1 Wednesday, 30 May 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
7 everyone. This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et
8 al. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Today is
10 Wednesday, and I'd like to greet everyone here in the courtroom, the
11 Prosecution, the Defence and the accused, as well as all of you assisting
12 us here in this courtroom.
13 I believe that Mr. Scott wants to take the floor, but before I
14 give him the opportunity to speak, I'd like to remind you that the
15 Prosecution filed a motion for -- to add four exhibits to the 65 ter list,
16 and that's in relation to Witness Bo Pellnas. The Defence is expected to
17 respond to the motion filed by the Prosecution, and because this is quite
18 urgent since we are expecting this witness next week, the Trial Chamber
19 has decided to set as tomorrow, 2.00 p.m., the deadline for the Defence to
20 respond. If at 2.00 p.m. we have not received any responses from the
21 Defence, we'll issue our decision. That will be very quickly filed,
22 officially filed, with the registry.
23 Let's now talk about the time remaining for the witness today. A
24 number of calculations have been made, and it appears that the Defence has
25 one hour and 42 minutes left, and -- including one hour for Mr. Praljak,
1 and 25 minutes for the Defence of Mr. Petkovic.
2 I understand that Mr. Scott wanted to take the floor.
3 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour, Mr. President, and to the
4 other Judges, Judge Trechsel, Judge Prandler, good afternoon, and to all
5 those in the courtroom.
6 I wanted to raise a topic and I felt based on the way that the
7 time has progressed yesterday and given the estimates that the president
8 just indicated, that time wouldn't be such a pressing issue today. It's
9 always seemingly an issue of some sort but perhaps we have a bit more time
10 today than we often have. And before we continue with this witness,
11 Your Honour, I wanted to address a couple of points, two separate points.
12 The first is this, and it may impact the remainder of the
13 examination of this witness, which is another reason I want to raise it
15 It seems to the Prosecution that recently again, and including
16 much of yesterday, that a great deal of Defence time in cross-examination
17 time is being devoted to what the Prosecution submits is essentially tu
18 quoque. The Muslims did this. There were these atrocities at Uzdol,
19 there were these atrocities at Doljani. There were all these -- that sort
20 of thing.
21 Now, let me put my comments very clearly in context and what the
22 Prosecution's position is in this case so that it's not misunderstood.
23 Your Honour, I personally, as long ago as the opening statement
24 in this case, if anyone can remember back in April, at the end of April
25 2006, said the Prosecution does not dispute, has never disputed, and will
1 not dispute that in this terrible war that we've all come to know a bit
2 about there were bad actors on every side; Croat, Muslim, and Serb. And
3 there were victims on every side; Croat, Muslim, and Serb. And as a
4 personal statement, my heart and my sympathy, and I'm sure the Prosecution
5 teams and I'm sure many on the Defence, if not all the Defence, goes out
6 to the victims on all sides. The Croat victims, Muslim victims, Serb
8 Indeed I would go further and just say, and again for the record
9 and to put my comments in context, there's only, with all respect, one
10 organisation in the courtroom that investigates, charges, and prosecutes
11 crimes within the jurisdiction of this Tribunal committed or allegedly,
12 let me say allegedly, to be a good lawyer, by Muslims, and that is the
13 Office of the Prosecutor, and indeed, if I can say, our own, our very own
14 Mr. Mundis is about to lead the Prosecution in the Delic case, an alleged
15 Muslim perpetrator. We are well aware and have never disputed that crimes
16 and atrocities and terrible things were committed by Muslims in this
17 horrible conflict and that there were Croat victims in this horrible
18 conflict. None of that is disputed. It will not be disputed.
19 Now, having said all that, much of what's been put to witnesses,
20 much of the time that's been spent on these matters is completely
21 irrelevant as a defence. A long time ago it was clearly established that
22 tu quoque is not a defence, and in the wisdom of international law one
23 party cannot say, it's okay if we did it because the other side did it
24 too. They all did it, and, for that matter, a pox on all their houses,
25 Croat, Muslim, or Serb. It is not a defence or relevant to any issue
1 unless something -- something very specific is articulated that provides a
2 basis or justification for it.
3 And I did go back last night, and I literally mean last night, and
4 pulled out the Chamber's order on the 27th of September, 2006,
5 titled, "Order to admit Defence exhibit -- Defence evidence -" excuse me -
6 "relevant to Christopher Beese," and in that ruling the Trial Chamber
7 very specifically set out the law for this case, the rules to be followed
8 in this case, the Prlic case, on tu quoque, and at page 3, for instance,
9 the Chamber said, "The Chamber recalls established Tribunal jurisprudence
10 where the principle of tu quoque does not apply to international
11 humanitarian law and the obligations generated by this body of law have
12 been designed to safeguard fundamental human values and therefore must be
13 complied with regardless of the conduct of the other party or parties."
14 The Chamber went on to say: "Considering that the documents
15 related -- relating to the atrocities committed against the Croats of
16 Bosnia would only be admitted if they intend to disprove any of the
17 allegations made in the indictment; considering that unless the Defence
18 shows to the Chamber how these documents tend to disprove any of the
19 allegations made in the indictment and thus have a degree of relevance to
20 the case, the Chamber will not admit it into the case; considering that
21 for the remainder of the trial if the Defence moves for the admission
22 through a witness," and I would submit this goes to also not just exhibits
23 but to cross-examination or examination of a witness, "of a document
24 relating to such -- to the atrocities committed against Croatian civilians
25 in Bosnia, the Chamber shall request that the counsels for the Defence
1 explain each time and before presenting such a document to the witness the
2 reason for presenting it to the witness." That is, why is it relevant?
3 Why are we going to spend precious court time on a question or an exhibit
4 unless there is some showing of relevance to the issues in the case?
5 And finally in the same 27 September 2006 order, the last full
6 paragraph the Chamber in its ruling says: "Request that in future the
7 counsels for the Defence explain in advance that the relevance for this
8 case of questions put to a witness," let me repeat that, "in the case of
9 questions put to a witness and the documents aimed at proving that
10 atrocities were committed against the Croats in Bosnia," a basis for that.
11 And, Your Honour, again crimes were committed by Muslims in
12 Bosnia. Terrible things happened, and we can all condemn that. I condemn
13 that. But the Chamber has ruled quite properly following Tribunal law as
14 to tu quoque, and the Prosecution is concerned that we're spending an
15 increasing amount of courtroom time on issues that are not relevant to the
16 case, that are not defences to this case. And while I can understand that
17 someone says the other side did it too so that's okay, that is not, that
18 is not the law.
19 And I would also before I go on to a separate topic, Your Honour,
20 I would also say although it's not my function or job to assist is the
21 Defence, of course, nor theirs to assist me, I'm not sure it's really
22 helpful to establish in the courtroom that everyone was doing it, because
23 if everyone was doing it, then I submit, I suggest that that makes it all
24 the more likely that the HVO was doing it too, because "everyone was doing
1 So that's my submission, Your Honour, on the tu quoque issue, and
2 I would appreciate the Chamber's further guidance on that.
3 Much more briefly, I need to turn to the Court's -- come back, as
4 we mentioned yesterday, the Court's ruling on the exclusion of the
5 witness -- excuse me, the evidence of this witness, Gerritsen, on the
6 bridge, that there was some confusion about yesterday. I need,
7 Your Honour, to understand further the Chamber's ruling or rationale for
8 that. I have to, of course on an ongoing basis, decide how to present the
9 Prosecution case and what procedures and tools are available to do that
10 and whether it's viva voce evidence or 92 ter or whatever else the
11 applicable rule or procedure may be, I have to direct the Prosecution team
12 to make the best use of its time and the available tools, and it was
13 not -- it is not clear to me from anything that was said yesterday, with
14 all great respect, of what the nature of the ruling was. If -- was it
15 because the witness was called as a 92 ter witness? I don't know. If
16 that was the basis, Your Honour, then we need to know that, because then
17 that suggests that the Prosecution cannot effectively use the 92 ter rule
18 if there's going to be anything, any additional evidence outside the
20 Now, that may be the Chamber's ruling, but I'd like to be very
21 clear that is the Chamber's ruling. If the Chamber's ruling was based on
22 something else, I'm asking, I'm simply inviting the Chamber to give the
23 Prosecution, and for that matter all the parties, additional guidance on
24 to the basis of its ruling so that we can guide our conduct and future
25 presentation accordingly. Thank you.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: Good afternoon, Mr. President; good afternoon,
2 Your Honours. I would like to briefly respond to the Prosecution's
3 allegations that the Defence is engaged in a everyone-did-it defence or a
4 tu quoque defence specifically in relevance to or relation to the
5 testimony elicited on cross-examination from the gentleman yesterday.
6 I can -- I'll speak for myself. Others, if they want to pipe up,
7 they can do so, but yesterday, the topics that were raised had to do with
8 reverse ethnic cleansing. It had to do with the manipulation of media and
9 how the international organisations were being manipulated, and of course
10 that's relevant because we seem to be accepting wholesale documents from
11 the international organisations, and I dare say that it's usually the case
12 that if it comes from the UN, this being a UN institution, somehow it has
13 a certain cachet value, and I dare say as the case is progressing and the
14 more I'm involved in these sorts of cases I'm coming to recognise that
15 anything coming out of the UN must be looked at with great scrutiny and
16 not simply be accepted.
17 Another issue that was raised was the -- the holding of hostages,
18 in a sense, of the Muslim population, civilian population, by the Muslim
19 army itself. That was important, as well as the so-called perception that
20 the ABiH -- the Sarajevo government was actually for a -- a unified
21 country and was the legitimate government when, in fact, what we see is
22 they are inviting Croats to stay in certain areas in essence so they can
23 hold them hostage or use them for -- in order to take humanitarian aid and
24 sell it.
25 The other issue was Uzdol. Now, Uzdol was important, in my
1 opinion, because we heard a witness, we heard a witness that -- in
2 rebuttal. The Prosecution wanted to explain to us that this gentleman
3 could not possibly be one-sided, biased, or what have you, because after
4 all he had been working for this organisation and had devoted his time to
5 it. But he told us that, when he went to Uzdol, then what happened and
6 how he was treated and how the Croats, and I underscore that because in my
7 opinion that gentleman was biased against the Croats or
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, how they were uncaring, how they were unwilling to
9 assist him because they wouldn't show him anything, and yet we see that
10 this gentleman here went to Uzdol two days before, invited by the mayor,
11 the same person who invited the other gentleman, invited a female
12 journalist and was provided access to get all the information. Now, does
13 that go to the credibility of the witness? Obviously.
14 Everything that was raised by this particular Defence had nothing
15 to do with tu quoque. It goes to credibility.
16 Now, let me speak about credibility for one second. Yesterday
17 there was an objection raised by Judge Trechsel regarding going beyond the
18 scope of a direct examination. I understand the ruling, and the ruling is
19 based on federal Rules of Evidence 611. Now, in that case, under rule
20 611, if you look at it, it will say also that you can go beyond the scope
21 of direct examination if it goes to credibility. So areas that I was
22 going into, on the one hand, I believed were within the scope, and if they
23 were slightly outside the scope, we're dealing with issues of credibility.
24 So if it's either this witness or other witnesses.
25 Nonetheless, I took His Honour's objection to -- to my asking
1 certain questions that appeared to be outside the scope. I didn't think
2 it was, but nonetheless, I asked open-ended questions in conformity with
3 the ruling. And as I noted to Judge Trechsel, sometimes you do have to
4 ask a leading question at least to point the witness to what it is that
5 you want to ask and then elicit questions by open-ended method. But
6 Federal Rule of Evidence 611, which is what I understand this whole notion
7 is based on, this new ruling, because at least that's what the -- when it
8 first came up, it came up that there was a particular rule of evidence in
9 the United States. It happens to be 611, so I raise that.
10 But let me reiterate. There was nothing in the cross-examination
11 that went to a everybody's-doing-it defence or to a tu quoque defence, and
12 I don't think that my colleague in the Stojic Defence did that as well,
13 and they can speak for themselves, but I didn't hear anything of that
15 With respect to the second issue that was raised by the
16 Prosecution, I'm glad that they raised it. I've raised it before. I'll
17 raise it again in a slightly different flavour.
18 I'm concerned, I am concerned that the Trial Chamber has
19 announced, having looked at the Prosecution's list, redacted list, revised
20 list, I'm concerned that the Trial Chamber's announcement that they would
21 perhaps be calling some of the Prosecution witnesses if the Prosecution
22 didn't call them. Now, if the Trial Chamber does not give the Prosecution
23 sufficient time to put on certain witnesses they believe are central to
24 their case, then obviously they have to make certain choices. They do
25 that with documents. They do that with their cross-examination -- their
1 direct examination. They will do that with their witnesses. That's what
2 any prudent lawyer would do whether they're on the Prosecution or on the
3 Defence side.
4 What I am concerned, however, is that the Trial Chamber has
5 already predetermined that certain witnesses are essential and that if the
6 Prosecution doesn't call them, then in essence what will happen is the
7 Trial Chamber will be conducting a rebuttal of the Prosecution's case
8 immediately after the taking of the evidence of the Defence, assuming
9 there are defence cases.
10 So I also think we need some guidance here, and I think that
11 rather than take that approach, I think that the better approach would be
12 perhaps to reconsider and have the Prosecution take another look, provided
13 that the Judges are willing to -- to express and give confidence to the
14 Prosecution how much additional time they may have beyond the redacted 107
15 hours that was decided earlier.
16 So that was -- that's my response to the Prosecution's second
17 issue. It's not quite on point, but it's related to the same thing, that
18 both of us -- both sides need to have more confidence in how much time we
19 will have, and I certainly am raising it now. I will be raising it again.
20 But I find it troublesome that the Trial Chamber is already -- has already
21 made a determination that it needs to hear Prosecution witnesses and in
22 essence the -- while it is not giving time to the Prosecution to put on
23 its case it will be acting as if it were a Prosecutor in conducting a
24 rebuttal. That's the impression that we get on this side. I know it's --
25 may not be the intention, but that's what -- that's the impression that we
1 have on this side. And I don't think that's -- that would be appropriate.
2 It's one thing if the Prosecution were to decide not to call a particular
3 witness because they chose not to do so, but when they're unable to call
4 witnesses because they're not provided the time by the Trial Chamber, then
5 I think we're robbing Peter to pay Paul. We're taking time from them, but
6 then we're going to give their time to the Prosecution after the Defence
7 case, and after the Defence has precluded them. And if we look at the
8 Rules of this Tribunal with respect to rebuttal evidence, which is a
9 correct approach, it deviates from the approach that we take in the United
10 States, for instance, where the Prosecution can withhold vital
11 information, can -- or vital witnesses or evidence and use it on rebuttal.
12 Here, rebuttal is strictly rebuttal. It is not to bolster a case. So --
13 and I think that calling witnesses afterwards by the Trial Chamber would
14 be for the purposes of bolstering the Prosecution case. And while the
15 Prosecution stood up and indicated that they felt that at least the Bench
16 or one member of the Bench maybe leaning one way or the other, we think,
17 at least I think, the Prlic Defence team thinks that this approach would
18 give a clear signal that perhaps it is unintended by the ruling.
19 So therefore, I would suggest that -- that if you feel that there
20 is a need for certain witnesses, to give the time to the Prosecution to
21 call those witnesses. Let them call. So then we can decide what case
22 we're going to put on to rebut that case it puts us in a better position.
23 We're not saying we shouldn't hear from them, but let's hear from them as
24 part of the Prosecution case. So then we can determine how we're going to
25 structure our own cases. And also, it goes to the period of time that we
1 will need to decide how many witnesses we will be putting on, if any.
2 Thank you.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I shall not answer all you've said, Mr. Karnavas,
4 but I must to set straight a misunderstanding which apparently already
5 occurred yesterday. I refer you to line 100 -- to page 100, line 19 of
6 yesterday's transcript, and I quote myself. I said: "I'm not saying you
7 can't ask him what you're asking him." I did not object to the substance
8 of the questions. I just objected to the form. And there I did not refer
9 to any foreign, including American, law, but I refer to paragraph 13 of a
10 decision taken by this Chamber on the 10th of May of this year. I wanted
11 to set this straight.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: And I totally understood. And I wasn't saying that
13 you were preventing me from going into an area. With respect to federal
14 rule 611, it is my understanding from previous occasions, what I've heard
15 from the Trial Bench, that the recent ruling is in part based on that rule
16 of evidence, which -- obviously the Trial Chamber is free to look at
17 various foreign jurisdictions. So that was my -- and then I just wanted
18 to give some guidance as far as my understanding, and that's why I felt
19 that even if it's -- if I'm asking questions that go beyond the scope but
20 deal with credibility, the form of the question can still be leading under
21 federal rule 611. And my -- and what I believed I was doing was going
22 into areas of credibility. But at the end of the day, I take the point.
23 I understand the ruling, and feel free to correct me if you think I've
24 strayed and have gone off the reservation, pull me back in. I don't have
25 a problem.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Just a very small point. I would not say "based
2 on," but inspired by Rule 6 [Microphone not activated].
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. Okay. There you go. I think we understand
4 each other totally. Thank you.
5 MR. MURPHY: Good afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours.
6 First of all, in response to Mr. Scott's point about tu quoque, I
7 think he misses an important distinction. The -- the Prosecution, I
8 think, would like the Trial Chamber to look at this case in a vacuum or in
9 a -- in a very black and white way, to say that we can focus only on acts
10 which were committed, or apparently committed, by members of the HVO and
11 to ignore the context in which the conflict was taking place, and that's
12 really a very -- with all respect to my good friend, Mr. Scott, a very
13 naive way to look at the case, because this is a very complex situation.
14 The Prosecution's allegations are not confined to a series of
15 individual crimes committed by one side or the other; in this case, the
16 Bosnian Croats. The Prosecution's allegation is that there was a
17 wide-ranging joint criminal enterprise which, if I understand it, involves
18 nothing less than effectively the annexation by the Bosnian Croats or the
19 attempted annexation of a significant portion of the territory of Bosnia
20 and Herzegovina with the ultimate aim of ethnically cleansing that
21 territory and perhaps even causing it to be joined in some manner with
22 Republic of Croatia in due course. That's -- that's the scope of this
23 case. And against that, we must be free to invite the Trial Chamber to
24 look at what the HVO was facing, what the government, as it were, of
25 Herceg-Bosna was facing, what the military situation was, what the
1 political situation was.
2 And just to focus on one or two examples, that -- not to repeat
3 what Mr. Karnavas said, but when you're looking at an allegation of
4 reverse ethnic cleansing or an alleged plan to -- to -- for the Bosnian
5 Croats to remove their own population from A to B in pursuance of
6 redesigning the ethnicity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Trial Chamber
7 is then suddenly confronted with the fact of military activity on the part
8 of the ABiH which completely explains the movement of population, but
9 incidentally involves the commission of what may be crimes by individual
10 members of the armija. That's something that we have to look at. It's
11 not to do with tu quoque. Nobody's saying, at least Stojic Defence is
12 certainly not saying that if one side did it, it's all right for the other
13 side to do it. What we're saying is that you have to look at this
14 situation holistically. You have to put yourself in the position of those
15 accused and say, what was the situation they were facing here? Because
16 this case is not about individual perpetrators. We're not -- we're not
17 doing the Tuta and Stela case here. We're doing -- none of these men went
18 out and personally committed crimes. The issue here is one of political
19 and military leaders, and you have to understand the whole situation.
20 Now, there may be individual circumstances where the Trial Chamber
21 says well, perhaps we didn't need to go into that. Perhaps that was
22 something that we really didn't need to hear. And we're doing our best to
23 make our case relevant in terms of what we present, as does the
24 Prosecution. Both sides from time to time may stray from the path of what
25 is strictly relevant and we hope that the Trial Chamber will bring that to
1 our attention, but we do try to present you with a case that is relevant
2 and presents the whole picture.
3 A good example yesterday when my colleague, Ms. Nozica, was
4 cross-examining and she crew the witnesses attention to a Prosecution
5 exhibit 9629. It drew an objection. Why are we going into Bugojno? Why
6 are we looking at this? And as Ms. Nozica pointed out, events were going
7 on in Bugojno at the same time they were going on in Prozor. These were
8 not isolated events taking place on two different continents. They were
9 going on a very short distance apart and they were interconnected, and
10 that's what Ms. Nozica was trying to -- to bring out.
11 I don't have any response. I'm sure Mr. Kovacic will want to
12 address the issue of bridges so I won't get into that. I -- Somehow we
13 got into the question of rebuttal and the Prosecution calling witnesses,
14 or the Trial Chamber. I'm not sure how we got into that, but we since we
15 have got into it, let me just make one point, which is that the position
16 that I will be asking the Trial Chamber to take in due course is this:
17 Under Rule 98 bis, when this comes time for motions for judgements of
18 acquittal, that Rule stipulates that these motions shall be heard and
19 determined at the close of the Prosecutor's case, and it will be the
20 submission of the Stojic Defence that that means when the Prosecution
21 closes its case and not when additional witnesses may be called by the
22 Trial Chamber. We submit that it's the obligation of the Prosecution to
23 present their case fully within the time allotted because this is an
24 adversarial proceeding.
25 Your Honour, I don't want to take any more time. If there are
1 specific questions, of course, I would be glad to answer them.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wish to say that I
4 support everything my colleagues have said, so I will be very brief. I
5 especially wish to support the points made by Mr. Murphy. I do allow that
6 it may appear sometimes to the Prosecutor that the Defence is using tu
7 quoque, but this is not the case, quite evidently. I think it is quite
8 clear to Your Honours that these six Defence teams, at least the Defence
9 team of General Praljak, fully agree with what my colleague has said and
10 what Your Honours wrote in the decision you handed down. Tu quoque cannot
11 be an acceptable defence, and there is no need to discuss that.
12 My colleague, Mr. Murphy, gave two or three examples. Since
13 superficially our defence case may appear to be tu quoque unless one goes
14 into the whole history of this case. I especially support something my
15 colleague has said which I myself was going to say. These proceedings
16 relating to the events mentioned in the indictment refer to events which
17 happened not in a vacuum but in a certain context. The conclusions that
18 Your Honours will one day have to reach about legally relevant facts
19 should be drawn from the context of certain events. If we wish to reach
20 realistic conclusions, we cannot view the context in the way that is often
21 applied in this Tribunal. In one case there's an accused belonging to one
22 of the armies participating in the conflict. In another case there is
23 another. We cannot avoid pointing to the actual situation as it was on
24 the ground.
25 I will add something else to what my colleague has said. Bearing
1 in mind that a joint criminal enterprise is alleged to have existed, it is
2 alleged that there was a certain plan and certain conclusions are drawn
3 from this. Some actions are seen as stemming from that plan, and our
4 defence wishes to demonstrate that there was no such plan, no such
5 enterprise. So when we are pointing to the broader context of events,
6 this is to show that the decisions made by certain people within the HZ HB
7 or the HV or O were a consequence of certain events. They were responses
8 to certain events that took place. Once side did one thing. Another side
9 is trying to solve the problem that arose for them. That is not tu
10 quoque. It's real life, and we are trying to draw from real life the
11 relevant conclusions concerning the culpability of the accused. But when
12 we know what the events are, then we can judge about the mens rea.
13 Another example which I think is perhaps quite self-evident is a
14 situation in which there was a murder or looting in a village. For
15 example, burning, looting, murders in a village. All the events in that
16 village take place in a certain time, in a certain context. If there was
17 fighting in that village we have to first show that there was another
18 armed side there; secondly, that there was a war on, and then, only then,
19 can we conclude whether a civilian who might have been killed was
20 collateral damage or whether there was a plan to kill those civilians.
21 So is it tu quoque if the Defence is trying to prove that there
22 was a certain military unit in a certain village, that there was fighting
23 going on or, for instance, that the areas of Jablanica and Mostar were
24 interlinked as regards the war events? Because if we don't know that, we
25 will not be able to reach conclusions about the relevant facts.
1 Another reason why we sometimes enter into these matters which are
2 erroneously seen as tu quoque is also the credibility of certain
3 witnesses, to check how familiar the witnesses were with the situation, to
4 check how objective the witnesses were, how impartial they were, since we
5 have had witnesses here who simply did not see certain events, but they
6 saw others that the Prosecutor is interested in. I won't go further into
7 that area.
8 Furthermore, as regards my learned friend's objection, I think
9 that the issue of the bridge which was later introduced into the statement
10 of the witness, I think that question is closed with Your Honour's ruling
11 of yesterday. I only wish to tell Your Honours that we have eliminated
12 from our planned cross-examination anything that refers to that point
13 because we feel in view of Your Honour's ruling that this is justified and
14 that we need not go into it further with this witness.
15 Thank you, Your Honours.
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you for giving
17 me leave to speak. I will not repeat what my colleagues have said,
18 especially Mr. Murphy. I fully agree with what they have said. I only
19 wish to say the following: If, on behalf of the OTP, my learned friend,
20 Mr. Scott, is saying that there is no doubt that members of the army of
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina committed crimes, it would be very important for us
22 in our case if Mr. Scott were to confirm that he does not deny that among
23 the Croatian population on the territory which came under the control of
24 the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina due to the offensive actions of that
25 army, there was justified fear and that those who left those areas left
1 because of this justified fear. In that case, the Defence will have no
2 questions about the events in Bugojno or any other place which came under
3 the control of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Until the Prosecutor
4 states this, we feel duty-bound to prove that Croats did not leave for
5 no reason, of their own free will, but that they left out of fear and
6 that their fear was justified, that their departure was for a justified
8 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I don't wish to add
9 anything. I just wish to say on behalf of the Coric Defence that we agree
10 with everything said so far and that we also join in what has been said.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott.
12 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour. One minute. I'm not going to
13 belabour any of the things as said. I know everyone's anxious to get on
14 with the evidence but two very quick responses. I understand -- I mean,
15 to be intellectually honest and fair, I understand the issue of context.
16 Let me just say, there is context and then there is context, and everyone
17 knows that it can become so large and so broad as the exception swallows
18 the rule or to say, at least a saying in the English language, and I'm
19 sure there must be equivalents in French and German and Hungarian and all
20 the other languages in the courtroom, the exception becomes so large that
21 you could drive a truck through it. That's what we say where I came --
22 or at least where come from. And, yes, there is context, but there have
23 to be limitations on -- on that concept somewhere, number one.
24 Number two, I'm afraid that the question about the bridge may have
25 somewhat become more lost in some of the broader points and discussions
1 that were being made, including by Mr. Karnavas, on some other topics that
2 indeed are important topics but not the ones that the Prosecution raised
3 this afternoon. I'm not trying to -- please do not think that I'm trying
4 to reargue at this point the Chamber's ruling. I'm simply asking to know
5 about the nature of the ruling itself so that we can guide our conduct in
6 the future.
7 Let me make it very specific. If the Chamber's ruling were to be
8 that the Prosecution was not allowed to ask questions about the bridge
9 because it was outside the statement and because the witness was caused --
10 called as a 92 ter witness, that will affect the way that we call
11 witnesses in the future, because what the Chamber has said, with the
12 greatest respect, is if the Prosecution had called this witness as a viva
13 voce witness, that evidence would have been allowed. Therefore, we should
14 have called him as a viva voce witness, but in the other -- but if there
15 is some other ruling, Your Honour, then we would invite the Chamber to at
16 least grant both us and the parties more guidance on this point, because
17 we have to call other witnesses in the future, and again, Your Honour, we
18 think that the mixed -- what the Prosecution has called a mixed use of the
19 Rule is a process that makes sense, that's been followed in other cases
20 where certain evidence of a witness is tendered in writing by the
21 statement under 92 ter, and there maybe certain additional or different
22 evidence by the same witness that is presented viva voce. That seems to
23 us like a straightforward concept, but I fear that perhaps we seem not to
24 come to agreement.
25 Thank you.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. First, let's talk
2 about the bridge. I am under the impression that it's a storm in a
3 teacup. The problem was the following: The witness was called to be
4 questioned regarding a statement that he had given to the Prosecutor on
5 the 25th of April and on the 7th of May, 2002. That statement is a
6 summary under Rule 65 ter was disclosed to the Defence. In that
7 statement, at no time the witness talks about the destruction of the Old
8 Bridge. So he did not talk about it.
9 So the general rule is that when a witness is called here, he is
10 questioned on his written statement and not on other elements that do
11 not -- that are not comprised in the written statement.
12 So that was the first point.
13 The Chamber noticed, furthermore, that that witness, on the 9th of
14 November, was not in Mostar. Therefore, why put questions to him about
15 the Old Bridge, whereas that person was not present while the Old
16 Bridge -- when the Old Bridge was destroyed?
17 So for legal reasons and for practical reasons, we deemed that it
18 was not adequate to put questions to that witness on those points,
19 notwithstanding 92 ter, the 92 ter procedure.
20 I also thought that, aside from 92 ter and that procedure, you
21 wanted to introduce the additional element the Old Bridge, and this is why
22 the Defence opposed to this new introduction. The Chamber limited the
23 questioning, whether it be viva voce or 92 ter, to the written statement.
24 You are worried about the future. There is no problem for the
25 future. In the future, if there is some points that you would like to
1 raise, you may raise those points according to the statement of the
2 witnesses, but we don't have to call a witness to put question to the
3 witness on a topic that was not raised during the proofing session and
4 during -- and in his written statement. So that was that first point.
5 So please rest assured that there are no problems here, and you do
6 not have to worry for the future.
7 It is obviously clear that if this witness had come or seemed to
8 be a very important witness because he was, let's say, an eyewitness to
9 the destruction of the Old Bridge, the Judges would have asked him the
10 questions. As it already happened when you have witnesses who are called
11 to the bar, we can deem it necessary to ask a question, to put a question
12 to the witness, but it was not the case in this particular case.
13 So please rest assured there are absolutely no problems with
14 regard to the decision that we've rendered.
15 The second point, the second issue, the issue of the tu quoque.
16 In fact what you said is -- makes perfect sense, but what Mr. Murphy said
17 is also important. There are some events that took place in time, and
18 some events can only be understood if one understands what happened
20 As an example, if, for instance, does an influx of refugees in
21 Prozor, why was there an influx of refugees? Maybe this happened because
22 in Bugojno there was a BiH offensive which made it so that the population
23 was moving. So in order to understand this particular example, you have
24 to go understand why the -- why this happened.
25 Sometimes the Defence may waste time, and this can be very quickly
1 explained to the Chamber by putting one or two questions to the witness,
2 but I also noticed that sometimes we waste time in order to try to explain
3 an event that would be very easy to explain by putting one or two
4 questions rather than spending hours on trying to explain things by
5 putting all sorts of questions that are not targeted questions. So it is
6 very easy to put a targeted question and say whatever happened in village
7 A was a consequence of what happened in village B.
8 So -- and let me go back to what Mr. Karnavas said. I was mostly
9 struck by what -- this particular topic, the question of the witnesses who
10 are called by the Court.
11 Mr. Karnavas said that the Chamber is bringing Prosecution
12 witnesses. That is not our opinion. The Chamber would call witnesses who
13 would come here because of the interest of justice, to understand what
14 happened. Similarly, when the Defence will present the list of their
15 witnesses, if it seems that on that list there are important witnesses
16 that the Defence does not wish to call or removes at the last minute, we
17 will say why. Why? Well, because this witness seems to be important to
19 Do not forget that the Trial Chamber has the responsibility to
20 render a judgement. This judgement has to be motivated. The Chamber does
21 not have the right to commit mistakes. And in order to avoid to commit
22 mistakes on facts, the Chamber must have in its possession all the
23 elements, and this is why the Rule stipulated that Judges may call,
24 provides for the Judges to call witnesses and can also ask witnesses to
25 bring additional elements. So we have that mission. If we do not hold on
1 to this mission, it will be something that can be considered as a
2 miscarriage of justice.
3 So if we start -- if we think that way, we can notice that the
4 Prosecution made a list of witnesses under Rule 65 ter. We can also
5 notice that some witnesses are not planned or not on the list. Some
6 witnesses were removed from the list. There can be also time constraint
7 issues which does not allow us to bring forward all the witnesses, to call
8 all the witnesses to the bar. But as I already explained in my individual
9 opinion, it is up to the Prosecution to choose carefully its witnesses.
10 When there's a witness, A, B, and C in an X entity, it is better to call
11 Witness A who was in charge of the entity rather than have Witness C that
12 was number three in this organisation. And rather than calling A, B, and
13 C together, maybe Witness A would be sufficient.
14 So in fact, one has to make a choice, a very judicial choice that
15 would allow the Chamber to have a global image on what happened and
16 eventually on the irresponsibilities.
17 And we are as Mr. Murphy indicated so well, we are dealing with a
18 case where we military responsibilities and political. When we talk about
19 the military responsibilities, there is a hierarchy and it goes there the
20 top of the military command and it goes all the way down to the last
21 soldier on the field. In that hierarchy, each person plays a role, and a
22 professional Judge must ask himself the question when an event takes
23 place, what were the mechanisms that existed in what hierarchy? And if we
24 realise there are some holes, one can be surprised, astonished at a
25 certain soldier that belonged to the hierarchy is not there to bring his
2 And as an example, once again I would like to cite the case of
3 Stupni Do. Something happened. There was a hierarchy in place. There's
4 a chain of command. A person was -- the person pled guilty. The person
5 was accused, and it would be good that that person be here so they could
6 explain what happened, because that person was part of a chain of command.
7 Did that person act under an order? Did that person act individually?
8 What happened?
9 A Trial Chamber composed of professional Judges has these
10 responsibilities and cannot judge, for instance, the Stupni Do case
11 without at least hearing witnesses who are appropriate witnesses.
12 So the question that we have to ask ourselves is the following:
13 At what point when the Chamber notices that witnesses are missing, when
14 can the Chamber call these witnesses? The articles in the Rules is not
15 very clear. Those witnesses, to me, can come at any point, even before
16 the 98 bis phase, but they can also be called to the bar at the very end.
17 There are different practices. For instance, in the Blaskic case
18 the witnesses came at the very end. In the Hadzihasanovic and Kubura
19 case, we have heard witnesses before the 98 bis procedure. I'm not going
20 to quote other cases, but this is just to give you an example. And
21 contrary could what Mr. Karnavas says, what the Trial Chamber calls a
22 witness, the Trial Chamber does not think that this is a Prosecution
23 witness. It is a witness, period. And that type of witness can also be
24 beneficial for the Defence, for instance.
25 So when the Chamber decides to call a witness, it is to show the
1 truth, and it is not so that one or the other party can benefit from the
2 presence of that witness.
3 So I really hope that Mr. Karnavas understood what the -- what is
4 the procedure that the Judges of these -- this Tribunal adopt. When they
5 call a witness to the bar is to have an absolute clarity of what happened
6 but not to favour one party or the other or not to place one party in a
7 bad light.
8 This is what I wanted to say with regard to 98 bis, Rule 98 bis.
9 This is why Judges can call witnesses.
10 In order to summarise, you have expressed your points of view.
11 There is no discrepancies, in fact, on what you said. I thank Mr. Murphy
12 for what he told us. He was very clear and always, as usual, very
13 knowledgeable in terms of legal and -- legal matters. And Mr. Scott who
14 intervened in tu quoque issue, I think that what he wanted to say is to
15 notice that a lot of time was dedicated to this issue. The Defence also
16 explained in what light they were using that particular strategy, and I
17 must say that at times I have also noticed that much time has been taken
18 to deal with questions that would have been really easy to demonstrate
19 without too much relying on documents, and especially by the fact that
20 many questions are asked or put to various witnesses. If we have one
21 credible witness who answered correctly and who is a credible witness, it
22 is not necessary to put the same questions to another witness who say the
23 same thing. But that, of course, is up to the Defence. They have the
24 choice. They can choose the strategy they wish, and it's up to them to
25 decide what they wish to do.
1 Mr. Stewart was on his feet at one point but he did not intervene.
2 I'm going to hand him the floor.
3 MR. STEWART: That's kind of you, Your Honour; thank you. Now, I
4 did, of course, want to hear what Your Honour said first, naturally.
5 Your Honour, it's a very brief observation; it's this: That a
6 decision - I'm not entering into the details of submissions and so on, on
7 Chamber witnesses - but any decision to call a Chamber witness in exercise
8 of the duties of the Trial Chamber is potentially quite a significant
9 decision, and my plea, Your Honour, and what I particularly urge is that
10 before any such decisions are taken that Your Honours do indicate plenty
11 of time in advance and do give the parties the full opportunity of making
13 Your Honour, it is, and I register a mild protest here, it has
14 been a protest by others and by me on behalf of Mr. Petkovic, that
15 sometimes decisions are taken without an adequate opportunity. And may I
16 just comment that the decision that came up earlier against leading
17 questions in cross-examination where the cross-examination goes outside
18 the scope of examination-in-chief was a decision made after I had
19 specifically said on an occasion that it was a matter which, in my
20 submission, required more consideration and more submission, and,
21 Your Honour, it's only fair to the parties if we don't take time under
22 time pressures on a particular occasion but we do register that before a
23 decision is taken we would wish to make full submissions. It's only fair
24 that we are then given that opportunity before those decisions are taken.
25 I'm not saying -- who knows what the decision would have been, but the
1 deprivation of the opportunity to make submissions on questions before
2 they are decided is simply not fair.
3 So, Your Honour, that's a general observation. I do urge the
4 Trial Chamber not to fall into that practice, but in relation to Chamber
5 witnesses, it is terribly important. In some cases -- I will just
6 comment. In some cases the procedure adopted has ended up verging on the
7 ludicrous or the farcical, but that's a submission to be developed, no
8 doubt, another day.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Stewart, please
10 rest assured, regarding the witnesses of the Chamber, no decision was
11 taken yet, and we did not even discuss it amongst us.
12 MR. STEWART: That's understood, Your Honour. My comment was for
13 future reference, and I rather feel it's been noted. Thank you.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation]
15 MR. SCOTT: No translation, I'm sorry.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Can you hear the interpretation?
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have stated -- do we have
18 interpretation? Yes, we do. Yes.
19 I stated that with regard to the witnesses, no decision has been
20 taken yet, and we have not even considered the matter amongst ourselves.
21 But you're worried about the future. Well, as for the future, we've asked
22 the Prosecution, following the decision rendered by the Appeals Chamber,
23 to provide us with the schedule for the Prosecution witnesses for the time
24 left. The Prosecution will provide us with a schedule with the names of
25 the witnesses, X, Y, Z. Then we'll consider whether some other witnesses
1 might be necessary, and of course we'll tell you about it and you'll have
2 the opportunity to make submissions then. But for the time being it's not
3 possible, because the Prosecution has not provided us with that schedule
4 yet. We are just considering the matter at this stage, and we are eagerly
5 expecting the schedule that the Prosecution has promised that they will
6 provide us. But I believe my colleague wants to talk as well.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Yes, a small point has not been
8 answered that was raised by you, Mr. Scott. You wondered whether the
9 issue of the bridge destruction had been denied because the witness was
10 presented as a 92 ter witness. I can clearly tell you that this is not
11 the case. The only consideration of the Chamber was in fact that this was
12 a proposal taking the Defence by surprise hours or less before the witness
13 would appear. The Chamber also took into account that the time for this
14 witness had been reduced, in view of the arrival of another witness
16 These are the reasons, but not the fact that the witness was
17 presented under Rule 92 ter.
18 MR. SCOTT: Let me just say that I appreciate, Mr. President, both
19 you and the Chamber and Judge Trechsel's comments on that, and that I do
20 thank the Chamber for being responsive to -- to the inquiry. Whether we
21 agreed with it or not, it helps the parties to understand and plan their
22 witnesses accordingly. So I do thank the Chamber for that additional
23 guidance. Thank you.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It would probably be
25 very useful to have a break now so that we can start the cross-examination
1 after the break. It is already 3.20. So let's take a 20-minute break,
2 and we will resume in 20 minutes' time.
3 --- Recess taken at 3.22 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 3.44 p.m.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 WITNESS: RUDY GERRITSEN [Resumed]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The hearing is
9 Colonel, we apologise for this delay. We had a procedural
10 question to debate. Before your arrival, before you start your testimony
11 today, we had to resolve some issues, and this is why you're here -- we
12 are late.
13 I will now like to hand the floor to the Defence. I don't know
14 who is going to start. Is it Ms. Alaburic, or is it Mr. Kovacic?
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. By your
16 leave, I would like to begin my cross-examination, but I will leave most
17 of this time to General Praljak. I think I need not go into the reasons
18 in great detail. I believe this is in accordance with Your Honours'
19 decision, and that his examination will fall within the scope of the leave
20 granted by Your Honours.
21 Cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Witness. I am the Defence counsel for
23 General Praljak. I will put a few questions to you, and then, with
24 Their Honours' leave, General Praljak will put some questions to you
1 Yesterday, an issue was raised linked to the chief of the ECMM in
2 the regional centre of Zenica, an ambassador whose name I will not mention
3 here. I will just put one question in this regard.
4 Could we please have in e-court 3D 00330.
5 Witness, you have a binder before you. This document should be at
6 the top. It's not part of the binder. It should be on top of the pile.
7 Yes, that's the document.
8 This is an excerpt from a book written by the military historian
9 Charles Shrader, whom we consider to be expert. He has written a book
10 about the war in Central Bosnia, and I shall draw your attention to page
11 0262, or in the original book page 55. This is the paragraph above the
12 subtitle "Communications." Towards the end of this paragraph I will read
13 the quotation in connection with which I want to put some questions to
15 I quote: "[In English] [Previous translation continues] ... for
16 reasons that are not entirely clear that the ECMM monitors in Central
17 Bosnia generally favoured the Muslims, even to the extent of minimising
18 Croat charges of ethnic cleansing by the Muslims and accusing the HVO of
19 using women and children to rob UN aid convoys."
20 Before I put my question, I would like to look at the footnote
21 marked here, footnote 73. You have it on the next page. There's no need
22 to read the entire footnote. The author refers to the document on the
23 basis of which he makes this assertion, and he says the following: "[In
24 English] By my measurements, Ambassador Thebault was thoroughly anti-Croat
25 in word and deed, but his successor, Britain's Sir Martin Garrod, was much
1 more evenhanded."
2 [Interpretation] Witness, Mr. Gerritsen, in connection with the
3 first part of this assessment, this author feels that the ECMM was in a
4 way not objective with respect to the Croats and that, as a consequence,
5 there was mutual mistrust. The HVO did not have much confidence in the
6 ECMM and vice versa. The ECMM was quick to blame the HVO whenever an
7 incident occurred.
8 Can you confirm that during the time you were there you felt, at
9 least on occasion, the distrust of the HVO in relation to the ECMM?
10 A. I -- first I must say my personal feelings about this. I always
11 try to be independent, and that's also the formal point of view of the
13 In the circumstances at that time, it's difficult to operate, and
14 on both sides there were -- there was a lot of mistrust against ECMM but
15 also against UNPROFOR.
16 I have a case with the mayor of Prozor, Mr. Jozic, which he didn't
17 trust UNPROFOR, and that was the reason I was invited, firstly, and
18 personally, for the massacre in Uzdol, which was -- was not liked by
19 Graham Binns, the company commander of the Prince of Wales Own Regiment of
20 Yorkshire located in Gornji Vakuf. But after some communication between
21 ECMM, UNPROFOR, and Mr. Jozic, he was also allowed to join the 15th of
23 This is an example for the opposite. I do understand.
24 Regarding Mr. Thebault --
25 Q. Mr. Gerritsen, perhaps I will put a specific question to you
1 regarding Mr. Thebault, just to expedite matters and to go step-by-step.
2 In the view of this author, the author of this book, Ambassador
3 Thebault, if I might paraphrase the author of the book, was simply not
5 You were one the monitors preparing reports on various events.
6 We've heard about all this. And inter alia, you sent these reports to the
7 regional centre. Some were directly forwarded to Zagreb, but some reports
8 sent by you and your team from Gornji Vakuf were integrated into more
9 comprehensive reports, either by topic or by time.
10 Would it be true to say that you did not always agree with
11 Ambassador Thebault's assessments and, if so, what was the source of the
12 disagreement? What was the disagreement about?
13 A. Well, I know that I wasn't always very pleased with the
14 assessments because they were fairly short, but I have no examples now.
15 So I can only tell the feeling I had at that time, the feelings, and
16 that's more on an abstract level.
17 Q. Very well. Yes.
18 A. My feeling at that time was that UNPROFOR, and also
19 Mr. Hauenstein, my colleague, and ECMM in Zenica represented by
20 Mr. Thebault, were maybe not deliberately but more in favour with the
21 Muslims, as was the international community at that time then in favour
22 with the Croats. It was a point that wasn't be discussed, that couldn't
23 be discussed, because no one would say so. So we have to look into the
24 files and make our conclusion -- conclusions from that side.
25 I can only say my point of view. I did it before in this
1 statement that I try to be independent, and in that way even when we made
2 our daily reports in the evening we had a lot of discussions what would be
3 put into the report. I had the discussions with Peter Hauenstein. But I
4 can't recall now specific things. That's -- that's the difficulty. Then
5 I should see all the daily reports from my own, and I have them, but also
6 look into the daily reports from Travnik and Zenica, because I haven't
7 studied these matters from this particular point of view.
8 Q. Very well. Thank you very much. I think your answer is clear.
9 It is precisely the point I was trying to make. I will not delve further
10 into this matter. I simply wanted to confirm the standpoint of the author
11 of this book in order to introduce a realistic note.
12 Let's now have document 3D 00991. Mr. Gerritsen,
13 Colonel Gerritsen, you have the document in your binder. 00991.
14 A. That's Croat or Bosnian? Yes, I have 3D 00991, but it's not in
15 the English language. Can someone help me out?
16 Q. [In English] It is first on Croatian language, and then it is
18 A. Oh, it's opposite. Okay.
19 Q. [Interpretation] In any case, you don't have it in the original
20 because I assume you wrote it in Dutch. However, we had it translated
21 into English and B/C/S.
22 Witness, let me first put a question to you --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, on this document we
24 see the address and the phone number of the witness. You should have made
25 sure not to show them.
1 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I was just about to ask the witness,
2 Your Honour. In view of the fact that this was sent for publication, I
3 was about to ask the witness whether he wished the document to be under
4 seal, but the witness's address should certainly be redacted. However,
5 maybe if it was published it need not all be in private session. I,
6 however, wish to ask the witness, by your leave, Your Honours. So could
7 not broadcast the front page, registrar, please, and then we'll see with
8 the witness.
9 Q. So, Mr. Gerritsen, first of all --
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. A very small technical question.
11 Would you happen to have a copy of the original in the Dutch language?
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Unfortunately not, Your Honour. We
13 received the document from the OTP in English and in B/C/S.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, thank you.
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 Q. Colonel, first let me ask you, regardless of the fact that the
17 article seems to have been published, if you wish, Witness, we can have
18 this in private session, although I see no reason why it should not be
19 broadcast, but I leave it up to you, Witness. I will only ask you
20 questions about the second paragraph under the subtitle, "Which
22 A. That's no problem.
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will not ask to move
24 into private session.
25 Q. I draw your attention to page 1 of your letter. Not the cover
1 page, which is a fax, but page 1. There is a subtitle here, "Which
2 Atrocities," and there are two paragraphs below it, and the second
3 paragraph begins with, "[In English] People change under the influence of
4 violence. I have been able to observe this clearly in others. Soldiers
5 were changed over approximately 2 weeks ..." [Interpretation] So on and so
6 forth. Could you please read it to yourself, this whole paragraph. Well,
7 we can leave out the last two sentences, and then I will put a question to
9 If you have read this.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. This is a description you gave of what you saw and felt regarding
12 the behaviour of soldiers and officers in the field. Can you tell
13 Their Honours whether you stand by what you wrote then today?
14 A. Yes. It's still the same for me.
15 Q. And my last question in this respect: Do you agree that in the
16 circumstances of this kind of war, and your observations are excellent and
17 very interesting, is it easy or even possible with such men -- seen from
18 the viewpoint of officers, is it easy to command and control such men,
19 enforce law and order as would be normal under more normal circumstances?
20 Would you agree that the officers and men participating in this conflict
21 in circumstances you were able to see for yourself were facing an
22 impossible task, that it was actually impossible to enforce complete and
23 full discipline? You are a soldier, so perhaps you can tell us something
24 about this?
25 A. It needs very good skills for a leader to lead these kind of units
1 who are in war. It's a matter of a lot of things. You should give a good
2 example, of course, and all we have learned to do. But in a real war,
3 it's always a mess. And the war is also deteriorating. That is a law of
4 war. And it's hard to -- in each war to have disciplined men. Each
5 country has problems with that. There are several examples of that, in
6 America, in Vietnam, nowadays in Iraq, even also -- not even, also our
7 army has problems with that -- had problems with that in Iraq, with the
8 marines specifically. And I know that in our country we pay a lot of
9 attention -- a lot of attention to these kind of problems. And when you
10 send people to war, it's not possible to guide all men in a way that they
11 would behave all as it should be pointed -- as it is pointed out in the
12 book, according to the Geneva Conventions.
13 Q. Thank you. And to round off this topic, one specific question
14 more. You said that all armies have problems to a greater or lesser
15 extent. Would you agree, and this seems to follow from what you've said,
16 that only the best organised soldiers -- armies, the armies that have the
17 longest tradition, the best training, are successful in fully controlling
18 their men and enforcing discipline, whereas conversely, armies which are
19 just being created cannot succeed in this in spite of the best will of
20 their commanders? Would you agree with this proposition?
21 A. I agree.
22 Q. Thank you. Thank you.
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, one question on the
25 document. You explained that you were taken hostage. You are talking
1 about what event exactly?
2 THE WITNESS: I was taken hostage for just a couple of hours. I
3 was at the end late in the evening sent home by the Muslims in Bugojno
4 because of the fact I had a package from Mr. Siljeg in my car, and he
5 asked me to bring it to an address, and I forgot this package and people
6 who looked into the car from the ABiH saw the name of Mr. Siljeg above.
7 And I drove further on, and then they took me -- the people of the ABiH
8 army imprisoned me, pointed with their guns, with their weapons, and I
9 think it were five people, five soldiers, and they brought me to the HQ
10 from the ABiH in Bugojno where I stayed a couple of hours in a room.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. Your Honours, my
14 client will now put questions, by your leave.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours.
16 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Colonel. After a long time we meet
18 again, here. You are a soldier, so we will, I hope, go very quickly
19 through some matters that might be of interest.
20 Please look at 3D 00981. This document is an interim report sent
21 by Colonel Siljeg to the commander of the main HVO staff, namely myself;
22 I was in that position at that time.
23 As you were referring to the situation in the army, this report,
24 in my view, illustrates very well what this is all about. Please look at
25 paragraph 2, point 2. "Instead of shortening the combat line in a planned
1 manner by conquering individual elevations, we are dealing with internal
2 problems, mainly raising the manpower levels up to the required level
3 because of problems with the arrival of men from Ljubuski, Livno, and the
4 latest problems relate to people from Jajce and the Lasva battalion. The
5 people from Jajce are asking to be replaced if possible -- they want to
6 rest in Tomislavgrad after their losses, and they want to be replaced by
7 men from Klis and Kostajnica which are in Herzegovina. They -- the people
8 from Lasva were reluctant to go to the positions in Kucani. The morale in
9 these two units is at zero level. I don't know what to do. These people
10 are -- the line is weak. They don't feel that this is their own
11 territory. I don't know how long we can go on pushing them like this."
12 We will skip over point 3. "There's no time to connect all this
13 in the best manner. If we solve one problem another arises immediately,"
14 and so on and so forth.
15 Let's look at point 4. It says, "The representatives of the
16 European Community have put the following problems to me today. A, the
17 military police in Rama won't let them see the hodza in Prozor. B, they
18 want to visit the hospital in Uskoplje. C, they want to visit the
19 prisoners of war in Prozor."
20 Look at D. "Josip Kovacevic went to the Adriatic coast and
21 abducted a Muslim family. He is holding them in Prozor to exchange them
22 for his father who is imprisoned in Bugojno. The European Community
23 considers him to be a terrorist. What to do?"
24 And then there's mention of Vares and so on. He then says he
25 needs help. There are fewer and fewer men. And because of individual
1 soldiers leaving, especially men from Jajce, Sebesici, and Bugojno, who
2 are difficult to control in all these problems as individuals. They
3 simply leave the unit and they are not there on their shift. This is
4 threatening the morale of the men on the front line. Last night we
5 managed to bring back 10 to 15 men from Ljubuski, and we got them to hold
6 on until today. There was nothing else we could do because half the
7 company stayed at the positions for longer than four days, whereas all the
8 others left five days ago.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Praljak, the witness had left one week ago,
10 and I wonder how you will link this to the witness and what is the
11 foundation for the -- you read an interesting letter. It's certainly
12 interesting, but what could the witness contribute who had left one week
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, counsel.
15 MR. FLYNN: If I may also add, what we have seen is
16 General Praljak read through the letter but there is no question. I mean,
17 we don't know why this document is being put to this witness. We all can
18 read the contents of this lengthy document, but I don't believe that this
19 is the correct way to approach the introduction of the document. I think
20 that it should be done in such a way that the General should ask some
21 introductory questions to ascertain whether or not the witness knows
22 something about the contents of the document, and then he can ask him
23 whether or not the document bears out what he has said. But merely to
24 read the document in the manner in which he has done so, I don't think
25 that's appropriate.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
2 Mr. Praljak, please put your question to the witness. We've
3 all -- we all have the document in front of us. All of us, including the
4 witness, because you're wasting your own time.
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's very
6 simple. Well, I can just keep quiet and have the witness read the
7 document. But Judge Trechsel, in the army, seven days changes nothing.
8 The fact that on the 22nd or 15th or whatever the date was, nothing much
10 Q. Now, sir, Witness, Colonel, in your opinion to the best of your
11 knowledge, was this how it was while you were up there? Did you have the
12 same kind of problems as described by Colonel Siljeg? Could you see this
13 on the ground as concerns the HVO forces and units?
14 A. Yes, and specifically the points in point 4. I know them and I
15 was there. They are familiar for me.
16 Q. Thank you. Now the next document, 3D 00979, please. You have the
17 document. You can read it. It's my response to the issues raised in
18 paragraph 4 or point 4, sent to Mr. Siljeg on the 23rd of September. It
19 says as follows under B: "Release them. And as far as the terrorist is
20 concerned, inform the SIS and the military police." And the third was to
21 change one of the commanders, replace one of the commanders.
22 Can you tell me this: Within the frameworks of what one can
23 control, did I - to the European Community, UNPROFOR and so on - always
24 enable them to go to any location where you wanted to go? If I was
25 present up there, of course. Did I always give permission for you to go
1 where you wanted?
2 A. When we could talk to Siljeg or to General Praljak, we get
3 allowance, but it wasn't always possible to talk to them because they were
4 in the terrain, or in the field, I mean. Is that the same, the terrain or
6 Q. Thank you. So do you agree then --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, in the document shown
8 to you by General Praljak, there is a mention of the commander of a
9 Kvaternik Brigade, Ivica Pavic. The -- General Praljak has not read out
10 the sentence, but it is stated that Colonel Siljeg is not pleased, is not
11 satisfied with his work because he's late. He's not accurate, and
12 apparently he's drafting reports that are not accurate.
13 Did you know that person? This Pavic person.
14 THE WITNESS: In which point? 4? Pavic, no. I'm not aware of
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
17 General Praljak.
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
19 Q. May I have 3D 00615 next, please. It's the document that you were
20 shown yesterday by Counsel Nozica about the child, Haris Silajdzic, four
21 and a half years old. We cleared that point up. We know that he was
22 taken off.
23 Now look at the second page of that document, because the document
24 is a two-page document, in fact. It is 0023 -- 002. It is a certificate
25 or confirmation from Split, and this is what the document says, that a
1 medical commission met in Split and made their recommendations which were
2 to continue treatment abroad, and the family was that of Haris Silajdzic,
3 and it says that all these persons had no personal documents. And as they
4 had to continue their treatment abroad, they needed a passport. And then
5 they are requesting that a -- that passports shall issued so that the
6 people can be treated abroad. And it is signed by Dr. Goran Dodig and the
7 head nurse as well.
8 Now, do you see the name Haris Silajdzic under number 3? Does it
9 say Haris Silajdzic?
10 A. Yes, when I see it.
11 Q. Colonel, when we received the family, took the family in, did
12 anybody give them any material resources, any money to play for the
13 hospital in Split? The Bugojno municipality, for example, or the European
14 monitors, perhaps, or the Red Cross. Did anybody give them anything
15 except for the bundles that they received?
16 A. Not that I know of. I didn't give them money.
17 Q. Now, from this document it would appear that they have to continue
18 their treatment abroad, which entails Croatian citizenship for them to be
19 able to be issued passports and that those costs will be met by the
20 Croatian state. Is something that -- is that something that you can see
21 on the basis of this document?
22 MR. FLYNN: Your Honours, I'm sorry for interrupting again General
23 Praljak, but I fail to see how this has any relevance to the subject of
24 the indictment. It's not disputed -- it's not disputed in any way that
25 the Croat authorities assisted this leukaemia child and transported --
1 arranged for the transport, but this is not the subject of any dispute
2 whatsoever, and I don't see any need to go into it in any further detail.
3 It doesn't add anything to the case.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your purpose,
5 Mr. Praljak? What do you want to prove? Do you want to prove that these
6 Muslims had been treated in Croatia and that therefore they needed a
7 passport where their nationality was indicated? But in the document you
8 will see that members of the ABiH and the HVO, five of them, have also
9 been treated. So I suppose that the members of the ABiH were not Croatian
11 What do you want to establish, because it's very confusing.
12 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] What I want to prove is very
13 simple, Your Honours. The system of hospitals, and I'll show you another
14 document that will clear this matter up, is a system and organisation
15 controlled by Dr. Franjo Tudjman and the Croatian government, and the
16 passage through Herceg-Bosna is controlled by Slobodan Praljak, Bruno
17 Stojic, Milivoj Petkovic, et cetera. These are all system that we
18 control, and they said we are going to issue passports to everyone and pay
19 for treatment abroad for everyone, regardless of whether they were members
20 of the HVO or the BH army. So if that was the case, then there were
21 systems that we controlled and which reflect and illustrate our behaviour
22 and conduct. But there were also systems that we did not control, because
23 we're talking about the following fact: What can be done, what it was
24 possible to do, and what we wanted to do, and identity and power and this
25 kind of thing was shown. What was feasible in a given situation and what
1 was not feasible when the systems are controlled and not controlled, and
2 that is the basis of what we're discussing here today when we look at
3 documents, and we will look at the overall situation because we have to
4 look at realistic -- the realistic situation and the objective situation.
5 In France criminals kill. You have criminals in America, too, regardless
6 of the fact that law and order exists and they know that this can't be
7 done, and with all the money they have in the world they still haven't
8 been able to reduce the crime by more than a few percent.
9 Now I'd like to have a look at the next document, please.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could General Praljak please slow down and give
11 us the number of the document again. Thank you.
12 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Colonel -- 3D 00635 is the number of the next document.
14 Now, Witness, in your report, the one you sent out, you said that
15 when I took over this family I brought in a television crew and made a
16 spectacle out of it.
17 Now, take a look at this next document, please. Here it says the
18 following, briefly, that during 1992 and 1993 the hospital in Split alone,
19 which is composed of units in Firule, Krizine, and the Spa, hospitalised
20 3.991 persons of Muslim nationality. And then you have the break-up
21 according to the three localities. So the final figure is 3.991 persons
22 who were taken care of and accommodated, and we have attached a list of
23 all those persons giving their first and last names, and it's a document
24 that I have, but it is in fact a Prosecution document, and my question to
25 you is this: Did you know that we transported, paid for fuel, paid for
1 medical assistance, that is to say the HVO and the political and military
2 authorities and Croatian government, and with the situation we faced we
3 did find the resources and the will to have 3.991 persons treated in just
4 one Croatian hospital. And I'm not going to speak about the other
5 hospitals, other places. Others will be able to address that. Did you
6 know about that? Did you see it on CNN and on the BBC? Did you have it
7 in your reports?
8 A. These numbers I don't have in my report and I never investigate
9 these kind of matters. I have only one example is of the child with
11 Q. Right. Now, do you know that all the -- all the treatment for
12 these people were free of charge or, rather, paid for by the Croatian
13 state and that transport and everything was also calculated at a very low
14 level [as interpreted] by Mr. Jadranko Prlic, the president of the
16 A. I only know that we discussed the matter of the child of -- with
17 leukaemia, and we also asked ourselves how it will go further on. And
18 the -- we got the answer that there would be no problems.
19 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. There is something in the transcript
21 which I simply do not quite understand. The question of Mr. Praljak is
22 translated as --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction. From the meager
24 budget that Mr. Prlic had.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Instead of "very low level," "from the meager
1 budget." That makes sense. Thank you.
2 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, along with this
3 document, it has 100 -- there is a list of 154 pages summarising the
4 facts. We didn't want to burden you with 154 pages of that same material.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, can you please tell
6 us the following: Here we have in the document the localities of Firule,
7 Krizine, and Spa. What does that mean, Firule, Krizine, and Spa?
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Three localities in Split,
9 all making part and parcel of the Split hospital. The clinical hospital
10 in Split is divided into three locality which are called Firule, Krizine
11 and Toplice.
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the next document,
13 3D 00990, you have an entire list mentioned by the hospital in this
14 letter, but we didn't want to burden you with 150-odd pages. We just
15 provided one page as an illustration. But it's all in e-court.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, these lists if we
17 find that approximately 4.000 Muslims were treated but it would have been
18 of interest to know whether a -- Muslims civilians came in 1992, 1993, and
19 then left, and that information does not appear on the documents. Let's
20 imagine that civilian Muslim from Zenica was hospitalised and went back,
21 returned to Zenica. That we can't see on the document.
22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] We have figures from the medical
23 files when each patient was admitted and released from hospital released
24 from treatment for rehabilitation after treatment. But once the person is
25 let out of the hospital, is released from the hospital and sent for
1 rehabilitation, then the hospital no longer keeps the files. But the
2 admission to hospital of these patients relates to 1992, 1993, and even
4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Colonel, let's return to Bugojno. On the 18th of July you can see
6 there was a conflict would you agree with me that the BH army on the 18th
7 of July when the -- when mass was served attacked the HVO?
8 A. Yes, they attacked the HVO.
9 Q. Thank you. Now, according to the reports and to the best of your
10 recollections, were there -- about 800 fighters of the Bugojno brigade
11 were cut off from the road towards Gornji Vakuf, so 800 of them
12 surrendered to the Serbs? Would that be the correct figure?
13 A. I'm not sure about this.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: To the -- to the former question of Mr. Praljak.
15 The question says that there was an attack when mass was served. You have
16 not answered that element. You've just said yes, there was an attack. Do
17 you know that there was an attack during a religious service?
18 THE WITNESS: Oh, no. I didn't knew that.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
20 THE WITNESS: Oh, that's a mass. Okay. I understand.
21 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Thank you, yes. We'll deal with that with a -- someone else.
23 Now, can we note that roughly between 12 and 15.000 people at the
24 end of July and around one and a half thousand soldiers from Bugojno start
25 moving towards Gornji Vakuf and reached Prozor. Would that be how it was?
1 A. These numbers I'm not familiar with, but that they were gaining
2 ground to Gornji Vakuf and Prozor, that's correct.
3 Q. Tell me, please, Mr. Gerritsen, do you know that this brigade in
4 Bugojno was made up of the local population? Their parents, brothers,
5 sisters lived together with them. Is that something you knew about?
6 Would you say that's correct?
7 A. Yes, I know.
8 Q. When this defeated army was going back, is it logical out of fear
9 and everything else that their familiar list and friends would move along
10 with them? That is to say the population always moves with the defeated
11 army in retreat. Do you consider that logical?
12 A. I consider that logical, yes.
13 Q. Is it true that the houses of those Croatians were set fire to?
14 We won't say by whom, but anyway, that they were set fire to and that in
15 many cases they were looted. According to your report would that be true?
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. Would you agree with me that after that exodus and the influx of
18 the population to Rama, to Prozor - Rama, Prozor, whichever you like to
19 call it - that there was a complete situation of chaos? Do you agree that
20 it was complete chaos, suggest that one can refer to as complete chaos?
21 A. Yes, I agree with that.
22 Q. Would you agree with me that the BH army wanted to the best of
23 your knowledge take control of Makljen and move towards Prozor? Makljen
24 as being the dominant feature of the defence of that whole area facing
1 A. I agree with that. That was a threat.
2 Q. Would you agree with those attacks by the BH army in that
3 particular area with greater or lesser intensity lasted throughout the
4 month of August? Or, rather, the end of July and practically the whole of
6 A. I agree with that. We reported as such.
7 Q. Do you know that in the night between the 1st and 2nd of August
8 that all the HVO lines in Gornji Vakuf fell? That during the night
9 between the 1st and 2nd of August all the lines fell in Gornji Vakuf?
10 That the army and the people withdrew from the town and from those
12 A. Well, I'm not familiar with these dates. I should take a look in
13 the reports we made at that time, but I know of a certain occasion that
14 there were a lot of fightings in Gornji Vakuf which we saw by ourselves
15 from the location where BritBat was and where we were sleeping too, and we
16 could see the war around us. And there was also an attack to the HQ in
17 the barracks behind BritBat. But I was not familiar with the fact that
18 all the lines fell in Gornji Vakuf.
19 Q. I'll try and refresh your memory. The command of the brigade --
20 there was a great explosion. They blew up an ammunition depot and
21 livestock was killed and so on, and on that day they moved across Makljen.
22 Does that refresh your memory?
23 A. Yes, but just a breakthrough is not a fallen of line, but that's a
24 military discussion. It's not a fall of lines. And you fought back and
25 regained more or less the original lines.
1 Q. Colonel, can I brag a little now? Do you know that I managed to
2 regain those lines alone on a tank, took the soldiers back with the crew
3 of a tank and a small group, and by the evening of the 2nd of August we
4 managed to regain our former positions? Did you hear about that? It's
5 like sort of in the third-rate American films, but anyway, that's what
7 A. That's what I was thinking of, but I -- this is the first time
8 that I'm hearing this, that it is such a small unit that regained the
10 Q. I said that, after that, everyone came back in small groups and we
11 managed to consolidate the situation later on, but we'll go into that in
12 due course.
13 Now look at 3D 00960, please. It's an order of mine dated the
14 28th of August, 1993, while the fighting was going on at great intensity.
15 Do you remember where the villages of Pidris and Mackovac were?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Do you know these localities, Pidris and Mackovac?
18 A. I am familiar with Pidris, but I have to take a look on maps to be
19 sure after all these years.
20 Q. Well, that doesn't matter for now. Anyway, in my order it says
21 that I am having people leave the area that -- where there has been a war
22 going on for a long time, and I tell -- I say what should be done. And
23 then I say that the livestock should be taken out with the people as well.
24 Now, you're a professional soldier yourself. Would you consider
25 this order to be a proper order for civilians when civilians are in an
1 area where combat activities are going on, exposed to the danger of being
2 collateral damage on a daily basis? Would this be the proper order to
3 give for the villagers of these two villages? Would it be justified
4 militarily speaking?
5 A. I have to look to the sentence it again -- again, so give me a few
7 Q. Yes. Just take your time.
8 A. Ah, I see now, that you are giving the order to leave the area.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone.
10 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Children, elderly men who were not able-bodied men.
12 A. I understand now. Of course this is justified, in my opinion,
13 to -- when you are sure that there will be military clashes to evacuate
14 civilian people. But just for the time it's needed.
15 Q. Are you aware that as soon as the fighting died down a little they
16 returned to their villages together with their livestock?
17 A. No, I wasn't aware of that.
18 Q. Very well. Thank you. Please look at 3D 00741. 3D 00741. It's
19 dated the 17th of August, 1993.
20 Colonel, is the easiest thing to do in the army to sit down at a
21 desk and dictate an order, say who has to do what? It's relatively easy
22 to do that, isn't it?
23 A. That's relatively easy but not the way we doing that.
24 Q. Well, what I wanted to ask you was, is it sometimes futile to
25 write orders which you know will not be complied with because the
1 structure is not in place? And then you go and try and do other things,
2 try to persuade people, talk to them in order to get your troops to carry
3 out what you want? Would it be true to say that writing an order which
4 you know there is little chance it will be complied with is -- it's better
5 not to write such an order because it will simply undermine your authority
6 to do that? Wouldn't that be correct?
7 A. Well, that's a difficult question for a Dutch officer because we
8 have a lot of orders, and -- but you are correct that sometimes you
9 need -- it's needed that you go to the troops by yourself. But it's
10 better to underline your orders than to have nothing on paper. But that
11 depends -- all depends on the time you have. The more time you have, the
12 more paper you have. And I do not know how much time you had at that
14 Q. Well, you know how little sleep we were able to snatch, but on the
15 17th of August, when I learned that prisoners were being taken to dig
16 trenches, I issued an order. Later on there was a general order
17 applicable to the whole of the HVO saying that this must not be done. But
18 let me ask you the following: Are you aware that after the date on which
19 this order of mine was issued there was a far smaller number of those who
20 dared to take prisoners out to dig trenches? Are you aware that after the
21 17th of August there was a significant reduction in the number of those
22 who in various ways took prisoners to dig?
23 A. No, I'm not aware of that because we were in the position to do
24 fairly specific investigations on this matter. We couldn't count. We
25 couldn't travel everywhere because of mines and because of our safety. So
1 this is -- I cannot -- I can't confirm.
2 Q. Thank you very much. Let's look at 3D 00967. It's dated the 31st
3 of July, 1993, and in this document I issue an order saying how the troops
4 under my command should behave towards UNPROFOR units, humanitarian aid
5 convoys, and so on.
6 Can you confirm that the route for humanitarian aid was always
7 open except when there was fierce fighting nearby, Pidris, Mackovac,
8 Makljen, and so on, that it was always possible except when there was very
9 heavy fighting going on?
10 A. I agree with that.
11 Q. Thank you very much. In one of your reports you wrote that, "One
12 week seven helicopters flew to the hospital in Rumboci," and then you said
13 you expected the same in the following week. Apart from the HVO having a
14 hospital in Rumboci near Prozor, every day I had to take the seriously
15 wounded by helicopter. Do you know what number of HVO men were killed or
16 wounded in the fighting around Gornji Vakuf in that period?
17 A. No, I do not know.
18 Q. Thank you very much. Now I would like to move on to another
20 Your Honours, I was given 25 minutes by Mr. Ibrisimovic, so please
21 count this into my time. I have some more documents to put to the
22 witness, if I may.
23 Please look at P 05162. This is a report written by you, dated
24 the 17th of September, 1993, where you speak about the general situation.
25 You say that in Gornji Vakuf there was fierce fighting in the early
1 morning, that the Diamond route was still open. But let's look at what it
2 says about the political situation. The population in Prozor is quiet --
3 or, rather, receive the Uzdol massacre quietly, and so far there has been
4 no maltreatment of the Muslim community.
5 And on the next page it says, "Violence against the Muslim
6 massacre in Prozor which we first expected. As yet it has not happened."
7 You know what happened in Uzdol; is that correct?
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Praljak, where are we supposed to find this
9 document, please?
10 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] P 05 -- it's Watkins --
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's a Prosecution
12 document but it's on the monitor.
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] It's my fault. It's
14 Watkins -- I'm sorry, I'll refer to it -- oh, it's on the monitor.
15 Q. Did you know about the Uzdol massacre?
16 A. Yes, I was there.
17 Q. Colonel, are you aware that even after the Uzdol massacre, either
18 on the 17th or later on, there was no retaliation against the Muslim
19 population in Prozor? Are you aware of this?
20 A. I wasn't there at that time because I left after Uzdol to
21 Tomislavgrad. From there I was interested in what was going on in Gornji
22 Vakuf and surroundings. And I read the reports from Gornji Vakuf, and I
23 was aware of that.
24 Q. But Tomislavgrad was not far from Rama. Did you hear in any
25 report that there was any kind of retaliation against the Muslim
2 A. No, I didn't hear of that.
3 Q. Are you aware that I put the imam under guard in order to protect
4 him from the possible consequences of such an event? Are you aware of
6 A. No.
7 Q. From what you wrote about the war, when 10 per cent of the
8 villagers, and more than 10 per cent of a small village are massacred, can
9 you resolve such a situation by writing an order or by numbers of meetings
10 where you have to beg, shout, plead, discuss, persuade? I was an officer.
11 Is it enough to write an order or is there much more that one has to do in
12 order to prevent a relative, a brother, a sister to take revenge?
13 A. Of course you need much more.
14 Q. Thank you very much. We would now -- could we see the film about
15 Uzdol now to see what happened there? It's four minutes, so let's look at
17 MR. FLYNN: Your Honours, before we do show it, I'm just
18 wondering, I mean, is this relevant to the -- again, is this relevant to
19 the indictment? Uzdol is not part of the indictment.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Flynn speak into the microphone,
22 MR. FLYNN: I'm sorry. It's not relevant to the indictment.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, you're going to
24 play a video about Uzdol. What is the purpose of this? What do you want
25 to establish?
1 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may --
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, please. First
3 of all, it's Prozor municipality. Secondly, in my view it's quite logical
4 and correct to allow Your Honours to assess my guilt when you see what any
5 commander can possibly do after a massacre of this kind in a place where
6 there are 10 to 15.000 refugees. What is it possible to do, because the
7 Prosecution keeps saying that there was absolute and total control. But
8 if you don't know this -- it's Prozor municipality.
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, also we can see the
10 witness on the film, and the witness said he was in Uzdol, and it is
11 relevant to command and control quite clearly. This circumstance has been
12 mentioned in questions, so let a soldier tell us whether under certain
13 circumstances it's possible to control the army.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
15 continues] ... minutes we'll play the video. It's only four minutes.
16 We'll play the video.
17 MR. SCOTT: Well, Your Honours -- excuse me --
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] And the Witness -- there was
19 a witness there who said nothing happened in Uzdol.
20 MR. SCOTT: Sorry, Your Honour, but, I mean, Mr. Praljak goes on
21 and other people have gotten up and spoke, and I understand it's a
22 question that -- it may only take four minutes, but again, it's -- there's
23 a broader principle here. This illustrates the point the Prosecution made
24 earlier this afternoon. The event at Uzdol is not disputed. It's not
25 disputed. There's no point in showing something about it, except that, I
1 put it, it's just simply to show pictures to the Chamber that -- I mean,
2 I'm sure are very unfortunate. I'm sure what happened there is very
3 unfortunate, but it has no value to the case as such and otherwise,
4 Your Honour, we can do this all day long. People can come in and show
5 their videos and it has no relevance at all to the issues in the case. We
6 don't dispute that Uzdol happened. If it's not disputed why are we trying
7 to prove something that's not disputed?
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, if I may briefly assist in the matter.
9 At some point you will need to address on issues related to command
10 responsibility under 7.3. As General Praljak has been indicating that the
11 situation was rather tense, we have a massacre there, and then the
12 situation is can a commander under those circumstances, in light of the --
13 all the people that he has under his command, can he control every
14 individual, and it goes to the issue of effective command and control, and
15 I think that -- and I think that this is relevant because, as it was
16 pointed out by General Praljak, you have family members there. You have
17 all sorts of people. This was a citizens' army. So I think it goes to
18 the very heart of -- of that issue. So that's why it's necessary to look
19 at the film. And I think it also -- as was indicated, we had a witness
20 who -- from an international organisation who simply denied the existence
21 of this incident and wrote a report about it.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Very well, let's see
23 the video.
24 [Videotape played]
25 Voiceover: "... poor for a different morning. The division of
1 Bosnia proposed in the Geneva peace talks gave the Muslims 30 per cent of
2 the land, an offer they [indiscernible]. Since the peace talks
3 floundered, the Muslim forces have continued their offensive in Central
4 Bosnia and have taken more territory by force. The massacre took place at
5 Uzdol, 40 miles west of Sarajevo after Croat soldiers failed to hold the
6 village and it was taken by the Muslim Bosnian army. You may find some of
7 the pictures in this report disturbing.
8 "The village of Uzdol is high in the hills of Central Bosnia. It
9 has a school building, lately used as a local Croat military headquarters.
10 Yesterday, the Bosnian army descended on Uzdol then withdrew leaving
11 terrible evidence of their brief visit.
12 "We walked through the scattered farms and cottages with British
13 soldiers and European Monitors trying to establish what happened here. It
14 soon became clear that every house and cottage had been visited by the
15 Bosnian army soldiers. Systematic slaughter. Every room had been
16 entered. There were bullets in the bedroom walls. An old lady killed in
17 her bed. The victims times were all elderly, and one child unable to
18 flee. Some had tried to hide. One couple, 67-year-old Martin Ratkic and
19 his wife Kara had taken refuge in their barn. They lay in each other's
20 arms, apparently shot by someone standing over them.
21 "The word 'atrocity' has been used a lot in this war. It's
22 usually very difficult to find out exactly what has happened. There is so
23 much propaganda and myth, but in this case it seems clear that there was
24 wholesale killing of civilians, but as to the reason it's a-almost
25 impossible for an observer to guess. One answer came from a Croat soldier
1 who came back to his family house to find his mother burned in the ruins.
2 "'It is a war. It is a war,' he said. They hate civilians. They
3 hate us.'
4 For the UN, in this instance British soldiers and the European
5 Monitors, there is nothing they can do except to observe and report to a
6 European committee.
7 "Probably they would say maybe it's a wartime because they
8 slaughter civilians, and maybe in the future there will be an
9 investigation of the court of justice in The Hague or something like that.
10 "22 of the victims had already been taken to a makeshift morgue in
11 the nearby town of Prozor. Again the UN and the EC observed and did not
12 comment, very conscious of the way such incidents in this war are either
13 distorted or denied, becoming part of the propaganda of both sides, with
14 the UN being seen as a convenient scapegoat. Such was the nature of the
15 killing at Uzdol that recriminations have not yet gathered force and grief
16 was only beginning.
17 "Kate Adie, BBC news. Uzdol.
18 "Inflation rose in August by ..."
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Colonel, did you recognise yourself a little younger in this
22 A. Yes, I did.
23 Q. Are you aware that there were soldiers from this village who were
24 in the Rama Brigade, so that these were their parents, sisters, and so on,
25 because men from Uzdol were part of the Rama HVO Brigade. Are you aware
1 of that?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Are you aware that only two days later, on the 16th of September,
4 in the same municipality, Prozor, in the village of Hudotsko, 24 civilians
5 who were of Croat ethnicity were killed?
6 A. No. That's new for me.
7 Q. Thank you. You were still there before you left in September
8 1993. I'm referring to 3D 00942. It's a document I have already shown,
9 but it was not -- it had not all been translated then. It is a diary kept
10 by a journalist about operation Neretva 93.
11 Colonel, are you aware that the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the
12 13th of September, 1993, started or launched operation Neretva 93 from the
13 north with a view to coming to the western borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
14 So the attack went from Vakuf towards Mostar on all axes, Jablanica,
15 Mostar. Do you know anything about that?
16 A. No. These kind of specific information we haven't had it.
17 Q. In that case, I'll just put one more question. The operation was
18 launched on the 13th, but you were still there, and it says here at Crni
19 Vrh, which is at Makljen, was on fire. It was a flame from detonations
20 and infantry fighting.
21 Did you know that on the 13th Crni Vrh and the area around it was
22 on fire because of the detonations?
23 A. If it's not mentioned in our daily report, we were not aware of
24 that. I have to look in my daily report, because this is typical military
25 information, and normally we will report such things.
1 Q. I did not find anything except that there was fighting, although
2 in this book it says Commander Karic, Vehbija Karic and Rifat Bilajic were
3 washing their feet in the stream, and they said, "We had our shoes on for
4 three days."
5 Do you know that the fighting went on continually from the 13th to
6 the 17th, 24 hours a day, round the clock? If not, we'll move on.
7 A. No.
8 Q. Very well. Let me ask you this, Colonel: Is it correct that the
9 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina had two tanks in -- in Vakuf which they had
10 taken from the HVO in Bugojno?
11 A. I remember such thing, but I must say vaguely.
12 Q. Very well. A lot of time has gone by. It's quite understandable.
13 Are you aware, and my commanders kept saying this to BritBat, that
14 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the part of down under their control,
15 30 metres behind the BritBat it held mortar positions and fired from them?
16 Did the British complain to you that the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
17 had mortar positions right next to their base?
18 A. No, they didn't, they -- complain to me.
19 Q. That was when I was referring to -- when I said that somebody told
20 them five minutes before HVO artillery would shoot that they should take
21 cover, because we kept telling them that they should remove the mortars
22 from a built-up area. Do you know that the mortars of Bosnia-Herzegovina
23 were among the local population in Gornji Vakuf?
24 A. Yes. We didn't count them.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you please
1 give us how much time is left?
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Colonel, are you aware that units of the army of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina fired at the HVO from houses inhabited by civilians?
5 In Gornji Vakuf, in the part under the control of the army of Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina. Very often they opened fire on HVO units from houses in
7 which there were civilians.
8 A. I'm aware of that. I have seen that, yeah.
9 Q. Thank you, Colonel. Let me just see --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You've used one hour and five
11 minutes so far, and the registrar informed me that you have 20 more
12 minutes left.
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Is that just my time?
14 Because this lady, Mrs. Alaburic, is -- follows me.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Ms. Alaburic, how much
16 time would you need?
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I can give five or 10 minutes to
18 General Praljak if he needs it.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But yourself need?
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] If I give him 10 minutes, I will
21 then take only 15 minutes.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So at this point the
23 Prosecution, will they have any additional questions? Will the
24 Prosecution have any additional questions at this stage?
25 MR. FLYNN: I will have a number of questions. I hope they will
1 be short.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please continue, Mr. Praljak.
3 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Colonel, in one of your reports you mention the fact that the BH
5 army had helicopters and that it used the helicopters to transport many of
6 its deputies to some Assembly. Do you know that, while you were in Gornji
7 Vakuf, did indeed have helicopters?
8 A. No. I was not -- I do not remember. In my opinion, there were no
9 helicopters when I was in Gornji Vakuf.
10 Q. I didn't mean in Gornji Vakuf. What I actually meant was that in
11 Zenica, that they had helicopters in Zenica, for example. And in the book
12 that I mentioned, a pilot tells a journalist that he had 500 sorties for
13 the BH army. Did you have facts and figures of that kind? Did you know
14 about things like that?
15 A. No.
16 Q. In a document, which I have no reason to doubt, it's your report,
17 actually, you say that Alagic, General Alagic, the commander of the BH
18 army, said the following about the cleansing in the Lasva Valley: "The BH
19 army is not in a hurry --"
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Could you kindly tell us which document you are
21 referring to so that we can follow, please?
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I'm referring to P 03771.
23 I'm referring to document P 03771.
24 Q. And in that document in inverted commas General Alagic's words are
25 quoted in response to a question about the intentions the BH army, and he
1 says in quotation marks: "We're not in a hurry to cleanse the remaining
2 Croatian areas," and he means by that the Lasva River valley. Now do you
3 know this position, that when they had taken control of the surrounding
4 parts they considered that they could finish off with the Lasva River
5 valley subsequently, and that they would set a time for doing this. So do
6 you know about this about General Alagic and what their plans were with
7 respect to the Lasva River valley?
8 A. This isn't a report from me.
9 Q. It's an observer a European observer, I don't think it was but you
10 I just wanted to know if you were aware of this from your talks and
11 reading documents or anything?
12 A. No.
13 Q. I'd like to refer to the following document P 03944, dated the 4th
14 of August, 1993, by the European Monitors, European observers, and in that
15 document mention is made of an offensive by the BH army --
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic.
17 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's an ECMM document.
18 Out of an abundance of caution I don't think it should be made public
19 outside the courtroom. My colleague -- well, my colleague has told me
20 that the necessary has already been done.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed.
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Now, in document P 03944 dated the 4th of August, 1993, the ECMM
24 speaks about a BH army offensive from Travnik towards Bugojno, Gornji
25 Vakuf, Rama, et cetera. Did you know of these intentions for an offensive
1 and the plans of the BH army along these lines?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. In document P 04363, P 04363, dated the 20th of August, 1993,
4 mention is made of the following: "The BH army is not allowing the
5 evacuation from Nova Bila to take place by helicopter of the wounded," the
6 HVO wounded, because, it says, "the HVO is bringing in ammunition."
7 Do you know that the BH army did not allow the evacuation of the
8 wounded to take place from Nova Bila with HVO helicopters and the Nova
9 Bila hospital in the Lasva River valley?
10 A. I only know of what happened in Vrbas Valley. This kind of thing,
11 Nova Bila, I have heard of but not witnessed in one way or another. There
12 were all kind of negotiations going on about evacuations exchanges, but it
13 always took time before we got an agreement with all the parties involved.
14 But Lasva Valley, I wasn't there.
15 Q. In document P 4535 that I'd like to refer to of the 26th of
16 August, 1993, it says in point 2 -- or, rather, point 3 that the transport
17 of delegates, 90 Bosnian Herzegovinian delegates, Muslims, from Zenica to
18 Sarajevo, was performed despite the flight ban. Do you know that these 50
19 persons -- or 90 persons were transported by helicopter on this date, the
20 26th of August, to an Assembly of the Party of Democratic Action or
21 whatever? Do you know about that, despite the no-fly ban?
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Mr. Praljak. Can you enlighten the
23 Chamber on the relevance of this? I can't make any link with the
24 indictment or any other matter, actually.
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes, I'll explain right
1 away, Judge Trechsel. In a report by the colonel, it says that the
2 Muslims in Gornji Vakuf were complaining terribly about two things.
3 First, that the water supply for Bugojno had been shut off -- cut off,
4 and, secondly, that they had no diesel fuel and that was the reason they
5 couldn't transport their wounded to the hospital in Bugojno. What I want
6 to show with this is the BH army, as I showed with the previous document,
7 received fuel regularly and used it to fuel the tanks and helicopter
8 flights, and it told the European Monitors that they didn't even have 200
9 litres of diesel fuel to be able to transport their wounded to Bugojno,
10 pulling the wool over their eyes. So that was my conclusion.
11 Q. If they knew there were that many flights and helicopter and tank
12 movements then my question to you Colonel is whether the military
13 authorities of the BH army in Gornji Vakuf complained that they didn't
14 even have 200 litres of fuel to transport the wounded to Bugojno.
15 A. Okay. I have to answer now? I know of the diesel and that by a
16 kind of -- such reasons it was not possible to bring out the wounded. So
17 that's what we did. We brought diesel to that hospital. And of course I
18 have opinion about that, and -- well, it's a matter of -- in my case it
19 was a matter of humanitarian aid. It wasn't important for me if they had
20 it or had it not. We only try to get the wounded out. And I think 200
21 litre is not much. But I do not know the exact situation from the ABiH,
22 of course, but it's not likely that they hadn't diesel at all. It is more
23 likely that it was difficult to bring the diesel to the hospital in Kalin
24 hotel, in the Kalin hotel. Maybe that was a problem.
25 Q. Very well. Now, I'm not sorry that you provided the fuel to save
1 the wounded, Colonel. My next question -- one or two more questions and
2 then I'll be finished, and my penultimate question is this: If I were to
3 put map before you if you can remember where was it in your opinion that
4 the HVO who held certain lines -- which held certain lines around Gornji
5 Vakuf, where - in what locality - could it have cut off the water supply
6 for Bugojno? Did you know that then? Did you find it out later on? What
7 place was it possible for them to do this? Where could the HVO, in the
8 places it was in control of, could it have cut off the water supply for
9 Bugojno, which is 19 kilometres away?
10 A. Well, I'm not familiar with all waterlines in Bugojno and
11 surroundings. You have to be on the spot. That's the only thing I know,
12 and I can't say whether or not it was possible here in this room.
13 Q. When they told you that the HVO had cut off the water supply
14 somewhere, were you certain then or did you just convey that information
15 in your report without checking to see where this could have happened,
16 where it was possible for the HVO to cut off the water supply? Did you do
17 that? Did you investigate the matter or did you just send the information
18 further on through your report without checking yourself?
19 A. We didn't check it. We just sent it further on.
20 Q. Thank you. And my last question: Witness, as far as I remember,
21 we met several times. Once we talked with two other BritBat officers
22 present, I believe. I prefer facts rather than opinions and impressions.
23 Tell me, was I ready to let you go where you wanted to go, to answer your
24 questions, to give my views, unofficially and in an open, frank
25 conversation without trying to hide any information or anything like that?
1 Is that the impression you gained after your meeting with me, for
3 A. That was the impression, yes.
4 Q. Colonel, thank you for answering my questions. Thank you for
5 coming to the courtroom.
6 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that completes
7 my cross-examination.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will take a 20-minute break,
9 and we shall start in 20 minutes' time from now, and Ms. Alaburic will
10 start the cross-examination.
11 Completes my cross-examination.
12 --- Recess taken at 5.27 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 5.47 p.m.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic.
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Before my colleague starts, perhaps
16 this is a good time for me to ask for an IC number for the video at Uzdol.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. Registrar.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, the video will become IC 587.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
20 Ms. Alaburic.
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
22 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel Gerritsen, good afternoon to you. I have
24 very little time at my disposal, and I'd like to make the best use of it
25 possible to the benefit of all in the courtroom. Therefore I'd like to
1 ask you that you with your great military knowledge and experience throw
2 light on some relevant events.
3 To start off with, I'd like to refer to my colleague, Mr. Kovacic,
4 Defence counsel for General Praljak, who asked you questions about the
5 possibility or impossibility of effective control, and in that context
6 I'd like to draw your attention, to begin with, to one single document
7 that I have prepared for your testimony. I don't know if it has been
8 given to the witness. P 09672, and it is a report by the European
9 Monitors dated the 14th of October, 1993, and what I would like to discuss
10 with you refers to point 8. But before that, can we just take note that
11 the report was compiled in Tomislavgrad. Is that right?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. And you were still in Tomislavgrad yourself, because at the
14 beginning we hear that you will be leaving in the following week. That's
15 what it says at the very beginning, in the second portion.
16 A. Yes, I was there.
17 Q. Tell me, Colonel, did you see this report before? Did you see it
18 before or is this the first time you have it in front of you?
19 A. No, I had such -- such reports in Tomislavgrad.
20 Q. Very well. Now, in point 8 mention is made of the HVO, and it
21 says that the 5th Army [as interpreted] is still weak, although it is
22 under the control of the state. The process of its organisation has still
23 not been completed. It is being established by the municipalities and the
24 state. And when in November 1992 the head of the Bosnian Croat government
25 was moved to Mostar or, rather, Grude, the brigades were placed directly
1 under its command, which led to the establishment of the operative zones.
2 Now, Mr. Gerritsen, can we discuss the HVO as an army and how this
3 was assessed by your institution, that is to say an army in its inception,
4 in the process of being established? Can you confirm or deny whether the
5 HVO was really as it is described here? And before --
6 A. Yes --
7 Q. Yes. Go ahead.
8 A. -- I can confirm that. An army should have, for instance,
9 uniforms, and of course all the same. It's all written down in the Geneva
10 Conventions. And regarding the -- regarding the Geneva Conventions, HVO
11 was a regular army.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I interject, with your leave, a question on
13 this sentence? It says: "The army is under state control." Which state
14 is referred to here?
15 THE WITNESS: The state of -- what's the name? I remember names
16 as Mate Boban and -- I do not --
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: He was not a state.
18 THE WITNESS: How should I call this state?
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Colonel --
21 A. [Previous translation continues] ... But.
22 Q. Colonel, are you thinking of the state which at that point in time
23 was called the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna? Are you thinking of
24 Herceg-Bosna? Is that what you're referring to?
25 A. Herceg-Bosna, yes.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I didn't put a leading question. I very
2 carefully avoided it.
3 Thank you.
4 Excuse me, Ms. Alaburic.
5 THE WITNESS: All these names.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Before we continue, I'd like to put the transcript correct. On
8 page 70, line 15, it says "the 5th Army," where it should be the HVO. So
9 we're just referring to the HVO.
10 Now, Colonel, do you know that the HVO was formed from the
11 military units which had been established at the level of municipalities?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. From this report that we read out it would follow that in November
14 1992 the Main Staff a started taking over control over those municipal
15 units, because it says when in November 1992 the headquarters of the
16 government was moved, the brigades were placed under the command of the
17 Main Staff.
18 Now, do you know that at the end of 1992 the Main Staff started
19 taking over control of the municipal military units? Is that something
20 you're aware of?
21 A. No. I haven't dates in my memory of these -- of these kind of
22 events, no.
23 Q. Can you then explain to us this date November 1992, which is
24 mentioned item 8 of the report?
25 A. Well, that's a report. I confirmed this, yes.
1 Q. Let me repeat the question. So can you confirm that at the end of
2 1992, as it says in the report, in November the Main Staff of the HVO
3 started taking over control over the municipal military units?
4 A. In this way I can confirm this, yes.
5 Q. Tell me, please, Colonel, to the best of your knowledge what is
6 the usual time necessary when a decision is made that somebody would start
7 taking over control over the military units in a certain area? For
8 example, how much time is realistically necessary for that control to take
9 effect, for them to take over control? I know it's a general question,
10 but on the basis your knowledge or the examples of the Dutch army, can you
11 perhaps tell us, or is it enough to make the decision in written form and
12 that solves the problem?
13 A. Well, it takes -- it takes time. The question is how much. I
14 think that event in 1992 makes the HVO army -- from that moment on you
15 have an army. If it is weak or -- whatsoever or not well-organised, but
16 it's a big risk to fight at the same moment. You need training and so on.
17 It depends on the situation, if you start fighting at the moment, but
18 it's great risk. It depends on what the enemy does. But it's not a
19 regular army as we have at this moment. That takes years. It's also a
20 matter of culture, and that takes years to teach and to have the same
21 behaviour. Yeah, years. Maybe to have an army like the Croatian army had
22 at the end of the war, or the Dutch army at this moment, well, ten years
23 or more. But you can also say that you have to do -- you have to do it
24 with the means you have, and this army had not the means but also the ABiH
25 not so. So it was in one way or the other equal. So that reduces the
1 risk in terms of winning or not winning. In terms of fights, as the
2 Geneva Conventions describes, I think it's not possible, but it's -- that
3 is stated already once this afternoon. It's very difficult, and there are
4 great risks. I already agreed with that.
5 Q. Thank you. Can we analyse item 8, especially in the portion where
6 it says that the HVO army is financed by the municipalities and the state?
7 Now, based on your military experience and knowledge, could we conclude
8 then that if a municipality finances its military unit or, rather, the
9 military unit located in its area, will the power -- will the authorities
10 in that municipality affect the conduct of that military unit or the
11 actions of that military unit?
12 A. If I understand it well, it is always difficult when you get a new
13 commander to obey for hundred per cent. That takes time. You need
14 confidence for the new situation. Is that what you mean?
15 Q. Well, no, not really. I was thinking about the possibility of
16 wielding influence, the local authorities wielding influence on military
17 units in the area with respect to control and command from a state level,
18 a higher level. Is the -- is there the possibility of intervening from
19 the aspects of the local authority financing the local military unit?
20 Based on your experience as a soldier, would you expect that logically?
21 But if you don't have any experience with that, we can move on.
22 A. Well, it's a couple of hundred years ago, I think, we had the same
23 problem in the Dutch army. That's a bit a problem. Of course you have
24 problems with that. That's obvious for me, but just as a logical human, I
25 think that, but I have no experience with that.
1 Q. Very well. Let's now discuss some matters which you'll find
2 easier to discuss.
3 You were in the area of responsibility of Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf,
4 and Prozor from mid-July to mid-September 1993. Is that right?
5 A. That's right.
6 Q. Is that area considered to be a territorial whole in the sense
7 that the events in Bugojno reflect upon the situation and events in
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you have any knowledge about the fact that in any of these
11 places in that area events there would reflect the state of relations in
12 Central Bosnia or, for example, the Mostar region?
13 A. Not specific, but it has, of course, reflections.
14 Q. Now, a number two, the Bugojno question. You told us in your
15 statement -- it says that the BH army had taken control of Bugojno, and in
16 the statement you gave to the Prosecution of this Tribunal in connection
17 with another trial, the proceedings against Hadzihasanovic and Kubura, you
18 spoke, among other things, about the fact that the Croatian prisoners of
19 war were beaten, that there were houses that had been set on fire, that
20 the BH army set fire to houses as well, and that the Croatian civilians
21 were exposed to looting, threats, and attacks. And these observations are
22 reflected in your reports, too. I have the numbers of those reports, but
23 perhaps we can summarise it in one question: Do you remember those
24 portions of your reports? Do you know what I'm referring to?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. In one of your reports for the 13th of August, and it is P 9631,
2 point 2(C) for those who would like to look this up, it was concluded that
3 the Croatian Community lives in fear. And in another document, also for
4 Their Honours the number is 9656, it is the report for the 1st of August,
5 point 4, you state that the Croats in Bugojno were concerned for their
7 Colonel, on the basis of these reports of yours, would it be
8 well-founded to conclude that fear on the part of the Croatian community
9 in Bugojno was realistic, a realistic fear?
10 A. It was a realistic fear, yes.
11 Q. Do you have any knowledge to the effect that, with respect to this
12 situation in the Croatian Community in Bugojno, the inhabitants of other
13 places in Bosnia and Herzegovina which had Croatian populations were aware
14 of this?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Thank you very much. If we could clarify the part of your report
17 that deals with the prisoners in the secondary school in Prozor. In
18 document P 9650, referring to the 9th of July, which is before your
19 arrival, so I'll ask you if you know of this, it says that Colonel Siljeg
20 told the observers -- or, rather, the monitors of the European Community
21 that they could go to the school. He made it possible for them to go to
22 the school. They could see that the prisoners were being treated well.
23 So did you know that the European Monitors were the first to be granted
24 permission to visit the prisoners in the school?
25 A. No.
1 Q. In the courtroom, Colonel, we have had witnesses testifying about
2 the way the detainees were being treated in the school. We were also able
3 to see a logbook of the events. So I wish to ask you whether you were
4 aware of some of these facts.
5 For example, did you know that the detainees were able to go home
6 to wash, to change, sometimes spend the night at home, that --
7 A. Which detainees and when?
8 Q. The detainees in Prozor in the technical school in the summer of
9 1993, that they were able to go home for the summer harvest without ever
10 being escorted either by a soldier or military policeman of the HVO, that
11 they all always returned to the school, that none of them ever escaped?
12 Were you aware of these details about the treatment of the detainees in
13 the school?
14 A. They told us, yes, when we visited them once. The harvest I
15 remember well.
16 Q. Were you told that they could be visited by members of their
17 family who could bring them food?
18 A. Yes, I remember such.
19 Q. Were you told that they went to work in various locations that had
20 nothing to do with any wartime events? For example, in bakeries, a
21 warehouse, a motel, a petrol station, and so on. And that in many of
22 these places the food was better than it was in detention.
23 A. It was mentioned.
24 Q. Are you aware that it was precisely because of this that many of
25 the detainees reported voluntarily to go to work in one of places I have
2 A. No, I do not remember.
3 Q. Did you know that the school was guarded only by two home guards
4 at a time?
5 A. No. This --
6 Q. Did you hear that none of the Muslims ever escaped or tried to run
7 away from the school?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Colonel, in your statement tendered into evidence on page 10 of
10 the text in English, in the last passage you say that on the 26th of
11 August, 1993, you reported seeing 25 prisoners of war of Muslim ethnicity
12 used by the HVO to dig trenches.
13 As it is not in doubt that various categories of people were being
14 detained, I wish to ask you how you established that these were prisoners
15 of war and that they were members of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 A. It depends on the -- the date is the 26th, but the date of the
17 imprisoned people before this. What was exactly the date?
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, there seems to be an error,
19 Ms. Alaburic. Perhaps the translation.
20 You speak of prisoners of war of Muslim ethnicity used by the HVO
21 to dig trenches, and then you say, "How did you establish that these were
22 prisoners of war and that they were members of the --" oh, a short while
23 ago it still read HVO. It has been corrected in the meantime. I'm sorry.
24 THE WITNESS: We visited the technical school at a certain date,
25 and from the technical school people dig trenches. We also visited other
1 detainees in Prozor who were in better is circumstances than in the
2 technical school. That is what I remember. So now I'm confused about
3 which detainees we are speaking.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. We can jog your memory and remind you of your statement. I quoted
6 you correctly. I assume you still have it before you in the Prosecution's
7 set of documents, but perhaps we don't need to spend time on that. We had
8 prisoners of war. We had civilians. We had another category who were
9 members of the HVO who had been disarmed. So I wish to know how you
10 established that these particular people were prisoners of war rather than
11 civilians or some third category of detainees.
12 A. Oh, that's difficult. It's mixed up. For sure is that not every
13 detainee was a soldier, isn't it.
14 Q. Colonel, I think it would be very useful if you were to clarify to
15 us a military term which we lawyers perhaps often misinterpret or fail to
16 understand. Today, when General Praljak asked you about Alagic's book, he
17 quoted his words saying, "We are not in a hurry to cleanse the remaining
18 Croatian area."
19 In your report referring to the 2nd of August, 1993, and it's in
20 the Prosecution set of documents, D9657.3, you said, "As reported last
21 night the Bosnia-Herzegovina side launched a large-scale attack last night
22 in the Gornji Vakuf area. They achieved most of their goals, but there
23 had still -- there are still small groups of HVO moving through the area.
24 The Bosnian-Herzegovinian forces are still mopping up or cleansing the
1 Colonel, can you tell us what to "mop up" or "cleanse the terrain"
2 means in military terms?
3 A. That you remove all the elements which normally are being called
4 enemies. You take them in prison, or if that's not possible and there are
5 fightings, you can wound them or kill them.
6 Q. If I may put a subquestion. Does that mean that after fierce
7 fighting you go back to the battlefield and check it to see whether in a
8 ruined house, for example, or somewhere else an enemy's still hiding?
9 A. Yes. That's a normal procedure.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have concluded.
12 Thank you.
13 Colonel, thank you very much.
14 Questioned by the Court:
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, before I give the floor
16 to the Prosecution for final examination I have a question myself. We
17 have watched a video submitted by General Praljak, and we saw you in that
18 footage. You were there in Uzdol, and obviously you were not aware of
19 Neretva 1993 operation. Did you know that two days before -- a few days
20 before Uzdol, Grabovica had taken place? Were you aware of the massacre
21 that occurred in Grabovica?
22 A. No, later; not at that time.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Therefore, when you went to
24 Uzdol, you did not know that a few days before that time there had been a
25 massacre perpetrated where 33 persons had been killed in Grabovica?
1 Nobody had told you about it?
2 A. No. We hadn't -- we had not that information.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We saw you in that video, but we
4 also saw a number of soldiers from the HVO apparently, because they were
5 carrying weapons, wearing camouflage uniforms. So we can come to the
6 conclusion that there were members of the HVO and not the ABiH. I also
7 noticed a soldier with blue berets, probably someone from UNPROFOR.
8 When you were there on site, in theatre, did no one wonder who had
9 committed these crimes?
10 A. Yes, we wonder, and the most likely conclusion at that moment was
11 the ABiH. Because --
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm looking at the way -- what I
13 said was translated, and I had said who had done this, and in English it
14 had been translated as who had committed these crimes. That's not what I
15 intended to say. I wanted to say who had done this, and it was a very
16 general sentence. I would like to ask the interpreters to be extremely
17 accurate when they translate what I say because French is an extremely
18 accurate language, and it's not -- should not be interpreted any which way
19 because then it has dramatic consequences.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Or a lot of consequences, interpreter's
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So let me come back to my
23 question. Your conclusion was that it was the ABiH, but did you know why,
24 what was the objective, what it was related to?
25 A. That was the question what the objective could be, and one of the
1 objectives could be - we talked about that - revenge or have fear among --
2 to get fear among the population. ABiH was in the -- was in the
3 surrounding of Uzdol. They -- it took not long to be -- to get at Uzdol.
4 More I can't say. These are just suggestions. We weren't sure about
5 anything, because we only saw that people, and -- and we had to draw
6 conclusions by the stories we've got from the people who were there, and
7 that were people from, as you said, from the HVO and the mayor of Prozor.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As a representative of the
9 European Union, because you were a monitor on behalf of Europe, didn't it
10 occur to you to go and see the ABiH to ask them for explanations?
11 A. Yes. Under these circumstances -- circumstances, we always do
12 that, ask for explanations. But the problem for me personally was that at
13 the same day I went to Tomislavgrad. In the morning I witness it, Uzdol,
14 because I was there, and in the afternoon I had to go to Tomislavgrad. It
15 was a coincidence that it was on the same day. And I'm not aware of what
16 Dave MacIver, my successor, did in this case. That's a strange
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. One last, very brief
19 question. You were a monitor, an observer as part of this European
20 mission, and one of your duties, one of the municipalities in your area of
21 responsibility was Prozor. So theoretically you should have been aware of
22 everything that was going on, on both sides, on the HVO side and on the
23 ABiH side. So at no point were you -- were you aware that there might be
24 an action by the HVO?
25 A. In the case of Uzdol, no.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Thank you.
2 A. If I -- you mean in advance. That's why the answer is no. In
3 advance, we didn't know.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But the task of a monitor is to
5 anticipate events, isn't it?
6 A. Oh, yes. If we expect something, we go to a specific place to
7 investigate. When there are -- fighting going on, we went there. We --
8 that's the way we were working. I agree. But not in the case of Uzdol.
9 We didn't get in advance any evidences that there would be a massacre on
10 the -- in Uzdol, or fightings.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
12 Mr. Flynn.
13 MR. FLYNN: Thank you, Your Honours.
14 Re-examination by Mr. Flynn:
15 Q. Good afternoon, Lieutenant Colonel. I have a very -- a few short
16 questions for you. My first question is relative to the exhibit which I
17 showed to you yesterday, 0P 6 -- 0P 9636 in the booklet, the Prosecution
18 booklet. Before I ask you the question, as I see it from the transcript,
19 yesterday what you told us towards the end of the day was that in or
20 around the 10th of August of 1993, you learned from the imam in Prozor
21 that the Muslim population had been gathered up and moved somewhere on the
22 east side. Isn't that correct?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. And then a number of days later, specifically, I think, on the
25 19th of August when you visited POWs in Prozor in the school, you got
1 information -- or afterwards you got information that the Muslims were
2 actually rounded up and put in three separate locations, Podgrade,
3 Lapsunj, and Duge. Am I correct so far?
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. And a few days after that you learned some disturbing news from
6 the imam that the Muslims bow in these places had been moved?
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. And this brought us to the 1st of September when you had a meeting
9 with Colonel Zeljko Siljeg, which you referred to in your report to the
10 1st of September, Exhibit P 636, and your evidence was that Colonel Siljeg
11 had told you that they had gone to Muslim territory and had gone
12 voluntarily. Correct so far?
13 A. Correct so far.
14 Q. And then Ms. Tomasegovic, when she was questioning you yesterday,
15 referred you to this exhibit, and then she said to you that from reading
16 the exhibit what she deduces is that the movement to Jablanica and to
17 Konjic, the Muslim areas, was something that you had not discussed but
18 that you had discussed their moving to Podgrade and Lapsunj, and she said,
19 "Am I right in saying that?" And you agreed with her that -- you agreed
20 with what she said. I just for clarification want to know --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Flynn.
22 MR. FLYNN: Yes, sir.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Flynn, please stop.
24 Ms. Tomasegovic doesn't seem to be agreeing with you. She's on her feet.
25 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I don't agree, because I
1 think that Mr. Flynn is quoting what I said erroneously. I put it to the
2 witness what it says in the document, and that was Jablanica and Konjic
3 that is mentioned, and I read out the sentence word-for-word as it stands
4 in the document. Now, as far as Podgrade and Duge is concerned, this is
5 something mentioned by the witness in response to a question from my
6 learned colleague when the colleague asked him on the basis of which he's
7 able to conclude -- on the basis of what is he able to conclude that
8 Colonel Siljeg did not -- was not telling the truth when he said that it
9 was voluntary departure.
10 Then this witness here in his statement said, in court, that he
11 concluded that from talking to people who were moved to Podgrade and Duge.
12 And I just pointed out the logical conclusion, that he talked to people
13 who found themselves in Podgrade and Duge where they were isolated, and
14 not in talking to people who had gone to Jablanica and Konjic because he
15 didn't find anybody there either when they moved or -- nor was he in
16 Jablanica and Konjic. And he told us himself that he didn't even know
17 under whose control Jablanica and Konjic were nor did he have anything to
18 do with that area.
19 So what I'm saying now is what the witness said on page 72 of
20 yesterday's transcript, lines 8 to 13, and I even referred to part of the
21 transcript where he mentioned Podgrade and Duge. And if my colleague is
22 quoting me, would he quote me correctly, because these are not minor
23 mistakes. They're mistakes which essentially change what I said and what
24 the witness said. Thank you.
25 MR. FLYNN: And I will quote the -- what was said. I drew it from
1 the transcript which had been corrected and which appears on page 1924,
2 and it says from line 14 where you were -- where you're discussing --
3 there's the mention of a discussion with Colonel Siljeg, and it says:
4 "However, from this document," referring to the report, "we can see that
5 it wasn't the fact that the Muslims were moved from Lapsunj and Podgrade
6 but from Jablanica and Konjic. And from that I deduce from this movement
7 to Jablanica and Konjic was not something you had discussed. You had
8 discussed their moving to Podgrade and Lapsunj. Am I right in saying
10 Q. And, Colonel, your reply was: "I agree with you so far."
11 Now, I only raise the matter because earlier you had told us that
12 at the meeting with Colonel Siljeg you had actually discussed the movement
13 of the Muslims to the Muslim territory. So I'm wondering, was the
14 conversation a discussion on the movement of Muslims to Muslim territory
15 or was the discussion on the movement of the Muslims from parts of Prozor
16 to the east of Prozor, namely the three locations that you had mentioned
17 earlier? It's just a matter of clarification.
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think I heard it
19 correctly and in the transcript it says that the colleague was quoting
20 this from 1924, page 1924.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but the witness can tell
23 Colonel, you heard the exchange. You heard the question put to
24 you by Mr. Flynn. Can you answer that question?
25 THE WITNESS: Yes. If I'm correct, what -- I should go into the
1 files, but we discuss with Siljeg also the -- the moment that the Muslims
2 who were in Podgrade and Duge and Lapsunj were left to other territory,
3 Jablanica and so on.
4 MR. FLYNN:
5 Q. Thank you. Now, this morning when Mr. Kovacic was questioning
6 you, the issue of impartiality arose, and to paraphrase it, effectively
7 you told the -- the Trial Chamber that in your opinion some of your
8 colleagues may have been more in favour of the Muslims.
9 What I want to ask you is this: The daily reports which emanated
10 from your area, Gornji Vakuf, were they balanced reports or were they
11 slanted in favour of one side or the other?
12 A. I think overall the conclusion is -- must be that these were
13 balanced reports. That's it.
14 Q. Did you show any partiality to one side or the other when drafting
15 the reports?
16 A. Discussions I saw only -- I saw partiality.
17 Q. But the reports that finally issued and went to Zenica, did they
18 represent the true position on the ground?
19 A. They present the true position on the ground.
20 Q. You're happy with that?
21 A. I'm happy with that. We had a discussion. I didn't -- I -- I
22 can't say -- well, these are slight differences, you know, but these are
23 balanced reports.
24 Q. Now, just moving on to a different topic. Again Mr. Kovacic and
25 General Praljak mentioned -- or questioned you in relation to
1 responsibilities of the military leaders and the question of -- of what
2 you would expect officers -- the duties and responsibilities of officers
3 under the circumstances that you found yourself, and particularly given
4 the nature of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I think you said that
5 it was not possible to persuade all men under the command of a senior
6 officer to -- to comply according to the Geneva Convention; is that
8 A. That's correct. There are risks, yes.
9 Q. But when you brought complaints to senior officers, would you have
10 expected those officers to make at least some effort to correct the
11 situation, any infractions that you made complaints about?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And your testimony yesterday, you indicated that you complained on
14 numerous occasions, whether it be about forced labour or other
15 infractions. And did you see any effort on the part of the HVO at any
16 stage to correct these infractions?
17 A. We saw till the end of my stage in that area people digging
19 Q. And all the way up to the time you left?
20 A. I do not -- yes, till the end. It's -- not the last day, of
21 course. I -- but till the end.
22 Q. And you spoke --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.
24 Yes, Ms. Tomasegovic.
25 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I feel called
1 upon personally with respect to part of the transcript read out by my
2 colleague Mr. Flynn because he was selective in reading out part of the
3 transcript and not the introductory couple of sentences, which confirmed
4 precisely what I said here a few minutes ago.
5 With the Court's permission, I'd like to read out the first three
6 sentences so that he can see that I'm not insinuating anything but that I
7 quoted the transcript to the best of my recollections at -- precisely as
8 it was said and recorded in the transcript. And I'm going to read out the
9 introductory part and then come to the portion of the quotation that was
10 read out by Mr. Flynn.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
12 continues] ... necessary because we can certainly read it ourselves.
13 Very well. Mr. Flynn, please put your question and we will see.
14 MR. FLYNN:
15 Q. Not so long ago you were answering questions from Ms. Alaburic
16 about the formation of the HVO, around you were talking about a young
17 army, and that it wasn't a regular army. And given that it would take
18 time for the HVO to effectively put itself together and become a regular
19 army as you would know a regular army, would you expect senior commanders
20 to be more careful about the orders which they gave?
21 A. Oh, yes. When you expect certain risks, you have to deal with it.
22 Q. And you fairly mentioned -- you fairly replied to General Praljak
23 when he asked you was it enough just to write an order and expect somebody
24 to comply with an order, and you said no. What steps would an officer be
25 expected to take to see that an order was followed up?
1 A. Well, control, of course, reports, investigations, all these type
2 of things. You can visit the units by yourself and so on.
3 Q. And would you expect an officer, if he found his orders weren't
4 being followed, to take disciplinary action against those people not
5 performing their duties?
6 A. You try to take measures. The question is always did you have
7 punish people or you can also teach people. But there are certain things
8 that shouldn't happen, and the question is always: Does the soldier in
9 question knows about all these --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.
11 Ms. Alaburic.
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I have an objection to make with
13 respect to Mr. Flynn's question. It is this: I think that we ought to be
14 more precise in defining the time to which the question relates with
15 respect to the conduct of commanders, because in situations of war
16 priorities are different from what they are in peacetime. So may we be
17 precise on this point? Is he talking about situations when there is
18 shelling in town, intensive fighting, or are we talking about relatively
19 peaceful periods?
20 MR. FLYNN: I'm talking about the circumstances under which the
21 HVO were formed, established themselves, and conducted their activities,
22 and I'm wondering -- my question is directed in relation of the HVO from
23 their formation onwards. So you're talking about 1992, 1993, and so on.
24 MR. KOVACIC: I would support my colleague, Ms. Alaburic. That is
25 too general. The objection which Ms. Alaburic raised was very specific.
1 In what circumstances? The witness provided a general response, and we
2 agree with it. The issue is, however, whether the priorities are change
3 while we are in -- directly involved in fighting or we are out of the
5 MR. FLYNN: And I may ask that question once I get an answer to my
6 general question, but I'm leading into it, and if you would allow me to do
7 so ...
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Mr. Flynn. The
9 question that you put is a legal question in nature, because it is -- it
10 concerns the disciplinary power of commanders, of superiors. So you can
11 put the question on the way it goes in the Dutch army in peacetime and in
12 war times, and then you can also ask the witness if he can make a
13 comparison with what he may have seen within the HVO. But to ask him
14 directly to find out how the disciplinary measures are taken in the HVO,
15 to me it seems a very hazardous thing to do.
16 MR. FLYNN: Well, this witness was asked specifically about his
17 impressions of the HVO by Ms. Alaburic, and he gave his impressions, and
18 there was no objection from the Prosecution, and the Bench didn't object
19 to it either. I'm moving -- I'm continuing that subject and that
20 discussion. He was on the ground. He was in a position to see what was
21 going on with the HVO, and I believe he would be in a position to answer
22 the question whether or not -- from what he saw, whether the senior
23 officers should have followed up with disciplinary actions if they saw
24 that their junior officers were not carrying out their duties. I don't
25 see anything wrong with the question.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
2 Can you answer that question, Witness?
3 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir. Which question should I answer now?
4 MR. FLYNN:
5 Q. Well, we'll be more specific. We were talking about the HVO, and
6 we had discussed the question --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please, Mr. Flynn.
8 In order not to waste any time to the Trial Chamber, when we talk about
9 Article 7(3), you know there is a division. The responsible must take
10 preventive measures. The responsible also has to have knowledge and must
11 sanction. So there are steps. It's quite complicated.
12 The witness -- does the witness know this? I would be very
13 surprised. You can of course put him a general question to that effect
14 and to ask us to give us his assessment, to tell us what superiors did
15 within the HVO and how they've carried out disciplinary actions.
16 MR. FLYNN:
17 Q. Colonel Gerritsen, are you familiar with the provisions of the
18 Geneva Convention?
19 A. Yes, I am.
20 Q. I think you may even have lectured on the issue; correct?
21 A. Yes, correct.
22 Q. And does the Geneva Convention apply to most armies?
23 A. They must do.
24 Q. Did the Geneva Convention apply to the HVO?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. When you were in the field as a monitor, were you looking to see
2 whether or not the Geneva Convention was being applied by the conflicting
4 A. No.
5 Q. So you didn't have -- you didn't bear in mind at all whether there
6 were infractions of the Geneva Convention?
7 A. Well, I -- no. There were -- it was against the Geneva
8 Convention. That's what I --
9 Q. No, my question -- it maybe you're confused.
10 A. Infractions?
11 Q. Crimes.
12 A. Crimes, okay.
13 Q. Violations.
14 A. Crimes -- yes, there were crimes of the Geneva Convention.
15 Q. Now, would you expect the officers of the conflicting forces to be
16 aware of the Geneva Conventions?
17 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, is this a cross-examination or a
18 re-examination? Mr. Flynn is leading the witness on very important
19 matters here. I object to that.
20 MR. FLYNN: Your Honour, I'm trying to be as patient and move the
21 witness on as -- my first question was very fair. He was speaking
22 specifically about the HVO. My colleagues constantly interrupt. I'm now
23 trying to bring him bit by bit to the issue.
24 MR. MURPHY: We have to interrupt [Microphone not activated].
25 MR. SCOTT: I'm sorry, Mr. Flynn, but I'm --
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please, Mr. Scott.
2 I notice that ever have I time we are -- whenever we are in redirect there
3 are always incidents. So -- always. So in order to avoid this, we have
4 to proceed in a professional manner. We have to try to avoid to ask
5 leading questions. Up until now, up until line 4 of page 93, there were
6 no leading questions.
7 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, this --
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Murphy rose to his feet
9 after line 6. Maybe the problem started there.
10 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, Mr. Flynn was asking -- conducting a
11 perfectly reasonable redirect examination, and then, as so often happens,
12 and I submit that it's an intentional run at the clock at the end of the
13 day, these harassing interventions start that are not fair. They're not
14 reasonable. Then Your Honour intervened, and I have to say and with the
15 greatest of respect, the objections that Your Honour made and I'm talking,
16 Mr. President, could have all been made to the same questions put by the
17 Defence. But all of a sudden everything took a complete turn in a
18 different direction when the Prosecution started putting reasonable
19 follow-up questions to the witness, and then Mr. Flynn, following the
20 president's direction, started going down a specific set of questions to
21 lay the foundation that you directed him to lay. So it's completely --
22 I'm sorry, Your Honour, but it's not appropriate.
23 Now, Mr. Flynn should be given the chance to conduct a
24 re-examination, and I have to disagree with my colleagues, but you know,
25 it seems the rules change. As soon as we're on redirect the rules
1 completely change and all the questions that the Defence were able to put
2 and assume and presume about the HVO and what they did or didn't know and
3 what they could have -- none of these things were put to them, and when
4 Mr. Flynn gets back on his feet it's a whole different set of rules. I
5 object to that. It's not fair.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may make one brief observation in order to
7 assist everyone. Mr. Flynn was asking a very general question over a span
8 of time of two, three years. Obviously it was a general question. It was
9 objected to. Perhaps if Mr. Flynn would get to the specific question that
10 he wanted to ask in that area then we could just move along. I understand
11 where he wants to go, but it has to be specific to the time, place, and
12 perhaps -- I think that's -- that's where all of the objections came up
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Karnavas, I think it is absolutely reasonable
15 to go from a general to a specific question.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: I agree.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And I really doubt whether it was justified to
18 cut off at the general question and to want to refuse a general question.
19 I don't think that was a just intervention that was justified.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: I didn't intervene, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: No, it wasn't you. But it was the side you are
22 talking for.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, I'm just trying to move the process along.
24 MR. SCOTT: Your Honours, on redirect -- and I apologise to my
25 colleague for intervening, I don't mean any offence to my colleague in
1 taking my feet, but Mr. Flynn was specifically responding to questions put
2 during cross-examination about the responsibility of a commander and very
3 general questions that were put by the Defence, and if we need to go back
4 and to go through the transcript to find them, we can do that tomorrow,
5 but there were a number of questions. How long does it take to create an
6 army? Well, maybe 10 years. Well, those were all general questions, and
7 Mr. Flynn asked a reasonable follow-up question: Well, Mr. Gerritsen what
8 do you do in that situation? What are the responsibility and -- those are
9 fair questions. But what happens, Your Honour, in response to what you've
10 said is that we get up on redirect and it becomes this constant series of
11 harassment, and then when Mr. Flynn tries to ask the questions that the
12 President asked him to ask it just continues, and we have to object to
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'd just like to say
15 one sentence --
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Flynn, please proceed.
18 MR. FLYNN: I'll try and shorten it, Your Honour and I'll try and
19 be specific.
20 Q. The circumstances in which you found yourself in Gornji Vakuf AOR
21 in the summer of 1993, can you tell us, did you see any efforts by senior
22 commanders to discipline their troops if they did not obey their orders?
24 A. I didn't personally see these things.
25 Q. Would you have expected them to do so --
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. -- given the circumstances they found themselves and the events
3 which were happening?
4 A. Of course.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. FLYNN: I don't have any further questions. Thank you, Your
7 Honours. That concludes my redirect. I'm sure up join with me,
8 Lieutenant Colonel Gerritsen is retiring from the military tomorrow, and
9 from the Prosecution we certainly wish him all the best and congratulate
10 him for his many years' service.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise but
12 perhaps it would be very valuable if the witness could explain to us how
13 he could see an HVO commander endeavour to do something with respect to
14 soldiers who engaged it in some unlawful act. How could he be expected to
15 see something like that?
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, but on line 16 the witness
17 said that he himself did not see anything, and that's written on line 16.
18 Colonel -- Mr. Praljak, we've concluded the hearing of this
20 Thank you very much on behalf of my colleagues and myself for
21 coming here to testify for the third time in your life before this
22 Tribunal, and I would like to congratulate you and to wish you good luck
23 in your military career. And that being said, I would like to ask the
24 usher to escort you out of the courtroom.
25 [The witness withdrew]
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very briefly. Mr. Registrar,
2 can we please move into a private session.
3 [Private session]
17 [Open session]
18 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Without giving any
20 names, we have a witness tomorrow. According to our calculations, unless
21 I am mistaken, for the Defence cross-examination they will have one hour
22 and 17 minutes. I do not have the precise number of minutes for each
23 counsel, between 5D, 6D, and 3D. So if tomorrow you haven't agreed
24 amongst yourselves, we will divide that time in three. So we have exactly
25 1 hour and 17 minutes left. This is for you. And then after that Judges
1 will put some additional questions. Then there's the redirect, and so on
2 and so forth.
3 I am saying this so that everybody is perfectly informed.
4 Ms. Nozica? Yes, I may have forgotten 2D.
5 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. Thank you. For the
6 record, I'd just like to say that I was interrupted halfway through my
7 cross-examination, but we shall agree amongst ourselves how much time each
8 of us will have with respect to the remaining time. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It would be best if
10 you could agree amongst yourselves. I prefer that solution, of course,
11 rather than deciding for you how much time is allowed to each Defence
12 counsel. We only intervene when you cannot agree on something. The best
13 would be to come tomorrow and say 1D needs this much time, 2D this much
14 time, et cetera. So you should agree amongst yourselves, and please let
15 us know how you have agreed on the time. It's not very complicated.
16 Witness is coming to testify. You can see who will put the questions
17 first, so I think that it's not too difficult to divvy up the time amongst
18 yourselves. If not, the Judges will do that for you.
19 As you will know, the hearing stands adjourned, and we will resume
20 tomorrow at 2.15. Thank you.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.56 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 31st day of May,
23 2007, at 2.15 p.m.