration. This
24 is nothing but a political pamphlet, but we will hear from witness. We
25 have now wasted a lot of time because some things have not been disclosed
1 properly. This is a media report. If we have -- if it boils down to us
2 dealing with letters written by a local commune to the UNPROFOR and other
3 bodies as a report for the media, I truly believe that we are wasting our
4 very precious time here.
5 MR. BOS:
6 Q. Witness, can I ask you, where were you around the 8th and the 9th
7 of November, 1993?
8 A. I was on the 8th of November, 1993, in Donja Mahala at my mother's
9 and at my mother's in law, because on the 9th of November my father-in-law
10 and my mother-in-law were wounded.
11 Q. And could you tell us what happened on that day, and the 8th of
13 A. The 8th of November I came by to have a cup of coffee and I heard
14 a tank firing a -- two or three shots.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, there must be a mistake.
16 In the English translation it says that you were in Donja Mahala on the
17 8th of November visiting your mother, because on the 9th of November you
18 mother and father-in-law were wounded. There as something wrong here.
19 You could not have anticipated what -- what would happen 24 hours later.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, no. No. No. This is a
21 misunderstanding. This is a misunderstanding. On the 11th of August, on
22 the 11th of August my father-in-law, Huso Bajgoric, was killed, and on the
23 8th of November the old bridge was shelled. I apologise. You can check
24 with -- in the papers. My father-in-law was killed on the 11th of August
25 at 5.00 in the afternoon, and on the 8th of November the old bridge was
1 shelled. I apologise. Check the document and you will see that I'm
2 telling truth.
3 MR. BOS:
4 Q. Witness, you have just stated that on the 8th of November the old
5 bridge was shelled. Can you give us a bit more detail about what you saw
6 that day?
7 A. After the third shell fell - I will talk slowly, and I apologise -
8 I went to the observation point called Izgorenistan [phoen]. This is the
9 address Gojka Vukovica 118. The burnt flat was the ownership of Abdul
10 Harakmani [phoen]. He is dead now. His flat burned down. He had three
11 observation points in his apartment: One facing the Neretva, the other
12 facing Stotina and Hum, the third facing the position from which the tyres
13 were falling.
14 Since I had shelter behind a fence I had binoculars and because of
15 the snipers I didn't dare look. If I had looked, I would not have been
16 sitting here. The artillery men know that every shell is seen. When a
17 tank is firing from a distance of 2.000 metres you can see every shell and
18 I was counting them, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Judges, your
19 Honourable Judges. I spent some three or four hours there. The shell was
20 firing for two or three hours. The tank was shelling for two or three
21 hours. Sometimes a shell at a time, sometimes two or three shells at a
22 time. All that time I was on the balcony. The women and children came
23 and we were observing some 40 or 50 shells falling all around Mostar. And
24 this lasted for --
25 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, in the document that the
1 Prosecutor has shown you coming from the local commune, the date there is
2 the 9th of November, 1993. That's the date mentioned there for the
3 shelling of the bridge.
4 Now, you're referring to it as happening on the 8th of November;
5 is that right?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, gentlemen, the old
7 bridge was destroyed on the 8th of November, and it fell on the 9th of
8 November at 1015 hours, but it was destroyed on the 8th of November. It
9 was shot four times on four occasions throughout the day. The fourth
10 shelling, when I was in Radobolja it was hit by 60 or 70 shells in that
11 day. So in the evening when we arrived you couldn't cross the bridge. I
12 tried but had to go back. And it's absolutely astounding that it survived
13 throughout the night. But the next morning I was at the Ruza hotel, and
14 the gentlemen are fully aware of that, and around 10.00 a.m. -- I didn't
15 have a watch, but about 10.00 a.m. we didn't have any water. The tank
16 shot at us again, shot a fifth shell, and with the sixth shell the bridge
17 fell. We were at hotel Ruza 150 metres away from the old bridge. There
18 was a large cloud of smoke and the bridge fell. And the men started
19 celebrating when they saw this.
20 I went outside to calm the people down, and I believe that they
21 were celebrating when it finally fell. And 15 minutes later my best
22 colleague was killed by a sniper shot. So that -- that is the truth of
23 it. It is as true as I am sitting here before you.
24 MR. BOS:
25 Q. Witness, you just stated that -- that in answer to the question of
1 the Judge that on the 8th of November the bridge was shelled four times.
2 Can you tell us exactly when those times were and what happened on each of
3 these times?
4 A. It was targeted in intervals -- at two-hour intervals at 8.00, at
5 10.00 and little afternoon and sometime between 3.00 and 4.00 in the
6 afternoon. The shells damaged it so much that quite simply -- you know
7 when a shell hit the old bridge you would have the mushroom effect. I saw
8 it, and it's interesting to see, but it's a very sad sight. It is a black
9 and yellow cloud of smoke in the form of a mushroom. And we were in
10 Radobolja. And shrapnel from the shells fill on us so we had to flee, get
11 out of the area and get away from the old bridge. Some 200 metres away
12 from the old bridge this was. So the old bridge was destroyed on the 8th
13 of November. It was totally destroyed, but it fell on the 9th of
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, a question. You were
16 talking about a tank fired. Did you see the tank?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I didn't. All the I saw was the
18 barrel, the barrel shooting, and it changed positions. And whoever looked
19 was probably targeted. We didn't dare raise our heads at all for fear of
20 being targeted.
21 MR. BOS:
22 Q. Do you know at which location this -- you said you saw a barrel.
23 At what location did you see that barrel?
24 A. I apologise. The location was at Cekrk hill, Hum.
25 Q. Later on I'll show you a photograph where you -- maybe you can
1 mark that location, but let me just ask you a few more questions.
2 You spoke about four intervals. Could you just tell us for each
3 interval how many times -- how many shells would fall on each of these
5 A. Your Honours, I really do apologise. I don't know the exact
6 amount of ammunition that a tank has, combat sets a tank has. I'm not a
7 tankist, but I know in one minute it is able to fire three to four shells.
8 So when you have a burst of gunfire this would make it 20 or 30 shells. I
9 might be wrong, but I don't know how you actually fire from a tank and how
10 many the crew manning the tank actually fired. I don't know the
12 Q. How many shells in total were fired in the direction of the bridge
13 that day?
14 A. Well, I'm not sure, but I do know there were between 60 and 70,
16 Q. You've stated that in the evening of the 8th of November you
17 actually went to the bridge. Can you explain again why you went to the
18 bridge and what you did there?
19 A. In the evening when it became dark people asked to go and see. I
20 wasn't alone. There was -- there were 15 to 20 of us. I stood at the top
21 of the bridge, and it was all -- well, you couldn't cross. I tried to get
22 across, but I had to go back. And it's really amazing how it managed to
23 stay up that long.
24 Q. Could you describe the condition of the bridge when you were up
1 A. When you get up onto the bridge, on the right-hand side was
2 completely destroyed. There was a big hole. The railing fell. There was
3 some sort of protection. There were three or -- three holes of a
4 half-metre diameter. I don't know how I didn't fall through the bridge
5 when I was there.
6 Q. You've stated that that evening you stayed at the Ruza hotel. How
7 far is the Ruza hotel from the old bridge?
8 A. A maximum of 150 to 200 metres.
9 Q. And then you've also stated -- well, let me just ask you. What
10 happened on -- you've spoke about it a bit, but let me ask you again.
11 What happened on the 9th of November?
12 A. On the 9th of November we went out onto the plateau facing the old
13 town at the Ruza hotel. It was 10.00, 10.15. I didn't look at my watch.
14 We didn't have anything to drink, so we went to have a drink. There was a
15 small stream there, Radobolja. So we went to wash our faces and have a
16 drink. So when the first shot, 10.00, 1010 hours, we didn't have any
17 watches so we weren't able to tell the time, but it was a nice, fine,
18 sunny day, and there were four shells that followed. I counted them
19 exactly. The sixth one the sixth one hit the old bridge and it toppled
20 into the water. On the 11th [as interpreted] of November six shells hit
21 the bridge. I didn't see where the tank was firing from. I didn't dare
22 put my head up because there was a sniper up at Hum. So it was only in
23 the evening at around 10.00 p.m. that we went to have a look and there
24 were just seven steps left standing and the bridge had toppled. And I can
25 add that the people who had -- didn't experience this, there was general
1 panic. Men, women, children, the elderly, the refugees, displaced persons
2 who had come to Mahala. Took us two days to calm the situation down. And
3 God forbid that anything like that happens again. And it's a real miracle
4 that I survived. I don't know how. Although I didn't want to survive
5 because I lost everything I held dear.
6 Q. Witness, just before you continue I think we need to make a
7 clarification in the record. On page 58, line number 14, you've stated
8 that on the 11th of November six shells hit the bridge. Was it the 11th
9 of November?
10 A. The 9th of November. The 9th of November.
11 MR. BOS: If we can maybe now show the witness Exhibit IC 419,
12 which was one of the photographs that was -- that he already marked. It's
13 the last big photograph.
14 Q. Witness, this is an aerial photograph -- well, again, do you
15 recognise what's -- well, you recognised the photograph. You've already
16 made some markings.
17 A. Bridge, Cekrk, the colony, the Hasan Brkic bridge, the Kamenica
18 bridge. You can't see the old bridge on this photograph. Ah, I
19 apologise. Well, you can't see it very well. Here it is over here. You
20 can see it now.
21 Q. Well, maybe just to clarify because this is an aerial photograph
22 of several years ago when I think the old bridge was -- was not in the
23 state as it is now.
24 Could you maybe mark with a number -- we'll use numbers -- letters
25 now. Could you mark a letter A where the old bridge is located on this
2 A. As far as I can see, this was a bridge which was white, built by
3 the Spanish Battalion. It was a makeshift bridge.
4 Q. And could you now please mark a number B where you saw the barrel
5 of the tank.
6 A. Over here.
7 Q. And if the usher maybe could just -- so we can saw see.
8 A. Roughly. Over here. Next to this house here.
9 Q. And, Witness, could you mark a number C where you were on the 8th
10 of November.
11 A. The first time -- you mean the 8th or the 9th?
12 Q. The 8th of November, when you witnessed this shelling.
13 A. The first two shellings I was in Mostar at the Zridaci [phoen],
14 and second I was in Barakovina [phoen] near the river, and I saw the old
15 bridge falling when I was at the Ruza hotel.
16 Q. You -- you've -- but you've marked a dot over there. Could you
17 maybe put a number C where you've placed a dot on the map. Your Honour --
18 Witness, let me just ask you this: Could you mark letter number C where
19 you actually saw the barrel of the tank. From where were you when you saw
20 the barrel of the tank. Could you there put the number -- the letter C.
21 No. That's where the barrel was, but where you saw the barrel, your
23 A. Over here.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 A. In the burnt down flat in Gojka Vukovica Street 118.
1 Q. Witness, did the shelling stop after the 9th of November when the
2 bridge had collapsed?
3 A. No. The shelling did not stop. The -- the shelling of the
4 Kamenica bridge started straight away from another position, in fact. And
5 that's when the Kamenica bridge was destroyed. And there was a terrible
6 panic among the population because Donja Mahala was completely cut off.
7 We couldn't cross at all.
8 Q. Could you --
9 A. Only at night.
10 Q. Could you mark on this map the location of -- of the Kamenica
11 bridge with a number D.
12 A. [Marks]
13 Q. And when did this -- was this bridge destroyed? On what date?
14 A. It was destroyed on the 10th of November, sometime in the
15 afternoon. One day after the old bridge. I know that it was sometime in
16 the afternoon. About 1700 hours, maybe. The upper part was destroyed
17 completely. I don't know how to mark that, but this area here, and it
18 fell to the -- into the water.
19 Q. Witness, I would now like to ask you to look at document -- I
20 think we're done with the map. Could I ask you to look at Exhibit
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] May we have an IC number? Do
23 you need one?
24 MR. BOS: We already have an IC number for this photograph. We
25 had marked it before.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am sorry, Your Honour. I
3 apologise, but I didn't show you the location of the tank that fired on
4 the 10th of November. And my colleague targeted the tank with a hand
5 grenade, but he -- or, rather, a mortar, but he missed.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can we have the photo again,
7 please so that he can show us the map.
8 MR. BOS:
9 Q. Witness, maybe you can mark that with the letter E, the position
10 of the tank that hit the Kamenica bridge.
11 A. We targeted it here from a hand -- by a hand-held rocket launcher.
12 And the main scout was killed. I'm sorry about that. We targeted it with
13 a hand-held rocket launcher. Let me say that my colleague who filmed all
14 this died on the 30th, I think, before the new year, and the tape was
15 handed over to someone. The cassette was handed over to someone, but it
16 was lost subsequently.
17 And may I just added that a Scot -- an Irishman from UNPROFOR
18 filmed it all but left in an unknown direction.
19 Q. Witness, can I now ask you to look at Exhibit 4265 in your bundle.
20 Is it correct, Witness, that I showed you this document yesterday?
21 A. Yes, that is correct. I saw this document for the first time
22 yesterday. I didn't know about it before, so thank you, gentlemen, for
23 showing it, and it shows that Napalm bombs were thrown on --
24 Q. Could I ask you to comment on what was said in the document it
25 talks about an incident at 10.00 in the evening of the 16th of August,
1 1993 where it says a Napalm bombing trial operation was conducted. Do you
2 remember what happened on the 16th of August, 1993.
3 A. On the 16th of August. You made a mistake. The 16th.
4 Q. You're absolutely right the 16th of August.
5 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that we have a
6 problem with the interpretation or the translation. The witness said in
7 line -- in 15, page 62, he said that this was the first time --"Yesterday
8 I saw it for the first time." That doesn't -- he's saying that he sees
9 for the first time that these Napalm bombs were falling. So he didn't
10 know about it. He didn't see it in the real life, and you can't see that
11 from the sentence.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, that's not how I
13 understood it. I understood it that he saw the document yesterday, and he
14 added that he confirms the Napalm bombings. But let me ask the witness a
15 question to avoid all misunderstanding and ambiguity.
16 Sir, yesterday you were shown this document; right?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, when you saw this document,
19 what conclusion did you draw from it?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That that night I was carrying three
21 of my dead neighbours. I'll answer you, sir. I'll answer your question,
23 On the 16th of August, at around 2200 hours I was at Cekrk. I
24 heard a plane flying overhead, and I shot it using my automatic rifle. It
25 was a Kalashnikov. I shot 30 bullets. The first bomb fell -- fell just
1 10 to 15 metres away from my own house. It killed Kalalid Samira
2 [phoen]. My other brother, he was killed on the 11th of August, the first
3 one. The other bomb fell in Donja Mahala just before the Kamenica
4 bridge. Envir Ornjica [phoen] was killed just by the mosque and Mustafa
5 Pilagic [phoen]. And the only person that was still living but was
6 wounded was Mr. Hakija Klaric [phoen]. I don't know how he remained
7 living. I apologise to the gentleman. I'm not a linguist; I'm not a
8 poet. I'm not Jasinj [phoen]. I'm a machine operator and I worked for 20
9 years with machines, machinery, and I know exactly what fell on me. Had
10 an American Napalm bomb fallen on me, everything would have been burnt.
11 It was a Djua [phoen] bomb, because I worked in the aeroplane factory, the
12 Pesane [phoen] French company, and it is the best Duran [phoen] that is
13 produced for the wings of an aeroplane. So with all due respect to the
14 Defence counsel, you don't have to teach me anything where technology is
15 concerned. You might put me right linguistically but I know everything
16 there is to know about the machines and technology.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But you still haven't answered
18 the question. Yesterday the Prosecutor showed you this document. Now,
19 this document is being shown to you again today. What do you have to say
20 to the document?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The bombs fell, but there was no
22 fire. Nothing was aflame. You just could smell this unpleasant smell.
23 We didn't know what had happened. And I just said that on that day bombs
24 did fall but I don't know what kind of bombs and I still don't know what
25 the fill of the bombs was. All I know is that there was a detonation. I
1 know what a Napalm is. If there was a Napalm bomb, then one kilometre --
2 US-produced, American Napalm bomb, then the whole area would have gone up
3 in flames.
4 I don't think we really have proper Napalm bombs because I worked
5 for 20 years in the aviation industry, in the Sokol company from 1981 to
6 1992. I know each individual part of an aeroplane. If I might be allowed
7 to explain. I worked for the Douglas aircraft, the Mirage, Boeing,
8 Aleutian [phoen], all different kinds of aircraft. So I know all about
9 this. You can't teach me anything about the aviation industry or air
10 bombs. I know all about them. That's what I want to tell you. You can
11 check out my knowledge, how much I know, and then you'll see.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My question is the following:
13 This document, the document we have here coming from the HVO indicates
14 that on the 16th of August at 2200 hours there was a bombing operation, a
15 Napalm bombing operation that was conducted. Now, this document, does it
16 correspond to what you yourself observed on the ground, with what you
17 experienced on the ground?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really do apologise, Your Honour,
19 but three bombs fell, and three bombs exploded, and you could smell --
20 there was a very bad check out my knowledge, how much I know, and then
21 you'll see.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My question is the following:
23 This document, the document we have here coming from the HVO indicates
24 that on the 16th of August at 2200 hours there was a bombing operation, a
25 Napalm bombing operation that was conducted. Now, this document, does it
1 correspond to what you yourself observed on the ground, with what you
2 experienced on the ground?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really do apologise, Your Honour,
4 but three bombs fell, and three bombs exploded, and you could smell --
5 there was a very bad smell which affected your nose and throat. And three
6 bombs fell along the street in Mahala. So all I can say is that the bombs
7 did explode. Now, in those bombs, what substance was in those bombs I
8 really can't say. I don't know.
9 MR. BOS:
10 Q. One follow-up question on this. The fact that there was this
11 smell was that usual for bombs that they had this particular shell -- this
12 smell or was this particular bomb smelling different than -- than usual?
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me, Your Honour. Excuse me. I
14 apologise, but "than usual." That means that there was a bombing campaign
15 going on. So he indicated that there were three -- that there were three
16 bombs allegedly. So the usual part denotes a fact that is not in
17 evidence. I would appreciate it if counsel did not take liberties with
18 the facts.
19 MR. BOS:
20 Q. Is this the only time that bombs fell on Donja Mahala?
21 A. As far as I know, that was the begin the bombing. It was only the
22 second time. I can't claim -- it wasn't the end of the bombing of Mahala.
23 It was the beginning of the bombing. Perhaps the second time.
24 Q. So you say the second time. On how many times did -- did bombs
25 fell on Donja Mahala? Bombs being dropped from an aeroplane.
1 A. On the 17th of September, about 23, 24 hours. I remember that
2 night very well because there were bombs dropping from planes and tyres
3 being rolled down Hum. Some exploded while they were still on Hum, but I
4 was in the local commune, at a place called Spile near Dugaric's bakery.
5 One bomb fell on to Mehic Gara's [phoen] house. He was at Heliodrom at
6 the time. And, gentlemen, it destroyed three houses completely and seven
7 round about. His father's house and his brother's houses were shattered,
8 and I can claim with my own life that Suada's -- I found Suada's head in
9 the next door yard. It's very difficult for me to speak of those things.
10 I couldn't ever have conceived of such a strong explosion. And the Donja
11 Mahala road towards Cekrk was full of the debris of a house that had been
12 blown up right across the road. So you couldn't walk down that road. You
13 had to clear the debris and the rubble first. So that's what I wanted to
14 tell you.
15 Q. And you've been talking now about the 17th of December [sic], and
16 on that occasion did -- was there the same -- was there the same --
17 A. The 17th. The 17th of September. I apologise. It was the 17th
18 of the 9th month, September.
19 Q. That's -- that's what I said as well. And was there the same type
20 of smell when the bombs fell on the 17th of September?
21 A. I can't confirm that exactly. It was all terrible. There are
22 quite a lot of living survivors in the local commune who will be better
23 placed to explain it all. I wasn't on the spot. I was 500 metres away
24 from that spot, so that as the Donja Mahala area comes under strong winds,
25 all the dust went towards Cekrk. So actually I couldn't feel anything. I
1 just saw the houses that had been destroyed.
2 Q. Witness, okay, let's move on to one other exhibit which is Exhibit
4 And I would like that, which is the Mostar map, which I would like
5 the registry to have it shown on e-court, please.
6 Witness, in paragraphs 13, 14, and 15 of your written statement
7 you talk about the HVO practice of rolling tyres with explosives from
8 Mount Hum into Donja Mahala. Now, I'm not going to ask you any questions
9 about it because it's all in your statement, but the only thing what I
10 would like you to do is -- and the map is going to be shown to you on the
11 screen, is whether you could indicate which part of Donja Mahala was
12 actually targeted with these tyres, where you mark that with a -- with a
13 pencil on the map.
14 MR. BOS: And maybe the usher can assist so he can do this
16 Q. No, no. Don't use that marker, Witness.
17 A. May I?
18 Q. Yes. So please indicate exactly the area where these tyres would
19 hit Donja Mahala.
20 A. The tyres fell at some 300 metres from the bridge. The first one
21 fell here next to Sejo Besic's house. If you measure that, this is 350
22 steps or 300 metres. They could not fall here. That's why our command
23 was here, because there is a canyon through which the tyre cannot pass.
24 This is where it fell and this was the biggest tyre. If you walk through
25 Donja Mahala now and if you count the craters, the red roses, as we call
1 them, you will find 13 of them. For some people this number is lucky.
2 For some unlucky. There were iron sheets so we barricaded all the
3 passages so the tyres could not pass through. Two of them broke. One hit
4 the house of Dr. Djino Kajtaz, a very well known doctor, pulmonologist.
5 It hit one of his windows and then ricocheted but then we found that tyre.
6 Your Honours, gentlemen, this was not a tyre. That tyre contained
7 five or six tank shells. There were 20 or 30 kilos of explosive. There
8 were wires attached to that tyre, and all that was ignited, and we could
9 observe the tyre being pushed from the top, burning.
10 And what it says here 1.15, 1.14, 1.18, this is the time when the
11 tyre hit Mahala and how much time you have to find shelter in the garden.
12 If I tell you that one of them broke some 150 metres away from me and I
13 hurt all over, from my head to my genitals, that I could barely walk for
14 three days. The doctor told me that I was lucky that my mouth was zipe
15 [phoen] and otherwise my lungs would have burst. This is as much as I
16 have to say in response to that question.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] About the tyres. You said the
18 tyres contain the tank shells, 20 to 30 kilos of explosive, and also the
19 ignition devices. And you said you observed it rolling down and then
20 exploding because it had a ignition device. Where the person who rolled
21 it down at the moment, where did that person -- how did that person ignite
22 the explosive? How did it function? How did it work?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it was not shell --
24 shell -- tank shell but anti-tank mines, green mines that we call "hat
25 mines." And the tyre was rolling there was an igniting device in there
1 and on the side there were four or five devices, and as the tyre was
2 rolling these ignition devices would ignite on the spot. When they pushed
3 it and they ignited it up there, it took the tyre three and a half points
4 get to the Donja Mahala and then it would explode. And you could hear the
5 tyre rolling down the hill.
6 There are lots of living witnesses. A lot of them were wounded.
7 And I'm really amazed how come you called me, because there are other
8 people who had been wounded and they could tell you much more than I can.
9 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, the story of the tyres is
10 something that concerns me a lot, and the Chamber. You were a soldier.
11 You know that during combat the armies have to act according to
12 international rules of war, and the commanders have to do that. And if
13 the army is not under control it's very difficult to control military
14 target, but you say you were about 150 metres away from the place where
15 the tyre hit, where -- the place of impact.
16 You yourself, your company, were you situated in the vicinity of
17 the place where this tyre landed? In other words, that tyre, according to
18 you, was it targeted at you and your company or was it sent down randomly
19 to target civilian population or nobody?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This area is inhabited. There are
21 white buildings that have in the meantime been rebuilt and floors have
22 been added to them. There were no troops here. All the civilians were in
23 the military -- in the elementary school and all the civilians slept in
24 the basement. So nobody dared spend a night in this area. There was
25 nobody who dared spend a night. All the population fled the area, and
1 this zone was simply empty. There was nobody there. They only returned
2 around the new year of 1994 when all the shelling had stopped. There were
3 no military targets there.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, I'm trying to understand.
5 You're saying that the zone had been deserted. How come that there were
6 victims if there was nobody there? How come there were casualty?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When the first of them fell, people
8 did not know what had hit them. The second one, when that one exploded,
9 it appears the basement wall, 40 centimetres thick, made of concrete, at
10 Gojka Vukovica 50. That's the address. Aida Delic was there and some
11 other women were there and were wounded. Some other people were wounded.
12 But it was the local commune that was recording that and not the army.
13 Then all the population was evacuated to the basement of the elementary
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's take the second tyre that
16 is about to explode and it's -- be -- appears the 40 centimetre thick
17 wall. You have given us the address. Gojka Vukovica number 20 --
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was 50. Number 50, number 50.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay it's a good thing I asked
20 the question because the number was wrong. Okay. At that address were
21 there any BiH members present? Were there any troops there?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I came with full responsibility that
23 that was not the case.
24 MR. BOS:
25 Q. Witness, I'd like to show you one more document, which is Exhibit
1 9328. And if you could get your bundle again. 9328. It's a document.
2 It's not a map.
3 MR. BOS: Maybe the usher can assist to get the document. Okay.
4 Well, we have it now, I think. Yes.
5 Q. Witness, do you recognise this document?
6 A. I do, yes.
7 Q. What can you say about this document?
8 A. It is a request by the local population of Donja Mahala who had
9 accommodated a lot of refugees, and they wrote an appeal, a letter to
10 UNPROFOR. At that moment we were not aware of that letter at all, so --
11 but since we're in the position that we were in, the UNPROFOR received
12 this letter, and as far as I can remember, towards the end of August a
13 Spanish Battalion delegation visited Donja Mahala. And this is all I can
14 tell you about this document. They brought food, water, and some medical
15 supplies and toiletries for the women and children, and is all. That's
16 the long and the short of it about this document.
17 Q. Witness, the document doesn't have a date, but can you estimate
18 approximately when this document was written down?
19 A. In my view it was in the month of August. I don't know exactly
20 because this was drafted by the local commune and I don't think I was
21 there. But approximately it was in the month of August, 1993.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Again, Your Honour the gentleman indicated
23 initially he had no knowledge of the document. Now he's being asked when
24 the document was drafted and sent over. Now he's speculating. This is
25 clearly improper direct examination. Anywhere else in the world would
1 nobody would ask this gentleman to speculate on such a matter.
2 MR. BOS: Well, the witness indicated that the Spanish Battalion
3 delegation visited Donja Mahala at the end of August, and I think the
4 witness has said --
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Nothing has to do with the other. He can elicit
6 that, when did they visit, and he can give an answer. But he's asked to
7 comment on a document which he never saw, he didn't draft. It's simply
8 improper. It's trial advocacy 101.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What the Judges are concerned
10 with are the contents of the document and here there is something that
11 needs to be explained.
12 According to this document, this is an appeal for help by the
13 locals of Donja Mahala, and there were about 2.000 people there, or 2.900
14 people. In your memory, were there about 3.000 people living in Donja
15 Mahala? Would you say that would be about correct?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, with a hundred people tolerance
17 plus or minus. But there was about 3.000.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the document it says that
19 Donja Mahala was an enclave, a part of the town where a majority of the
20 population are Muslims without any protection, and so on and so forth.
21 Would that correspond to the reality that you yourself experienced on the
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm really sorry to
24 say, but nobody asks me how many dead and wounded I had. In the month of
25 July of 1993, my command was decimated. I was the only one that survived.
1 I was wounded and I -- still I had to make rounds of the lines. If you
2 look at the number of dead only, there's nothing for me to say. Our
3 combat readiness was reduced by 50 per cent excluding the civilians that
4 arrived all the time.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as you know, in Donja
6 Mahala, how many people were killed and how many were wounded?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Up to that time you mean?
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Approximately between 70 and a
10 hundred approximately. I don't know the number of civilians, but the
11 numbers can only be higher. It can't be any lower.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. You're saying
13 that UNPROFOR came to Donja Mahala. After their visit, did you feel a
14 change? Was there more protection? Was protection better? Was there
15 less shooting? Did the fire cease? Was there a -- fewer wounded and --
16 and killed, or did the situation continue the same?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Two days later, the situation was
18 same, and if -- if -- not only was it not better but it actually became
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In this document and
21 intervention is sought from the UNPROFOR, from the Red Cross. CNN TV
22 is -- appealed to -- to come and visit. Did you see all these people?
23 Did they come or did they not come?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was not within my purview.
25 This was under the authority of the MUP. As a military person I didn't
1 have the right to contact with anybody. It was the MUP.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] However, did you see them
3 yourself with your own two eyes?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please, please. I only saw the
5 SpaBat APC. I didn't see anybody else, and I claim that with full
6 responsibility. I know that there were Spaniards in a white APC, and I
7 did not see anybody else. Again, I claim this with full responsibility.
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Your Honour,
9 Your Honour.
10 JUDGE PRANDLER: A follow-up question, and after that Mr. Praljak
11 would like to say something. Concerning the question which was raised by
12 the Presiding Judge, Judge Antonetti, he asked you if you saw some
13 improvement or some movement by various organisations including ICRC or
14 others. You mention now only the -- the Spanish Battalion. But
15 previously, about five, 10 minutes ago, you mentioned that you witnessed
16 or you were aware that certain assistance were delivered. Assistance what
17 you mentioned, food, toiletries, et cetera. Now, what is your real
18 position? Have you been aware of anything which was delivered there as
19 assistance, as help in terms it of food and toiletries, et cetera, or you
20 are only speaking about the -- about the Spanish Battalion's presence,
21 which is, of course, another issue. So I believe now our question is if
22 you had witnessed any improvement even only for a few days or weeks after
23 this letter was originally sent. I hope you understand my question.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you are right, and I
25 apologise. I did not understand you properly.
1 The Spanish Battalion did come, indeed, and they brought aid in an
2 APC. There was some improvement for a couple of days. They brought
3 everything to -- to Donja Mahala local commune. I believe that there is a
4 record to that effect, and this is the only thing that I can tell you. I
5 had to pass through there. I couldn't go anywhere else because Donja
6 Mahala is next to the road, and this was the only route that I could take
7 to go anywhere.
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
9 Your Honours --
10 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you.
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] At the bottom of this
12 document it says the original, illegible, handwritten, 2002, signed.
13 We -- we don't have the illegible original. We don't have anything in
14 handwriting. We don't have a date. Maybe it was signed in 2002, or
15 written or something. And one really doesn't say how to comment such a
16 document, save for the fact that war lends itself to a terrible propaganda
17 by people who find themselves affected by war.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, Mr. Praljak has
19 provided us a comment of the document and says that the contents are
20 nothing but propaganda. What do you feel about that? How do you feel
21 about that?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Chapeau Your Honours to both you and
23 Mr. Praljak. I did not write this document. I did not see it at that
24 time, but I swear by my life that whatever is contained in here I would
25 die for it to prove that this is true.
1 Sir, you have not seen a child starving. That's not propaganda.
2 And when you see people who are dying, this is not propaganda.
3 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] First of all, I apologise to
4 Judge Antonetti. I didn't say that this is propaganda. I said that
5 propaganda is a commonplace thing in any war, and the witness will
6 obviously have something to say about this document, about people
7 starving, being hungry, dying. But what it says here that this document
8 is -- that it is illegible, that it is handwritten, that it doesn't have a
9 date, that it was something in 2002, and that it was signed. Would that
10 be a document that was written in 2002? Where is the original of this
11 document? Who is the author of this document? And as for the reality of
12 the life in Donja Mahala, this is a different issue and we'll learn about
13 that in due course.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, in theory when we
15 introduce a document without a date you have to provide us with a criteria
16 of reliability and tell us that the document arrives from this or that
17 source, was provided by this person or something to that effect. This is
18 to avoid objections and comments that have just been used and are a waste
19 of time at the end of the day. What about this document?
20 MR. BOS: Your Honours, the source of this document is -- it's --
21 we received this document from an ECMM officer. I don't know if I should
22 call his name here out loud, but he's -- he's one of our witnesses, and he
23 provide us this document.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Try and finish, Mr.
1 MR. BOS: I'm almost finished, Your Honour. I must have maybe one
2 or two questions about this document.
3 Q. Witness, it says -- it talks about 2.900 persons and then it says
4 both locals and refugees. Now, where did -- these refugees in Donja
5 Mahala, where did they come from?
6 A. All the refugees who arrived in Donja Mahala arrived from the
7 western part of Mostar, from Podhum, Zahum, Liska Street, Hit, Centar 2,
8 the Avenue, Bonavac [phoen]. There are also people from Medjenje [phoen].
9 People who put lists together have the exact dates and numbers of people
10 who had been expelled.
11 Q. And when did these refugees start to arrive in Donja Mahala?
12 A. Your Honour, the first day of attack was the 9th of May, and I
13 guarantee that on the day over a thousand refugees arrived in Donja
14 Mahala, although we were not at all prepared. The shooting had already
15 started. War started at 10 to 5.00. Shelling started, and the worst
16 thing was the fact that these refugees were empty-handed. They didn't
17 have anything on them, and this put a lot of pressure to bear on the small
18 community of Mahala.
19 Over the next two -- three or four months the number of
20 population increased in Donja Mahala to 5.000. I can't be positive
21 because I wasn't there. I only know that 2.000 people arrived at one
22 point in -- during one month. This is where I was on duty. And there
23 were so many people that we simply wasted all our food reserves within
24 the first three months.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A question that might seem
1 unimportant to you, but I have to ask that because it does present a
2 problem. You are just -- you've just said that on the 9th of May there
3 were a thousand displaced persons who arrived, and you say that in Donja
4 Mahala at a certain moment there were up to 5.000 displaced persons, and
5 you'll -- you're talking about the Napalm bombs, the tyres, and so on and
6 so forth.
7 One question that imposes itself: The individuals who were there,
8 the refugees, could they not go somewhere else? Did they have to come to
9 Donja Mahala? Was the entire zone encircled by the HVO? Is that why the
10 people could not leave? Or was there a possibility to go elsewhere, and
11 if that -- there was such a possibility, how come that these people didn't
12 go anywhere? Or how come that they stayed?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, for putting
14 this question. Three thousand people were locals, but suddenly the number
15 increased to 5.000, which means that a total of 2.000 refugees had
17 The first problem was the fact that the atomic shelter was full of
18 refugees and people who performed their humanitarian work. The first
19 question was, was there anybody in Bijelo Polje, Jablanica, Blagaj, on the
20 left bank of the Neretva.
21 Some people stayed with the families in Luka, in Tekija. A lot
22 stayed in Mahala. We really wanted to try and -- and move these people
23 from Mahala because there was a lot of pressure on us. The winter came,
24 and I was given a task in December 1993 to take people to Jablanica. And
25 that was the first time I was absent from Mahala for five days in the
1 course of a whole year, because the war lasted nine months, but in Mahala
2 it lasted 15 months, from April to June.
3 During that March when we were taking people to Jablanica, my
4 feet were frozen and all of my nails fell off. On Prenj, which is 2.100
5 metres high, on that side I counted at least 12 people who froze to
7 When I returned from Jablanica on my way back from Jablanica, I
8 again encountered a column of 500 people who were crossing the mountain to
9 leave the town. So I can tell you who was it who crossed Prenj in the
10 winter in December of 1993. I can tell you that a this was a heroic act.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, you haven't quite answered
12 my question, because you're talking about the winter of 1993 when you
13 climbed a mountain which was at an altitude of 2.100 metres, but my
14 question is as follows: In the month of May, that is to say before the
15 summer, Donja Mahala saw the arrival of thousands of people. So how come
16 that these people were stuck there in Donja Mahala? Why didn't they go
17 elsewhere, to some other place?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise. Those who
19 could, went, and had somewhere to go, they left. But people didn't have
20 any food. Everybody milled around the canteen. And to quote military
21 doctrine, I prohibited one meal. I didn't let the meals be distributed to
22 the soldiers but to the women and children and ailing elderly. There were
23 a lot of people who were ailing, who were sick, and we endeavoured to
24 transport them to the left bank. They had no medicines. So I can say
25 with full responsibility that I did everything to have the people who
1 could walk be taken to the opposite bank. That's what I wanted to tell
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Just to avoid some
4 misunderstandings, the witness so far hasn't referred to May, but he was
5 speaking of the 9th of May, one particular day, the 9th of May, 1993, and
6 he didn't speak of thousands of people who arrived in Donja Mahala from
7 West Mostar, but he was talking about approximately 1.000 people who
8 arrived from Western Mostar, if I remember correctly.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Madam, I do respect you.
10 However, Your Honours, on the 9th of May, in the morning, let me
11 tell you, there were 1.260 people just that morning arriving in Donja
12 Mahala. And if I'm wrong by one count, you can shoot me. One, two,
13 three, even 500 people would come every day. I didn't count the people.
14 I carried a rifle, gentlemen. I had to save my life and lives. And you
15 can check out the lists. You have them all, and then you can check how
16 many people poured in.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, have you completed the
18 examination-in-chief or do you need more time?
19 MR. BOS: No, Your Honours, I did -- I do -- I am finished with my
20 examination. The only thing I still want to do and I think we lost the
21 Mostar map where the witness indicated where the tyres hit Donja Mahala.
22 I would want to give that an IC number, but it seems that we've lost it.
23 So I wonder if we could get the map back and he can make two markings
24 again and we can have an IC number for that. And then I'm finished.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's have an IC number.
1 THE REGISTRAR: That will be given Exhibit IC 420, Your Honours.
2 MR. BOS: Am I correct that he will need to make a remarking of
3 the map?
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to give the map back
5 to you. I don't know where the map has gone, but let's have it back and
6 then you can have a look.
7 MR. BOS: It's Exhibit 9517. So if we can pull that up on
8 e-court, 9517.
9 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, I see that we are quite a bit overdue
10 for the break. It may be convenient to have that done during the break
11 and then we can avoid wasting time when we come back.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but -- yes. The witness
13 might need to have a rest.
14 Just answer -- or, rather, just follow the instructions given to
15 you by the Prosecutor.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't need a rest.
17 MR. BOS:
18 Q. Well, Mr. Salcin, could you please mark the locations again where
19 the tyres hit at Donja Mahala.
20 A. [Marks]
21 Q. And if you could put your signature in the corner of this map, and
22 if we could get an IC number for this document.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Here we have it.
24 Mr. Registrar, what number was that? 420? 4-2-0.
25 Is that it, Mr. Bos?
1 We're going to take a break. It's 12.30, so we reconvene at 10 to
2 12.00. And we'll have 45 minutes, so think about who is going to start
4 --- Recess taken at 12.31 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 12.52 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The cross-examination can start.
7 I don't know who is going to kick off.
8 Mr. Praljak. Let me remind you that the Defence has two and a
9 half hours. So we're going to start the countdown as of now.
10 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Good afternoon,
11 Your Honours. I have been given time from the Coric Defence and Pusic
12 Defence as well as my own Defence and Mr. Stojic's Defence, 20 minutes or
13 thereabouts, and I'll try and get through some matters calmly, because
14 there seems to be a lot of chaos.
15 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Witness.
17 A. Good afternoon.
18 Q. Let's first decide on how we're going to proceed. When the
19 Prosecutor asks you questions and Their Honours ask you questions, they
20 let you provide them with various explanations. Now, I'd like to ask you,
21 and that's your duty, to do your best to answer my questions briefly. My
22 questions will be simple, as precise as possible, so please try and give
23 me yes and no -- yes or no answers or say you don't know, I don't
24 remember, I'm not aware of, that kind of thing. Brief. I don't need to
25 listen to your explanations.
1 Now, unless the Judges ask you to explain something, then try and
2 be as brief as possible and avoid these long answers.
3 A. Thank you, Mr. Praljak. I've understood you very well.
4 Q. Now, let's try and clarify certain things straight away.
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] May the witness be shown
6 these two maps.
7 Q. On the first map we've already seen that aerial map of part of
8 Hum, Stotina, and Mahala. And I'd like to ask you on that map to mark the
9 positions that you had in Donja Mahala, the military positions. Is it
10 true and correct that you were a member of the BH army?
11 A. Yes, Mr. Praljak.
12 Q. Is it also correct that you were part of a battalion, the 41st
13 Motorised Brigade, in actual fact?
14 A. Yes, Mr. Praljak.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, on this map, then, if that be the case, mark the
16 HVO positions at Stotina, the line held by the HVO, and another line -- so
17 that will be the first line. Line number 1 is the HVO line. Draw in the
18 HVO positions at Stotina.
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. Leave the map the way it was. You needn't turn it round. Stotina
21 is to the left.
22 A. I understand.
24 Q. And place a number 1 there, please.
25 A. [Marks]
1 Q. Now to the left of the bridge, the left bank of the Neretva, that
2 was where the BH army positions were; is that right?
3 A. Yes, correct, sir.
4 Q. Draw them in, please, then -- or, rather, the line along the
6 A. Well, I can't draw them around the Neretva River because that's
7 not where they were. Mr. Praljak, this bridge had been destroyed, so
8 there was no need for the BH army to be there.
9 Q. Very well. Just put the area -- indicate the area under BH army
11 A. I understand, Mr. Praljak. The BH army was in South Camp, but I
12 can't see that very well here.
14 Q. Did the BH army control the left bank of the Neretva River up to
15 the bridge that was destroyed?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Well, go ahead and indicate then. Indicate that then.
18 A. [Marks]. You're welcome.
19 Q. Would you draw the line left of the bridge on the left bank where
20 the position was, the BH army positions.
21 A. Mr. Praljak, it wasn't there.
22 Q. Then show us up until what place you were there. You were.
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. Well, there wasn't any guard duty. What was on that bank?
25 A. I apologise, Mr. Praljak, but we were on the right bank because
1 there was no need for us to be on the left bank.
2 Q. Captain, do you know that shift duty and guard duty is not what it
3 is in wartime? There are combat positions. Isn't that right?
4 A. Yes, that is right, Mr. Praljak.
5 Q. Now, look at Donja Mahala and indicate in Donja Mahala where your
6 positions were.
7 A. [Marks]
8 Q. Either draw a line or put Xs.
9 A. [Marks]
10 Q. Where were you? Move the map so we can see it on our screens.
11 A. [Marks]
12 Q. Next.
13 A. [Marks]
14 Q. And I assume you had positions further on.
15 A. Yes, we did, but I can't see them on the map. I understand,
16 Mr. Praljak.
17 Q. Now join the dotted lines up.
18 A. [Marks]
19 Q. You were at Hum, weren't you, as well? Up at Hum?
20 A. I understand, Mr. Praljak. This is just -- these are just the
21 scout positions where reconnoitering was done.
22 Q. All right. Then place the observation posts 2 and 3.
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. And the line, you can put a 4 for the line.
25 A. [Marks]
1 Q. Given this line, in houses, basements, bunkers, is that where you
2 had your positions?
3 A. No, Mr. Praljak.
4 Q. Well, what did you do then?
5 A. We just had points where we transferred the killed and wounded
7 Q. Just a moment, please. Are you claiming that the BH army and your
8 particular unit that numbered 120 men opposite the HVO, facing the HVO,
9 had points but no combat positions? Is that what you're claiming?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. All right. Thank you. Now, put your initials on that photograph
12 and -- or, rather, leave the map there for another moment or two --
13 A. [Marks]
14 Q. -- and mark the place where the tank was, the tank that you say
15 targeted the old bridge that you saw.
16 A. I understand, sir. The first time or the second time?
17 Q. You just saw the tank on the 8th of November, did you not?
18 A. Behind this house here.
19 Q. Would you put a number there.
20 A. Which number?
21 Q. Five, number 5.
22 A. [Marks]
23 Q. And place your initials on the map as well, please.
24 A. I've already put them there.
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] May the map be given an IC
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, an IC number,
4 THE REGISTRAR: The map will be given IC number 421, Your Honours.
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] May we take a look at the
6 next map now, please.
7 Q. On this map you can see Stotina even better. It's a close-up.
8 Would you mark the position of the tank that fired on the 8th of November,
9 1993, targeting the old bridge.
10 A. I understand, sir, but what time?
11 Q. Well, I assume it was there the whole day.
12 A. I apologise, but, no, it was not.
13 Q. All right. Now, where did you see it? Mark the places where you
14 saw it? Put a number 1 where you saw it first and a number 2 the next
15 time you saw it.
16 A. The next time it didn't shoot. It was just standing there.
17 Q. Now, do you see that there a he is a whole row of houses in front
18 of that position? So tell me, from what position did you see the tank
19 that you have indicated as being at number 2?
20 A. From Hum.
21 Q. You saw the tank there?
22 A. Not me but the scout.
23 Q. All right. Thank you. Place your initials there, please,
25 A. [Marks]
1 Q. So we can note that it wasn't you who saw the tank but the scout
2 that saw the tank and conveyed that information to you.
3 A. I saw the tank on the first occasion, sir, but not the second
4 occasion. That's what I said.
5 Q. All right. Fine.
6 A. That would be in the afternoon.
7 Q. All right.
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Now, may the witness be
9 shown another document.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] May we have an IC number,
11 please, first.
12 THE REGISTRAR: That will be given number IC 422, Your Honours.
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
14 Q. That is a sketch taken from a military map of the difference in
15 altitude between the top of Hum the slopes going down towards Donja
16 Mahala. Look at that sketch, please. The top of Hum is at 436, an
17 altitude of 436 metres.
18 A. Mr. Praljak, I apologise, but there's no need for people to
19 whisper to you, into your ear. I can hear the person next to you
20 whispering. There's no need.
21 Q. Captain, you're here to answer my questions and not to tell me
22 what to do.
23 A. Well, I can't hear very well in my left ear, but I can hear
24 somebody else talking into a microphone and whispering to you.
25 Q. That's not your problem. I am asking clear questions, so please
1 answer them.
2 Can you see the sketch?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And is Hum at an altitude of 436 metres, the top of Hum? And the
5 next area, is it at 379, at an altitude of 379 metres?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. The Neretva River, is it just at an altitude of 60 metres, 60
8 metres above sea level?
9 A. A little bit less.
10 Q. How much less then?
11 A. It's at about 50 but not 60 or 65.
12 Q. All right. Then put 50 metres then, please.
13 A. [Marks]
14 Q. When you reached the river Neretva, which is even lower that the
15 point I marked, it's at 50 metres, Mr. Petkovic marked that, can you see
16 with the naked eye, because the slope -- can you see the top of Hum, the
18 A. Yes, sir.
19 Q. All right. Then draw a straight line as you would be seeing it
20 with the naked eye. From the top of Hum draw a straight line. Not there.
21 Not there. A diagonal line. You are standing at the Neretva River where
22 we have the 50 metres, and then draw a straight lane, the angle of vision
23 from that point to the top of Hum.
24 A. [Marks]
25 Q. And tell me, how are you able to see the top of Hum hill from the
1 Neretva River if there is a point in between which prevents and obstructs
2 the view?
3 A. Sir, General --
4 Q. Just give me the answer.
5 A. You can see the peak of mount Hum but it depends on which peak.
6 Q. There is only one peak?
7 A. I spent 20 years at Hum so tell me which peak. Is it Crvinje
8 Pecine, Orlova [phoen] Pecine, Suplija [phoen] Pecine, Radobolja Pecine,
9 they're all different caves, the red cave, et cetera. There's a tower up
10 at the top. I can't see it that way, but the peak that I can see is one
11 that I did see, not the one you're telling me.
12 Q. So looking from the Neretva River, you can see elevation 379, that
13 feature; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So you don't see the top of Hum, you see feature 379, elevation
16 379; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Would you put your initials to the sketch so that we know that you
19 cannot see the top of Hum hill from Neretva, which means that you can't
20 see Donja Mahala from there either.
21 A. [Marks]. From the top of Hum you can see Donja Mahala and Cekrk
22 very well. And the sniper -- yes, you're right, General. You're right.
23 I apologise.
24 Q. Did we agree at the beginning that my questions would be very
25 precise and that I ask you not to make comments about snipers and so on.
1 My question is this: The elevation, the top of Hum which is at feature
2 436, It is 436 metres above sea level. Can you hear [as interpreted] it
3 from Donja Mahala or not?
4 A. Not from half of Mahala but from the Cekrk and the Neretva River.
5 There is an incline. So I can see it from one position but not from
7 Q. That is not possible logically.
8 A. We'll go to the spot, the location and see who is right.
9 Q. Never mind. Let's move on now.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you want a number?
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes, a number, please.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, an IC number,
14 THE REGISTRAR: That will be given number IC 423, Your Honours.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Your unit, the one that was within the 2nd Battalion of the 41st
17 [as interpreted] Motorised Brigade of the BH army, did it have its
18 headquarters and command?
19 A. Yes, General.
20 Q. During those war months and the conflict between the BH army and
21 HVO, was a war diary or war log kept in your unit?
22 A. Yes, General.
23 Q. When you ceased work or at the end of the war did you hand over
24 this logbook, wartime diary or wartime logbook?
25 A. Yes, sir.
1 Q. Can you tell us where your headquarters where in Gornja Mahala [as
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Where?
5 A. The 1st Platoon was at Cekrk, the second was in Donja Mahala,
6 Gojka Vukovica house, the third was in Spile at Dugalic's bakery, and the
7 fourth was in the Ruza hotel.
8 Q. Did you regularly, per your establishment, send reports to your
9 battalion and the 41st Motorised Brigade?
10 A. Yes, General, sir.
11 Q. And in those reports, you describe the events, did you, who was
12 killed, who was wounded and injured, the HVO actions? You wrote all this
13 down regularly, all the combat operations?
14 A. No, General, sir.
15 Q. What did you do then?
16 A. We shared spot for three sectors. The BH army did one, the MUP
17 took over the civilians, and civilian protection did the rest because we
18 weren't able to do the job ourselves. We had to sleep as well and have a
20 Q. In any case, there were three organisations, civilian protection,
21 the MUP, and the BiH army, i.e., your unit, recorded certain events and
22 developments. They wrote reports and they reported about the events.
23 A. Yes, sir.
24 Q. Did the Prosecution show you any of these documents? Did he place
25 at your disposal to -- to talk about the events that you're describing for
1 us here?
2 A. Know, sir.
3 Q. And now let's talk about two things. You've mentioned Ruza
5 A. Yes, General, sir.
6 Q. In 1992, when the Serbs were in Mostar, the Yugoslav Army and
7 reservists, was the hotel torched by the army that I've just mentioned?
8 A. Yes, General, sir. It was targeted from a French-made helicopter
9 with two shells. I saw this with my own two eyes.
10 Q. Again I ask you --
11 A. I apologise. I apologise.
12 Q. No additions, please. When you are in Hotel Ruza, which in 1993
13 was still a ruin and burnt down, could you see the old bridge in any
15 A. No, General, sir.
16 Q. Now let's go back to the other two bridges. One is the old bridge
17 that was destroyed on the 11th -- on the 9th of November, 1993, at 10.00
18 or thereabouts.
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. And the other bridge called Kamenica bridge, the Judges have
21 already seen it on several occasions in various photos.
22 My first question is this: The old bridge, did it remain the only
23 bridge on the Neretva River from Bijelo Polje to Capljina which was not
24 destroyed by the Serbs in 1992? Were all the others destroyed, in other
1 A. I didn't understand your question.
2 Q. The old bridge, did that bridge remain the only bridge connecting
3 the two banks of the Neretva in the months of May and June 1992? All the
4 other bridges between Bijelo Polje and Cercelva [phoen] were destroyed by
5 the JNA?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Which other bridge was intact?
8 A. The old bridge remained but we shall see who was it who destroyed
9 the other bridges. Please let me finish. I'm 57 years old. I don't know
10 who destroyed bridges in 1992. I can't tell you that. I only know it
11 wasn't the BH army. Please don't provoke me. Please, sir. I apologise
12 to you, and I apologise to the ladies. I'm not a linguist.
13 Q. Sir, please.
14 A. I understand, sir.
15 Q. Can you please listen to my questions once again.
16 A. Yes, I will.
17 Q. Besides the old bridge, that's my question, besides the old
18 bridge, do you know that all the other bridges on the Neretva River were
19 destroyed by the JNA with the explosives that had already existed in
20 those bridges?
21 A. I don't know that. I only know that the old bridge remained
22 standing. I don't know who destroyed the other bridges.
23 Q. What you don't know you don't know, which is fine. I'm just
24 asking. When did the makeshift bridge called Kamenica -- when was it
1 A. On the 21st of March, 1993, and it was opened by Arif Pasalic and
3 Q. I ask you again --
4 A. I apologise.
5 Q. Can you please -- you saw that we are really hard pressed for
6 time. I'm not interested in the opening of that bridge. I'm not
7 interested in the late you Arif Pasalic. I'm asking you, and please
8 answer, when was the bridge open without any addition?
9 A. In March 1993.
10 Q. And that's it, full stop.
11 A. Very well, General, sir.
12 Q. The conflicts between the BH army began on the 9th of May.
13 A. No, General, sir.
14 Q. Please. I'm talking about major conflicts.
15 A. No, General, sir, no.
16 Q. When did it start then?
17 A. The 15th of April. And for the 2nd Battalion, it was when my
18 first sniper was killed. That's when it all started.
19 Q. In late June, on the 20th of June, 1993, the army of Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina took or liberated, however you wish to put it, the northern
21 camp, is that true?
22 A. Yes, it is, sir.
23 Q. And after that, we can consider everything that happened was an
24 open conflict between the BH army and the HVO; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, General, sir.
1 Q. In the month of July, in the month of August, September, and
2 October and for the 10 days of November the old bridge was intact and
3 there was also the Kamenica bridge standing.
4 A. And the Bunur bridge as well. I apologise.
5 Q. Again. There you go again.
6 A. I apologise, sir.
7 Q. Captain, can you please focus and answer my questions without any
9 A. Yes, I can, sir.
10 Q. If you can, then please do. Both bridges were used by the BiH
11 army soldiers, amongst others; is that correct? The ammunition was being
12 transported across the bridges?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Food as well?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can we then conclude that, using the military terminology, both
17 bridges were used for the purposes of the war on the part of the BiH
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. You have also told us that you reduced food for your army in order
21 to provide for the civilians.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. The Judges know that sometime around the 21st of August there was
24 a first humanitarian convoy escorted by the Spanish Battalion and that it
25 arrived in the eastern part of Mostar.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you know that I was at the head of that convoy?
3 A. No, but thank you.
4 Q. After that, were there any obstacles in your view or to your
5 knowledge to the passage of humanitarian convoys and their arrival in the
6 eastern part of Mostar?
7 A. Yes, General, sir.
8 Q. When was a convoy stopped after that date to your knowledge?
9 A. I don't know, but nothing ever arrived in Donja Mahala, and I
10 apologise for saying that.
11 Q. Again my question was crystal clear. I'm talking about East
12 Mostar. I'm not talking about Donja Mahala.
13 Do you know -- are you aware of any case that after that date, the
14 21st or 22nd of August, 1993, any humanitarian convoy was stopped as it
15 was on the way with food to the eastern part of Mostar?
16 A. No, sir.
17 Q. That food that would arrive in eastern Mostar across the Kamenica
18 bridge or the old bridge would be transported to Donja Mahala?
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. We had a witness here whom I asked the following question: If the
21 HVO controlled Stotina, if that is the case, and it did, it did control
22 Stotina, and if there was a tank up there, how come they did not destroy
23 the Kamenica bridge and prevent the prevention of the -- and prevented the
24 supplies coming to the BH army?
25 A. I don't know, sir.
1 Q. There was another question: Throughout the months how come that
2 the HVO didn't do that with the old bridge as well?
3 A. I wouldn't know, sir.
4 Q. Can we now look at 3D 00374? That is a booklet, a small booklet,
5 facts about how the old bridge was destroyed. I and a group of experts am
6 the author of that.
7 Let me ask you this: Do you know that there was an investigation
8 about the destruction of the old bridge?
9 A. No, sir.
10 Q. Can you please look at page 35 of the Croatian version. Did you
11 open the booklet on page 35, sir?
12 A. I can't find it, I'm afraid. I'm sorry.
13 Q. In the left bottom corner of each page.
14 A. Okay.
15 Q. It says here: "Topic: The old bridge date on destruction." Do
16 you see that?
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 Q. This is a report which is not signed. This is a report of the
19 security services of the HVO featuring some names, explanations as to who
20 was it who shot at the old bridge. Do you see that?
21 A. I do.
22 Q. Can you open the book on page 37, please. It says here that the
23 district military prosecution in Mostar, number KT2843/93, on the 22nd of
24 November drafted an official record again, and according to the findings
25 that we received from the SIS, the suspects in question are -- and there
1 is a list of names. Do you see that?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. And do you see the signature of Vlado Jusic [phoen], the district
5 A. Yes, sir, I can see that.
6 Q. On the following page, 39, that is, there is also the stamp of the
7 military district prosecution, and the letter is sent to the military
8 court, request for investigation against, and then --
9 A. Yes, sir.
10 Q. And now on two pages we have an explanation of all that. And then
11 on page 41 is the signature of Mladen Jurisic who was the district
12 prosecutor. Can you see that?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Do you see that?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And the date was the 23rd in November, 1993. Do you see that?
17 A. Yes, sir.
18 Q. On page 42, again there is an expert analysis in the investigation
19 against the accused and so on and so forth. Professor Dr. Hrvoje Soce
20 from civilian engineering in Mostar carried out this expert analysis and
21 his opinion and it was signed by the minister of reconstruction of the
22 Croatian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Zulfo Rogovic, Dr. Hrvoje
23 Soce, and the director of the construction company Herzegovina, Zvonimir
24 Lucovic who is an engineer. Is that what had it says here?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. On the following page, page 44 --
2 MR. BOS: Your Honours, if I may. If I may interrupt. The
3 witness has now been shown four or five pages and the only thing he's been
4 asked to do is to say is, is this what this the document says and nothing
5 else. There hasn't been any question as to what has been written down,
6 and I really don't see what the use of this exercise is.
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will compass
8 all that by my question at the end, and I'm using the same method that the
9 Prosecution is using. Nothing else. Now you can see what was done about
10 the fact that the old bridge had been destroyed. I am just listing what
11 was done, and then I'm going to put the question to the witness why he
12 concluded who was it who destroyed the old bridge.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, sir. No, General, sir. I
14 didn't see the crew of the tank.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I proceed?
16 Q. On page 44 the military court in Mostar sent to the investigative
17 judge Ivan Hrstic [phoen]. The expert report in the investigation against
18 the accused and the names follow, and at the bottom there is a conclusion
19 which says there cannot a conclusion on who destroyed the bridge signed by
20 Judge Minanicic [phoen], Vladimir [phoen] Maric. Is that what it says
22 A. Yes, General, sir. Can I ask you a question?
23 Q. No, you may not.
24 A. I apologise then.
25 Q. We'll skip a page or two, and now I would kindly ask you to open
1 pages number 48 and 49. And now look at the photos. In the first photo
2 on the left --
3 A. On the right?
4 Q. On the left. You can see the old bridge, a view from Hum. Can
5 you see that?
6 A. What page?
7 Q. 48.
8 A. I have it on the right page, on the right-hand page. I apologise.
9 You're confusing me. I'm being confused here.
10 Q. Can you see view of the old bridge from Hum?
11 A. Yes, I can see it very well.
12 Q. In the bottom photo you can see the general area of Mostar and the
13 old bridge again from Hum.
14 A. Yes, sir.
15 Q. On the following photo you see the place from which the tank was
16 firing. You see the silhouette of the tank.
17 A. No, sir.
18 Q. You don't see the silhouette of the tank? Where it says 1.440
19 metres distance between the tank and the old bridge.
20 A. Yes, I can see it, but not very well. I don't see what's tank and
21 what's something else.
22 Q. Yes, well -- do you see the silhouette?
23 A. Yes, I can.
24 Q. And the distance measured to the bridge was 1.440 metres; is that
1 A. No.
2 Q. You think there was more?
3 A. Yes, General, sir. There was more.
4 Q. Sir, these are coded maps which are very precise and which measure
5 with great precision.
6 A. I apologise, sir.
7 Q. Do you see in the next photo the silhouette of the tank encircled?
8 A. Yes, sir.
9 Q. Do you see the green marking to denote what's under the control of
10 the BH army?
11 A. My photo's black and white. I can't see any such thing. I
12 apologise. I can see that, yeah, on the screen.
13 Q. And again these maps provide very precise measurements that
14 correspond that with some data that up to the positions the BH army the
15 tank was at a distance 233 metres in the direction of Donja Mahala, and in
16 the direction of the Neretva, 188 metres.
17 A. Yes, sir.
18 Q. When I asked the witness here whether he knew why the Kamenica
19 bridge did not destroy for that many number of months and we could have
20 done it with a tank --
21 A. You couldn't, sir.
22 Q. Why not?
23 A. Because it was vertical on the tank and you could not just the
24 Maljutkas. It was hit by a tank, but it was destroyed by the Russian
25 guided missiles, not from a tank.
1 Q. Whether these Maljutkas were used or whatever --
2 A. Had they flown over your head, you would have known. I
4 Q. We're not a self-management society here holding a discussion, so
5 once again, Captain, you have a high rank, a high army rank --
6 A. Not as far as you're concerned, sir.
7 JUDGE PRANDLER: I would like to ask both of you to calm down
8 first. Second that, Mr. Praljak, you are not the commanding officer of
9 the witness here today, and of course the witness should be given the
10 opportunities if he disagrees or if he would like to explain something
11 very briefly. I agree that time is pressing on you, but, please, both of
12 you should be in a way more polite and proceed in this way. Thank you.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honours. May I be
14 allowed to make a comment? Why isn't there a picture of Kamenica bridge
15 here? I want to see a photograph of the Kamenica bridge.
16 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am proceeding
17 in a decent manner. Now, I have very little time at my disposal. You can
18 whenever you like interrupt me and ask any additional questions, to put
19 any additional questions to the witness, but it is my right here and now
20 to ask that my questions be answered without additional stories about who
21 is whose relative, whether it was raining that day, whether some birds
22 were chirping, whatever, because I am here to save my skin, I am here for
23 the truth and I would like to ask specific questions without any additions
24 being made.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I be allowed to reply. It
1 wasn't cream tarts that fell on me. I'm not interested in your skin. I'm
2 here to talk. You didn't ask me about my skin. Of the 15 people in my
3 house hold only a few remain alive. My -- one brother of mine.
4 Otherwise, lots of other people suffered greatly.
5 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to
6 propose that the Judges give instructions to the witness as to how to
7 answer the questions. The Prosecution is here. They will have time
8 during the re-examination to ask the witness any questions, but he is
9 not -- I don't think he should be allowed to say whatever he wants.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Ladies and gentlemen, don't provoke
11 me, please. I'll stay here for a month if need be.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are an old combatant, you
13 have the rank of captain, and you perform an important function. So you
14 are someone who is used to discipline. We are in the process of
15 proceedings here, and I was going to say unfortunately, but that's the
16 case. They are -- it is the parties who are here to ask you questions.
17 Now, if I ask you a question then it will be conducted differently, but
18 according to the Rules, the accused has the right to ask you questions.
19 So that is what he is now doing. You must listen to his questions and
20 answer to the best of your ability.
21 Now, if there is a different truth to tell and if you want to
22 challenge what has been said, then it is up to you to tell the truth. So
23 if you have another truth to tell us about, you must answer. If not,
24 answer the question directly, the one that you have been asked. And
25 please try and remain calm, because there's no point in becoming upset.
1 So keep calm, listen to the question, and answer the question that
2 Mr. Praljak is asking you.
3 As you can see, Mr. Praljak is in detention. He is one of the
4 accused, and he has pleaded not guilty. So he is therefore in a position
5 which allows him to defend himself and to ask questions.
6 I hope you have understood my instructions.
7 Having said that, Mr. Praljak, please continue.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'll apologise, but
9 may I be allowed to say something else?
10 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I am just asking technical
12 Q. On the next page, which is page 50, you will see three photographs
13 which were taken with a tele-optic view looking at Stotina and the
14 position where the tank was. The first photograph is a broader view. The
15 second photograph is more focused. You can see the silhouette of where
16 the tank was. And the third photograph has been zoomed in and that is the
17 position where the tank was and only could have been there. Do you agree
18 with me there?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. On the 8th of September the tank shot at the old bridge from that
21 position. Do you know -- are you aware of the fact, and this is something
22 which is on page 52 onwards that I asked, Dr. Muhamed Suceska and Slobodan
23 Jankovic, they are all university professors, and Dr. Aco Sikanic as
25 A. What page what number.
1 Q. 52, 53 and 54. You have their CVs you see the CVs of these three
2 scientists, scholars. And on the next three pages you will see the expert
3 reports on the basis of all the material available, the video cassettes
4 available, and they show the real reasons for the destruction of the
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And at the end an experiment was carried out with an explosive
8 charge on a training ground with all the measurements taken in this
9 experiment, and the final conclusions was that the act of the destruction
10 of the bridge was not the result of a hit by a tank grenade but an
11 explosive that had been placed on the bridge and which was detonated from
12 the left bank of the Neretva River?
13 A. No, sir. No, General, sir. No, General, sir, no. You needn't
14 tell me about morals. You don't know what bombs and mines and shrapnel
15 mean. No, General, sir. You can take me out of the courtroom dead, but
16 this is a lie. Slavuj 150, 150 howitzers. I have them in my yard. I
17 have the shells in my yard. I didn't bring them into court. They were
18 the shells that destroyed my house too. No, General, sir. I'll stay here
19 for a month, but I say no, no, and no, and you can take me out of here
20 dead. This is nonsense.
21 Are you going to teach me technology? I worked in the aviation
22 industry for 20 years. I'm not going to allow you to do that. You can
23 check out what I've said. If you find that I have lied, you can hang me
24 up there, string me up by the door. 270 of my soldiers were killed.
25 This is no doctor. He's got a diploma, but he should be hung from
1 the bridge. He's no expert. He's no professional.
2 And I have two grenades, two shells that I can show you. I hid
3 them and I have them in safekeeping. I'll bring them in on Monday.
4 Fourteen and a half kilogrammes it was, and it hit -- the SpaBat of
5 UNPROFOR received those shells and we listed the places where they were
6 found unexploded. They were all found unexploded. So don't go on about
8 I apologise, Your Honour, but I'd rather be dead here, die dead on
9 the spot than listen to this. And I'll stay here for as long as is
10 necessary, months if need be.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A scientific hypothesis here.
12 Let's look at it this way: The bridge might have been destroyed from the
13 shell that was fired from the tank. Right. There's no problem there.
14 That's quite clear.
15 Now let's look at another hypothesis. The bridge was destroyed by
16 an explosive charge which was placed under the bridge, and it exploded.
17 So that is the hypothesis that Mr. Praljak is supporting and putting
18 forward. And now he is asking you the question. So without getting
19 upset, answer that hypothesis of his.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour, but I --
21 it seems that I have -- I've lost all my nerves. If he was in the war, he
22 would know what it was like and -- the war. Maybe he has stronger nerves
23 than I do.
24 Go ahead, General.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I realise, sir, that you
1 suffered greatly. You explained that many family members were killed and
2 that your own men were killed. We are perfectly aware of that and keep
3 that in mind. However, we have a problem, we Judges. We weren't in
4 Mostar in 1993, so we cannot know who fired at the bridge, who targeted
5 the bridge. We did go to the location. We saw the bridge which, of
6 course, has been reconstructed, but we weren't there in 1993, whereas you
7 were, and you had a high position. You were in a commanding position
8 within the BiH.
9 Now, the Accused who is being charged of having destroyed the
10 bridge says that things did not happen as the Prosecution says it did, and
11 he has the right to ask you questions, and everybody is waiting to hear
12 your answers to those questions.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise. I do
14 respect you, but there's a military right and military doctrine and
15 military medicine [as interpreted], military experience, and one behaves
16 differently in peace and war.
17 It wasn't the fact that the old bridge fell down. I didn't mind
18 that that much. It is that my colleague was killed. And his wife came to
19 ask me what happened to him -- me. That is what I regret profoundly
20 because I dream of him every ten days. I don't like the old bridge. It's
21 a white swan now. It looks like a white swan. It looks like a mosque and
22 I haven't even crossed it now, the reconstructed old bridge three times
23 because when I stand on it, and I only live 150 metres away those are my
24 sentiments I don't like crossing it. I feel terrible when I do and I've
25 only done it three times.
1 You can go ahead, General.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is time for the adjournment.
3 We have to end for the day. We shall continue the cross-examination on
4 Monday. So between now and Monday try to have a rest, and we reconvene on
5 Monday at -- or, rather, for the continuation of the cross-examination,
6 the questions that the Defence teams will have for you within the
7 frameworks of the cross-examination.
8 The registrar will tell me how much time has been used up by the
9 Defence, and we'll, of course, stick to the two and a half hours that was
11 We'll reconvene on Monday at 2.15.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.44 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Monday, the 19th day
14 of February, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.