1 Tuesday, 27 March 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honour; good morning everyone.
9 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Good morning,
11 Mr. Scott. Good morning, Mr. Mundis. Good morning, Witness. My
12 greetings to the Defence counsel and to the accused. I can see that
13 Mr. Pusic is now with us.
14 We are going to proceed with the examination-in-chief. You have
15 the floor, Mr. Mundis.
16 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you very much, Mr. President. Good morning,
17 Your Honours, counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom.
18 WITNESS: HAKAN BIRGER [Resumed]
19 Examination by Mr. Mundis: [Continued]
20 Q. Good morning, Lieutenant Colonel Mr. Birger.
21 A. I have wrong here, it's Serbo-Croatian, it's not English, and I
22 now with ....
23 Q. Good morning, sir. Can you hear me now?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Yesterday when we broke, sir, we were talking about the diary that
1 had been produced by, I believe you said your operations officer, and was
2 completed after you returned to Sweden. Do you remember that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you please turn in the bundle that you have now in front of
5 you to the document that's been tabbed 2980. This is P 02980.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Do you recognise that document, sir?
8 A. Yes, I can see it's translated to English.
9 Q. Yes. And if you go past the English I believe you'll find the
10 document in the original language. Perhaps after page 24 in the English
12 A. Yes, that's correct.
13 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what this document is or this is an
14 extract of a document. Can you tell us what this is, please?
15 A. Yes. It is -- when we was down in Bosnia, every day we was
16 written down what we were doing. If we send out the patrol, we written
17 down when it leave the camp, written down what they do outside, what
18 they're reporting, what -- when they came back, which order I gave to my
19 soldiers and everything what we was involved in, what we do. Everything
20 was written down in paper, minutes, hours, and so on. And at the same
21 time when we was down there my operational officer was summarying every
22 day as a memory for me and my officers and my soldiers, and this paper we
23 have now here looking is this summary. We could call it a diary what we
24 were doing in Bosnia.
25 Q. Okay. And just so that everyone is clear, sir, when was this
1 diary -- this version of this diary actually created?
2 A. It was when we was down there. He start creating in winter 1993,
3 1994, but he finish it when we was back in Sweden and when he was finished
4 I also read it and -- and said okay and then we -- we was ready with it.
5 But it was still ready when we was in Sweden, back in Sweden.
6 Q. And the information that is contained in this diary, when was that
7 information recorded?
8 A. It was from a paper what we was written down every day what we
9 were doing, and it's -- it was, let's say, a summary. He take the most
10 important thing from every day and written down in this diary.
11 Q. Thank you, sir. Let me ask you this: During the time that the
12 8th Mechanised Company of NordBat was deployed under your command, did you
13 at any point in time receive any written documents from any officers or
14 officials of the HVO?
15 A. Yes. What I can remember we have -- when I said yesterday we was
16 up in Bobovac Brigade the evening of 23rd -- 24th, sorry, and talking to
17 them about the situation in Stupni Do and especially at the schools or
18 inside the schools, and he -- the Bobovac Brigade commander, now it was
19 changed so it was operational officer so to say was the commander, and he
20 tell me that if you don't take inside all your soldiers to your camp we
21 are going to destroy them. And we have a message later at my gate in the
22 same -- he was with them, the same, take inside your soldiers or we are
23 going to destroy them.
24 Q. Can you turn, sir, to the document that's been marked as 6103, P
25 06103. Have you seen this document before, sir?
1 A. Yes, I've seen that. And the first thing they do we was laughing
2 because we have no signals to anybody about when we was down there. So we
3 don't really understand what -- why they send this message, and we don't
4 do any signals. And so we read it and it was nothing for us to do.
5 Q. Do you recall, sir, how this document was delivered to you?
6 A. I think it was in the same way as somebody leave it to my soldiers
7 at my company at the gate at my camp, and when I have it to my staff tent.
8 Q. Can you turn now, sir, to the document that's marked 6151, P
10 A. 61 --
11 Q. 51.
12 A. Yep.
13 Q. Lieutenant Colonel Birger, have you seen this document before?
14 A. Yes. It's the same type of -- of document, and here you also can
15 see which sign it. If was the former operational officer and now he was
16 the company -- brigade commander.
17 Q. And was is this -- this letter in reference to? Why was this
18 letter delivered to you?
19 A. Yes. I think -- I don't really now -- remember it now, but they
20 don't like us to be out in -- they have to try some control. So we was --
21 we was out and observed a lots of things, and I don't think they like
22 that. So I -- it was best for them to -- I mean Bobovac Brigade, to have
23 us inside, especially night-time, I think, inside my camp.
24 Q. In the first paragraph of this letter, sir, there's again
25 reference to light signals. Do you know what that is in reference to?
1 A. No, I don't know why they was written that. We don't understand
2 that. I remember I talked to them about them -- that and I explained to
3 them we don't see any signals, and I don't know. It could be night-time.
4 We was UN force, so we was -- in order, we have to have a light on the UN
5 flag the whole night so we could -- so we could show what we were --
6 belonged to the UNPROFOR.
7 Q. Can you turn now, sir, to the document marked 6063. That's P
9 A. 6 --
10 Q. 6063. It should be towards the front part of the binder.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Lieutenant Colonel Birger, have you seen this document before?
13 A. Yeah. I remember that this also arrived. Maybe I don't really
14 know which way it came, if it came from our fax or it came to our gate,
15 but it was order to -- to the Bobovac Brigade that cooperates with
16 UNPROFOR and don't shoot against UNPROFOR.
17 Q. Now, sir, can you remind us what had occurred on the 24th of
18 October, 1993?
19 A. Sorry?
20 Q. Can you remind us what had occurred on the 24th of October, 1993?
21 A. Yes. The 24th of October the Bobovac Brigade was shooting at my
22 APCs down in Vares in the evening. Maybe they start about 10.00 at the
24 Q. Sir, at the -- at the time you received this document, did you
25 know who General Milivoj Petkovic was?
1 A. I don't really know now, but I think I ask who this was, and maybe
2 I have some answer about who this was, but I never meet him, and I don't
3 know which this was.
4 Q. Okay. I'm going to turn now, sir, and show you a couple of
5 documents relating to Stupni Do. Can you please look at document in your
6 bundle 6218. That's P 06218.
7 A. Yep.
8 Q. Now, Lieutenant Colonel Birger, have you seen this document
10 A. I can't remember I have seen it, but I can see it's sent from --
11 from our fax up in that page, and who has sign it was Tomas Eriksson, he's
12 the senior medical officer in our battalion staff, and on the right it's
13 Captain Peter Nilson. He was one of my platoon leaders. And I know Peter
14 assistanced this doctor when they was up in Stupni Do.
15 Q. And in looking at this document, sir, can you tell us how this
16 document relates to the information that you received concerning what had
17 happened in Stupni Do?
18 A. What I remember we find three women down in the basement shooted
19 in the head and in the breast and maybe that is three of this -- maybe
20 two, six or another earlier. And we also find one man just outside a
21 village. Maybe he'd tried to escape up in the wood. He was shooting in
22 the back, and you could also see his -- we have one here shooting in the
23 back. We also find bodies who was burned. So it's what -- that
24 information we have in the report we was written and sent out, sent to my
25 headquarter, was about 16 bodies, and we have a lot of pictures about it,
1 and so I think it's -- for me it's maybe more or less correct what I --
2 the information I have.
3 Q. Can you turn, sir, to the next page of this document and perhaps
4 tell us what this sketch map relates to.
5 A. This is about the village of Stupni Do and where we find the
6 bodies, and here also you could see which ways we came into -- into Stupni
7 Do. We start from -- from, so to say, right side, this road, and the 2nd
8 platoon came in from Vares area. And it was -- this place is where we
9 find the bodies.
10 Q. Can you now turn, sir, to the document again towards the front of
11 the bundle with the number 6049. That's P 06049. Now, Lieutenant Colonel
12 Birger, have you ever seen this document before?
13 A. I don't really remember, but I could recognise something about it,
14 but I don't remember everything it's so long time ago, but I know we have
15 a lot of letters more or less every evening, couple of days in this time.
16 Q. Can you tell us, sir, at the bottom on the left-hand side under
17 the heading "Distribution," can you tell us if you know, sir, what BHC G-5
18 would refer to?
19 A. The BH, it's UNPROFOR's Bosnian command, I can understand, and G-5
20 is in NATO structure where you're planning or it's liaison section. I
21 think in this way this is liaison.
22 Q. Can you look, sir, specifically at the third paragraph - excuse
23 me - the third paragraph under the heading "Inform" with the sentence that
24 begins, "I do not have any checked information." Could you read that,
1 A. Yes. I don't understand why they written like this. I don't
2 understand that.
3 Q. Can you elaborate upon what you don't understand?
4 A. I don't understand that they written "any attacking activities of
5 HVO Vares, so I doubt about the information from Muslim side concerning
6 the master in Stupni Do village."
7 What I can understand, it was HVO who was attacking Stupni Do.
8 They inform that about the morning of the 23rd, and we also observed
9 soldiers from HVO when we enter the village on the 26th.
10 Q. Lieutenant Colonel Birger, how would you characterise the accuracy
11 of the information in that paragraph that you've just read?
12 A. Yes. I -- I -- I don't really understand what they have --
13 maybe -- no, I don't know what to say about it.
14 Q. Let me now show you, sir, approximately three documents concerning
15 the schools in Vares. Can you turn, please, to 6161. This is P 06161.
16 Are you familiar with this document, sir?
17 A. Yeah. That is -- I have not -- my deputy was still in -- in
18 Pancevo based in Belgrade, so battalion commander sent down Major Ekberg.
19 He arrived at the morning of 25. So when he came down where he was, so to
20 say, my deputy, and one thing he was -- so we -- we have this plan at -- I
21 talk to Bobovac Brigade. He talked to BH side, so to say. And in this
22 moment we tried the whole time to get inside the school and I couldn't be
23 there the whole time. So when I don't was where, he was there, and this
24 day he could -- we was allowed to get inside the school. So Major Ekberg
25 and also one doctor from our battalion, Mech [phoen], and also one
1 military police and I could also see the interpreter. Glavan [phoen] was
2 a soldier from the 10 Mechanised Company. And they were allowed to get
3 inside and they could on -- also there was they was also allowed to talk
4 so some of the prisoner, and I remember that they tell me that they was
5 very afraid. All was beaten up, some of them very bad. It was -- what we
6 could understand young boys, more or less, who came inside, beaten up, and
7 leave the building again. And in the end he -- I also know he was telling
8 me that he talked to them and said, "Now what -- we know now what's
9 happening here. We know which you are -- which -- in this building. So we
10 are going to everything to help you, so we are going to try to stop this."
11 And what you also can read in Major Ekberg's conclusion is what I just
12 say is the same.
13 Q. Can you turn now, sir, to the document marked 6180. P 06180.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, sir, do you know who Dr. Drazen Grgic is?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Okay. Can you look and focus your attention on paragraph number 4
18 of this document, and I'd ask you to take a look at paragraph 4.
19 A. Yep.
20 Q. Can you comment on what's contained in paragraph -- I'm sorry,
21 this is the very bottom paragraph on the page that starts, "There are no
23 A. Okay. I have to read it. Okay.
24 Q. Now, sir, based upon your knowledge and understanding of the
25 situation in Vares in late October 1993, can you comment upon what's
1 written in paragraph 4 of P 06180?
2 A. I don't understand what we should evacuate 150 civilians from
3 Stupni Do. We never do that. Not from Stupni Do. We have a lot of
4 refugees inside Vares, and I also built up a refugee camp just north of my
5 company camp, but we was not up in Stupni Do. We never take care about
6 100 civilians up in Stupni Do.
7 Q. What about the reference in the final line in the English version
8 of "27 sick and elderly people will be released today"?
9 A. Which belong to which day it is. 27 of October. The information
10 I had was that we -- when we was inside the school in the last -- the
11 south school in the last day of October it was information that it was 27
12 prisoner was very bad beaten up, and they wasn't there in the south
13 school. And we tried to find out where they was, and later we have an
14 information what we was down in Vares-Majdan and I was police station, and
15 we also find there I think it was the 3rd of November, but I know -- never
16 know what they have sent them out -- [microphone not activated].
17 Q. Can you now look at the next document -- can you -- sir, can you
18 now look at the next document, P 06201. 6201.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And again I would ask you to read paragraph 4 which begins, "With
21 the permission of the military authorities." If you could please take a
22 read through that paragraph.
23 A. And it was written the 28th of October. Now we have -- we have --
24 have a visit with 27 elderly and sick Muslim civilians, and what I can
25 understand -- maybe we can call -- it relates. It was not in the south
1 school but it was in another place, and this place we find the 3rd of
2 November down in Vares-Majdan where the 27 prisoner was.
3 Q. Can you comment about --
4 A. But I can -- I could also see I have written they don't beat them
5 up any more, and what I understand after the 25 of -- of October, what we
6 talked to the prisoners, some of them telling us in these days -- after
7 this day they don't beat them up any more, and it was this day we tried to
8 get inside the school with one platoon outside the school.
9 Q. And how does that relate to the information contained in paragraph
10 4 of this document?
11 A. Maybe it's little bit true that they don't beat them up any more.
12 That was -- I mean --
13 Q. All right. Lieutenant Colonel Birger, I just have a couple of
14 remaining questions about interaction that you had with officials from the
15 ECMM, the European Commission Monitoring Mission. Do you recall having at
16 any point in time during your deployment meetings or discussions or
17 briefings with ECMM?
18 A. Not so much. When we came down there was more to say three
19 organisations what talked to the different parts. It was ECMM. It was
20 UNPROFOR, UNMOs, and it was UNPROFOR, so to say, armed forces, and I
21 remember that it could be some problems sometimes, but it was not
22 coordinated. So we could be in the same place, the same time, try to talk
23 to the same commander, so to say. So in UNPROFOR we -- we -- after these
24 days later in this year we have some little -- this little organised. So
25 the UNMOs worked more or less more close together with my battalion, but
1 the ECMM, I had meeting. We meet, and they came to my camp and have some
2 information, leave some information, but I couldn't remember that it was
3 some really cooperation.
4 Q. Can you turn, sir, to the document marked 6092. That's P 06092.
5 That is ECMM report of 25 October 1993. I would ask you, sir, to turn
6 towards the bottom of this document, approximately 10 or 12 lines from the
7 bottom where there's reference, it says, "Together with UK LO teams B 3
8 and B 4 visited NordBat in Vares." Can you read that yourself please from
9 that line to the bottom of this document?
10 A. Yeah. I have read it, and I don't really remember what they was
11 there, and they was talking to the Bobovac Brigade, but I remember at the
12 beginning I was in -- in -- in Bosnia. A lot of times it was a United
13 Kingdom liaison team came into my area, talked to us, follow us out -- out
14 in the terrain, and maybe they at us also looking how we do our work, so
15 to say.
16 Q. Okay. Can you comment, sir, on the last paragraph that indicates
17 an acceptance of yourself as a mediator between the parties?
18 A. I understand that because in these days, what I say, I was
19 negotiation for NordBat to the Bobovac Brigade, and my way, they was it
20 for the BH army. So I -- I have meeting a couple of weeks before we was
21 out in the terrain, and he know me well, and I think now in this situation
22 he was a little bit pressed. He was -- I remember these days he was very
23 nervous, sweating and so on, when I talked to him.
24 Q. Did you, sir -- the duties that you carried out when dealing with
25 the Bobovac Brigade, would you characterise those as being in the role of
1 a mediator?
2 A. Yeah, we tried to -- to stop firing -- to fighting so we could get
3 into Stupni Do. And if it was exactly these days, I don't know, but in --
4 before we came in from the 34rd [sic] of October until we came into Stupni
5 Do we tried to stop fighting so we could get inside there.
6 Q. Can you turn now, sir, to the document -- this is the last
7 document I'll show you, 6117. That's P 06117.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. This is a document from the ECMM coordination centre Travnik dated
10 26 October 1993. Could you turn in the English version, sir, to page 2.
11 A. Yeah.
12 Q. With the paragraph that begins "HCC the head of the coordination
13 centre was briefed in Vares by NordBat." Could you please read --
14 A. Repeat that, where?
15 Q. At the beginning it says HCC was briefed in Vares by NordBat.
16 Could you please read that paragraph.
17 A. Yes. Yeah. I could read that, and what is written here is more
18 or less what we understand was what's more or less happening in Stupni Do.
19 Q. Can you comment on the part that indicates that there had been
20 interviews by Muslims who were evacuated from the outskirts of Stupni Do?
21 A. It was -- it was before we get into Stupni Do. I don't remember
22 exactly which day. We have a patrol down -- it was Major Ekberg. He was
23 going down south of Vares to the BH army to negotiate with them, and
24 suddenly when we came up the road it came some refugees down from the wood
25 on the road, and it was also some HVO soldiers with them. And I remember
1 they informed me after this that they have been in the beginning very
2 hardly against the HVO soldier, take the weapon from them and visit them
3 and so on, but this women who was there said, "Don't do anything about
4 them because they was -- this man who will save us out from Stupni Do."
5 And I also remember they talk to them and one of the women don't want to
6 talk to them when they was in, so to say, the BH army headquarters. So
7 after, with the interpreter, she informed by that, that she had been
9 Q. Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel Birger.
10 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, the Prosecution has no further
11 questions, and before I sit down I will indicate, as I informed my
12 colleagues from the Defence last evening that, with respect to the
13 remaining exhibits that had been listed for this witness, the Prosecution
14 will not be filing or seeking to adduce any of those additional documents.
15 We will simply tender the 11 documents that we showed the witness this
16 morning, but I just wanted to put that on the record to avoid any
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
19 Now for the Defence.
20 Mr. Kovacic.
21 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning. Good morning to you, Lieutenant
24 Colonel, sir. I will have a couple of questions for you on behalf of the
25 Defence for General Praljak. I won't have too many, I hope.
1 Let's start in the chronological order. There's one thing that
2 struck me. In view of the plans your unit had for its deployment in this
3 area of Bosnia, Kiseljak, Vares, and the local areas, according to these
4 plans it seems that you intended to be there with all the units ready at
5 the start of October 1993. Is that right?
6 A. No, I don't have all my company in there in the beginning of
7 October. It was only me and recon guy, my platoon leaders, and some more
8 soldiers. If I remember right, it was 10 together with me. And we
9 arrived to Vares area the 1st of October, and my first platoon arrived to
10 the area the 20 of October. And after that, they came day for day and in
11 the 23rd, 24th, in this day I had three platoons. So not the whole
13 Q. Correct. It's a fact that you arrived there at the time and that
14 you deployed the way you just described. However, according to the plans,
15 it seems you had intended to be there in the beginning of October with
16 many more forces than you in fact had. In other words, the deployment
17 plans envisaged a much larger force there at the time. Do you agree with
19 A. I don't really know. It was -- it was one Engineering Company
20 there from a Canadian battalion which, of course, was part of UNPROFOR,
21 but it was not part of NordBat.
22 Q. Yes. I am trying to receive information from you concerning
23 NordBat. In view of the problems you had in Pancevo, and you referred to
24 that in your statement, I am under the impression that your deployment
25 plans were quite late and that around the 20th of October, according to
1 your original plans, all the platoons of your battalion should have been
2 deployed there by that time. Is that true?
3 A. Both yes and no. What I remember when we was travelling down to
4 Bosnia from Denmark, we should have maybe two trains per day or something
5 like -- like this down to Pancevo. And when we was travelling down there
6 the Serbian government changed what to one train for two days. So
7 everything was delayed, that is right, but I don't remember exactly. I
8 mean, maybe we could be in there a little bit earlier with one or two
9 platoons, but the plan said -- but reconnaissance team get down and some
10 days later, week later, we start to second down the part of our battalion.
11 Q. Very well. But in essence can we agree that primarily due to the
12 problems in Pancevo cause by the authorities of the Republic of Serbia,
13 your deployment in this part of Bosnia, Kiseljak, and Vares was delayed
14 because the Serbian authorities had imposed certain restrictions on you;
15 is that right?
16 A. Yes, that's right.
17 Q. Thank you. You, and I don't mean you personally but your superior
18 command, decided to change the routes on the way to Bosnia, and you moved
19 your forces to Croatia, to certain bases in Croatia. Is that true?
20 A. Yeah, we do, but in -- maybe in some days in November I remember
21 why, because we was in the village of Olovo, and it was shooting against
22 my APCs, and we get down to the -- to the brigade commander in Olovo and
23 talk to them and say, Why are you shooting against my APCs? And he show
24 us the house. It was, he said, the Serbian house. The next time we was
25 there we was firing back, and there after that I came now. After that
1 they stop all APCs came into Bosnia. Before the Serbian government also
2 have stopped the tank from the Danish company. Therefore we change the
3 route and they came into the area in -- in beginning of or middle of
5 Q. Thank you for this explanation. However, we are not interested in
6 these events at that time. I should only like you to either confirm this
7 or deny it. I put it to you that, as you say, in the beginning of
8 November you started moving your troops and logistics through Croatia and
9 that on your way through Croatia the Croatian authorities did not impede
10 you in any way to move along to Bosnia together with the panoply of your
11 equipment. Is that true or not? That's all I'm interested in.
12 A. I can -- I was not involved in the planning of the deployment of
13 the battalion. That was over my level. I was in the area. I was only
14 informed what equipment arrived, when the soldier arrived, when the APCs,
15 other vehicles arrived, and so on. I was not involved in planning. I was
16 not involved to negotiation. It was over my level.
17 Q. Very well. But this will be the last question I have on this
18 topic so that I will not have wasted my time. Did you later on during
19 your stay in Bosnia receive any information along the chain of command
20 that any forces that should have replaced you were late because of
21 possible problems they had experienced in Croatia? Did you ever hear
22 anything to that effect?
23 A. No. As I said, I was not involved in this planning.
24 Q. Can we agree that you were, nevertheless, an officer who was
25 placed not too high along the chain of command, but nevertheless as an
1 officer you would have been privy to such information, and did you ever
2 hear that -- of republic -- of the Republic of Croatia ever placing any
3 obstacles to any activities you may have been carrying out in Bosnia?
4 A. No, not what I can remember.
5 Q. Very well. Thank you. You spoke of the preparations in your unit
6 for the deployment to Bosnia, including the joint training with the Danish
7 forces in Denmark. During the training, what was the extent of it -- the
8 information you received concerning the political and military situation
9 and developments in Bosnia-Herzegovina, specifically concerning the area
10 you -- you were supposed to be deployed to? What sort of briefing had you
11 had there?
12 A. We have -- we have a briefing from -- from a different way. We
13 have from the government side in Sweden. We have information from
14 UNPROFOR down in -- in Zagreb. We have information from the battalions in
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We have a lot of information about also the political
16 situation down in -- in Bosnia. What I remember, it was this summer a lot
17 of fighting in -- between Muslims and Croat forces, so to say, in Vitez,
18 Kiseljak. In Tuzla it was more or less little bit calm. It was not
19 fighting areas, and it was, so to say, a good area to be if you don't want
20 to be in -- in fighting. Also in Mostar we see some -- a lot of fighting.
21 When I came -- when I was down there, just before we was down when they
22 inform me what we have to deploy in the village of -- in the city of
23 Vares, and what I could understand the UNPROFOR headquarter in Kiseljak,
24 BH command, was little afraid something was going on in this area.
25 Q. Lieutenant Colonel, I thank you for the information you gave me in
1 response to my question. However, I have to tell you that I am under
2 certain time constraints, and I would like you to answer my questions
3 without any additional explanations. I will ask for further explanations
4 if I will need any.
5 When you arrived in Vares, and of course you had by that time
6 already received certain information, you were the first ones on behalf of
7 NordBat to -- I mean you personally were the first one to have got into
8 contact with the Bobovac Brigade on behalf of NordBat; is that right?
9 A. Yes, that's right.
10 Q. Could the court deputy pull up 3D 00854. And we could turn to
11 page 4 of the document, please. That's 0313.
12 I will show you a document used by the British forces for their
13 briefings. You should have it in your -- oh, no. It hasn't shown up yet.
14 We'll have to wait a bit.
15 A. Which number again? 3 -- 03 --
16 MR. KOVACIC: [In English] In this folder in front of you. I will
17 ask you now.
18 Q. [Interpretation] At any rate, you have it on the screen now.
19 I need page 0313, and I believe you moved ahead. 0313. That's
20 page 4, including the cover page.
21 I would like to refer you to one passage. This page contains the
22 basic information about the HVO. That's under the heading "Armed forces."
23 Please read the first paragraph as well as the second one. You have it on
24 the monitor.
25 A. I do not find it.
1 Q. [In English] Okay. [Interpretation] It's the last document in the
2 bundle. [In English] Last document in the bundle, sir. Last document in
3 the bundle. And it is page 3 or 4.
4 A. Okay.
5 Q. So I'm kindly asking you to read the first two paragraphs.
6 A. Yeah.
7 Q. [Interpretation] Lieutenant Colonel --
8 A. Okay.
9 Q. This description of the HVO and the relevant municipalities, does
10 it correspond in its basic outline to what your impressions were of the
11 Bobovac Brigade as you arrived there up until the start of the conflict?
12 Would you agree with the assessment given here?
13 A. Not really that way, but Bobovac Brigade inform us. It was Emil
14 Harah or something like this who was the brigade commander, and another
15 person was the mayor of Vares. It was not the same person. But I never
16 read that, and I -- I -- the information I have written down informing the
17 statement, what my -- the information I have about the situation, who was
18 the leaders and so on, that was the information was given from the HVO to
20 Q. On the basis of some of your notes, would you agree that the
21 Bobovac Brigade and the political leadership of the Vares municipality
22 were quite close and cooperated closely, that the Bobovac Brigade
23 basically belonged to Vares municipality? Is that true?
24 A. Belong and belong -- we was working to the, yes. It was more or
25 less together, yeah.
1 Q. I am not going into what the situation was after the 23rd, after
2 the conflict at Stupni Do, because after this conflict the situation
3 somewhat changed, admittedly. Let's move on.
4 Is it true that at the time of your arrival in Vares there were no
5 conflicts there between the HVO and the BH army? Do you agree with that?
6 A. Yes and no. What I can understand it was no fighting against HVO
7 and the 2nd Corps, what's mean the Tuzla Corps from BH army and the
8 brigade in Olovo and so on. They more or less little bit cooperating, but
9 in the west, about the 3rd Corps, it was definitely not friendly. It was
10 fighting there, and I remember one day we was out where I have to take
11 cover because they also shot against me.
12 Q. I thank you for your answer. However, my question had to do with
13 Vares municipality, because Olovo that you refer to is outside that
14 municipality. Would you agree with me that in Vares municipality there
15 were -- there was no active fighting between the two factions we just
16 referred to?
17 A. That's correct, but also --
18 Q. Very well.
19 A. But also the civilian municipality in my opinion was more -- had
20 had more together with the Serbian side or what they have with the BH
22 Q. Do you think that this might have affected the relations between
23 the municipal political structure and the Bobovac Brigade leadership,
24 because this is what I was referring to.
25 A. I don't really understand.
1 Q. Since you yourself mentioned that there were certain relations
2 with the Serb side, my question is: Do you believe that this might have
3 in any way affected the relations between the municipal HVO unit and the
4 Vares political leadership? Yes or no?
5 A. I think it was both, yes.
6 Q. You wouldn't know in which way these would have a bearing?
7 A. I -- what I could understand, they have oil and the logistics and
8 so on through the Serbian side. That mean what I can understand they use
9 the road for to -- from Kiseljak, for example, to Vares it was via Serbian
10 side, Serbian territory.
11 Q. Of course you were quite aware of the fact that Vares municipality
12 was in full encirclement and did not have any physical contact with the
13 other territories in Bosnia under the HVO control; is that right?
14 A. I don't really know what you mean about that, because when I talk
15 in the military way I understand the 2nd Corps in Tuzla said it was a part
16 of this corps, but the Bobovac Brigade said no, they was not involved in
18 Q. Witness, my question is a simple one. That's why by way of an
19 introduction I asked you about your preparations and what units you had in
20 Bosnia. Is there any doubt, sir, that the area of Vares municipality,
21 including Kiseljak, was in full encirclement and had no contacts with the
22 other territories in Bosnia-Herzegovina that were under the HVO control,
23 because they were surrounded by either the BH army units or Republika
24 Srpska army? I believe this is a notorious fact, a fact of common
1 A. Yes, this could be like this, yes.
2 Q. Before, you will agree with me that they had to receive supplies
3 from somewhere because they would have starved a year earlier if this had
4 not been the case. Would you agree with me?
5 A. Yeah.
6 Q. Line 23 of the transcript does not reflect the witness's answer,
7 and I believe the witness said that he could agree with what I said.
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. You have just mentioned the view of the 2nd Corps which differed
10 from that of the Bobovac Brigade command.
11 Can the witness be shown 3D 00841. 3D 00841.
12 We will not be referring to your statement or the diary or the
13 logbook of your unit. I would like to ask you the following: Do you
14 agree that the direct conflicts between the BH army and the HVO in the
15 territory of Vares municipality started on or about the 18th of October
16 when the army attacked Kopjari? Can you agree with that?
17 A. The real -- the attack to take control over Kopjari start later,
18 but it was fighting in the area both in Kopjari, Bojovic, and Sladin
19 [phoen], Planinica, that mean the south-west part of area in these days,
21 Q. Would you agree with me that the first conflicts broke out as
22 early as on the 8th -- or, sorry, the 11th of October, the first
23 skirmishes? I should perhaps read it out from your statement -- or,
24 rather, logbook concerning the 11th of October. That's the logbook
25 belonging to your unit.
1 A. I have said so in my statement. That's correct. I don't remember
2 it now, it's many years ago, but I remember it was small so to say
3 fighting in October, before the 21st of October.
4 Q. Very well. For the transcript, this is P 0298. But I do agree
5 with what you're saying, Lieutenant Colonel. However, the logbook of your
6 unit, the entry for the 11th of October, states in the last line of that
7 paragraph: "'In today's morning briefing,' the battalion commander said,"
8 and this is inverted commas, "'that shells are raining on Vares.'"?
9 Now, if he's saying this then obviously there was some sort of an
10 attack mounted on Vares. Is that true?
11 A. No. It was -- that's not correct. It was correct what was
12 written in the diary because we have a radio. We have a radio so we could
13 hear the news from Sweden. In Sweden they said, in the news they said
14 that the battalion commander has -- their effect to the commander, and
15 said it was -- there are impacts in Vares and we was laughing because we
16 said that is not correct because we are here and there was no impact
17 inside Vares on this day.
18 Q. All right. Let us go back to Kopjari. You saw certain signs of
19 rising tensions before the real conflict broke out, didn't you?
20 A. Yeah. We -- we understand what something going on in this area,
21 in Kopjari area, and it was also therefore I immediately the first -- my
22 Alpha platoon, when this arrived, I immediately take it up to this area,
23 and they was there in the last afternoon, the 20 of October.
24 Q. Very well. Thank you. Lieutenant Colonel, from this document,
25 and it's brief written by the assistant commander of the 2nd Corps of the
1 BH, he says that in Kosare [phoen] inspecting units of operation group 3
2 on the 18th of October, 1993, at 6.30, he got information from the Bobovac
3 unit that the operative units and the 3rd Corps for Kakanj in Breza on the
4 17th of October at 1930 hours, they attacked the Bobovac Brigade in
5 Lijesnica, Kopjari, Plijesac?
6 You have spoken about this. Do you agree this information is
7 correct? It corresponds to the knowledge that you had?
8 A. It could be correct, yes.
9 Q. Okay. Very well. My next question in this connection. I do have
10 to read another bit I'm skipping a paragraph. The same commander writes:
11 "Units of the 3rd Corps attacked the Bobovac Brigade without any
12 provocation whatsoever and thus threatened the zone of responsibility of
13 the 2nd Corps. I demand that you immediately order the commander of the
14 3rd Corps to halt the above-mentioned action and to return the units of
15 the 3rd Corps that participated in the attack to their initial positions."
16 We saw from your notes that there were units of the 3rd Corps and
17 units of the 2nd Corps of the BH army in that location. Is that correct?
18 A. If we start in -- south of Vares we were -- in this stage we was
19 not really sure which corps it was in the south, but I think we -- we --
20 in our opinion it was the 6th Corps, but we was very sure what in west, so
21 to say, it was the 3rd Corps. That's correct.
22 Q. And you knew that elsewhere there is another corps with which the
23 Bobovac Brigade was cooperating?
24 A. Yes. It was the 2nd.
25 Q. As time went on, and we see entries about that in your diary, you
1 found out there was the 7th Muslim Brigade active within the 3rd Corps.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Please just answer with a yes or no. It will proceed more
4 quickly. We'll go step-by-step.
5 Will you agree that in that brigade or some smaller other groups
6 within the 3rd Corps there were units that many participants in the war
7 referred to as the Mujahedin? Is that correct?
8 A. I never meet any Mujahedin, no. But I meet the 7 Muslim brigade,
9 yes, in Vares. But if there were any Mujahedin inside or not, I don't
11 Q. All right. Would you agree with me -- rather, let me rephrase
12 this. Did you observe in that period and in later months that there is a
13 major difference in the conduct and attitude between the 2nd and the 3rd
14 Corps of the BH army? Were you able to observe that?
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. Thank you. You, as trained professional soldier, didn't you find
17 it at least odd that two corps level, strong units that should presumably
18 be under the same command acted quite differently? Wasn't that a bit
20 A. Maybe. There was a lot of thing for me who was very -- I don't
21 understand a lot of thing when I came down there. It was very, very bad
22 situation we have in the Vares area. So who was command under who was one
23 of the biggest question we have to try to find out in the first weeks.
24 But I -- in my understand it was under the same command. I mean, the 2nd
25 Corps, the 3rd Corps was a part of BH army.
1 Q. We saw, actually, an example of the major problems they had
2 between them. Let me remind you, in one paragraph of your statement, and
3 even in the diary, you mentioned that at one point after Stupni Do the 2nd
4 Corps of the BH army asked you, the UNPROFOR, to somehow control the
5 separation between the areas covered by the 2nd Corps and the 3rd Corps
6 respectively, that you refused. Do you agree with that? You seem to be
7 nodding but I need an answer for the record.
8 A. I was not involved in this negotiation but I know my battalion
9 commander was involved in the negotiation with the 2nd Corps and they
10 asked them to be, so to say, a part of -- between these two corps. That's
11 correct, yes.
12 Q. And now I'm coming back to my earlier question. You are a
13 professional, trained soldier. You told me that the situation was very
14 confusing, and you were wondering who was answerable to whom. Wasn't that
15 a clear warning to you that something is wrong there? Those were
16 seemingly two units of the same army but they didn't seem to be the same
17 army. Did you have any doubts about that? Did you find an answer?
18 A. I mean, in this situation I was not thinking so much about that
19 because we have a lot of thing to do. We have also to bring built up my
20 so to say camp. It was very, very bad situation for my company. So I
21 don't -- I was not thinking in this way but, of course, it was a little
22 bit, so to say, crazy situation, yes.
23 Q. But if we can save some time, can we agree that you did observe
24 that even on the HVO side there were units controlled by superior command
25 and other units that are not real little controlled by the superior
1 command? Can you agree with that?
2 A. I have to say like this: I know the different parts, the Muslims,
3 the Serbs, and the Croats' army have parts of units who do bad things, but
4 I also know that they use them in the way what we have to do. They was
5 more or less under control. So if they don't want to have them to do what
6 they do, they could stop them. I -- In my opinion they use these type of
7 forces for their own aim. I mean, the BH army used the 7 Muslim Brigade
8 because they know it was a little bit tough for soldiers to get into
9 Stupni Do. I also know that -- that in the same way it was in the Serbian
10 army we meet them later soldiers, so to say, or more or less criminals who
11 do bad things against me and my soldiers. And also in the Bobovac Brigade
12 it was the same type this soldiers or terrorist or criminals, what you can
13 call them.
14 Q. That seems to be a general assessment. But precisely in that kind
15 of environment you were objectively unable to establish at what point
16 within one period some units or individuals or, let's say, groups are not
17 under the control of any one command. You simply had no basis to
18 determine that. Would you agree were me?
19 A. No. I -- I'm -- no.
20 Q. No. No will do. Thank you very much. I'll describe a situation,
21 and you will try to clarify.
22 You mentioned one minor incident near a tunnel by the check-point
23 where there is a roundabout route to Stupni Do. They didn't want to let
24 you through. There were negotiations going on, discussions, and then a
25 group showed up, and when they went away the guard at the check-point said
1 they are crazy, and then somebody answered, "If they are crazy, why are
2 you not arresting them?" You were personally involved in at least one
3 such situation.
4 My question is this: That group that showed up, that was going
5 from one place to another, and they were all armed, were you able to -- to
6 determine that they fit anywhere at all within the chain of command? Were
7 they under anybody's command, or were they just an independent group that
8 was taking advantage of the reigning chaos for their own material gain?
9 Based on those circumstances and everything you knew at that time, were
10 you able to say, "Yes, I know that this group is answerable to somebody,
11 reports to somebody"?
12 A. Yeah. In my opinion, in the 33rd [sic] of October it was a little
13 bit chain of command in the Bobovac Brigade, and this, so to say, soldiers
14 who was there that you describe at the tunnel where there was at this
15 moment a part under the command of a new leadership in Bobovac Brigade.
16 The policemen was afraid about them.
17 Q. Yes, but I don't think we really understood each other. Maybe I
18 wasn't clear enough. Regardless of the change in the leadership of the
19 Bobovac Brigade, the soldiers and the policemen who were full time
20 stationed at the check-point were under somebody's command, and they must
21 have been under the command of the Bobovac Brigade because it was the
22 municipal brigade in the area. But that group that showed up at the
23 moment when you were there, who were menacing and who were called crazy by
24 the guard at the check-point, I'm asking you about them. They came,
25 threatened, left, and you had a short discussion about them with the
1 police detail at the check-point.
2 At that moment, based on those specific circumstances and
3 everything you knew about how things work in Bosnia, were you able to
4 conclude that those people were under somebody's command, or, and we have
5 only two choices, you decided that they were looters, robbers, who were
6 taking advantage of the chaos to get rich in the war? Was it clear to you
7 that they were somebody's men? Was it reasonably clear?
8 A. What I understand Ivica Rajic was coming the 33rd [sic] of October
9 to the area. Some days before we have observed, so to say, soldiers in
10 the same what you have described here, these type of soldiers. So it was
11 new soldiers who arrived to the area, and it was also these soldiers here
12 at the tunnel. But it was also clear to me that they were under command
13 of the Bobovac Brigade but they have changed command. It was very clear,
14 because they, the Bobovac Brigade, pointed out for us, "You are not
15 allowed to go up to Stupni Do." They do everything to stop us. "You are
16 not allowed to be out in your positions night-time. You must go inside."
17 And this after that they have said so the first time. There was also
18 shooting against us the night of 24th of October. So for me it was very
19 clear what everything was going on was under the command of the Bobovac
21 Q. Very well. Tell me, Witness, this small group of looters, let's
22 call them, did they have any insignia, what kind of uniforms they wore?
23 A. No. They have more -- they have more -- course, it was crosses.
24 And of course in the hair and so on, they have no hair. They could shave
25 it off. Some of them.
1 Q. That was something chose be by them individually, but did you
2 notice the insignia on their uniforms that signified an affiliation to
4 A. In the whole situation in Bosnia it was not so often you could see
5 they have a uniform. You could see what they belonged to. Also in this
6 day the Bobovac Brigade, just before Vares was taken by the BH army, they
7 use band of right -- left arm here so they could show that they belonged
8 to which side. They were not a clear uniform so you could say which side
9 or so to say which unit they belong. That's correct, no uniform in this
11 Q. Let us be quite clear because we have touched upon the issue of
12 uniforms quite a few times here. To sum up, if I understood you
13 correctly, the uniform without a patch was absolutely no sign of
14 affiliation to any army as a general principle. All armies used various
15 kinds of uniforms. Is that correct?
16 A. Yes. It was various. It was -- normally we also saw a lot of
17 shirts with the German flag and so on. So it was a lot of mixed clothes
18 and so on.
19 Q. Since you have mentioned German insignia, I believe that if you
20 saw a shirt with the German flag on the sleeve you would not conclude that
21 the soldiers wearing it were German, would you?
22 A. No, of course not. No.
23 Q. The next distinctive sign was some kind of badges that troops wore
24 on the chest or sometimes on the sleeve. I'm interested particularly in
25 the HVO. Those badges were different. The initiated could distinguish
1 between members of various units on the basis of these badges.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, you have used 45
3 minutes so far, and you were allowed to use up 30 minutes. I imagine that
4 other lawyers or other Defence counsels gave you their time?
5 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. We have enough
6 time, and I think most of the time will be used between Ms. Alaburic and
7 myself, and if some time is left Mr. Praljak will have a few questions
8 using a map.
9 Q. Just to conclude, Witness, let me go back to that group. If it's
10 true that you didn't see any distinctive signs on them, you were unable to
11 tell who they belonged to just on the basis of their uniform; is that
13 A. I can't remember how exactly -- which clothes they have. It's
14 more than 10 years ago. And -- but it's very clear for me what they
15 belonged to the Bobovac Brigade or the leadership of the -- the new
16 leadership. Bobovac Brigade.
17 Q. Very well. Thank you, Witness. My client will ask you a few
18 questions himself.
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]. Good morning. Good
20 morning, Your Honours.
21 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness. I would like to place a
23 map by Mr. Birger. And while that is being done, let me ask you this:
24 From all you know, were there elements of civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
25 Did that conflict include certain elements of civil war? From everything
1 you know from history or --
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Mr. Praljak. I think that's not the
3 correct question because it asks for a legal qualification, which the
4 witness is not qualified to give.
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Never mind then.
6 Q. You said you had not seen a single Mujahedin. Did your superiors
7 inform you of the existence of Mujahedin in the 3rd Corps and their
8 number? Did you have such information?
9 A. We have some information that it was what you call Muslim elements
10 in -- in the 3rd Corps, and also information about it was very hardly
11 [sic] corps, and we have also example for that in the village of Borovica.
12 Q. I am sincerely surprised by your references to some information,
13 certain knowledge, et cetera. You were soldiers. I'm sure that you had
14 pretty good briefings.
15 Anyway, you have a map behind you which depicts the development of
16 movements of the 3rd and later 2nd Corps against Vares. The map was
17 developed based on your diary and some information you have already shared
18 with us.
19 Could you please look at the map and tell us whether it is
20 accurate. And if you don't think it's accurate, could you tell us in
21 which way.
22 The colour green shows the advance of the Muslims, the fall of
23 various villages as described in your diary until their entry into Vares,
24 and on the right-hand side the pull-out of the HVO, the refugees towards
25 Dastansko, and the areas controlled by the army of Republika Srpska.
1 Is this military map accurate?
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. I'm asking the technicians whether
3 it's possible to let us share the view of the map, because at this
4 distance without the optical instrument necessary we cannot see it. Maybe
5 a camera could -- yes. That's already better. Maybe it can be a bit
7 THE WITNESS: I can explain little. What I can see -- what I
8 can -- it's not working.
9 What I can see here on the map, it should be the 3rd Corps who was
10 attacking up in Dubostica and in Vijaka. In my opinion, it was wrong; it
11 was forces from the 2nd Corps, and it was forces from the 3rd Corps up in
12 the line like this, north of Borovica and south, in this direction. Here
13 it was forces from the 2nd Corps who was attacking the pocket of Vares.
14 That seems correct here down, think it was attacking in this
15 direction. It was also correct that were, so to say, the rest of Bobovac
16 Brigade escaped to the village of Dastansko in this area here and they
17 would stay here after it had been a little bit calmed down in the area.
18 So it's more or less here up. I don't think it's really correct, in my
19 opinion, about it, what we understand. It was the 3rd Corps, the 3rd
20 Operational Group from a third -- from a second corps who attack and take
21 Dubostica and Pogar.
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Thank you very much. I just want to make one thing clear. Do you
24 know that Krivaja river depicted in the upper part of the map separated
25 the 3rd from the 2nd Corps? Do you know that Krivaja river was the
1 separation line between the 2nd and the 3rd Corps? Therefore, this map
2 depicts the position of the 2nd Corps completely correctly as attacking
3 Vijaka village? If you know these two things, that Krivaja was the
4 separation line between the 2nd and the 3rd Corps, and indeed it is
5 indicated that the 2nd Corps was attacking Vici or Vijaka village, then it
6 is quite accurately depicted on the map that these various components
7 attacked these villages.
8 A. I say it again. It was the 2nd Corps who was attacking in this
9 area in Pogar, Vijaka, and also the representatives of the 2nd Corps. The
10 command of the 3rd OG, they have their responsibility for various area.
11 Later they change. They changed command. They changed forces inside
12 Vares area. It was sometimes I understand it was from the 3rd Corps, but
13 in the end of my time in -- at the month of April, the Vares area and so
14 on was the part of the 1st Corps, 1st Corps. But I don't really know
15 what -- I can understand where --
16 Q. Lieutenant Colonel, please. Please. I'm asking you kindly.
17 We're talking about the fall of Vares. We're not talking about April
18 1994. I'm asking you nicely. Tell me, if you think this map is
19 inaccurate, how is it inaccurate? Take a pencil and say, "I think the map
20 is inaccurately depicting this. I don't think the 3rd Corps was there. I
21 think the 2nd corps was there instead." Leave the -- April 1994 alone.
22 Please take a pencil and tell me, "Mr. Praljak, it's incorrect in this and
23 that spot for this and that reason."
24 MR. MUNDIS: The Prosecution objects, Your Honour. We have given
25 both the Praljak Defence team and General Praljak some leeway here. But
1 really we've gone well beyond context in terms of what might be
2 admissable. This is generally, this is irrelevant to the charges listed
3 in the indictment. The Vares municipality charges certainly are much more
4 narrow than any of this evidence that General Praljak is seeking to educe
5 and this is, with all due respect, not a productive use of the Trial
6 Chamber's time.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, you have a map before
8 you. The Defence is showing you this map. From where I'm sitting, but I
9 was able to see the map on the screen, it would seem that the Vares area
10 was circled by the BiH army except at the bottom where we see that the VRS
11 is holding the position at the bottom.
12 Now, the Defence, or General Praljak, is telling you that it's the
13 3rd Corps that was attacking or that was making this operation on Vares.
14 You see the 2nd Corps, the 3rd Corps. Except for the mention of the 2nd
15 Corps to the right where you can see 2nd Corps.
16 Now, this being said, do you agree with the lines the way they
17 were drafted here, and independently of the lines the fact that there is a
18 mention of a 3rd Corps and a 2nd Corps, is that placed where they really
19 were placed at the time? And this is with regard to the period covering
20 the end of October, early November, since the dates that General Praljak
21 is mentioning go from the 18th to the 22nd of October. It's Pogar, and
22 they also go to the 3rd of November.
23 So now, there you are. You were there. Only you can tell us what
24 the situation was like. You were a neutral party, and you can tell us if
25 this map is correct, if it's not correct. And if I understood you
1 correctly, I thought General Praljak wanted you to tell us why you don't
2 agree with this map and what is erroneous with this map and what does not
3 correspond to what you saw on the field when you were deployed.
4 THE WITNESS: That's correct. That's both the 3rd Corps and the
5 2nd Corps who get inside Vares. 2nd Corps more or less from east and the
6 north, and the 3rd Corps from west and south. The only thing I don't
7 agree with the map was up in Dubostica, Pogar area. I said that was the
8 2nd Corps was attacked. The situation in Vares area with these both corps
9 is correct in this days we are talking about. They came into Vares from
10 different -- from north and south, so to say. That's correct.
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Can you please mark next to Dubostica, can you please mark that
13 spot and write the 2nd Corps. And can you then please sign map and place
14 today's date on it.
15 A. I must say I couldn't do that exactly. That's impossibility of
16 two reasons. It's a long time ago, and we don't have that exact
17 information. I could only talk about village. What I know, the village
18 of Dubostica was taken by the 2nd corps, the 3rd Operational Group,
19 because we meet the commander there at the evening when it was taken. We
20 also could see they have prisoners from HVO there [Realtime transcript
21 read in error "from there"], prisoner of war.
22 We also know that the village of Pogar was taken by the 2nd Corps
23 because I meet the Chief of Staff of the corps up in Pogar which day it
24 was taken. But exactly where the border between these two corps was in
25 the terrain, I couldn't mark out. I could only talking about village.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, you told us that
2 Dubostica and Pogar were taken by the 2nd Corps. Is that right?
3 THE WITNESS: That's right, yes.
4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Could you please circle
5 Dubostica. Put a circle around Dubostica and write 2nd Corps next to it.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise for
7 interrupting the examination, but I see that there's one sentence uttered
8 by the witness that was not reflected in the record. The witness said
9 that when he met at Dubostica with the representatives of the 2nd Corps
10 that he saw HVO prisoners of war there, and this sentence was left out of
11 the record.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] So the witness repeat it.
14 THE WITNESS: I can repeat it, and it was not my person. It was
15 my deputy commander who was there and he reporting to me. It was about
16 20, 25 prisoner of war HVO soldiers in Dubostica.
17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask Their
18 Honours to permit the witness to sign the -- and place the date.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you please put on the map
20 Dubostica and Pogar and please write down 2nd Corps because this is what
21 you told us.
22 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Could you write "The 2nd Corps," please.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you remember, could you
1 please mark 2nd Corps around the two circles, because the witness told us
2 it was 2nd Corps.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, you drew two circles.
4 Now, these two circles, do they correspond to the 2nd Corps? If so, then
5 please just mark under the circles, 2nd Corps.
6 THE WITNESS: The circle is the two village.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Very well. Could
8 you please give us a number.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this map will become Exhibit IC 510.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It is 10.40. We'll
11 take a 20-minute break.
12 --- Recess taken at 10.40 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
15 Mr. Praljak, how much time do you need to complete your questions?
16 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, several
17 minutes. I only have a couple of questions left.
18 Q. Lieutenant Colonel --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A few minutes. That could mean
20 one hour, because one hour is 60 minutes. You are talking about several
21 minutes. What does it mean?
22 Ms. Alaburic, you gave us your binder. How much time would you
23 need, Ms. Alaburic?
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the other Defence
25 teams gave their time to me, and should you deem my cross-examination
1 relevant for the case, I hope that I will be allowed to examine the
2 witness until the close of business today -- or, rather, I can leave
3 sufficient time for re-examination and Judges' questions.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, if I understand correctly,
5 there won't be any questions on behalf of Mr. Prlic, neither for
6 Mr. Stojic, Mr. Pusic neither, and neither for Mr. Coric. Therefore, we
7 have a cross-examination that will be conducted only for and by Generals
8 Praljak and Petkovic.
9 Please proceed, Mr. Praljak.
10 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
11 Q. In your statement given on the 6th and the 7th of February, 2001,
12 on page 3 in the Croatian version you speak of the 21st of October, 1993,
13 and on page 4 you say the following concerning this date: "I left Kopjari
14 around 1700 hours. As I was leaving, the commander of the BH army on the
15 ground called out to me and said, 'See you in Vares.' On our way I saw
16 some soldiers of the BH army herding sheep from Kopjari to Dragovici."
17 Is it true that this is something that you said concerning the
18 21st of October, 1993, that one of the BH army commanders said, "See you
19 in Vares"?
20 A. Yes. He said so, yes, that's correct.
21 Q. Thank you. I am not allowed to ask you about the legal
22 qualifications or the legal definitions of civil war, but I can ask you
23 the following as an officer: Do you know how civilians and soldiers were
24 treated in the American civil war?
25 MR. MUNDIS: Objection, relevance.
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the question was
2 misinterpreted. The question was interpreted as how civilians and
3 soldiers were treated in the American civil war. The question was: What
4 was the ratio between civilian and military casualties.
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
6 Q. My question is quite technical. Therefore, in the American civil
7 war, what was the ratio between civilian casualties and military
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I must agree with the Prosecutor. This is not a
10 question for a witness who is here to tell what his experience was, what
11 he has seen and heard in the connection with Vares. It's a question for
12 an expert on American history.
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, any senior
14 officer --
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: We're not going to discuss this. The Court
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, can you please move
18 on to another question for the following reason: What took place during
19 the civil war in the United States of America is something of a very
20 complex nature, and the witness will probably not be in a position to shed
21 any light on this for the Chamber, and we are very, very far from what --
22 from your case, from what is at the heart of your case. So intellectually
23 speaking, yes, indeed that can be a very interesting question, but legally
24 speaking it's irrelevant. That's why my fellow Judge has asked you to
25 move on to a different topic.
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Very well. There was this
2 question that after World War I in any subsequent war there were more
3 civilian than military deaths and the ratio was always negative.
4 Q. But tell me the following: The communications systems you used
5 between platoons and companies, did it require you to have a position on
6 higher ground, or were your communication -- communications always
7 operational also with the units that were stationed in valleys? My
8 question, therefore, is: Did your communications system function at all
9 times in and around Vares?
10 A. In this time we have an operation -- I had one platoon in Kopjari
11 area, and we have clear contact with radio contact from my company staff
12 in Vares to this place. It was no problem. It was therefore -- also was
13 informed of -- about the attack of Kopjari this morning, the 21st of
15 Q. Lieutenant Colonel, I didn't mention Kopjari at all, and I did not
16 mention the communications between Kopjari and Vares. My question to you
17 was: At any point in time when your units were stationed in valleys were
18 they able to communicate properly, given the layout of the terrain, or did
19 you perhaps have difficulties in communicating with an APC or a platoon if
20 it was in a depression. Did you have any such communications difficulties
21 and, if so, which?
22 A. Yes I agree with what you are saying. There was some problem with
23 radio communications. So therefore we put up one platoon in Mijakovici.
24 It's up in the area here, in the highest place north of -- of here. I
25 think it's not on the map, but here, up in the mountains, we had one
1 platoon. So we use this platoon also to say to Vares -- we use it for
2 communications. Yes, yes, correct.
3 Q. Right. So you had to have a platoon stationed on higher ground to
4 use it as an intermediary for the purposes of communications; is that
6 A. That's right.
7 Q. Thank you very much.
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no
9 further questions.
10 Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel, for your exhaustive answers.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic.
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
13 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Birger, good morning to you. I am Defence
15 counsel for General Petkovic, and I would like you to help us clarify some
16 details in the documents shown to you by the Prosecutor today. I should
17 also like us to examine some important details not only concerning the
18 events at Stupni Do but in Vares in general. I would like to start with
19 your diary which is contained in the Prosecution bundle under number
20 502980 [as interpreted]. Please look at the entry for the 25th of
21 October, 1993.
22 A. Please repeat the number.
23 Q. I will repeat the number P 02980. Now it's correct. On page 18
24 of the English version there is an entry for the 25th of October, 1993.
25 A. Please. Please wait. I couldn't find 2980.
1 Q. I apologise. Are you looking at my set of documents or the
2 Prosecutor's, because I was referring -- this is my set of documents.
3 Please, I'm referring you to the Prosecutor's set of documents. The
4 Prosecutor showed you 2980 today --
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. -- on page 18 of the English version, and page 15 of the version
7 in the B/C/S. It's somewhere in the middle of the page, the last
8 paragraph, which reads, and I will read it in English: "A telefax arrived
9 from the command for the BH in Kiseljak with a copy of the order from the
10 supreme HVO commander, General Petkovic, to the effect that the Bobovac
11 Brigade should cooperate with UNPROFOR and that the mayor and the
12 commander of the Bobovac Brigade were relieved of their duties."
13 Did I read that part of the diary accurately, Mr. Birger?
14 A. Yes, that's correct.
15 Q. Let us try to analyse this sentence together. Let me remind you
16 that if something was entered in your diary under the date of the 25th of
17 October, 1993, then what is stated there must have happened on that date.
18 Is that right?
19 A. I -- yes. If it's written in my diary, yes. Yes.
20 Q. It transpires from this sentence of yours that from the Kiseljak
21 command you received a telefax; is that right?
22 A. I don't remember if it came directly from Kiseljak or if it's came
23 from the battalion staff in Tuzla. What I could see in the document
24 today, it was -- it was sent by fax from -- to, or inside the battalion.
25 You could see NordBat 2 up in the page.
1 Q. Let us try to analyse this sentence of yours and we will come to
2 the documents later.
3 Does it not transpire from this sentence of yours that you were
4 delivered in the attachment a copy of General Petkovic's order?
5 A. Please explain your question. I --
6 Q. Please look at the English text. The word "an," which is an
7 indefinite article, and shows that you received one single order, because
8 had you received several orders then it would not say "order," it would
9 say "orders." And if we analyse the sentence linguistically, we can
10 conclude that you received one single order by General Petkovic; is that
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. Does it follow from this sentence of yours that this is an order
14 ordering the Bobovac Brigade to cooperate with UNPROFOR?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Does it follow from this sentence further that the information
17 received from either Kiseljak or Tuzla, it is irrelevant at this point,
18 also contained the piece of information that the mayor and the Bobovac
19 Brigade commander were relieved of their duties?
20 A. Yes and no. I don't know which commander they said would have
21 take the command off. If it was the commander before the 23rd or after
22 the 23rd. That's -- that was something we was wondering about.
23 Q. Very well. But what I need to clarify with you now is whether
24 this information concerning the relieving of duty was in fact conveyed in
25 the telefax received from either Kiseljak or Tuzla. Is that right?
1 A. I -- I don't remember if it came directly from Kiseljak or from
2 Tuzla, but I have it in a fax.
3 Q. Very well. Please look at document P 06063, which is also
4 contained in the Prosecutor's set of documents. Have you found it,
5 Mr. Birger?
6 A. Yes. Yeah.
7 Q. Can you confirm for us that this is the order issued by
8 General Petkovic that you referred to in your diary in the entry for the
9 25th of October, 1993?
10 A. Yeah, that's right.
11 Q. Very well. Please look at another document in the Prosecutor's
12 set of material, P 06049.
13 A. Yep.
14 Q. Have you found it? Yes.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. This is a letter from the HVO liaison officer, Vinko Lucic, sent
17 to the Kiseljak command. We have already analysed this when you were
18 examined by the Prosecutor. Can we briefly analyse this letter?
19 From the introductory part of this letter, does it not follow that
20 UNPROFOR sought assistance concerning the investigation about the alleged
21 massacre over the Muslim population in Vares municipality? This is in
22 fact what the first sentence reads, does it not?
23 A. Which line are you talking to in this document?
24 Q. The very beginning of the text. [In English] "Regarding your
25 request for assistance in connection with the investigation," et cetera.
1 [Interpretation] Is that right? Does it not follow from this text
2 that UNPROFOR sought assistance in the investigation into the events at
3 Stupni Do?
4 A. I'm reading --
5 Q. Mr. Birger, just look at the first sentence.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. I suppose you will agree that the letter was dated 24th of
8 October, 1993. I suppose that's not in dispute.
9 A. That is write -- written up in the page.
10 Q. Can we agree that at the time on the 24th of October, 1993, for
11 someone who was at Kiseljak as Vinko Lucic was, that person could not
12 really have been aware of what had actually transpired at Stupni Do? Can
13 we agree about that?
14 A. I don't know. I had no contact with this liaison officer, so it
15 was not a contact I talked to. So I don't know why -- where he was and
16 how he work.
17 Q. I'm asking you this, Mr. Birger, because in connection with the
18 second but last paragraph of this letter you said, when answering Mr.
19 Mundis's question, that you were not really clear about why this had been
20 written this way. I'm asking you now whether Vinko Lucic, on the 24th of
21 October, practically wanted to say that still there were no verified
22 information about any offensive activities by the HVO in the area of Vares
23 and the alleged massacre in the village of Stupni Do.
24 Would this make it clearer for you why this sentence was written?
25 A. No. I -- I've never seen this paper before in Bosnia. I seen it
1 now when I came here, and I have no -- it was not in my level. It was
2 over the battalion commander level, this discussion is. It's in BH
3 command, BH command, command -- my battalion commander. So it's over my
5 Q. Mr. Birger, you saw this document for the first time here in the
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. I suppose then in that case you wouldn't know which order by
9 General Petkovic concerning the situation in Vares is being referred to in
10 this letter, which order was attached to the letter written by Lucic from
11 the Kiseljak command.
12 A. You must -- I don't understand what you meaning. I have a letter
13 from Petkovic to the Bobovac Brigade. Yes, I have read this paper. This
14 paper, I haven't seen. Again, it's highest, over my level.
15 Q. Very well. If you didn't see the letter, then one can infer that
16 you wouldn't know which order was referred to here even if it was the
17 order we saw on -- at that document, P 06063. It would follow quite
18 logically that you wouldn't know which order was attached to this letter.
19 Can you just confirm to me that you, in fact, don't know?
20 A. I don't -- I could only read the order, and I couldn't know what
21 he have for information to give this order, that's correct, yes. I don't
22 know what he would have for information. It's impossibility for me to
24 Q. Mr. Birger, I should in fact like to know if you were aware of the
25 fact that in addition to Lucic's letter or annexed to it was the order
1 that we saw a moment ago marked with the number P 06063. I should like to
2 know if you know about this or if you in fact have no knowledge of this at
4 A. About the order, I have seen before. I have this order in paper
5 to my camp orders, but it's two different papers. This paper I've never
6 seen. I've seen the order from Petkovic, yes.
7 Q. I will try once again because we are obviously not understanding
8 each other. I understand what you're saying, but I would like to know the
9 following: Do you have any information that the order you just saw, which
10 was under number P 06063, whether you knew that this order was delivered
11 as part of Lucic's letter? Do you know about this or not?
12 A. I don't know about this letter.
13 Q. All right. All right. I'd like to ask you now to look at my set
14 of documents and look for P 06144.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you explain what kind of document that is? What is it?
17 A. I can see that it's sent from BH command in Kiseljak, and, as I
18 said before, that command is the command who my battalion belonged to.
19 And also the drafter is Brigadier Ramsay. Ramsay was the Chief of Staff
20 for BH command.
21 Q. Can we agree, Mr. Birger, that this message is in fact a
22 notification of a meeting that UNPROFOR representatives in Kiseljak held
23 with General Petkovic on the 25th of October, 1993? That's what it says.
24 A. I can only now read this paper on the top of the page is from
25 command of Kiseljak, and again it's higher level over my command. I was
1 not involved in negotiation in this level.
2 Q. Mr. Birger, I'm not going to ask you anything about that, but I
3 believe that this document contains some information that is consistent
4 with what you have told us so far. I just wanted to compare the documents
5 we have at our disposal and find the consistencies.
6 It says that a meeting was held at 2200 hours, paragraph 1.
7 Mr. Petkovic came with his associates Lucic and Bandic, and that he had
8 been staying in Kiseljak for some days as he had been unable to fly back
9 to Split because of bad weather.
10 We agree that this is written here. Of course you don't know
11 anything about it, but this will be important for our later analysis.
12 Now, please let's look together at paragraph 2, "Vares/Stupni Do."
13 To avoid reading aloud, maybe we could read it for ourselves and then
14 discuss it. If you have read it --
15 A. I'll read it now.
16 Q. Tell me when you finish.
17 A. Yes. I'm not finish. I'm finish.
18 Q. It is recorded here that General Petkovic had issued a written
19 permit for UNPROFOR to go to Stupni Do, and that General Petkovic said
20 that it made no sense to try to cover up anything, because, if something
21 happened, that will be identified and determined. Do we agree that is
22 written there?
23 A. Yeah, I see what's written here.
24 Q. There's written permit mentioned here. Was it a document that you
25 saw yourself and you showed to the commander of the Vares Brigade,
1 Kresimir Bozic? We saw it today under P 0 --
2 A. Okay.
3 Q. -- 6063.
4 A. Yes, I've seen that document what you ...
5 Q. All right. We will deal with this document in greater detail
6 later, but now we will move on to another document in the Prosecutor's
7 set, number P 06117.
8 Could you please look at point 7. I'm not going to go through the
9 whole document, because the Prosecutor has dealt with it earlier. Point 7
10 says: "HVO commander General Petkovic sent two documents to his
11 subordinated units, one in which he proclaims a cease-fire in Vares area,
12 and another one in which he orders Ante Pejcinovic, Duznovic, and Gavran
13 be removed from their current positions."
14 Have you found these documents?
15 A. Yes, I have read it.
16 Q. Tell us, do you have any knowledge about the documents contained
18 A. Not knowledge, but I know a little bit about the situation. I
19 think it was the 24th or 23rd of -- 24th, I think, of October. I was
20 going up to the Bobovac Brigade, and the police command, I think the name
21 was Gavran or something like this.
22 Q. Mr. Birger, just a second. I would now like to focus on the
23 documents alone, and very soon we'll move on to the situation on the
24 ground and you'll tell us what you know.
25 Can I therefore conclude that you have no knowledge about these
1 two documents? That's what you said?
2 A. I have only seen the document, the orders from Petkovic. I never
3 seen other documents.
4 Q. Could you clarify, since we have information that one of these
5 documents was produced, in fact, by you, could you look at P 06022.
6 Could you tell me, Mr. Birger, have you seen this document ever
8 A. I don't know. I couldn't remember I had seen that.
9 Q. In your diary for 26 October 1993, which is the day to which this
10 document P 06177 we discussed earlier relates, it's clear you didn't
11 receive any documents from Petkovic, from Travnik, Kiseljak, or any other
12 town. If you want to check in your diary you can, but I have already
13 checked, and there's nothing recorded for that day. Your diary's number P
14 02980. Is that so? Did you have time to --
15 A. I cannot find it.
16 Q. All right. We don't have that much time --
17 A. I found it. 26. Yes, I've found it.
18 Q. There's quite a lot of writing for the 26th. My question was that
19 you did not record on the 26th that you received the mentioned two
20 documents from General Petkovic from any of the other UNPROFOR commands.
21 When I say "mention," I mean the two documents from the Prosecutor's
22 Exhibit P 0617 -- sorry, P 06117.
23 If it's too complicated to check that now we can move on, because
24 we don't have much time.
25 A. Yes. I -- I want to say before I haven't written every -- written
1 this diary. I have leave -- I have a statement of these days, and the
2 statement is -- is what I have signed. I -- this is summary of the days.
3 We have not written everything in this diary.
4 Q. Now, Mr. Birger, could we move to the actual situation, and I
5 believe documents will help us in this exercise. If in addition to the
6 direct answer to my question you wish to add anything, please tell me so
7 and in view of the time constraints we'll find a way together to cover it
8 in the best way.
9 Look at P 06026. It's in my set of documents. P 06026. You
10 found the document, I believe?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Very well. So it's a notification by Ivica Rajic on combat
13 activities in Vares from the 23rd October 1993. This document has already
14 been viewed in this courtroom, and for the purposes of my examination,
15 Mr. Birger, could we please focus at the beginning. In the upper right
16 corner of the page we see the names of persons to whom this notification,
17 this information, was addressed.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. In line two we see the name of my client. You see the name of
20 Milivoj Petkovic, don't you?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You see that above it says "Chief," which is wrong, but never
23 mind, "Chief of the Main Staff of the HVO Mostar." Would it be correct to
24 conclude that a copy of this report intended for General Petkovic was sent
25 to Mostar? Is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Could we please try to remember that UNPROFOR document of the 26th
3 of October, 1993, concerning a meeting held on the 25th of October, 1993,
4 with General Petkovic, which says that General Petkovic was still in
5 Kiseljak on that day because he was unable to fly to Split due to bad
6 weather. On that basis, would it be correct to conclude that the person
7 who sent this report believed that General Petkovic had left Kiseljak and
8 that he was already in the base of the Main Staff of the HVO? It's a
9 question of logics -- logic. Is that a correct conclusion?
10 A. Yes. He could know it, and he couldn't know it. I don't know.
11 Q. Very well. Let us look at the penultimate paragraph of this
12 report by Ivica Rajic. It says: "Do to attempts --"
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, I'm a bit confused. Maybe I have not
14 understood, so I would like to be told. It says in the letter: "To the
15 chief of the Main Staff, Mostar," and you are pointing out that the --
16 your client could not have left Kiseljak to go to Split. Now, the -- the
17 person who put "Petkovic, Mostar" in the letter, it is irrelevant whether
18 he knew whether your client had gone to Split or not. Because, anyway,
19 there are three localities involved here? Am I wrong? Have I got it all
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I know that at this
22 point everything still seems like an incoherent group of diversion
23 elements, but I know that my client usually came to Kiseljak by an
24 UNPROFOR aeroplane -- or, rather, helicopter, and, as a rule, it was a
25 Split-Kiseljak flight. Then from Split he would go to Mostar, Citluk, or
1 wherever he needed to go. That's why that document of the UNPROFOR
2 mentions his return to Split rather than, let's say, Mostar.
3 What I'm trying to show at this moment is this: That my client
4 was supposed to leave Kiseljak earlier, that Ivica Rajic believed him to
5 be gone from Kiseljak, and that because of that he was sending him a
6 report to some other address. That will be later important for you to
7 establish the existence of any communication between Ivica Rajic and
8 General Petkovic. That's the gist of my question.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation].
11 Q. So, Witness -- Witness, if we can return to the conclusion of this
13 "Due to attempts to obstruct the planned activities, I placed in
14 isolation Ante Pejcinovic, Zvonko Duznovic, and Ivica Gavran."
15 Now, can we agree that from this report it follows that Ivica
16 Rajic decided to place these three persons in solitary confinement, and
17 the reason he quotes is their attempt to obstruct planned activities?
18 Does that follow from this report?
19 A. This is page 3 you're talking about.
20 Q. Page 3, penultimate paragraph.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. To the best of your knowledge, Anto Pejcinovic, Zvonko Duznovic,
23 and Ivica Gavran were indeed placed in solitary confinement in the
24 afternoon on the 23rd of October, 1993, or maybe you don't know anything
25 about it.
1 A. I don't know which day, but I know one day, this -- it was 24 or
2 25, I could observe at the -- the police commander if the name was Ivica
3 Gavran, I don't really remember, but it could be Gavran was sent away with
4 a corps. He don't want or he couldn't talk to me because I have a problem
5 this day. No commander want to talk to me. And I know him because I meet
6 him a lot of times before.
7 So I understand that he was sent away after -- maybe he was
8 arrest, yes.
9 Q. Let's look together at what was actually happening with these
10 people, including changes in the command of the Bobovac Brigade that you
11 observed and that you reported. Let's look at document P 06039 in my set
12 of documents.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. It's an interim report from Vitez area, dated 23rd October 1993,
15 issued at 1900 hours. It's a very interesting document, but we'll focus
16 only on the bottom part, the conclusion, the very end of this text.
17 Request number 6. So the end of the document, "Conclusion," and
18 request number 6. We see that it was signed by Tihomir Blaskic, commander
19 of the military district of Central Bosnia.
20 He says: "Commander of Operative Group 2, Mr. Ivica Rajic, is
21 temporarily placed in isolation" -- sorry, "temporarily placed president
22 of the Vares Croatian Defence Council, Mr. Anto Pejcinovic, in isolation
23 for obstructing offensive actions against the Muslim armed forces, so I
24 ask for your support.
25 "I relieved certain members of the Brigade 'Bobovac' Command from
1 their duty, particularly those that had been expecting the UN forces to
2 defend them."
3 Does it follow from this document, Witness, that Ivica Rajic
4 decided to place Colonel Anto Pejcinovic in isolation?
5 A. Yeah, I can read that.
6 Q. Does it equally follow that changes in the command of Bobovac
7 Brigade happened as a result of the decision of Tihomir Blaskic, commander
8 of the military district of Central Bosnia?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Okay. Let us look now at 4D 00533. On the same day but a bit
11 later, so on the 23rd October 1993, at 2245, Ivica Rajic informs Tihomir
12 Blaskic as follows: "I don't think it would be a good idea now to change
13 the brigade commander, but please give it some thought and give us your
14 proposal as to who could perform this duty if Mr. Emil Harah is not in a
15 position to be brigade commander."
16 Mr. Birger, does it follow from this document that Ivica Rajic and
17 his first direct superior communicated about who should lead Bobovac
19 A. I couldn't find the document but I know we change command on 23rd
21 Q. We'll see that in one of the following documents. Look at 4D
22 00532. The next day, 24th October at 8.50, Ivica Rajic reports to his
23 immediate superior, Tihomir Blaskic --
24 A. I couldn't find the document.
25 Q. 4D 00532. In my set of documents.
1 A. Yes, but I couldn't find it. No, not 533.
2 Q. It's not 533, it's 532.
3 A. Okay. It was written. Yes.
4 Q. It's another short document. Ivica Rajic informs his immediate
5 superior, Tihomir Blaskic, on the next day, 24th October, at 8.50, that
6 Kresimir Bozic was authorised to command and control the brigade, and also
7 that the brigade commander, Mr. Emil Harah, was allowed to go on a
8 seven-day leave.
9 Mr. Birger, you told us that Kresimir Bozic was in fact the person
10 who led the Bobovac Brigade at the time; is that correct?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. Did you know that Emil Harah was on sick leave for a while?
13 A. No. I don't know why -- the reason why they change command. It's
14 only in my opinion they change command this day.
15 Q. All right. Let us now look at what happened with Mr. Zvonko
16 Duznovic. Look at document 4D 00528.
17 Five minutes later, relative to the document we looked at before,
18 Mr. Ivica Rajic sends a new proposal to his immediate superior,
19 Mr. Tihomir Blaskic, namely that the chief of SIS of Bobovac Brigade,
20 Zvonko Duznovic, be relieved of his duties. In the introductory part we
21 read the reason, due to his destructive influence on the activities of the
22 brigade, et cetera. Is that correct?
23 A. Yeah, I can read that, and I don't really exactly remember the
24 name of the members of the Bobovac Brigade, but I could recognise the
1 MR. MUNDIS: Your Honour, the Prosecution would object to this
2 procedure whereby basically there's no foundation for this witness to do
3 anything other than to confirm what's written in a series of orders. If
4 there are questions about what he can testify about that, that's one
5 thing, but simply to read a series of HVO documents to him with no
6 foundation as to whether he's ever seen such documents or knew what was
7 going on behind the scenes is -- is not a proper way to go forward, in our
8 respectful view. He can certainly testify about people being relieved of
9 command or changing positions based on his knowledge, but what was
10 happening within the HVO command structure in terms of these orders or
11 proposals or documents, there's simply no foundation at all that this
12 witness had any knowledge about anything like that that was going on.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, you should have
14 asked the witness whether he knew Zvonko Duznovic. He could answer yes or
15 no. If he answered yes, then you could ask him whether to his knowledge
16 Zvonko Duznovic was relieved of his functions. If yes or no, well,
17 depending on that, you show the documents. Otherwise, he's going to read
18 a document he doesn't know. Everybody knows this man doesn't know the
19 document, and we're wasting time.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the document showed to
21 the witness by the Prosecutor, P 06117, mentions an alleged document by my
22 client who reportedly authorised Ivica Rajic to relieve of duties
23 Pejcinovic, Duznovic, and Gavran. My cross-examination had to do
24 precisely with that part of the document.
25 I believe that I have a full and legitimate right to try and show
1 that such a document does not exist and the reasons why this is simply not
3 Secondly, as far as the documents I have so far shown to the
4 witness, we did not stop to discuss these documents. I said that Kresimir
5 Bozic, one the persons who was talked to, was indeed appointed a
6 commander, and that Emil Harah was relieved of his duties, as the witness
7 talked about this in his testimony.
8 This is the first document I'm showing about Duznovic, and on the
9 basis of the witness's statement I know that they communicated, inter
10 alia, with Mr. Duznovic and that he knew his name.
11 Now, I wanted to see if the witness could confirm whether
12 Mr. Duznovic was indeed isolated, and I cannot know if the witness knows
13 about this document or not unless I put the document to him first.
14 MR. MUNDIS: Again, Your Honour, the witness can be asked about
15 Duznovic and whether he knows whether or not Duznovic was relieved. Our
16 objection goes more to the issue of whether the witness was aware of
17 internal HVO documents discussing the -- discussing the issue of
18 Mr. Duznovic and whether he had any knowledge as to who ordered what or
19 who was proposing what or how these internal changes in terms of the
20 leadership of that brigade came about, and that's an internal HVO matter
21 and there's no foundation at all for this witness to be asked about
22 proposals or orders or internal structural issues concerning the HVO and
23 the Bobovac Brigade, and that's the basis of our objection.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 Ms. Alaburic, what has been said now by Mr. Mundis seems to be
1 justified. The witness is not aware of the HVO documents, and the very
2 first answer he provided to Mr. Mundis during examination-in-chief showed
3 that he even ignored the existence of the HVO. So based on that, the
4 documents you've submitted to him have already been shown to another
5 witness. We know these documents. We do. Do you think that this witness
6 is going to make your case easier? If so, put him a question that is
7 going to be useful to us. Otherwise, it's a waste of time. I don't mind
8 being explained by a party what they are planning to do, but I need to
9 understand. And here I fail to understand what you expect from the
10 witness. You could ask him something that is going to enlighten us.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, since the Prosecution
12 in this very courtroom on many occasions when addressing women who had
13 nothing to do with the war operations whatsoever, who were housewives and
14 who didn't know what their husbands were doing in the course of the day,
15 showed them a series of HVO documents. We objected to that, and certain
16 Judges -- or, rather, Judge Trechsel said that the witness can comment on
17 a document if the witness is aware of the document's substance, regardless
18 of the fact that the witness is unaware of who authored the document,
19 when, and to whom it was sent.
20 Now, the contents of the document were referred to as one of the
21 bases for allowing the witness to be asked for comments.
22 Now, I will not ask for the documents to be tendered. I simply
23 cannot know all these matters beforehand, before I put -- I show the
24 documents to the witness and put a question to him.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, yes.
1 MR. MUNDIS: I think the distinction here needs to be very clearly
2 drawn. If a witness testifies about an event occurring on a certain date
3 or a certain place at a certain time and there are documents that confirm
4 what the witness knows from his or her own observations, then it's proper
5 to show that witness those documents to confirm what the witness already
6 knows based upon what they've observed.
7 In this situation the documents relate to internal HVO matters
8 concerning proposals, who proposed replacing whom, what decision was taken
9 internally, and what was the source of that decision. That's a very
10 different matter unless the witness can testify that he was present or saw
11 these internal documents or saw these proposals or was present at meetings
12 where these proposals were discussed.
13 The witness very well might be able to testify about the ultimate
14 issue in the sense of this commander was relieved or that person wasn't
15 present any longer, but the process, the internal process by which that
16 decision was taken is not a proper subject for him to be shown documents
17 about unless he has an independent basis or observation or personal
18 knowledge about how that decision-making process unfolded, and that is a
19 distinction which is an important one, and it needs to be taken into
20 consideration when witnesses are shown documents.
21 If a crime base witness says, "My village was attacked by the HVO
22 on this morning of this date," and we have an order or a combat report
23 indicating that very fact, that confirms what the witness already knew.
24 To show this witness or read to this witness documents about which person
25 was proposing whom to be replaced is not a proper way, in our respectful
1 submission, for documents to be dealt with and tends to result in huge
2 amounts of time that are -- that could be used for more productive
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Petkovic, I'm listening.
5 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like
6 to refer to something the Prosecutor just mentioned in his submission, and
7 that's whether the witness knew someone or not. First of all, the
8 witness, without having been asked said in his statement that Bozic
9 replaced Harah, and there is nothing unclear there. The man noticed that
10 Harah was removed and that Bozic took his place.
11 Is that right, Mr. Witness?
12 THE WITNESS: In my opinion, the ordinary brigade commander was --
13 was push away the 23rd of October and Kresimir -- Kresimir Bozic, or what
14 the name, the former operational officer was the brigade commander. They
15 changed this day. Why they changed, I don't know.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Petkovic very well. You know that
17 they changed positions; is that right?
18 THE WITNESS: That's right.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Petkovic Witness, you conducted
20 reconnaissance to deploy your forces and to get to know the commander of
21 the Bobovac Brigade; is that right? This is something you said in your
23 THE WITNESS: Yes, I meet him a lot of times before these days.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry to interrupt, but we are now --
25 Mr. Petkovic, I'm sorry. We are now speaking of someone else, someone
1 called Duznovic.
2 Did you know -- sorry, did you know Mr. Duznovic?
3 THE WITNESS: It was Kresimir Bozic. I couldn't remember names
4 today. I have to look in my paper if want to, so I know only some --
5 which positions we had so on. I couldn't remember all names. I'm sorry.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: But did you know the chief of security of the
7 Bobovac Brigade?
8 THE WITNESS: Yes. It was one person we was very lot talking
9 together, and he was also -- when we was outside in the terrain, and maybe
10 it was him I was talking to the 23rd of October.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And were you aware of that person suddenly
12 disappearing, sort of?
13 THE WITNESS: Yes, I don't see him later this -- after this day.
14 24, 25, I don't meet them.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think that's the basis on which Ms. Alaburic
16 can present you with this document. Thank you.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I thought that what
18 you just said is something everyone in the courtroom was aware of because
19 the witness talked about it, and it was contained in the documents. I did
20 not think it necessary to ask the witness whether he knew Zvonko Duznovic
21 since the witness had already talked about it.
22 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like
23 to thank Judge Trechsel because this is precisely what I would like to ask
24 the witness. And I would like to say that the statement that the witness
25 said, that once he sat in the Bobovac Brigade HQ for five hours waiting
1 for someone with this person.
2 Is that right, Witness? And that this person who was there with
3 you spoke some English.
4 THE WITNESS: Yes. If I have said so in the statement, that's
5 correct. If the statement says so, yes. I know I was there a lot of
6 hours this day, and I have no contact with commanders. I only talk with
7 one member of the Bobovac Brigade. That's correct.
8 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Witness, I'm aware of that.
9 I listened carefully to what you had to say, and I am surprised to hear
10 that some others didn't know.
11 Your Honours, therefore this witness knew the person -- persons,
12 was in touch with them, and then noticed that suddenly they did not hold
13 these positions any longer. And now he's being shown documents which show
14 that some persons that he used to be in touch with were not there any
15 longer. I don't see that there is any problem with what my counsel is
16 trying to show here.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Let me just add, and I would like
18 to thank my colleague Nozica, one section of his statement which says,
19 "security officer, Duznovic, whose English was very poor, told me that
20 Emil Harah was ill." So this is the link.
21 Q. Witness, now we have established you knew who Zvonko Duznovic was
22 and that for a while he was absent. Let's look at 4D 0028 that we had
23 here a moment ago -- 4D 00528. Did you have any knowledge to the effect
24 that Rajic took steps to relieve of duty Duznovic? 4D 00528.
25 A. Yeah, I can read that.
1 Q. Did you have any knowledge about such an initiative having been
3 A. No, but -- but I know --
4 Q. Very well.
5 A. -- when I talked to him this day before the men came from
6 Kiseljak. What he said, "It was a bad day for them. It was a bad day for
7 the Bobovac Brigade."
8 Q. Mr. Birger, were you aware of the fact that later on some
9 proceedings were initiated against Duznovic investigating all criminal
11 A. I don't know what you mean in this question, no.
12 Q. Very well. If you had any knowledge about it, then I would show
13 you some documents indicating what were the steps that Blaskic took in
14 this regard, but let's move on.
15 Do you know who Ivica Gavran was in Vares?
16 A. Yeah. If I may remember right, he was, so to say, the police
17 commander. I'm not 100 per cent sure, but I think so.
18 Q. According to your information, on the 23rd of October, was he also
19 placed in isolation?
20 A. I don't know. In my opinion, he was -- if he was the man who was
21 the police commander -- I could mix names here. So he was for -- away
22 with the corps and I think it was the 24th of October, from the
23 headquarter, Bobovac Brigade. I tried to talk to him but they don't allow
24 me to do it. They put him in the car and the car was driving on to Tuzla
25 direction, not to Vares.
1 Q. We will not be analysing that. Let us look at another document to
2 see whether you knew what became of the initiative to relieve him of duty.
3 Let's look at document P 09813. That's in my set of documents. We've
4 already seen this document in this courtroom.
5 At this point I should be interested only in the last sentence.
6 First of all, Ivica Rajic is addressing the chief of the police
7 administration in Travnik, Mr. Mladen Tolo, and the last sentence: "For
8 the reasons well known, initiate proceedings for relieving Ivica Gavran of
10 Did you know anything about this initiative to relieve Ivica
11 Gavran from his position in Vares, Witness?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Very well. Did you know Anto Pejcinovic? He was the president of
14 the Vares HVO.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did you know that he was placed in isolation in the afternoon
17 hours of the 23rd of October, 1993?
18 A. I don't know, but I couldn't meet him. He was also one of them I
19 want to talk to but I don't could have any contact with him. I meet him
20 some days later in Dastansko. In November.
21 Q. Did you perhaps see him in the course of October, because he was
22 released on the 25th. Did you perhaps see him in Vares at the time?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Very well. Mr. Birger, I thank you for your answers. Let us move
25 to a different topic now, which in a way picks up from that map shown to
1 you by Mr. Praljak. Let us go through several documents and see if and
2 for how long the BH army was planning offensive activities in Vares. I
3 will also show you documents authored before your arrival in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina in order to sustain whether the later developments --
5 THE WITNESS: Could Madam Alaburic repeat the last part of her
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Let us start with document 4D 00 --
9 JUDGE PRANDLER: The interpreters ask you, Madam Alaburic, to
10 repeat your question.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I haven't come to the question yet.
12 I was explaining the witness what we're about to do.
13 Q. I'm intending to show you documents drafted before your arrival in
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina in order to establish whether the events you're
15 familiar with were consistent with what was observed or planned several
16 months earlier. If you're unfamiliar with these documents, we will be
17 finished with them quite soon.
18 Please look at document 4D 00526. This is a document by the
19 military police intelligence service of the command of the military
20 district of Central Bosnia, dated the 12th of August, 1993.
21 Briefly, the document is interesting in several of its
22 particulars. The third item of the document says: "The road to Kopjari
23 is quite unsafe."
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Perhaps to save time, you have announced,
25 Ms. Alaburic, that you would first ask the witness if he knows the
1 document or not and then ask him about it. Perhaps you could follow that
2 plan you have established.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I didn't say
4 that. I'm not intending to ask the witness whether he knew the document
5 but, rather, whether the later developments taking part -- happening at
6 the time when he was in the area were consistent with the documents that
7 were written earlier. The documents are HVO reports and plans by the BH
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm referring to what you say on, I think it is
10 page 68, the second and third line. "If you're unfamiliar with these
11 documents, we'll be finished with them quite soon." So wouldn't it be
12 consequent if you ask him whether he is familiar so then we know whether
13 you are finished soon with them?
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I intend to ask the
15 witness about some of the contents of the documents, then I have to refer
16 to the contents first. I'm very interested in hearing about the part
17 concerning Stupni Do on the 23rd of October. That part will be very
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay. I was trying to be helpful and to help you
20 save time.
21 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President and Your Honours, we would again ask
22 that a proper foundation be laid, and also perhaps the relevance of any BH
23 army plans concerning what -- what transpired during the month of October
24 and into early November 1993. It's a bit unclear what the basis of asking
25 this witness about documents that are dated several months before he even
1 arrived in theatre, not to mention the relevance of any potential BH army
2 plans in this area.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, you can introduce
4 the document by asking a question. The first line actually allows you to
5 do so.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Yes, absolutely. This has to do
7 with the activities of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but I will tell
8 you why it is that I'm putting these questions.
9 One of the relevant facts in this case is the fact that the
10 military units from -- came from Kiseljak to Vares. Therefore, Vares
11 needed the assistance from other HVO units. I wish to show why this was
12 happening, and I wish to show the extent of the offensive activities of
13 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I also wish to show that the Bobovac
14 Brigade alone could in no way prevent Vares from falling. I also wish to
15 demonstrate that the BH army had systematically been planning offensive
16 activities. And my final question will show that, unfortunately, for the
17 better part of these activities they were successful.
18 Q. Mr. Birger, when you arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina, specifically
19 in the Vares area, did you have any knowledge about the strength of the BH
20 army forces, for instance, in Stupni Do and the inhabited areas around
22 A. I have no information about Stupni Do. If I have any information
23 about Stupni Do, that should be a Muslim village inside Bobovac Brigade
24 area. I immediately sent down soldiers from my company where it was one
25 of the reason I sent soldier up in the Kopjari area to observe down in the
1 village of Mijakovici and Dragovici. I don't have no information about
2 Stupni Do. But first day I heard about Stupni Do was in Bobovac Brigade
3 the morning of 23rd of October.
4 Q. Witness, now you mentioned the villages of Mijakovici and
5 Dragovici. Please look at the third paragraph of this document 4 -- P
6 02526. It says by beginning control over Kopjari the Muslim villages of
7 Mijakovici and Dragovici would have a road connection to Kakanj through
8 the Bukovica canyon?
9 A. That can be correct.
10 Q. Very well. I will not be asking you about the remainder of the
11 document. Let's look at document 4D 00523. 4D 00523. This document was
12 issued by Stjepan Siber, deputy commander of the BH army, on the 21st of
13 August, 1993, and it is addressed to the command of the 3rd Corps.
14 The first sentence reads: "Taking into consideration all the
15 facts laid out in the analysis and --"
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
17 MR. MUNDIS: Your Honour, I hate to interrupt but again our
18 objection goes to the issue of relevance. "What is the relevance of BH
19 army plans with respect to these villages in the municipality of Vares as
20 they relate to the indictment in this case?" We believe that this --
21 there's been evidence that these attacks took place. There's been
22 evidence that puts this into the proper context, but we believe day point
23 that that is irrelevant to the charges that have been -- that have been
24 laid against these accused.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. In fact, Ms. Alaburic, the
1 objection made by the Prosecutor is sound, in fact. We saw the map
2 presented by General Praljak not long ago where we could see that Vares
3 was circled and we saw that this was the result of the offensive of the
4 ABiH army. I understand, but with regard to the relevancy to the
5 indictment and the facts that are -- that exist in the indictment, how can
6 this be useful to your case? I fail to see the relevance.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, some of the BH army
8 documents, including some news reports from the BH media, it might be
9 concluded that there were positions that the fall of Vares came as a
10 result of the HVO attack on Stupni Do. What I wish to demonstrate with
11 this document is that the offensive against Vares had been planned for
12 several months, that the events taking place in and around Vares that this
13 witness referred to were part of a plan that had been systematically
14 implemented over several months. I believe that this is a context which
15 is necessary in order to get the whole picture of the events in Vares,
16 with the exception of the events at Stupni Do, which were not then
17 immediate consequence of the military action. This is one topic that I
18 will not be discussing with the witness at all.
19 Therefore, with this document I wish to prove that the Supreme
20 Command of the armed forces in the month of August 1993, approved the plan
21 of the 3rd Corps for offensive activities in the general area of -- in the
22 broader area of Vares.
23 MR. MUNDIS: With all due respect, Mr. President, that's certainly
24 an explanation for why my learned colleague proposes to proceed in this
25 fashion, but it doesn't, with all due respect, give to the issue of
1 relevance and how this line of questioning has anything to do with the
2 charges in the indictment other than to say it involved ABiH plans for
3 offensive operations in Vares municipality. In what way does that relate
4 to the charges or provide a defence for any of these accused with respect
5 to the events as they eventually unfolded? It is not relevant to the
6 charges in this indictment. It might be quite interesting from a
7 political or military or historical perspective, but it's not relevant to
8 this indictment, and for that reason we object to this line of questioning
9 being allowed to continue.
10 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] This indictment explicitly
11 speaks of the joint criminal enterprise that these six persons, to the
12 with some non-existent and dead people planned to attack the BH army, the
13 unprotected Muslim civilian population, et cetera. The document we are
14 producing or showing and wish to demonstrate that it is exactly the
15 opposite. Despite all the support from Croatia in arms and otherwise, the
16 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina from Konjic to over places conducted systematic
17 attacks -- attacks against the HVO, bringing in crowds of people who were
18 out of control, who could have perpetrated and did perpetrate crimes.
19 It is precisely the basis of this indictment who attacked whom,
20 how, who supported whom, who provided weapons to whom, et cetera. Or
21 shall we return to the individual basis? In Stupni Do, who exactly
22 committed crimes and when, but then, in that case, it would have nothing
23 to do with this group of people and this indictment.
24 MR. MUNDIS: It's -- it's unclear -- it's unclear from what
25 Mr. Praljak has just indicated, but to the extent any of the Defence teams
1 are moving towards some kind of tu quoque defence, that is an improper,
2 impermissible defence for the type of charges that are in this indictment,
3 and if that is what is emerging, then the Prosecution with all due respect
4 would like to be heard on that at greater length at some point in the near
6 The fact of the matter is, the kind of charges in the indictment
7 regarding Vares municipality have little or nothing to do with ABiH plans
8 with respect to attacks on villages in that municipality.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: As I view this, there is in the air an allegation
10 that the HVO engaged in manoeuvres to have the ABiH, as it were, assist
11 them in -- in contrary cleansing, driving Croats out of the Vares area in
12 order to create more Croatic -- Croat regions elsewhere. I think that is
13 part of the indictment in a larger sense, and therefore I quite agree with
14 Mr. Praljak's thing, and I think in that respect the questioning can
15 continue. It's another question whether the witness can say much about
16 that that you will want to see, but otherwise, I would say proceed.
17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Thank you very much. If somebody prepares an offensive for months after
19 expelling 15.000 Kakanj locals --
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Praljak, I have stopped you when you made
21 negative comments on what I said, and I also stop you when you make
22 positive comments. I think you should not comment. We should continue.
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] One more thing, please.
24 There's something that is clear as day in law. One crime cannot justify
25 another, and that is legally obvious. But since the beginning of times we
1 know that, sociologically speaking, one crime gives rise to another. Law
2 does not justify that, but law has never prevented one crime for giving
3 rise to another. Those are two separate things. Legal formulations are
4 one thing, and another thing is the reality that crime triggers crime.
5 Those are two separate things.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Judge Trechsel, very
7 much for this intercession, and maybe after this debate we should take a
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's 25 past. We'll
10 have a 20-minute break.
11 --- Recess taken at 12.34 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 12.55 p.m.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The hearing is
14 resumed. We have 55 minutes left. The Trial Chamber demands that the
15 testimony of this witness is completed today.
16 Ms. Alaburic, you have some time left. You've reviewed a lot of
17 documents. Some of them you still want to reconsider or examine with the
19 I understand that Mr. Mundis has some re-examination, but my
20 fellow Judge also has a question to put to the witness that is in the
21 logical sequence of the questions you've put yourself. So I think it's
22 better if he puts the question now.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I can -- I can -- if you think it is up to --
24 Mr. Birger, I wanted to ask after the 23rd of October, during the
25 time of the 23rd to the 25th of October and the 3rd to 5th of November,
1 you had conversations with interlocutors from the HVO in which the subject
2 of Stupni Do and the reasons for it would come up and whether you have
3 heard opinions on -- and appreciations on what had happened there.
4 THE WITNESS: At first the information I had was the 23rd of
5 October, and they informed me that they had attacked Mir, I mean the 6th
6 Corps, and also they have attacked the village of Stupni Do, belonged to
7 the logistics line and so on.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes. I may have not have quite clear in my
9 question. I am wondering about appreciations, justifications, bad
10 feelings, positive feelings, explanations rather than the sheer
11 information which we have already covered, I think.
12 THE WITNESS: It was different between us. We was very friendly
13 before the 23rd, and this day they don't want to talk to us, and the
14 next -- in the evening they also threaten us, said, "If you don't take the
15 APCs inside and so on we are going to destroy it." So it changed from
16 very friendly contact to be not so friendly, so to say, and what was going
17 on with days in the last of October until they leave Vares area to village
18 of Dastansko.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And were you told anything about -- about Stupni
20 Do, whether it was justified or whether it was a big mistake or --
21 THE WITNESS: Yeah. We -- I tried don't talk so much about it
22 because we had another problem to solve in the city, but we do it, and
23 when my interpreter tell me after when I talk about that, a lot -- some of
24 the officers or soldiers in Bobovac Brigade headquarters was sitting
25 behind me and laughing. And the next time I was there I was waiting
1 for -- for the Kresimir Bozic, this soldier was saying something in
2 Serbo-Croat, and my interpreter translated and said, "Are you here now
3 again to talk about Stupni Do," and they start laughing. I remember that
4 very well because we were so angry - it was me and our interpreter - so we
5 was very, very -- it was very, very close to be fighting to this young
6 man, because we were so angry about they was laughing about what was
7 happening in Stupni Do.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
10 Q. Witness, I wanted to discuss with you Stupni Do and the resulting
11 investigations, but let us first finish the text that we started. We
12 worked through 4D 00523, and then let's finish with it. It will take just
13 five minutes. 4D 00523.
14 So that's a document issued by deputy commander of the BH army,
15 Stjepan Siber, to the command of the 3rd Corps giving his opinion about
16 the plan of offensive operations in the broader area of Vares.
17 In point 1, it says: We agree with your suggestions on launching
18 offensive activities towards Lijesnica feature as well as along the
19 direction of Jezero.
20 Tell me, Mr. Birger, when you were in Bosnia-Herzegovina, did you
21 witness the capture of Lijesnica feature by the BH army?
22 A. No, I don't really remember the name of Lijesnica. I remember
23 Jezero hill because I was up there in the middle of October, and the
24 Borovica I also know about, but nothing about Lijesnica or -- excuse me
25 for the name. I don't remember that name.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think there is probably a misprint probably in
2 the transcript, because the text that you read has the words, "offensive
3 activities with limited objective," and I'm sure you also read this, and
4 that's written in the transcript so perhaps that could be corrected.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note. The counsel didn't really
6 quote. She just gave a brief summary of the paragraph.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I referred only to point 1 in the
8 introductory part -- I didn't read the introductory part at all. In the
9 introductory part we read about offensive operations in the broader area
10 of Vares.
11 Q. Another thing I'm interested in is in point 3. There is a
12 reference to Ilijas -- sorry, Plijes feature. Did you witness the capture
13 of this feature by the army?
14 A. I was in this village in the middle of -- at the beginning of what
15 I was to recognising the area and this day, I don't remember exactly which
16 day it was, there were no soldiers in Miljakovic and Dragovici. I was
17 down in this village with 20 of October. I put soldiers up in Kopjari
18 and, when I give orders, I get down with one APC to these two village, and
19 it was clear different this day, 20 of October. It was a lot of soldiers
20 there and I was more or less not so very welcome there. And what I could
21 understand, they use some path down to Kakanj area.
22 Q. You said you were not welcome. You mean you did not feel that you
23 were really welcome as far as the BH army was concerned?
24 A. No. I think they don't want me to be there. In my opinion, I --
25 I'm a professional officer. I understand very well that they were doing.
1 They was preparing an attack of Kopjari.
2 Q. Very well. Let us look at 4D 00524, dated 18 October 1993. The
3 commander of the 2nd Corps, Hazim Sadic. I will summarise the document
4 which is relatively brief. He says that units of the 3rd Corps, on the
5 17th of October, launched an attack against the positions of Bobovac
6 Brigade in the areas of Lijesnica, Kopjari, and Plijes. I'm skipping a
7 bit now. But before that I want to ask you can you confirm that the BH
8 army did indeed mount an attack on HVO positions on the said features on
9 that day?
10 A. I cannot remember exactly which day, but it was some days before
11 the 21st of October. It was firing some attacks both in -- from Planinica
12 around Kopjari up to Borovica. It was small fighting there and I remember
13 it was some policemen or soldiers from Bobovac Brigade. One or two was
14 killed. Two or three was wounded, and they sent them to the field
15 hospital in 2nd Corps area.
16 Q. Very well. Thank you. Do you know the total strength of the 2nd
17 and the 3rd Corps of the BH army respectively? Do you know that the total
18 strength of these two could have been 40.000?
19 A. I have no idea about how many. Nothing about that at the moment.
20 Q. Generally speaking, in military terminology, what does a corps
21 imply in terms of number?
22 A. Yes. It's about so many. I don't think it is so many, because
23 the strength of a brigade was not normally brigade strength in -- it was
24 more or less a battalion strength, each brigade. It's my opinion about
25 it. But if it was so many soldiers I don't know. I never saw so many
1 soldiers down in different parts in Bosnia.
2 Q. Very well. Mr. Birger, can we now look at some HVO documents and
3 see what the assessments of Vares HVO were, whether they thought they had
4 enough strength to counter the offensive of the BH army. Can we first
5 look at 4D 00522. 522. You have found it?
6 A. 528.
7 Q. We're looking for 522.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. That's also 18 October 1993. If we recall the previous document
10 of the BH army, it was of the same date. Brigade commander of the Bobovac
11 Brigade reports to HVO in Tuzla about an attack against the HVO in Vares
12 area. In item 2 it says, "Lines in the areas of Lijesnica, Kopjari,
13 Plijes, and Jezero were vigorously attacked."
14 Can we confirm that those are the same localities as mentioned
16 A. That's incorrect from -- that's incorrect from what -- in my
17 opinion what's happening in the area at which time.
18 Q. Right. Can you repeat your answer, because the interpreter didn't
19 quite understand you.
20 A. What I mean is in these days in October, we know what they was
21 fighting -- small fighting. It was impact in the village of Borovica,
22 that's correct, in -- actually, mortars. It was also correct that it was
23 fighting in the village of Slavin and also small arm firing in Kopjari.
24 And one day when I was there they also have used -- they, I mean the 3rd
25 Corps, have also used some type of anti-tank 40 or 20-millimetre cannon to
1 firing up on the village. So I think that can be correct what's written
3 Q. In point 5, the commander of the Bobovac Brigade expresses his
4 misgivings that this offensive could be joined by members of the 2nd Corps
5 as well. Did you have any inkling that the 2nd Corps could join in this
6 attack? Just briefly, did you have any such information or not?
7 A. Not in these days, in the 23rd of October, because, as I said
8 before, the forces in -- in 2nd Corps in Olovo and so on, they was
9 friendly to Bobovac Brigade, and they also sent -- Bobovac Brigade also
10 sent wounded soldiers into the field hospital west of Kakanj -- Kladanj.
11 So for me it was no fighting again, the 2nd Corps and the Bobovac Brigade,
12 not now.
13 Q. Very well. Let us look at 4D 00527. Again commander of the
14 Bobovac Brigade, Emil Harah. This time on the 22nd October addresses
15 Ivica Rajic in Kiseljak, and in item it 2 he says the situation is
16 critical because it is impossible to get reinforcements and to communicate
17 up to Kopjari, and it is impossible to have the communication necessary
18 for supply and medical support. "We have injured men," et cetera, et
19 cetera, "and we need assistance in manpower and ammunition."
20 Do you know how many troops Bobovac Brigade had? Well, let me
21 help you. Are you aware that their strength was around 1.500 men?
22 A. I don't know how many men they was, but in my military terms it
23 was very, very little force, little unit up in Kopjari. It was only
24 handful so to say. It was not, in my opinion, enough to defend the area.
25 And I can -- I can also agree what is written here in the point of 1 that
1 the attack came from the village of Dragovici.
2 Q. Very well. Thank you for that. Tell us, Mr. Birger, since you
3 communicated almost daily with the commander of Bobovac Brigade, did
4 anyone tell you during those days that they needed assistance in troops
5 and that they had asked Ivica Rajic for -- for such assistance in manpower
6 and ammunition?
7 A. No, I don't know nothing about that.
8 Q. All right. Let us now look at 4D 00530. It's an interim report
9 from the chief of the Military Intelligence Service of Bobovac Brigade
10 from these services in Vitez and Kiseljak, dated 23rd October, 1993. It
11 says: "This morning an extremely fierce attack began against Kopjari and
12 Borovica villages." It says, furthermore, that the defence of Vares is in
13 a crisis. Experienced men are needed to help out.
14 Can you confirm, Mr. Birger, that indeed on the 21st of October
15 Kopjari and Borovica villages were attacked, and they eventually came
16 under the control of the BH army?
17 A. In my opinion, if I remember right, maybe it was 5.30, 6.00.
18 Early in the morning the attack was started to Kopjari, and they take only
19 some hours for the BH army to take control of Kopjari.
20 I was up in the area just before lunch, what's mean 11.00, between
21 11.00, 12.00, and it was heavy fighting in the wood in that area north of
22 Kopjari. So in that moment, the village was falling, Kopjari was falling.
23 I also remember there was some impact of mortars in the village of
24 Borovica, and also what the HVO tried to shelling the village of Dragovici
25 with mortar, but it was, so to say, impact in -- before the village, north
1 of the village.
2 It was also -- I can say we find two or three HVO soldiers. One
3 of them, I talked to him before I leave, the evening before, the day
4 before. They came with woman and tell me it had been some massacre in the
5 village, and we said, "Okay. Show me the massacre." And I send one of my
6 military policemen and one of my officers to the place, and they come back
7 and report to me they was falling in action. They was hit here falling in
8 his trench and so on. And one of the soldier was wounded, but he have
9 been dead some hour after he was -- they have tried to help him with first
10 aid like this, but he was also dead. Two or three. I think it was three
11 dead HVO soldiers in the village of Kopjari.
12 Q. Can we agree, Mr. Birger, that after the fall of Kopjari village
13 the defence of Vares was really in a critical situation?
14 A. Yes. It was, in my military opinion. If I had some mechanised
15 units they could take the village, but on this, down because the road was
16 more or less opened onto Vares.
17 Q. Right. Let us now look at 4D 00531. Item 4, the last sentence.
18 It's a document generated by Kresimir Bozic, who was then on the command
19 of Bobovac Brigade on the 21st of October, and the last sentence - this is
20 addressed to Ivica Rajic - reads: "It is my personal belief without your
21 presence in our zone of responsibility further developments will not
22 provide for efficient defence of Vares."
23 Can we agree that commanders of Bobovac Brigade then believed
24 there was no way they can defend Vares without outside help?
25 A. Yes. I can understand that. That why they try to have military
2 Q. Very well. On the 23rd of October, the HVO attacks Stupni Do. We
3 saw parts of other documents that describe how Stupni Do was defended.
4 Now please look at 4D 00530. 520, sorry. It's a document issued
5 by Abdulah Ahmic, commander. It's from the 6th Corps. Command of
6 Operative Group east. We can read it. It's relatively short.
7 "In view of the deteriorating situation in the area of
8 responsibility of the Vares Municipal Defence Staff, escalating combat
9 operations, especially in Stupni Do village area, which has been under
10 fierce combined artillery and infantry attacks by the Ustashas since early
11 morning and is entirely surrounded, and in the order to help break the
12 blockade of the village of Stupni Do, I hereby order.
13 "Keep Breza ready to be engaged in combat along the axis of
14 attack, pursuant to Breza commander's decision," et cetera.
15 This document is important to us in trying to answer the
16 question: Did the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina plan to assist its own unit
17 that was defending Stupni Do? Do you have any knowledge about such plans
18 by the BH army?
19 A. No. I have never seen this document before. It is first time.
20 But I know that there was fighting in the area of this morning from the
21 south. That's right.
22 Q. Let's move on to the next document, several days after the 23rd.
23 4D 00525. 525. Yes, it's the correct number.
24 It's an order by the commander of the BH army, Rasim Delic.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. To the commander of the 3rd Corps, it says: "The command of the
2 2nd Corps addressed a request that the 3rd Corps be engaged in executing
3 our orders of the 26th October 1993."
4 I'm skipping all this large bit. Paragraph 1: "Units of the 3rd
5 Corps designated for offensive activities against Ustasha forces of Vares
6 are to be immediately engaged along given routes and linked up with 2nd
7 Corps forces in the area of Kozja Glavica feature."
8 You confirmed, Witness, looking at this map and otherwise that
9 Vares fell in the course of the offensive action mounted by the 2nd and
10 the 3rd Corps jointly; is that correct?
11 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Q. Can we just confirm on the basis of this document that this
13 link-up of the 2 Corps happened as a result of the order of the Supreme
14 Commander of the BH army?
15 A. Yes. It seems to be so, yes.
16 Q. Very well. Look at 4D 00518. It's a document made by commander
17 of the 7th Muslim Brigade, Amir Kubura. Right now I would appreciate it
18 if you could just comment on point 4. "Upon return to base, fighting men
19 should go home, and the next few days should be used for dividing the
21 Could you tell us what could be that booty to be distributed among
22 the men of the 7th Muslim Brigade?
23 A. I know what, they tried looting a lot of when they came into --
24 into Vares. We tried to stop them. We stopped them at the Catholic
25 church. We stopped them at the two stores. I think it was from the UNHCR
1 store and some other help organisations. But what type or what it was
2 they distribute, I don't know.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I ask, Ms. Alaburic, apart from tu quoque,
4 what is the relevance of this?
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours, it was not my
6 intention by any means to justify any possible similar actions by the HVO.
7 I thought instead it was a relevant question because it tells us about the
8 fear on the part of the Croatian population before the on-coming Muslim
9 army and that speaks to the charge in the indictment that Croats
10 fabricated and made up bad conducts on the part of the BH army to
11 stimulate people to leave towards other areas. Otherwise, they were
12 stoking the fears of their own Croat population. But I just -- I'm just
13 saying this so that the witness can know what to expect, where I'm getting
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I seem to have up stood that they had practically
16 all left before the 7th of November.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, but it's -- the
18 question is why they left. Did they leave because the HVO or the civilian
19 authorities of the HVO spread rumours about misdeeds of the Muslim army
20 that were not true in order to stimulate Croats to leave Central Bosnia,
21 including Vares, or was it because of some events that justified the fears
22 of Croat civilians of what might happen when Vares and if Vares is indeed
23 captured by the BH army.
24 Q. Witness, at this moment I'm holding a document that unfortunately
25 I cannot show you, but I can read a part of it to you. It's from
1 Commander Hazim Sadic. Let me remind you, it's the commander of the 2nd
2 Corps. 2nd December, 1993. It says: "From members of NordBat the
3 commander of the 2nd Corps learned that members of the civilian police
4 from Lasta and other units are rounded up and mistreating Croat civilians
5 who remained in Vares. They even take civilians over from NordBat."
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, you didn't include
7 this document. You show it at the last minute. So this is putting us
8 into a difficult situation, because we don't know anything about this
9 document. Furthermore, it's not translated.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I didn't prepare this
11 document for the testimony of this witness, but I used it now simply
12 because the issue was raised as to whether I want to ask this witness
13 about war booty in order to try and level out the conduct on both of the
14 sides, but this is not my intention. I intend to show that the Croatian
15 population from Vares and other areas left out of fear of possible actions
16 from the BH army, and that's why I, in this context, wanted to show this
17 fact. We wanted to show about the conduct of the 7th Muslim Brigade.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I understood. Colonel, I'm
19 going to ask you something because you were there in the area of Vares,
20 end October, beginning of November, and you witnessed the departure of the
21 population, the Croatian population, as they left Vares.
22 Can you tell us why the Croatian population of Vares left? It is
23 a very simple question. Can you answer it?
24 THE WITNESS: Yes, I can. I don't remember exactly which day, but
25 it was the day before HVO leaved Vares by travelling -- by use vehicles
1 with low -- with what -- I couldn't find the word in English, but they use
2 like this. They use loudspeaker to speak out to the people, "You must
3 leave, you must leave, the Muslims are coming," and so on. And what I
4 remember, and it was a lot of people. There was thousand of them down in
5 between Vares and the village of Dastansko, and the last day they hold
6 Vares, the HVO, it was also hundreds of civilians outside the Bobovac
7 headquarter. So in my opinion they be more or less ordered to leave by
8 the HVO.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You said on line 14, "The
10 Muslims are coming." In saying so, did they mean to tell the population
11 there was some danger, that they had to go? How do you interpret the
12 words used through the megaphones?
13 THE WITNESS: It was information I have from my soldier down in --
14 in Vares, and how we have that information directly how it was translated,
15 I don't know. I don't hear it myself. I was this day out in the terrain,
16 but it was -- remember, it was also written down in our reports, so to
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Birger, in your statements you that the HVO, by using a
20 vehicle and loudspeaker, announced that a general mobilisation was carried
21 out in order to mount a defence of Vares; is that right?
22 A. If I had said so in my statement, it's right, yes. I remember
23 also it was some message out that they should mobilise all men. And they
24 have tried to do it with refugees, some weeks before.
25 Q. Mr. Birger, you also testified before this Tribunal in the --
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sorry, I'm looking at the clock.
2 Mr. Mundis, how many minutes do you need for your redirect?
3 MR. MUNDIS: Seven.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Seven minutes.
5 So you have another five minutes.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Birger, you testified in the proceedings against
8 Mr. Hadzihasanovic and Kubura before this Tribunal; is that right? Do you
10 A. Yeah. That's some years ago.
11 Q. Do you recall that the Defence counsel during their
12 cross-examination tried to make you say that the HVO forced Croats out of
13 Vares? Do you recall that on the location they explained to you how every
14 day at the Bobovac Brigade HQ you met with HVO representatives and that
15 this was the reason why you were on good terms with them?
16 A. No. I don't --
17 Q. You don't recall that, do you?
18 A. No. I mean, it was -- I can't remember everything this day. I
19 must go back to -- to what I do -- say in the statement. It's -- it's --
20 what I have said there is what I remember best.
21 Q. Unfortunately, I don't have the transcript with your testimony
22 here, but I'm speaking from memory, and you said in that testimony that
23 one could not say that the HVO forced Croats to leave the Vares area.
24 Hence my question to you: Did you or any of your colleagues see, observe
25 the HVO forcing any Croats to leave Vares?
1 A. No. They only inform them with loudspeakers. I couldn't say that
2 they forced them out, but I understand they was afraid so therefore they
3 escape. But also to add that, not all people leave Vares. There was some
4 Croat people even very often after that attack.
5 Q. I thank you, sir. My time is up. I would have many questions for
6 you but under the time constraints I have to thank you, Mr. Birger.
7 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Re-examination by Mr. Mundis:
9 Q. Lieutenant Colonel Birger, I have a few questions for you and to
10 the best of your recollection let's try to be clear on this, to the best
11 of your recollection on what day did the civilian population, for the most
12 part, leave the town of Vares?
13 A. I couldn't say that exactly, but it was before one or two days,
14 maybe three days before the southern Muslim brigade came into the city.
15 Q. Okay. And on what day, to the best of your recollection, did the
16 Bobovac Brigade withdraw from the town of Vares?
17 A. It was, if I remember right, the morning of the 3rd of November.
18 It was the day before -- it was one day. I mean, they leave that morning.
19 This morning they leave the Bobovac Brigade. It was burning and there was
20 only one or two policemen down in the square of Vares and then everything
21 was empty.
22 Q. And then to the best of your recollection, sir, on what day did
23 the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade of the 3rd Corps of the army of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina enter the town of Vares?
25 A. The next day, if I remember right, the 4th of November.
1 Q. Sir, in response to a question by my colleague Ms. Alaburic as
2 reflected on page 84, lines 20 through 22, she asked you if you could
3 confirm that Vares fell in the course of the offensive action. Can you
4 tell us, sir, how Vares fell in light of what you've just told us?
5 A. The city of Vares was falling. It was an empty town. It was no
6 military there when the 7 Muslim brigade enter the city, and it was also
7 therefore I get down in the city to talk to them and stop them, because
8 they were shooting when they came into the city, and it was not necessary.
9 It was no HVO soldier there.
10 Q. Sir, in response to a question earlier today by my colleague,
11 Mr. Kovacic, page 22, lines 24 through 25, you testified about the
12 difficulties of getting foodstuffs and other support necessary for the
13 civilian population to the town of Vares. Do you remember that?
14 A. Yes, I remember.
15 Q. What steps, if any, did your company take to bring in foodstuffs
16 or other necessary items for the benefit of the civilian population in
17 October 1993?
18 A. In the beginning not so much. Our aim, our task was to -- to
19 support so civilian organisations can use the road up into the Tuzla area
20 from -- from south. What was the most important for us to -- to have this
21 road open, and it was also what we do after this day, so to say, in the
22 whole winter.
23 Q. Lieutenant Colonel Birger, earlier today you were asked a number
24 of questions on cross-examination about local HVO units and organisations,
25 chain of command, command and control, and you told us that overall you
1 found the chains of command were working and existed in the area of Vares.
2 And let me ask you this: During the time of your tour of duty as the
3 company commander of the 8th Mechanised Company of NordBat, did you have
4 access to hundreds or perhaps thousands of internal HVO orders, reports,
5 communication or documents?
6 A. No. I only have some paper of this 23rd and some days, 24th 25,
7 26, we had some papers to the Bobovac Brigade -- from the Bobovac Brigade,
8 but nothing about this level of HVO what we have seen here today.
9 Q. And, sir, at the time, that is in late 1993 and into early 1994
10 during the time you were deployed, would your ability to make conclusions
11 about the HVO military organisation and command and control structures?
12 Would that have been different, had you had access to such documentation
13 of the HVO?
14 A. No. I have no documentation from the HVO about this control
15 and -- command and control structure. I only know later in November when
16 I meet Emil Harah again, and even in the spring 1994 when I went home, in
17 my opinion he was back as brigade commander for the little unit in
19 Q. And, sir, based upon your experience as a professional career
20 military soldier, what evidence did you observe in October 1993 concerning
21 any units that might have been out of control, any HVO units that might
22 have been out of control?
23 A. Yes. I mean, if I have -- it could be some type of -- I mean,
24 they have control. They change the command, and in my opinion, when you
25 command of a brigade have control over the units, HVO units inside Vares
2 Q. Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel Birger.
3 MR. MUNDIS: The Prosecution has no further questions.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, thank you very much.
5 Colonel, thank you for coming to testify on behalf of the
7 Mr. Usher, can you please take the witness out.
8 [The witness withdrew]
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I am now going to give the floor
10 to the -- to Mr. Registrar for an IC number.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you very much, Your Honours. OTP and 3D
12 have submitted list of documents to be tendered through Witness Patrick
13 van der Weijden. The OTP list shall be given Exhibit number IC 511, while
14 the 3D list shall be given Exhibit number IC 512. Thank you very much.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. As for tomorrow and
16 the day after tomorrow, we have one witness left. If we have any time
17 available, we shall give the possibility to the accused to speak to the
18 question raised by Mr. Karnavas.
19 As you know, Defence counsel could express their opinions last
20 week, and we therefore decided to give you some time. I hope we will have
21 the time. And since the counsel had one hour, you, too, among yourselves
22 will have an hour to convey to us your opinions. So spread the time among
23 yourselves or else appoint somebody who is going to be your spokesperson.
24 Do as you please. You'll have one hour.
25 And I think it should be possible, because I also believe that
1 Mr. Mundis wants to say something about the planning or the scheduling for
3 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. I would imagine that based
4 upon any submissions made by any of the accused the Prosecution very well
5 may have some issues to say about that as well, and we'll deal with that
6 as it arises, time pending.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. So if things go well, we
8 could have the testimony of the witness tomorrow and then we'll have
9 plenty of time to listen to the accused, to give you the floor.
10 The time has come to finish. The hearing stands adjourned. We
11 shall resume tomorrow at 9.00.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.
13 To be reconvened on Wednesday, the 28th day
14 of March, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.