1 Tuesday, 2 October 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.15 a.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, kindly call the case,
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, registrar. Today we
10 are Tuesday the 2nd of October 2007. I'd like to greet the
11 representatives of the Prosecution, Defence counsel, the accused and all
12 the people giving us a helping hand.
13 It so happens that due to an error in our calculations, the
14 Prosecution has had 20 minutes less than it should have. Therefore, the
15 Prosecutor was not able to introduce some of the documents he wished to so
16 we have a very simple solution to this. After the cross-examination, and
17 as part of the redirect, the Prosecution will be able to adduce those
18 documents that are connected to the questions raised in the
19 cross-examination, and if necessary, ask for these documents to be
20 tendered by making submissions in writing.
21 As we have a little extra time, once we will have completed the
22 cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic defending -- and Mr. Praljak, and
23 Mr. Stojic's Defence team, I will give the floor to Mrs. Alaburic again so
24 that she can ask a few additional questions. But if her questions will
25 have been raised by other Defence counsel, then that will not be the case.
1 Much will depend on what happens here this morning. Then the Prosecution
2 will have time for redirect and can adduce new documents if need be. This
3 is how we are going to proceed this morning.
4 Would it be at all possible if we were to finish earlier than
5 expected, could we hear the next witness today, Mr. Poryvaev?
6 MR. PORYVAEV: Your Honour, I'm not sure because the witness came
7 a little bit later yesterday, not in the morning, and he has been working
8 with our assistants preparing for the trial. I don't think it's possible.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 MR. KHAN: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours. In relation
12 to the error in calculation that the Prosecution have been given 20
13 minutes less, it's our respectful submission that the error should be
14 remedied at the earliest possible opportunity. Of course, the Prosecution
15 is master of its own examination-in-chief and it may well be the case that
16 the questions asked go beyond merely admitting documents, but they would
17 perfectly be within their rights to ask questions on substantive issues.
18 In order to prevent proceedings becoming a jack in a box with then the
19 Defence seeking to stand up and cross-examine on those new issues, it
20 seems sensible, in our respectful submission, that as we are yet to start
21 the next cross-examination for the Defence, that my learned friend now, at
22 this juncture, continues his cross-examination -- examination-in-chief and
23 then we cross-examine as normal afterwards. Your Honours, that's our
24 respectful submission.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence of General
1 Petkovic supports that proposal.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] For once a Defence counsel agree
3 with what the Prosecution has said. We then feel that the Prosecution can
4 take the floor. Defence counsel feel that there might have been important
5 questions which you would have liked to put to the witness, and in that
6 case, if those questions have not been put, this might prejudice you, as
7 we have quite a lot of time today and 20 minutes is not much of an issue.
8 We entitle you to put other questions to the witness for 20
9 minutes. So we shall drop the blinds and bring the witness into the
11 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
12 [Trial chamber and legal officer confer]
13 [The witness entered court]
14 [Representative of Spanish government entered
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall move into closed
17 session again. So as to be able to display the logo.
18 [Closed session]
9 [Open session]
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are back in open session.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Prosecution, you have the floor.
12 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you, Your Honours.
13 WITNESS: WITNESS DV [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 MR. PORYVAEV: I will take an opportunity in proposing some
16 rectifications in the transcript because I noticed there were some
17 mistakes. First of all, page 33, line we should read Exhibit P02570. The
18 same page, 33, line 19, we should read instead of P0 -- P0502582, we
19 should read P02582. That's my rectifications to the transcript.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. I see that that last but one figure
21 is P0502582 and that -- although we have many documents that I think is a
22 bit too much.
23 MR. PORYVAEV: Yes, yes, yes. I agree but we have corrected. It
24 should be read P02582. Okay. It's --
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry.
1 MR. PORYVAEV: Sorry, I'm getting a little bit lost.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Poryvaev, yesterday I
3 noticed that we had this very long number, a great number of digits. I
4 did not say anything because I think it was obvious to everyone that you
5 were talking about 02582, but you are quite right to mention it and to
6 give us the right number. Please proceed.
7 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Further examination by Mr. Poryvaev:
9 Q. Witness, yesterday we started talking about Ljubuski, but due to
10 lack of time we had to wind it up and finish at some point and I've -- now
11 I would like to address you to your -- to logbook entry of the 15th of
12 August 1993. Have you found it?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Here we have that you had contacts with UNHCR to discuss the
15 problem of expulsion of 150 Muslims from the area of Ljubuski. Is it
17 A. What this information reflects is that members of my section were
18 at that meeting with the UNHCR, yes, that's correct.
19 Q. On the following day, on the 16th of August, UNCIVPOL and UNHCR
20 requested the presence during the night in the village of Gradska where
21 there were 50 Muslim families, 250 women, children and elderly, 92 men of
22 aged between 18 and 60 taken to Heliodrom. And you just stated that you
23 at some point got involved in this problem. What were your actions?
24 A. In theory, this was quite established practice. The UNHCR
25 requested, because they needed the information, the support of UNPROFOR
1 for technical reasons. In practice, I seem to recall that they requested
2 that there be a military presence in that town that night, and I don't
3 remember very well but I think that that presence was provided. I don't
4 remember the details. But my mission was to analyse the request from the
5 UNHCR, and we decided to provide the information to UNCIVPOL and
6 everything necessary was done so that this would be carried out. Thank
8 Q. Now I will turn you to Exhibit P04214. This is binder 3. English
9 page 3. 04214.
10 A. Yes, I have it before me.
11 Q. Here we have that on the 15th of August, the section received
12 information concerning the expulsion of Muslims. Is it the same
13 information you've just told the Trial Chamber about?
14 A. Yes. I understand that this concerns the same information.
15 Q. And let's go back to the 24th of August, to your logbook, where
16 you stated that on that day, 24th of August you received information that
17 over 800 Muslim refugees, mainly women, children, elderly have been taken
18 by the HVO to the Vrdi zone in buses, and forced to come towards Dreznica,
19 Muslim zone, and I would like now -- we discussed it yesterday, but I just
20 used to these entry just to remind you of the situation. And now I would
21 like you to turn to Exhibit P04472, 4472, binder 3?
22 A. M'hm.
23 Q. This is page 5 English and page 2 Spanish.
24 A. Yes. I have the document before me. I confirm that this is an
25 official document which is INTREP 352 from the 24th of August and it
1 states that there is a reconnaissance patrol from SpaBat there and this
2 was patrolling in the region of Dreznica, and there we had about 1.000
3 refugees, mostly women, children and elderly heading towards Dreznica
4 taken by HVO. Currently, transport is being conducted outside of the
6 Another INTREP confirms this information. It was quite frequent
7 for patrols in the region to come across groups of civilians who had left
8 an area of conflict, escaping fire, and therefore, the patrols would try
9 to deal with any requests for help at that time. This was mainly -- I
10 remember one particular case where there was a child wounded by a bullet.
11 Q. And then you have Exhibit P04623, binder 3. This is INTREP 278,
12 dated 29th of August 1993. Have you found it?
13 A. Yes, I have found it. I have found the document.
14 Q. Do you authenticate this document?
15 A. Yes, I authenticate this document.
16 Q. Then here we have today about 600 refugees crossed Dreznica-Vrdi
17 confrontation line, men aged 20 and 70, they look pathetic and show signs
18 of starvation. They come from the prisons of Dretelj, Gabela and Prozor.
19 According to BiH army a group of 1500 refugees had to cross the
20 confrontation line at Slatina. My question is here we have 29th of August
21 and before we just discussed the situation with just Muslims on the 24th
22 August. Perhaps we can clarify, was it the same group or -- of Muslims
23 mentioned on the 24th and 29th or different?
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Before the gentleman answers the question, just for
25 technical purposes, is there a foundation? The gentleman is
1 authenticating documents saying that this is an official document. It
2 then goes on to read the document as if he was present there, as if he had
3 generated the document, and then says well, this is what happened.
4 In other words he's reading hear say and then he's authenticating
5 not just the document but also the content as if the content is true,
6 accurate and complete. Now the same thing is happening on the 29th of
7 August. My question is was the gentleman present? Does he have any
8 firsthand knowledge? Otherwise the document speaks for itself. He
9 authenticates the document, the document comes in, you may need to bring
10 in another witness to discuss the content. But unless he has personal
11 knowledge I would object to the gentleman simply reading a document and
12 saying this is what happened. I'm not suggesting that --
13 MR. PORYVAEV: Your Honour, could I explain? I'm sorry.
14 Yesterday, I showed the witness his logbook. All these dates. And number
15 of Muslims were mentioned, and now I ask questions in development of my
16 yesterday questions. He confirmed the entries in his logbook.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: If the gentleman can confirm that he was present
18 and has actual knowledge, we can move on. Otherwise, I don't think it's
19 very beneficial to have someone read official documents and then verify
20 the contents of the documents unless he has some sort of independent
21 knowledge of it. That's all I'm saying Your Honour, and I think that's
22 called a foundation.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I will put the question to him
24 directly. Witness, this document, 4623, bears INTREP number 278. This
25 document was drafted on the 12th of August 1993. So my question is a very
1 simple one: When you were at the time fulfilling your function, did you
2 see this document, INTREP 278.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course. All the documents that
4 came from the 2nd or 3rd section were distributed to all the other
5 sections. So that all the circumstances would be known to all units. So
6 hours after its drafting I was aware of it.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the time, had you read this
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes, it was my duty to
10 do it and I did it.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So everything mentioned in this
12 document was something which you had direct or indirect knowledge of at
13 the time; is that right?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Please proceed,
16 Mr. Poryvaev.
17 MR. PORYVAEV: Thanks, Your Honour.
18 Q. Just, witness, I would like to you answer my question. My
19 question was, was it the same group of detainees that was seen on the 29th
20 of August?
21 A. What has to be understood is that this was a different group. It
22 wasn't the same group because we are talking about different dates. The
23 INTREPs, which are intelligence reports, cover one specific day or a
24 specific time frame and so it reflects that particular point in time.
25 So I understand, when I read these two differently dated
1 documents, that they refer to two different groups.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay, may we get some clarification? Is the
3 gentleman then speaking from personal actual knowledge or is it something
4 that is inferred from the document itself? Which of the two? And that's
5 my -- that was the purpose of my objection, Your Honour. Because the
6 documents do speak for themselves. We don't need to have the Prosecutor
7 read the document to us. We can read them and I know where he's going
8 but -- so that was my objection.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Sir, when I put you
10 the question -- when I put the question to you whether you had direct or
11 indirect knowledge of this, I anticipated that Defence counsel would react
12 this way. So what can you say to respond to what has just been said? Was
13 this direct or indirect knowledge? Was this something you heard about
14 because somebody told you? Did you learn it from hear say or not?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, obviously not the whole
16 section is on the confrontation line. This is information which comes
17 from certain officers who were present at the confrontation line. This
18 comes from the appropriate channels and is reflected in the second section
19 which was then distributed to the other sections but I cannot, for
20 example, say whether there, the state of the prisoners was pathetic
21 because I didn't see it with my own eyes. What I can say is that the
22 information came to us via the second section on the day.
23 Now why did we receive this information? Because our duty was to
24 inform the NGOs, part of our duty to understand the situation on the
25 ground and inform the NGOs, but I was not part of that group. If that is
1 what the Defence counsel's question is, because I was -- I did not
2 actually see it with my own eyes, if that answers your question, sir.
3 MR. PORYVAEV:
4 Q. My next question is let's go back to logbook, 8th of September,
5 and this is page 44 -- maybe it's Spanish -- they say that on that day
6 SpaBat participated in the negotiations to evacuate 300 displaced persons.
7 Have you found it?
8 A. Yes. Yes. I've found it. I think it's page 50 in the Spanish
9 version. The 8th of September, in the sixth paragraph they are talking
10 about managing the 100 displaced people towards Patkovinca [phoen] yes.
11 Q. Sorry, one moment, I'm sorry. The last paragraph "Negotiations to
12 evacuate 300 displaced persons," yes?
13 A. Yes, yes, that's correct. I identify this as an entry in the
14 logbook of the section. I can clarify that I personally did not perform
15 this management because I was involved in the aerial evacuation of
16 individuals from Mostar, but I can say that I was involved also in the
17 solution of medicines problems in the region of Mostar. I had had that
18 written in my personal diary. So I can confirm that this document is
20 Q. Okay. My next question, let's take a look at Exhibit P04870.
21 This is binder 3. English page 7. Have you found this document?
22 A. Yes, yes. The document, yes, but now I have to find the page.
23 What page was it, I beg your pardon?
24 Q. Page 4 in Spanish.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Do you recognise this document?
2 A. Yes, yes. This is a document which has the 289 INTREP which
3 corresponds to the date 8 of September, yes. Yes, and here in the third
4 point, under miscellaneous, other information they talk about some 300
5 refugees hoping that they can be evacuated the following day when the HVO
6 enables this to be possible, and then they were saying that it would be a
7 question of days before the HVO secures the area. So this was a technical
8 analysis of what was happening in situ at the time.
9 Q. Next Exhibit, 04905, binder 1. INTREP 290, dated 9th of September
10 1993. English page 3, Spanish page 4. Topic Jablanica. They state here
11 that "This morning SpaBat evacuated refugees." Do you know about this
13 A. Yes. I recall that this evacuation took place.
14 Q. And my final question, Your Honour, now I will turn you to your
15 personal diary, to the 9th of June.
16 A. Yes. 9th of June?
17 Q. Yes, yes.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you preside over a meeting in Medjugorje? They are talking
20 about in this document? What kind of meeting was it and what issues were
22 A. Yes. Yes. In theory, every week, on a certain set days, but also
23 in case of need when there was a relevant event, all the representatives
24 from all of the organisations would meet in Medjugorje to have a briefing
25 about the situation. In that meeting the technical situation was
1 discussed. Risks were also presented. What were the statutes or the
2 statuses of the roads and any other relevant information for the NGOs, and
3 I presided over that meeting.
4 In this particular case on the 9th of June we expounded a major
5 problem which was in the Vlata [phoen] region. It hadn't been -- it had
6 been difficult at that time to reach a compromise among all of the
7 organisations so that humanitarian aid could be delivered to that region
8 because the NGOs were saying that until there was a cease-fire, they could
9 not bring the aid. Thank you.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] You are talking about the 9th of
11 June but in the document we are talking about the 9th of July, witness.
12 Can you please confirm this?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the Spanish document that I have
14 before me, in my personal diary, we are talking -- if we are talking about
15 the same document, we are talking about the personal diary, is that so?
16 It is the 9th of 6, Your Honour. In my personal diary.
17 As I said, I carried my personal diary to remind myself of what
18 was happening in every day -- well, thank you for that but I was talking
19 about, that I understand that in the English version, it needs to be
21 MR. PORYVAEV:
22 Q. Witness, please could you repeat the region? Because it didn't
23 come out in the transcript, the region of the problem you were discussing?
24 A. Yes. The official region that we knew was Donja Mahala
25 neighbourhood, the Donja Mahala neighbourhood.
1 Q. And then I will turn you to Exhibit 02593. I think that it should
2 be binder 2. 02593. Have you found it?
3 A. Yes, yes. I've found the document. I'm looking at the Spanish
4 part. This document is an INTREP 139, dated on the 23rd of May -- sorry,
5 INTREP 189.
6 Q. Sorry, the date, please?
7 A. Yes. It's the 23rd of May, quite come -- sorry, the 31st of May
8 at the end of the day, it was written. I'm referring to 2593, is that
9 correct? Or have I got the wrong document.
10 Q. SpaBat INTREP 189, yes?
11 A. Yes, that's correct, INTREP 189, page 3, yes, I have it before me.
12 Q. "The town council of Muslim quarter Donja Mahala have sent a
13 letter." Have you found this document?
14 A. Yes. Yes. It discusses the situation. It talks about the
15 council Chambers of Donja Mahala and its negotiations with SpaBat in which
16 we are trying to -- 2500 displaced people. These people were accommodated
17 in -- these refugees were accommodated in council Chambers.
18 MR. PORYVAEV: Your Honour. This was my final question. Thank
19 you very much for your generosity and patience.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Ms. Alaburic, you
21 may want to resume, since the Prosecution dealt with some new subjects.
22 You have the floor.
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, does that mean that I
24 may continue my cross-examination before my colleagues carried out their
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, normally you could
2 continue with your cross-examination but related to the questions raised
3 in the last 20 minutes.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will not have any
5 additional questions related to the questions raised in the last 20
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As for the rest, Ms. Alaburic,
8 you needed how many minutes for the remainder of your cross-examination?
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] In view of the fact that we are
10 losing a relatively large amount of time on interpretation, I think up to
11 40 minutes would be sufficient for me to complete my cross-examination,
12 but I will be satisfied with less if any time remains after my colleagues
13 are finished.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Ibrisimovic do
15 you wish to proceed on the basis of the new questions?
16 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. We have
17 no intention of putting additional questions.
18 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] We do not have additional
19 questions either, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let us proceed with
21 the cross-examinations. Mr. Karnavas?
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Good morning, Mr. President, good morning, Your
23 Honours. Good morning everyone in the courtroom.
24 Cross-examination by Mr. Karnavas:
25 Q. Good morning, sir. I have just have a very few questions to ask.
1 Hopefully in five minutes we can get through this.
2 Now, I'm going to be referring to the statement that you gave on
3 the 2nd, 3rd and 6th of July 2007. I believe that's Prosecution document
4 P10217. Now, if we look at paragraph 161 -- incidentally I should have
5 introduced myself. My name is Michael Karnavas. With me is Mrs. Ana
6 Tomanovic, and we represent Dr. Jadranko Prlic; hence why we're going to
7 paragraphs 161 and 165. So if we could start of with 165 and then we'll
8 go to 161.
9 In your statement you say on August -- "On the 24th of August, we
10 stated in our summary that a high level meeting was held between my
11 commander, Mr. Thornberry bring, Prime Minister Prlic, Bruno Stojic and
12 Jerry Hume." Now, just to make sure that I'm clear on this, you did not
13 attend that particular meeting; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, that's correct. I organised the meeting but my president --
15 my commander was there, Mr. Thornberry and the other names were there so
16 that's correct. I did not actually discuss the issues there.
17 Q. Right. There is documentation, I suspect, concerning that
18 particular meeting. But as far as you know -- well, let me ask you this:
19 Were you debriefed afterwards concerning that particular meeting? Did you
20 get a debriefing from your superior, your commander?
21 A. Yes. Naturally. Not only that but I also had orders to organise
22 a convoy.
23 Q. All right. Very well.
24 Now, let's go back to 161 now, paragraph 161. I just want to
25 clarify one point here. Here, it's unclear whether we are talking about
1 the 19th, the 20th, or the 21st of August. But you talk about a meeting
2 after a meeting with Prlic and Thornberry an agreement was reached and
3 eventually they gave permission so that on Friday a convoy could go
5 Now, again, let me ask this question. Were you present at this
6 particular meeting?
7 A. No. On the 19th, the date is there to describe the process. On
8 the 19th I met with Mr. Thornberry, I met with him officially, and then we
9 organised the convoy with supplies on the 20th. On the 21st, we prepared
10 the convoy. In this meeting with Thornberry and Mr. Prlic I wasn't there.
11 I wasn't of a high enough level to be present.
12 Q. Okay. Well, I'm wondering how is it that you place Mr. Prlic at
13 this meeting? Because if I look at your diary, and we're talking about
14 document P10269, and we go to page 10 of it in English, what we have is
15 the 19th, the 20th, and the 21st, you have some entries there, there is no
16 mention of Mr. Prlic.
17 On the 20th of August, for instance, you note that there was some
18 sort of a meeting between Mr. Thornberry, Mr. Benabou, Mr. Stojic,
19 Mr. Bozic, where there was a discussion of the UN convoy with medical aid
20 for Mostar. But as you would -- you would agree with me there is no
21 Mr. Prlic either on the 19th, 20th or 21st?
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, to solve this problem,
23 Mr. Karnavas, you have the Exhibit 4472, which shows, on page 5.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: 4472, Mr. President, is regards August 24th. That
25 was the document that the gentleman was shown. But we are talking about
1 August 19th, 20th or 21st, and since the gentleman has it in his diary --
2 in his statement, this is why I'm asking the question is how is it that
3 he's placing Mr. Prlic at a particular meeting when in the document, in
4 the exhibit, which is 10269, the gentleman's diary itself, there is no
5 mention -- there is an August 20th, we see, he says that he participated
6 together with Mr. Thornberry, Mr. Benabou, Mr. Stojic, and Mr. Bozic in a
7 meeting which discussed plans for UN convoy with medical aid for Mostar.
8 Q. Do you see that, sir? Sir, I'm asking you a question if you could
9 be so kind as to just direct your full attention to my question as opposed
10 to looking at documents?
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, yes, please, look at
12 the counsel and then you can look for the document.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Like in the army we have to abide by orders and
15 there is a particular order -- [Speakers overlapping]
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand perfectly. I thank you
17 for mentioning my personal diary because I usually put things in my
18 personal diary that I'm personally involved in. In the logbook, on the
19 20th of August, the first -- one moment, please.
20 Q. Excuse me, excuse me, sir?
21 A. Well --
22 Q. Excuse me, sir. Here I'm the commanding officer, and I'm giving
23 the orders, and I'm asking to you look at the document? One document at --
24 [Speakers overlapping]
25 A. Very well.
1 Q. My way not your way, okay? Now, I don't mean to be aggressive but
2 I'm trying to just do my job. And I'm not going to let you do what you
3 did yesterday to Mrs. Alaburic, I'm sorry. So in your personal diary,
4 looking at 20th August, there is no mention of Mr. Prlic there, yes or no,
5 just answer that question, and then we'll go step by step. I'm not going
6 to mislead you, sir.
7 A. I understand, Your Honour, that I have to do as the Defence is
9 Q. Absolutely.
10 A. Obviously, in my personal diary there is no reference, you're
12 Q. Thank you. And may I remind you that when you came in here, the
13 president instructed you on how the direction is going to be -- how we
14 question over here, okay? So I understand that you might be used to a
15 different system in Spain or wherever else you may come from, but this is
16 the procedure. Please abide by it.
17 Now, if we look at the next document, which is P2108, now, that's
18 the daily information summary, you see, we are going to go step by step.
19 I'm going to be very fair to you, sir. Now, if we go, for instance, to
20 August 24th, which would be on page 39, we clearly see that there was a
21 meeting, and we clearly see that Mr. Prlic is at that meeting on the 24th.
22 On the 24th. Okay? Which is page 39 of English.
23 Now, if we -- and the reason I'm pointing at the 24th because
24 clearly we can see that, you know, even though you indicated you were not
25 at that meeting on the 24th, we have a document which was referred to
1 earlier, 4472, now we look at this document, P2108, and we clearly we can
2 connect the dots and show that on the 24th, Mr. Prlic was at this meeting.
3 Now, if we look earlier, you see, this is why there was no need
4 for you to look for it because I've already done the work for you, if you
5 look at the 19th and the 20th, on the 20th, for instance, we see that
6 there are some meetings, we see some names. You would agree with me, sir,
7 would you not, at least in the English part on page 38, there is no
8 Mr. Prlic at any meeting?
9 A. This is correct. He's not mentioned.
10 Q. Thank you very much, sir. I have no further questions.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but, Witness, did you say
12 at some point in time that Mr. Prlic had taken part in a meeting on the
13 20th of August?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know whether I said it or
15 not. I don't think I have enough elements to say that he was there that
16 day. We know that Mr. Thornberry had high level meetings, but I don't
17 know because I can't see anywhere that the meeting was with Mr. Prlic. If
18 that is the question. Right now, I don't remember or I don't know what
19 the dates were. Many things happened at that time.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We are now going to
21 proceed. Now who is it? Whose turn is it? I can't remember.
22 Mr. Kovacic?
23 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour, it is Ms. Nozica, I'm sorry.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sorry, Mrs. Nozica.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good morning, thank you, Your Honour.
1 Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica:
2 Q. Good morning, sir. I'm Defence counsel together with my
3 colleague, Karim Khan, for Mr. Stojic. And yesterday, I noticed that in
4 the courtroom, there was somebody who for once speaks faster than I do
5 because I've been accused of speaking very, very fast. So I'd like to ask
6 you to slow down, both of us to slow down, to give the interpreters a
7 chance and not make it a problem for them.
8 In your statement of July 2007, and that is document P0217, you
9 don't have to look at the document, I will ask you to focus on the parts I
10 would like to deal with. I hope that the witness has a copy of my binder
11 and that everybody else in the courtroom does too, the Prosecution, Their
12 Honours. So we are referring to statement P10217, but as I say there is
13 no need for you to look at it. You can listen to my questions, and I'll
14 tell you when you need to look at the document. Anyway, in paragraph 113
15 to 120, you spoke about the contacts you had with Mr. Bruno Stojic, with
16 respect to the release of four interpreters, Muslim interpreters,
17 associates or, rather, assistants of the military observers, and of the
18 International Red Cross, the UNHCR, who were kidnapped on the 16th of June
19 1993 in the Konjic pocket.
20 Now, sir, in the courtroom, we've discussed this topic very many
21 times. However, we now have someone here who took part in this directly
22 and that person is you. So I would like to go through certain matters and
23 clarify certain things step by step, and I don't think there will be any
24 problems there. In paragraph 113 of your report, you said the following:
25 You said, on the 17th of June, I had contact with Minister Stojic, during
1 six hours of negotiations in which I had to pressure him to free four
2 Muslim interpreters. That's what it says, word by word. Am I right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, in paragraph 120 of that same statement, you say the
5 following: "I would not say that Stojic, as a commander, was not able to
6 solve the problem with the interpreters. He simply did not have the means
7 of communication in order to make proper and sharp or convey proper and
8 sharp decisions and also, according to what he said, the Croats from
9 Konjic acted independently." Have I stated that correctly?
10 A. It is correct.
11 Q. Sir, let's try and clear up some things together, some of the
12 observations you make in your statement, and they are the following: What
13 pressure did you exert on Mr. Stojic for six hours? Was this kind of
14 pressure necessary? Just listen to me. Let me finish. Was he the
15 commander? And the third point is this: Was it only according to his
16 statement that the Croats in the Konjic pocket acted independently?
17 Now, through my following questions and the documents we are going
18 to look at, I'm sure we'll arrive at answers to all those three questions.
19 Now, my first question is this: Did you know that the UNHCR, on the 16th
20 of June 1993, immediately upon the arrest of these interpreters, sent a
21 request for their release to the Office of the President of HZ HB, who was
22 Mr. Boban? Did you know that? Were you aware of that?
23 MR. PORYVAEV: Your Honour, I think the witness is completely lost
24 because I see at least four questions put in a run. Which one should be
25 answered now?
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, please try to ask
2 one question at a time, otherwise it's difficult to keep track.
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think I said it
4 clearly enough but I'll repeat. We have three questions, three things we
5 are challenging, and we'll arrive at the answers step by step.
6 Q. Now, the question that I'm asking the witness now is this: Did he
7 know, was he aware of the fact that the UNHCR on the 16th of June straight
8 away, after the interpreters were arrested, sent in a request for their
9 release to the Office of the President of the HZ HB?
10 A. My answer is no, I didn't -- I wasn't aware of that situation.
11 Q. Let's now look at a document. It is P02793, and it is a document
12 you'll find in my binder which is the pink binder. Is that it? I see
13 you've taken it out of the pink binder but it is the third document from
14 the top. Tell me when you've found it, please.
15 A. I found the document. I have the English version.
16 Q. For the Trial Chamber, I'd just like to say that you have yellow
17 stickers which mark the documents having the status of exhibit, so as you
18 say, this is a document you've never seen before. You're looking at it
19 for the first time now. Now would you look at its contents, please?
20 Look at the first page of the document, and although it has
21 exhibit status, this first page has not been translated but it's easy to
22 conclude that we are dealing with the 16th of June, that that is the date,
23 and that this document was sent to Mr. Bruno Stojic and Bruno Pesic
24 [phoen] and it says at the bottom, "Mr. President, I would like to hear
25 your stand with regards to this issue of Vlado Pogarcic," and then it says
1 "urgent" underneath.
2 Did you ever meet Mr. Vlado Pogarcic, sir?
3 A. No. I don't know that person.
4 Q. Very well.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, there may be a
6 mistake. You said that this document was sent to Mr. Petkovic. I'm
7 looking at the people who were supposed to receive it. There is Boban,
8 General Petkovic, Mr. Prlic, SpaBat and ECMM. I can't see the name of
9 Mr. Stojic.
10 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the original
11 document, it says to Mr. Pogarcic in person and at the bottom it says who
12 it was also sent out to. Now, in an attending letter, and this is a
13 Prosecution document, this is it, it is an additional document attached to
14 the first, and it says that the Office of the President sent this copy to
15 Mr. Stojic, in the cover letter.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And that was not translated; is
17 that correct?
18 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] That's right. Your Honour, this has
19 the status of exhibit but this page has not been translated. That's quite
20 right. We'll see about that in due course because that was an omission
21 when the exhibit was admitted.
22 Q. Anyway, sir, you don't know that it reached the Presidency so
23 let's move on. Let's look at your report, P02794, dated the 16th of June
24 1993. It is in the Prosecution binder on page 4 of both the English and
25 Croatian versions. 02794 is a document that you were shown yesterday by
1 the Prosecutor.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now, I'd like to refer to two points to see if you can confirm
4 them. It is your report, right, dated the 16th of June? And it says that
5 this report relates to a period ranging between the 15th of June, 1830
6 hours, to the 16th of June, 1830 hours. On page 4, it says, well, we are
7 dealing with the 16th of June, and I'm referring to the portion related to
8 Jablanica-Konjic. It says that it seems that the HVO soldiers who
9 captured the interpreters did this without the knowledge of the commander
10 of that pocket, who previously had meetings with the presidents because
11 they even threatened the HVO escorts that was -- escort that was with
13 Now, on the second page, after the names of these interpreters, it
14 says that contact was established with the HVO and that two letters were
15 prepared from General Lasic and Mr. Stojic, and that at 845 hours a
16 Jablanica platoon received orders to take the letters and try to have the
17 prisoners released.
18 Therefore, sir, can we agree that from this report, it follows
19 that you, already on the 16th of June, straight after these interpreters
20 had been captured, concluded that this capture was most probably
21 perpetrated without the knowledge of the commander of the pocket? Would
22 that be right?
23 A. This is correct.
24 Q. Furthermore, from this report, it would follow that, already on
25 the 16th of June, so that same day, when the interpreters were arrested,
1 General Lasic and Mr. Stojic sent two letters to the commander of the
2 Konjic pocket requesting that the interpreters be released. Is that also
4 A. Yes. It's correct. I don't know whether request is the right
5 word or to order. I don't know that. In the translation of his words, I
6 don't know whether to say, "Request" or "order" would be the right word,
7 to order the release or to request the release. I'm not quite sure.
8 Q. Well, for the moment, well, your intervention is in order but
9 we'll get to that. We'll deal with who can issue an order and who can
10 issue a request. We'll come to that in due course.
11 Let's look at your report now, once again it was shown by the
12 Prosecutor, it is in the Prosecution binder, P02804. It is also a report
13 dated the 16th of June 1993. But it was -- the time is 2250 hours, and
14 I'd like to focus on what it says on page 2 of that document. So it's a
15 report written on the same day but later on that day, and it says, I'm
16 looking at the routes and then the subtitle, information, and it says, and
17 once again refers to the arrest, when the meeting was finished, a group of
18 HVO soldiers, it seems without the knowledge of their commander,
19 threatened by force of arms and captured and once again all the four
20 names, all the four commanders are mentioned, and then it goes on to say
21 that SpaBat, in the area, brigadiers Lasic and Stojic, and Mr. Stojic
22 promised that he would release them the following day.
23 Now, sir, you've read the report. You know what it's about. From
24 this report, we can see once again that this was perpetrated by a group of
25 soldiers without the knowledge of the commander of the pocket and that
1 Mr. Stojic acted immediately after he learned of their arrest and took
2 steps; is that correct?
3 A. This is correct.
4 Q. Let us now look once again at the Prosecution document P02808
5 dated the 17th of June, and the time is 1830 hours. It's in the
6 Prosecution binder. Tell me when you've found the document.
7 A. I've found it.
8 Q. I'm referring to what it says on page 4 of both the Croatian and
9 the English versions. Now, sir, here we have a whole sequence of events
10 under the heading, "Jablanica" and you say, we are talking about the date,
11 it's very important, the date was the 17th of June, and you say that steps
12 were taken to release the interpreters, the headquarters of the HVO was
13 contacted, and as the result of that, they issued an order for release.
14 They decided to send Zarko, Keza, to the Konjic pocket and after
15 that, it says that the Bosnian army, the BH army, did not authorise his
16 passage through their territory. And that's why he wasn't able to pass
17 through. Then it says at 1300 hours, in Masat, two in Masat telephone
18 lines were placed at the disposal of the command of the Konjic pocket and
19 the HVO Minister of Defence, Stojic, for communication to be established.
20 When it was established, Commander Zuhric that's where it says
21 here, told the captain of SpaBat that he would receive an answer with
22 respect to the release or non-release of the prisoners at 1700 hours. At
23 1700 hours, the communication was established once again and it was said
24 that they would reach an agreement by 1700 hours the following day, and
25 then a final attempt was made at 1830 hours of that same day. This is a
1 report dated the 17th of June, when you, in your report, stated that you
2 held negotiations with Mr. Stojic and the negotiations lasted for six
3 hours, during which you had to exert pressure on him to release the four
5 Now, sir, from this report, can we see that Mr. Bruno Stojic did
6 not have any communication links, was not able to come into contact with
7 the HVO, members of the HVO, in the Konjic pocket?
8 A. No, this is not right. He established communication with the head
9 of the pocket of Konjic; i.e., the pressure I exerted and the pressure
10 that we had to do, if you allow me to explain myself, is that the letters
11 were no good, didn't have any effect.
12 Q. You didn't understand me, sir. It is indisputable that he did
13 establish contact. Please follow what I'm saying. But did he have the
14 means to do so, the means of communication? Or was it up to you to ensure
15 the means of communication? I'm not challenging the fact that contact was
16 established, but did he have the means to do so or did he have to do it
17 through you?
18 A. Well, surprisingly, we discovered that they didn't have or that's
19 what they told us, they didn't have any means of communication with the
20 pocket of Konjic which surprised us. So the decision that I suggested to
21 my head was that UNPROFOR provided a means, the radio of UNPROFOR which
22 was the situation completely not normal at all. But we thought it was
23 important in order to manage to get these people, these four people,
24 released. And they had been captured for two days already.
25 So he said that he didn't have those means. So we tried to solve
1 the problem with the means that were at our disposal, after letters and
2 after trying to have the head of the counter-intelligence involved, i.e.,
3 after certain actions that we didn't think that the Minister of Defence
4 had to do. So what he had to do was to issue orders, not to request. He
5 had to issue an order in order for these people to be released.
6 And to have the head of the counterintelligence involved
7 through -- well, wasn't acceptable by the Armija, and they didn't accept
8 this solution, so there was a delay. And they were using the problem of
9 the interpreters to obtain certain advantages. That is something that we
10 couldn't -- we couldn't allow, as UNPROFOR. Our obligation was that the
11 members of the Red Cross and other organisations weren't used in such a
13 Q. You said what you wanted to say, but we would have got to that
14 point but let's take it step by step. From the report itself, it emerges
15 that from the first to the last contact through the communication you
16 enabled, that six hours elapsed; is that right?
17 A. Well, what I mean by these six hours is that there were not six
18 hours in a row. Many things happened, many movements, many goings to the
19 headquarters in order for them to see the importance for the international
20 community of the release of these members. With Mr. Stojic or, well, when
21 my commander asked me to go to the headquarters with the help of my
22 interpreters, of course, and the pressure we were trying to exert was for
23 him to realise that we had to be hasty and that there wasn't a lot of time
24 at our disposal.
25 Q. Sir, you're not answering my question once again. I understand
1 your frustration, that that was a lot of time for you. But we are trying
2 to establish now what it was that Mr. Stojic endeavoured to do, what he
3 could have done, and whether he did everything that was asked of him. I
4 understand that as far as you were concerned, it was a long time, but we
5 are trying to establish what the facts were. What he had at his disposal,
6 who listened to him, who didn't listen to him, whether you were satisfied
7 with that amount of time, I'm clear on the fact that you were not, but
8 please try and focus on what Mr. Stojic did do during that period of time.
9 Now, you were present during this communication, this special line
10 between Mr. Stojic and the representative in the Konjic pocket, right?
11 A. Yes. I was there, and with the help of my interpreter, he was
12 trying to tell me what was going on.
13 Q. You're not challenging the fact that Mr. Stojic demanded the
14 commander of the pocket to release the interpreters, but the man refused
15 to do so during those three conversations over the communication line
16 while you were present?
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you were present with
18 Mr. Stojic or with the pocket commander, Mr. Zaric? You were present with
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we went where our satellite
21 was and Mr. Stojic picked up the phone and by means of satellite, he
22 talked to the interpreter. Obviously, I didn't understand what they were
23 saying but my interpreter well, gave me a summary of what he had said, and
24 the -- and minister Stojic tried in several occasions to release -- for
25 these prisoners to be released, and he also asked about the situation and,
1 et cetera.
2 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Yes. Thank you. However, the commander of the Konjic pocket
4 refused to do so, to release the interpreters, that is, during all those
5 six hours and three contacts, conversations?
6 A. Well, this was our impression and finally they were released, but
7 it was very, very hard, for Mr. Stojic to make the pocket realise or the
8 commander realise that it wasn't in the interest of the HVO to upkeep that
9 situation. This is correct. I saw the pressure he tried to exert and
10 this is what I reflect in my statement. As I said, everyone had their own
11 activity calendars, if you will.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I may, just to make sure, in your -- in your
13 statement, one gets the feeling that you say you had to exercise a lot of
14 pressure on Mr. Stojic, and now it seems that you say that Mr. Stojic
15 exercised a lot of pression, and we have not heard much concretisation on
16 what you yourself had to do as the means of pression.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Please
18 allow me, because the -- the system of just answering yes or no just
19 doesn't allow us to tell you about all the nuances. In my report, what we
20 tried to tell Mr. Stojic or that whatever the letters that were sent or
21 that the commander of conic doesn't take any notice, and even if we tried
22 to have the head of the counter-intelligence of the HVO involved, for him
23 to go personally to this pocket which is not accepted by the other part,
24 well, that wasn't an excuse for him to issue an order to solve the problem
25 for once and for all.
1 So my pressure on the minister, who had many other important
2 things to do on those dates, that wasn't the only thing in his agenda, was
3 to make him realise the importance that for the international community,
4 and we were responsible -- UNPROFOR was responsible for that -- so the
5 importance of this very fact. Mr. Stojic, well, through his interpreter,
6 said, "Yes, I do understand but the problem is I've done everything that I
7 could do." So I thought that there was a means of communication, radio
8 communication, but it seems that this wasn't the case, and the fact is
9 that I suggested that if I helped with radio communication, he said
10 okay,. So we asked for this from Medjugorje and I saw him exercise
11 pressure, I saw him, but to that point, to that moment, the pressure I --
12 it was me who was exercising that pressure. And the situation wasn't easy
13 for him, and the Konjic pocket had felt isolated from the HVO
14 headquarters. I don't know whether I've been clear enough, Your Honour.
15 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. You have just explained, if one might summarise, that you exerted
17 pressure on Mr. Stojic, you didn't know whether he could get this done or
18 not. When you realised he didn't have communication with the pocket, you
19 enabled him to have that communication, and then he continued exerting
20 pressure on the commander of the Konjic pocket until the people were
21 released. Am I right?
22 A. Yes, the summary is correct.
23 Q. Well, we'll just dwell on this a little while longer, very
24 briefly, do you remember whether the commander of the Konjic pocket asked
25 for some kind of assistance from Mr. Stojic in order to release the
2 A. I don't understand what you mean by some sort of assistance.
3 There were requests related to Konjic staff, but I don't know whether they
4 tried to connect Konjic with the area controlled by the HVO. But I don't
5 quite understand what you mean when talking about assistance because there
6 was a Spanish patrol waiting to get into the pocket and to get the
7 interpreters. I don't know whether you mean this or not. If that's what
8 you're talking about, I don't know.
9 Q. I'm referring to assistance in food, medicines, and similar items
10 that they were short of, because the very word "pocket" indicates that
11 they were isolated and surrounded. Do you know whether they asked for any
12 specific assistance in food or medicines, at that point from Mr. Stojic?
13 A. I don't remember in detail, but obviously in the Konjic pocket all
14 the organisations working with humanitarian aid were doing everything they
15 could to try to help and that's why I was there in that meeting.
16 Q. Sir, please let's look at a document in my binder. It's P02826.
17 It's the third document from the top, page 2 in Croatian, page 1 in
18 English. This is a report as we can see of UN civilian affairs. The date
19 is the 18th of June, and I will just show you what it says at the top,
20 that the interpreters were released on the 17th of June at 2000 hours, and
21 then it says over the past four months, the commander in the Konjic pocket
22 did not have any communication, he did not cooperate, he acted on his own
23 without instructions or coordination with the HVO staff, he -- they were
24 desperately short of food and medicine, and Mr. Stojic took on the
25 obligation of going with me to that area in the next three months with a
1 convoy of necessities, and the report was signed by Mr. Albert Benabou.
2 Did you know that he was aware of this whole activity concerning
3 the release of the interpreters?
4 A. Yes, naturally, and I can see my name on that report.
5 Q. Can you confirm, then, that that's precisely what happened, the
6 commander of the Konjic pocket evidently desperately needed assistance and
7 made use of this situation, to ask for assistance for soldiers who were
8 encircled and who had no communication with the HVO?
9 A. It is correct what's reflected here, but one of the sentences
10 referring to vagabonds is quite different, but I think that that's --
11 that's an issue that's marginal to this particular question.
12 Q. Thank you. We'll come back to Mr. Benabou later on.
13 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I just have one more
14 question to round off this set of questions, this topic, and then we could
15 take a break.
16 Q. Sir, I think we've clarified the questions I put at the beginning,
17 whether the Croats in the Konjic pocket were isolated, acting without
18 coordination with the HVO, and I think we've clarified what sort of
19 pressure you exerted on Mr. Stojic and what sort of pressure he exerted on
20 the commander of the Konjic pocket and what remains now is the following:
21 You said that Mr. Stojic was the commander, but it seems to me that
22 whether he was the commander or not, and what you mean by this, is
23 explained in your statement of December 1997. I will read -- it's
24 P010270. It's page 7 in English. The fourth paragraph from the top and
25 page 7 in Croatian, the last paragraph. I will read this to you very
2 You say, "Minister Stojic said that he did not have full control
3 over HVO -- the HVO soldiers in the Konjic area. Owing to the fact that I
4 enabled him to have SpaBat satellite radio equipment, he was able to issue
5 a direct order for the hostages to be released. At that meeting, I
6 understood that Minister Stojic was really not in control of the situation
7 and it was very difficult for him to issue an order."
8 Does this reflect fully the impression you gained on that day?
9 A. Yes. Of course. It reflects the feeling that I had about him,
10 his feeling of frustration that did he not have the means to exert his
11 authority as minister.
12 Q. Thank you, sir. We will continue after the break and I hope that
13 after this explanation, I won't have to go back to the Konjic pocket.
14 Thank you.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We shall have a 20
16 minute break and resume at 11.00 until 12.30.
17 --- Recess taken at 10.41 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mrs. Nozica, you have the floor.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I omitted to
21 state at the beginning that I had 80 minutes for my cross-examination. My
22 own 30 minutes, 30 minutes from Mrs. Tomasegovic, and 20 minutes from
23 Mr. Karnavas. So according to my calculations I've used up 35 minutes
24 thus far which leaves me with 45 minutes. Your Honour, I'm sure you're
25 aware of the fact that I have to get through a lot of topics.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas had five minutes,
2 so you have therefore 25 minutes.
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you. I just wanted to say that
4 I'll do everything possible to get through the important topics as far as
5 the Stojic Defence is concerned. If I don't manage to do that I'll let
6 you know, and if I can get additional time I'll be very grateful to you.
7 Q. Now, sir, I'd like to move on to another topic, Colonel Jesus
8 Fernandez. In your statement of July 2007, and it is your statement,
9 P10217, am I right, is everything working? We were talking about the 11th
10 of June events, 11th of June 1993, when Lieutenant Jesus Fernandez was
12 Now, you speak about that in your report or your diary. So I'd
13 like us to take a look at the document, it's a Prosecution document
14 P10269. And the date is the 13th of June. Have you found that?
15 A. 13th of June?
16 Q. Yes. Now, on that date, the 13th of June, you noted that after
17 meeting military officials of the Croatian Defence Council, permission was
18 granted to go to the front line in -- at the Bulevar in Mostar, and you
19 also speak about the fact that you climbed on to the roof of the highest
20 building on territory controlled by the Croats, and you also said that
21 from there you photographed the areas that could be seen from that vantage
22 point, and that empty casings were found. And you said that several hours
23 later, this video material, photographic material, was handed over to the
24 UNPROFOR team of international experts who were preparing an official
25 report on the killing of the Spanish lieutenant. Do you remember that?
1 A. Perfectly.
2 Q. I'd like you now to look at your operations diary, and it is
3 P02108, and the entry for the 14th of June. For the 14th of June, this is
4 what you say: "A meeting in Mostar between the Deputy Minister of the HVO,
5 Ivica Lucic, and the commission, in order to clarify the cause -- or the
6 circumstances of the death of Lieutenant Aguilar." Now, you attended this
7 meeting; is that right?
8 A. Yes, on the 13th.
9 Q. I'd like you now to take a look in my binder, document 2D 00117.
10 And you'll find a yellow sticker in the middle of the document. Thank
11 you. As you can see, this is a report from the meeting signed by
12 Mr. Lucic dated the 14th of June 1993, which you mention in your diary.
13 And your name is mentioned there as well. It says that a meeting was held
14 and that it says, as it says here, the assistant minister and everybody
15 present, (redacted)
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're quite right. Registrar,
23 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I apologise. I think that while we
24 are dealing with this document it would then be go a good idea to go into
25 closed session because mention is made of the witness again, so perhaps it
1 would be better to go into closed session.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I haven't received an answer. I'm
4 just referring to the fact --
5 [Closed session]
11 Pages 22985-23007 redacted. Closed session
24 [Open session]
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Dr. Bagaric, I mean, Dr. Bagaric. Did you have any contacts with
2 him regarding evacuation or anything like that? You can't remember,
4 A. Possibly, I knew him but right now I can't place a face to that
5 name, no.
6 Q. In my binder, I had prepared some documents which were
7 correspondence between the two of you. That would probably jog your
8 memory but I won't have time to go through that, but you drew up a report,
9 a professional report, on that dinner. Regardless of the fact that it was
10 a private dinner, you compiled a report, right?
11 A. Obviously, when Mr. Soljud [phoen] had his -- explained to us of
12 his own bad operational initiatives, then I together with the other two
13 Spanish officers, we came up with this report, and it was a political
14 report, yes.
15 Q. Very well. Now, can we take a look at that report of yours? May
16 we take a look at that report of yours, P03545 is the document number.
17 It's in the Prosecution binder. I assume that it's one of the top-most
18 documents. 3545. Have you found it?
19 A. Yes, yes, I've found it.
20 Q. [Previous translation continues]... Going to ask you some
21 questions. In the report, you state the following: Mr. Stojic's words
22 and your comments. You say that Mr. Stojic said that he was certain that
23 his people could solve the situation, once and for all, and he confirmed
24 the loss of territory in certain areas as part of a previously designed
1 Now, your comment to that was that Mr. Stojic might have been
2 attempting to justify his losses at the beginning. Is that right?
3 A. My comment was that perhaps he was -- maybe that or maybe he was
4 saying the truth. That's all there is to it. We thought that, yeah,
5 maybe it could have been the truth or a justification, but maybe I should
6 read the whole paragraph through.
7 Q. Please, we all have the document in front of us and unfortunately
8 I don't have much time. I said that it was one of your comments. You
9 made two comments, one of which was what I read out. I don't have time to
10 go into the whole of it, but let's try and get to the goal as soon as
11 possible, and what I want to ask you as a final question. You go on to
12 say that Mr. Stojic said that there was some plan to exert maximum
13 pressure from the southern axis leaving open one communication line for
14 the withdrawal of the forces in the direction of Jablanica towards the
15 north, and your comment was that this pressure from the south, as well as
16 the shelling and isolation of the Muslim part of town, would certainly
17 make the population leave the town. Is that right? Persuade them to
18 leave the town, right?
19 A. Yes, that's right.
20 Q. Can we now move on? This is what Mr. Stojic said among other
21 things, he's also said some other things, but let's see whether we can
22 move on and see what was actually going on at that point in time in
23 Mostar, and what was happening over the next 20 days. For us to be able
24 to check and see whether Mr. Stojic was talking about a realistic plan or
25 whether it was just justification, as you say, for territory that had
1 almost been lost.
2 So may we take a look at that same report of yours and look at
3 page 8 of that report in the English version, and it is page 5 of the
4 Croatian, where he speaks about this area of Mostar, so it is that day,
5 and what -- let's see what was happening in Mostar. He says, "Fighting in
6 the Mostar area continues, but their intensity is relatively low." Have
7 you found that portion? It is the subtitle of Mostar part 1.
8 A. Yes, I found that part.
9 Q. Now it says under point 2 there are very few vehicles and soldiers
10 seen moving about in that area, and then number 3, according to all the
11 indicators, it is possible that the HVO most certainly took control of the
12 village of Buna.
13 Now, what I want to ask you is this: Do you know, do you have any
14 knowledge, or awareness, of what happened on the 13th of July 1993? Or,
15 rather, do you know that the BH army did take control of these areas on
16 the 13th of July and that in actual fact, the operation which is described
17 in this report of the 17th was just a counterattack to what was done by
18 the BH army on the 13th? Did you know about that?
19 A. On a daily basis we received a briefing of the situation. I don't
20 remember anything coming -- information coming from the confrontation line
21 on the 13th of June. I remember movements around the Buna village, for
22 example, but I don't remember the details. I don't remember.
23 Q. Sir, sir, I consider -- well, my colleague asked you about certain
24 events that took place in Mostar, and I consider that this is the date
25 which judging by the intensity of the operations, and I'm saying this as a
1 layman, whereas you're a professional soldier, should be something that
2 would you have had to have known about. But let us look at a document in
3 my binder, P03416 is the number. It is the 6th document in line from the
4 top. And it is a document dated the 13th of July 1993, the date is the
5 13th of July --
6 A. [No interpretation]
7 Q. And we can look at page 2 of the English, where it says the
8 following: "AB and B this morning attacked Buna" and on page 3 of the
9 English version, it says, "ABH attack on Buna is perhaps an attempt to
10 isolate Mostar from the south. If ABiH -- we succeed attacking also from
11 the office of the HVO in Mostar will be completely isolated, cut off. On
12 the other hand, this attack may be an army, Armija attempt to conquer as
13 much terrain in direction to the sea as possible."
14 I'm asking you, and I wish to jog your memory with this report:
15 Do you know that this happened just five days before that dinner? And did
16 you know anything about the efforts made by the BH army to gain control of
17 the territory to the sea from the north? Did you know anything about
18 that? The 30th of June to the 13th of July, did you or did you not? Just
19 give me a yes or no answer.
20 A. Of course, yes. We knew that that was the Armija's objective,
22 Q. Excellent. So that day, when you attended the dinner, when you
23 were there with Mr. Stojic, having dinner, you knew that before that,
24 several days before that, the BH army had taken control of certain
25 territory from the south of Mostar. Can we put it that way?
1 A. That is correct. That's why we understood that the idea of
2 Mr. Stojic of this idea of losing territory temporarily might have been,
3 I'm not sure how to say it, a justification as to why there had been these
4 losses in the area. We knew that this was a -- the decision of the ABiH
5 at that time. We knew that.
6 Q. Correct, yes, sir. That is what you say in your report. Now, I
7 would just like to ask you to tell me this: Well, we followed the
8 military situation, to the best of your knowledge did the HVO exert
9 pressure from the south of Mostar to liberate the north and an exit from
10 Mostar as Mr. Stojic said over the following 20 days or one month or in
11 general terms, do you remember that the HVO did realise what allegedly
12 Mr. Stojic said or boasted that the HVO would do? Do you remember any
13 operations like that?
14 A. I seem to recall that the HVO in some moments had conducted
15 initiatives in the south, but I don't think it ever actually recovered the
16 lost territory, not in its entirety, maybe some, but I heard this was a
17 tactic, we weren't sure if this was a tactic or not a tactic and that's
18 all I can say about the dinner.
19 Q. Okay. You said "undertook something, did something." Is that a
20 limited operation or an all-embracing, comprehensive operation? Could you
21 be a bit more precise because it's very important. You say the HVO did
22 something, undertook something. Yes, we can see from the report that it
23 did undertake something in that direction, but can you say that the HVO
24 undertook any large-scale offensive? Can we put it that way? Perhaps
25 it's easiest that way? To the best of your knowledge, there were a lot of
1 witnesses, we have established a lot of things already, but as far as
2 you're concerned, in your opinion.
3 A. I'm going to be sincere. I wrote my diary because there was some
4 reason I can't remember. I remember there was an offensive, but I don't
5 remember the dates and I wouldn't be able to stipulate which dates, if
6 that's your question, no. I remember there was a offensive but I don't
7 remember the dates. At the time, if you want to know if it happened in
8 the following 20 days, I can't confirm that, no.
9 Q. I followed your diary and unfortunately there are a lots of notes
10 in it about who you met with and very little information, otherwise the
11 30th of June was not recorded and the BH army attack on the HVO, the 13th
12 of July. Once again there was not recorded. So it's not in your diary.
13 If it were I would have shown you, but just finally let's look at a
14 document linked to this topic, it is P03615 and it is a document from the
15 Prosecution binder, 3615 is the number, once again, it has to do with the
16 dinner. Tell me when you've found it, please.
17 A. Yes. I've just found it.
18 Q. We can take a look at it together. The date of the document is
19 the 19th of July 1993. And it is in fact a message -- yes, go ahead.
20 What did you want to say?
21 A. Excuse me, I can see that it's the 21st of the -- of July, 3615.
22 It's the 21st of July; is that correct? That is a report from the meeting
23 with Paparovi [phoen], is that what you're referring to? Yes. The one
24 that's on the screen; is that right?
25 Q. That's right. The meeting was on the 19th of July. The meeting
1 was on the 19th of July? Am I right? And it says report from the
2 meeting --
3 A. Yes. And this is a writ from Berebon Flamon [phoen] and yes, the
4 meeting took place on the 19th, yes.
5 Q. Can you and I agree that the meeting was held on the 19th, which
6 means barely two days after the dinner you had at Mr. Stojic's house?
7 Isn't that right?
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 Q. I would like to ask you to have a look at point 5 in this letter
10 together. Obviously, this is a courtesy meeting. It says, "At an
11 informal private meeting between myself and Boban," this is written by
12 Mr. -- by General Briquemont. Immediately after the meeting he suggested
13 that he mediate in order to have an immediate cease-fire among all the
14 parties, and he said that this would have the unqualified support of the
15 Croat peoples and the HVO and could be a precursor to lasting peace. Do
16 you know what Mr. Boban's exact position was in the HVO? Did you know
17 that he was commander in chief at the HVO?
18 A. Yes. Naturally, I knew who Boban was.
19 Q. So it stems from this document that Mr. Boban offered to
20 Mr. Briquemont at that moment to have a cease-fire established, right?
21 That is unequivocally clear on the basis of this document.
22 A. It could be interpreted that way, yes.
23 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to
24 conclude with two very brief questions, but could we move into private
25 session, please, because I need to mention a few names.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Closed session.
2 [Closed session]
11 Page 23017 redacted. Closed session
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are back in open session.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So we are interrupt the hearing
22 and resume again at quarter -- half past 2.00.
23 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.33 p.m.
24 --- Upon resuming at 2.29 p.m.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let us resume the hearing.
1 Mr. Kovacic, please tell us very briefly why Mr. Praljak is going to be
2 putting questions to the witness.
3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I can inform you of the
4 following. I shall be the first to put some questions to the witness, and
5 then, with your leave, Mr. Praljak. I think that the arguments are quite
6 obvious. The witness speaks of a series of events where Mr. Praljak was
7 directly involved. For example, the witness himself mentioned even four
8 or rather three events in his statement, and one is mentioned in one of
9 the documents. These are direct encounters with Mr. Praljak, and I
10 believe that this fits into your previous decision; namely, that
11 Mr. Praljak should be given an opportunity to ask about various matters
12 particularly what happened in Mostar at the time. If I may start, I am
13 ready, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Please.
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
16 Cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic:
17 Q. Good afternoon, Witness.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are in open session.
19 MR. KOVACIC: Sorry, Your Honour, it seems there was some
20 confusion with the documents, but I think he received them. Thank you. I
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, for my colleague,
23 Judge Mindua, do you have a set of documents?
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Witness, I'm going to put a few questions to you. I am Defence
1 counsel for General Praljak who is present here. In your statement, from
2 2007, that is to say P02107, in paragraph 24, you said that you first saw
3 General Praljak at a meeting held on the 29th of April in Medjugorje. You
4 said here that also in attendance were Mr. Stojic and Mr. Bozic, and the
5 next paragraph, 25, you say that that meeting was held in order to prepare
6 for an official visit of a commission of the Croatian parliament to
8 I would like to remind you that an identical statement is made in
9 document 10269, in the notes for the 29th of April, and the 2nd of May
10 1993. My question is as follows: Let us try to save time. On the basis
11 of these entries, paragraphs 24 and 25 in P2107, can we conclude that this
12 meeting was held in order to do what is necessary or, rather, in order to
13 prepare the official visit of the delegation of the Croatian parliament to
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina? A yes or a no answer will suffice.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to ask you to look at a document
17 that is in my binder, that is the first one, 3D 00566. Here, you will see
18 a letter of the assistant Foreign Minister of the Republic of Croatia
19 addressed to General Wahlgreen, and I would like to ask you the following.
20 Through your own channels of communication, were you informed about the
21 arrival of this delegation and had you been given certain assignments in
22 relation to that?
23 A. I didn't know about this document. We received orders to prepare
24 the meeting on the 29th of April for a future visit. That's what we were
25 ordered to do and that's what we did.
1 Q. Very well. Now, when you see this letter, do you relate it in any
2 way to that order, this meeting? Is it obviously the same topic, the same
3 story, so to speak?
4 A. Yes, obviously, it speaks of a multi-party parliamentary visit,
5 and it's a visit of goodwill to the region, yes.
6 Q. And you then took part in the preparations for and realisation of
7 that visit; is that right?
8 A. Yes, that's correct, my responsibility was to make sure that the
9 meeting room, the necessary interpreters, the security measures, were all
10 operational and functional, yes, that's right.
11 Q. Thank you. But let's leave details aside. The core of the matter
12 is that you participated. That's what matters. So did this visit
13 actually take place?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Tell me, in relation to the further realisation of that visit, did
16 you have any role to play, or did you have any assignments in terms of
17 opening contacts with the other side too, the Muslim side, that this
18 delegation also wished to speak to?
19 A. If I remember rightly, no. I think they did that themselves.
20 Q. Do you remember that there were certain problems when the
21 delegation asked for certain contacts with the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
22 and East Mostar? Were you supposed to provide a security escort for them?
23 Do you remember that?
24 A. I didn't take part in that part. I know that there it was a
25 problem but I wasn't part of that. I think the commission did actually go
1 across to the other side.
2 Q. All right. So you cannot discuss details, but you remember that
3 they did cross over to the other side as well, and that there were some
4 problems in that regard. We can agree on that, can we not, without going
5 into any further detail?
6 A. Yes. To the best of my memory, that is correct.
7 Q. Thank you. You talked to the people who worked on preparing this
8 visit, like you, I'm primarily referring to the people from the HVO and
9 then the delegation themselves when they arrived. During these contacts,
10 did you learn of some information to the effect that this goodwill mission
11 took place, the visit of this delegation took place, at a previous
12 initiative of General Praljak's in Zagreb? Did you hear anything about
14 A. No.
15 Q. Also in terms of the realisation of this, did you learn that the
16 Republic of Croatia also officially notified the Bosnian authorities about
17 this through their embassy?
18 A. I suppose. That it is a standard procedure.
19 Q. I would like to ask that you look at the next document in my
20 binder. That is 3D 01092.
21 A. I understand, 091?
22 Q. 01092. You will see the exact number on the screen. We see a
23 diplomatic note here sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the
24 Republic of Croatia to the embassy of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic
25 of Croatia, the same persons are referred to, information is provided on
1 that same visit. Can you link that up with this visit as well?
2 A. I understand that, yes, that this refers to the same people, yes.
3 Q. Thank you very much. Let us just go through a minor point here.
4 In the paragraph we already referred to, paragraph 24 in your statement
5 from 2007, and yesterday, the day before yesterday, you said that you
6 heard about this, or rather that you knew about it from the newspapers.
7 It was your understanding that General Praljak was the chief of the Main
8 Staff of the Croatian army. You said yesterday that you actually learned
9 about this from the newspapers. Can you assert that that was the post he
10 held or was that just your impression?
11 A. The impression that I had was not based on direct contact with
12 him, because I didn't have any at that time. It's just what I read in the
13 local press about him.
14 Q. Very well. I'm going to show you a document now, P1889 [as
15 interpreted]. It's also close to this one. It's the fourth document in
16 my binder. You have two documents here.
17 A. I found it.
18 Q. So from these documents, you can see that in the same month, in
19 April 1993, the position held by General Praljak in the Ministry of
20 Defence in Croatia is quite different. He is assistant Defence Minister
21 for political activity.
22 JUDGE PRANDLER: Mr. Kovacic, I'm sorry to interrupt you, only one
23 small issue of the transcript. In your -- when you referred to the your
24 document, I believe it should have been P1859, but in the transcript, it
25 is P1889. So the P1889 should be corrected as P1859. That one is --
1 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] You're right, Your Honour. The
2 witness is looking at the right document so it's actually two documents.
3 Q. Witness, now that you saw that the position of General Praljak is
4 described in a completely different way, can you agree that your idea at
5 the time that he was chief of General Staff of the Croatian army at the
6 time was wrong?
7 A. As far as we knew, we based our idea on the local press, and the
8 local press talked of a high-ranking officer of the chief of Main Staff,
9 and we saw that he was an important person. But it's irrelevant to me
10 whether or not my idea was correct or not. At the time, I believed, and
11 the press coincided in that he was a member -- chief of Main Staff. So my
12 attitude toward General Praljak doesn't actually change.
13 Q. Witness, my question is a simple one. You had the idea that you
14 had, and you've just repeated it for the second time. I'm showing you a
15 document, proof that your idea was obviously wrong. My question is do you
16 agree now that you see this well-founded document that asserts something
17 completely different? Was your initial assessment wrong, yes or no? We
18 know, we understand, why it was that your initial assessment was wrong but
19 it's just yes or no.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you. You told us and it is beyond doubt from your
22 statements that the area of responsibility of responsibility of the
23 Spanish Battalion in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time included inter alia
24 the area of Jablanica; is that right?
25 A. That is correct.
1 Q. Thank you. In your statement, in the first one, in 1997, for
2 example, on page 8, English number 4, you don't have to look at it now,
3 I'm going to remind you, you said that actually you did not know what the
4 quality of the information was that you, in the SpaBat, gathered in the
5 field, but certainly the quality of information improved over time because
6 you came in April when the conflict just started. So this is a general
7 assessment that you made. Do you stand by it?
8 A. In any process where people are involved, depending on the people
9 who get to know the situation better, the quality of the information
10 received and disseminated improves. So therefore I can say the same for
11 this situation.
12 Q. Very well. Thank you. In accordance with what you confirmed just
13 now, you, I mean SpaBat, I'm referring to SpaBat, not to you personally,
14 did you have any information about Croat victims in Doljani, in the area
15 of Jablanica, on the 28th of July 1993, when 63 persons were killed,
16 massacred? Did you hear of this incident? Because I cannot find it
17 anywhere in your reports.
18 A. Not all details are necessarily going to be included in all
19 reports. This was a well-known -- if this was a well-known incident to my
20 SpaBat, then it -- everyone would have known about it. I don't know if
21 the date was right or the number of people were right, but I know that
22 officials in our company were informed. I received a document concerning
23 the Croatian victims, and this was in English, and it went to the UNHCR,
24 if I remember correctly, but the details of these incidents are no longer
25 in my memory right now.
1 Q. Very well. Let's not go into any greater detail because you're
2 not aware of any detail. Also, practically there is no information in the
3 SpaBat reports about an incident that took place on the 8th of September
4 1993, that is to say at the time when you were supposed to have better
5 information. In the village of Grabovica, can you tell us something about
7 A. I go back to what I said before. I don't have in my head
8 everything -- all the details of what happened in different towns or
9 villages. I'm sure the information would have been there at the time.
10 But all the information that SpaBat had at that time was verified and then
11 sent to the relevant authorities and to the NGOs concerned. We had no
12 reservations in -- we did not hold back any relevant information. That I
13 can stipulate. Personally, I was involved in handing in a document that
14 you gave us concerning certain massacres that took place. I can say that
16 Q. Nevertheless, I would like to ask you to look at document
17 3D 00936. The fifth or sixth document in this binder. The fifth or the
18 sixth one. Oh, you found it. Thank you.
19 A. Yes, the fifth, I have it.
20 Q. We don't have time to show you more documents but please look at
21 this information written by a Bosnian army commander in Konjic in
22 September 1993, and he writes about what he learned at that point in time
23 about the incident. Does this jog your memory? Because you did say that
24 you had this information to a degree.
25 A. This is the first time that I've read this document. I think that
1 it refers to elements related to that incident.
2 Q. Very well. Thank you. Let's not go into this any further. It
3 won't be necessary. Just another small question. In your report, P04401,
4 that you have in the Prosecution binder, but you don't have to look at it
5 now, you will remember, some information is referred to, that is to say
6 the report of the 20th of August 1993, stating that a certain Juka had
7 been relieved of his command and expelled from the HVO. Do you know who
8 this Juka was?
9 A. Yes. I remember that in the second section, they showed me some
10 photos that they had. They also called him "El Rubio," in Spanish, the
11 blond one. And I remember that someone told us that he had been expelled
12 from the HVO. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. Thank you very much. Did you perhaps receive any more
14 information? I'm going to put the Defence proposition to you and then you
15 tell me. Did you ever find out that General Praljak, in agreement with
16 Mr. Stojic, that is to say the Defence department, and with the approval
17 of Boban, ordered that Juka be relieved of his command and expelled from
18 the HVO precisely due to lack of discipline? Have you heard about that?
19 A. I hadn't heard of that, but I'm pleased to hear that, if that was
20 the case.
21 Q. Very well. Thank you. For the record, I would just like to deal
22 with the following. Similar information is contained in P2902. Juka is
23 mentioned there as well.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, by your leave, I would
25 like to cede the floor to Mr. Praljak now so that he puts a few questions
1 in this regard. Thank you.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Praljak?
3 Cross-examination by Mr. Praljak:
4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good
5 afternoon, sir. Of course, I shall abide by the instructions given by the
6 Trial Chamber and stick to technical military questions only and things
7 that have to do with me personally.
8 Sir, let us go back to the 11th of May 1993. You were stopped at
9 a curve right by the entrance into the town of Mostar when you were going
10 to help a soldier of yours; is that right?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. Before I continue, due to the volume of material that I have to
13 deal with, I'm going to put very technical military specific questions, so
14 please, without providing any big explanations, give me answers that are
15 as short as possible to those questions. Is it correct that at that point
16 in time, I came by in my car on my own, alone?
17 A. Yes. You appeared quickly.
18 Q. When you say "quickly," it seems that you called me, but we were
19 not communicating. As far as I can remember, I just happened to come by.
20 Isn't that right?
21 A. My understanding was that I was asking for some authority or
22 commander to come when you appeared. To my understanding, it was a gift
23 from the heavens. You were the solution I was hoping for. Whether or not
24 it was planned or chance, I actually can't say. But you appeared, that is
25 true, and in my declaration, I said that I was stopped and you appeared.
1 Q. Thank you very much. So we are not going to go into that now, who
2 was called and how it came to my arrival. Did you pass by? Did I -- did
3 I have to behave as if I were in a parlour or did I have to yell and
4 scream in order to get my point across?
5 A. I lost part of the interpretation but I'm reading it. You did
6 raise your voice at some point, but the people who were there present
7 obeyed you as if by instincts. They obeyed you naturally and I was very
8 surprised. It's clear that they had no doubt, you said let them go
9 through, and we went through. That was very clear.
10 Q. Just another question in relation to this topic. Do you know what
11 I was doing in that area in the spring and summer of 1992? Did you know
12 any of that?
13 A. I don't know it.
14 Q. Thank you very much. Now, well, sir, you had a look at these
15 documents that are Prosecution documents, and you testified to their
16 authenticity. Now, through some of these documents -- well, I'd like to
17 go through some of these documents quickly. You don't have to look at
18 them. I'm just going to ask you about some things that are contained in
19 these documents, whether you personally know about that. Not what these
20 documents actually state. Of course, the honourable Judges have that.
21 They will read that.
22 When you saw me there on the 11th, was I wearing a camouflage
23 uniform and on the basis of what did you conclude that I was a member of
24 the HV, the Croatian army, at the time?
25 A. The first observation that I made of you was that you were wearing
1 the uniform. It wasn't a field uniform, but it was just a general uniform
2 of the Croatian army. That's why I thought that you were a high-ranking
3 officer of the Croatian army, and we said among ourselves that -- that you
4 are one of Tudjman's close aides. I also stated in my statement that I
5 remember more your face than your uniform. I remember your facial
6 characteristics. I also remember, on the 16th, when I made my report
7 concerning the events surrounding the lieutenant, I made those statements.
8 Q. Sir, in your statement you do not say that I told you that I was
9 one of Tudjman's men. Did I tell you there that place, that I was
10 Tudjman's man or where?
11 A. No, no, no, no. I never said that. I said that in the local
12 press, and through the interpreters, the impression that I got was that
13 you were one of Tudjman's most important men, or one of the most important
14 Croatian military men. That was the idea. Until the 11th of May, I had
15 never met you, never spoken with you.
16 Q. Thank you. Now take a look at your first statement, or rather,
17 you don't have to look at it, I'll read it out. This is what you said.
18 "I'm convinced that the presence of General Pasalic in Mostar was
19 not just by chance. General Pasalic was perhaps there because he was
20 conscious of the fact that there would be an HVO attack." That's on page
21 8 of the Croatian text. And then it goes on to say that the Muslims had a
22 good intelligence service which was infiltrated into the -- had
23 infiltrated the structures of the HVO.
24 So Pasalic was there because he was fully conscious of the fact
25 that there would be an attack on the HVO. Now, in your second statement,
1 39, you say, "Initially they did not want to allow them to enter Mostar.
2 They wanted them to take the direction to Dracevo." That's what you say
3 in paragraph 39. It was only after these talks with Bozic that they could
4 finally enter Mostar. And Their Honours have heard about this.
5 My position was that Pasalic should have been authorised in. The
6 Croat part, counterpart, should not be prevented from moving freely. And
7 then an important sentence follows: "In my opinion, Pasalic's presence in
8 Mostar on time could have prevented the conflict."
9 So we're dealing with the 9th of May 1993, and in a paragraph that
10 I've read out, it says that Pasalic was there because he was aware of the
11 fact that there would be a HVO attack, and the second time, it is claimed
12 that the presence of Pasalic in Mostar could prevent the conflict. Now,
13 is that a contradiction? I think it's quite obvious we needn't analyse it
14 further, but is it obviously a contradiction, written in this way? No
15 explanations are necessary, just as it stands, is it a contradiction?
16 A. I think that -- I can't hear. I don't think this is a
17 contradiction, Your Honour, because each sentence has its own stand-alone
18 meaning. I'm not getting into the conflict on the 9th but if I were
19 leader of one band --
20 Q. Witness, please, I do apologise, but on the 9th of May -- well,
21 the conflicts -- please. If you say it's not a contradiction, that is
22 enough for me. I just don't have the possibility, because of the time
23 constraints, to go into that. If you say it wasn't a contradiction, it
24 wasn't a contradiction, right.
25 My next question is this: If, as is claimed in the documents, the
1 HVO attacked on the 9th of May, the BH army, how, then, would the timely
2 presence of Pasalic have prevented -- how could the presence of Pasalic, a
3 soldier of the 4th Corps, could have prevented this attack, the HVO, if
4 the HVO had decided to attack? Then Pasalic's presence couldn't have
5 prevented this, could it? So would it be logical, judging by this
6 sentence, that the Pasalic's presence could have prevented the BH army
7 from attacking the HVO on the 9th of May? Might it have been that way
9 A. In my opinion, no. In my opinion, in my opinion if Pasalic had
10 been there, maybe the HVO would not have attacked, and he came quickly
11 because there was an attack.
12 Q. Sir -- sir, please, the HVO attack, launched this large scale
13 action when it saw that Pasalic wasn't there, otherwise it wouldn't have
14 attacked because Pasalic was there, that's what you're saying? All right,
15 fine. Now, take a look at document 22 -- just a moment, please, 2241,
16 P02241, actually.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry, please excuse me Mr. Praljak. Please
18 excuse me. In the transcript, I noted what I conceive as a contrast or a
19 contradiction between page 13, paragraph 24, when it is written that
20 Mr. Pasalic was in Mostar because of an HVO attack; whereas, a little bit
21 farther down, page 14, I think, it is line 3 or something like that, it is
22 written an attack on the HVO. And the first time one thinks if one reads
23 it that the HVO would attack, and the second time that the HVO would be
24 the object of an attack. I think it would be useful if this could be
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] My question, as I put it,
2 was simple. If somebody claims that the presence of Pasalic in Mostar
3 would prevent an attack, then my question, based on that fact is this: The
4 commander of the 4th Corps can prevent an attack of his own army, the 4th
5 Corps commander of the BH army can't prevent an attack of the HVO,
6 particularly such a large-scale attack on a town like that. So I was
7 going to ask the witness whether he thinks that is logical. And the fact
8 that what is claimed is that the fact that Pasalic isn't there created and
9 led to an attack. So quite obviously it was a BH army attack because when
10 the opposite army opposing army decides to attack, it must prepare for an
11 attack and as Judge Antonetti asked, it means a lots of troop movement,
12 logistics movement. It's not just three houses in a village.
13 So that was my question. But as the witness does not feel that
14 there is any contradiction that Pasalic is in Mostar or not in Mostar,
15 then unfortunately not because I wouldn't like to clarify the point but
16 because of my time constraints, and I have to get through a lot of things,
17 then I'd like us to move on and look at 2241, P02241, the next document,
18 please. It's page 3 of the Croatian text, 1, 2, and it's the Mostar area.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I have it.
20 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
21 Q. You have found it, 2241?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Just witness sentence I want to read out here and it this: Under
24 Mostar, the heading of Mostar, it says, "Shelling" and then it goes on to
25 say, "At 0500 hours from the positions of [indiscernible] an attack on the
1 Muslim sector, the HVO forces broke through and reached the Muslim part of
2 the Bulevar." So the HVO forces broke through and reached the Muslim part
3 of the Bulevar.
4 Now, as we can't get a military expert to testify here or haven't
5 as yet, I'm asking you, as a soldier, if the separation line was at the
6 Bulevar before that, then how -- now, on the 9th of May 1993, against what
7 forces did the HVO have to break through to reach the Bulevar? Unless
8 somebody had passed the line towards the HVO and then the HVO forces in
9 their turn managed to reach the Bulevar again and break through the
10 opposing army's forces.
11 Is what I'm saying logical? And is that the sentence? It says
12 "They broke through and reached the Bulevar. "
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Now, Your Honours, I'd like
14 to remind you of another document. Thank you, where it was stated that
15 the BH army forces were withdrawing to the Bulevar, but I haven't got time
16 to go into that.
17 Q. Thank you, sir. Now take up my set of documents, my binder. I
18 think your answer was yes; is that correct? Did you say "yes," witness?
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Which of the questions --
20 Witness, please, in the indictments, the date of the 9th of May is a
21 critical one. This is the reason why for nearly over 18 months this is a
22 recurrent date. You yourself, where were you on the 9th of May?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 9th of May, I was in the
24 Medjugorje headquarters. I was woken up at 6.30 in the morning, and we
25 were told that there were attacks in Mostar. We got the chain of
1 commander up and running, we received information from the units that we
2 had in the area, they had to leave the area and that's where activities
3 began, from about 8.00 in the morning when we had a first meeting with the
4 colonel, and we met together with the NGOs who had also left the area, and
5 I think by 8.00 that night we were in Mostar with the ambassador so yes,
6 we were aware of the situation.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the level of SpaBat, the
8 analysis that you had to carry out of the events as they were occurring,
9 what did it say? Did you think it was a HVO attack or was it an ABiH
10 attack? What was your estimation? Based on the information you had.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the INTREP that
12 Mr. Praljak mentioned it says, and this was signed at 8.00 that evening,
13 it says shelling at 5.00 in the morning. There were attacks, mortar
14 attacks, on the Muslim areas by HVO and from there, the situation
15 developed. So from the beginning, we had some doubt because it seemed a
16 little bit contradictory. We heard from the HVO that it was the ABiH was
17 attacking and so we -- yes?
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. This is the first
19 time I've been hearing this. You are saying that there were ABiH
20 officials that called you? HVO officials, who called you to say that it
21 was the ABiH that was attacking. This is the first time I'm hearing this.
22 Who called from the HVO to say that it was an ABiH attack?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The information came from people in
24 the field who had contacts with HVO elements, who were the ones saying
25 that there was shelling. I can't recall -- I personally did not receive
1 that information because it was not part of our mandate. However, during
2 the first two hours we did not know who had started the shelling because
3 it was in the midst of battle. We didn't know. As time went on, the
4 incognito, in fact, was dissipated.
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Sir, it says here a mortar attack was carried out. Now, a mortar,
7 is it an anti-infantry weapon, first and foremost, that is to say a weapon
8 most frequently used to prevent the penetration of certain forces so when
9 forces are out in the open and when they are attacking, mortars are used,
10 are they not, against infantry men, against an infantry attack? Would
11 this be correct militarily speaking?
12 A. Yes. Against defenceless infantry.
13 Q. Now, that's right, yes, yes. Now, take up my binder that you've
14 been given, and let's open it to the last document, 3D 00628.
15 A. I've got it.
16 Q. The 10th of May 1993 is the date of the document. And it says,
17 the conflicts in Mostar -- well let me ask you this: Do you know about
18 Mr. Andric, that he was a member of the Main Staff of the HV at the time?
19 Have you heard of the name, Miro Andric? He negotiated with you.
20 A. Yes. I did meet Colonel Andric. He came with me to Jablanica to
21 solve some of the HVO -- some of the HVO problems.
22 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, let's focus on this. He says, "These
23 conflicts began with an attack on the 9th of May at 0500 hours, with an
24 attack of the BH army against the Tihomir Misic barracks. Also the Muslim
25 forces attempted to break through and reach the building of the Office of
1 the President of the HZ HB and that was successfully repulsed." And so on
2 and so forth. Well, it goes on to say that there are a large number of
3 false information, a large number of false information being disseminated
4 through Radio Sarajevo. Did you hear about any of this from your men,
5 that the BH army reached the Rondo and deep into the HVO lines and a
6 barracks where Mate Boban was at the time or rather, the office building
7 of the president of the HZ HB, Mate Boban? Do you know about any of this?
8 If not, I'd just like to go through the document, sir?
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Well, there is an interruption here,
10 the number of the document is 4D, 4D 00628.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I remember perfectly that I
12 received information at the command post whereby we knew that the building
13 of the Presidency where Mate Boban had been lodged from the night before
14 had been attacked. Yes, I remember that comment.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Thank you, sir. Now take a look at the next document, the third
17 from the end, 3D 00898. It is a document dated the 7th of May, that is to
18 say two days before the clashes. Did you know -- 3D --
19 A. Just a moment. I do not have that document.
20 Q. 3D 00898. It is the third from the bottom in my set of documents.
21 A. Fine, fine.
22 Q. Do you know anything at all about the things mentioned in this
23 document, that is to say that in the afternoon, as it states in the last
24 sentence, the BH army police took away 13 HVO members from the point
25 mentioned, and this is a BH army document, sir. Please note that, a BH
1 army document. Do you know anything about that? About the incidents --
2 incidents like this that took place earlier on, where, from joint
3 check-points, people were taken away? Now what happened to them, we can't
4 go into that now, but do you know about any of this?
5 A. I recall that the HVO headquarters informed us at times that these
6 things had taken place. We did not get details, but we knew there had
7 been problems at check-points with BH elements.
8 Q. Thank you. Now, before I continue, is it true that on the 25th of
9 August 1993, I, together with you, on your APC, took through a
10 humanitarian convoy to the BH army check-point at the entrance to Mostar?
11 A. Yes, completely correct.
12 Q. Sir, you're a military man. Now I'd like to go through a series
13 of documents with you signed by Brigadier Miljenko Lasic, the commander of
14 the operative zone in which Mostar is located. Well, do you know Mr.
15 Miljenko Lasic. Let me ask you that first. You've written about him so I
16 assume you've heard the name.
17 A. Yes, of course I do know Brigadier Lasic.
18 Q. Thank you. Now after we go through the documents I'll ask you a
19 question at the end so let's look at 3D 01006 first, please. It's the
20 ninth document from the beginning, dated the 9th of May 1993, "Based on
21 the development of the situation in the town of Mostar," so the person who
22 should lead the HVO attacks says, "In view of the developments, orders
23 that 120 well-armed and trained men be urgently sent to Mostar and that
24 they should report to" so and so, et cetera, and this was sent to the
25 first Knez Domagoj Brigade and the Stjepan Radic fourth HVO Brigade. Is
1 that what it says in this document from Milenko Lasic?
2 A. Yes, it's what I can read in the English version of the document.
3 Q. Yes. That will suffice. Now look at the next document 3D 01009
4 is the document number. And in fact it's the next document that you come
5 upon. Once again the date is the 9th of May and once again it was sent to
6 the 4th HVO Brigade, and he is asking that PZO anti-aircraft Defence
7 weapon be sent 14.5 millimetre along with 3.000 rounds of ammunition. Is
8 that what it says there, sir?
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. Now, let's look at the next document, 3D 01023. Once again dated
11 the 9th of May 1993 signed by Miljenko Lasic, brigadier, issues an order
12 to immediately send to Mostar six ambulance teams with vehicles. Once
13 again, it says who to report to. Is that what it says, six ambulance
14 teams with vehicles?
15 A. [No interpretation]
16 Q. Next document, please, sir.
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. 3D 01008 is the document number, dated the 9th of May once again,
19 1993. Once again, it is Brigadier Lasic issuing an order to the 4th
20 Brigade to urgently send a T-34 tank crew, that's an old Russian tank,
21 this T-34, and he says that they should report to the commander of the
22 tank battalion, is that what it says?
23 A. Yes. It's correct. All these documents are from the 9th of May.
24 Q. Thank you. And now on to the next document, 3D 01007.
25 A. [No interpretation]
1 Q. Once again the date is the 9th of May 1993. The same story,
2 urgently send to Mostar a mortar platoon --
3 MR. PORYVAEV: I must object. I don't understand the point of
4 these questions. To read the documents.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. Well, the relevance
6 is quite clear. It's absolutely relevant. Why do you raise an objection?
7 MR. PORYVAEV: But I don't hear any questions to the witness.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No, but the witness cannot
9 answer as to the documents, but I'm sure that a question will be put to
10 him that sums up all the don't. At least that's what I suppose.
11 Mr. Praljak?
12 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes, quite right, Your
13 Honour. My question will be a clear question at the end. The gentleman
14 is a soldier -- well, I can ask my question straight away, so he can think
15 about it.
16 Q. If somebody were to see these documents of the 9th of May and the
17 other documents that I'm going to read out, would the commander who was
18 supposed to lead an operation against the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
19 an attack against a town in the morning, in the morning hours, would he
20 write a document like this in which he is asking for all the possible
21 weapons, mortar, tanks, ambulances, because his men are dying and so on.
22 So my question is a military one, although we've never brought in
23 a military expert here to testify, but I want to show that even a layman
24 would find it quite clear, a military layman, that either an idiot would
25 launch an attack like that. And if it wasn't a mad man then there was no
1 HVO attack because these documents quite obviously show the kind of
2 situation that the commander found himself on the 9th of May and that will
3 be my question at the end after we've looked through all the documents.
4 Now let's go on to the next document, 3D 00107 dated the 9th of
5 May again. Where once again Mico Lasic is issuing an order to send him a
6 120 millimetre mortar platoon and some light rocket launchers,
7 107-millimetre ones. So is this a document that you can see in front of
8 you now, sir?
9 A. Yes, yes, I can see the document.
10 Q. Thank you. Now, take a look at 3D 01001, the next document,
11 please. The 9th of May is the date, the report was at 2100 hours. It
12 starts with a chronology of events at 1420 hours because the rest of it
13 seems to be lost and here Miljenko Lasic is reporting on what actually
14 happened. At 1420 hours such and such a person was killed, he was forced
15 to attack the cinema, the Partizan cinema, and Vicjina [phoen] Street.
16 Now do you know that the Partizan cinema and Vicjina Street were at the
17 very separation line between the HVO and BH army?
18 A. Yes. I remember that was said.
19 Q. Now, let's look at the end of this document. It says the general
20 situation in Mostar is very difficult and the fighting is still going on,
21 the HVO will try to fortify positions on the Bulevar. So it says. The
22 general situation very difficult and the HVO will try to fortify its --
23 the positions along the Bulevar.
24 So if somebody is trying to fortify and strengthen positions at
25 the Bulevar at 1400 hours, which was the separation line, then would you,
1 sir, and your professional soldier, exclude the fact that somebody had
2 already broken through towards the eastern part of town? Or, rather, what
3 I want to say is this: Towards the western part of town, whereas somebody
4 is trying to fortify positions that he had earlier and did not expect an
5 attack? Is that quite clear from what it says here? Can we understand
6 that in any other way than I have just put to you?
7 A. Having a look at these documents, which I see for the first time,
8 I see the major problem faced by Major Lasic, whether you were the ones
9 that led the offensive or whether it was the Armija, and the solutions
10 adopted to wit to request men, well trained and armed, and artillery, and
11 the information that arrived at SpaBat, if you're interested, Your Honour,
12 in how I interpreted key events on the 9th of May, we understood that you,
13 with your weaponry, were better organised. But when it comes to the
14 infantry, perhaps the Armija infantry attained some immediate successes
16 If you look at the death toll, we are talking about six killed and
17 17 wounded people. So there were problems, major problems in Mostar. We
18 are talking about the beginning of hostilities. In the different
19 documents signed by brigadier Lasic, the other documents in which he asked
20 for weaponry, he also issued orders to close a number of roads. Quite so.
21 I agree with you, General Praljak, that it's not quite normal for
22 somebody who is supposedly prepared an offensive on the very same day of
23 the offensive to request support troops. The logic that you are following
24 is crystal clear. But this does not exclude that I support the
25 information that SpaBat provided via the chain of command on the basis of
1 the information that we had at the time which is of course not these
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness -- if you just allow, witness, you have
4 emitted now a hypothesis, what could be the explanation for this? Would
5 another hypothesis be that an attacker is surprised, taken by surprise
6 because he meets with much more resistance than he had expected, for
7 instance, for bad intelligence.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we believed that is
9 what happened. We believed that the side that did not lead the attack did
10 acquire a tactical low-level tactical advantage at the infantry level. It
11 is not usual for an attack of the BH infantry would take place against the
12 building in which the Presidency of Mate Boban was housed. That's not
13 normal. There was a tremendous lack of foreplanning, forward planning,
14 but these are conjectures that I'm not about to make 14 years later.
15 That's not my responsibility.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you are a senior
17 officer and usually you are able to answer military-type questions.
18 Following the documents that have been submitted to you, we are in the
19 very heart of the military issue. There are two theses. One which is the
20 case by the Prosecution that says that on the 9th of May at 5.00, the HVO
21 attacked the headquarters of the 4th Corps and took the Vranica building.
22 That's the Prosecution case.
23 On the other hand, you have the case put forward by General
24 Praljak, based on document 4D 628, a document from Colonel Andric, sent to
25 Tihomir Blaskic, who commands the Central Bosnia operational zone, also
1 telling what happened. So the scenario presumably is the following. At
2 5.00, the ABiH attacked the Tihomir Misic barracks, but they are
3 successfully repulsed. Then the HVO, as a counteroffensive, is going to
4 take the building in which the headquarters of the 4th Corps is located.
5 So as part of this scenario, we have a series of documents showing
6 that not on the 7th, not on the 8th, but on the 9th of May, a tank is
7 being called urgently, as well as ambulances, material, equipment, and
8 these documents might suggest that then, led by Mr. Lasic, there is a
9 military system that is put in place to face the ABiH attack. You, you
10 were not in Mostar proper, but outside Mostar. Which of these two
11 scenarios do you think is more credible, the more sort of
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you refer to the
14 Andric document there are two things that should not escape your
15 attention. It's an answer to a request and it's signed on the 10th of
16 May, that's to say the following day. Mention is made of the 5.00 in the
17 morning attack and that a number of front lines and attacks against the
18 presidential building have taken place but were repelled, and that the
19 Armija building was taken over by the HVO including the 4th Corps building
20 which was in the Croat zone, and that there is false information being
21 aired by Sarajevo Radio.
22 If this is all the basis to state that they did not take the
23 initiative, I do not believe that it's successively accurate. The
24 UNPROFOR analysed in situ, and we even had some people infiltrated to see
25 what was actually happening with the shots, and on the very same day, on
1 the 9th, not the 10th, we said that we understood that the initiative had
2 been taken by the HVO. Having said this, I also agree with General
3 Praljak's position to say, well, what sort of foreplanning was there
4 within the HVO troops if they had to request more things on that very same
5 day. The documents of Lasic have no time given, so we don't know;
6 whereas, the UNPROFOR documents always, always, state the time. Both the
7 time and the date and these for military purposes. But of course it's not
8 up to me to judge this.
9 In my opinion, and to answer your question, Your Honour, the
10 criterion of the Defence which coincides with the information that
11 UNPROFOR provided in the area on the same day of the attack is more
12 consistent than the position adopted by General Praljak and his Defence
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, witness, is this indeed what you want
15 to say, that the point of the Defence is more convincing than the points
16 of Mr. Praljak, who is one part of the Defence?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you have said the Defence. I
18 meant the Prosecutor's side. What I meant to say was that of the two
19 options that the president of the Court provided relating to the reports
20 of Mr. Andric, this is what I want to say, and I apologise for my mistake.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just one last question and then
22 Mr. Praljak will be able to proceed. When you have to do with a military
23 offensive of the type you can see unfolding on the 9th of May, in such a
24 setting, prior to the offensive, aren't there any orders being given,
25 preparatory orders of logistics, material, various equipment, weaponry,
1 health, doctors, orders that were to prepare for the attack, whether it
2 was organised by the ABiH or the HVO? In 1993, so this is not back in the
3 Middle Ages, that's only -- well, close to 14 years ago, back then, did
4 you not have to prepare for an attack with orders, with preparatory
5 orders, or was it done just casually, randomly. You were on the ground.
6 You met with generals, with senior officers, with ministers. What was
7 your feeling as to the factions and armies in presence? Were there
8 professional armies that were able to prepare attacks according to the
9 rules of warfare or were they doing just anything?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, obviously in 1993, both
11 sides involved in the conflict had professionals with knowledge of the
12 situation or with knowledge as to how to organise a military operation.
13 UNPROFOR never received internal information as to what was being
14 prepared, obviously not. We never had that information. Had we had that
15 information, we would have passed it on to the appropriate authorities, to
16 Kiseljak. I think that the management or direction of combat was not
17 particularly good on either side, but the feeling, the general feeling in
18 UNPROFOR was that the HVO side relied on its artillery to a large extent
19 whereas the Armija had better infantry. Perhaps there was a lack of
21 In former -- in former combat against the Serbian army, this is
22 what used to happen. Mostar is a different kettle of fish. Mostar is not
23 an open battlefield. The artillery is not as useful and perhaps it was
24 infantry that was needed most, but I am not familiar about the preparation
25 for the attack. I do not know whether it was in fact an attack that took
1 place simply because it was known that the generals in charge were not
2 there, but General Pasalic in fact comes quickly in order to enter Mostar
3 because he is in fact the one that brings together the 4th Corps of the
4 Armija. And it is clear that the Armija did attack in the area of the
5 Presidency, the president's building, and there was a large movement of
6 troops and that UNPROFOR had to leave the area. All this is correct.
7 All the information we had led us to believe that as professionals
8 with more experience perhaps than the people there, led us to believe that
9 the attack came from the HVO side, and this is why we wrote that.
10 Otherwise we would have written something different.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Please proceed.
12 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Sir, I'm interested in the following: Out of your people, who was
14 in Mostar on the morning of the 9th of May? To cut this short we thought
15 we concluded, we inferred, what have you not. In Mostar on the 9th of May
16 who was where from SpaBat? Do you know or do you not know? Please don't
17 look through these papers. Just tell me if you know or don't know?
18 A. On the 9th of May in the morning, the unit stationed in Mostar
19 left Mostar. This information I can give you. Also, I can give you that
20 we got information from inside Mostar through some of the Spanish
21 intelligence people who remained in Mostar, to protect soldiers, well, we
22 have also elements that act isolated, and we receive information from
23 these people.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. Please let me
25 intervene because you said that already yesterday already and nobody
1 picked that up or grasped the extent of what you were saying. You said
2 that SpaBat left Mostar, but you also say on page 101 that there were
3 elements that stayed. I was going to say were they spies for you who
4 would give you information, or were they SpaBat members who had stayed
5 inside Mostar under the guise of -- some guise, and who would inform you
6 as the events were unfolding? Could you let us know how you had organised
7 information to get to you?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On that day, or about that day, I
9 have no details. However, elements of the reconnaissance patrols, command
10 posts, specialised, with electronic means, could be in areas which were
11 not controlled by any side but that could observe the situation. It's
12 habitual practice in western armies, and of course we cannot discount the
13 possibility that we had these. We cannot say whether we had more than
14 two. I cannot say.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Please, could have, whatever. Really, we're speaking in the
17 conditional now, what could have taken place. Electronic surveillance
18 could have done this and that. Sir, this is a classical attack in the
19 street, somebody either saw that or did not see that.
20 If someone saw it, it could have happened only at a certain place
21 at a certain time. Let us stick to logic. I am very well versed in
22 Spanish literature. We can talk about Cervantes but this is not that.
23 This is a military matter. Who concluded on the basis of what, on the
24 basis of fact, that someone from the HVO started that attack in
25 contravention of everything that I'm going to prove through the documents,
1 but please look at your report on the 8th of May, number 36.
2 On the 8th of May 1993, in the evening, we brought the British,
3 French, and Spanish ambassadors to Mostar. Oh, yes, where Mate Boban was.
4 They had a meeting with Mr. Stojic and Mr. Bozic. The meeting was held in
5 the building of the Presidency of Herceg-Bosna. On the same day we
6 secured an escort for Mr. Pasalic from Kiseljak to the eastern part of
7 Mostar. So on the evening of the 8th of May, you sat in Mostar. You were
8 there yourself, right?
9 A. Yes. I was in Mostar.
10 Q. Yes. Now, an experienced soldier -- well first of all, if an
11 offensive was being prepared for the 9th, why would they let you in on the
12 8th? Secondly, where is the army? The military is supposed to be there,
13 preparations, mortars, rocket launchers, tanks. Aren't you a soldier?
14 How can one get into Mostar near the actual front line that would
15 later be attacked by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and you don't see
16 anything on the evening of the 8th? No one sees a thing? You talk quite
17 peacefully with three ambassadors, everything is peaceful, calm, and the
18 next morning, the HVO launches an attack, and you conclude that through
19 electronic surveillance, how, who, where? Can you give me an answer to
20 that? If not I would just like to deal with a few more documents and then
21 we're going to move on to our next topic.
22 A. The night of the 8th was a very surprising night for me because
23 there were plenty of patrols and soldiers.
24 Q. Sir, please, tell me did you see any preparations on the evening
25 of the 8th that were involved in an attack? Yes or no. Tell me that.
1 Patrols were there for the ambassadors.
2 A. My mission was to bring the APCs, take the ambassadors to the
3 Presidency building and hand them over to Mate Boban. I waited two hours
4 outside, and I had the opportunity of talking to some soldiers. I saw so
5 military preparations or what I would consider military preparations.
6 That is the answer. I saw no military preparation, correct.
7 Q. Thank you. Thank you very much, sir. Please look at this
8 document, we have 3D 01001. It says, "Around 1700 hours, an attack by the
9 Bosnian army to get back to Hum was repelled." That's what is written
10 here, do you know where Hum is? 3D 01001. You will see here even Babic
11 got killed, and right under that, around 1700 hours, an attack -- an
12 attempt of the BH army to climb the hill of Hum was repulsed. You have it
13 on the screen, sir. If you wish you can have a look at the screen.
14 A. Yes, I have the document.
15 Q. Do you see that written there? Now that we are on the subject of
16 Hum, you were still in Mostar at that time. Do you know about this major
17 offensive of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina on the 20th of September 1993,
18 against West Mostar, inter alia against the hill of Hum, the 20th of
19 September 1993? What do you know about that? If you don't know anything,
20 then I'd like to move on.
21 A. Sorry, I've misunderstood. You're talking about the 20th of
22 September? You're talking about an attack against the hill on the 20th of
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No. There is a mistake here.
25 The document is dated the 9th of May. It's a report which was drafted at
1 8.00 p.m. and this report explains that at 5.00 p.m. the HVO repelled an
2 attack by the ABiH army which was trying to take control of the Hum hill.
3 I think in military terms, this does mean the same thing.
4 What do you have to say to this? Is it surprising? Is it normal?
5 How do you react? How do you respond to this? I must say this is a bit
6 of a quandary for me because we know that they were positioned on the hill
7 of Hum, and if this attack took place, this attack must have been prepared
8 beforehand. What do you have to say to this?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, obviously, who controlled the
10 Hum hill had a perfect vantage point over Mostar, so I could well
11 understand that one side would have the control and others would try to
12 storm or take over that control point. And we did have information
13 whereby the attack against the Hum hill was taken place from Donja Mahala.
14 I can confirm that this is true.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Thank you very much. Sir, now I wanted to ask you about a
17 different date concerning an attack on Hum. I'm talking about the 20th of
18 September 1993. Do you know about that attack of the BH army at Hum? Yes
19 or no.
20 Sir, you don't need to look at documents. Sir, please, just what
21 you know. You were down there. Do you know, do you know that there was
22 an attack launched by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina on the 20th of
23 September 1993 against Mostar, the hill of Hum, and so on? Do you know
24 about that? Oh, all right. Let's skip that question. This is my last
25 document, 3D 0 -- 3D 01000. That's the last one that has to do with this
1 topic. 3D 01000.
2 A. [No interpretation]
3 Q. The 10th of May. Miljenko Lasic, because of a conflict between
4 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO, he's asking for 82-millimetre
5 mortars, 120-millimetre mortars and so on and so forth. And he's asking
6 for that as urgently as possible. Can you see that document? Is this
7 correct, what is stated here?
8 A. I can see the document.
9 Q. 3D 01021, the last document. Miljenko Lasic --
10 A. [No interpretation]
11 Q. Is writing to the commander of UNPROFOR, Zagreb, the 10th of May
12 1993. Do you see the signature of Miljenko Lasic? And he says, "We are
13 surprised by the totally unfounded assessment of UNPROFOR that allegedly
14 HVO forces on the 9th of May 1993 started combat actions in Mostar and
15 that in this way, they violated the three last agreements between Croat
16 and Muslim commanders under the protection of the UN. We are surprised
17 that Mr. Wahlgreen wasn't objectively informed about who actually did not
18 respect the above-cited agreement and who, in fact, after numerous
19 previous provocations, started combat actions precisely against the
20 Tihomir Misic barracks located on the left bank of the Neretva River in
21 which the BH army is already tidying up as an area where only Muslims will
22 be living."
23 He says that "The Republic of Croatia has nothing to do with it."
24 And he also says, "It is true that the HVO units responded to combat
25 action, of the BH army, with a single objective in mind, to defend the
1 city and its population." Have you ever seen this document that was sent
2 obviously through your UNPROFOR, Zagreb?
3 A. From this document, our colonel head of operations had told us of
4 it, but I don't think we ever actually saw the document itself. But I
5 think we were aware that the document had been produced. I thought that
6 it wasn't Lasic. I thought that it was Minister Stojic. That was what
7 believed until now.
8 Q. Sir, do you know that on the 30th of June, the barracks of Tihomir
9 Misic were attacked by the BH army inside and outside to cut things short,
10 they took the barracks and they continued their combat operation a month
11 later? Do you know about that? On the left bank of the Neretva near the
12 railway station in the northern part of town?
13 While we are waiting, could the usher please put this on -- oh,
14 you know that, thank you.
15 A. Yes. For us, for UNPROFOR, it was a known fact that the
16 importance of the northern and southern barracks that enclosed the city
17 were very important for both sides. I remember receiving information
18 periodically concerning some.
19 Q. [No interpretation]? [Speakers overlapping] Time is running out.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, Mr. Praljak. It
21 is 4.00. We have to have a 40 [as interpreted] minute break now, and we
22 shall resume at 20 minutes past 4.00 accused.
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Just have a look at these
24 two photographs so that will be all right? Would that be possible?
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In that case, all right, but
1 very quickly, please.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation].
3 Q. Sir, please look at the photograph of this big building? Could it
4 please be placed on the ELMO, the photograph of this building, oh just
5 leave it, leave it on the ELMO.
6 Sir, could you please put it where it was? Thank you, and I
7 apologise to the interpreters. Is this the building where you went up
8 when you were investigating the death of your officer?
9 A. If my memory serves me correctly, it is this building, and can I
10 have a pointer? And here, you can see the corner -- I think it's this
11 corner, one moment.
12 Q. Mark that, please. Please mark that corner.
13 A. Yes. I think.
14 Q. The corner where you were.
15 A. This photo doesn't actually help me very much because I saw it
16 from the bridge, but I think that this is the building, and I think it was
17 this part right here, you can see this top corner. This is where the
18 house was where formerly we had the elevator.
19 Q. Please mark that. Please mark where that would be. Please put
20 number 1 there?
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. Please, number 1, by that.
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. So that is where you went up, and you saw something like an
25 elevator and you found some casings; is that right?
1 A. No, no. There was no elevator. There was a hole at that point,
2 and I think something would have been there beforehand. But yes we did
3 find shells there.
4 Q. There could have been one, of course there wasn't a lift an
5 elevator, but you were in that building in that place and you found a
6 casing or casings; is that right? Would you place the date and your
7 signature to the photograph? That's customary in this Court. Or rather
8 your initials. You needn't write your name and surname. Your Honours
9 would you explain to the witness what he should do?
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please write in the initials DV,
11 please, DV, and write today's date.
12 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 2nd of October 2007.
14 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could we have an IC
16 number, please?
17 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honours, the document shall be
18 given Exhibit number IC 673. Thank you, Your Honour.
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Now take a look at the second photograph. Can we see the entire
21 photograph, please? Move it up a bit. Now, along this street, if you go
22 down this street, by the cars, if you carry on further down to the left
23 part of the photograph, would you get to Tito's bridge where there was an
24 APC, a SpaBat APC, just draw in an arrow? You go down this street and you
25 get to Tito's bridge; is that right? That's right, in that direction; is
1 that correct? That Tito's bridge is to be found there? And if so, place
2 an arrow, please.
3 A. [Marks]
4 Q. So following the direction of that arrow, you would find Tito's
5 bridge; is that correct?
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. Witness, this photograph, well, along with the buildings, the
8 buildings there today, nothing can be changed, but this photograph was
9 taken from approximately the position or rather this photograph is more to
10 the advantage in a way of the Prosecution, but my position is this: In no
11 way, not then, not now, from that building, could you see the location at
12 which your officer was located when he died. Is what I'm saying the truth
13 or not? Is it a lie or is it the truth? And that's my last question
14 before the break.
15 A. That is incorrect. From the top of the building, there is
16 another -- there is a different panorama, different visibility. I'm not
17 saying that it's wrong. It's just that I filmed and photographed the
18 panorama from the top of the building, and this was done at the time.
19 It's not a recent piece of evidence.
20 Q. But why haven't we got this panorama view, panoramic view?
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The photograph was taken from
22 the highest point, the one where you were standing. From there, one
23 cannot see the bridge. That seems pretty obvious. What we see here, in
24 the light of what we have here in front of us, we can't see the bridge on
25 the photograph. So could one see the bridge from another vantage point in
1 the building? Because you are saying that you could see the bridge from
2 where you were standing.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The bridge exactly can be seen from
4 what we call the left wing, which is the metallic bridge which goes into
5 the Muslim part controlled by the Armija. That could be seen and the
6 trees could be seen, yes. But this particular photo might be taken from
7 the same building, but it has a completely different angle and it's not
8 the same as what I saw.
9 Both photos could be put side by side to compare the two. The
10 Spanish Battalion, I know, has copies of the photos. I'm not sure about
11 the video but the photos, yes. On top of that, the photos were sent to
12 the national press and it was marked on the photo where the death
13 occurred. But this photo, albeit taken in the same building, from the
14 same building, it's neither the -- it shows neither the height that I
15 remember or the position that I remember. I'm not saying that -- well,
16 I'm just saying it doesn't actually show what I saw when I climbed the
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have to have a 20 minute
19 break now. We shall resume at half past 4.00. Mr. Praljak, according to
20 my calculation, there are 70 minutes left. How much time will you need
21 after the break?
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as much as you
23 give me. The question of the wounded, the injured, and perhaps the
24 military situation which the gentleman is aware of.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We need to finish at 5 p.m. So
1 please reflect on those questions which you wish to put to the witness and
2 we should finish at 5.00 p.m. We shall now have a 20-minute break and
3 resume at half past 4.00 sharp.
4 --- Recess taken at 4.08 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 4.29 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] First of all, I'd like to ask
7 the Prosecution how much time they will need for their redirect.
8 MR. PORYVAEV: Your Honour, I don't think that I need it.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Praljak, you
10 still have 20 minutes. We will give Mrs. Alaburic five minutes for her
11 additional questions and that will wrap it up. So you have 20 minutes
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
14 That's going to be sufficient for my purposes. I hope that we will see
15 the photograph that the Spaniards took and that the Prosecution will make
16 it available to us. Could we mark this one the same way we marked the
17 previous one, with initials and a date?
18 Q. Would you mark it, please, Witness? Could you please initial this
19 photograph and your secret initials, that is, and then could we have the
20 date, today's date?
21 A. [Marks]
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Could we have an IC
23 number for this photograph, registrar, please?
24 THE REGISTRAR: [Microphone not activated] Your Honour, the
25 document shall be given Exhibit number IC 674. Thank you, Your Honour.
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Witness, would you look at your diary, P02108, now, please, and
3 we'll go through some things and look at the 27th of August 1993, that
5 A. 27th of August, yes, I have it.
6 Q. Look at the end of the page in Croatian, the departure of five
7 children plus four relatives from the Muslim part of Mostar in order to go
8 to Split by helicopter, plane from Split, Zagreb, Mec. Now, that
9 evacuation was can carried out?
10 A. Yes. It was conducted.
11 Q. Thank you. Now, do you remember the evacuations that went from
12 East Mostar, UNPROFOR transport to Medjugorje, a helicopter to Split and
13 then further on to Turkey by plane? Do you remember those evacuations?
14 Just to go through them quickly now.
15 A. There were many evacuations during my time in the task force, I
16 don't know which ones you're referring to, but I remember the process of
17 evacuations, yes.
18 Q. They are the ones that went to Turkey. We have the documents from
19 earlier on but now take a look at your diary, and the entry of the 1st of
20 September 1993 when the evacuation was agreed upon to Mostar and Nova
21 Bila. Do you remember that, that the agreement reached was about parallel
22 evacuations? Or simultaneous evacuations from Nova Bila, that is Croats
23 there and Mostar and the other wounded?
24 A. I recall the problems that we had in getting people out of the
25 hospital in Mostar, yes, and Nova Bila.
1 Q. Now, look at that same document, the entry for the 3rd of
2 September 1993. This is what it says, or what you say here. That the HVO
3 completed its evacuation to Split, two helicopters, and then you say that
4 the evacuation from Mostar by helicopter to Zenica was not carried out
5 because of the bad weather conditions. Isn't that right?
6 A. Yes. If that's in my personal diary? What I have on the 3rd of
7 September is that the agree [as interpreted] was concluded and then there
8 was -- there was the Nova Bila evacuation and the one from Mostar was
9 abandoned because of bad weather, yes.
10 Q. Very well. Now take a look at the 6th of September. This is what
11 you say. 31 wounded persons were transported, that's the first
12 evacuation, to Zenica. Then on the 7th of September, the evacuation of 3
13 children and their mothers from Jablanica. On the 8th of September, the
14 evacuation of 38 wounded persons by helicopter from East Mostar. Then the
15 10th of September, it says -- no, the 8th, there was a medicines transport
16 to both parts of Mostar, and the main UNHCR office to East Mostar, then we
17 come to the 11th of September entry, 34 wounded persons from the Muslim
18 part were evacuated from Medjugorje to Zenica by helicopter together with
19 five wounded prisoners who were in the HVO hospital at Bijeli Brijeg. And
20 then that same date, and then we have the 12th of September, the
21 evacuation of 38 persons, wounded Muslims from the Muslim hospital in
22 Mostar, taken to Medjugorje, transported by helicopter to Zenica.
23 Is all that correct? Everything it says there, is that correct?
24 A. It is correct, and it reflects the summaries.
25 Q. Thank you. Now, may we have on e-court P04857, please? P04857 is
1 the document number. It is a report dated the 7th of September 1993,
2 signed by Dr. Ivo Sandrk. It will appear on e-court. And while we are
3 waiting for the document to come up on our screens, I'd like to ask you
4 the following: Sir, did you ever, were you ever prevented by the HVO from
5 carrying out any person from East Mostar or Jablanica, mother, a child, a
6 woman, the wounded, anybody? Were there any obstacles to pulling those
7 people out, for your mission to take place, the transport of wounded
8 persons to Medjugorje, were there any attempts to prevent that or make it
9 impossible in any way, any obstacles at all?
10 A. Absolutely not. I remember the positive attitude that I met with
11 in order to carry out the evacuations. I was grateful for it at the time
12 and I'm grateful now.
13 Q. Thank you, Witness. Now take a look at the next document, if --
14 P04857, if we have it up on our screens. Anyway, it's a long document, I
15 won't be able to look at all of it but with Dr. Sandrk according to what
16 we have in our records, you talked to Dr. Sandrk. Did you negotiate with
17 him and Thornberry and the other people at these meeting held on the 1st
18 of September 1993 and the 2nd, 3rd of September, the 4th, 5th, et cetera,
19 did you attend those meetings? You confirm this earlier on but once again
20 we have it here.
21 A. Yes, yes. I believe that I recalled that Dr. Bagaric was in
22 charge of the hospital, and so I think the medical part of the HVO, I
23 can't remember in detail, but I had many meetings in the hospital. And I
24 remember that everything was carried out quite frankly under good
1 Q. It says here on the 4th of September, well, the second page in the
2 Croatian text of this document, that Dr. Mira Camidzic, a lady doctor was
3 seriously wounded and transferred to the HVO hospital and from thence to
4 Split. Do you remember that?
5 A. No, this particular fact, no, I don't but remember from Mostar to
6 Split it was quite an easy transfer. It was quite easy to make that
8 Q. Yes, of course. Now look at the next sentence, Sandrk says,
9 "I'm going to Mostar in order to be present when the MOS wounded were
10 loaded up. There was an MOS attack on the town controlled by the HVO."
11 On that occasion, 18 civilians were wounded, of which five
12 children. There were five fatalities, two children amongst them. And
13 among the wounded civilians, eight were Muslims, eight persons were
14 Muslims. It is quite clear that the attack had, as its aim, to depict MOS
15 to the public in that way and that the evacuation could not have been
16 carried out for security reasons. On that same day, two helicopters
17 evacuated 29 seriously wounded HVO members to Split and some ten children
18 from Nova Bila.
19 Do you remember that mortar attack?
20 A. Yes. I remember -- and I think it wasn't the only attack. I
21 remember, yes, that there was a problem on several occasions, security
23 Q. This document, among other things, says that the Muslim side kept
24 changing its negotiating team, that Dr. Milavic did not appear and so on
25 and so forth. Did you ever notice at those meetings that the HVO were in
1 a moment -- that it wasn't ready to do everything in its power so that the
2 wounded citizens or injured citizens should be pulled out and taken to
3 Zenica or Mec, the American hospital in Zagreb or to Croatian hospitals?
4 You answered this earlier on, but did you ever notice that there was not
5 the readiness on the part of the HVO to do anything like that?
6 A. No. Absolutely not. I found that they were fully available, and
7 I always came across people with the appropriate authority to solve the
8 problems, the concrete problems, that we encountered at that time.
9 Q. Thank you. I have one more document now. At the beginning, you
10 said that you weren't sure what I was doing in July, August, and September
11 over there. Do you know which position I had in the HVO in July, August,
12 and September? What was my post, function?
13 A. I didn't say that I didn't know what you were doing in July,
14 August, and September. I said I didn't know where you were on the 11th of
15 May. That's what I was asked. Later with the information we received
16 through the local press, we inferred what your rank was and that you were
17 in charge of military coordination of activities. As for your exact post,
18 I wasn't familiar with that. But I remember that I have the videos and
19 you met with other generals, with General Petkovic, but I didn't know your
20 official title.
21 Q. Now, sir, tell me this: Since, as you say, you had your -- well,
22 let's call them spies or people who provided you with information, since
23 you had a battalion with a lot of officers, how come you didn't know that
24 I was the commander of the Croatian Defence Council? Isn't that a little
25 strange, that an organisation like your own, with so many information
1 sources about what was going on in Mostar, whereas in the space of three
2 and a half months, you weren't able to obtain information about what I
3 was? And I was the commander of the Main Staff of the Croatian Defence
4 Council, the HVO. That's what I'm telling you. How is that possible?
5 That's my first question. Can you explain to the Court how that is
7 A. I reiterate that we didn't have a copy of your official title. We
8 knew that you had an important post and that you could deal with problems
9 that came up, for example, evacuations, et cetera, but we didn't know what
10 your exact title was, your exact post.
11 Q. And tell me this, please: Which press, local press, existed at
12 the time in the area? Give me the name of any paper that you could have
13 read at the time.
14 A. Just a correction. I didn't read the papers. It was my
15 interpreters who read the local press. It was the interpreters who read
16 the local press, whatever local press that was available that they could
17 get their hands on. And at that time there was no internet there at that
18 time, so we didn't have that access to information, I'm not sure, but I
19 remember that we bought three or four publications.
20 Q. Now, sir, you say that you received information from your
21 interpreters. Now, to learn about what the Main Staff commander did and
22 his existence, you learnt about that through interpreters and some local
23 press, which, actually, did not exist there. Is that right? Is it right
24 that the information -- that information about my function and position --
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Could you enlighten the Chamber as to the
1 relevance of these questions? I do not quite see where in the indictment
2 they find any root, nor do I find them very pertinent as far as the
3 credibility of the witness is concerned.
4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, they are linked
5 to the credibility of information. The information coming in from the
6 battalion, which numbers almost 2.000 people, which is a professional army
7 within NATO, and they say that information about the main operative part
8 of the army, the head of it, that he learnt that from interpreters reading
9 the -- reading the local press. I think this is highly relevant for us to
10 be able to understand what information they had at their disposal, and the
11 relevance and credibility of that information among other things, about
12 the attack and conflict on the 9th of May in 1993 in Mostar.
13 So I have every respect for the gentleman, and we had very good
15 Q. But any way, let's look at this document, P03812. It's a
16 document, a Prosecution document, and the date is the 30th of July 1993.
17 30th of July 1993. Take a look at it, sir.
18 You went through this document with the Prosecution. It is signed
19 by the commander of the Main Staff, General -- Major General Slobodan
20 Praljak, and then it says, "For, signed for, General Matic signed for him,
21 and it was sent to the headquarters of the Spanish Battalion, Medjugorje,
22 to Colonel Morales in person, and it says the commander of the HVO Main
23 Staff, Major General Slobodan Praljak. And information about this
24 incident when something exploded and one of your soldiers were killed, and
25 there were 11 wounded, whether more or less seriously.
1 This was a very troubling event, but you can see what I have
2 written about it. It's a piece of information. I first of all take note
3 of what occurred and then I say the Muslim forces, as I'm sure you know,
4 in the past few days, undertook an offensive against certain settlements,
5 et cetera, et cetera, and then it said they were successful in taking
6 control of the village of Doljani, the important elevation of Pisvir, and
7 they launched attacks against the villages of Sovici, Hudosko, and
8 Slatina. They took a tank and a mortar belonging to the HVO. We do not
9 know which artillery weapons they had at their disposal before this
10 offensive, and what weapons they have at their disposal now. But from
11 their previous positions and the ones they took control of, they were able
12 to target your base with great precision, and then I go on to say, "We do
13 not claim that this was done by the Muslims. However, we cannot accept
14 responsibility -- take responsibility for the fact that this was
15 perpetrated by HVO soldiers without an in-depth investigation to prove
17 And then I go on to say that I express the fact that
18 "Arbitrariness cannot be excluded from wars, that we know your position,"
19 and go on to say that "We wish to warn you of the increasing attacks
20 against UNPROFOR perpetrated by those who wish to create even greater
21 chaos and possibly military intervention from the air in order to protect
22 the peace forces. In actual fact, those who want to extend this war are
23 attacking because they see in it a chance to attain their goals.
24 Gentlemen, that is not the Croatian Defence Council that tries through
25 political negotiations to reach an acceptable solution to all three
1 warring parties in the BiH.
2 "Now, I ask you in order to see what the circumstances were under
3 which your base in Jablanica was attacked, the HVO is ready to make
4 available to your experts our artillery positions as well as our artillery
5 weapons. Once again, we express our regret," and so on and so forth.
6 First of all, my first question: You said that you read the
7 documents that arrived in your base. Were you supposed to know my post
8 already then quite clearly? Isn't that true, in accordance with this
9 document, that my position is stated quite clear. That is the first
10 question. And secondly, if you didn't know that, how come you didn't know
11 that? How come you missed that? You didn't read all the documents? You
12 read only some documents? Tell us whatever.
13 A. Yes. Your Honours, this might be a problem of timing. On the 9th
14 of May I knew about it from the press but on the 30th of July, I read the
15 letter that you sent to the colonel, and we were grateful for that letter
16 in which your opinions on the attack on Jablanica were expressed. But we
17 didn't actually have it clearly understood what the situation was. I just
18 want you to know that in the course of my duty, it was only when you let
19 the [indiscernible] convoy through, that was the last time that I saw it.
20 But if not in Grenostonje [phoen] I was -- I just associated you with
21 General Petkovic.
22 In other words, your position -- it's not that I didn't know your
23 elevated post. It's just that I didn't have any direct dealings with you.
24 I want to publicly recognise that this letter was mentioned by the
25 colonel. It was acknowledged and we were thankful for it, but obviously
1 it was dealing with one of our fatalities so I could not -- I cannot say
2 before this Chamber what happened exactly. I want to remind us that in
3 the Jablanica base this was an area controlled by Muslims and
4 theoretically could have been a target by the HVO. I'm not saying that
5 that was necessarily what happened.
6 Q. My last question in view of the fact that our time is up. Did you
7 ever answer this question for me, or rather did you ever answer this
8 letter? And if you did not, why did you not respond? Why did we not
9 establish a commission in order to investigate the matter fairly, so if
10 not why did you not respond? And if you did, tell me that you did.
11 A. I don't remember in detail. I remember that Colonel Morales
12 responded to Stojic, but I don't remember myself. I remember there were
13 many meetings. I remember the situation in Jablanica was very delicate
14 and perhaps I was trying to -- perhaps the HVO -- perhaps setting up a
15 commission in Jablanica with the HVO was not actually easy and Colonel
16 Andric knew that at the same time there was a lot of activity in Mostar.
17 Therefore, I don't know, I think Colonel Morales is normally well
18 mannered and replies to all letters, and all I know is that Minister
19 Stojic received a reply from our headquarters, and I can't say in detail,
20 and I lament that 14 years later.
21 Q. Thank you. Very well. Sir, I don't dare say what your rank is
22 but thank you very much for the exhaustive answers, and I thank you the
23 Trial Chamber?
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The floor to Ms. Alaburic, I
25 believe that Judge Mindua wanted to ask something.
1 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed just for
2 clarification. I did not want to intervene while General Praljak was
3 speaking in order not to interrupt him.
4 Witness, let me come back to the issue of the uniform worn by
5 General Praljak, page 10, line 11 of the transcript, and also page 12,
6 lines 5 and 6. You mention this problem. It's very important to me,
7 because you know that in the matter of the law and -- laws and customs of
8 war, a person in weapons depending on the uniform they wear, can be
9 identified as part of an organised group under sole command and also and
10 more importantly you can know which nationality that person is and which
11 government gives them their orders, unlike a person who would be armed
12 with a weapon but who would be part of a rioting group or a rogues' band
13 and that would be then under strict criminal law.
14 So I followed the exchanges between you and General Praljak
15 initially, I thought it was about a camouflage uniform but it was not so.
16 Had it been a uniform, a camouflage uniform, that would be the cause of a
17 lot of problems for us because indeed at that time both civilians and
18 military, both HVO and ABiH members, wore that type of clothing. But it
19 seems that it was a sort of strict uniform, and this is my question,
20 because when you see a military wearing that sort of official uniform you
21 look at the insignia and then at the ranks as shown on the uniform.
22 Here's my question: If the insignia and the ranking signs were -- were
23 they different depending on whether you were in the HV or in the HVO? And
24 if this was the case, which were the insignia and the ranking signs found
25 on the uniform worn by the defendant Praljak?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's true everything
2 that you're saying and as I already said, in the task force, we received
3 information, in fact we received a whole book, and I'm not sure if this
4 has been submitted to the Chamber. There was a book that was submitted to
5 all of the soldiers in which there were explanations of ranks and
6 insignias used by all warring factions.
7 In this case, we are talking about HV, BSA, HVO, and obviously not
8 the -- not -- I mean, there weren't explanations of Turkish insignias, for
9 example, but with the -- the similarity between the insignias between the
10 Croat army and the HVO, were quite significant. When I met Mr. Praljak,
11 who I didn't speak to in that moment, I saw him, and I was quite impressed
12 by him, but I was told, no, no, no, he's a general from Zagreb. And so
13 therefore I assumed that he was a general from the HV. The second time
14 that I met him, this time I spoke with him, not only saw him, was at the
15 check-point, and he allowed our ambulance through to pick up the wounded,
16 and at that particular time, I don't remember how he was dressed, but I
17 remember thinking -- I couldn't actually say clearly, I couldn't actually
18 swear as to what he was wearing, and I was very concerned about evacuating
19 the people -- about getting authorisation to pass through that
20 check-point; and the third occasion where I met him personally he was
21 wearing a uniform, and I don't actually recall the uniform because I only
22 saw him from behind.
23 And I thought at that time he jumped up on to the front part of
24 the convoy of nearly 30 vehicles, he jumped on to the highest part of the
25 vehicle, as if it were a horse, to call for our passage to be opened up,
1 and we went through for quite a few kilometres which I thought was
2 actually quite dangerous because anyone could have fallen off the vehicle.
3 And that was practically the last time I saw General Praljak. And there I
4 remember that he was wearing a campaign uniform, and I can't stipulate
5 what insignias or rank markings there were. I don't know if I've answered
6 your question, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you, witness.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, you have five
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours for these
11 five minutes.
12 Q. Witness, let us try to use them as best we can. Let us clarify
13 one particular topic in relation to a Muslim document and a Croatian
14 document. We had the Muslim document in our hands yesterday, but we
15 didn't manage to analyse it properly. I suggest that we save time and
16 that we simply look at what is displayed on our screen.
17 MS. ALABURIC: So could we please have on e-court 4D 00614? Until
18 this appears on the screen, I would like to remind all in court that this
19 is a letter from Mr. Ramo Maslesa. Here it is from the Croatian version
20 from the centre of security services of the Ministry of the Interior of
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina from Mostar. That is to say that this is an
22 institution of the Muslim authorities.
23 Q. This is a letter in which Mr. Maslesa informs the International
24 Red Cross in the first sentence that we dealt with yesterday, that on the
25 19th of May 1993, all detained civilians were released from the Heliodrom
1 prison. This document, as we can see from the bottom of the page, was
2 submitted to UNPROFOR as well under number 1. Witness do you see that?
3 Can you confirm to us --
4 A. Yes. I see it and I confirm that I received this document. It
5 took a couple of days but it was received.
6 Q. Very well. Can we agree that the Muslim authorities, I'll put it
7 that way, simply informed the international institutions, including
8 UNPROFOR, that the obligation of releasing all detained civilians from the
9 Heliodrom was carried through? Is that right?
10 A. All the civilians were released, yes, that is correct.
11 Q. All right. Let's look at a Croatian document now, 4D 00307. That
12 is a document in which my document -- which my client, General Petkovic,
13 on the 20th of May 1993, informs UNPROFOR about the implementation of the
14 agreement for Medjugorje.
15 I see that we have Croatian text on our ELMO and soon we'll have
16 the English too. The first sentence reads as follows. I'm going to read
17 it, although we don't have the English text yet. "In accordance with the
18 agreement from Medjugorje, the HVO released all civilians that were in the
19 barracks." I'm leaving out all the other parts in order to save time.
20 Witness, since this letter was sent to UNPROFOR, can you confirm
21 whether this indeed does involve the persons to which this letter was
22 addressed, who do come from UNPROFOR? Mr. Wahlgreen and Mr. Morillon, are
23 they from UNPROFOR?
24 A. Of course, but we have to remember we are talking about Zagreb and
25 Kiseljak, we are not talking about Medjugorje.
1 Q. Yes, yes. I know we are talking about Zagreb and Kiseljak. I
2 confirm that it is UNPROFOR. Tell me, to the best of your knowledge, did
3 UNPROFOR have information from the Croatian side that this agreement was
4 carried through from Medjugorje concerning the release of civilians from
5 the Heliodrom? Did you receive that kind of information in Medjugorje
6 from the Croatian authorities?
7 A. Of course. Yes, and on the 20th, we visited the Heliodrom,
8 General Prado and myself, as I mentioned earlier.
9 Q. Just a final conclusion. Can we on the basis of these two
10 documents conclude in a well-founded fashion that there was no dispute
11 between the Muslim and Croat authorities, that all civilians were released
12 from the Heliodrom in the second half of May 1993?
13 A. We always understood that there was an agreement and that this was
14 implemented without any problem, any obstacle from either party concerning
15 the Heliodrom. There might have been problems in other areas, but in the
16 Heliodrom we saw a satisfactory solution and the Red Cross was also
18 Q. Thank you very much.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is directly
20 related to one of the counts in the indictment where it says that only a
21 majority of the civilians had been released. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If there are no further
23 questions, the Bench would like to thank you for having assisted us with
24 your testimony. We are going to leave the courtroom in a few minutes. I
25 would like to ask the usher to drop the blinds.
1 As far as tomorrow is concerned, the hearing, as we are still in
2 open session, I shall not quote any names. These will be 92 ter witness.
3 The Prosecution has planned to hear this witness for two hours. The
4 Defence team will have the same time and 30 minutes each, three hours. We
5 will hear this witness tomorrow and the day after, from 9.00 to 12.30 and
6 from 2.30 to 5.00. I don't know whether you will be questioning the
7 witness or the other person at the back of the room, but your witness is
8 ready, is he?
9 MR. PORYVAEV: Yes, he is.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It is now 10 minutes
11 past 5.00. We shall meet again tomorrow morning at 9.00. Thank you.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.11 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 3rd day of
14 October, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.