1 Wednesday, 7 November 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Good afternoon
9 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T, the
10 Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me greet the Prosecution as
12 well as the witness, the Defence counsel, and the accused. We are now
13 going to proceed with the cross-examination of the witness, General
14 Pringle. Before we do so, I'm first going to give the floor to
15 Mr. Registrar who is going to give us an IC number.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour. The OTP has submitted a
17 response to exhibits tendered by 4D for witness Ray Lane. The list
18 submitted by OTP shall be given Exhibit number IC 706. Thank you, Your
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. With respect to the
21 application made for General Petkovic by Ms. Alaburic for additional time,
22 notwithstanding her application for a certification to appeal our previous
23 decision, yesterday Ms. Alaburic asked for additional time. The Chamber
24 considered the matter and has decided to maintain its previous decision by
25 allowing to Ms. Alaburic one hour, but, of course, the other Defence
1 counsel are free to offer any time they wish to Ms. Alaburic.
2 The Trial Chamber saw that the 23 page expert report includes 80
3 paragraphs and that it is a factual report related to documents coming
4 from the former Yugoslavia and from the HVO. As a consequence, the Trial
5 Chamber believes that if the Defence want to introduce exhibits or
6 evidence to support its case, it can do so later on when it calls its own
7 witnesses. This being said, we maintain, we uphold our previous decision.
8 We'll issue a written decision on the application for
9 certification to appeal. With respect now to the time left to Ms. Nozica,
10 she has 16 more minutes. We have deducted the time she used yesterday at
11 the beginning, she had 30 minutes plus 15 minutes offered to her by the
12 Prlic Defence. Let me also add for the transcript that when I said that
13 the witness had drafted a report, the report was a normative report and
14 not a factual report. Ms. Nozica, you have the floor for the 16 minutes
15 that are left to you.
16 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good day to everyone in the
17 courtroom. Thank you, Your Honours.
18 WITNESS: ANDREW PRINGLE [Resumed]
19 Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica: [Continued]
20 Q. I'll start with my cross-examination immediately so as not to
21 waste any more time. Sir, you compiled another report, as far as I'm
22 aware, but in order to get to your answer as rapidly as possible please
23 have a look at P09211 which is in my pink binder. It is the fourth
24 document from the top.
25 A. Can you confirm the number? Did you say 9221?
1 Q. Yes?
2 A. Okay. It's down here, right.
3 Q. 9211. It's the fourth from the bottom. I apologise. I provided
4 you with the wrong information. It's the fourth document from the bottom
5 in the binder. Have you found the document now?
6 A. I've got it.
7 Q. I believe you know what this is about, so could you please tell
8 the Court what this document is, in fact, about?
9 A. It's entitled "Structure of the HVO Armed Forces."
10 Q. Did you compile or draft this analysis and if so, when?
11 A. I did not.
12 Q. Very well. Thank you. Then the information I had was incorrect.
13 Thank you. There is nothing I want to ask you about this document in that
15 In item 47 of your report -- could we help the witness? Do you
16 have your report before you? If not, could the Prosecution binder be
17 provided to the witness?
18 A. Thank you, yes. I haven't got the two files that I had yesterday.
19 Thank you.
20 Q. Please have a look at item 47 in your report.
21 A. I have paragraph 47.
22 Q. In item 47, you mentioned the obligation to train soldiers, to
23 teach them about the Geneva Conventions and about the obligations derived
24 from those conventions, and also how to treat civilians, prisoners of war,
25 and the wounded. In the penultimate sentence of this paragraph, you say
1 "That in the documents I have been given by the Prosecution, I saw
2 nothing that had to do with the requirement to train soldiers in their
3 legal obligations and responsibilities under the international laws of
5 In the course of the examination-in-chief, the Prosecution showed
6 you a number of documents. There are many documents, in fact, and in
7 those documents it can be seen that HVO soldiers were informed of their
8 legal obligations in relation to the Geneva Conventions and this was done
9 through the line of command or through education. Am I right in saying
11 A. That's how it would be executed, yes.
12 Q. I'll be showing you a number of documents that you haven't yet
13 seen, a number of orders, in fact, in which soldiers are being directly
14 informed of their obligations and legal obligations in accordance with the
15 Geneva Conventions. We'll go through these documents now. The first one
16 is P2877. It's a document in my binder, P02877. It's the seventh
17 document from the top in my binder.
18 Let's have a look at this document. It's dated the 21st of June
19 1993. Mr. Blaskic signed the document, the command of the central Bosnian
20 operative zone in Vitez. It says, "All -- it's for all brigade commanders
21 and wardens of military prisons." It's called the relation or the
22 attitude towards war prisoners, and it says, "On the basis of the Geneva
23 Conventions of the 12th of August 1949 regulating the treatment of
24 prisoners of war, I hereby order, item 1, treatment of prisoners of war
25 must be humane. I forbid the use of prisoners of war for enforced work."
1 He informs the wardens -- it informs wardens of military prisons
2 about the cases in which prisoners of war can be used and in which cases
3 they can't be used. It draws attention to the fact that an International
4 Tribunal for war crimes has been established, and it will deal with all
5 contraventions of the Geneva Conventions, and 4, it says, "I will hold
6 brigade commanders and military prison wardens responsible for carrying
7 out this order."
8 Sir, in light of your practice, would this be an appropriate way
9 in which soldiers can be informed of their obligations, their legal
10 obligations, pursuant to the Geneva Conventions?
11 A. This is an order by Colonel Blaskic to the brigade commanders and
12 military prison wardens saying exactly the right sort of thing, ordering
13 them to effectively comply by the Geneva Conventions and mentioning
14 specific sorts of maltreatment that he is talking about and is drawing
15 their attention to are not to be conducted. That's a good order but
16 that's not the same as training the soldiers in that. So we go back to
17 where I were yesterday. There is giving the order, the next part is
18 ensuring that it happens. And ensuring that it happens would have to
19 involve the recipients of that order down to the lowest levels
20 understanding what it was that they were meant to be doing. So good
21 order, whether it was complied or carried out with, I don't know.
22 Q. Sir, I'll just ask you about individual orders. You can then say
23 whether this is a good way to inform of the Geneva Conventions, as to
24 whether soldiers were aware of these things, I won't ask you about that.
25 You don't know.
1 You told me you provided your report in accordance with the
2 documentation you were provided with, so we'll just stick to what you
3 yourself have seen and to the documents that I'll be showing you. I
4 haven't got much time left, but I would just like to show you a few such
5 orders to see the time period we are dealing with and to see what members
6 of these units were informed of. Please have a look at P03608 now. It's
7 in the middle of the binder, more or less. Tell me when you've found the
9 A. I have it.
10 Q. This is an order issued one month later, signed by Mr. Blaskic,
11 the treatment of prisoners and civilians is the subject. Blaskic is
12 referring to the order of the chief of the Main Staff dated the 20th of
13 July, and he says HVO members must treat prisoners in accordance with
14 international regulations, and especially captured civilians. They must
15 treat soldiers in accordance with these regulations. And item 5, the
16 directly subordinate commanders of persons responsible for me for the
17 execution of this order.
18 It's quite clear that Mr. Blaskic one month after the first order
19 issued a second order, the contents of which are similar. It's on the
20 basis of the chief of the HVO main headquarters, and we can see the
21 following. Does this mean that this commander was following the
22 provisions of the Geneva Conventions? So he wanted these provisions to be
23 respected and as a result, he issued requests on a number of occasions or
24 orders on a number of occasions to ensure that these provisions were in
25 fact respected. Could we put things this way?
1 A. I think that's possibly going a little bit far. What this order
2 does is quite correctly Colonel Blaskic has reiterated very much the same
3 order that he gave a month before, to say, to go on to say that that means
4 that he is complying with the Geneva Conventions, is to take it in my
5 opinion too far, because he would have to be satisfied that these orders
6 are being carried out and that none of the sorts of acts that he is
7 forbidding in his order are being carried out. So, again, it's a good
8 order. It's a good written order.
9 Q. That's what I want to hear from you. What did Mr. Blaskic do to
10 determine whether his orders, this one and the prefer one, were respected?
11 Well, that's not part of my examination. Let's just concentrate on this.
12 I'll show you a few more such orders. For the sake of continuity have a
13 look at P06989. In my binder, it's the fourth order from below, from the
15 A. I have it.
16 Q. As you can see it's dated the 1st of December 1993. The subject
17 is POWs and adhering to the Geneva Conventions. Item 2 states the
18 following: Use the commanders of units and organs for propaganda to
19 inform all soldiers of the contents of this order. As you can see, this
20 was provided to everyone in his operative zone. You can see that at the
21 top. Can we say that the commander of this operative zone in fact did
22 what was necessary in this order to inform everyone of their obligations
23 pursuant to the Geneva Conventions?
24 A. We can say that once again, Colonel Blaskic, several months after
25 issuing the same order, is producing another written order on the same
1 subject. We can say that.
2 Q. In your report, you also mentioned obligation to treat wounded
3 enemy prisoners in a certain way and you also mention obligations pursuant
4 to the Geneva Conventions, and then you quote the Geneva Conventions.
5 It's item 47 or paragraph 47 in your report. We don't have to have a look
6 at it now, though.
7 But when you compiled your report, when you were compiling your
8 report, did you see any documents demonstrating how the HVO treated
9 wounded enemy soldiers, and if so, are there any conclusions you can draw
10 as to the extent to which the HVO abided by these obligations pursuant to
11 the Geneva Conventions?
12 A. I don't recall seeing any reports of that nature.
13 Q. Let's then have a look at document P02050. It's the fifth
14 document in my binder. Let me know when you've found it.
15 A. Yes, I have it.
16 Q. We have a joint order from Bruno Stojic and Petkovic dated the
17 24th of April 1993. It's at a fairly high level. It says this order is
18 being provided to commanders of operative zones and all commanders and
19 soldiers. The order states the following: When need arises for medical
20 assistance, ensure that your doctors and other medical personnel have
21 access to each injured person at any moment regardless of whether the
22 person is a civilian or member of an enemy unit. Behave towards civilians
23 and prisoners solely in accordance with international conventions and
25 Could you comment on this order?
1 A. Again, this is a written order by Bruno Stojic saying the right
2 thing, a good, written order.
3 Q. And now finally, let's see how an order of this kind was put into
4 practice and for that let's look at document 2D 566 which should be the
5 second document, 2D 00566. And tell me when you've found it, please.
6 A. Yes, I have it.
7 Q. This is a report from the health sector to the Defence department
8 at the -- dated 1993, the 10th of September, where we have a list of
9 wounded members of the BH army sent from the war hospital of the HVO in
10 Mostar to the hospital in Split. And the names of persons are listed here
11 along with the diagnoses, and we have a total of 11 members of the BH army
12 who were in the Mostar war hospital and quite obviously, because the
13 hospital was not able to provide full medical treatment because of the
14 wartime conditions, they were sent further on to the hospital in Split,
15 which is Croatia.
16 Now, can we say that this document is, in fact, a follow-up of the
17 activities to implement the orders issued by Bruno Stojic and Mr. Milivoj
18 Petkovic or rather does it show the conduct towards the wounded, the POWs
19 from enemy armies based on the Geneva Conventions? Of course, you don't
20 have to say whether you know whether this actually happened but let's
21 assume that it did and that what it says in this document is true and
23 A. On that assumption, this document would indicate to me that Dr.
24 Ivo Sandrk if that's the right pronunciation, is acting in what would
25 appear on the face of it to be a humane and correct manner to these
1 specific prisoners. I would agree with that.
2 Q. Thank you. Now, for the record, I'd like to stress that the name
3 of the person who signed the document is Dr. Ivo Sandrk. Thank you, sir.
4 I think that that has taken up all my 16 minutes that I had at my
6 MS. NOZICA: Thank you, Your Honours. That completes my
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Following counsel?
9 Mr. Kovacic?
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in keeping with your
11 ruling of the 10th of May of this year and in conformity with paragraph
12 11, I would like to request that my client, General Praljak, be allowed to
13 question the witness.
14 I think that they are extraordinary circumstances as stipulated in
15 paragraph 11 because Mr. Praljak was there on the spot, he has direct
16 knowledge of the situation, and of course he has specialist
17 knowledge with respect to his training and education.
18 I don't think that need be challenged nor do I need to present arguments.
19 So he would be taking the floor now with your permission.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, you have only one
21 hour? Has nobody given you any extra time?
22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] [Microphone not activated]
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, counsel, please.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] We have one hour which we were
25 assigned and 15 minutes ceded from the Pusic Defence. Thank you.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Mr. Praljak, you have 75
3 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
4 Q. Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon, General, sir.
5 A. Good afternoon, General, sir.
6 Q. As I said yesterday, military -- I have waited for 17 months for
7 military topics to come up for discussion in this courtroom. It was my
8 hope that you would be at our disposal for longer, at least five or six
9 hours for myself and General Petkovic so that we could illustrate the very
10 serious wartime problems that we had which would help them in their
11 decision and judgement later on.
12 But as time is short I'd like to ask you, General, to be as brief
13 as possible in your answers to my questions. I shall try and formulate
14 them in such a way to make that possible. But at the outset, let's see
15 what in your report, in your expert report, you dealt with in connection
16 with the HVO. So can you confirm the following. Do you know how many
17 soldiers the HVO had? Let's start off with that.
18 A. General, let's start off with paragraph 2 of my report, where I
19 explain what I was asked to do. I was asked to explain the nature of
20 command and control in military organisations by drawing on personal
21 experience. I was asked to comment on the normal military political
22 interface in general between senior military commanders, civilian defence
23 ministers and commanders in chief, and I was asked to offer professional
24 opinions on the military significance of a number of documents provided by
25 the Prosecution. I do not pretend to be an expert in the HVO.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, we do of course
2 understand that you are not an expert in the HVO, but it seems to us that
3 you held very important positions in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1993-95
4 period of time, and during that period, you no doubt had contacts with the
5 both -- with both branches, HVO and ABiH. At the time there must have
6 been several thousand soldiers there. Do you have any idea about the --
7 an approximate number of soldiers?
8 We are not asking you for a very precise estimate. But in the
9 framework of the federation that was set up under the Dayton agreement,
10 how many soldiers were there, if we take them altogether, Croats plus
12 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, I would hesitate to guess at that. I'm
13 generally aware that the HVO was made up of a mixture of regular and
14 irregular troops. I'm generally aware that there were also a number of HV
15 soldiers in Bosnia. I'm generally aware that they were organised into a
16 number of ZPs or operational zones and brigades of varying numbers each.
17 I hesitate to put a number on it but if you want me to put a number on it,
18 shall we say for the sake of argument 50.000? I don't know. I mean --
19 enough to be conducting a serious war anyway.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. General Praljak, you
21 can go on.
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
23 Q. General, not for a moment did I doubt that within the frameworks
24 works of the parameters given you by the Prosecutor that you did not do
25 your utmost to respond and to provide the answers to the questions to the
1 best of your knowledge. I'm not challenging that at all. What I would
2 like to find out is the following. Or rather, I claim that the
3 Prosecution is supplying people with partial documents and is resorting to
4 vivisection in a war by showing a bone here, a bone there, rib bone there,
5 a leg bone there. So I don't mind all your answers, as far as I'm
6 concerned, are very good when you say yes or when you say no.
7 So what we want to see orders, control, and communication, three
8 basic points in wartime. So you've said you can't say exactly how many
9 soldiers the HVO had. Now, if I were to put up a map or a chart, could
10 you draw in four operative zones in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992 and 1993,
11 for example, would you be capable of doing that? Would you be capable of
12 drawing in the parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina which at that time were under
13 HVO control?
14 A. Probably not. Straight off the top of my head, with a bit of
15 research and reminding, I had contact with General Glasnovic in ZP
16 Tomislavgrad, for example, on a number of occasions and I also visited
17 Mostar on a number of occasions, but I wouldn't wish to put a pen to a map
18 and start trying to pretend to know how your HVO districts were
20 Q. Very well. Thank you. Do you know what the communication was
21 like between the Main Staff or myself as the commander of the Main Staff
22 of the HVO, between myself and the 4th Posavina operative zone, or the
23 Central Bosnia operative zone, for example, or operative group 2 Kiseljak
24 or Zepce? Did you in any way have any documents or did you do research
25 into the possibility of the Main Staff's communicating with all the
1 subordinate units? If you don't know that will suffice.
2 A. Again, I'm generally aware that you had radio communications, you
3 had telefax communications, you had radio relay communications, you had
4 telephone communications, you had courier communications. In detail I
5 can't tell you, but you had those forms of communications and in the
6 normal event some would be working sometimes and others would not and
7 that's how you would be communicating.
8 Q. You say telephone communications. What telephone communications
9 did the Grude headquarters have in with Zepce, Kiseljak, Vitez, or Orasje?
10 Do you know whether there were any telephone communications, and if so
11 what kind or fax communication for that matter?
12 A. No, of course I can't answer that question in detail. What I do
13 know is that your front lines were interspersed and some of your locations
14 were cut off from others, and therefore telephone communications in some
15 instance probably would have been irregular and in some instances probably
16 non-existent because they ran through other factional war zones and had
17 been cut, but I can't answer your question in detail, no.
18 Q. Thank you, General. Let's define it this way: A communication
19 line, let's call it a link between somebody providing information and on
20 the other hand somebody receiving information. That's what we mean by
21 communication. Now, in your division as the commander of a division,
22 within that division, how many communication lines did you have?
23 A. I would be able to communicate by radio, by telephone, by radio
24 relay, by fax, all the sorts of communication systems that I have just
25 described to you.
1 Q. In a study at the beginning of the war, compiled at the beginning
2 of the war, I happened to read and you'll at the me if I'm right or not
3 that the 101st Marine Division or sometimes referred to as the 1st
4 Division, which has about 20.000 troops when it's at full strength, at a
5 time of action has 27 .000 communication lines within its unit, 27.000
6 communication lines. Everybody communicating with everybody else.
7 Now, would that piece of information be correct or roughly correct
8 to the best of your knowledge? And my second question is this: Do you
9 know when I was up on a hill or at my headquarters, how many communication
10 lines I could have had with my troops and units?
11 A. Well, General to answer your first question, I'm not an expert in
12 the marine division and 27.000 communication lines rather depends on how
13 you define communication lines. If that's one person includes one person
14 talking to another, as well as all the other systems, you possibly could
15 define it like that but I can't comment on that. As to the second
16 question, I wasn't with you up on your hill so I don't know.
17 Q. Very well. Now, in the famous three member or like the holy
18 trinity, if we can put it that way in modern times, these three parts of
19 the army and the control and command of the army and communications, so
20 control, command, and communications being the three elements,
21 communication, is that a vital part of good quality control and command,
22 whether they -- whether we are referring to technical communication or
23 whether communication is carried out in the sense of the recipient
24 receiving correct information, which would mean that the commander can be
25 in charge of an operation, whether an offensive or defensive operation,
1 that they can be in command of the army. So my question is this, let me
2 repeat it: Is the existence of a communication system vital for a modern
3 military authority and control and command?
4 A. As I've said in my report, communications are an essential part of
5 command and control. You cannot execute command and you cannot coordinate
6 control if you have an ineffective communication system.
7 Q. One of the areas you dealt with is -- well hypothetically, if a
8 commander knew or were to know and so on. But let's look at feedback
9 information about an event now. You learn about some houses being on
10 fire, and you have to establish who set fire to those houses and launch an
11 investigation, and before you make a decision to punish the perpetrators,
12 you must investigate to see who it was who committed the crime and where
13 it was committed, would that be right?
14 A. In general terms, yes.
15 Q. Now, as far as information goes, General, I think we all know this
16 from history, the crime in My Lai in Vietnam was uncovered two years after
17 it had been committed because one of the members, one of the participants
18 in that event, had drunk too much alcohol in a bar and then told the man
19 sitting next to him about the event who -- and the man happened to be an
20 intelligence officer, a US intelligence officer. Do you know about that,
21 that that's how crimes came to be uncovered, the crimes that happened in
22 My Lai in Vietnam and that this was two years after the event?
23 A. I am aware of the incident you're talking about. I do not have
24 the knowledge that you have just put on the table about how it came to be
25 in the public forum.
1 Q. Yes. Thank you. But we have another example, Abu Ghraib, the
2 military prison, for example, this is in more recent times, in Iraq. Do
3 you know that what happened in that prison there was uncovered, came to
4 light, because a man in England when developing photographs saw what he
5 saw, and then took those photographs to the press and to television? So
6 that event was not uncovered by the internal organs of the army, it was
7 uncovered in a photograph shop, photographic shop, by this man who sent
8 them, sent the incriminated material to the press and television? Do you
9 know about that? That was quite recent.
10 A. I'm aware of the Abu Ghraib incident. I can't comment on your
11 allegations as to how it came to become public.
12 Q. I'll quote another example because it's very important. This is a
13 very important point to bring crimes to light and then punish the
14 perpetrators and it's especially important for me, the people around me,
15 and for this Court in general. Several months ago, for instance, the
16 German papers published the fact that German professional soldiers in
17 Afghanistan arranged human bones and made sculptures out of them, and all
18 this happened five years ago and it was uncovered once again quite by
19 chance when a photographer found the material and sent it to the media.
20 So these are ways in which sometimes very serious crimes are
21 uncovered, crimes perpetrated by soldiers from professional armies. Of
22 course, it doesn't happen everywhere but I have quoted just a few
23 examples, so are you aware of that?
24 A. I'm not aware of the last example you have given. In general, I
25 understand the point you're trying to make. It is not unknown that
1 incidents happen and they come to light later on. Specific incidents. I
2 would agree with that. That is possible. The general execution of such
3 incidents particularly when they are on the television on a daily basis is
4 rather more difficult to cover up, obviously. So it depends on the event
5 and the specificity of what you're talking about.
6 Q. Thank you for that answer, General. Now I'd like to try and
7 compare the concept of army. It's vulgar nominalism, where under the term
8 "army" or concept "army," all forms of organisation are attempted to be
9 included, people bearing weapons. So I'm going to ask you the following.
10 Do you know that in 1992, the HVO, that is to say the beginning of
11 1992, was established or rather a group of volunteers had gathered
12 together at municipality level in Bosnia-Herzegovina, that that was the
14 A. I'll take your word for that, General.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, do you know that people and --
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, General, the witness, I take your word
17 for it is not really an answer. He asks whether you know. If you do not
18 yourself know, you just say, no, I don't know. But this, "I take your
19 word for it" means that you believe the accused which is not of interest
20 to the Chamber whether you believe him or not. It's just what you know
21 that you are to tell us. Thank you.
22 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour. I apologise. Specifically,
23 the answer to your question is no.
24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Right. My next question: Do you know that the municipal
1 authorities, through municipal staffs of the HVO, were in command of that
2 army. So it was the municipal authorities through various staffs, that --
3 the local ones, that the army was commanded?
4 A. As I said to you at the beginning, I'm not an expert in the HVO.
5 I am generally aware that the HVO had a command chain that ran from the
6 president down through the Main Staff down to the operational zones and
7 brigades. I'm also generally aware that the HVO was a -- had a civil and
8 a military dimension to it.
9 Q. General, we'll come back to structures of control and command in
10 due course, and during your many years of experience, you dealt with von
11 Scharnhorst and Clausewitz and others, and you know that the parameters of
12 a society determine what kind of army and war a country is going to have.
13 So if you say, "I did know that or I did not know that," that will help
14 me, and I'll just get through the elements that I wish to raise.
15 I'm not dealing with formal establishment on paper; although,
16 we'll look at paper and documents later on too. But just in general
17 terms, practical terms now, tell me, do you know that the number of
18 volunteers at that time, who had rallied together within the HVO was 35 to
19 40 per cent, or rather 35 to 40 per cent of those people purchased weapons
20 with their own money? Is that something you knew about?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Do you know that almost throughout the war, it was the
23 municipalities who financed the brigades established in those
24 municipalities, so it was the municipal authorities which financed the
25 brigades, the Livno Brigade, the Posusje Brigades, it was Livno financing
1 that one, Tomislavgrad would finance the Tomislavgrad Brigade, and so on.
2 So are you aware of that that throughout the war, the brigades were mostly
3 financed by the municipalities themselves?
4 A. I'm not aware of the detailed financial arrangements of how the
5 HVO was financed.
6 Q. General, sir, do you know that those municipalities would collect
7 that money, not by engaging in any economic activities but on the basis of
8 taxes from people, the brothers and sisters of those same fighters or
9 warriors who were in France, Switzerland, working there or any other
10 country, so they would set aside a monthly sum which the guest workers
11 abroad paid in and then this was distributed to the soldiers in the form
12 of a salary? Is that something you might have known about?
13 A. I was generally aware that money was flowing back from the
14 Croatian diaspora. In the detail you put it, no I wasn't aware of that.
15 As I keep saying to you, General, I'm not an expert in the detailed
16 organisation of the HVO.
17 Q. General, please understand me. All these are essential elements,
18 vital elements, which we have to understand in order to arrive at
19 something which is called control and command. If we do not know in exact
20 terms how things stood and the true establishment, the state of the soul
21 of morale, discipline, the ability to punish and so on, then I'm sure
22 you'll agree with me that we won't be able to understand control and
23 command and how that army was commanded.
24 So I'm going to ask you some more questions along those lines. Do
25 you know that because different municipalities had different revenues and
1 paid out different salaries, on the basis of the documents you looked at
2 provided to you by the Prosecution, do you know how many -- how much
3 rebellion there was or how many rebellions there were when one set of
4 soldiers saw that another set of soldiers had 100 euros more in their
5 salaries? Did you come across problems like that in the documents that
6 you were shown?
7 A. No, I did not. I was focused on command and control in its
8 classic sense, the flow of orders down through the responsible chain of
9 command, whether it was reasonable to expect people to know of events and
10 where they did know of events make an assessment of the actions they took
11 on those events. The sorts of detail you're going into now was way beyond
12 anything I was asked to look at.
13 Q. Very well. Thank you. I'll try and be as brief as possible in
14 this area. Now, tell me, in the documents you studied, did you come
15 across any possibility whereby the Main Staff commander, his deputy or any
16 of the other people here, could do anything significant if 500 conscripts
17 from Herzegovina left the territory or in classical terms in fact
18 deserted? On the basis of the documents you were given, was there any
19 realistic possibility for any sanctions to be taken against these people,
20 500, 1.000, 5.000? What could these accused here, or I, in the Main
21 Staff, do to punish those people? What could I do with that organisation?
22 Some people called it the state.
23 If any member of the group would lay down his arms and cross the
24 border and leave, would anything like that be possible in England, in
25 America, in the army you were in?
1 A. I'm generally aware from the documents I read that there was a
2 working command and control system that ran from the Main Staff down
3 through the chain of command. I'm also generally aware that there were
4 legal provisions and rules laid out in a doctrine. I'm also generally
5 aware that there were disciplinary codes and punishments that I have also
6 read about. So I'm satisfied that there was a working military system.
7 What you could have done in the specific instance you talk about
8 of soldiers deserting, I don't know, but that would have been very much up
9 to you, your military code, your military system, and your military chain
10 of command, which you had.
11 Q. General, you say -- read through the documents that state that
12 things were functional. I'll ask you something outside the framework of
13 what we call sociology. I'll compare two systems now. I just want a
14 scientific analysis.
15 Let's take a hypothetical country, E, somewhere in the east. Is
16 it correct to say that it has a billion, that the population is one
17 billion, that they have the right to vote, it's a social system of the
18 western kind, a market economy, educational system is functional. Do you
19 know of any such country E in the east?
20 A. Population of a billion?
21 Q. Yes. India, let's say India. It has a market economy, the right
22 to vote, there is no gender discrimination, no religious discrimination,
23 France, Switzerland, and your country share these characteristics. That's
24 what's on paper, as you say. That's what you find in legal documents that
25 pertain to those countries.
1 In the social sense, whether it comes to the functioning of such
2 societies, would France, Switzerland, and England and this country, let's
3 say India, function in the same way or any other countries that have
4 identical laws, the social situation in those countries is nevertheless
5 radically different. It's like the difference between night and day. Is
6 what I am saying correct?
7 A. You're saying that all countries are different. That's correct.
8 Q. I'm asking you this because well, when you read through some
9 papers, well that's one thing. I'll go back to the JNA now. When you
10 read through some legal documents, can you draw the conclusion as to what
11 the actual situation is in a certain country, as to how the system
12 actually functions, or is the way the system functions a problem that's
13 far more difficult than the problem of you seeing certain legal documents?
14 Are you familiar with such a problem in the light of the way in which
15 armies organise, for example?
16 A. Well, general, let me try and turn a mask of generalities into
17 something more specific which is maybe easier to exemplify. Let's say I
18 read a JNA doctrine document on the international laws of war and Geneva
19 Conventions, and let's say I read a document that says we, the country in
20 question, have signed up to these documentations. Then I would make the
21 working assumption that that's what they intend and that's what they
22 intend to do. Notwithstanding the fact that the country in question may
23 not be the same as my country, France, India, or any of the other mass of
24 countries you have specified.
25 Q. So this is an item that or an issue I'd like to discuss in fact.
1 We don't have to have a dispute about doctrine, but in the former
2 Yugoslavia, there were books that were published on the role of the
3 Communist League, the socialist association, and then there was the role
4 of the SFRY armed forces, the JNA, the Territorial Defence and so on and
5 so forth.
6 My question is as follows: Do you know that the role of the armed
7 forces in Yugoslavia, apart from defending the territory and territorial
8 integrity of the country, was also to protect the political system by
9 having recourse to all means, so we are talking about the Communist Party
10 as well and it had to protect Yugoslavia from being destroyed by using all
11 means? Were you familiar with the fact that such a political role was in
12 fact one of the key roles that the JNA had to play?
13 A. I'm familiar with the fact that the JNA's key role was the
14 Territorial Defence of the nation and I'm generally aware what -- it had
15 what I would describe as an internal security role.
16 Q. General, you have appeared here as an expert witness on two
17 occasions, in the Dubrovnik case and in the Vukovar case. Was the
18 territorial integrity of Yugoslavia threatened in Dubrovnik and Vukovar or
19 was this an act of violence, an act of aggression? Was the integrity of
20 Yugoslavia under threat or was this the response of the JNA, the reaction
21 of the JNA, to democratic forces within Yugoslavia and the right of people
22 to self-determination after secession?
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Until secession.
24 A. I think to give you a view on that question would be way beyond
25 the remit that I am here as an expert witness and the subjects on which
1 I'm here to comment on.
2 Q. I understand, General. But you've read through some documents,
3 you say that what the JNA stated about the Geneva Conventions is great.
4 That's your conclusion. Isn't that correct?
5 A. I have said that the JNA doctrine on the international laws of
6 armed conflict and the Geneva Conventions and their application, as
7 pronounced in JNA doctrine, appeared to me to be a comprehensive, well
8 written, and thoroughly good document, yes.
9 Q. I agree. Great document. But let's go back to the application of
10 that document, General. The application of the document involves Mostar,
11 Dubrovnik, Vukovar, Zadar, Sibenik, and everything else that we have here
12 in The Hague. The application of such a perfect doctrine is something
13 that we can see in these courtrooms and on two occasions you were also
14 involved in some judgements. There were high level officials who
15 implemented this doctrine. I think everyone is aware of this.
16 My question is as follows: Wouldn't it be better for the HVO not
17 to have JNA officers amongst its ranks or rather not a significant number
18 of them, because the application of the doctrine, as they understood it,
19 would have led to the same results that we had in Vukovar,
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo and Mostar, et cetera? And now for my
21 fundamental question, well, first, my question was wouldn't it have been
22 better not to have a significant number of JNA officers in the HVO but
23 also is it clear that anything can be put down on paper? Isn't it clear
24 that what is stated on paper provides a feeble basis for drawing
25 conclusions as to what actually happens in reality in wartime situations?
1 Is that correct or not?
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, the Judges find
3 it a bit difficult to follow the theory you're trying to outline. You
4 seem to say that maybe it would have been better for the HVO, if the ABiH
5 and others not to have amongst their ranks any officers from the former
6 JNA. Is that the question you're trying to put to the witness?
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] The first question is very
8 clear, Your Honours. It's a hypothetical. If we have a certain doctrine,
9 and if that doctrine had the effects, the results we have seen, my
10 question is then wouldn't it have been better not to have officers who
11 followed the doctrine, and as a result of that doctrine, there were
12 certain results? That's my first question, General, and then I'll put my
13 second question to you.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, can you answer this
15 extremely complex question, but we see the point of that question, of
17 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, I'll try. General, on a number of
18 occasions in this Court, I have quoted the good General Patton: Giving
19 the order is the easy part. Making it happen is more difficult. So I
20 agree that having the doctrine is one thing. Teaching it, educating
21 people in it, exercising it, and ensuring it is executed is another thing.
22 But that's where the chain of command and the responsible officers and the
23 whole military system comes into play.
24 To leap from it's all right to have a good doctrine like the JNA
25 had, and then point the finger at a number of atrocities and make the huge
1 conclusion that therefore everybody in the JNA does not abide by their
2 doctrine and therefore should not be in the HVO is, I would have thought,
3 a step in logic too far and one to which I would not ascribe based on the
4 theory you're trying to put.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I may go on a bit, I think it is a duty of the
6 Chamber, Mr. Praljak, as guardian of the fairness of procedure and the
7 interests of all, that I warned you, because you're making a very strange
8 argument. You are saying look, the JNA had wonderful texts but they did
9 the opposite so the texts are not worth anything. The Prosecution says
10 that you had perhaps some good texts, and some Defence counsel have
11 brought forward texts which are also good texts, and are far -- and the
12 question then remains open what was the application.
13 I think this discrepancy between the good text and the bad
14 application, as you tell the Chamber happens with the JNA, might give the
15 idea that it was the same with the HVO, good texts and bad application.
16 And I think it's a dangerous course, it's a dangerous strategy. You, not
17 being a lawyer, can perhaps not see it, but I think it is our duty to warn
19 MR. KARNAVAS: May I be of some assistance, Your Honour, and I
20 don't wish to interrupt the proceedings, but I think where we might have
21 gone astray a little bit was when General Praljak quite rightly asked a
22 question with respect of about 500 deserters, and the realistic
23 possibility, and that was the terms he used, what the realistic
24 possibility was. I noticed that the general sort of avoided answering the
25 questions head on. He went back to his old mantra, where there is
1 documents -- there is a chain of command and so on and so forth. While
2 all his other answers were that clearly he's not an expert in the HVO, and
3 it's quite clear that he doesn't know the situation on the ground.
4 And I think perhaps if the questions could be elicited with
5 respect to what does he actually know about the realistic possibilities on
6 the ground, that's what General Praljak was rather frustrated and which is
7 where he went off on this line of questioning. But it's quite obvious
8 that the gentleman does not know the realistic possibility that a
9 commander had on the ground which is why he reverts to what he does know,
10 which is this is what was on the documents, and perhaps if we could take
11 an early break and maybe have an opportunity to reflect a little bit, I
12 know we almost are in into -- we are in an hour, that might be -- that
13 might be of -- quite appropriate.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We should -- we still have ten
15 minutes before the break or 20 minutes before the break, 20 minutes.
16 Please proceed, Mr. Praljak. The Trial Chamber has explained to you what
17 sort of direction you've adopted, what sort of way you're going into, but
18 it's your problem. If you're wasting time, it's your problem. Please
20 Unless, unless we haven't got the point of what you're trying to
21 establish. It's also possible that we haven't quite understood what
22 you're trying to establish.
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours. I'm not
24 wasting my time. And I'm not afraid of these legal possibilities you have
25 referred to. All I'm trying to do, is always the same thing with all
1 witnesses. All the good and all the evil, everything that is fine and
2 that is not fine, everything that happens in space and time, is something
3 that happens in reality. And I just want to demonstrate the following
4 through my second question.
5 I want to show that you can't get involved in a reduction of
6 reality and then draw conclusions on that reality, so when the General had
7 certain papers in front of him and when he came to certain conclusions,
8 this is a different question, that relates to the previous one, but when
9 it is said that an excellent JNA document on the Geneva Conventions
10 doesn't provide any results in the field, quite the contrary, then my
11 question is quite simple. Is it essential when looking into the reality,
12 into facts, to see how things actually were, regardless of whether we are
13 dealing with the HVO or orders that were issued or which were then
14 respected or not respected.
15 Q. My question is is this proof that anything can be put down on
16 paper and the fact that something has been put down on paper doesn't
17 entitle one to conclude that certain things happened in a certain way?
18 That concerns the JNA, the HVO, the ABiH, et cetera, et cetera. Is it
19 correct that there can be a complete discrepancy between what you have on
20 paper and the facts, whether the facts are positive or negative?
21 A. I would agree with that. That's why I was fairly guarded with my
22 answers to the first counsel's questions where she showed me some
23 excellent written orders. I have no idea whether they were executed in
24 the proper manner or not. So in that respect, General, I agree with you.
25 I go back to the statement giving the order is one thing, making it happen
1 is more difficult.
2 Q. General, I completely agree with you and that is what I'm saying.
3 The easiest thing is to draft an order and to expect the order to be quite
4 simply implemented, and that leads to us the idea of society and
5 organisation, et cetera. But have a look at P04235, P04235. This is a
6 document that has already been shown to the Chamber. It's a document from
7 Prozor and Rama dated the 6th of August 1993. At the time I was the
8 commander of the HVO Main Staff. And I asked the staff to gather
9 information on the number of soldiers we actually had at our disposal, not
10 on paper but in fact. I wanted to know how many men we could use for
11 military purposes.
12 Since I was in that area, I committed myself to carrying out an
13 analysis of the means I had at my disposal in that area at the time.
14 Unfortunately you are not familiar with the events in the battlefield at
15 the time. Have you found that document, sir?
16 A. Yes, I have.
17 Q. Have a look at it. You can see 21 units with artillery and then
18 it says take away 10 per cent from the total number because of the
19 wounded, sickness, death, et cetera, take away logistics and other
20 auxiliary services, and then it mentions the exhaustion of the people from
21 Jajce unit, from Jajce that had fallen. It says 40 per cent of the
22 Sebastic group also fell. It says they are psychologically ill. Part of
23 the Rodonski [phoen] Group has fled, part of the Bugojno group has fled,
24 of the 5th guard unit only 130 infantry men, then it mentions the
25 Filipovic unit, they have left too. And the Klisa [phoen], they aren't
1 there and then I say, "Fuck it," I don't know how that's going to be
3 Have you ever seen an order of this kind? And when you have a
4 look at me, what do you think? What kind of a situation was I, in the
5 battlefield in relation to command and control and communications, what
6 kind of a state I was in if I conclude my order by writing, "Fuck it"?
7 And this is a report I sent to myself. What's your impression of such an
8 order? Is the commander mad? Is he a fool? Or given that the war has
9 been going on or had been going on for a month and a half in that area
10 alone, people just can't put up with any more, everything is falling
11 apart, so what is the correct impression, in your opinion?
12 A. General, the impression --
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, I'm going to add
14 another question to the question put to you by General Praljak along the
15 same lines. Let's assume that you find yourself in a similar situation,
16 with 4.424 men engaged with the -- a number of problems or difficulties
17 because about 40 per cent of these men suffer from mental troubles.
18 You're faced with a very great deal of difficulty. According to
19 the standards applicable in the U.K. or in NATO armies, what should
20 military commander do in such a situation? Please answer General
21 Praljak's question first and then my question afterwards.
22 THE WITNESS: Let me start, General, by just drawing your
23 attention to paragraph 79 of my report where I conclude by saying that the
24 HVO faced a significant challenge setting up the community of
25 Herceg-Bosna, forming and training an army, and drawing up all the
1 regulations and laws to underpin the HZ HB whilst engaged in an actual
2 conflict first with the Bosnian Serbs and then the Bosnian Muslims, all
3 this would have presented enormous difficulties. I readily acknowledge
5 The situation you have just painted is really a from the front
6 example of exactly that. You have in this case whatever it is, 21 units
7 in the Prozor Gornji Vakuf area, they are all of various varying strength,
8 they will be at various states of training, they will be a mixture of
9 regulars and irregulars. They will be some good men, some bad men. There
10 will be some that are prepared to fight and some aren't. But this is
11 where you, as the commander, and we saw a very good example yesterday,
12 giving you a pat on your back for your energy and determination. This is
13 where you, the commander and the chain of command, do their best to try
14 and get a grip of the situation. Not easy in these circumstances. I
15 readily agree. But you will have a chain of command and you've got a huge
16 challenge. I agree that too. Whether that answers the first part of your
17 question, I'm not sure. I could go on, if you want me to, before I turn
18 to His Honour's question.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please answer my question: What
20 should a high-level military commander do in a situation where 10 per cent
21 of his men are either wounded, dead or sick, when he's faced with various
22 logistical problems and so on and so forth. What should he do then in
23 such a situation?
24 THE WITNESS: Well, Your Honour, first of all the commander has a
25 challenge. He is dealing with a very uncertain state. He's dealing with
1 probably a poorly trained force, and he's dealing with a state of some
2 confusion. So the first thing he will have to do is gather in all the
3 information required to make a proper assessment of the situation. He
4 will need to talk to the commanders involved, and then he will need to
5 decide what it is he has to do. Maybe in some instances he might have to
6 disband some units and combine them with others, maybe there are some
7 officers that are completely hopeless. He has to dismiss and put in
8 better officers. There may be logistics issues that he has to address.
9 All of these he will be assisted in by his staff in assessing the
10 information and working out, if you like, the action plan on what has to
11 be done to get to a better situation but that is the role of the commander
12 supported by his staff. In the situation as the picture is painted, this
13 would be serious, it would be demanding a lot of the commander's time. He
14 would be, as he heard yesterday, energetically getting around the front,
15 making his own very personal appraisals whilst his staff was going around
16 getting the sort of detail, logistical situation, and this is where the
17 commander really earns his pay, executing everything he has to do to get
18 his force back on to a better footing.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. General Praljak, let me
20 add for fairness' sake that we see that point 10 in this document, that
21 there is a mention of an HV brigade with 230 men.
22 Please proceed.
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, I can't
24 clarify this now. It's something else but let's move on.
25 Q. Sir, have a look at 3D -- there are a few other brilliant orders
1 of mine. I'd like to have a look, 3D 00640. 3D 00640.
2 It's HV or perhaps it isn't HV, we will correct that later on. I
3 don't have the time for that now. General, have you found that, 3D 00640?
4 It's 25th of July again. The Judges know what was happening after the
5 fall of Bugojno and Rama at that time and have a look at item 2. I'm
6 sending this to Petkovic, to General Petkovic because they refused to
7 comply with an order. "Disarm those who do not carry out their order, take
8 off their HVO clothes, arrest them and keep them without food and water
9 until I come back." So it's a commander called Shagway [phoen] who has
10 refused to obey the order.
11 Is this order one that one can understand if one isn't familiar
12 with the situation within which an army commander issues the order? If
13 one isn't familiar with the situation it might seem that an aggressive,
14 sadistic general says keep them without food and water, imprison them, so
15 this would be an example, if you analysed it in this way, of a general who
16 acts in a certain way that encourages soldiers to act in a sadistic manner
17 too, in an inappropriate manner. So is it possible to understand such an
18 order if one does not understand what was happening on the 25th of July in
19 the battlefield?
20 And in relation to General Patton, you know that he almost had to
21 abandon his military career because there was a deserter in a hospital
22 whom he slapped, he said, you're just resting here while your comrades in
23 arms are dying on the battlefield? Is that correct, General?
24 A. Yes, general, I think that is correct. That's because slapping
25 his soldier was deemed to be against the US military code. Whether
1 keeping them, arrest them, keep them without food and water was in
2 compliance with your own military code, I don't know. But that said, I do
3 understand the order you're giving and I do understand the thrust in which
4 you're giving it, and I would not take that to be sadistic and I would not
5 take that to be setting an example of barbarism that others should follow
6 in dealing with enemy forces. This would be seen much more in terms of a
7 hard-headed commander taking hard-headed measures when necessary.
8 Q. Thank you. I'd also like to say that I did this to some of my
9 soldiers. But let's have a look at 3D 00819, 3D 00819. It's the 23rd of
10 October, its the command of the 111th, the commander, Commander Bozancic,
11 about one year later, well, I granted him four days' leave but have a look
12 at item 2. I say no resignations, no relief from duty, is to be taken
13 into consideration. This is important for the following reason.
14 In a normal army that you served in, you have a commander who for
15 some reason is removed. You bring in another commander because you have
16 sufficient number of commanders, you have the army, you have social
17 security, you have promotions, and so on and so forth. But doesn't item 2
18 demonstrate something about the HVO? The fact that people simply
19 resigned, a commander of the brigade said, fine, remove me, he had no
20 reason to be a brigade commander or commander of an operative zone,
21 Bozancic said remove me and I said, what do you mean remove you? I can't
22 offer him a rank, promotion, I can't say that his family will be taken
23 care of if he dies, he has to be a volunteer. Did you examine such a way
24 of organising armies on the basis of the documents that the Prosecution
25 provided you with?
1 A. I'm not sure I really understand your question. Did you examine
2 such a way of organising armies on the basis of the documents that the
3 Prosecution provided you with? I have the document you referred to me in
4 front of me. I've got paragraph 2, which in my translated one says, no
5 resignments and removals are going to be taken into consideration -- are
6 going to be taken in consideration. I have no idea what this refers to or
7 what the background is. And I don't think I can really comment further on
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: In fact, Mr. Praljak, this is un-understandable
10 unless one also has the letter to which it reacts, and it would be very
11 helpful if you could let the witness and the Chamber see the letter to
12 which you refer here. In these laconic expressions.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, could you tell
14 us the context in which this letter was sent by you to the commander of
15 the 111th brigade? What was the background, the context?
16 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I was just
17 asking whether on the basis of the documents we had and that the
18 Prosecutor provided, that contrary to what other armies did, in our
19 situation, the problem was how not to accept somebody's resignation,
20 because people would hand in their resignation, they would say I don't
21 want to do this anymore, I'm going to go. But I'm just trying to arrive
22 at the truth about what that army was really like. Commander Lozancic
23 says, "Go on, relieve me of my duties, remove me," and I can't do that,
24 first of all because I have nobody to replace him and nobody wants to take
25 on the job.
1 So, as you said, we will be showing a number of documents and my
2 behaviour in situations of that kind, the various threats and so on, and
3 with my theatre and Shakespeare endeavours, well, I like to take it to
4 that level but anyway, P0 --
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry, Mr. Praljak, I asked you very specific
6 question: Where is the letter to which this responds? If we do not see
7 it, this is completely worthless. You are telling us this and that, it
8 may be Shakespeare, it is not evidence because you are not here now
9 talking as a witness. What you tell us, the Chamber must ignore. So
10 where is the letter of 23rd October of Mr.-- whoever it was who wrote it
11 because his name is not even here. There is no name here. We do not know
12 to whom this is addressed, command of the 11th -- 111th XP Brigade Zepce
13 but where is the name? We do not know whether it is addressed to Lozancic
14 or whatever.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Judge Trechsel, there are
16 two problems here: I haven't got the letter right just now, but from what
17 I'm writing here, the other thing is quite clear. I'm writing to Lozancic
18 to say that I wish him to have a rest of four days, and then I go on to
19 say that I'm not going to accept any resignation.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I can read what's written here, Mr. Praljak, I am
21 literate. I can read this.
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Well, and that's how -- and
23 then it says solve the problems. The third point is solve the problems
24 but I look for the letter, I'll try and find it, but quite obviously
25 somebody is tendering their resignation here and I do not accept that
1 resignation. That's what this is about.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, Mr. Lozancic is
3 the commander of the 111th XP brigade; is that right? Is he the
4 commander? So now we understand better.
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Now, take a look at P04 --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But we'll continue later on
8 because it's now time for to us stop and we'll have a 20-minute break now.
9 --- Recess taken at 3.49 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 4.09 p.m.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So we shall resume the hearing,
12 and Mr. Praljak, you can go on now.
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] [Microphone not activated]
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Mr. Praljak, please.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
16 Q. General, just for you to gain a better insight, I'd like to go
17 through a number of documents, the first is P04207. P0 -- and P04207.
18 The date is the 15th of August 1993. And I'm writing to the
19 president of HZ HB, Mate Boban, and the Main Staff, and I'm in fact asking
20 Mr. Boban what was happening to the people from Grude. We had agreed that
21 they should come to take over their shift and they hadn't arrived, and
22 then I asked what had been done about the deserters from Grude as per the
23 list, and I'm asking them to be brought in, lined up before me, within 24
25 Now, I don't need your comments straight away. I'd prefer us to
1 look at some other documents first and then when we've seen them all I'll
2 be asking you my question. 3D 01097 is the next document I'd like you to
3 look at, please. I'm the signatory and I'm writing to the Livno brigade,
4 to Commander Vrcoc personally and the Posusje brigade. Last warning
5 because of failure to carry out orders. It's like a warning when you
6 haven't paid your electricity bill, I'm afraid that's what we had to
7 resort to, a last warning, a warning, then a last warning and so on. And
8 it says, the orders of the chief of the HVO GS on sending you Prozor are
9 not being carried out. We are wondering within which military system you
10 are operating.
11 And then it says that the commanders as the most responsible
12 persons will be replaced and criminal proceedings instigated against them.
13 And I demand that you submit a report on the implementation of this order,
14 one after the -- after the events had been sent, and three the post office
15 in Livno is to be -- so that our military lines may operate because they
16 would switch the post office off.
17 Now, 3D 01099 is the next document I'd like you to look at. 3D
18 01099. And it is the chief of the Jure Rupcic Brigade writing to his
19 commander, the commander of the operative zone of the rank of corps or
20 division and says, "In relation to your order, I herewith report, where do
21 you get the nerve and courage to order something? If I wanted to
22 correspond with you, I would have to come down to your level
23 intellectually and morally, you idiot, which is something I certainly
24 don't want to do."
25 Then let's look at the next document, 3D 01100. 3D 01100.
1 I signed the document and once again, I say that a written report
2 is to be sent to me, why he failed to carry out the order, so to the Klis
3 independent battalion, and then it says this order shall be carried out
4 immediately, unconditionally, and without question and report to me on
5 this, et cetera, and then it says under 3, the commander shall be
6 responsible to me for the execution of this order.
7 And the next document 3D 01101, the next document in line. Here
8 we have it. That's the last in that set of documents for now, once again
9 I signed the document sending it to Valentin Coric. The Petar Kresimir,
10 the 4th Brigade Livno, the 2nd Light Battalion, and I say regardless of
11 everything immediately send a brigade group or whatever from the Petar
12 Kresimir, the 4th Brigade which were in Rama, and find men civilian
13 police, home guards, and other brigade troops, to send them to the lines,
14 the lines that these others will leave. And the commander of the Brigade
15 Stanko Vrcoc and Zdenko Andabak are personally responsible for the
16 execution of the order. There you have it, General.
17 And there is a post scriptum, it says just try not to implement
18 this order. So that's a threat from me, just try not obey the order.
19 You're smiling. Well, the vast majority of those courageous young
20 men whom I had the honour to command, who were decent men, fought
21 honourably, adhered to the laws and regulations, but take a look at these
22 documents and tell me whether you could have ever written anything like
23 this in your professional career, people not carrying out orders, and
24 you're wondering what you can do about all this. So what control is there
25 and what was the realistic possibility for undertaking any sanctions or
1 punishment? Have you ever come across a situation like this in the 40
2 years of your service and what comments can you make? And I see you were
4 A. Well, General, fortunately, I have never come across a situation
5 like that. But, then, I've never had the misfortune of being part of a
6 very hastily thrown together army subject to those sorts of problems. It
7 goes back to what I said in my report in terms of one has to understand
8 the conditions that the HVO were operating in. And clearly, you were
9 having enormous problems with -- certainly with the specific people
10 mentioned in these reports. What you subsequently did about it, I don't
11 know. But I suspect you probably would have appeared on their
12 headquarters door step with an escort of military police and taken them
13 away. And replaced them. I don't know. But if you're making the point
14 that life is difficult, life was difficult, and it was difficult to
15 execute command, I would readily understand that.
16 Q. Thank you, General. There is another problem and this is how I'll
17 put my question. Did you ever learn of a situation as follows, on the
18 basis of the documents. You say I appear there, or I say I appear there,
19 I'm shouting breaking things, and taking certain people into custody and
20 bringing them to prison. But what should you -- what would you do if they
21 thought that it was better for them to be in a prison, incarcerated,
22 rather than having to go to the front line, to the battlefield? And you
23 throw them in prison and they say, right, fine, we are happy to say here?
24 What would you do then faced with a situation like that? May we have your
25 comments, please?
1 A. I would seek another more effective commander to put in their
3 Q. Yes. But you have used the conditional, you would endeavour to,
4 et cetera, or if you used the conditional, I would endeavour to. But the
5 question is as follows: You saw a list of people that the HVO Main Staff
6 had 35 of them, and there should have been 105, so if you thought that the
7 HVO had 50.000 then the Main Staff with all the attending services, based
8 on the kind of establishment you had in Britain, must have had several --
9 ought to have several hundred people, whereas the HVO just had 35 which is
10 just 30 per cent of what at that point in time should have been the case,
11 and my question is: Who would you bring in if you were to relieve of duty
12 those other people, and if you only had 30 per cent, 35 per cent of the
13 men you needed any way, so if you were to release those who would you
14 bring in?
15 A. General, it's a hypothetical question but let me give you a
16 hypothetical answer. If you find yourself with insufficient commanders of
17 good standing, then you may be faced with a requirement to start combining
18 units so you have fewer units to command commensurate with the fewer good
19 officers that you have. But hypothetical question, hypothetical answer.
20 Q. Yes, quite right. A hypothetical question and a lovely answer.
21 And to test the hypothesis further a group of soldiers from Grude wants to
22 be subordinated to a commander from Livno in view of their domicile,
23 municipality and all the rest of it.
24 Now, from the documents that you were provided by the Prosecution,
25 were you able to draw the conclusion that General Petkovic or me changed
1 11 brigade commanders, 11 of them? We went through 11 brigade commanders
2 in the space of a year and a half, 11. In Rama, Rama. Once again, from
3 the documents that you were provided by the Prosecutor, were you at all
4 able to arrive at the conclusion that in the one and a half years, General
5 Petkovic and me asked the commander, Mate Boban, to replace 11 commanders
6 of the brigade in Rama, two were killed but the rest were replaced?
7 A. I was not aware of that from the documents I read, but given the
8 situation you're describing, that doesn't surprise me.
9 Q. So you cannot conclude on the basis of the documents you were
10 given how many I, because I'm talking about myself, how many people I
11 asked Boban to replace? You weren't able to learn about that on the basis
12 of the documents you had?
13 A. That's correct.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, you said it doesn't surprise me.
15 Could you explain why it doesn't surprise you?
16 THE WITNESS: Well, the picture that the general is describing
17 now, Your Honour, and the documents that he's showing, are presenting a
18 situation of some confusion, some lack of discipline, some lack of
19 training, some lack of cohesion, the like of which could be described
20 perhaps as the direct result of trying to throw a military force together
21 from scratch very quickly and conduct operations at the same time. So
22 under those circumstances, life for the commanders would have been
23 challenging to say the least.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Mr. Praljak. Please go on.
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Just a few more clarifications. In the operative zone, the
2 Neretva River Valley, southeast Herzegovina, that operative zone, from the
3 documents you were shown, were you able to conclude how many officers who
4 had previously been in the JNA were in command on that territory or some
5 other territory in Tomislavgrad, for example, within the HVO, whether in
6 the brigade zone or the operative zone?
7 I'll help you out. The Capljina brigade, well, can you answer
8 that? Based on the documents you had, did you know how many? Could you
9 know how many in Tomislavgrad and Mostar, that area, in the brigades and
10 operative zones, how many people were in command who had previously
11 attended training in the JNA, the military academy, or whatever?
12 A. Yes. I understand your question. From the documents I was given,
13 no, I can't give you a number, but I did make the point in the documents
14 that where there were officers that had previous JNA training, they would
15 be generally of a high quality, well-trained, and trained to the JNA
16 doctrine which was really the subject of the report. That's the point I
17 made in the report. How many of them there were there, I can't tell you.
18 Perhaps you could tell me.
19 Q. Did you know, for example, that the commander of the operative
20 zone Siljeg was in the Yugoslav People's Army which meant he was in charge
21 of a battalion, he was a captain or in command of a company and was given
22 an operative zone and Mica Lasic was the commander of another operative
23 zone, he was not in the JNA. And of all the brigades that were there,
24 there was another, Obradovic, who was leader of the Capljina Brigade. So
25 of the 13 brigade commanders and operative zones, we had two or three
1 officers and a corporal from a Canadian army? Was that something you
2 could have devised on the basis of the analysis?
3 A. No, not in detail and in numbers. I'm conversant with Glasnovic,
4 who was a corporal in the Princess Patrica's Canadian Light Infantry and
5 an ex-Foreign Legion sergeant, I believe. So numbers, no, but I go back
6 to the point I just made where there were officers with JNA training, they
7 would have been of higher quality than others. It was the point I was
9 Q. Yesterday we had a problem, the Prosecutor gave you a document
10 where you could see that part of the artillery was controlled by the Main
11 Staff, whether the chief of artillery or myself or somebody who was on
12 duty there. Now, do you know that that part of the artillery was
13 exclusively from the Mostar operative zone Pocnikvo [phoen] the artillery
14 of Posavina, Central Bosnia, Tomislavgrad, they had no links and there was
15 no control from the Main Staff because of the distance. So the part of
16 the artillery that you looked at yesterday, as being under the control of
17 the Main Staff, related to the artillery in only one operative zone, that
18 is to say the Mostar operative zone?
19 A. I was not aware that it was only available in the Mostar operative
20 zone because I would have concluded that you would have been able to move
21 it to other zones, particularly zones that were cohesive with HZ HB and
22 not like Zepce or Vitez, having to cross into factional boundaries.
23 If you chose not to move the artillery, then obviously there were
24 going to be problems about supporting places like Tomislavgrad which were
25 out of range.
1 Q. I don't think you understood me. Did you in any way -- were you
2 able in any way on the basis of the documents to conclude --
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please check the time.
4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Were you able in any way to conclude why the Main Staff for a time
6 took a portion of the artillery and placed it under its command? The
7 artillery belongs to the corps generally speaking, so why would this have
9 A. Well, as I said yesterday, I made the assumption that scarce
10 assets and long range assets which were not widely available but which
11 would be useful to be able to reinforce others were held centrally and
12 that's why you did it.
13 Q. All right. Thank you.
14 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] How much more time do I
15 have, Your Honours?
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have used up one hour and
17 eight minutes. You now have seven minutes left, in other words.
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Now, please, General, regardless of the fact that war is a total
20 social -- well, terrible things happen during a war, but can we say that
21 wars -- there is -- are differences between wars, there are wars that are
22 revolutionary wars, or civil wars, or religious wars, or wars between
23 states, ideological warfare and so on? Would you agree that there are
24 different types of wars, liberation wars, wars -- defensive wars and so
1 A. Generally, yes, I'm happy to agree with that.
2 Q. My next question is this: Since were you in Bosnia-Herzegovina
3 and studied all this, would you agree with me that the Yugoslav People's
4 Army in 1991 and 1992, in defending its constitutional provisions, carried
5 out an aggression both on -- against Slovenia and against Croatia and
6 against Bosnia-Herzegovina? If you can't tell me, you can say that you
7 don't want to deal with those matters but otherwise, would you agree with
8 me that that was so?
9 A. When we were talking about the international laws of armed and the
10 Geneva Conventions yesterday, I made the point that these were really
11 drawn up in the aftermath of state on state wars, and I went on to make
12 the point that there will inevitably be intellectual and legal debate on
13 how you define what was happening in Bosnia-Herzegovina and how the Geneva
14 Conventions drawn up for different circumstances were applicable and I
15 went on to make the point that the -- the base line was common humanity.
16 So whilst there are different forms of wars, I can't comment in
17 detail on how you would actually define what was going on in
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Some people have described it as civil war. Some
19 people have described it as interfactional war. Some people have
20 described it as interstate war. I will leave the Court to decide what
21 sort of war that was. But I return -- I would return lastly to drawing
22 your attention back to the doctrine on international laws of armed
23 conflict, where there is a statement which was read out yesterday that it
24 applied to any form of war.
25 Q. General, it's not my intention in any way whatsoever, because of
1 the form of a war, to deny the right which applies to every armed person
2 and every group of people and so on. That's not my aim. All I asked you
3 and you've answered me in part, whether war, after an aggression, in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, can be considered both a civil war and a religious
5 war, and I'm going to ask you this for the following reason. The BH army,
6 for instance, it used the term "Allah-U-Ekber" when it attacked some
7 positions, whether the of the Serbian army or the HVO, and that all the
8 people killed in the BH army were Shehids, that is to say they fell on
9 Allah's Road. So they didn't lay down their lives for their nation or
10 their state, but on Allah's Road, Allah's Course, and that's what is said
11 and written today. So were there elements in that war, both of a civil
12 war and a religious war, would that be correct that there were those
13 elements there?
14 A. That war comprised in the main three ethnicities, Serbian, Croat,
15 and Muslim which became known as Bosniak.
16 Q. Unfortunately, my time is running out. Otherwise, I had prepared
17 an analysis of various civil wars, the Spanish civil war, the American
18 Civil War, and of course the French revolution, in part, but regardless of
19 whether laws -- well laws should always hold true and rights too, but
20 civil wars with elements of a religious war where the army and the people
21 are mixed up, whereby definition far more bloody with far more civilian
22 casualties then classical clashes between two armies in some other kind of
23 war, is it more difficult to control this type of war, are the
24 consequences more serious, is the method of warfare far more complex with
25 a far more emotions, fear, poverty, in every civil war, would you agree?
1 A. General, I would agree with your general thrust there, and I have
2 alluded to that in the report I wrote. The situation facing any of the
3 three sides or two sides, whichever way you want to look at it in whatever
4 time frame, was highly complex, full of emotion, and as such, the
5 commanders and the chain of command on each and every side, having found
6 themselves in that position, carried enormous responsibility, heavy
7 responsibility, to ensure in whatever way they could that the war was
8 conducted as far as they could ascertain and ensure in a manner that would
9 be in accord with international laws.
10 Q. Thank you. And the last thing I want to ask you, 3D 01102 is the
11 next document. 3D -- it's the last document. 3D 01102. It is a document
12 which was compiled by the OTP as a final report about what happened when
13 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was bombed by the NATO forces, and over
14 the problems of Kosovo. I'd like to ask you to look at page 3 of 21, page
15 3 of 21 pages, which lists the most important incidents and categories of
16 targets. It is paragraph 9 actually. Would you look at paragraph 9,
18 So it was the OTP that compiled this report when it was thinking
19 about raising an indictment against NATO forces, and then it changed its
20 opinion because it was seen that these were just -- there was no intent,
21 it was just chance occurrences, but if we look at A, B, C, down to S --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, you just said
23 something that surprises me, you said that the OTP had the -- drafted an
24 indictment against NATO. What do you base yourself on to say that?
25 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I think there was a problem with the
1 interpretation or translation. [Microphone not activated]
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, the microphone is not switched on.
3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak used the word looked
4 into, [B/C/S spoken], looked into.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Even if you say that they had
6 looked into it, how do you know about it? Were you present in the Office
7 of the Prosecutor itself? How do you know that they envisaged that?
8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] The documents was taken from the IDS
9 system of the Tribunal and that's what it -- the title says. It was on
10 the internet published a long time ago. We saw it in the Kordic trial.
11 It was publicly announced and accessible to the public. It was in the
12 newspapers, published in both languages.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Mr. Scott had kept silent
14 for today.
15 MR. SCOTT: I've been trying, Your Honour, very much so, and
16 succeeded up until now. I'm sorry I didn't succeed for the whole day
17 frankly because I intended to, but I won't be able to keep that promise to
18 myself, I suppose.
19 It's unfortunate that I rise now because of this particular
20 document because the Court might perceive or some might perceive that I
21 have any interest in obstructing any relevant, and I emphasise the word
22 "any relevant" discussion of the document.
23 However, I do know that we are on a very tight schedule, I know
24 Ms. Alaburic has made her concerns very loudly and well known based on the
25 time limitations, and I do think that the general has used his time, and I
1 assume that Ms. Alaburic would like to have as much time as possible.
2 Thank you.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please complete your
4 cross-examination as quickly as possible, Mr. Praljak.
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Here we have a list of
6 points and the least number of civilian casualties as collateral damage is
7 listed, collateral damage, which of course there was no intention to -- in
8 this, but 500 people were killed, innocent people, with all the
9 sophisticated up-to-date army, I don't want to impute any intention there,
10 all I want to say is this. If we look at the number of possible errors by
11 the NATO alliance, the number of mistakes that occur in Iraq, for example,
12 under conditions that can't be controlled, or the number and what happened
13 when the army to which you belonged waged a war in the Falklands. And
14 when outside the area that was proclaimed a war zone, the Argentinian
15 Belgrano ship was sunk with 300 members of the crew.
16 So in modern warfare, with the highly sophisticated military
17 organisation that this involves, does it exclude the relatively high
18 number of civilian casualties on the basis of these documents in the Iraqi
19 war, for example, and the example I've just quoted of the Belgrano in the
20 Falklands war? May we have your comments, and I'll end there. That's the
21 last question that I have.
22 A. I'm just pondering how to articulate a coherent answer to your
23 question, but I can't let your allegation on the Belgrano slip by. The
24 Belgrano was a battleship, and it was interstate war, and it was sunk by a
25 UK submarine, nothing to do with civilian casualties. So let's move on.
1 I've never seen the document you have shown me. And I can see
2 what it's getting at. And I note that this report does not mean that in
3 every case the site in question was deliberately struck by NATO. The
4 point you're making is in modern warfare are civilians at risk? And the
5 more that -- and so I would answer that in terms of if -- if the form of
6 warfare is to use a modern expression, war amongst the people, then it is
7 one of the sad consequences of that form of war that the people are going
8 to be at risk and that in itself puts much greater onus on commanders to
9 do their level best to ensure that the -- that the people, in inverted
10 commas, are not harmed inadvertently.
11 That is not to say that on occasions, civilians will not find
12 themselves in the line of fire. That is the nature of war and that is
13 what has always happened. But that is quite different from a deliberate
14 intention to attack civilians. So if I've answered your question, I think
15 I'll leave it at that, unless you'd like me to amplify it in some other
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No. We should stop now because
18 your time is up, General Praljak.
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, General. Thank
20 you for your answers. Thank you for appearing here, and I'd like to thank
21 the Judges too and also the Prosecution for not having interrupted me on
22 this occasion. Thank you.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Following counsel.
24 MS. ALABURIC: I'd like to greet Your Honours, General Pringle,
25 and my colleague Scott. Mr. Scott, who has expressed his understanding of
1 the interests of the Petkovic defence.
2 Before I start my cross-examination, I would like to thank the
3 Chamber for explaining that an hour is sufficient for the
4 cross-examination of this military expert because his report is of a
5 normative kind. I'd like to inform the Chamber of my position, that in
6 the light of that explanation, I believe that my right to
7 cross-examination has been curtailed, at least my right to cross-examine
8 with regard to the factual basis and the documents that the expert report
9 is based on. And then secondly, my rights have been curtailed with regard
10 to the subjects addressed by the Prosecution in the course of their
12 Thirdly, with regard to the documents that aren't contained in the
13 report but were shown to the witness over the previous two days.
14 Fourthly, in relation to the thesis of the Prosecution in the course of
15 the examination-in-chief with regard to certain events and certain
17 Fifthly, in relation to the witness's answers to questions put to
18 him by the Prosecution in the course of the examination-in-chief. Six, in
19 regard to the questions and subjects or issues raised by judges when
20 putting questions to the witness, and if I may I'd also like to point out
21 how important a certain subject is, and Judge Trechsel, as is often the
22 case, raised this important issue.
23 The issue is whether the HVO Main Staff can be considered to be
24 the supreme commander's staff. Had we had enough time to deal with this
25 issue, which in my opinion is of great importance, it would be possible
1 for us to determine the rules or rather the Decree on the Armed Forces in
2 the HZ HB which states that when carrying out staff, the staff work of the
3 Supreme Commander, the Main Staff of the HVO shall be established. We
4 could also see how the General Staff in the JNA in wartime conditions is
5 transformed into the Supreme Command staff.
6 The seventh subject in relation to which I believe my right to
7 cross-examination has been curtailed concerns the objections raised by the
8 Judges to some of my objections, which I can raise in the course of
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, I can't let you
11 say that, you say I'm not entitled to cross-examine the witness. You have
12 one hour to put all the questions you want to the witness. Whilst you
13 were talking, I've reviewed 20 documents. Whilst you were talking, I
14 could have submitted 20 documents to the witness to get his opinion about
15 them. Please proceed. No one prohibits you from putting your questions.
16 You have one hour to do so. One hour to put the most significant
17 questions to the witness. I can -- I could show you that with your case
18 file, I could review all the documents in one hour with this witness.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I can express
20 understanding for your position, but I had to point out that I don't
21 believe be this position you have expressed is correct. I stand by my
22 objections. I believe that an hour is not sufficient for me to
23 cross-examine this military expert. There are no examples at this
24 Tribunal that the Defence of an accused is granted one hour for the
25 cross-examination of a military expert. We have no such cases in this
2 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
3 Q. [Interpretation] But, General, allow me to introduce myself, my
4 name is Vesna Alaburic I'm a lawyer from Zagreb, and together with Mr.
5 Stewart, a lawyer from London, I am representing General Milivoj Petkovic,
6 whom you have referred to in the course of the last few days and he was a
7 JNA officer, and I would like you to be aware of the fact.
8 I would also like to tell you that the Petkovic defence considers
9 your expert report a logical one, a commonsensical one, and one the scope
10 of which is universal. And we have no intention to bring any -- or to
11 cast any doubts on any of your conclusions. We regret the fact that we
12 don't have sufficient time to deal with some of your comments on the
13 confusing situation that prevailed in the territory of Herceg-Bosna. We
14 won't have the time to discuss the problem of poor training, of local
15 massing of people, the lack of local military means, because we believe
16 that all these elements contribute to weakening the effective control of
17 military commanders.
18 So much for my introduction, and now allow me to put my question
19 to you. You have a bundle of documents before you. We don't have the
20 time to go through or to read through those documents. If I refer to some
21 documents, I will refer to them hypothetically, I will present certain
22 hypothetical situation to you, and I will ask you your opinion in relation
23 to that hypothetical situation. Since you were in Bosnia-Herzegovina in
24 1995, tell me, at the time, was the HVO considered to be a legitimate army
25 that was part of the army of the federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
1 A. I arrived in Bosnia in April of 1995 and was there until end of
2 October, I think it was. At that time, the HVO and the Armija were -- had
3 come together in the -- as the forces of the federation, as I have to say
4 somewhat uneasy bed-fellows.
5 Q. For the benefits of the Judges, if they want to verify this, they
6 can have a look at 4D 4826.
7 General Pringle, if someone gives you total freedom or gives you
8 as much money as you need without any strings attached and gives you the
9 possibility to engage any officer or any soldier that you know, in that
10 case, in such a hypothetical situation, and I'm talking about founding an
11 army, you have everything that you can have, that you need, to found an
12 army, so in your opinion how much time would you require from the time the
13 decision on founding an army was taken until the time at which the army
14 would be prepared to function? In accordance with the well known NATO
16 A. Well, in the first instance of course it would depend on how big
17 an army you are intending to raise and the resources you can put in to
18 raising and training it. In passing, the American army expanded from
19 100.000 to I think a size of 4 million in about four years. So let me see
20 if I can be a bit more helpful. The basic training of a soldier would
21 probably, in peacetime conditions, probably take up to, say, six months.
22 You could probably train a soldier in an intensive crash course much
23 quicker than that, and you could probably do that in about three months,
24 at the end of which he would be competent to be a functioning infantry
25 soldier. To train the specialists like gunners, rocket people,
1 communicators, would take longer. Do you want me to stop there?
2 Q. If you could, could you tell us how much time you would need for
3 certain operations that precede the training of soldiers? Because in
4 order to start training soldiers, a precondition is to have the facilities
5 in which you will train them, you'll have -- you need to have the officers
6 who will train them, you need to have all the logistics that are required.
7 If we assume that you have nothing and that you need to find the
8 facilities, training personnel, and equipment, how much additional time
9 would you need to train the soldiers?
10 A. Again, answer dependent on the size of the army you're trying to
11 form, but if you really are presenting a scenario where you're starting
12 from scratch, you're going to have to first of all recruit the trainers
13 and then train them, and then you get the trainers to train everybody
14 else. So that would take time.
15 Q. Could you tell us approximately how many years one would require
16 until the army can start functioning in accordance with NATO doctrine?
17 What is required for the chain of command to be established, the
18 communications line, the possibility of introducing disciplinary measures,
19 the founding disciplinary courts, how much time would it be -- would be
20 needed to have all the elements of a regular army? We had a foreign
21 officer here who said that in his opinion, one would require approximately
22 ten years. Could you say whether you would agree with that or was that
23 answer a correct one?
24 A. Well, you're painting a very, very hypothetical situation in that
25 you're painting a situation where something is starting from an absolute
1 clean sheet of paper. Of course, you know, NATO armies have been in
2 existence in some cases for many hundreds of years, and they are not
3 starting from a clean sheet of paper so that instance has never arisen. I
4 can see where you're coming from and probably where you're going to.
5 To create a fully functioning army with fully functioning
6 headquarters and fully functioning equipment and fully functioning
7 doctrine from scratch on a clean sheet of paper would take several years.
8 I agree with that.
9 Q. Thank you. General Pringle, have you ever heard about the concept
10 of All People's Defence when you were examining JNA doctrine? Do you know
11 what this means?
12 A. Yes. I believe All People's Defence was the requirement for any
13 citizen of the former Yugoslavia to bear arms in defence of his country in
14 the event of foreign invasion.
15 Q. Can you tell me whether one of the elements of All People's
16 Defence was the principle of territorial organisation, so certain military
17 units were established in certain municipalities, they were formed of the
18 people who were citizens of those municipalities and their task was to
19 defend their municipalities?
20 A. Yes. I believe that is correct, and indeed I can give you a bit
21 more flavour on that in that one of my Bosnian Croat interpreters used to
22 amuse me by telling me that part of her school syllabus was AK 47 weapon
24 Q. As far as I know, we all used M 48s. I have no idea what an AK 47
25 is, though. General Pringle, on the basis of the HVO documents that the
1 Prosecution provided you with, did you come to the conclusion that the HVO
2 was also organised on the basis of this idea of municipal brigades?
3 A. I'm hesitating because in general terms, I'm alert and aware to
4 that. I was wondering whether I could recall that in the Decree on the
5 Armed Forces. I'm not sure if I can recall that but in general terms, I
6 understand what you're saying and I'm aware that that's how it was
8 Q. General, let's assume that there is no doubt about the fact that
9 the HVO was established as municipal brigades which then linked up on a
10 regional level and on the level of Herceg-Bosna as a whole, but could you
11 tell me whether this would mean that the HVO was in fact organised on the
12 basis of principles that were valid for the All People's Defence system?
13 A. Yes. I believe such an organisation is -- would probably have
14 been derived from the All People's Defence system and would have preceded
15 HZ HB and is probably -- and was probably the system in use by the former
16 Yugoslavia when it was one state.
17 Q. Tell me, General, would it be logical to draw the conclusion that
18 the HVO was established as a defensive army, an army that was to defend
19 certain municipalities in the territory of which a brigade had been
21 A. Well, the HVO, I think we -- I would agree that the HVO was
22 established as an army, whether it could be described as a defensive army
23 and whether the implication is -- on that is it only defends itself and
24 doesn't attack, I think I would have more difficulty in agreeing that but
25 certainly the HVO was -- appeared to be established as a functioning army
1 and as with all armies, their principal and first function is defence of
2 the homeland.
3 Q. Very well, General. I would now like to deal with an important
4 subject, a subject that is important within the context of command and
5 control. It's a subject you have referred to on a number of occasions,
6 General. You told us that a commander should monitor the implementation
7 of his orders, and if he establishes that his orders haven't been carried
8 out or haven't been carried out as they should have been carried out, in
9 such a case, such a higher level commander should relieve his subordinate
10 of his duties and bring someone in as a replacement, someone who would
11 carry out the orders in an appropriate manner in future. Have I
12 understood you correctly? Is that what you in fact said?
13 A. Yes. I agree with that. I would only amplify it by saying that
14 it -- this is not the commander functioning solely alone. The supervision
15 of the implementation of the orders and the assistance of the
16 implementation of the orders is also very much a function of the
17 commander's staff, and the commander's staff is reporting back to him in
18 addition to the observations that the commander is making for himself.
19 Q. General, let's try and clarify this immediately so there are no
20 future misunderstandings between us. If I have understood your expert
21 report correctly, and if I have understood the JNA documents correctly, on
22 the basis of singleness of command, anything that a single member of staff
23 has done is considered to be the act of the commander of the unit within
24 which that staff is located; is that correct? In other words, that
25 commander is responsible for the acts of his -- of his associates and for
1 other chiefs of staff; is that correct?
2 A. A commander executes command based on the authority vested in him
3 by law. As such, the commander is responsible for everything that happens
4 in his command. He is assisted in the execution of his command by his
5 staff, who issues instructions on his behalf and in his name.
6 Q. That's the clarification I wanted. So General Pringle, in future,
7 when I say commander, I also mean his associates and his entire staff.
8 Let's go back to the subject of appointments since this is important if
9 one is to have effective control, tell me, in your opinion, is it the
10 right of a commander to appoint and remove his subordinates or rather is
11 this right one of the important elements when it comes to ensuring that he
12 has effective control over his subordinates?
13 A. Yes, in general, but the process you would expect to find laid
14 down in sort of documentation or doctrine dealing with discipline and
15 appointments, so a commander -- there may be a process of review
16 committees, for example, that assess a wide range of officers and select
17 that officer for a particular appointment, so the commander would not have
18 necessarily selected him.
19 If, having been appointed, he is found to be woefully inadequate,
20 invariably the commander has the immediate right to remove him, but then
21 that then has to be processed back through the system of how, why, and
22 where he's going to then.
23 Q. General Pringle, I would like -- I would now like you to make
24 yourself acquainted with the rules for appointing and removing officers in
25 the HVO. This will probably be the only document that I will refer you
1 to. On the very top of my bundle of documents, you have the
2 instructions -- for the Judges, they are instructions for the use of my
3 binder, the top, there are four sets of documents I have decided to use
4 for my cross-examination, if I have the time. As for the other documents,
5 well, this was the consequence of my optimism. I was thinking I would
6 have five hours for cross-examination.
7 Document 4D 828 is an amalgamation of documents. General, just
8 have a look at the title page, where you can see the rules or a summary of
9 the rules on appointments and removals in the annexes or attachments you
10 have documents that show that this summary is correct, and you also have
11 attached individual orders from President Mate Boban, so this concerns
12 individual orders, and you have Tihomir Blaskic's orders. He was the
13 commander of the Central Bosnia operative zone, and he had special
14 authority when it comes to appointing and removing individuals in that
15 operative zone. I believe these things are of much importance.
16 General, Please listen to me, I think what I tell is going to be
17 sufficient, according to the rules in force in Herceg-Bosna, brigade
18 commanders and commanders of operative zones, so these are the highest
19 level commanders of military units, were appointed by the president of the
20 Presidency of the HZ HB. Then there was a lower level of officers who
21 were appointed by the HVO for one period of time, and then by the chief of
22 the defence department, and what is also important is to point out that
23 brigade commanders had the right to appoint and remove platoon commanders
24 and commanders at lower levels, as I said the commander of the Central
25 Bosnia operative zone had the right to appoint any one in his operative
1 zone throughout the time period relevant to the indictment.
2 If I could just add an explanation for Judge Trechsel, under 2D
3 [as interpreted] you have a lot of orders of Tihomir Blaskic that are
4 referred to and that's because we want to show that during the entire
5 period relevant to the indictment he had such authority because on one
6 occasion a question was put as to whether this was in force only for a
7 short period of time or throughout the time period. I'd like to correct
8 something in the transcript, page 61, line 11, it's not 2D, it's item 2,
10 General Pringle, if you look through these rules, trust me for the
11 moment, the Judges will be able to examine the rules subsequently and see
12 that what I say is correct, but the HVO Main Staff according to these
13 rules didn't have the authority to appoint a single commander of a
14 military unit. In your opinion, does this fact affect the possibility for
15 the HVO to have effective control over subordinate commanders of military
17 A. I have the rules in front of me. And I said that would be an
18 appointment and promotion possess, and this is plainly the process in HZ
19 HB where particular people are authorised to appoint and dismiss officers
20 of various ranks. What it doesn't say is would the president of the HZ HB
21 Presidency, in appointing commanders of brigades or high-ranking officers,
22 I mean in the written word there you would assume that he's doing that
23 entirely by himself.
24 Whether he is actually doing it in consultation and discussion
25 with his most senior military officer is for debate but that's what I
1 would expect, and similarly, the Croatian Defence Council appoints and
2 dismisses commanders of battalions, platoons and et cetera, and I would
3 expect there also to be a military input into the consultation prior to
4 appointing and dismissing. When you get further down the scale, brigade
5 commanders have the authority to appoint and dismiss various levels, yes,
6 I -- that's what it says, but whether they are doing that with no
7 reference upwards or discussion, I don't know.
8 Q. General Pringle, well, that wasn't the substance of my question
9 either. I know that you don't know about the actual events, so I'm not
10 asking you how military commanders were appointed. I'm just asking you on
11 the basis of these rules whether in your opinion the fact that the Main
12 Staff of the HVO based on the rules and regulations, has no role in the
13 appointment and relieving of duty commanders of military units, to
14 influence the possibility for effective control. Does this influence
15 their ability for effective control in an area?
16 I'm asking a hypothetical question again. I'm asking you in
17 principle. And the question is not about whether that control actually
18 existed and whether it was put into effect.
19 A. Yes. When you're talking about the Main Staff, I assume you are
20 referring to the commander of the Main Staff rather than the corporate
21 body of staff officers. If I read the rules literally, there is no
22 mention there of the HVO Main Staff. Whether the commander of the HVO
23 Main Staff had any input to these decisions and appointments, I don't
24 know. I'd be surprised if he didn't.
25 Q. Very well. Thank you. As you're not a witness of fact, we won't
1 delve into that. I'd like to move on to another area now, General
2 Pringle. Before that, a brief introduction.
3 The Prosecutor yesterday presented a thesis of his backed up by
4 several documents and questions that he asked the witness. And this is
5 what that's about. In showing document number P3019, which is an order
6 from General Petkovic dated the 30th of June 1993 on disarmament and
7 isolation of Muslim soldiers in the HVO, and then by asking the question
8 about securing logistics, logistical support, General Pringle, listen to
9 me, please, General Pringle, are you listening?
10 A. I may not be looking at you but I can assure you I am listening to
11 you. I was actually looking for document 3019 while listening to you.
12 Q. Well, I'm not going to ask you anything about the document.
13 That's why I didn't ask you to look it up. But the question of ensuring
14 logistical support for accommodating several thousand Muslims who would be
15 isolated, and then in showing you document P4756, which the Prosecutor
16 did, and those are the minutes or a report from the Defence department
17 senior staff meeting of the 2nd of September 1993, and finally, in showing
18 you a document P4841, which is the record from the government meeting of
19 the HVO, of the 6th of September 1993, the Prosecutor put forward the
20 following thesis: That the head of the Defence department recognised the
21 authority of the Defence department over the Ljubuski and Heliodrom
22 prisons, and that the government on the 6th of December -- 6th of
23 September 1993, said that authority does not fall on the government, from
24 which he offered up the thesis that for everything that went on in the
25 detention centres in July and August, it was my client, General Petkovic,
1 who was responsible for it or rather, General Praljak from the time he
2 became the commander of the HVO.
3 Now, Mr. Pringle, it is my task and duty to show that this is a
4 completely incorrect thesis on the part of the Prosecutor, that it is a
5 construction of his which contradicts the exhibits in the case so far, and
6 also other evidence which the Prosecutor planned to introduce into
7 evidence during this trial.
8 So I'll start off with that and see how far we get with the time
9 we have at our disposal. Now, the subjects that I'm going to deal with
10 are to be found in the following --
11 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me Your Honour, I'm trying to minimise my
12 interruptions this afternoon but just so there is no mischaracterisation
13 of -- well, I mean, sorry. I didn't mean that in an intentional sense,
14 but lest the Prosecution position be misunderstood, my friend just said
15 that it was the Prosecution thesis that for everything that happened from
16 basically the end of June forward in connection with the detentions, that
17 it was Mr. Petkovic. There may be some suggestion or put it implicitly
18 that only Mr. Petkovic was being argued was responsible for that. I can
19 assure the Chamber that's not the Prosecution position, and of course we
20 believe that to one degree or another all of the accused are responsible
21 for that conduct, not just Mr. Petkovic. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please go on.
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Pringle, I'm now briefly going to quote the documents that I
25 wish to refer to and those who have the documents could take a look at
1 them. So without doubt, my client on the 30th of June 1993, wrote an
2 order, which among other things ordered the disarmament and isolation of
3 soldiers of Muslim ethnicity in HVO units. Later on, we'll look at the
4 causes, but let's see what happened on that day, the 30th of June 1993,
5 what happened on the territory of the whole of Herceg-Bosna, and what the
6 other organs and structures of Herceg-Bosna were doing in terms of defence
7 and security for the territory of this community.
8 Now, from a document, one of the many reports by foreign
9 observers, European observers, the number of document is P3025, we can
10 see, General, well, I'd like to tell you what happened on the 30th of June
11 1993, first.
12 On that day the BH army attacked the HVO barracks in the Mostar
13 area on the left bank of Mostar. Its name was north bank or the Tihomir
14 Misic barracks, Bijelo Polje, Vrapcici, and other areas north of Mostar.
15 The HVO lost control over those territories thanks to the treachery of the
16 Muslims in the HVO who acted in favour and in cohorts with the BH army. So
17 this was treachery on the part of the Muslims in the HVO. They were
19 In the Mostar region, there were HVO units in which the Muslims at
20 that point in time, that is to say June 1993, made up 35 or 40 per cent of
21 the overall number of soldiers. Several months prior to that, the
22 percentage was even higher, it was as high as 55 per cent. And the
23 question presented itself: If unless -- something was done with respect
24 to those Muslims, there was the danger of the HVO losing control over all
25 the territories which the HVO had under its control, in which the Muslims
1 were members. So the question was what should be done, what to do?
2 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] And on that day --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott?
5 MR. SCOTT: I'm reluctant to be back on my feet again, but now we
6 seem to be getting into an area if this is being put to the witness as a
7 hypothetical question and Ms. Alaburic is postulating these things as a
8 hypothetical question, I suppose we can leave it to the general to
9 formulate his answer. However, if it's meant to be a statement of the
10 evidence or a neutral statement or something that the Prosecution would be
11 expected to agree with, of course we don't. We don't accept the
12 characterisation that what happened was due to the quote "Treachery of
13 Muslims in the HVO." We don't accept that all Muslims in the HVO engaged
14 in that. There is a number of assertions in the question, just so the
15 record is clear, the Prosecution does not accept.
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I haven't come to my
17 question yet.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, you were setting out the
19 premises for your question for the last five minutes. Every time you ask
20 a question, you spend five minutes introducing a whole series of data, and
21 it's very difficult to follow them. And furthermore, Ms. Alaburic, you
22 are relying on an international document that I have, and while you were
23 speaking, I was looking at this document. The attack by the ABiH according
24 to this document was attributed to the fact that this was an attack for
25 survival because of the very bad situation that there was in East Mostar.
1 Now, what you were saying doesn't come out of this document. You
2 say I'm going to ask a question on the basis of this document, but then
3 you add in other aspects. So it's very difficult to follow you.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like your
5 observations not to be counted as part of my time, and I'd like to look at
6 point 5, section 5 --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This was related to your
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Then without any explanation, I'd
10 like to refer you to point 5, section 5, where the betrayal of Muslims in
11 the HVO is discussed. It is a subject that we have brought up with at
12 least 15 witnesses [Realtime transcript read in error "minutes"] and the
13 Petkovic defence considered that this was a topic which the Trial Chamber
14 had already had knowledge of. And as far as Mr. Scott's intervention, I
15 would like to say that I haven't come to my question yet.
16 Now, as to the length of my question, I would like to say the
17 following. If I wish to receive an answer from the military expert about
18 a hypothetical situation, hypothetical because he is not a factual
19 witness, then that hypothetical situation has to be explained by me
20 otherwise we can all go home, and we have nothing further to discuss with
21 this witness. However, do I consider that this witness has a lot of
22 knowledge and that it is a great pity for this Trial Chamber and indeed
23 for the trial as a whole that we have not been able to use him, if I can
24 use the term, in his full capacity.
25 Q. Now, General, let us assume that what I described happened as an
1 event on the 30th of June, and I'd like to draw your attention to the
2 following documents which we are not going to tender now, so I won't waste
3 time reading through them, but the document -- these documents show
4 clearly that the president of the HVO reacted as did the head of the
5 defence department in ordering a general mobilisation, that the order was
6 sent on down to all the defence departments in the municipalities of
7 Herceg-Bosna, and that the order was handed down to all the brigade
8 commanders, and that on the 1st of July, the head of the chief of the
9 military police issued an order connected to the order I mentioned on
10 mobilisation and an introduction of a curfew.
11 In brief, what I want to say is this, and I'll come to my question
12 later on: That all the organs of Herceg-Bosna at that point in time did
13 what they could in order to protect the safety and security of the
14 territory of Herceg-Bosna. Now, tell us, General, please, on the
15 assumption that what I have just said is correct, is it logical that the
16 organs of Herceg-Bosna would do everything in their power to ensure the
17 security and safety and HVO control over the territory that they
18 considered to be Herceg-Bosna?
19 A. You started by talking about the order that was given to round up
20 the Muslim community and Muslim soldiers in the HVO, and the point I made
21 yesterday was not whether that was right or wrong, understandable or not
22 understandable. The point I made yesterday was that if that was going to
23 happen, there were severe logistic consequences that should be taken into
24 account in order to make sure that the people could be held in reasonable
1 Q. Absolutely so. Precisely. I agree with your conclusion on the
2 need to ensure logistical support, but I'd like to ask you the following
3 question. The fact that something like that was done without previously
4 ensuring any -- securing any separate buildings or special security or
5 food storage space, does not all that go to show that there was no plan in
6 place for incarcerating and isolating Muslim soldiers in the HVO? In your
7 opinion would that be the logical conclusion?
8 A. Yes. In my opinion, at that time, from the document I read, there
9 didn't appear to be a preplan to do that. That's my opinion.
10 Q. Thank you. Now, in the third group of documents or set of
11 documents, at the top of my binder, you will find documents which show
12 what the authorities of Herceg-Bosna in fact tried to do in order to solve
13 the problem of the incarcerated HVO members who were Muslims first of all,
14 because at the beginning of July, they were the largest group.
15 I'd like to draw your attention to some of those documents, the
16 ones that I consider to be most important. I think a permission granted
17 by Valentin Coric, who was head of the military police administration, the
18 document is P3292, on the 8th of July, he approved to the High
19 Representative of the UN organisation for refugees to visit three
20 localities where detainees were being held. Now, tell us, General, on the
21 basis of this permission granted, is it indubitably true and correct that
22 the HVO authorities ensured foreign -- the representatives of foreign
23 humanitarian organisations to become informed of the fact that the Muslims
24 were being held and were being informed of the conditions of detention
25 that these Muslims found themselves in?
1 A. Referring to your document 3292, what it actually says is, "Are
2 hereby authorised to pay one visit only." If you pay one visit only, you
3 get an impression of what you see during your one visit only, and what
4 happens after that you have no idea.
5 Q. Yes, absolutely correct, General. But from this authorisation,
6 does it emerge that the HVO did not hide the fact that there were
7 incarcerated Muslims and that in fact the HVO enabled representatives of
8 international humanitarian organisations to go and see for themselves what
9 the situation was like and that they asked for assistance in dealing with
10 those detained Muslims?
11 A. I repeat, the document does permit one visit of the UNHCR to the
12 Heliodrom, not that -- not that the detention of the Muslims in my opinion
13 would have been secret because it was being well covered, I believe, by
14 the media and was well known to be happening and indeed was being observed
15 by foreign observers.
16 Q. General, not to waste too much time, whether it was one visit or
17 not, well, it's clear that it was one visit here but let's assume for
18 every visit this kind of authorisation would be issued, and let us also
19 assume that authorisation was given to every international humanitarian
20 representative and that the international humanitarian organisations were
21 informed of the fact that a large number of Muslims, Muslim soldiers of
22 the HVO, were in detention. Can we agree with that as something that we
23 are not challenging, as an indubitable fact?
24 A. Let's take it as an assumption and let's see what the question is
25 you're going to follow the assumption with.
1 Q. Tell us, please, from this authorisation, is it quite clear that
2 they were coming to assess the situation and whether any humanitarian
3 assistance needed to be given or not? So was this visit in order to
4 ensure humanitarian aid to the detained Muslims?
5 A. I can't say that that -- I can't say -- I can't agree with your
6 last sentence because it doesn't say anything here, but the UNHCR is
7 involved with and has responsibility for exactly that and you would expect
8 a UNHCR representative to be taking stock of the conditions in a camp and
9 reporting back and doing what they could to alleviate the situation as
10 well, and in addition, you would expect the Red Cross to be doing very
12 Q. Tell me, General, please, how do you interpret the final portion
13 of that authorisation on the need to provide -- to assess the need for
14 humanitarian aid as it says, in order to assess the need for humanitarian
15 aid, the last part of that sentence in the authorisation?
16 A. As I said that is very much their function, is to take stock of
17 the situation and decide what support would be required, and to try and
18 work out how, whether, and when they could get it through which in itself
19 would require various sort of authorisations and permissions.
20 Q. Very well. Thank you. Let's look on 3560 is the next document,
21 P0. It is a report of the 19th of July 1993, and look at the last part of
22 the document, item 7, conclusions. Would you take a look at point 6? And
23 the entire item relates to prisoners. Item 6. To make contact with
24 representatives of the high commissioner for refugees with the aim of
25 opening a transit refugees centre under the auspices of that international
2 Let's assume, General, that the contact did take place, they did
3 make contact, and that the authorities of Herceg-Bosna did indeed try, in
4 cooperation with the UNHCR, to resolve the problem of the detained
5 Muslims, HVO soldiers.
6 Can you agree with me when I say that the problem of detention was
7 something that the authorities of Herceg-Bosna tried to solve in
8 cooperation with international humanitarian organisations?
9 A. Well, plainly the issue is on the agenda of the defence council
10 minutes, and I agree that paragraph 6 at the end is calling for the
11 establishment of contact with representatives of the UNHCR in order to
12 open a transit refugee centre under the auspices of this international
13 organisation. They are trying to get the UNHCR to open, it would appear,
14 some sort of transit centre. So, yes, I can agree that's what it says.
15 Q. Very well. Thank you. Now, General, let's look at the situation
16 that existed prior to the 30th of June 1993, and I apologise to Their
17 Honours for showing some of the orders that we've already looked at here
18 and are already exhibits, but General I should like to ask you to focus on
19 the documents in the fourth set of documents in my binder. So section 4
20 in my binder. They are documents of the BH army which relate to the way
21 in which Muslim HVO soldiers were treated and some of the cautions issued
22 by some of the Herceg-Bosna services about the danger because there was a
23 large number of soldiers within HVO -- Muslim soldiers within HVO units,
24 and General, on the assumption that everything is correct, what the
25 documents say, I'd like to hear your expert opinion on the security
1 situation under those conditions.
2 The first document that we have is 4D 00469, which is an HVO
3 document, let's start off with that, the date of it is the 30th of March
4 1993. It is the crime department, and the second bullet point in the
5 introduction says that the HVO service cautions that pressure is being put
6 on Muslims who are members of the HVO and MUP units to leave those units,
7 and if they fail to do so, they are threatened that they might be killed
8 or their houses set on fire. Since we don't have enough time, I have to
9 move on to the next document straight away. And that document is 4D
10 473 -- no I apologise. Let's start off with 4D 33, 4D 33 and look at the
11 third bullet point from the bottom -- from the bottom.
12 The document is from the chief of security of the 42nd Mountain
13 Brigade of the BH army, who says, and I quote, "That all the Muslims,
14 members of the HVO, must be called to take the side of their own people."
15 Now, the next document, document 4D 34, that same person, on the 18th of
16 April, says, in the third line from the bottom, "That cooperation should
17 be established with our soldiers in the HVO and that the seriousness of
18 the situation should be pointed out to them."
19 Now, document 4D 35 is next. Point 2 there says or rather the
20 last line of point 3, by Bajro Pizovic the commander of the mentioned
21 brigade of the BH army, establishes that the department for morale and --
22 well, moral guidance and training will devise a plan for informing the
23 troops about the composition of the brigade, the population on the
24 territory of Mostar municipality as well as Capljina and Stolac and Muslim
25 soldiers who are to be found in the HVO units of the municipalities cited.
1 Now, document 4D 36, dated the 2nd of May 1993, is the next one
2 we'd like to look at. Commander of the 4th Corps of the ABiH in item 3,
3 it says -- 4D 36. It's the second half of item 3. It says, "The men from
4 the HVO in Capljina has the task to take the village of Vrapcici and the
5 bridge in Capljina. And they should not allow forces to be brought in
6 from the direction of Matkovic." And two lines later it says, "For taking
7 -- seize the town of Stolac without people in the HVO."
8 4D 568, have a look at 4D 568. The chief of the security
9 department of the Main Staff of the Supreme Command of the ABiH, the last
10 sentence, "It's very important to prepare ourselves for such a situation
11 and to inactivate the Muslims who are in the HVO and to exercise influence
12 on them to move from the HVO to the army of the RBiH."
13 Have a look at 2D 150 now. It's a Defence document. It's a
14 Stojic Defence document. It has to do with looking at the ethnic
15 affiliation of HVO members, the ethnic membership of those members. This
16 is dated the 9th of June 1993. We'll see what the situation was
17 throughout a certain period of time. The document has no information on
18 Central Bosnia as such information was not provided, so it doesn't concern
19 the entire territory of Herceg-Bosna.
20 In the municipalities mentioned here there are a little under
21 6.000 Muslim soldiers and in the Mostar area, the area of the 1st and 2nd
22 Brigade, there were 35 per cent and 20 per cent or rather over 2.000
23 Muslim soldiers. We can also have a look at some Prosecution documents.
24 You also have them here. P1438 --
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please ask your question because
1 we need to take the break now.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. I won't read through the other documents, General. I want to draw
4 your attention to these ABiH documents which show that the ABiH directed
5 its activities to Muslim soldiers in the HVO. Tell me, according to the
6 information you have, would a HVO commander, having found out about such
7 ABiH documents, would he have believed that Muslim soldiers in the HVO
8 posed a certain security threat, posed a danger?
9 A. Yes. I can understand that he would.
10 Q. Very well. Thank you.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I suggest we have the
12 break and then I'll continue.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are going to break. We'll
14 have 1 hour and ten minutes left. I know that Mr. Prlic has 15 minutes.
15 I have the feeling that the other counsel gave their time away.
16 Mr. Karnavas, are you going to use your 15 minutes or have you given them
17 to Ms. Alaburic?
18 MR. KARNAVAS: I did not give my time to Ms. Alaburic. I believe
19 that Coric team does have some time, and I am reserving my time in the
20 eventuality that I might need to use. I mean, there are some areas. But
21 I am flexible. If you're running out of time, I think I did much of my
22 questioning through my interventions.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I take note of this. Yes,
24 Mr. Ibrisimovic?
25 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President we have granted
1 our 15 minutes to the Praljak defence. We keep the right to use 15
2 minutes. It depends on how things unfold. We are flexible. Perhaps we
3 won't need them, but at this point in time we believe we will be using
4 that time.
5 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we haven't
6 granted our time to anyone. We have half an hour but at the moment I
7 don't believe we'll need that much time, but I can't be certain until
8 later on. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Ms. Alaburic, you'll have
10 ten minutes after the break because you've used 50 minutes so far.
11 --- Recess taken at 5.51 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 6.11 p.m.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, you have ten
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, before I continue,
16 I'd like to correct something in the transcript. Page 67, line 20, I did
17 not say that we had discussed that subject for 15 minutes. I said that we
18 had discussed about the subject with 15 witnesses.
19 Q. General, we have very little time. Let's try and use that time to
20 clarify some details. Have a look at a document in the Prosecution
21 binder, P00586.
22 A. 586 or 568?
23 Q. 586. 586 in the Prosecution binder. I don't think the
24 Prosecution has the lurid colours that the Petkovic Defence has or the
25 bright colours, rather, that the Petkovic Defence has.
1 But perhaps you could concentrate on my words. This has to do
2 with the structure of the Defence department. It was read through by my
3 colleague, Ms. Nozica yesterday. Please comment on part of item D, the
4 last section, paragraph, where it says that the brigade commanders are
5 subordinate to and accountable to the president of the Croatian Community
6 of Herceg-Bosna as the supreme commander of the armed forces. I'll skip
7 the continuation of the sentence and my question is as follows, General.
8 On the base of this sentence, can one say that brigade commanders were
9 subordinate and responsible to the supreme command of the armed forces?
10 Was that as a rule the case? If we could have this on the e-court system,
11 it is item 9.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, there is a misunderstanding. It says
13 section D like delta. What you mean was B like Brno or Belgrade or
14 whatever you like. Budapest.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] It's page 5 in the English version.
16 Item 9. I didn't say B or D at all. That's why I didn't understand what
17 you were saying. So it's section B, item 9, the last paragraph.
18 It says, "Brigade commanders shall be subordinate and responsible
19 to the president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna as the
20 commander in chief of the armed forces, and to the head and chief of the
21 Main Staff within the scope of their responsibilities in accordance with
22 the powers described above."
23 It's not very clear in the Croatian language, but for a start,
24 General, with regard to the first part of the sentence, would you
25 interpret this as saying that brigade commanders are subordinate and
1 responsible to the president of the HZ HB who is at the same time the
2 Supreme Commander of the armed forces?
3 A. I read that to be laying out the chain of command going from the
4 bottom upwards, brigade commanders, chief of the Main Staff, president.
5 Q. Can you comment on this part, brigade commanders shall be
6 subordinate and responsible to the Supreme Commander and then to the chief
7 of the Main Staff in relation to certain other elements? In your opinion,
8 what justifies such subordination and such responsibility? What justifies
9 the fact that the brigade commanders are subordinate in this twofold
11 A. Well, the president of the Croatian community is, I believe, also
12 the Supreme Commander of the armed forces of HZ HB.
13 Q. Yes, that's correct. But if could you comment on this I'd like to
14 know why reference is made to brigade commanders here, first they are
15 subordinate to the Supreme Commander and then in certain circumstances
16 they are subordinate and responsible to the chief of the Main Staff, given
17 the experience you have had, how would you interpret this given your
18 experience and knowledge?
19 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, but I do think this is a
20 relevant point. For some reason when looking at that section, everyone
21 seems to be dropping the reference to the head of the Defence department,
22 which is not at least in the transcript that I've seen, we're talking the
23 Main Staff, we haven't been talking about the head of the Defence
24 department, that is Mr. Stojic, also in that same chain.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, Your Honour, if we are going to go that
1 route, I suggest that we also look at the entire page, the way it's
2 written. The first paragraph talks about administrative tasks, the second
3 paragraph talks about strategic and operative plans. I think there is
4 some -- there lies some major differences. I think those need to be
5 explained before we go even further. And I don't know whether the
6 gentleman is competent at this point in time,, I'm not saying in the sense
7 not intelligent or about whether he has studied the document well enough
8 to opine on that. But I think if we are going to go through this
9 particularly with respect to what Mr. Scott indicated, I think we need to
10 analyse the entire page word for word, para by para, sentence by sentence.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm grateful for all
12 these instructions, but yesterday this entire item was read out by my
13 colleague, Ms. Nozica. I wouldn't now like to include the head of the
14 department in this because I think this could just complicate matters for
15 us, and I don't have the time for clarifying matters.
16 I want to clarify this two or three-fold situation in which
17 commanders are subordinate and responsible to certain individuals.
18 Brigade commanders are responsible and subordinate to certain individuals.
19 Q. General, have you ever seen such a -- such provisions? Could you
20 interpret them if you have? Because it's very important for us in this
22 A. We talked about this document yesterday. And we also talked about
23 the chain of command and we talked about unity of command, and I read this
24 document without going right from the top, but as laying out the chain of
25 command from the president as Supreme Commander of the armed forces down
1 through the chief of the Main Staff, down to the brigade commanders.
2 You wouldn't expect a brigade commander to take orders directly
3 from the Supreme Commander bypassing levels of command in between. That
4 would lead to complete confusion. And that would transgress the principle
5 of unity of command. Have I answered your question?
6 Q. General, that is the sort of answer I wanted to get. You have
7 just said what it would mean if the Supreme Commander issued direct orders
8 to brigade commander and bypassed the Main Staff. Tell me would your
9 conclusion be the same if the Supreme Commander issued orders to
10 commanders of operative zones without the Main Staff being aware of this
11 or rather by bypassing the Main Staff?
12 A. When we talk about brigade commanders and operative zones, and I'm
13 not sure if an operative zone consists of a number of brigades or whether
14 a brigade consists of a number of operative zones. I think it's the
15 former. But to talk sort of hypothetically, if a senior commander is
16 giving orders to a junior commander skipping out levels in between,
17 without keeping the levels in between informed, then that will lead to
18 confusion. In fact it's dangerous.
19 On occasions, skip echelon command, if you like to call it like
20 that, does happen for reasons perhaps of speed or security, but if the
21 intervening levels of command are not kept informed, as I say, it's
23 Q. General, please have a look to document in my set of documents, 4D
24 576. It's a document from the commander of the Central Bosnian military
25 district from Tihomir Blaskic, 4D 576.
1 A. Is that section 4?
2 Q. No. It's further behind. It's in the -- it's among the single
3 documents, the documents that haven't been grouped or placed in
4 categories. Could the usher provide assistance? It's at the very end,
5 General. It's not part of the groups of documents. It's at the end, 4D
6 576. It's a report from the commander of the military district or from
7 the former Central Bosnia operative zone. It's to the Supreme Commander.
8 We won't be dealing with the contents of the document.
9 Have a look at the beginning of the document, when it says,
10 "Subject, tasks, I was given in the office of the Supreme Commander on the
11 28th of September 1993 between such and such a time." And at the end of
12 the document, you'll see that it was forwarded to certain institutions,
13 and there is no doubt that this document was not forwarded to the HVO Main
15 This document shows that the Supreme Commander directly assigned
16 tasks to the commander of the Central Bosnia military district. General,
17 assuming that that was in fact the case, are we dealing with a chaotic or
18 confusing situation that you referred to a little earlier on?
19 A. Well, it does seem to be an order -- referring to an order from
20 the Supreme Commander. I don't know whether the Supreme Commander has
21 talked to the chief of the Main Staff or even whether he was there when he
22 gave the order, so on the face of it, it has -- it doesn't appear to
23 involve the chief of the Main Staff, but I can't say -- I can't say -- I
24 can't comment on why.
25 Q. Yes. Naturally, you can't, but I'm just interested in knowing the
1 following: Under the assumption that this is in fact the situation, is
2 this an example of the confusing situation that results when one skips a
3 certain level of command?
4 A. If that is what has happened in this case and the chief of the
5 Main Staff is not alert to the order, that would be the sort of example of
6 what I was talking about earlier, yes.
7 Q. Please have a look at the document that comes before this one, 4D,
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, can you give me
10 the time, please?
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation].
12 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... D575?
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You've used three extra minutes.
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]
15 ... Minutes.
16 Q. This is an example of direct communication between Mr. Blaskic and
17 Mr. Boban. Please pay attention or have a look at item 2 where it says,
18 the Ahmici case has been concluded in accordance with your instructions.
19 Tell me, are you familiar with the Ahmici case? Do you know what is being
20 referred to here? So as to not waste any more time, have you heard about
22 A. I know there was an atrocity carried out at Ahmici.
23 Q. Does this document show that the Supreme Commander issued
24 instructions as to how to deal with the Ahmici case and Tihomir Blaskic,
25 the commander in Central Bosnia, was to carry this order out? Can we
1 agree that that is the case?
2 A. We can agree that it appears to be an order direct to Blaskic,
3 who, as a point of -- a point that may be pertinent, at the time, I
4 believe, was cut off from the main body of HZ HB and it may -- that may
5 account for some of this skip echelon going on because the chief of the
6 Main Staff probably didn't have too much authority over him. But I don't
7 know. That's an assumption. But it may strike a chord.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mrs. Alaburic would you be so kind as to recall
9 to us what ONO is, a copy goes to ONO.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] It's the operations and training
11 department. It's a department that filed all documents, it dealt with
12 documentation in a certain sense. I don't know how else to put it. It's
13 a -- let's say an archival unit, an archival department in a certain unit.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Is it with the General Staff or with the Ministry
15 of Defence?
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Each and every military unit and
17 command had their own ONO, operations and training department, so when we
18 present our case, you'll see that within the structure of each and every
19 command, and that includes the structure of brigade commands, there is
20 always an officer for ONO.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Ms. Alaburic, we have to
22 give the floor to Mr. Pusic and to the Prlic Defence.
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I naturally have other questions
24 for this witness. I have to complete my cross-examination now because I
25 don't have any more time.
1 Q. General, I thank you and I do regret the fact that we didn't have
2 time to continue. It would have been useful.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. The Coric Defence.
4 Cross-examination by Ms. Tomasegovic Tomic:
5 Q. [Interpretation] Good evening, General. Good evening to everyone
6 in the courtroom. I only have a few questions that I would like to put to
7 you. On a number of occasions in your report and before this Chamber,
8 over the last few days, you emphasised the importance of training. I'd
9 now like to link up to something that my colleague, Ms. Alaburic, asked
10 you about. She asked you a question about an army that was being
12 You have an infant army, you're starting from scratch, and let's
13 assume that such an army doesn't have trained officers, trained
14 instructors, it doesn't have professional staff to train its soldiers. So
15 let's take this hypothetical situation. In such a case, would the
16 responsible person, the military authorities or the civilian authorities
17 or certain military commander, would such a person act logically if he
18 asked for assistance from the outside or, rather, from outside his army,
19 if he, for example, sent his officers abroad to be trained there? Or
20 would it be better for him to bring instructors to his country from
21 abroad, instructors from countries that already exit -- instructors from
22 armies that already in existence and have the adequate knowledge? Would
23 that be a logical procedure to follow?
24 A. You are putting a hypothetical question about a hypothetical
25 country which hypothetically alludes to a legal -- certain legal status,
1 but under those hypothetical conditions, yes, I agree.
2 Q. Thank you very much. If I've understood this correctly, I think I
3 have, your report was compiled on the basis of documents that can be seen
4 at the end of your report in the annexes. Those are the only documents
5 that were you given by the Prosecution, am I right?
6 A. That's correct.
7 Q. I would now like to ask you another question. We had a look at a
8 document which you can find in the Prosecution binder. We could bring it
9 up on the screen too, but I don't think it's necessary. I think we'll be
10 able to remember the document. It's a Prosecution document P04020. It is
11 an order issued by General Petkovic dated the 8th of August 1993. Item 1
12 in brackets, it says, "That the military police is responsible for
13 utilising prisoners." I only have one question about that.
14 Among the documents that you have examined, do you remember having
15 found any rules, any laws, or decisions stating that the military police
16 administration is responsible for utilising prisoners? I've been through
17 all these documents and I never came across such a thing. Do you remember
18 having found anything of this nature in any of the documents that you
20 A. Well, I seem to recall reading that one of the -- that one of the
21 duties of the military police was the guarding and dealing with prisoners.
22 Which document that was, I don't know. But it is in all armies pretty
23 standard for the military police to have amongst their responsibilities
24 responsibilities for prisoners.
25 Q. I wasn't asking about security. I was asking you a question about
1 use or utilisation. That's the word that bothers me. So "use" or
2 "utilisation" in the sense in which the term is used in item 1.
3 A. Well, it may be a translation, but I read this "Ask the
4 authorisation through military police administration, (in charge of
5 utilising prisoners) as meaning that the military police administrative
6 branch has amongst their functions the coordination and ordering of the --
7 everything to do with working the prisoners." That's how I would read the
8 word "utilising" there. I don't know how literal that is in translation.
9 Q. My question concerns the part that says fortifying the achieved
10 lines and the word "utilising" is being used within that context, in
11 relation to fortifying the lines.
12 A. I can read that. What is your question?
13 Q. Well, my question is whether you found that the military police
14 was authorised or was responsible for authorising someone to be taken away
15 to fortify the lines? Did you come across a statement to that effect in
16 any of these documents that you examined?
17 A. Well, it seems to be apparent here in this order from General
18 Petkovic, where it says fortify the achieved lines immediately, that's the
19 order, prisoners and detained Muslims may be used for fortifying lines.
20 Those are the means. And ask for authorisation through military police
21 administration who are in charge of utilising prisoners, seems to be the
23 Q. Yes, but did you see any other documents, documents of a general
24 kind, I'm not asking you about any particular orders, did you come across
25 any other documents that regulated matters in this manner?
1 A. No. But I wouldn't expect to come across a document that said --
2 that says that part of the military police's function is to use prisoners
3 in fortifying lines in the front line because that is in direct
4 contravention of the international laws of wars, so I wouldn't expect to
5 find a document laying that down.
6 Q. That's what I wanted to ask you about. That was in fact my
7 question. But I probably didn't phrase it precisely enough.
8 I have another question I'd like to put to you. Yesterday,
9 something was discussed with you that I don't think the subject was
10 sufficiently and precisely defined. We were referring to the duty of a
11 commander to punish inappropriate behaviour, whether such behaviour was
12 crime, violation of discipline, et cetera. And you told us that after a
13 commander finds out about such an act, about a violation or a crime, it is
14 his duty to take all the necessary steps that he can in fact take, so
15 could one say that a precondition for an officer, for a commander, to
16 punish a subordinate, is that he has been provided with the necessary
17 information or rather that he knows, in fact, that he's been informed of
18 the fact that a certain act or a certain crime has been committed?
19 A. A commander receives information through a whole host of different
20 fashions, through reports, through radio communications, through
21 television or whatever.
22 Q. You've already told us that and I understand that. I understand
23 all that. He can receive it in a hundred different ways. But the
24 precondition is that he must have received the information. Now, what way
25 the information reached him is another matter, but he has to have the
1 information. He must know about it. That's all I'm interested in.
2 That's all I'm asking you now.
3 A. If you're asking me if a commander does not know of an event, can
4 he take action on it, the answer is no. The supplementary issue is for
5 how long does he continue not to know of the event because as soon as
6 whenever he does become aware, he then has a duty to take action. So it's
7 common sense that if he doesn't know for whatever reason he can't do
8 anything, but when he does become aware, if he becomes aware, then he has
10 Q. Don't mind my asking you this next question, I'm not a military
11 expert myself, nor do I have military knowledge apart from the fact that
12 just like everybody at secondary school, as in the former Yugoslavia, I
13 did have lessons in All People's Defence and social self protection but
14 that's where my knowledge remains, but prompted by your discussion with
15 General Praljak during today's sitting, I think he should have gone on to
16 ask you another question which is this. I'm going to ask you this now.
17 With respect to the disobedient officers, when you said that there
18 was not enough officer cadres, then the commander had to pool his men and
19 then he would need less officers if he were to group his men in that way.
20 And that would resolve the lack of officer staff and troops in general.
21 Do you remember saying that in that general discussion?
22 A. Yes. I remember that discussion.
23 Q. I'm going to put forward a thesis that to me as a layman seems
24 logical. If there is a permanent state of war, that is to say that there
25 is combat on a daily basis, that fighting is going on all the time and
1 that communication has been cut off with other territories or the
2 communications are poor, that under such conditions, it is difficult to
3 inform the new officers about the situation on the ground prior to their
4 arrival, and if the lines are dispersed, not only do you have very few
5 troops to cover those lines, but -- well, anyway, would all this make it
6 impossible or make it much more difficult, given this kind of situation,
7 to realign the army and transfer people if you have a war going on all the
8 time, with fighting going on all the time? Would that make it even more
9 difficult and well-nigh impossible, that is to say to apply the approach
10 that you put forward?
11 A. If you're conducting reorganisation in the middle of the war yes,
12 that's difficult, but that's what commanders are paid for. If they have
13 to reorganise units in the course of operations, which is not unusual by
14 the way, that's what they have to do. So the fact that there is a war
15 going, may make it difficult, may make it challenging, but that's what
16 commanders are there for.
17 Q. But apart from the disobedient officers and the deserters and
18 everything that we discussed previously that's another situation that
19 makes it more difficult, what I've just said, it's additional difficulty?
20 A. War is difficult.
21 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no
22 further questions but with the Trial Chamber's indulgence, I'd give the
23 Coric Defence five of my minutes or rather Mr. Coric would like to ask
24 questions himself.
25 Cross-examination by the Accused Coric:
1 Q. [Interpretation] Thank you. General, you touched upon affairs
2 relating to the military police and that was my wartime assignment. Do
3 you understand what the military police administration actually means, the
4 concept, the term? Can I assist you? It is the top-most military police
5 organisation, which numbers several thousand people, the military police
6 is to be found in the brigades, the operative zones and so on and so
7 forth. So is that how you understand it?
8 A. Yes. I took it to be the top-most sort of staff branch, if you
9 like, of the military police predominantly in charge of the -- what I
10 would describe as the regular military police rather than the ones who are
11 not or were not originally full time military police but are now called
12 military police who are to be found down at brigade level where they are
13 locally raised, for example.
14 Q. Yes. I agree with you absolutely. Now I'd like to return to the
15 order which mentions that permission for people to be taken out to do
16 work, to do labour, but that is something that the military -- the police
17 administration deals with. Would it be impractical for a broad area like
18 that, that any unit in the operative zone, for instance, must have to
19 refer back to the military police administration to be given permission to
20 take the prisoners out for work? Would that be practicable?
21 A. Well, that depends on locations and communications. I would -- I
22 take it we are talking about the Mostar area and the events are happening
23 in the Mostar area. So I don't necessarily see that that's that
25 Q. Yes. If we are dealing with Mostar, but what about Rama or
1 Central Bosnia? And I do say that there are no orders or provisions as
2 General Petkovic dealt with it. It might appear, so if anybody has seen
3 anything like that they can show it, but as the number 1 man in the
4 military police, I say that there was never an order like that or
5 provision like that, and if the military police administration is
6 mentioned in this document, would it be logical that this document was
7 sent to the address or to the attention of the military police? Because
8 throughout the document no mention is made of any of the military police
9 branches, let alone the military police administration, so this document
10 must have been sent -- should have been sent to the military police or the
11 commander, or do you agree that that ought to be so, ought to have been
13 A. I haven't got the document in front of me any longer, but if I
14 remember it rightly, the recipient was being asked -- the recipient was
15 being invited to round up a number of people, using military police from
16 whom -- and to get the authority from the military police administration
17 who I assume had had that task. So I would think we are talking about
18 quite a local incident, and I'm not sure I've got the thrust of your
20 Q. I'm sorry that you don't have the document in front of you now
21 because I don't think you're interpreting it correctly, but let's go back
22 to basics while you're looking for the document.
23 A. I have it now.
24 Q. You have it, right. As the most responsible man in the military
25 police at that time, I state that the military police did not have the
1 task of deciding about whether somebody was going to go up to the front
2 line and do work there, et cetera. Counsel told you that in --
3 MR. SCOTT: Sorry, sorry, my apologies, I know time is short, but
4 you just can't simply have one of the accused standing up and asserting a
5 factual proposition as if it's true. It is the Prosecution's case of
6 course that the military police administration was centrally involved in
7 the approving and directing of the use of prisoners and forced labour, and
8 with all respect to Mr. Coric, he can't simply stand up and say that's not
9 the way it was. If he wants to take the witness stand some day and say
10 that, I'll be happy to cross examine him.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, I'm going to take up
12 the question that was asked rather in an unfortunate manner. In any
13 military system, is it conceivable for the head of the military police,
14 number 1, has absolutely no powers to send prisoners that are held either
15 in military prisons or else in detention units guarded by military police,
16 to the front lines? Is that conceivable or not? What do you think?
17 THE WITNESS: If the head of the military police is abiding by the
18 laws of armed conflict, under no circumstances would the head of the
19 military police authorise the use of prisoners on front lines, under no
21 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I
22 have no further questions.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] For Mr. Pusic.
24 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We
25 said we would be flexible when it comes to the expert report aspects of
1 control and command, it is Mr. Pusic's position that there should be no
2 questions in the cross-examination.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas? The last one.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Good evening, you Mr. President, Your Honours,
5 everyone in and around the Court. Given that the gentleman's remit as I
6 understand was to do a general analysis of the three Cs, command, control,
7 and communications and give than he's admitted that he's not an expert on
8 the HVO, has not been to the field, does not know how many officers were
9 there, what their actual numbers were under any given circumstances, I
10 don't think that it would be necessary for me to conduct any
11 cross-examination. I take the gentleman's word that he's not an expert on
12 the HVO per se, as it existed at that period of time. We do wish to thank
13 you for coming here, and we do wish him good luck in his future endeavours
14 and safe travel back home. Thank you.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So, Mr. Scott?
16 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour. I didn't expect to have any
17 time, but I think I just have one or two questions for the general.
18 Re-examination by Mr. Scott:
19 Q. Just this, I think. General we spent considerable time today
20 talking about the creation of an army, and I think sometimes various
21 people have used it starting an army from scratch or from a blank sheet of
22 paper. Can I just ask you if you're aware of the fact that in the
23 countries of the former Yugoslavia, or that is the former Yugoslavia
24 itself, that all -- all men were subject to mandatory military training
25 and a period of military service?
1 A. Yes, I am aware of that, and indeed the system of All People's
2 Defence has been discussed this afternoon.
3 Q. So to that extent in fact you would not be starting "from
5 A. I do not believe the raising of this particular army was starting
6 from scratch. It would have been starting from a position of widely
7 varying trained ability.
8 Q. Thank you, General. And once again thank you for coming to The
9 Hague and providing us your considerable expertise. Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, on behalf of my
11 colleagues, I would like to thank you for having come here to The Hague to
12 answer the various questions over three days. I know that this is the
13 third time you've been here. You've already appeared in two previous
14 cases. And I hope that you will not have to come a fourth time.
15 I would like to express my very best wishes for your return trip.
16 I will now ask the usher to take you out.
17 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 [The witness withdrew]
19 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I may just one little thing related
20 to the transcript and your earlier question, perhaps I should continue in
21 Croatian. I'm sorry. [Interpretation] Mr. President, on page 32, line
22 18s to 20 of the transcript you asked about P43 --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speaker kindly repeat the numbers,
24 please, more slowly.
25 MR. KOVACIC: A unit was mentioned in that document which was HV.
1 You said HV. Or rather, HV Hrvatinic -- the number of the document let me
2 repeat is 4235.
3 Mr. President, you asked what the initials HV meant. I checked
4 the document out. It is the name of a local unit from Prozor, it's not HV
5 Croatian army. It's a unit from Jajce, I apologise. It's the name,
6 Hrjvoje Vukcic, HV. No, I wrote it down. Hrvoje Vukcic Hrvatinic. It's a
7 character from the 14th century, Bosnian Croat nobleman. So it's quite
8 clear that the text under number 9, Hrvatinici has nothing to do with the
9 HVO or HV.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for spelling that out.
11 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President, just to -- again to respond
12 to one of the Chamber's previous inquiries, Mr. President, you asked, I
13 believe yesterday, concerning the full translation of a document, the
14 attachments had a number of diagrams and boxes and that has been provided
15 to you. Thank you very much.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. We have it. And
17 thank you for it. Next week we will meet at quarter past 2 on Monday.
18 There is a witness expected to appear. I don't know who will be carrying
19 out the cross-examination. We will be informing you by e-mail of the
20 distribution of time allocations, and you will be aware of those tomorrow
21 morning at the very latest. So see you on Monday.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.57 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Monday, the 12th day of
24 November 2007, at 2.15 p.m.