1 Thursday, 4 October 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could the usher lift the blinds,
6 please, because I'm about to issue a ruling. Kindly call the case,
7 registrar, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour. Good morning. This is
9 case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you very
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Today we are
12 Thursday. I'd like to greet all the people present in the courtroom,
13 representatives of the Prosecution, Defence counsel, the accused, as well
14 as all the people assisting us.
15 I shall hand down an oral decision, and I shall read it out
16 slowly. It's a lengthy ruling.
17 Oral decision asking the Defence to notify the Prosecution of its
18 intention of invoking a defence of alibi or any special defence.
19 At this stage of the trial, the Trial Chamber feels it is
20 necessary to ask the Defence teams to notify the Prosecution of their
21 intent to invoke, if need be, a defence of alibi or any special defence.
22 The Trial Chamber recalls that on the 13th of September, 2007, it had
23 asked the parties to submit its arguments on the question as to at what
24 point in time of the trial the Defence teams would notify the Prosecution
25 of their intent to invoke, if need be, a defence of alibi or any special
1 defence pursuant to Rule 67 of the Rules.
2 In its written submission filed on the 19th of September, 2007,
3 Defence counsel of the accused Praljak, supported by Defence counsel of
4 the accused Coric, ascertained that such a notification could take place
5 at any point in time during the trial and at the earliest at the end of
6 the Prosecution's case. Other Defence counsel did not react.
7 In its submission filed on the 24th of September, 2007, the
8 Prosecution asked the Trial Chamber to set a time for the notification in
9 the near future pursuant to Rule 67 of the Rules. Pursuant to Rule 67(A)
10 of the Rules, the Trial Chamber does have a discretionary power and is
11 entitled to set a notification deadline. The Trial Chamber holds that by
12 virtue of this power it should make sure that the trial is expeditious and
13 fair. It holds that pursuant to Rule 67(A)(ii) of the Rules, in lower
14 case, that the notification should take place before the end of the
15 Prosecution case so as to enable the Prosecution to challenge any special
16 defence or defence of alibi.
17 Therefore, pursuant to Rule 67 of the Rules, the Trial Chamber is
18 asking the Defence teams to let the Prosecution know of their intent to
19 invoke or not a defence of alibi or any special defence before the 17th of
20 October 2007.
21 Briefly, the Trial Chamber holds - I'm sure you have understood
22 this - that as far as the Bench is concerned, the Defence teams should let
23 the Prosecution team know before the end of the Prosecution case if the
24 Defence teams have any intention of invoking any defence of alibi or any
25 special defence so as to enable, if the Defence so wishes, to enable the
1 Prosecution to prepare for this. So you will have until the 17th of
2 October, 2007, to let the Prosecution know whether or not you wish to
3 invoke a defence of alibi or any special defence.
4 This was a lengthy ruling, but it was important at this juncture
5 of the trial. We shall now drop the blinds.
6 As far as our calculations are concerned, Mr. Praljak, yesterday
7 you had, as I had already said, 80 minutes. You have had other accused's
8 time. Some of the accused have not taken the floor and should have 30
9 minutes each, that is Defence Mr. Petkovic and Mr. Coric.
10 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise.
11 We said on the first day that we have no questions, that is to say
12 Mr. Coric's Defence has no questions for this witness, just to avoid any
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's bring in the
16 Let me take this opportunity to say this to Mr. Praljak:
17 Yesterday, we didn't quite understand what you were getting at and what
18 the meaning of your questions was, so one could have the feeling that we
19 are wasting our time. Please be accurate that we understand what it is
20 you want from the witness so that we understand what your defence case is
21 about, because if we don't understand what you're getting at, we're
22 wasting our time. So if you see that the Judges are querulous about it,
23 please be as accurate as you can. Otherwise we feel that we are wasting
24 our time.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm sure you know why you are
2 putting the question to the witness. You have a number of documents. You
3 know which witnesses you will call to come and testify. We don't have
4 those documents. So notwithstanding the knowledge the Judges may have of
5 this case, sometimes we are going about it blindly, and when you are
6 putting questions on information which we don't have, then we are lost.
7 This is what I wanted to share with you.
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Good morning to Your
9 Honours. Thank you for issuing that caution. I'm sure that certain
10 questions have remained unclear, although I didn't feel so myself, but I
11 did want to clarify certain matters, especially with respect to what the
12 witness knows first-hand in relation to certain documents, because I
13 understood it that the statement given in the first person or the reports
14 in the first person means that he had available to him all the
15 information. However, I will be more specific today.
16 WITNESS: WITNESS DW [Resumed]
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak: [Continued]
19 Q. Anyway, good morning, Witness.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I would like -- I would like to
21 greet the witness. And the representative of the Spanish government.
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I would like to ask from my
23 binder of documents which you all have to take a look at 3D 01089.
24 3D 01089. It's the 19th, 1993, signed by Major General Milivoj Petkovic
25 in Kiseljak, the 19th of October.
1 Q. We have the document on our screens, so please take a look at the
2 document, Witness, in which it says that the date is the 19th of October,
3 and it is in Kiseljak, and the readiness to implement the joint
4 declaration that was signed by the President Franjo Tudjman and the
5 president of the Presidency, Alija Izetbegovic, and that it is --
6 A. Sorry, I can not find that document. Can you give me the number
7 again or help me find it, please?
8 Q. 3D 01089. This is what it looks like. It's in the binder with
9 the green stickers, green tabs.
10 JUDGE PRANDLER: May I help in this matter. Mr. Praljak, we have
11 two documents which you submitted. The one which was submitted on the 7th
12 of -- I'm sorry. It was the 12th of October, and this one is the third
13 one, the big one, and you have your document which you refer to at the end
14 of this document, but you have also another one. So therefore, you have
15 to specify that if you are talking about a document in which of the
16 bundles we may find it. Thank you.
17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have
18 prepared a set of documents -- well, I prepared one for the first witness
19 and for the second witness, but as some of the topics are the same --
20 Q. But anyway, Witness, have you found the document, 3D 01089?
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Help the witness. This document
22 is in the large binder, and you can find it right at the end.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I ask whether the Defence has prepared a
24 bundle with the tabs, because I gave mine, as you know, to the witness. I
25 would like to have one that is marked also and -- you have one for me.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic will lend his copy
3 to Judge Trechsel.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much.
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Have you found the document, Witness?
7 A. Yes, I have it right in front of me, General.
8 Q. It says there that in taking over the obligation at talks with
9 General Briquemont in Kiseljak on behalf of the Main Staff of the HVO,
10 Mr. Petkovic gave his agreement under 1 that the engineer's units of
11 UNPROFOR can start with preparations and building the bridge at Bijela; 2,
12 that the HVO would refrain from any military action; and that the Main
13 Staff will give permission for the all-round presence of military
14 observers at HVO headquarters north throughout the construction of the
15 bridge. That is to say, they will be able to supervise the conduct of the
16 HVO units. And it asks that the section of the main road from the
17 hydroelectric power station at Salakovac to Drenica be placed exclusively
18 under UNPROFOR control and supervision, and it also calls for the main
19 road to be used exclusively for humanitarian purposes.
20 Can you see that in the document, and my question to you is in
21 view of the fact that Mr. Briquemont who was the commander of UNPROFOR at
22 the time, did you know about this because you later on went to look into
23 matters at Bijela Bridge?
24 A. Sir, this is the first time I see this document, first time I see
25 this document. The document is not intended to the Madrid Task Force.
1 Q. It's like this, sir: My question is a very simple one. Can you
2 hear me?
3 A. Yes, I can hear you.
4 Q. My question wasn't whether you have seen the document and who it
5 was addressed to. My question is were you in any way acquainted with the
6 contents of the document? Because after that you went to see how things
7 stood. So did you know of the contents of this document, what the
8 document says, when you were there? It's a very simple technical
9 question, so please give a precise answer.
10 A. Yes, General. I must say that I do not know this document, but
11 the fact is that on the 16th of October, the first reconnaissance mission
12 was conducted on the Bijela Bridge in order to start the technical
13 studies. So this of course had the result that UNPROFOR was able to get
14 to the Bijela Bridge in order to conduct that reconnaissance.
15 Q. Thank you. I'd now like to ask for two things. First of all, to
16 have document 4D 00711 up on e-court, and it is a document in
17 Mr. Petkovic's binder, towards the end. So the Defence of Mr. Petkovic
18 has this document. It is 4D 00711. And I'd like to ask the usher to
19 place this map on the ELMO.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do apologise for
21 getting up, but I see that the binders that the Petkovic Defence intended
22 for the Judges and the witness still haven't been distributed, so would
23 the usher hand those documents over to you, to the Trial Chamber, and to
24 the witness. But we did see it to the Prosecution, so they already have
25 the set of documents.
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
2 Q. While we're waiting for the document, would you place the map on
3 the ELMO while we look for 4D 00711, while that appears.
4 Witness, take a look at the map on the ELMO. It's a military map.
5 As I said, it's a military map?
6 MR. KOVACIC: If the usher would be so kind as to put the map on
7 the ELMO.
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Can we zoom in so we can see
9 the four circles. It's the northern part of -- no, zoom out. Zoom out so
10 we can see all four circles.
11 Q. It's called the contra-zoom.
12 So look at the map, please, and under point 1 we have Vrdi, and
13 then Mali Vrdi. Can you see that, Vrdi? Is that the position at Vrdi?
14 Number 2 shows Bijela Bridge. Can you see the bridge there?
15 Number 2, Bijela Bridge. And part of the lake moving to the north.
16 A. Yes, I can see that.
17 Q. And number 3 we have the Salakovac dam. Can you see Salakovac
19 A. Yes, I see that.
20 Q. And number 4 is the Mostar hydroelectric power plant; is that
21 right? I made a mistake and wrote the wrong word there.
22 Now look at 4D 00 -- you know that Mostar was there. That was the
23 hydroelectric power plant, Mostar; right?
24 A. [No interpretation]
25 Q. Witness, you must give me an audible answer. Thank you.
1 Now look at 4D 00711?
2 MR. KOVACIC: In the folder the usher is keeping in hand, the last
3 one is in.
4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Witness, I'm told that your affirmative answer wasn't recorded,
6 that number 4 is the Mostar hydroelectric power plant. Is that what you
8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters kindly request that speakers
9 make pauses between question and answer. Thank you.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Thank you. In the document that you're going to see now dated the
13 25th of September, 1993, and at the time you were already there, the
14 document was signed by Mr. Arif Pasalic, commander of the 4th Corps of the
15 BH army, and in that document --
16 A. Can I have the reference of the document again? I have just been
17 given the binder, please.
18 Q. 711. It's the last document in that binder that the usher just
19 gave you.
20 In that document the commander of the 4th Corps, in his order of
21 the 25th of September, 1993, separated the areas of responsibility,
22 divided them up. There was the center area of responsibility, center,
23 then south 2, the third area of responsibility was south 1, and north 1
24 was the fourth area of responsibility.
25 Now, I'm interested in north 1, the fourth area of responsibility.
1 So can we zoom out so we can see the whole of the map with all four
2 points, and it says to the north of the Ledenice facility is the Bijela
3 creek. And south of north 1 are residential buildings exclusively, north
4 of the Mostar hydroelectric power plant. So that's marked here.
5 Can you see the top-most mauve line where it says Ledenice and
6 this branch of the Bijela river belongs to the north, area of
7 responsibility north, and the hydroelectric power plant area of
8 responsibility. Well anyway we have the north and south border, the
9 delineation of the various areas of responsibility.
10 Based on this order, sir, was Bijela Bridge in the area of
11 responsibility of the BH army of the 4th Corps, 4th Corps of the BH army?
12 Based on this order was the bridge in the area of responsibility of the BH
13 army's 4th Corps?
14 A. I do not know so, General Praljak.
15 Q. Sir, based on this order. I'm not asking you whether you know
16 generally, but based on that order is that what follows based on that
17 order according to your military professional knowledge as a military man
18 reading this order, does clearly state that Belija bridge based on the
19 order --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.
21 MR. STRINGER: I have an objection. The witness has been asked.
22 He's answered the question and now what's happening is an argument because
23 he doesn't like the answer he got.
24 JUDGE PRANDLER: Mr. Praljak, I have a question, kind of follow-up
25 question, that you mention now here in your document, in the Defence
1 Mr. Petkovic document, that the zone of responsibility of Operative Group
2 north 1 and A north objective Ledenice-Bijela creek, and now you ask the
3 witness if in view of this order if the bridge was in a way within the
4 framework of the army, I mean the army of Armija.
5 Now, frankly, if I see this Bijela creek, myself, I cannot see how
6 should we take it, because Bijela creek, a smaller river, of course, could
7 be rather long one, and here it doesn't seem to be exactly said which part
8 of the river is being under their control, that is the armija's control,
9 and we do not know where the bridge was in this case. For example, I
10 don't know if Ledenice -- where is Ledenice and where the bridge is being
12 So that is why it is rather difficult to answer this, and I'm sure
13 that the witness had the same problem to answer to you, to your question.
14 Thank you.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. According to
16 what I have understood, General, the problem runs as follows: We are
17 talking about hydroelectric power plants supply and how the town of Mostar
18 was supplied in electricity. This is an important aspect.
19 If the area where the electricity was produced was under the
20 control of the ABiH, and in at that case you cannot criticise the HVO for
21 having tampered with electrical supply. This I think is the problem as it
22 stands in a general sense.
23 Now, in support the Defence case, it seems to me that General
24 Praljak is showing you a map which we still have in front of us, and on
25 this map we see the Bijela river with the points 1, 2, 3 and 4. This
1 famous bridge is located at point 2.
2 The order which you have in front of you, which is 4D 00711 seems
3 to indicate, seems to indicate - I'm being very cautious here - that this
4 area, so-called Operational Group Sector North group 1, which is
5 explicitly mentioned in the order is under the control of the ABiH.
6 So a simple behind could infer looking at the map and at the
7 document that the electrical power plant is under the control of the ABiH.
8 The general is putting the question to you, and you say, "I don't know."
9 I'm asking you the question at the time you were assuming your
10 duties here.
11 Now, as far as these markings on the map are concerned, was SpaBat
12 patrolling this area, and if it was, the SpaBat must have seen the ABiH at
13 check-points, either the ABiH or the HVO, because it would be
14 inconceivable to have both the HVO and the ABiH in the same area. Why
15 not, of course, but seemingly, according to this order we have in front of
16 us, the ABiH was controlling this area. So this is the question I'm
17 putting to you. What General Praljak is saying, i.e., namely that the
18 ABiH is controlling points 1, 2, 3, and 4 is in line what SpaBat
19 acknowledged, or are you saying you don't know because it happened 14
20 years ago and it might be very difficult to answer on the spur of the
21 moment such a question.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'd like to insist on the fact that
23 it was 14 years ago, and also on what my mission was in relevance to the
25 Now, let me get back to the question. General Praljak did not ask
1 me in the previous question as to the hydro-electric dam. He asked me
2 about the Bijela Bridge and whether or not it was included in the area of
3 responsibility of the north operational group, and my answer is that I
4 don't know.
5 The demarcation, there's mention of object, and I don't know what
6 that really means. And then there's mention of Bijela creek, and I don't
7 know if that's included or excluded.
8 Now, when a military unit is given an action area, usually
9 specific geographical points are mentioned and it is mentioned whether
10 they are included or excluded. So I don't know here whether the Bijela
11 Bridge is included or excluded.
12 Now, as regards the hydroelectric installation, we see here that
13 with north 1 in the southern part is told that the buildings to the north
14 of the hydroelectric installation and to the dam are excluded. But
15 obviously at the north area of the area of responsibility of the central
16 group these buildings are included, the buildings that are to the north of
17 the dam. That is to say that the dam would not be under the
18 responsibility of group north, but it would be under the responsibility of
19 the central Operational Group.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: A question, (redacted). If
21 we have before us an order which divides the terrain in different
22 operational zones, does that mean that the troops concerned have actual
23 control of that zone, or is it perhaps a wish or a hypothetical,
24 theoretical delineation of -- of areas of interest rather than a
25 reflection of effective control? Could you enlighten us on this? What
1 does it mean an order like this one?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Normally the division of the
3 battlefield into areas of responsibility implies that one unit was made
4 responsible for whatever happens in that particular area. It's in charge
5 of defending the area or attacking in the area. Then there are many
6 variations if we talk about where the attack comes from or other technical
7 matters that we can leave aside for the time being.
8 So I understand that these areas are under the control of each one
9 of the sides involved. In military terms, you cannot exclude that from
10 that area through observation or through shelling you could in fact
11 control or observe other areas beyond that particular area.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, we tried to understand.
13 However -- well, please proceed, Mr. Praljak.
14 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
15 although I'm so confused. It is just amazing how one can complicate the
16 simplest of matters.
17 Q. Please, can you see the Bijela Bridge under number 2 crossing the
18 branch of something that is called the Bijela creek? Please look at it.
19 You can see a bridge going over the Potok-Bijela branch. Do you see that
20 on the map?
21 Could it please be enlarged so that you can nicely see the bridge.
22 Two parallel lines. You can see the circle. Do you see the Bijela
24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, do you see the
25 Bijela bridge as it is drawn here, and there is this creek there, this
1 branch called Potok-Bijela.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You can see it far better on the
3 map, and I can just about guess where it is from looking at it on the
4 monitor, on the screen.
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
6 Q. All right. You see it on the map. We're done with the map then.
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could I please
8 have a date, a signature on this map, as well as an IC number for it.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I see it.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, we're going to give an IC
11 number. Witness, would you please write "DW" on the map and put the date,
12 today's date.
13 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, the witness didn't mark this map.
14 The markings are those of the accused. So I think -- I respectfully
15 suggest that it's sufficient just to give it an IC number.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but know we've already had
17 this type of problem and the Trial Chamber decided then that the witness
18 could mark that and then we'll refer back to the transcript to see what
19 the witness said then on the basis of the four circles marked by the
20 person asking the question.
21 So please write in "DW," today's date 5th of October.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Witness on the map itself, Your
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, please do. And we're going
25 to get an IC number, please Mr. Registrar.
1 MR. STRINGER: No names. No names.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No names, please, just
3 "DW." "DW" and the 5th of October, that's all. No names.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour. The document just marked
5 by the witness shall be given Exhibit number IC 681. Thank you, Your
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, so IC 681.
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I'd
9 like to ask for two things now. First of all can we look at document
10 6405, P-0645. It is in the binder containing Prosecution Exhibit. 6405,
11 that is, in the Prosecution binder. So could you please help us with
12 that. The date on this document is the 4th of November. It's a report, a
13 SpaBat report. 6405. P 6405 SpaBat report dated the 4th of November,
14 1993. The witness was there. I would just like to have a look at
15 paragraph 5 of this document, paragraph 5.
16 Q. Have you found it, Witness?
17 A. Paragraph 5, "Other information"?
18 Q. Yes. In paragraph 5 says: "Today a SpaBat patrol confirmed that
19 part of the bridge was destroyed, part of the Bijela bridge that had not
20 been destroyed before. Please find attached a drawing of the bridge
21 before and after this latest destruction."
22 Witness, can you testify as to the report of your unit, which says
23 that on that day -- well, that was the day when it was confirmed that part
24 of the Bijela bridge was destroyed, a part that had not been destroyed
25 before that, and that what was attached there is a sketch of what was the
1 case before and what was the case then. Can you confirm that?
2 A. Yes, I can confirm that.
3 Q. Very well. In the same binder can you have a look at P 06405.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, item 6 I see in this
5 document that new HVO positions were discovered at YH3096. I don't know
6 what this corresponds to. Is that within the AOR of the ABiH or not? But
7 I can see this written at that point.
8 I'm just reminding you by saying so. Please proceed.
9 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Could we now have document 6
10 E 06 -- oh I have misspoken. Sorry. 65 P 6568. It's in the same binder,
11 the next document. That document is dated the 10th of November, 1993.
12 Q. Paragraph 3, although I don't understand why it's 3. This is what
13 it says -- have you found the document, sir?
14 A. Yes, I have it before my eyes, General.
15 Q. Paragraph 3, a letter from General Pasalic, the army of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, was received at the command of the Spanish Battalion
17 where he informed about the destruction of the remains of the bridge and
18 then he asked whether it was perhaps the Spanish Battalion or the HVO who
19 had blown up the bridge on the 4th of that month as we saw in the previous
20 document. A Spanish Battalion patrol confirmed the two lanes on this
21 bridge had been destroyed that had not been destroyed earlier, that is.
22 My question, Witness, is as follows: According to this report, is
23 it not stated that two lanes of the bridge had not been destroyed and it
24 was established that they were then destroyed on the 4th of November?
25 Just tell me, is that what is written there?
1 That's my first question. Is it written here that two lanes of
2 this bridge were destroyed that had not been destroyed before?
3 A. I think that this document explains the picture we saw in the
4 document that we were shown before. It says that two of the three lanes
5 that were still safe or undamaged were then destroyed.
6 Q. Sir. Sir, please. Sir. Sir, please. All right. It's a very
7 simple question. Please, time seems to be running out for me. Just tell
8 me yes or no. Do you confirm what paragraph 3 of the report of the
9 Spanish Battalion says, your report?
10 MR. STRINGER: Objection, Mr. President. The witness -- or excuse
11 me, the accused continually suggests that this is the witness's report as
12 though the witness wrote this report. I think that it's clear the witness
13 did not write this report, although it's one that he received and it was
14 written by others.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] No, no, no.
16 Q. Sir, sir --
17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you look at
18 what the Prosecution showed us at first, that is to say those 70 or 80
19 paragraphs related to this gentleman, the witness, all of them are in the
20 first-person singular. The witness speaks in the first-person singular.
21 Please look at the document. So the Prosecution gave documents of the
22 Spanish Battalion to this witness, and he turned these witnesses into the
23 first-person singular.
24 Now, when I say could this document be confirmed for me, the
25 Spanish Battalion document confirmed, what is being stated is that I'm
1 making an insinuation. I'm just asking for a confirmation. The gentleman
2 can say I don't know anything about this, but that will bring into
3 question the entire report that you the Prosecution submitted on his
4 behalf in the first-person singular, as if the gentleman had been counting
5 shells as if he had been on the APCs, as if he had been where the Italian
6 soldiers got killed, and so on and so forth.
7 So I'm being crystal clear and acting in accordance with the
8 instructions of the Trial Chamber. I'm sticking to the document.
9 Q. So on the basis of this document of the Spanish Battalion, do you
10 confirm that this is a Spanish Battalion document? For me it is enough if
11 you say that is what my testimony is or that is not what my testimony is.
12 A. I confirm that this is a document drawn up by the rapid deployment
13 force which informed in turn SpaBat and which talked about the destruction
14 of the last two lanes that were still standing on the bridge, and I have
15 put my initials to this document, so I have recognised this document as an
16 official document of SpaBat.
17 Q. Thank you, Witness. This is the way we're supposed to proceed.
18 And another question in relation to this: Since Mr. Pasalic is asking
19 whether you destroyed these two lanes, do you know whether it's the
20 Spanish Battalion that destroyed these two lanes? Was it the Spaniards
21 who did that, to the best of your knowledge?
22 A. No, it was not SpaBat that destroyed or blew up the bridge.
23 Q. Thank you very much. Of course I believe that fully.
24 Now let us look at paragraph 26 of your statement that you gave to
25 the Prosecution. So it is it your statement, paragraph 26 of your
1 statement. This is what it says: "We were involved in security, and we
2 were proffering technical and logistic support in order to re-establish
3 communications between the corridor Mostar-Jablanica-Sarajevo, which was
4 interrupted when the Bijela bridge was destroyed by the HVO. The aim was
5 to ameliorate in this way not only communications but the accomplishment
6 of other missions of the task force as the passage of humanitarian
8 My question -- actually, I have two questions. To the best of
9 your knowledge, to the best of your knowledge -- or to be more precise, on
10 the basis of what knowledge do you state here explicitly that the HVO
11 destroyed the two remaining lanes of the Bijela bridge? Please tell me
12 and Their Honours and the Prosecutor what your arguments are to claim that
13 it's the HVO that destroyed the remaining two lanes on the Bijela bridge?
14 If you say, "I have no arguments," I will be pleased and we will proceed.
15 And if you say, "I do have arguments," then we can hear you out.
16 A. I have no legal proof, or at least no proof of any legal validity
17 to say that the HVO destroyed the bridge. However, our intelligence
18 sources in the field at the time did think that the destruction might be
19 ascribed to the HVO.
20 Q. Thank you very much. That will do. Second question: You say
21 here: If the bridge had been destroyed then, my question is was the
22 bridge used before that? Now, if it was destroyed regardless of whatever
23 Pasalic says, it's the HVO, the Spaniards, in one Spanish Battalion
24 document that I showed the Trial Chamber, it is stated explicitly the army
25 of Bosnia-Herzegovina did that.
1 But tell me now, before destruction was this bridge being used?
2 Could people cross that bridge? Not only that bridge but also the other
3 way round. Do you know, do you not no, yes, no, let's move on. I'm
4 asking you to read paragraph 38 of your statement where you say: "After
5 the destruction of the bridge on Bijela, the SpaBat and UNPROFOR continue
6 using the alternative route in the area so as to allow the passage of
7 humanitarian convoys through a mountainous path." That is to say, after
8 the destruction you took alternative routes.
9 Is that what you've stated? So it was used before the destruction
10 and afterwards you started using different roads. Do you stand by what
11 you said in your statement to the Prosecution?
12 A. Yes. You've put two questions to me. The first one, yes, I did
13 know about that, and I spoke about it yesterday if I'm not mistaken. You
14 recommended to us a bypass around the brook which ends at the Bijela
15 bridge, our sappers or engineers in fact did have a look at that bypass
16 and did not recommend the use of that road for the humanitarian aid
18 Now, we still went on using the alternative route because the
19 Bijela route was in fact cut off, hence our interest in opening up that
20 particular line or road.
21 Q. Thank you very much. That will do. It is your testimony that
22 before that the road was usable.
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be
24 shown a map.
25 Q. Before we see the map could you please look at paragraph 60. Just
1 paragraph 60 of your statement. In paragraph 60 of your statement you
2 say: "In East Mostar the SpaBat prevented or reported the ABiH placing
3 mortars in the proximity of the hospital building while patrolling the
4 area throughout this period."
5 So you say here prevented. That is to say that you succeeded in
6 preventing them from doing that. So in most other cases it -- the wording
7 is different. The SpaBat is trying to prevent, trying to prevent. That
8 is what reports say.
9 To the best of your knowledge, did you have success in preventing
10 the placement of mortars by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the
11 proximity of the hospital, in the proximity of the field hospital that you
12 later put up near the southern camp, and to what extent did you succeed?
13 A. General, in this self-same paragraph it is said that we tried to
14 avoid. And as I said yesterday, the patrols that we had in East Mostar
15 paid special attention at having a presence around or in the vicinity of
16 the hospital in order to dissuade the Armija from using mortars as from
18 When we identified a mortar in the vicinity of the hospital, we in
19 fact let this be known, and you were well-aware of this. I don't know if
20 it happened more than once. As I said yesterday, you can set up a mortar,
21 fire, and leave very quickly and there's hardly any traces left, but
22 that's what I have to say.
23 Q. Well, that's fine. I don't want to pursue the point. I just
24 remain by the fact that it says in the reports preventing -- attempts to
25 prevent, trying to prevent.
1 Now another document from the Prosecution binder. P -- but before
2 that, could you take this map over to the witness.
3 P 06214. P 06214. P 06214. Have you found it, sir?
4 A. Yes, I have found it. It's Madrid Task Force INTREP, date 8th of
6 Q. That's right. You were there then. As a comment here -- look at
7 the comment -- or, rather, before the comment, before the Jablanica
8 section and point 3 that refers to Jablanica, it says here that the
9 personnel of the BiH army said that they had very little work during the
10 last few days. This piece of information confirms that for the moment the
11 area is calm, as was reported in previous intelligence reports. End of
13 And then a sentence that I'm particularly interested in. "The
14 Mostar children are continuing to offer the Spanish patrol all forms of
15 military objects, including weapons."
16 Have you found that?
17 A. Yes, General, I have it.
18 Q. We'll skip the portion about the hospital and the relatively calm
19 situation at the time. Now, my penultimate question, and the map will be
20 my last question, tell me how you comment the sentence from the report
21 which says: "The Mostar children are continuing to offer the Spanish
22 patrol all types of military objects, including weapons." And this refers
23 to East Mostar.
24 To the best of your knowledge, were there so many weapons that
25 were out of control that it was even in the hands of children who offered
1 it to the Spanish Battalion for them to buy, to buy off them?
2 A. There was no sale of weapons to SpaBat, because SpaBat did not buy
3 weapons from either side.
4 The East Mostar patrol, as has been said on a number of
5 occasions --
6 Q. Sir, please. Just a moment. I cooperated with SpaBat
7 excellently, and I highly praise -- or was highly cognisant of the role
8 that they were playing, and they were in a war that had nothing to do with
9 their people. I'm quite clear about that, and I don't doubt for one
10 moment that a Spanish officer wouldn't buy anything like that, but the
11 question is very simple. I'm just referring to the situation in Mostar.
12 Witness, sir, I can't use your rank, we had information about the
13 Spanish Battalion. We know all about it, the extraordinary work they did,
14 how much effort of they put into their work and so on, but here it says
15 the Spanish children -- the Mostar children are continuing. It's the
16 continuous tense. It doesn't say that members of the SpaBat bought the
17 weapons, but it says that the children continued to offer them all sorts
18 of military object, including weapons.
19 So that refers to the overall situation. And as far as I'm
20 concerned and the Trial Chamber is concerned, it's very important to
21 arrive at something which is called the state of affairs, the situation on
22 the ground as it actually was in all its entirety, which includes this
23 fact, the fact that children are in possession of weapons.
24 So do you know anything about that, and can you testify about this
25 report and to what the report says?
1 A. Yes. If I can go on with my answer, then the children in Mostar
2 who were always near the Spanish patrol because we lived for a long time
3 on the streets and our vehicles were permanently surrounded by -- rather,
4 very frequently surrounded by children, particularly at the beginning, and
5 offered the children, that is, soldiers, objects which they had picked up
6 from around there. They have given us grenades and even on occasions some
8 The attitude of the SpaBat in such cases was not to accept the
9 objects and to entrust and beg the Armija, and because of the very danger
10 that these objects represented for the children, to increase their
11 vigilance. As you can imagine, fragments of grenades in East Mostar,
12 well, there was plenty of that. Where the weapons could come from or
13 where a child could have found a weapon, well, perhaps from some of the
14 victims or from the houses. I don't know. But this did happen, and
15 particularly at the beginning.
16 Q. Thank you for your answer. Would you now take a look at the map
17 on the ELMO. On the overhead projector there's a map that I provided.
18 Take a look at it now, please. And this is the last thing I want to ask
20 Once again, this is a Google image, or satellite image accessed
21 through Google. The thick line is part of the Neretva River. Towards the
22 north you see the airfield, the airport down below, and the HVO line.
23 Well, I'm going to ask you if it's the HVO line.
24 Now, up at the top -- well, you said you knew the positions of the
25 army of Republika Srpska. Now, when you look at this map - this is my
1 question - did the BH army to the best of your knowledge control the area
2 between this left line and the positions of the HVO and the light line
3 which is the position of the -- positions of the army of Republika Srpska?
4 So that's my last question.
5 To the best of your knowledge, the area in between, between these
6 two lines, between these two lines drawn in there on the map, was it under
7 BH army control while you were there, during the period that you were
9 Of course the HVO army was there, but I think that what I'm asking
10 is quite understandable.
11 A. I understand your question quite clearly. I don't know whether my
12 answer can be as accurate, because once again, General, we followed our
13 own itineraries. As you well know we entered East Mostar through the
14 airport route. We had to cross the runways, and then we took a track that
15 led us to East Mostar. This, of course, included a large track of land
16 controlled by the HVO. We crossed there the HVO lines then. We turned
17 towards the north or north-east. There were a couple of kilometres of no
18 man's land, and then we came into the armija-controlled territory . From
19 there to the south or these two lines on the Neretva that you mark as the
20 Serb border, well, we did not move around there until the peace agreement
21 was signed and the weapons pick-up points were decided upon.
22 From the north of the airport towards East Mostar, I can repeat
23 what I said before. From East Mostar to the north, yesterday I said I
24 don't know how far the HVO-controlled territory extended to, but to the
25 north of Potoci and the river we saw HVO people. To what an extent they
1 controlled the area, well, that's very difficult for me to say anything
2 concrete when this comes to saying how -- to what extent they had military
3 control. I'm terribly sorry, this is all I can say.
4 Q. Very well. Witness, about streams and things like that and that
5 there might have been the HVO there, well, let's leave that for the time
6 being, although in your report you state the positions of the army of
7 Republika Srpska. But anyway, thank you for the answers that you were
8 able to give. Bon voyage to you. Thank you to the Trial Chamber, and
9 that completes my cross-examination.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour. Witness. I'd like to
11 say good morning to everyone in the courtroom first and say at the outset
12 to the Trial Chamber that we did not have an agreement with the Praljak
13 Defence for them to use about 4/6th of the time allotted to the Defence.
14 So I ask for the Trial Chamber's understanding as far as the requirements
15 of General Petkovic is concerned.
16 If you consider my questions to be relevant to the proceedings and
17 if the Prosecution won't need more time for redirect, then I would like to
18 request that you allow me more than half an hour to cross-examine this
19 witness. And can you tell me how much more time the Defence has?
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note 4/6th of the
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Accused Praljak used two
23 hours, so normally you should have 30 minutes since nobody gave you any
24 time. It's somewhat easier today. We have more time. So -- oh, who gave
25 you time?
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, nobody gave General
2 Praljak any time either. At least that wasn't declared in the court
3 room. And when we're talking about time, I consider that the time which
4 one Defence does not wish to use up is not the property of that Defence so
5 that that Defence can then cede its time to someone else, but then that
6 time enters into something which is left to those who wish to avail
7 themselves of it.
8 I'll do my best to finish my cross-examination within one hour.
9 If not, then I would request an extra 10 or 20 minutes.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And Ms. Nozica.
11 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How much time do you need?
13 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I ceded my time yesterday to the
14 Defence teams who wish to conduct the cross-examination.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So we now only have
16 Mr. Petkovic's Defence counsel who would like to have an hour.
17 Mr. Praljak.
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I omitted or,
19 rather, I remembered straight away but you moved on. At one point in time
20 when you referred to the witness, spoke to the witness, you used a word
21 that I don't think you should have used. You mentioned his rank. You
22 addressed him by rank. There was question about maps.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. I know. I know. We've
24 noticed it. We shall do something about it right away.
25 Why don't you begin, and we'll have a break in 20 minutes' time
1 and resume after that. You have the floor.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Before I begin, I'd just like to
3 tell the Presiding Judge that I consider that I do have one hour's time
4 and that I will perhaps request additional time in due course.
5 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Now, Witness, I'd like to take this rare
7 opportunity of having (redacted) in the courtroom
8 here today to clarify some details from the aspects of military doctrine
9 that you are very familiar with. So I'm going to ask you some general
10 questions to begin with.
11 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President. I didn't object
12 yesterday, and obviously we're in the Trial Chamber's hands on what's
13 ultimately decided, but as has already been observed, the witness has been
14 brought largely as -- as a fact witness. He's not been designated as an
15 expert witness by the Prosecution and certainly hasn't been classified in
16 that way procedurally under the rules that apply to experts.
17 Now, clearly the witness is in a position of knowledge in respect
18 of general issues such as military doctrine and international humanitarian
19 law, but if the witness is going to be taken beyond the scope of his
20 testimony on direct, certainly I limited myself to what is, I think, more
21 correctly viewed as factual information, but I think in some respect it's
22 unfair now to take the witness and make him something other than what he
23 was brought here for.
24 I don't know whether the Spanish government has a position on
25 that, but it's certainly an issue I think that merits some consideration
1 before we proceed down this road.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I propose that I ask
3 my question first and then if Mr. Stringer really objects and considers
4 that my question goes beyond the examination-in-chief and the documents
5 prepared for this witness, well, I'm reasonable enough to withdraw my
6 question if that be the case. But until then, I suggest that you allow me
7 to go ahead with my question.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]
9 ... Raised by Mr. Stringer is a valid one. He's quite right. The
10 examination-in-chief of the witness did not relate to those issues which
11 you wish to raise, but you can on the basis of the question of a document
12 of SpaBat address an issue of a military nature. Then you are able to
13 meet your objective it. It's for you to handle the questions. Why don't
14 you begin, and then we'll take from there.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. That's
16 what I intended to do.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Can we start off by agreeing, and I think that we can agree, that
20 East Mostar was defended in 1993 and 1994, and those the years that we're
22 A. That's a question?
23 Q. So when you asked me "That's a question," my answer was yes, and
24 then we had the witness's answer. It wasn't recorded. So my answer to
25 that is yes, it is a question. Now, can you answer my question whether
1 Mostar, East Mostar, in 1993 and 1994 was defended? East Mostar, in 1993
2 and 1994, was defended. Was it a defended part of the town?
3 A. Yes, affirmative. Could I see the transcription on the screen,
4 because I can't see it. Thank you.
5 Q. Can we agree, Witness, that East Mostar was defended by the BH
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Can we also agree that in East Mostar the 4th Corps had its
9 headquarters as did the 41st Brigade of the BH army?
10 A. Yes, that is so.
11 Q. Would you also agree with me when I say that in East Mostar there
12 were the members of the 41st Brigade there of the BH army?
13 A. I think so.
14 Q. Can you tell us how many soldiers as a rule a brigade numbers?
15 A. It depends. It varies a lot in different armies. And you ask
16 about -- if you ask about the officers or the soldiers in this particular
17 brigade, I must say that I don't know.
18 Q. Do you perhaps know how many members of that brigade at the
19 material time was located precisely in East Mostar?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Tell us, please, in East Mostar the BH army, did it have its
22 military police? Witness, if you don't know, we'll move on to the next
23 question. I can well believe that you can't remember 14 years on.
24 A. No, I can't. I can't tell.
25 Q. Right. Tell me, the Muslim authorities in East Mostar, did they
1 have a civilian police force?
2 A. I seem to remember that this was the case.
3 Q. Tell me, the Muslim authorities, did it have civilian protection
4 or have you ever heard of the term that was referred to as civilian
5 protection within the frameworks of the armed forces and defence of the BH
7 A. Can you please repeat your question?
8 Q. Have you ever heard of the concept "targeted defence."
9 THE INTERPRETER: No, civilian defence in East Mostar,
10 interpreter's correction. Civilian defence.
11 THE WITNESS: I think there was -- I think there was a mistake.
12 Not targeted defence. [In English] Civilian protection. [Interpretation]
13 Civilian protection which is an organised force within the frameworks of
14 the defence of the BH army.
15 Q. Have you ever heard about that? If not, we'll move on.
16 A. No, I don't know.
17 Q. Very well. Thank you. Can we agree that in East Mostar the BH
18 army had mortars and other weapons? Artillery weapons.
19 A. Yes. Yes.
20 Q. Can we also agree that the BH army in East Mostar undertook
21 certain actions, military actions, against the HVO?
22 A. I suppose that if there was an armed conflict and -- between both
23 factions there were constantly military actions against one another.
24 Q. Very well. Yesterday, General Praljak started asking you about
25 the legitimacy of military targets, and His Honour Judge Trechsel
1 intervened with the observation that that was a legal issue, a legal
3 Now, I would like to ask you several questions in that regard, and
4 could you please answer my questions exclusively from the aspects of
5 Spanish observers in Mostar during that period of time, and yours and
6 their grounds for concluding about the war conflict, which in a way you
8 Did you consider that the command of the enemy army is a
9 legitimate target of attack of the opposing army?
10 A. We weren't supervising the armed conflict. The commander of an
11 army can be obviously a legitimate target of an attack. And to say that
12 it can be -- sorry, it can be a military objective.
13 Q. I'm going to ask you about the grounds for making your conclusions
14 in the reports that we've already read and ones that we're going to read
15 through. Did you consider that some warehouse, depot, any other facility
16 used by an enemy army a legitimate target of attack of the opposing side?
17 A. A depot of -- an armed depot can be a military objective.
18 Q. Did you consider that a mortar position of the enemy army is a
19 legitimate target of attack of the opposite army?
20 A. It is clearly a military objective.
21 Q. Can we agree, Witness, that the rule for deploying a mortar, for
22 using a mortar, is that they change positions a lot during a day, and
23 after several shots they change positions because they are easily
24 detectable? You can detect what positions were used to fire from. So
25 they move their positions and thus prevent the enemy from destroying that
1 mortar position. Would you agree with me there?
2 A. Yes, this is the normal use.
3 Q. Tell me, if in a relatively brief period of time a mortar is
4 deployed in different locations, can we consider that every one of these
5 locations where the mortar had been is a legitimate military target for
6 attacks by the opposing army?
7 A. That is very ambiguous question because it depends on the
8 intention of that fire, on all areas. This is another point of the
9 terrain that can have a military interest.
10 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, counsel. So sorry to interrupt.
11 Mr. President, it's about time for the break, and during the break I would
12 ask for permission to consult with the representative of the Spanish
13 government to see if there are any objections or concerns on the part of
14 the government in view of the fact that the witness is now really being
15 made an expert. Let me just add I'm happy to do that in the presence of a
16 representative of the Defence team.
17 MR. KHAN: Well, Your Honour, I do object even to that proposal.
18 The witness does have the benefit of a representative of his government.
19 That representative, as I understand it, is an eminently qualified
20 individual and no doubt can stand right now, with Your Honours' leave, and
21 address the Court or intervene in the proceedings with your leave if he
22 has any concerns as to the focus of questions. But for the -- my learned
23 friend to act, as it were, as an agent provocateur to get somebody to
24 stand up and raise objectives that he has made himself in these
25 proceedings is simply unnecessary in my submission.
1 So I do object, with the greatest of respect, on the grounds of it
2 simply being unnecessary in these proceedings.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll put the question directly
4 to the representative it of the Spanish government.
5 The Defence is putting questions which are of a technical military
6 nature, also relating to international law issues, the laws of war. She's
7 asking questions about military targets, protection of civilians. In
8 other words, legal issues, and these are technical questions which are
9 being asked to a military man.
10 Now, does the representative of the Spanish government object to
11 this or not?
12 MR. RECHI: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm convinced that my
13 government would be and will be and will put at your disposal military
14 experts or experts on international law that you might request. The
15 witness has come here as a witness obviously, and the order that I have
16 received is that as far as possible his statement should be limited to
17 facts, observed facts, and not to carry out an expert analysis from a
18 military or legal viewpoint.
19 I think that my answer is clear enough, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I shall put a
21 question to the witness.
22 I have read your resume and I realised that you attended military
23 training courses like any military man in an army of any country. Now, as
24 an army officer, when an army officer is being trained, is an army officer
25 trained about any military technical aspects which might arise whilst
1 fighting? Are you -- can you shoot at a mortar in the vicinity of a house
2 for instance. All these aspects which could be addressed by a military
3 expert. So during your training have you been informed about all of this
4 or has nothing been said about these things? In short, if you need to --
5 do you need to be a military expert in order to be able to answer these
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the training of an officer, we
8 learn how to use and to know about the limitations of force according to
9 international law and according to all international conventions, and the
10 rest you learn with practice and with -- and with help, but it is part of
11 the officer's training.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Trial Chamber
13 will now have a 20-minute break. We shall deliberate on the matter, and
14 we'll tell you what our position will be.
15 --- Recess taken at 10.37 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 10.58 a.m.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. [Spanish
18 interpretation on English channel]
19 Relating to international humanitarian law and the laws of war,
20 the Trial Chamber was advised by Defence counsel of General Praljak to put
21 a number of questions to the witness which had not been put during the
22 examination-in-chief. The Trial Chamber has noticed that the OTP has
23 raised an objection by stating that its examination-in-chief did not
24 relate to these questions.
25 In addition, the Prosecution has also added that this witness
1 benefits from protective measures, and therefore the -- his answers should
2 be vetted by the representative of his government.
3 The representative of the Spanish government let us know that the
4 Spanish government was ready to cooperate and send a witness who could
5 answer these questions but that the current witness could not answer these
7 Therefore, the Trial Chamber, pursuant to Rule -- Rule 90(H) of
8 the Rules, the Trial Chamber recalls that 90(H)(i), the cross-examination
9 is restricted to those issues raised during the examination-in-chief
10 pertaining to the credibility of the witness and pertaining to the case of
11 the party cross-examining the witness.
12 When a party cross-examines a witness who is able to testify about
13 a question relating to its case, it should have available elements which
14 contradict the evidence if the Trial Chamber deems it fit can authorise
15 questions to be put on other subjects.
16 The Trial Chamber has noticed that this witness is a 92 ter
17 witness, and we therefore have two written statements by this witness.
18 The Trial Chamber feels that the questions put should not be beyond the
19 scope of these two written statements.
20 Now, as to know whether the Defence teams might be entitled to put
21 questions beyond the scope of the statements, the Trial Chamber has
22 decided not to grant the Defence application.
23 Therefore, Ms. Alaburic, you may put question on the basis of the
24 written statements and on the basis of the answers provided during the
25 examination-in-chief. And as far as any other aspects are concerned,
1 these other aspects can be dealt with with other witnesses.
2 So that said, you now have 50 minutes left approximately.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you to the Trial Chamber, but
4 I have already completed the set of questions that I intended to address
5 to this witness, and now I'm going to move on to another topic.
6 Q. Witness, let us talk a bit about HVO attacks at members of
7 UNPROFOR. Could you please have a look at a document -- or, rather,
8 before that could I just remind you of your statement yesterday, recorded
9 on page 36 of the transcript, that UNPROFOR was not a target -- or,
10 rather, an objective of HVO attacks but that sometimes it was a target
11 because it was in the area of combat activities.
12 I would like to remind you of that statement of yours, and now I
13 would like to ask you to look at document P 05883. That is a document
14 from the Prosecutor's set of documents. And if I followed Judge
15 Trechsel's remarks correctly as to where what document was, I think it
16 should be in the second binder. So the document is P 5883. Could we
17 please have a look at item 6 straight away.
18 In item 6 it says that after the meeting -- it pertains to the
19 14th of October, 1993, that is. After the meeting at the headquarters of
20 the 4th Corps, two members of the Spanish units were wounded.
21 I am interested in the following comment, that HVO shelling was
22 provoked by two mortar shells fired from BH army positions.
23 Tell me, Witness, the document that I am referring to now, is it
24 one that you're aware of?
25 A. Affirmative.
1 Q. Can you tell us something about this incident and about this
2 comment that it was a provoked attack?
3 A. The commentary refers to the fact that when the chief of the unit
4 was entering the Mostar municipality, he saw two Armija mortar shells
5 being fired and after which then some mortar shells from HVO landed where
6 I was. Sorry, not where I was but where they were.
7 Q. Just clarify whether it was the entrance to the Mostar
8 municipality or the command of the 4th Corps, since the meeting was held
9 with representatives of the 4th Corps. I must admit that it was my
10 understanding that it was at the 4th Corps command.
11 A. No. I'm attempting to recall, and the paragraph says, that at the
12 meeting at the 4th Corps the -- it was at the city hall entrance that this
13 wound -- the two wounded occurred. And then the chief met with the
14 municipality as well as with his counterpart.
15 Q. Can you tell us whether the command of the 4th Corps was located
16 at that municipality building?
17 A. No. He was at his own headquarters, I believe. I cannot actually
18 say that with certainty. I seem to recall that it was two separate
19 buildings. There was the headquarters of the 4th Corps and the
20 municipality of Mostar, two separate buildings.
21 Q. Very well. Tell me, this municipality building, was it in the
22 densely populated part of East Mostar or was it a lone building so to
24 A. As I recall it was located to the south but within the actual city
25 of Eastern Mostar, although more to the south of our own base but still
1 within the actual city -- within the city of Eastern Mostar.
2 Q. I'm trying to ask you whether it was in the densely populated area
3 of East Mostar, or was it somewhere in an isolated place far away from
4 places where many people would gather?
5 A. I believe I recall that it was in the central section of Eastern
6 Mostar, which was as populated as the rest of the city. It was in the
7 centre of the city. It wasn't in an outlying position at all.
8 Q. Do you remember whether that was the street of Marshal Tito, the
9 one that you discussed yesterday with General Praljak?
10 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter requests the question to be
11 repeated. He didn't get the whole question, please.
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. I repeat the question. Do you know that that building of the
14 municipality was opposite the building where the 4th Corps command was and
15 that both facilities were in the street of Marshal Tito?
16 A. I cannot indicate whether that's the case or not.
17 Q. Very well. Witness, could you please tell us whether you were
18 aware of efforts or attempts made by HVO commanders to inform their
19 military units and caution them that they should not attack UNPROFOR
20 patrols or any members of UNPROFOR or other international organisations,
21 and what kind of measures they took for some incidents that indeed did
22 take place to not be repeated?
23 A. I am not aware of internal HVO orders. It is obvious that there
24 were attacks against UNPROFOR, and these happened with a certain
1 Q. Very well. I have prepared here six documents. The Trial Chamber
2 can have a look. And I'm not going to ask you about these documents that
3 have to do with internal orders of the HVO because you said that you were
4 not aware of that. So that would be a waste of time on my part.
5 Witness, now I would like to clarify some details concerning
6 shellings. Yesterday, you told us that patrols in East Mostar followed
7 incoming and outgoing shells and other explosions. Remember that?
8 A. Yes, I do recall that.
9 Q. As for West Mostar, you told us that it was only in March 1994
10 that a permanent base was established, a permanent UNPROFOR base in West
11 Mostar. Is that right?
12 A. That is so.
13 Q. Up until that period, if I heard you correctly, there were patrols
14 of the Spanish battalion that came to Western Mostar from Dracevo. Is
15 that right?
16 A. I repeat what I've said, and that is that at every day we
17 conducted -- we attempted to conduct a morning and evening patrol,
18 afternoon patrol, up to dusk in Western Mostar.
19 Q. Well, you told us quite literally that the patrol would come to
20 West Mostar early in the morning, that it would be there until lunch and
21 then it would go back to Dracevo and come back in the afternoon and then
22 go back to Dracevo yet again in the early evening. Was that the pace?
23 A. They returned to Dracevo in order to prepare their meal, and right
24 after their lunch they would western to Western Mostar until dusk.
25 Q. Very well. On the basis of what you said to us just now, one may
1 conclude that part of the evening and the entire night were not covered by
2 patrols by the Spanish Battalion in West Mostar; is that right?
3 A. Yes. Many times in the day time as well because we weren't
4 authorised to enter Western Mostar.
5 Q. Very well. The documents that were prepared for your testimony
6 showed that the patrol in East Mostar had the task of following incoming
7 and outgoing shells in East Mostar; is that right?
8 A. Affirmative.
9 Q. Also, it seems obvious that in West Mostar your patrol was
10 supposed to follow outgoing and incoming shells in West Mostar; right?
11 A. Affirmative. Anybody who would heard incoming or outcoming shell
12 fire would attempt to identify the point, the precise time, after which
13 this information was confirmed with the various parties.
14 Q. Very well. Thank you. Since your patrol in West Mostar was not
15 in West Mostar during part of the evening and at night, it follows that in
16 West Mostar there were no members of your units who in that locality would
17 be able to follow the incoming and outgoing shells.
18 A. When they were not present, obviously they couldn't.
19 Q. If some reports from SpaBat contain information about shells shot
20 during the night and which fell or were shot in West Mostar, fired in West
21 Mostar, does that mean that the patrol from East Mostar would report on
22 those shells and on that firing?
23 A. Affirmative.
24 Q. Tell me, this patrol in East Mostar which was in the parking lot
25 that you discussed at length with the general in Marsal Tito Street, and
1 the members were either in the APC or if there was fine perhaps on top of
2 the APC, did they in view of your knowledge of the locality, were they
3 able visually or could they hear the firing of shells in West Mostar or
4 shells which fell on West Mostar?
5 A. I must say that our patrol had a parking area in the Marsal Tito,
6 but they weren't always there. They also moved around the city. And
7 there could be many explosions in Western Mostar that they didn't
8 necessarily see nor hear as -- as a patrol.
9 Q. Now, from that parking lot you can't see West Mostar, can you?
10 You can have no visual contact with it, can you? From Marsal Tito Street,
11 of course, because of the surrounding buildings. You can't see West
12 Mostar from Marsal Tito Street, can you?
13 A. From some points on Marsal Tito Street you cannot see Western
14 Mostar. There are some crossroads or streets that do allow you to see
15 Western Mostar. And I want to repeat that the patrol was not just in the
16 arcades of the Marsal Tito Street.
17 Q. Did the members of the patrol -- were they in the vehicle that was
18 moving and produced sounds -- [Spanish on English channel] on the basis of
19 listening alone establish whether in West Mostar there was some shells
20 falling or not?
21 THE INTERPRETER: Can the question be repeated, please. It hasn't
22 been completely heard. The witness is now answering but has not heard the
23 full question. This is the interpreter speaking.
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I will repeat the question, yes.
25 Q. You said that the patrols were not in the parking lot all the time
1 but that they would move round East Mostar; right? Drive around East
2 Mostar. A moving vehicle creates sounds, does it not?
3 A. Affirmative.
4 Q. People in a vehicle which is moving, as rule, cannot hear what is
5 going on in their surroundings as well as somebody who is outside a
6 vehicle. That would be right, wouldn't it?
7 A. Obviously.
8 Q. And now the conclusion. Members of the patrol who were in the
9 vehicle or in vehicles that were moving would have found it more difficult
10 to hear and, therefore, establish whether some shells were falling on West
11 Mostar or not. Can we agree there with that conclusion?
12 A. We do agree with that conclusion.
13 Q. Very well. Thank you. I'd like us now to clarify, I hope once
14 and for all, the subject of the hospital and some other localities which
15 are linked to the shelling. So can we go through the Prosecution
16 documents very quickly and see what happened? May we look at document P
17 5899 first, please. It's the same document, the one we had just a moment
18 ago. And the entry for the 15th of October says that actions to uncover
19 whether the BH army has mortar positions near its hospital, not will be
21 I'm going to list all the documents first, Witness, in which the
22 hospital is mentioned. I don't think there's any need for us to waste
23 time opening each of these documents, but I will mention the section of
24 the document where this is mentioned if someone wants to check it out.
25 So the other documents produced by the Prosecutor mentioning the
1 hospital is this: P 5954, and that's a report for the 19th of October,
2 and it says that SpaBat still -- is still attempting to do away with
3 Muslim mortars in the -- in the plural, that's my comment, near the
4 hospital. Is trying to get rid of the Muslim mortars near the hospital.
5 Now, the third document is this: P 6163, for the 26th and -- the
6 27th of October, 1993. Also on page 3. SpaBat is still attempting to
7 prevent the presence of Muslim mortars in the vicinity of the hospital.
8 And the fourth document, which is in the second binder, relates to
9 the 16th of November, 1993, and it is to be found on page 4 where it
10 says -- well, the document is P 06688. Let me repeat the document number.
11 P 06688. And it's in the first Prosecution binder. It is a report for
12 the 16th of November, and on page 4 it says as follows: "SpaBat is trying
13 to prevent the laying -- the positioning of Muslim mortars near the
15 Now, the fifth document is P 7256. It is a report for the 19th of
16 December, 1993. Page 3 which says: "SpaBat is continuing to try and
17 prevent the Muslims from placing mortars near the hospital."
18 And I think that will suffice, Witness, for us to reach a
20 Witness, can you confirm --
21 MR. STRINGER: I apologise for the interruption.
22 Mr. President, in respect of reading into the record of the
23 numbers of exhibits that aren't going to be shown to the witness, I'm
24 recalling the Trial Chamber's decision that it issued last June. It was a
25 special decision in respect of witnesses who appear under Rule 92 ter, and
1 at the time the Trial Chamber reminded the Prosecution that even in
2 respect of Rule 92 ter witnesses, if it wants to tender documents into
3 evidence through such a witness, the documents need to be shown to the
5 And I understand the time constraints that counsel's facing. I
6 face them also. And obviously I could stand and read into the record the
7 numbers of lots of other very interesting and useful Spanish Battalion
8 documents without showing them to the witness in order to get them into
9 the record and to get into the record information that's contained in
10 them, but I didn't do that. And so it's our position, and it will be that
11 we're going to object to the admission of any documents tendered by the
12 Defence that are not shown to the witness.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Ms. Alaburic. You've
14 mentioned some documents, 6688, 7256. Have they been admitted into
15 evidence or not? Because indeed there are two problems. There is the
16 admission of the documents and then the way you go about them.
17 7256, that is been admitted yet or not?
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour -- Your Honour, these
19 are not documents which I prepared to go with this witness. They are
20 documents prepared by the Prosecution to put to this witness. And since
21 the witness in his own statement spoke about mortar positions of the BH
22 army in the vicinity of the hospital in point 60, paragraph 60, and we
23 discussed this matter in this courtroom before this witness, it was not my
24 intention to show Prosecution documents in order to tender those documents
25 in any way. Most of those documents, as my colleague Mr. Stringer --
1 well, he showed the documents to the witness yesterday.
2 All I'm interested in is an answer to the question. How long, to
3 the best of his knowledge, did the Spanish Battalion exert pressure on the
4 Muslim side to refrain from positioning mortars or mortar positions in the
5 vicinity of the hospital. That's all.
6 Now, I agree that the documents speak for themselves and it is not
7 my intention to tender Prosecution documents with this witness, but I
8 quoted the document numbers because --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Page 6 and 7, I think, that the
10 Defence asked how long the SpaBat exerted pressure on the ABiH for them to
11 remove their mortars, the mortars that were in the vicinity of the
12 hospital. So either you know or you don't know. So please tell us.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do know the answer, Your Honour.
14 I think that I spoke about this yesterday as well. And as to the reason
15 why this is mentioned so many times in the SIT reports and the INTREPS, or
16 SITREPS, sorry, the reason is because the patrol received the order, the
17 patrol in Mostar received the order to count incoming and outgoing
18 shell-fire, and also received the order to maintain a proximity, presence,
19 near the hospital in order to avoid the Armija deploying or placing
20 mortars in the vicinity of the hospital.
21 So this is a novelty basically, and we continue thus deterring the
22 Armija from placing or firing or located mortars in the vicinity of the
23 hospital. It was a permanent mission, we can say, and that is why this is
24 referred to in the reports.
25 How long? Throughout the whole mission this is what we did. Just
1 like we conducted the patrols, we yesterday took a look and saw what the
2 mortar situation was. It doesn't mean that every day we found mortars,
3 eh. But when we did see mortars we would report it, we'd tell the
4 Armija. We'd tell them you cannot locate mortars here and we'd the HVOs
5 as well, we sometimes would found mortars near the hospital.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Witness, I would now like us to take a look at two documents and
8 then we'll comment on them. The first document, once again in the
9 Prosecution binder, the second binder, in fact. The number of the
10 document is P 07408. And it deals with the section East Mostar. So the
11 first point for East Mostar, under the heading "East Mostar," P1, it
12 says: "The BH army positioned various mortar positions in town which are
13 used at random. They position mortars, they are firing shells, and then
14 they change their positions."
15 Tell us, please, the report is indeed a report from SpaBat; right?
16 Did you have knowledge of it?
17 A. Yes, I am aware of this report, and it's an official SpaBat
19 Q. Can you tell us whether you knew about the situation? I mean, the
20 placing of mortar positions, random use of mortars, firing shells, then
21 changing positions, the position of the mortars. You personally, did you
22 have the information and knowledge about that? And all this in reference
23 to East Mostar. It all has to do with East Mostar, of course.
24 A. Yes, I did have knowledge of the contents of this paragraph saying
25 that there were positions set up so as to receive mortars.
1 Q. Very well. Now let's take a look at another document, once again
2 a Prosecution document in that same binder. The number is P 7771. It is
3 also for East Mostar. Under B, point 3, referring to East Mostar. It
4 says that the shelling by the HVO in recent days mostly focused on the
5 area between the hospital, the 4th Corps, the SpaBat patrol, and the
6 Presidency, and that is an area where most of the people usually gather
7 out in the streets.
8 Now, in view of that observation by SpaBat, I would like to ask
9 you the following: As we've just seen that the BH army had mortar
10 positions near the hospital, part of the 4th Corps subject and legitimate
11 targets we've dealt with. Now, can you tell us, did the BH army really
12 place its mortar positions in the parts of town where you people usually
13 gathered out in the streets?
14 A. We're talking about Marsal Tito Street. I never saw a mortar
15 located on Marsal Tito Street.
16 Q. I'm not talking about Marsal Tito Street. Let's concentrate on
17 the facilities here. The hospital is mentioned. The 4th Corps is
18 mentioned. And we have already seen documents according to which there
19 was a mortar position that launched -- that provoked an HVO attack which
20 was, as you said, near the Mostar municipality buildings -- or, rather,
21 opposite the 4th Corps. So in that part of town. And that is indeed
22 Marsal Tito Street. But then we also mentioned hospital close to which
23 were the mortar positions.
24 So I'm now asking you in that connection whether those localities
25 for which we have already established that there were mortars placed
1 there, were these locations places where large numbers of civilians would
2 gather in the street? That's what it says here.
3 A. We've spoken about seeing mortars in the vicinity of the hospital.
4 In the whole Eastern Mostar area there were places prepared for mortars,
5 and the preparation for a mortar is basically a small ramp on the floor so
6 that you can then set up the basic plate, which is a piece of equipment.
7 It's a steel plate where the tube is leaned upon. There is nothing more
8 to it than that.
9 On highly populated streets it is difficult to shoot a mortar
10 because you are screened out by the buildings. You have to have an open
11 front to shoot from. And if you told me that there were mortars here, I
12 frankly don't know. Neither do I know from where the Armija was shooting
13 each time.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. The question is extremely
15 relevant. We have a SpaBat document which I'm discovering with you. This
16 is document 7458, and it says that the ABiH, has positioned mortars in the
17 city, randomly fires from them and then removes them. That is the
18 observation made by SpaBat.
19 In such a situation on the HVO side, and this is why I need your
20 military expertise, the HVO has learnt that there's just been fire, fire
21 from this zone. Because as you explained, a piece -- a plate of metal has
22 been put on the ground with the tube on top of it. So the HVO learned
23 that there's just been fire from a given point, and the information is
24 communicated through their own channel.
25 In order to put an end to the firing, an order may be given for
1 counter-fire. This is -- it could be from a tank. That is a hypothesis.
2 For from another mortar or through another piece of weaponry. But all of
3 this is going to take some time. There is going to be some delay in
5 The mortar is removed, but the counter-fire may come at that time,
6 a few minutes later, and it could happen, unfortunately so, that there
7 would be civilians around on the spot.
8 Such a scenario, can it be understood militarily speaking?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this question cannot be
10 answered lightly. I'll try to explain to you how mortars operate or how
11 any artillery unit operates.
12 It is put into position, it is fired, and then it is moved
13 somewhere else. And during wartime, both the HVO and the Armija had many
14 locations that they had previously prepared, and some of them were fixed
15 locations. From those locations that had been prepared they could do two
16 things. First, to move the mortars around rather than keep them as easy
17 targets from enemy fire. And secondly, data, firing data obtained from
18 each of those locations is obtained and then used to do more precise
19 targeting if atmospheric conditions are favourable. So once you know a
20 particular location, it is very easy to have a grid of targets that you
21 can shoot against with precision, because you have already recorded and
22 corrected your firing data previously.
23 So in the area we're talking about where I had two of my people
24 wounded, we're talking about Marsal Tito Street, and I said that I never
25 saw a mortar location there. First of all, because as I said, there is a
1 big building. Defence was asking me whether we could see Western Mostar.
2 And while we said we couldn't see it, a mortar couldn't be shot from
3 there. And I've said on several occasions that we did see mortar
4 locations near the hospital. I said that the hospital is some 3 or 400
5 metres away.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you for your
8 Please, General Petkovic.
9 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] With Your Honour's
10 permission, I'd like to ask the witness two questions.
11 Witness, what are you by profession? Are you a tankist, a sailor,
12 an infantryman? What would be your branch?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm an infantryman, sir.
14 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Witness, according to your
15 rules, NATO rules, for fighting in built-up areas it says that mortars are
16 positioned behind buildings and thereby you have cover. Is that correct
17 or not? It is Rule F105, I believe, of the NATO rules.
18 Well, I studied them, and I know how you're supposed to act in
19 built-up areas, and I know that mortars are always behind certain
20 buildings or features so that they are hidden from view. Is that right?
21 THE INTERPRETER: Apologies from the interpreter.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mortar characteristics normally
23 needed to be used covered by some sort of protection, a building or
24 something like that, but what you have to ensure is that the height of the
25 building or whatever allows the shooting angle to be the right one.
1 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Witness. Let me
2 just inform you that I'm an artilleryman and I worked for 20 years as an
3 artilleryman, 20 years as an instructor in military academies. So your --
4 I accept your explanation about mortars, but let me ask you this: If a
5 mortar targets at a short distance, short range targets a target, and the
6 other target is at a greater distance, and the difference being one and a
7 half kilometres, where is the trajectory, longer or shorter? You know
8 what a trajectory is, of course.
9 And is it true that when a mortar shoots at a target which is at a
10 closer distance, its trajectory is far higher, has to go higher, than when
11 the target is at a greater distance when the trajectory is lower?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, obviously, General.
13 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Witness, thank you. Now,
14 Witness, I say, and you can confirm this, but I claim that the highest
15 high-rise building in New York, if you were to position a mortar behind it
16 we will be able to hit a target at a distance of three kilometres. Do you
17 agree? Am I right?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that would depend on the
19 mortar characteristics. In any case, I agree with you. I'd say it would
20 not be easy in any way.
21 In Marsal Tito Street I never saw any mortar emplacements. I do
22 know that 300 metres away there were mortar emplacements.
23 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
24 continues]... Emplacements. I'm not asking whether you've seen anything
25 like that. You were talking about the characteristics of a mortar. Let
1 me ask you again. From a mortar position, the person doing the shooting,
2 doing the targeting, can he see the target at all? He knows where it is,
3 but does he see it? He can see it, but he needn't see it; right?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Quite right. Not necessarily.
5 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] We're talking about mortars
6 here, as a weapon, a piece to be used in built-up areas, most suited to
7 built-up areas, because there are no obstacles regardless of the height of
8 the building. Is that right?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Technically, yes, you could use a
11 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 I have no further questions, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic.
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Witness, when you were following the number of shells falling on
16 East or West Mostar, did you at the same time monitor events and analyse
17 the war conflicts and war action between the BH army and the HVO in Mostar
18 and the surrounding parts?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Does that mean that you never tried to establish why, for example,
21 in mid-October 1993 the number of shells that were fired was far greater
22 than in the period prior to that and after that?
23 A. I could not say with any certainty whether in October 1993 the
24 number of shells was fewer than what I later saw, lived through, in
25 November, December, particularly November.
1 Yesterday, we saw some pictures or graphs perhaps that actually --
2 some graphs, actually, perhaps that could help us. But aside from that, I
3 don't know why. I don't know about the reasons why.
4 Q. Witness, the charts for December 1993 and the first two months of
5 1994. Now, my associates have drawn up a detailed review of all your
6 reports, and from those reports we can see exactly when the number of
7 shells fired was greater than if we can put it this way, the usual number,
8 and these facts and figures can be linked up to what was going on in the
9 field. So since you didn't that a while you were in Mostar, let's try and
10 do that now.
11 Look at document -- look at a document in my own binder, my own
12 set of documents. The number is P 4698, and it's an analysis by SpaBat
13 about the situation in Mostar and Jablanica from April to September 1993.
14 And at the very end of that document, on the last page, in fact, so on the
15 last page, the last three paragraphs of that document contain something
16 that I would like to discuss as an introduction to my next topic. One
17 Tactical Group was exchanged by another. And since we're dealing with
18 September 1993, tell me whether this was an exchange that referred to you,
19 because you arrived in the area when an ATG was relieved.
20 It's the last paragraph of this analysis. Very well. It doesn't
21 really matter.
22 Witness, let's see what it is in the last three paragraphs here.
23 This is the situation in the area where you arrived and during the
24 hand-over you had to be informed about the situation. I'll start reading,
25 I quote "The preparations and the amassment of troops in the area were
1 bigger by the day. In the area of Grabovica a large concentration of BiH
2 forces from Sarajevo has been noted. Again in the area of Grabovica a
3 large concentration of BiH forces from Sarajevo, Zenica, and the area of
4 Konjic and Jablanica is taking place.
5 "The best Armija unit, the 7th Muslim Brigade, incorporating a
6 majority of Arab troops has been transferred to the area. An imminent
7 attack is foreseen. The objective at first glance is to control the hills
8 at Vrdi since with that the BiH army would secure the control of the
9 Jablanica-Mostar road. The BH army carried out an offensive on Vrdi on
10 the 14th of September. The HVO had to pull back from the area. A part of
11 the Croatian forces remained in the pocket and their position is not good.
12 There is no HVO reaction aimed at recapturing that important position."
13 And in conclusion, "At the time of relief of one ATG by another,
14 the situation in the area is that the BH army conducted a southward
15 offensive from Vrdi to bring pressure on Mostar, and there was fighting in
16 the Slatina-Doljani area. It is foreseeable that the southward operation
17 will continue because this is principal BiH objective at the moment."
18 Witness, during the hand-over of duties were you informed of this
19 BiH offensive in the month of September 1993?
20 A. Yesterday we spoke about this, and I said that I must have had
21 knowledge about this but that the practical repercussion for us was that
22 convoys could not go along the routes we used to arrive at Jablanica and
23 particularly along the Dreznica Valley. I then went on to say that I
24 arrived at the area on the 23rd of September, and one of our companies was
25 then ferried over 10 days before by air in order to take over from the
1 unit stationed at Jablanica. We had a detachment there.
2 That company could not go up up until the 21st. On the 21st the
3 Mostar to Jablanica road was open because the 11th Company of SpaBat went
4 there and took over from the unit until then stationed there. But once
5 again the practical repercussions for us whose duty was to provide
6 protection was that the road was closed. The solution of the conflict, as
7 I said before, I know nothing about because we had no duties nor any
8 possibilities of monitoring the armed conflict.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we move on, please,
10 registrar, can you tell me how many minutes have been used by
11 Ms. Alaburic? It must be something around an hour. No. You've used up
12 48 minutes, so you should have another 12 minutes. It's now five to
14 Mr. Stringer, how much time would you need for your redirect?
15 MR. STRINGER: I would say perhaps 15 to 20 minutes,
16 Mr. President, if possible.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Please proceed,
18 Ms. Alaburic.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation].
20 Q. Witness, I'm going to show you a few documents that originate from
21 the BiH army. Those were issued before you arrived in the territory of
22 Mostar. I will want to hear from you whether you were familiar with the
23 behaviour of the BH army that are based on those orders. These orders are
24 inter-related. Let's look at them in a sequence and then I will put the
25 question to the witness.
1 The first document in my binder again is 4D 00709. This is a
2 general order by the commander of the 4th Corps, Arif Pasalic, issued on
3 the 10th of September, 1993, to all the operations group that we already
4 encountered in the documents shown to you by General Praljak. Let us
5 focus on item number 4 in which the OG centre is ordered to focus their
6 combat activities on the city of Mostar and the Hum feature in order to
7 liberate the political, cultural, and economic centre of Herzegovina.
8 Have you been able to locate the document, the document 4D 00709?
9 Witness, have you been able to locate that document? Look at the yellow
11 A. Yes, I have it before my eyes.
12 Q. Now look at paragraph 4 in the document. Arif Pasalic, the
13 commander of the 4th Corps, orders the OG centre to focus combat
14 activities towards the town of -- and Hum with the goal of creating
15 conditions to liberate the political, cultural, and commercial centre it
16 of Herzegovina.
17 Sir, can you agree with me that the reference here is being made
18 to Mostar, that the town in question is Mostar?
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] The witness is not receiving
20 interpretation, I believe. It seems that the witness is not receiving
22 Q. Witness, can you hear me now? Are you receiving interpretation?
23 A. [No interpretation]
24 Q. Very well, then. Can we agree, Witness, that item number 4 in
25 this order refers to Mostar and the hilltop that is known under the name
1 of Hum?
2 A. Yes, yes, quite.
3 Q. Let's look at another document. The number is 3D 00740. Let's
4 look at bullet point 3B. 3B. Again this was issued by Arif Pasalic, the
5 commander of the 4th Corps on the 15th of September. He issues a combat
6 order and under item 3B he specifies the lines of combat activities. I
7 would like to draw everybody's attention to the line that we are all
8 familiar with. That's the Stotina-Hum line. And then in the last lines
9 of this item a reference is made to an attack in the direction of Hum and
10 Santiceva Street.
11 Tell me, please, Santiceva Street is a street on the western bank
12 of Neretva, that was the separation line between the Muslim and the Croat
13 parts of Mostar. Would I be right in saying that?
14 A. I don't know whether where that street is. I'm sorry.
15 Q. Very well. I believe that the Trial Chamber is familiar with the
16 street plan of Mostar and where Santiceva is.
17 Now another document, 3D 00736. That will be the last document in
18 this series. Let's look at bullet point number 2 in this document.
19 A reference is made to an attack at the inner city centre in order
20 to take the axes which are listed herein. And then bullet point number 4,
21 please, where it says, "I've decided" -- and let's say who the author of
22 the document is. The author is Commander Semir Terjovic [phoen]. "I have
23 decided to carry out an attack by grouping the main forces on the axes,"
24 and he lists the axes, the first one is Hum facility left of Stotinja,
25 Rodoc, Podum to the right, then second axes is the electric power plant of
1 Mostar, Rastani, Orlovac, and the auxiliary forces on the axes, Santiceva
2 Street, the old people's home. I don't know what "BNR" stands for. There
3 is the Bulevar of People's Revolution, the grammar school, the health care
4 centre, and the goal is to crush the enemy forces on the lines of advance
5 of our forces inflicting losses in manpower, in technical equipment, and
6 materiel, and at the same time to create conditions for launching final
7 operations, the purpose of which would be the final liberation of town.
8 My question to you is this, Witness: When you arrived in the area
9 of Mostar, were you informed that approximately eight days before that a
10 BiH army operation was launched in Mostar in order to liberate Mostar, as
11 they put it, from the Ustashi forces again as they called those forces in
12 their orders? Were you familiar with that operation of the BiH army?
13 A. No, I cannot say with any certainty that I did.
14 Q. Very well. Let's see what was happening towards the end of
15 Mostar. Look at another document in my binder. 4D 00713. In the
16 meantime an agreement was signed on cease-fire. Arif Pasalic on the 29th
17 of September, 1993, issued an order on stopping all combat activities
18 targeting HVO, and that should have taken effect on the 30th of September,
20 Witness, let's look at bullet point 6 of that document, maybe you
21 can clarify some things for us. The commander of the 4th Corps ordered
22 his units to start opening fire or any other combat activity and at the
23 same time in a certain way he seems to be apologising for having issued
24 such an order to them. Therefore, in item 6 he says as follows: "Ensure
25 strict fulfilment of this order because there are other reasons that
1 influenced the passing of this decision."
2 Witness, would you be able to provide us any explanation as to
3 what is at stake here, why this order was issued in this way?
4 A. I don't know.
5 Q. If we look at bullet point 5 where it says if HVO would -- were
6 not to respect the agreement within the -- within the next 24 hours, you
7 will get either a written or oral order to continue combat activities.
8 Can we then agree that it is beyond dispute that before that the army of
9 BiH had been opening fire and that they were ready to continue doing so if
10 the cease-fire was not honoured.
11 My question is would you agree that up to then the army of Bosnia
12 and Herzegovina was until then conducting certain offensive activities?
13 A. You are asking for my opinion about documents which belong to the
14 commands of the parts. What we did was to protect humanitarian aid
15 because there's two factions in conflict. So I don't know all the details
16 of the military operations, but both parties, and that is what you're
17 asking me, well, the HIB was carrying out military action against the HVO
18 was something I give for granted.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic.
20 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have to put
21 two questions to this witness. You mentioned the Medjugorje memorandum.
22 Was it created on the following day, on the 4 -- 1st of October? Can you
23 answer my question or not?
24 In your statement you mentioned the Medjugorje memorandum.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm just checking. I'm just
1 checking, General.
2 It was signed the 2nd of October.
3 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] And now I'm asking you
4 this: If you're faced with an order issues by a commander who says on the
5 29th, i.e., on the 30th of September, you have to stop combat activities,
6 you're a high-ranking officer. This document doesn't mean anything to
7 you, and you're saying that the shells are falling.
8 Witness, are we talking about a picnic here with the shells
9 falling? Is this the reason why the shells were falling?
10 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President. I'm going to object to
11 the question. The witness is testifying about things he knows. He's not
12 going to give evidence and opinions clearly as to why shells might be
13 falling. All he knows is that they are falling, and I think he's said
14 that repeatedly.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, this is correct. Please
16 rephrase your question, General.
17 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
18 Thank you.
19 Witness, does it arise from this document, can you see in this
20 document that the commander of the 4th Corps stopped the offensive by his
21 forces in the town of Mostar both to the south and the north of him? Is
22 there a sentence here, is there an item in this order where he orders that
23 all combat activities had to stop? Can you see it in the document? Does
24 this exist in the document or not?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you want me to be more specific I
1 need time to read it. I think this was an agreement. It was a
2 declaration of intent, and I think that that's what it refers to. I can't
3 really understand how -- what -- your question. I don't know. Either I
4 don't understand your question or I don't have an answer to it.
5 The parts make a special effort to protect civilian population.
6 Each party will issue orders with the terms of this memorandum.
7 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] I'm not asking you about
8 Medjugorje. I'm not asking you about Medjugorje. I'm asking you about
9 the document that is in front you on the screen. Arif Pasalic's order to
10 seize the offensive of the BiH army. This is what I'm asking you about.
11 Is this an order? Is this a document that tells the BiH units to stop the
12 offensive? You have to do it. Is this what the document says? I'm not
13 asking you whether you knew about this document or not. I'm just asking
14 you about the contents of this document.
15 A. General Petkovic, the document says what the document says. I'm
16 not going to interpret any document that hasn't been issued either by my
17 chain of command or by myself. You know perfectly well what the document
19 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Witness. And
20 just one more question, please.
21 When my Defence counsel read to you the document that were drafted
22 by your predecessors, the group that was there before you, my Defence
23 counsel has provided you a document in which it says that your
24 predecessors handed over the duties to you, and at about the same time the
25 BiH army offensive was launched. Can you find that in that document? Was
1 that part of that document, that a BiH army offensive was launched at the
2 moment when you arrived and that you had been briefed about that by your
3 predecessors. You -- albeit you didn't know about the extent of that
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I repeat once again. I was briefed.
6 I think I was briefed, although I can't remember that specifically, but
7 I -- well, possibly, yes I was informed. Probably I was informed. But
8 the practical effect that it had for us was that at least during a week
9 the route towards Zelenica was closed as has happened in many other times
10 while I was in Bosnia, because they were telling us about conflicts in
11 Vrdi. Now, that was the consequence. The 21st that route was opened. On
12 the 23rd we got there and on the 24th there was the handing over between
13 both groups.
14 So that was the consequence, the practical effect of this
15 offensive if it existed because you know that we weren't controlling that.
16 In East Mostar I didn't visit the front line or the armija's or yours. I
17 didn't visit those lines.
18 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Witness. I was
19 really interested in the movement of yours and the problems that you had
20 in your movement.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, normally speaking
22 your time is up. Do you have any questions?
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I would have a
24 few more questions, and since mine learned friend Stringer said that he
25 would need some 15 or 20 minutes, would I kindly ask you to give me
1 another half an hour in which time I'm sure I would be able to complete my
2 cross-examination of this witness.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, you have until
5 12.30. At 12.30, we shall give the floor to Mr. Stringer for his
6 15-minute redirect, and we shall stop at -- and adjourn at a quarter to
7 1.00. You have the floor.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation].
9 Q. Witness --
10 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, with your leave of you and your
11 colleagues, I would ask for five minutes before the end of the day just to
12 address one issue with you. It will take five minutes.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Ms. Alaburic, you
14 have the floor.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Witness, can we analyse just one sentence of yours, because I was
17 quite surprised by it. In answering my client's question, you used the
18 words that the "BiH army offensive, if it existed at all, since you know
19 that we did not control that," that's page 64, line 17, 18, 19 of the
20 LiveNote, what I would like to know is this: If the Spanish Battalion was
21 not controlling such combat activities how come that in the analysis that
22 we just saw in document number P 0498, how come that it is recorded in the
23 document that that BiH army concentrated its troops, carried out certain
24 offensive activities and planned to carry out offensive towards the south
25 of their theatre of war, i.e., towards Mostar?
1 A. Yes. Maybe you can show a -- show me a new document that I might
2 not recall now, and maybe I have to give an opinion on another document,
3 but in this document we talk about intentions of the Bosnian army that
4 could be based on reports, intelligence reports, or communication between
5 the parties, or it can either be information by UNPROFOR.
6 So these are informations which are used to frame, so to speak,
7 the situation.
8 Q. Witness, sir, let's move on. Let's move on. Can you please look
9 at a document in the Prosecution -- Prosecutor's binder. P 6405. Let me
10 just see whether it's in the first or the second binder. The second
12 This is a report for the 4th of November. You can listen to me.
13 You don't have to follow the document. It's not important really.
14 It says that Budakovic, BiH army commander, stated a few days
15 before that that he wouldn't mind signing a deal with the army of Bosnian
16 Serbs to fight Croats together.
17 Witness, are you familiar with this name? Do you know who
18 Mr. Budakovic was, Sulejman Budakovic? Did you ever hear of that person?
19 Does it ring a bell?
20 A. Maybe I have heard of him, but I don't remember that right now.
21 Q. Tell me, did you ever hear, did you ever read in other Spanish Bat
22 reports that BiH army commanders were ready to cooperate with the army of
23 Republika Srpska against the HVO?
24 A. I don't remember.
25 Q. Well, then, let me ask you few things about the siege of Mostar.
1 Tell me, the siege of Mostar as a concept or a term or just a siege as a
2 term, does it include a fact that a town is inaccessible, i.e., that you
3 can't enter it or leave it? In military terminology would that be a fair
4 definition of a siege?
5 A. In absolute terms, yes, a siege or a sieged city --
6 Q. Very well.
7 A. -- [Previous translation continues] ... be a city that has all its
8 way out or all its exits closed and no food and no other resources can get
9 into that city. Although it is not a very modern concept.
10 Q. Very well. In my binder can you please look at document P 4435.
11 4435 is the document which is a SpaBat report for the 22nd of August,
12 i.e., before you arrived, but this is going to be my foundation for my
13 next question. In the Spanish text the page, the first asterisk, and in
14 the B/C/S version it's the end of the fifth page. It says in the record
15 according to the statement of the BiH army in Jablanica, the majority of
16 refugees from Capljina and Stolac who have been cut off in Mostar and
17 Blagaj intend to return to Jablanica by using the roads through the
19 My question is this your -- Witness: Were you familiar with the
20 fact that Mostar, throughout all this time, including the time while you
21 were there, was connected with Jablanica and that one could enter Mostar
22 and one could leave Mostar using the mountain road that is mentioned in
23 this SpaBat report?
24 A. Yes. It is in this report, and in my own statement I also refer
25 to this.
1 Q. Very well. Tell me, wasn't it precisely this mountain road that
2 was used for supplying the BH army with ammunition and weapons?
3 A. I can't say.
4 Q. Tell me, did members of other BH army units come down that road in
5 order to assist the 41st Brigade in Mostar, to the best of your knowledge?
6 A. I can't guarantee that information either.
7 Q. In this document that we saw, we realised that people who were in
8 Mostar wished to move to Jablanica. Did you know about people from East
9 Mostar wanting to leave East Mostar and going into -- wishing to go to
10 Jablanica as stated in this report? Did you have any knowledge about
11 that? Did you ever hear of part of the inhabitants of East Mostar wishing
12 to leave East Mostar?
13 A. Probably, yes, yes. Quite easily.
14 Q. Very well. Could we please have a look in my set of documents,
15 4D 00545. This is a small excerpt from Esad Sejtanic's book. 545. It is
16 an excerpt from the book written by the commander of 42nd Brigade of the
17 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is a very short excerpt. We can read
18 it out actually. He is describing the situation in Mostar, and he
19 says: "The situation in the town and its surroundings has become
20 increasingly hard. Hunger was raging all around. The little food that
21 was coming to Mostar from Jablanica via Glogova was distributed in
22 driblets and again a large number of inhabitants wanted to leave for
23 Jablanica and further on for Bosnia. By repressive measures regrettably
24 we prevented the outflow of population and reduced any population
25 movements to a minimum."
1 Tell us, Witness, did you have any knowledge to that effect that
2 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was interested in having as many civilians
3 remain in East Mostar as possible irrespective of living conditions and
4 conditions of waging war at that?
5 A. I cannot state that.
6 Q. Very well. And now since I do not have more time, could we have a
7 look at 4D 0072. 722 that is. 4D 00722. This is a report of
8 Mr. Sulejman Budakovic that we mentioned a few minutes ago. It's from the
9 end of August 1993. That's why -- I'm mentioning it here just to lay a
10 foundation for my question. It has to do with UNPROFOR going to the
11 eastern part of Mostar. It is a convoy that was discussed a great deal in
12 this courtroom.
13 In the second half of the first excerpt it says that:
14 "Mr. Thornberry believes that with the assistance of a media campaign
15 that will start in the world, the HVO will relent and allow food to be
16 brought into the eastern part of town."
17 And in conclusion, Mr. Budakovic says that: "In addition to media
18 presentation and 300 kilogrammes of medicaments nothing was done, nothing
19 was done apart from that." So my question will have to do with the media
20 campaign and the media presentation.
21 Tell me, did you ever witness the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina or
22 the Muslim authorities doing something even to the detriment of their own
23 population, like keeping people who wanted to leave in East Mostar just in
24 order to produce the desired media effect and to bring pressure to bear
25 through foreign media on foreign governments and in turn in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Did you ever observe any such thing happening in the
2 area that was under the control of the Muslim authorities in
4 A. I cannot give you an opinion on that.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for the additional time,
6 although I would have been much more satisfied had I had more time.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.
8 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I wasn't sure if the Trial Chamber
9 wanted to take a break at this point or whether we were just going to
10 continue on.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will continue.
12 MR. STRINGER: Okay.
13 Re-examination by Mr. Stringer:
14 Q. Witness, I want to ask you a couple questions and take you back to
15 a few of the documents suggestions to put to the Court to the situation at
16 Bijela bridge, and the first document was one that you were shown by the
17 accused, General Praljak. It is number 3D 01089. It is the fourth
18 document from the end of the thick stack of documents which I think is
19 sitting there on the ELMO. Fourth from the end. Fourth. 1089.
20 A. Yes, I can see that now.
21 Q. And this is a document dated the 19th of October, 1993, and
22 although it's not signed it's over the name of Milivoj Petkovic,
23 Lieutenant General. Do you see that?
24 A. Yes, I do see that document.
25 Q. You were asked quite a lot about the various positions, and this
1 position or this location in particular in terms of whose control or
2 which -- which of the parties was in a position to assert control over
3 this location.
4 Directing your attention to point number 2 in that, pursuant to
5 this document of General Petkovic, it's indicated that the HVO units in
6 the area will refrain from any military operations. Do you see that?
7 "Operations that would disturb bridge construction."
8 A. Yes, I do see that mentioned.
9 Q. And then in the next paragraph it's stated that the HVO will
10 approve of the constant presence of the UN military observers in the HVO
11 North Sector, sector all through the construction works for the bridge.
12 Do you see that?
13 A. Yes, I do see that mentioned.
14 Q. Okay. And then moving down to item 6, the indication is that all
15 HVO units will be given clear orders based on this approval.
16 A. Yes, I can see that too.
17 Q. Based on this, and based on what you recall, are you able to say
18 whether the HVO was in a position to exert military control over the
19 location of the Bijela bridge at this point in time, October 19, 1993?
20 A. I have said previously that I believe I recall that control to the
21 Bijela bridge was indeed in the hands of the HVO. Maybe the western part
22 of the Bijela bridge was not permanently occupied by anyone, but I think
23 that it was possible to fire on that area from Bijela.
24 Q. Okay. The next document is in one of the Prosecution binders.
25 It's in the binder on the chair there to your left, B2 binder. And the
1 Exhibit number is 6568. P 06568.
2 And is this -- General Praljak took you to this document. It's a
3 document of the Spanish Battalion. Do you have it?
4 A. Yes, I have it. It's an INTSUM of the rapid action force which
5 was part of the Spanish Battalion.
6 Q. Okay. Now, this one, I believe, is dated the 11th of November,
7 1993. General Praljak took you to a paragraph 2 here in which it's
8 indicated that General Pasalic reported the destruction of the bridge.
9 I'd like to take you actually to the paragraph that precedes that
10 in which it's indicated that General Praljak announced he would not allow
11 reconnaissance of the Bijela bridge until the highest authorities of the
12 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina had committed themselves in writing that the
13 road would only be used for humanitarian purposes. Do you see that?
14 A. Yes, I do see that.
15 Q. Based on that Spanish Battalion document and perhaps your own
16 recollection, do you know whether General Praljak was in a position to
17 exert through the HVO military control over the Bijela bridge?
18 A. I believe that they were able to exert a certain degree of control
19 over the Bijela bridge, and what arises from here is fear on the part of
20 HVO that it might be difficult to separate humanitarian convoys from
21 military traffic at the bridge location. So there was a degree of
22 prevention on a military basis, and of course, concern about
23 re-establishing this route.
24 Q. The next document is in the same binder. It's Exhibit number
25 7283. And I'm looking at page 5 of the English translation under the
1 heading of point 5, "Other information." Point 5 relates to other
2 information. Do you see that?
3 A. Yes, I do see that.
4 Q. And item number 4 indicates that a patrol of the Spanish Battalion
5 going to carry out work at the bridge came under fire from the west side.
6 Do you see that?
7 A. From the west side. Is that what you said, west side?
8 Q. Do you see that indicated in the report under item 4? 5 should
9 say -- item 5, paragraph 4.
10 A. Yes, I do see that mentioned.
11 Q. Okay.
12 A. West side.
13 Q. Now -- and I believe you indicated a few minutes ago it was your
14 recollection, was it not, that it was HVO units that exerted control over
15 the west side or the western half of this location?
16 A. Yes. Looking at these coordinates, and when we conducted
17 reconnaissance, we were fired upon in the armoured cars or the tyres of
18 such cars as we went from East Mostar toward the Bijela bridge. We would
19 be fired on from a house located on the western side.
20 Q. Now, during your cross-examination yesterday by General Praljak,
21 you indicated -- you said, "We were shot at intensely by HVO troops. You
22 may well ask why I saw HVO troops. Well, because I saw them with my own
24 A. Yes. At that moment yesterday I was referring to this point,
25 which I believe is slightly to the north of Potoci, and at the entrance to
1 Mostar it was obvious that we were being fired upon from the HVO-occupied
2 airport facilities.
3 Q. Then just to close off that item then, Witness, at the end of his
4 cross-examination General Praljak informed you that he'd cooperated
5 excellently with the Spanish Battalion. So I'd like to ask for your
6 assessment on that. In respect of the Bijela bridge, did the HVO and
7 General Praljak cooperate excellently in respect of the construction at
8 the bridge and making it work?
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I would like to say that this is a
10 misinterpretation of General Praljak's question and answer. We -- he did
11 not say "We had excellent cooperation Mostar-Bijela bridge." He was
12 referring generally to the cooperation they had while he was there. This
13 is impermissible to put misinterpreted words into the witness's mouth.
14 MR. STRINGER: I think it's a fair question, Mr. President.
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] We can have a look at the
16 transcript. Praljak's question in the transcript is quite clear.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is true that General Praljak
18 did put questions on the relationship he had with the Spanish Battalion,
19 so as part of these relations, perhaps Mr. Stringer could address the
20 question in greater detail. So please put your question, Mr. Stringer.
21 MR. STRINGER:
22 Q. Well, Witness, could you give us your assessment, your own
23 assessment, of the level of HVO cooperation in respect of the Bijela
24 bridge project? And if you can comment specifically the level of
25 cooperation you saw or experienced on the part of Generals Praljak and
2 A. In general terms I must start by saying or, rather, repeating that
3 our relations with the parties is something that was not under my
4 competence but something under the general competence of the task force
5 commander. During our presence there, our relation were as cordial as
6 possible with both parties, and our cooperation was as close as possible
7 with both forces as well.
8 Now, as to the efficiency of the cooperation, that is a judgement
9 that I do not wish to take a stand on. I cannot actually make a judgement
10 on that on something that I really do not know how it took place or what
11 the reasons were to prevent such cooperation to take place. So therefore
12 I must limit myself to the facts and maybe concerning the second part in
13 cooperation at the Bijela bridge. The general authorised reconnaissance.
14 I believe it was on the 16th of October. We were told that reconnaissance
15 and the necessary studies would be authorised, but as far as the
16 rebuilding of the bridge, that would have to take place later on due to
17 military reasons.
18 We worked at the bridge. We attempted to clean the area. As I
19 said, we cleared some mine. We prepared access to the future bridge. We
20 did have some incidents, for example, when we actually responded there.
21 We were fired upon on various occasions, and sometimes while actually
22 working on the bridge we were fired upon sporadically, and we were not
23 able to find a solution to crossing the Bijela River until the month of
24 March where the solution was a sort of an on and off type of solution. We
25 had to establish a base there and build a pontoon which was then used to
1 cross to both sides of the river and carry the convoy vehicles without
2 having to go round.
3 That's all I can tell you.
4 Q. Witness, let me direct your attention now to Exhibit 5883. That's
5 also in binder B2.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the meantime, Mr. Stringer,
7 let me tell you that we have still six minutes for the tape. Mr. Khan is
8 going to need a few minutes. Therefore --
9 MR. STRINGER: Your Honour, the count -- by our count is that the
10 Defence got a combined total of three and a half hours for
11 cross-examination compared to my two hours, so I'm doing my -- I'm doing
12 my best, but I think that the situation is not one that's the most
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That's not the point. I was
15 just drawing your attention to this. We could have a break and then
17 MR. STRINGER: That would be fine. If Mr. -- I can continue or we
18 can take a break now, whichever the Trial Chamber prefers.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, we're going to have a
20 20-minute break, and we'll resume after that.
21 --- Recess taken at 12.49 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 1.08 p.m.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed. Judge
24 Prandler has other commitments so there is just the two of us. Please
1 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. Witness, I'd like to take you back to P 7283. 7283 is in the
3 binder B2. Before the break this was the one we were looking at which had
4 the reference to the patrol that was fired upon at the Bijela bridge, but
5 I wanted to ask you a couple other things about this one as well.
6 First of all, this one's dated 20th of December. It's a Spanish
7 Battalion INTSUM, 392, and there's a reference in -- in section -- well,
8 at the beginning about East Mostar, and on this date it indicated that
9 there had been 315 prisoners released from Rodoc to East Mostar. Do you
10 see that?
11 A. Yes, I do see that.
12 Q. And would this have been a prisoner release or a prisoner
13 transport that the unit you were attached to would have been involved
15 A. It was probably us who were involved with them. There's mention
16 of transport in the document.
17 Q. And during the course of your tour --
18 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Ms. Nozica.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise. I didn't
21 want to interrupt my learned friend. However, I would be interested in
22 whether my learned friend could tell us. I don't remember that any
23 questions have been put to the witness during any of the
24 cross-examinations on that particular topic. Could my learned friend
25 maybe remind us of the question that has been put about that.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Was there any question as to the
2 release of prisoners?
3 MR. STRINGER: Well, it's a valid point, Mr. President. I'm going
4 to get there. I'm going to ask the witness to note this and to note one
5 other thing in this report, and then ask the witness a question that will
6 fall, I believe, very squarely within the scope of the cross-examination.
7 Q. So, Witness, if you could just note here there was a witness
8 release on that day. Prisoners were released, and they were then
9 transported into East Mostar.
10 And then -- setting that aside and then turning the page of the
11 English translation to item 3 -- sorry, item 4. Now there's a reference
12 on the same day to 43 explosions that were registered in East Mostar, as
13 well as two outgoing rounds.
14 Okay. So now this is my question: Did you and other members of
15 your unit observe shelling activities in East Mostar occurring at the same
16 time that large numbers of prisoners were being brought into East Mostar
17 after they'd been released from the HVO prisoners?
18 A. I can't give you a specific answer. Every time convoys arrived we
19 also had to know how many shellings there had been, but I don't think
20 there was a co-relation, a cause-and-effect relation between the two.
21 Q. Did the two -- the two events, that is prisoner releases into East
22 Mostar and shelling of East Mostar, did those two things happen in
23 parallel throughout the period of your tour in the region?
24 A. The release of prisoners primarily took place in the month of
25 December, and the unilateral releases and exchanges took place at that
1 time. Now, as to the shellings, that would change from 20 to 100
2 throughout the duration of our mission, and I do not recall bearing in
3 mind a cause-and-effect correlation between the arrival of prisoners to
4 East Mostar and an increase in the HVO bombing.
5 Q. You were asked about how well members -- you and members of your
6 unit who were doing the patrols in East Mostar, how well they could hear
7 the -- the incoming or the outgoing rounds of artillery if they were
8 actually driving around in an armoured vehicle. Do you recall that
10 A. Yes. I tried to explain that we weren't always inside the
11 vehicle, neither were all of the patrol members driving around the city.
12 We had some people at the base entrance when we did have one. We had
13 people in the parking lot. Sometimes we'd go to visit the hospital. So
14 we had people who sometimes were walking around in Eastern Mostar as well.
15 And I recognise, of course, that it's not easy from East Mostar to be able
16 to say with a degree of certainty that you've heard everything that's
17 exploding on Western Mostar or everything that's been shot out from
18 Western Mostar.
19 Q. And that's really what I was getting at. If someone can't hear a
20 grenade hit because they're in an APC, how would that affect the numbers,
21 the counting? The numbers, would it be in fact higher than what's --
22 what's been noted? Isn't that true?
23 A. Well, yes. I was telling you that not all of us were inside the
24 vehicles. We had people outside the vehicles, and thus the counting
25 cannot always be very precise in such a small place as East Mostar. But
1 as I said, our patrol, at least we attempted to have patrols in Western
2 Mostar, and they of course also note down what happens in that area and
3 take a record of it.
4 Q. And you were asked about the patrols in West Mostar, and again why
5 weren't there patrols in West Mostar after dusk?
6 A. Well, first of all we didn't have a place for us to actually be,
7 and conditions in West Mostar and the life there was easier than in East
8 Mostar and thus did not really require permanent presence on our part
9 until the moment when we had a base at which time then we actually had a
10 detachment there.
11 Q. Had you been present in East Mostar, however, during the
12 night-time hours, you would be in a better position to know how many
13 shells fell during those periods, as well as how many shells were sent
15 A. Yes. Obviously that would have been the case.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Mr. Stringer. I think you said East
17 Mostar and we have East Mostar in the record, but did you mean East
18 Mostar? Because the witness so far has said that he was in fact 24 hours
19 present by the SpaBat in East Mostar.
20 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Your Honour. No. I intended to say
21 West Mostar. I was asking the witness about West Mostar.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I, as I am talking anyway, may I ask two --
23 two different things. First is was it your own decision or were there
24 some other reasons why you did not stay 24 hours in West Mostar?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The patrol schedule in Western
1 Mostar was given to me by my task force.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So it was a SpaBat decision. It was not -- in
3 other words, there was no indication of HVO authorities that would have
4 prohibited you of staying in West Mostar as long as you liked?
5 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. The other question --
7 MR. STRINGER: Sorry, Your Honour. I didn't get the
8 interpretation in English of the answer.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Are you getting the English now?
10 Is the English coming through?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that I cannot say with
12 certainty whether the decision to remain in Western Mostar at night was a
13 decision taken by my command or whether there were any objections or
14 conditions that had been set out by HVO.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. And the other question is: To the
16 extent that patrols were at the same time on both sides of the Neretva and
17 noted impacts, was an effort made to correlate this? Were the impacts
18 noted by the exact time so that one could see there is a mention from the
19 east and it corresponds to an observation to the -- at the west and vice
20 versa? Was that made?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was a recording of the impacts
22 and the time at which they occurred, incoming or outgoing or when the
23 actual explosion took place, but I do not recall actual cross-checking the
24 data. The difference between incoming and outgoing fire, which is of
25 course something that we saw mostly in Eastern Mostar, there was a large
1 difference between the two, and that did not lead us to necessarily
2 establish a correlation or a cause-and effect type of relation.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Prosecution, please.
4 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Witness, at one point in your cross-examination I thought you said
6 and I wanted to ask you to affirm it or not, did you or others in your
7 unit ever observe mortars or other weaponry positioned in the vicinity of
8 the HVO hospital in West Mostar?
9 A. I think so, and in some of the documents that are presented with
10 my declaration I think there's mention of that as well.
11 Q. The last document is, in that same binder, 5883. Witness, this is
12 one of the Spanish Battalion reports that you referred to on your
13 cross-examination, I believe by General Petkovic's attorney. And turning
14 to page 3, item 6, this is a reference to the shelling incident that
15 occurred on the day when there was a meeting at the -- I believe it was
16 the city hall in East Mostar, between Spanish Battalion and the 4th Corps.
17 A. Affirmative, yes.
18 Q. In this paragraph --
19 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it seems to me that
20 this answer reveals a confusion that I thought existed. In line 12 to my
21 learned friend's question, whether they noticed the heavy weaponry near
22 the HVO hospital in the west hospital, I don't think that the witness
23 answered correctly. I believe that he meant East Mostar. In addition to
24 that, during the cross-examination nobody ever asked any questions about
25 the hospital in west hospital -- west -- in West Mostar. No arms were
1 mentioned there. Can this be clarified before we proceed?
2 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I asked the witness -- I thought I
3 heard him say during cross-examination that there were mortars or weaponry
4 located in the vicinity -- observed in the vicinity of the HVO hospital in
5 West Mostar, and that was the intent of my question. It's something that
6 was said in the cross-examination.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, you may be right,
8 but I do not remember that. Well, put the question again.
9 MR. STRINGER:
10 Q. Witness, the question is simply this, whether you recall you or
11 others in your unit observed mortars or other weapons, artillery-type
12 weapons, positioned in the area of the HVO hospital in West Mostar.
13 And I'm asking it based on something the witness said during his
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] First of all, in the
16 cross-examination there was no mention of the hospital in the West Mostar.
17 If it is in the transcript, that is a mistake. Secondly and most
18 importantly, if the Prosecution wants to put that question, could they
19 please lay a foundation first of all.
20 First he has to ask him whether he knew that there was an HVO
21 hospital in West Mostar since the witness did not mention it anywhere, not
22 during his testimony here and not in his statements. There is not a
23 single word about this hospital anywhere. First we have to establish that
24 he knows of the existence of this hospital, and then the question can be
25 allowed. However, I keep my original objection that this question was not
1 put in cross-examination.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. On what line of the
3 transcript did the witness mention this, i.e., that there were weapons
4 close to the hospital in Mostar west?
5 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, we're looking for it now. I believe
6 it was during the cross-examination by General Praljak. What I propose is
7 this: While our case manager is looking for the reference in the
8 transcript to that, I'll move to that last document, ask about something
9 else, and if we're able to find that reference I'll come back to it, and
10 if I'm mistaken, I'll withdraw the question.
11 Q. Okay. So, Witness, let's skip that one for the moment and go back
12 then to this paragraph 6 of Exhibit 5883, P 05883.
13 There's a reference here to successive corrections. It says with
14 successive corrections made on target. And as a result of the attack, one
15 lieutenant and a corporal were shrapnel injured at city hall entrance.
16 Can you tell me what that means, successive corrections? What does that
17 refer to?
18 A. I suppose that if six mortar shells landed, the angle, the
19 shooting angle, was corrected successively in order to hit the objective
21 Q. And can you just indicate for us briefly how does one go about
22 correcting the shooting angle or what does that tell us about the intended
23 objective or target in this instance?
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I really think that
25 this question goes too far. One thing is what is stated in the report,
1 and that is the first part of the question. I do not object to that.
2 However, now the witness is again being asked as a witness, and the
3 objection was raised vis-a-vis, asked that we shouldn't do that, how the
4 procedure went. Then that means that the Defence will necessarily have to
5 put a question, and at this stage we cannot put any further questions. So
6 this is opening a new precise area in artillery science.
7 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President --
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, you know that as
9 part of redirect after your redirect Defence counsel cannot put questions
10 again afterwards, so the question has to be tied in to an answer he
11 provided during cross-examination.
12 If I remember correctly, during the cross-examination I don't
13 think, with the exception of General Petkovic who mentioned where the
14 mortars were positioned and the curves, but firing corrections or targets
15 was a topic that was never mentioned so far.
16 MR. STRINGER: Well, what was mentioned, Mr. President, was the
17 comment which was that the shelling incident was provocated by some
18 outgoing ABiH shells. Counsel for Mr. Petkovic took the witness directly
19 to this paragraph and asked specifically about this incident. And I think
20 that if in fact a continual amount of shelling is taking place in which
21 the position is repeatedly being corrected, it tends to shed light on
22 whether the target of this shelling attack by the HVO was in fact Spanish
23 Battalion or others who were in this -- in this location. So I think it's
24 a fair question, and I'll accept your ruling on it however you decide,
1 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. If we turn to
3 paragraph 6, it is stated that the HVO fired shots because before that two
4 ABiH mortars had fired shots. So this indicates that the HVO fired back.
5 If you turn to the sentence that is immediately above, it seems
6 that the HVO would have been engaged six mortars and would have adjusted
7 the firing angle accordingly.
8 But what is important, however, is that the origin of the fire is
9 from the ABiH and not from the HVO. I don't think that this can be
10 challenged because this is what is said here.
11 Mr. Stringer, please ask your question.
12 MR. STRINGER:
13 Q. Witness, do you recall saying -- you testified -- you were asked
14 extensively about position of mortar weaponry in East Mostar. So the
15 question is: In respect of this incident, do you recall seeing any
16 outgoing mortar rounds in the vicinity of this specific incident at the
17 city hall?
18 A. I was not there at the time, but I recall that the officers who
19 were going into the town hall building did hear the outgoing mortar rounds
20 of the Armija.
21 Q. And again what would be meant by this use of "successive
22 corrections made on target"?
23 A. Well, reported by the people by the people who were at the place
24 where the grenades landed. I interpreted two landed some 200 metres away
25 and others at 100 metres distance, and another one where they were. This
1 is by way of example. But what I'm saying is that the landing point for
2 the grenades came closer and closer so that the last shot would land where
3 they were.
4 Q. And my last question is whether members of the Spanish Battalion
5 when they met with officials of the HVO or with officials of the ABiH,
6 whether then it was fair game for the other party to attack officials of
7 the other side even when they were meeting with the Spanish Battalion.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I object to this
9 question. It is not related at all to the cross-examination. If it
10 pertains to the question from this document, it is obvious that the HVO
11 reacted to provocations of BH army mortars. There was no mention at all
12 of any meetings or the participants in a meeting.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I have understood correctly,
14 what you want to know from the witness, Mr. Stringer, that is as follows:
15 If after such an incident the ABiH fires and the HVO fires back. After a
16 meeting together with the -- with UNPROFOR, is there a response from one
17 or other party? Is that what you would like the witness to answer.
18 MR. STRINGER: Well, Mr. President, I'm sure I'm asking all of
19 this poorly. I'm interested in this -- this successive corrections and
20 what, if anything, that tells us about the intention of the people who
21 were firing these mortar rounds, and successively correcting in a way that
22 ultimately results in the wounding of Spanish Battalion personnel. So
23 that's what I'm interested in asking the witness to address, if he can say
24 anything about that.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I do apologise, Your Honours. The
1 Prosecutor is now trying through this witness to get an answer to the
2 effect that the HVO wanted to target the Spanish Battalion. If the
3 Spanish Battalion thought that that was the case, they would have put it
4 in their own report. So I think that this kind of question is malicious
5 to say the least and unfounded.
6 MR. STRINGER: Well, Mr. President, when they say successive
7 corrections that result in the wounding of Spanish Battalion personnel, I
8 think it is in the report, and that's what I'm asking you about. I think
9 they did say it in the report, but I'm asking the witness.
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the Prosecutor --
11 well, it's his document. He had this information before we started
12 questioning the witness. If he's interested in that, then he should have
13 asked about it in the direct examination. Again, I say that the question
14 related to successive correction is a purely technical question, first and
15 foremost for an expert.
16 Here we heard from the representative of the government of Spain
17 that they would rather not have the Court use witness as an expert.
18 We're going back to the first thesis. The Prosecutor knew that
19 full well, so he could have used the witness as an expert or the
20 Prosecutor can call another expert witness.
21 Your Honours, it is perfectly clear to you that this topic, after
22 all --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I understand.
24 Witness, an incident occurred on that day. During that incident
25 members of the SpaBat were injured. This is written down here, and you
1 confirmed that. After that, was there a meeting between all the parties
2 at the Spanish Battalion, the HVO, and the ABiH? Was there such a meeting
3 or not?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. At this meeting were
6 you present?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Was what was said at the meeting
9 reported to you?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I suppose I was briefed or told that
11 the meeting was about to take place and that I was told something about it
12 later, but I do not recall what subjects were broached at the meeting.
13 The meeting took place before, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The meeting took place before
15 what, before the shots were fired or after?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was a meeting before the
17 shelling, on the 4th Corps headquarters.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Before. What I'm
19 interested in is what happened afterwards? After your soldiers were
20 injured, was there a meeting after that?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After that incident possibly, but I
22 cannot say with any certainty, but any sort of incident was in fact
23 informed about to the implicated parties, the concerned parties
24 particularly, when the concerned party in this case was the
25 commander-in-chief of the battalion.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, you wanted to put
2 a question to the witness when he can't tell us if there was a meeting
3 after that, and you wanted to know what the conduct of one or other party
4 was. But can't answer because he can't confirm that there was a meeting
5 afterwards and he did not attend the first meeting.
6 MR. STRINGER: I'll leave it at that, Mr. President, withdraw the
7 question, and just --
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The last point I'd like to
9 address because we need to adjourn. What about this issue concerning the
10 hospital in Mostar west? Have you found the reference?
11 MR. STRINGER: No. We're going to withdraw that question as well,
12 Mr. President.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, the hearing is about to
14 be adjourned. I would like to thank my colleagues, colleagues who cannot
15 attend the latter part of the hearing. We will, of course, advise them of
16 what has happened during the last part of the hearing thanks to the
18 I would like to thank the representative of the Spanish government
19 for his contribution to this hearing.
20 Before giving the floor to Defence counsel, I would like the usher
21 to lower the blinds so that you can both leave the courtroom, and I wish
22 you a safe journey home.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
24 [The witness withdrew]
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I shall now give the
1 floor to the Defence counsel who wanted to say something. We are in open
2 session. We will have to wait for the usher to come back into the
3 courtroom for the blinds to be lifted, but we don't need to wait for the
4 blinds to be lifted to hear what you have to say.
5 MR. KHAN: Yes, I'm grateful, Your Honour. I have broached the
6 subject to my learned friend for the Prosecution before the break. Your
7 Honour, it is a matter that can be dealt with in open session,
8 notwithstanding the fact that the focus of my submissions relate to a
9 Prosecution filing which was confidential. But, Your Honour, the
10 proceedings on this matter can be in open session.
11 Your Honour, as you are aware, on the 28th of September the
12 Prosecution replied to a joint Defence response relating to a Rule 71 bis
13 application. In fact, it's Rule 81 bis application.
14 Your Honour, that should have been the end of the matter as it was
15 a reply, but rather adroitly the Prosecution managed to squeeze into that
16 reply what amounts in effect to a fresh application. It was an
17 application for Your Honours to consider by way of ex parte filing two
19 Now, Your Honour, it's a very simple matter, and it's my position
20 it can be dealt with in way of five minutes of submission instead of
21 having to bother Your Honours and my learned friends with paper filings
22 and responses.
23 Your Honours, I do know that the OTP reply by seeking to provide
24 Your Honours with additional medical information effectively concedes that
25 the initial application, the initial motion of the Prosecution, was
1 deficient and deficient in a very material respect as contended by the
2 Defence in its joint response.
3 Your Honour, I also note that the OTP motion effectively
4 acknowledges at least some merit in the Defence submissions regarding the
5 proposed location for any videolink evidence that takes place, but, Your
6 Honour, I must focus on the new information, which is the medical evidence
7 that is hopefully to be placed before Your Honours.
8 There is no objection on behalf of Mr. Bruno Stojic, and I
9 understand I speak on behalf of my learned friends for the other accused,
10 for that -- for those statements to go before the Trial Chamber.
11 Your Honour, this witness, of course, is your witness, and the
12 position of the Defence in the joint response was that Your Honours and
13 the Defence were not privy to enough information in order to make an
14 informed decision on what is a very important issue. But, Your Honour, it
15 is completely untenable, in my respectful submission, for the Defence to
16 pray in paragraph 3 of their reply, and Your Honour you might not have the
17 reply with you but later on perhaps your assistants can print out --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, Mr. Khan. We
19 have been fully informed because we deliberated on the matter yesterday.
20 So we are -- we know what it is about, definitely.
21 MR. KHAN: I'm grateful. Your Honour, but it's completely
22 untenable in my submission for the Prosecution at paragraph 3 of their
23 reply to say on the one hand, and I quote: "The witness is reluctant to
24 share the details of her condition with the Trial Chamber and the
25 parties," and yet in paragraph 4 to say Janus-faced, as it were, that the
1 witness has provided two documents that provide additional information
2 that explains the nature of her illness. And the impact on her ability to
4 So we are left with the singularly unsatisfactory position where
5 the OTP, a party, no doubt they would accept, has the information, the
6 organisation that the witness comes from has the information, the proposed
7 legal advisor of that organisation has the information, and the Trial
8 Chamber will very properly have that information. It is completely --
9 will have that information if the Prosecution's submission is granted.
10 But it's completely inappropriate, in my submission, for the Defence to be
11 left out in the cold.
12 Your Honour, the Defence of course are not voyeurs, not
13 withstanding that we do have one arsenal football team supporter, but we
14 don't need the full medical records of this witness. But the general
15 parameters of her condition, whether or not it's psychological or
16 physiological, or whether it impacts on her ability to travel is necessary
17 in my respectful submission.
18 Your Honour, my learned friends in their reply say at paragraph 3
19 rather sharply, and they criticise the Defence for what is contended to be
20 a cynical argument, that the witness was able to travel from her place of
21 work to her home country for a diagnosis and treatment. But Your Honour
22 that is half the story. That is not simply the focus of the complaint.
23 What is extremely relevant is after going from her place of work
24 to her home country, she was well enough to go back to work. So she is a
25 witness that's able -- that's fit to go to work back after seeing the
1 doctor, to travel internationally, and yet is not able to come to court.
2 That calls, in my respectful submission, it calls and it
3 necessitates an explanation and the burden is upon the Prosecution to show
4 that the condition, the contended condition of this witness is so -- is
5 sufficiently serious that it would be either wholly inappropriate or
6 excessively burdensome for her to attend court rather than merely
8 Your Honour, I say all of this, and being ignorant of the facts of
9 this case because I've just joined this, but it may very well be the case
10 that this witness knows she is in for some very robust cross-examination
11 by my learned friends and the Defence teams, and the Defence of course and
12 the accused in the dock will want to be satisfied that the accused is not
13 seeking to hide behind a camera and not come before this court and being
14 tested directly in the crucible of this court. Your Honour, if the
15 condition of course is sufficiently serious, the Defence are not
16 unreasonable one would hope, and it would be for the Defence to withdraw
17 any objection if she does have a very legitimate reason.
18 So Your Honour for all of those reasons I -- I do ask that at
19 least the details as to the nature of the illness and the treatment be
20 disclosed to the Defence. There is no objection at all for the Trial
21 Chamber to have access to this information, but I do make one further
22 remark. Of course the witness was called by the Prosecution. I did see
23 His Honour Judge Trechsel shaking his head. Of course the witness was
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Overlapping speakers]
1 MR. KHAN: The a witness was called by the Prosecution, but once
2 the witness has given evidence-in-chief, he is a Court witness, your
3 witness, Your Honour. And in my submission it's not the best practice,
4 let me put it like that, it's not the best practice for a court witness to
5 be contacting directly or indirectly at the Prosecution. The better
6 practice in my respectful submission would have been for the legal advisor
7 of the organisation concerned to have made an approach to the Victim and
8 Witnesses Unit, and Your Honours could make the decision but Your Honours
9 those are my hopefully brief submissions on this issue I'm grateful.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's move back into closed
11 session, please, registrar.
12 [Closed session]
11 Pages 23290-23295 redacted. Closed session
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.05 p.m.,
2 to be reconvened on Monday, the 8th day of
3 October, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.