1 Tuesday, 17 February 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can you kindly call
7 the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, everyone in and around the
10 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic
11 et al.
12 Thank you, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me start again.
14 Today is Tuesday, the 17th of February, 2009. I would like to
15 greet the accused, the counsel, the witness, Mr. Scott and his
16 associates, as well as all the people assisting us in the courtroom.
17 Ms. Nozica, I would like to greet you as well, and I shall give
18 you the floor, since you have three-quarters of an hour left.
19 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good morning. I'd like to say good
20 morning to everybody in the courtroom.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Registrar looked at me,
22 because I forgot to give him the floor. He's got two IC numbers to give
23 me. I'm sorry.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 The OTP has submitted a corrected version of its list of
1 documents tendered through Witness Buljan, Stipo. The now corrected
2 version shall be substituted with the previous number IC 00924. And two
3 parties have submitted their objections to the OTP list of documents
4 tendered through Witness Buljan, Stipo. The document submitted by 2D
5 shall be given Exhibit IC 925, and the objection submitted by 4D shall be
6 given Exhibit IC 926.
7 Thank you, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
9 Ms. Nozica.
10 WITNESS: VESO VEGAR [Resumed]
11 [The witness answered through interpreter]
12 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, once again. And once
13 again, good morning to everybody in the courtroom.
14 Examination by Ms. Nozica: [Continued]
15 Q. Mr. Vegar, we can continue, can we not?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Where we left off?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Well, the transcript doesn't seem to be moving.
20 I'd just like to correct something in yesterday's transcript. On
21 100, line 6, it said the witness said he was shown document 2D 2423,
22 whereas the witness was shown 1D 2423.
23 Mr. Vegar, at the end of yesterday's examination, we were
24 discussing a document that -- for the transcript I'm going to give the
25 number, P 3038, and that was the statement or announcement with respect
1 to the event of the 30th of June, 1993, which was signed by
2 Mr. Bruno Stojic and Jadranko Prlic, and was addressed to the information
3 media. Now, you said that you had taken part in compiling this
4 announcement, and I'd like to ask you -- ask you to take a look at
5 2D 00448, which is the next document in the binder.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Ms. Nozica. I may be wrong here, but
7 I've just checked on my notes and there is a document in the transcript,
8 2D, and you say it must be 1D, but it is 01423. Was that -- did I
9 mistake that or is it -- because now it says "21423."
10 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my reference was that
11 it was this document, but I'll check it out during the break once again
12 and we'll see. Yesterday, I thought this was it, but I'll check it
13 during the break.
14 Q. Mr. Vegar, have you found the document?
15 A. No. I haven't got the binder.
16 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] The witness doesn't seem to have the
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have checked it. You were right, it's "243."
19 I was wrong. Sorry.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Q. It's the second binder, Mr. Vegar.
22 A. I've found it.
23 Q. All right, fine. You have the document. 2D 00448 is the number
24 once again. Could you tell us, Mr. Vegar, at the outset, and we'll go
25 into an examination of the document in due course, but could you tell us
1 what this is about and whether you heard this speech yourself,
3 A. This speech by Arif Pasalic, the commander of the 4th Corps of
4 the BH Army, which he delivered on the 30th of June, 1993, of War Radio
5 Mostar, is the day --
6 Q. Just please first tell me whether you have heard the speech. Can
7 you remember that speech?
8 A. I don't think I heard it at 11.00, myself, but it was broadcast
9 later on, and I think I heard it later on. And I heard it that day and
10 the following day in transcript form.
11 Q. In paragraph 2 of this speech or announcement, it says:
12 "Ustashas forces early this morning kept up their aggression
13 against the BH Army and the citizens of Mostar by strong artillery fire
14 and infantry attack on the positions of the 4th Corps units of the
15 BH Army."
16 Now, Mr. Vegar, I'd like to ask you to explain to the Honourable
17 Trial Chamber what it is that happened on the 30th of June, 1993
18 what information you personally had about what happened on that day.
19 A. Early in the morning on that day, the forces of the 4th Corps
20 attacked the barracks called Tihomir Misic in town, which is where the
21 HVO forces were stationed, and also north of Mostar in the settlements of
22 Bijelo Polje and along the defence lines towards -- facing the Serb
23 forces. There were also attacks in the town itself at the separation
24 line, so this is completely untruthful, what you just read out, that it
25 was Ustasha forces. The Ustasha forces didn't exist.
1 Now, the HVO forces did not continue the aggression. That was a
2 total lie. And as I say, the attack came from the other side.
3 Q. Mr. Vegar, you say that the attack came from the 4th Corps. Now,
4 do you have any information to the effect that there was an attack by HVO
5 members who were Muslims and who were in the -- within the HVO in the
6 barracks that day? Did you have any information about that?
7 A. Yes, in the barracks itself, but also at the separation lines and
8 in facilities where the army slept. Along that whole line, members of
9 the HVO who were Muslims, ethnic Muslims, turned their weapons towards
10 the people who had been their friends and colleagues up until that
12 Q. Did you have any meetings with anyone who had suffered any losses
13 on that particular day?
14 A. Unfortunately, one of our soldiers, well, his father and mother
15 were killed in their home.
16 Q. Did you come across him that day?
17 A. Yes. It was Mr. Peric.
18 Q. And where did his parents live?
19 A. In Bijelo Polje.
20 Q. So we can note, then, that this particular sentence, the first
21 sentence that reads: "Ustasha's forces early this morning kept up their
22 aggression," et cetera, regardless of whether this is hate speech or
23 propaganda, but the observation made that the BH Army -- by the BH Army
24 that the HVO attacked is completely untrue; is that right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now let's look at this other -- this document and compare it to
2 the statement signed by Mr. Stojic and Mr. Prlic with the statement
3 released on the same day with respect to propaganda and hate speech, and
4 I'm going to focus on two other portions in this speech.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, Pasalic's speech on
6 the radio, what may seem strange is that he lays this at the door of
7 Mr. Petkovic, Lazic, Vrlic and Tuta, but at no point in time does he talk
8 about politicians. How can you explain this, because Pasalic is a
9 military and he believes that this is a military matter?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A possible explanation could be
11 this: The fact that Arif Pasalic was in the same Command with those
12 people earlier on, that he spent time with them frequently, and even his
13 free time, so I think he's addressing people who used to be his friends,
14 but he's full of hatred in this speech.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right.
16 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Now, I'd like to draw your attention to another sentence in that
18 document, where he says:
19 "The citizens of Mostar, Muslims and other honest citizens, beat
20 the Ustashas at every step."
21 That's in the middle of the text. And now the last paragraph --
22 or, rather, the last paragraph, yes, of this text, it says:
23 "Citizens of Mostar, remember that this is a day of destiny, when
24 you have to start your battle, and I call upon every able citizen who is
25 able to carry a stone or a rifle to kill the Ustasha criminals, because
1 there can be no life together with the Ustashas, except for life with
2 honest Croats and loyal Serbs."
3 Now, Mr. Vegar, may I have your comment to the fact that he
4 refers to all Croats as Ustashas and calling upon the people to use
5 stones to fight? So who, then, were the honest Croats and loyal Serbs
6 that he refers to here?
7 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, to clarify for the record, there's no
8 statement -- it's incorrect for counsel to say that the document refers
9 to all Croats and Ustashas as Ustashas. In fact, as counsel just
10 indicated there's a distinction being made in this document, itself.
11 Thank you.
12 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes, and I think I said -- thank you
13 to my learned friend. I think I asked the witness to tell us who these
14 honest Croats were and loyal Serbs, to whom this does not apply.
15 Q. So I would just ask the witness to clarify that.
16 A. I think that Arif Pasalic here is giving himself the right to
17 make judgements and decide who an honest Croat is and who a loyal Serb
18 is. I think that that is completely unacceptable, because all Croats,
19 all Muslims, and all Serbs are honest citizens until somebody
20 individually proves the contrary.
21 Now, I think that there are the vestiges of the communist
22 ideology to be found here, because the Communists always used to say
23 workers, peasants, and honest "intelligencia," and so a priori, they
24 imply that there someone who is dishonest and only rare individuals can
25 be considered honest. So Mr. Pasalic is doing the same, that there might
1 be some honest Croat and Serb somewhere, but there were very few people
2 who thought along those lines.
3 Q. Mr. Vegar, Mr. Pasalic, is he calling on the citizens as well,
4 not only combatants, because he says "citizens and anybody who can bare
5 weapons and carry a stone," so he's calling upon the citizens and
6 combatants and everybody to hit upon the Ustashas wherever they can?
7 A. Yes, that's how this reads.
8 Q. Now, let's just go back to the statement we were looking at
9 earlier on signed by Mr. Stojic and Mr. Prlic on that same day. You
10 helped compile that statement. You don't have to find it. I'm just
11 going to say that it is --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel repeat the number, please.
13 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
14 Q. ... and whether there is any sentence there, any sentence at all,
15 and I'm talking about document P 30 -- P 3038 is the document I'm
16 referring to, whether there's any sentence at all to the effect that the
17 side who was really attacked expressing intolerance, hatred, or
18 incitement towards struggling -- fighting everybody on the opposite side?
19 A. No, I can't come across any hate speech in any sentence, or
20 incitement to things like that in this document.
21 Q. All right, thank you. Now let's take a look at another document,
22 and we're still staying with the topic of your participation in compiling
23 some press releases, or public announcements, or the like, and I'd like
24 to ask you to look at P 02690 now.
25 When you find it, tell me.
1 As we see, this is an announcement for the 9th of June, 1993, the
2 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia
3 Mr. Vegar, just briefly to tell us the circumstances under which things
4 happened around the 9th of June, 1993.
5 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters kindly ask that the
6 microphones in the courtroom be switched off other than the one used by
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the time when the Muslim
9 forces attacked the towns and settlements and HVO facilities in Central
11 mention is made of disagreement within the army commanders in the area,
12 themselves, but also the political standpoints of the Muslim leadership,
13 and --
14 Q. Just a moment, please. I'm going to ask you to focus on the last
15 paragraph of this document, where it says:
16 "The head of the Defence Department, Mr. Bruno Stojic, addressed
17 all the Croatian combatants and people with a message, telling them that
18 our suffering must be put a stop to and that aggression must be met with
19 an attack."
20 And then he says: "Attached is the following:"
21 Now, would you look at page 3 and see what was attached to this
22 document. Mr. Vegar, did you take part in compiling this statement at
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Now, explain to me, when you say that you took part in it, did
1 you actually write it in agreement with Mr. Stojic, or did he say that
2 this is something that had to be written and then you sat down and wrote
4 A. Yes, to the best of my recollections.
5 Q. Now, in this announcement, does it say anywhere that aggression
6 must be met with aggression or aggression must be responded to with
7 aggression? And I'd like you to focus on the last sentence, where it
9 "Anybody who shoots at you must be considered your enemy, and you
10 have the right to respond in equal measure. We did not prepare for this
11 war, but we have to accept it."
12 Now, from this announcement, does it follow what was the free
13 interpretation of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, that Mr. Stojic said
14 that aggression must be answered with aggression? That's my first
15 question. Please answer.
16 A. Mr. Stojic's address does not incite people to an attack, but
17 what it talks about is the need to respond, that is to say, to people
18 shooting at us, so it is a call to defend the people, to defence.
19 Q. Tell me now, if you can remember, why Mr. Stojic sent this
20 letter. Can you remember what sort of information was coming from this
21 area in that time, in June 1993?
22 A. The news coming was about ethnic cleansing of Croats from that
23 area, and also that commanders in that area, and units, were at the end
24 of their tether. Some of them were even asking for a corridor to be
25 opened so that the entire population could leave towards Herzegovina, to
1 be evacuated.
2 Q. With this communication, is Mr. Stojic encouraging them to stay
3 in their homes, or is he inviting them to come to Herzegovina?
4 A. No, this is an appeal to them to try to defend themselves and
5 stay where they are.
6 Q. Thank you. Can we now look at 2D 5995.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, a follow-up question.
8 You told us that you were the person who had prepared document
9 P 3038. This document is signed by Mr. Prlic. When you prepared this
10 document, did you turn to Mr. Prlic's inner circle and turn to these
11 people and say that you were drafting this document in the form of a
12 press release, or did you prepare this document, hand it over to
13 Mr. Stojic for him to sign it, and then forward it to Mr. Prlic for him
14 to sign it? Do you remember the chain of events or not?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What I remember is that Mr. Prlic
16 and Mr. Stojic were in touch and that it was their joint decision.
17 That's how it reached me, this instruction that I should write it on
18 behalf of the two of them. I think that's the way it went. There was no
19 need for me to inform the people around Prlic. If he was aware of it,
20 then it was his duty to inform his associates if he deemed it necessary.
21 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
22 Q. Could you please now -- you were talking about dramatic news
23 coming from Central Bosnia just before the drafting of this communication
24 and this news prompted you to write this statement.
25 Can we now look at 2D 595? Did you find it?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Is that one of the reports that emanated from Central Bosnia at
3 the time?
4 A. Yes. We can see the date.
5 Q. Can we please -- can you please read paragraph 2 and tell us what
6 it says?
7 A. "We know that this is the last report we are signing. We, those
8 who are politically and militarily the most responsible for the Croatian
9 people of Central Bosnia, people who are forced to flee before the Muslim
10 knife from their homes, even after more than 250 people were killed,
11 slaughtered, numerous wounded and large numbers of disappeared civilians
12 and soldiers."
13 Q. What about paragraph 3?
14 A. Paragraph 3 speaks of the opening of the corridor, which is no
15 longer a matter of days, but a matter of hours, and:
16 " ... that is why we are asking for 40 soldiers to be sent
17 from --" I can't read the name of the settlement, "... to secure the
18 corridor and shelter the suffering population, and we are forced to break
19 through towards you anyhow."
20 Q. All right. So this letter -- this situation, I'm sorry, this
21 situation depicted in this communication prompted that statement by
22 Mr. Stojic.
23 I would now like to move to a new subject. I don't know how much
24 time we have left, but I'd like to look at 2D 41 --
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. I have a follow-up
2 This document, which I believe stems from Colonel
3 Tihomir Blaskic, Mr. Kostroman, Valenta, and Colonel Dario Kordic is
4 addressed to Mate Boban and to the chief of the Main Staff in Mostar. I
5 don't see that the minister of defence is one of the recipients of this
6 document. Is there an explanation for this, Witness?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The only logical explanation I see
8 is Mr. Boban had asked Mr. Prlic and Mr. Stojic to react. They came to
9 see me, and that's how this response came about.
10 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Vegar, we're talking about the document dated 8th June.
12 Don't confuse these two things. The document 2D 595, please tell the
13 Court again how you came by your information.
14 A. I thought the Judge asked me why Mr. Stojic reacted when this
15 document was sent to --
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No, that was not my question,
17 sir. I'm sorry if this was not conveyed to you properly.
18 This document, which stems primarily from Colonel Blaskic, but
19 who seemingly -- which seemingly was signed by the people -- we don't
20 have the signatures. We have the feeling that it was sent in the form of
21 a telegram or a fax. So this document was sent to Mr. Boban and to the
22 chief of the Main Staff, but the minister of defence is not mentioned.
23 And when you look at the document, you see that the situation is
24 disastrous, so much so that Blaskic, in the fourth paragraph, say that
25 they are currently destroying all documents. One can visualise this very
1 well, and he finishes off by saying goodbye, so we have the feeling that
2 that is the end.
3 In a scenario of this kind, how is it that the minister of
4 defence is not one of the recipients of this document? This is my
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know why those
7 under-signed, those four men from Central Bosnia, did it this way. I can
8 only guess they sent this to Mr. Boban because they thought him the most
9 responsible for the situation they were in, and they thought him the most
10 able to help them.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Right. Second question: This
12 document stems from the Command of the Operational Zone, so it's a
13 military document, and you can see that it says "Confidential, military
14 secret." So this, normally speaking, is a military document. How is it
15 that civilians, in inverted commas, like Kostroman and Valenta, signed
16 this document? What does this mean? Do you have an explanation to give
17 us or don't you?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, my explanation is this: The
19 situation was so dramatic, so catastrophic, that they felt the need to
20 write and sign a document jointly to make an even stronger impression to
21 the recipient to drive home how serious the situation was and to elicit a
22 response in the form of some action.
23 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, what makes you say that Mr. Kostroman
25 and Mr. Valenta signed this document? I do not see any signature on the
1 paper that is in the file that I have received.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this paper -- we've
3 already mentioned how difficult it was to send communications from
4 Central Bosnia
5 not allow for personal signature, as far as I know.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Still, the question then arises whether
7 Mr. Kostroman and Valenta are not other addressees, whether this does not
8 mean the document has also been copied to these two gentlemen.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that is not possible,
10 because in the very body of the text it says: "This is the last report
11 we are signing, we who are the most responsible politically and
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, this package
15 transmission, does that account for the fact that in the B/C/S document
16 it is stated "8th of June, 1993, 1613," so it must have been received at
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the operators of these
19 devices would mark the time when they received the document.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, but because
21 of what Judge Trechsel asked, I'd like to go into whether Ignac
22 Kostroman, Anto Valenta, and Dario Kordic are perhaps recipients.
23 Q. Could you go back to paragraph 2:
24 "We know that this is the last report we are signing, we who are
25 the most responsible, politically and militarily, for the Croatian people
1 of the Operation Zone Central Bosnia."
2 Tell us, were Mr. Kostroman, Anto Valenta, Dario Kordic and
3 Tihomir Blaskic indeed the most responsible, politically and militarily?
4 A. As far as I know, Mr. Anto Valenta was the vice-president of the
5 HVO HZ-HB.
6 Q. What about Dario Kordic?
7 A. Him, too. He was vice-president of the political party HZ-HB.
8 Q. Can we now have 2D 00418.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry. I still have questions regarding this
11 Witness, do you have any idea as to where it was set up and
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course, I could not know where
14 it was drafted, but I believe that it was drafted at the military command
15 of the operation zone, because they were the only ones who had the
16 technical capacity to send such communications.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And does it seem plausible to you that both or
18 all three, Kostroman, Valenta, and Kordic, were also there? One gets the
19 feeling, reading this, that it is written in the field somewhere, with
20 shelling all around, and the idea that, "We have to retreat, flee, or we
21 will all be killed." Now, that these four high-ranking people are all at
22 the same time in that place, in that zone of high danger, does not seem
23 very plausible to me, but maybe you can explain.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think, Your Honour, you're right.
25 That area where the HV [as interpreted] was in Central Bosnia was so
1 narrow that there was physically no location that was out of reach for
2 shells or shooting. Whether the four of them were exactly at the same
3 place at the same time, I don't know, but I know that this document was
4 sent with the consent of all the four of them because they were very
5 aware of how serious the situation was. And it was not just a moment; it
6 was a situation that had lasted at least for months by that time.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: This then, nevertheless, leads to some doubt
8 whether they actually -- you said "signed by" when I asked you how do you
9 know that it was signed, and assuming, which I would think natural, that
10 Valenta and Kostroman were somewhere else, in Grude, Mostar, whatever,
11 and had perhaps by telephone or radio given their consent, joined this
12 appeal. Is that a possibility?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, theoretically, that too is
14 possible. Why not? I have to repeat, I don't know where they were
15 physically at that moment, but this document did arrive, and as far as I
16 know none of the four had ever denied authorship.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At line 21, page 16, something
19 has to be corrected. It was "HVO," not "HV."
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. For the third time, could you please look at 2D 00418. Have you
22 found it? You have to skip two or three documents, because we don't have
23 enough time.
24 Now, would you be so kind as to explain this? You spoke about
25 the education of fighting men. You said that you were participating in
1 the work of the IPD sector, educating fighters about conducting armed
2 conflict. This is a brochure. Did you distribute such brochures? How
3 often did you have these education drives? Was it -- did they look like
5 A. Yes, exactly.
6 Q. So on one side, the rules of conduct for fighting men, and on the
7 other side, first aid. This is the document we see in front of us, but
8 in fact this is what it looks like.
9 Could you now tell us, what was this education like, who
10 participated, how often, et cetera?
11 A. We organised meetings with workers of the IPD and commanders of
12 units to familiarise them with the rules of conduct in war, treatment of
13 civilians, the wounded, et cetera, and we had the help of the
14 International Red Cross, and we got these documents from the
15 representatives of the International Red Cross in Croatia because this
16 document is in the Croatian language.
17 Q. Mr. Vegar, when you had these meetings with the assistant
18 commanders for IPD, did you supply these booklets for them to hand out to
19 the fighters, and did you give them instructions that at the level of
20 their units, they should provide information to the soldiers about how
21 they should behave?
22 A. Yes, we did hand out a number of brochures of this kind, and it
23 was their task to inform all the soldiers with the rules.
24 Q. All right. Thank you. Now I'm going to show you another
25 document, and I'm going to ask you to comment on it and tell us whether
1 you know about it. It is P 4626.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm interested in this booklet.
3 I'm looking at the photograph in the B/C/S document, because in the
4 English version there is no translation of the photo. We can see a house
5 on fire in this photo, and there is soldiers, and there is a woman
6 carrying a child in her arms. Next to her, you can't see whether this is
7 a man or a woman, and then an old man stooped on his cane, holding
8 something in his hand. And the soldier in the foreground sort of waves
9 to him and tells him to go somewhere. Well, this rank-and-file on the
10 ground, the soldier who had this booklet and saw this situation with a
11 woman and an old man, what is that soldier supposed to do?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The soldier must assist. It is his
13 duty to assist civilians, wounded persons. He must be humane in his
14 conduct. He must not loot their property, must not mistreat them, and so
15 on. He must take care of these civilians, take them out of the combat
16 area, if they are in jeopardy, until the fighting stops.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed, Ms. Nozica.
18 Thank you.
19 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Now let's look at P 4626. I'm sure you've found it.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, could you tell me what this is about? We've seen this
23 document in the courtroom before, and there seems to be an unsavoury joke
24 at the end. Could you tell us who compiled this document? Have you seen
25 it before? Can you explain it? It says: "Published by the IPD, the
1 HVO, the Operative Zone South-East Herzegovina." It's called
2 "Aktuelnosti." Did you know that such a -- there was such a publication?
3 Have you ever seen any copies, and have you seen this particular issue?
4 A. I did know that the IPD published a document, the Operative Zone
5 of South-East Herzegovina. As we see this is number 59. Of course, I
6 wasn't able to read each and every issue or take part in compiling it.
7 Now, as far as this last paragraph is concerned, which is titled
9 interpreted as an expression of national hatred, ethnic hatred, although
10 we know that our culture is one of jokes, a joke culture, usually not
11 very appropriate jokes, and there are quite a lot of examples of telling
12 jokes at one's own expense. But of course in a bulletin of this kind,
13 there is no place for a joke like that.
14 Q. You said, "I was not able to read each and every issue of the
15 bulletin or take part in its creation." Did you take part at all in
16 creating the bulletin for this South-East Herzegovina zone?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Who, then, was the author of these bulletins?
19 A. The IPD of this particular operative zone.
20 Q. All right. Although it is very unpleasant, we have to explain
21 what you meant when you said "inappropriate," "istasan" [phoen] or
22 inappropriate jokes, and this rude sense of humour which is present, but
23 there are also jokes at one's own expense; right? Now, as there's
24 implication here and refers to Suljo and Muljo, who are obviously in
1 that appear in jokes all the time, like Rudi and Bobi [phoen], or Joe
2 Blow or Joe Smith, whatever, and -- or are they specific characters?
3 A. No, they're not specific characters. They are characters the
4 names of which are used in most jokes. And when there was the energy
5 crisis with gas from Russia
6 'round on a similar topic about Auschwitz
7 Q. Mr. Vegar said that it was inappropriate and should not be found
8 in a publication of this kind, especially during a war. Am I right when
9 I say that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. All right. Now I'm going to ask us to look at another document,
12 2D 4 --
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I'm now turning to the
14 paragraph on the Croats in Muslim prisons. It is stated here -- and this
15 document dates back to August 1993, so it states that in Mostar,
16 allegedly, there were 110 soldiers and 450 civilians detained. Where
17 were they detained?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In East Mostar.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So back in August 1993, in East
20 Mostar there were 110 HVO soldiers who were prisoners and 450 civilians
21 who were detained; is that how we should understand the situation?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't say exactly whether
23 there were 110 or 450, I didn't write those figures, but I think that
24 I can believe them.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let us speak about Zenica.
1 There were allegedly 1.500 civilians there. Is that plausible?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it is plausible.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I forgot one thing. This is
6 information coming from Mr. Pusic? That's what's stated in the document.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Probably the editors of this
8 bulletin took that information over from Mr. Pusic, because they say that
9 that was a quote from him.
10 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] May I know how much more time I have
12 Q. Now, Mr. Vegar, we're going to move on to another area that I
13 would like to address, the distribution of pensions to all the citizens
14 of Mostar in 1993. First of all, let me ask you whether you had a
15 pensioner in your family who, at the end of 1993, received a pension, and
16 did you know that pensions were being handed out at the end of 1993 to
17 all citizens?
18 A. I did have information about that. They weren't pensions
19 according to what was due the pensioners, the pension earned. It was a
20 linealary [as interpreted] remuneration according to the funds of the HVO
21 at the time. And my father-in-law was a pensioner, and he received this
22 sum of 50 Deutschemarks.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I believe you have 17 minutes
24 left, Ms. Nozica.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. I'm going to ask you to look at document 2D 818 now, please. It
2 is information to me, my name, and I'd just like you to confirm to the
3 Trial Chamber that the Federal Institute for Pensions and Invalid
4 Insurance is, in fact, an institution which is the sole institution
5 authorised to provide information about pensions and the like. Am I
6 right, Mr. Vegar?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And this is a document dated the 20th of July, 2007
9 the director, Nadir Kovacevic. Now, in this letter he refers to a
10 meeting and agreement that my team had with him, but what is important
11 here and that I'd like to highlight is the following: It says in
12 paragraph 1:
13 "With regard to the implementation of the pension and disability
14 insurance in 1994, we hereby inform you that on the territory of today's
15 Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there were two insurance companies,
16 the Social Pension and Disability Insurance Fund of BH, with its
17 headquarters in Sarajevo
18 Republic of Herceg-Bosna
19 And then in paragraph 2, it talks about the application of the
20 Decree Law on the Adoption of the Law on Basic Rights of Pension and
21 Disability Insurance passed by the Government of the HR-HB as a basis for
22 paying out pensions, and in paragraph 3 it says that right up until the
23 1st of January, 2002, when the Federal Pension Institute was established,
24 that these two social funds paid out pensions. It says:
25 "... and all the citizens of Mostar who earned their pension on
1 the basis of the Social Pension Disability Insurance Fund or who were to
2 be granted entitlement to pension disability insurance, exercise their
3 entitlement through one of the insurance companies. The remit of an
4 insurance company at the time was in accordance with actual situation in
5 the field."
6 Now, Mr. Vegar, from this letter, from the Pension Insurance
7 account fund from BH, the BH federation, we see that all citizens who
8 found themselves in the area of Mostar had the right to receive pensions,
9 that is to say, on territory that came under either the Social Pension
10 Fund from Sarajevo
11 of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna. And you said that you had
12 information according to which the assistance or -- pensions or
13 remuneration was handed out to all citizens in 1994?
14 A. Yes, that is right. This document accurately reflects the
15 situation as it was.
16 Q. All right. Now let's look at 2D 821, which is the next document,
17 and it is a decree to which this letter refers passed on the 20th of
18 January, 1994, regulating the right to a pension entitlement.
19 Now look at document 2D 826, please.
20 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour. While he's doing that, I
21 just wonder if we're back to reading documents again. What's the basis
22 of this witness, a public relations officer, talking about decrees on
23 pensions? And all we've done so far is show the documents in front of
24 the witness and ask -- counsel asks if she's read them correctly, so I
25 wonder how much the witness can assist us with any personal knowledge of
1 these matters.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, I think that the next
3 document is going to continue the demonstration, D 826.
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, might I be just allowed
5 to answer my colleague. With the document, I wanted to show the source
6 of these documents that I'm presenting now, because as we can see from
7 the document, 2D 818 [as interpreted], it says that these were payments
8 that can be seen in the archives of the pension fund. Now, as this
9 witness says he knows about pensions and how they were paid out, I am
10 showing him these lists.
11 Q. Have you found the document, 2D 826?
12 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, but maybe counsel can assist
13 us, then, by explaining what the basis for this witness to talk about
14 pensions. She's just -- she's made the assertion that he knows, but I
15 haven't heard any evidence from the witness about how he's involved in
16 pension matters and can address these matters.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, could you ask the
18 witness what his personal knowledge is of this issue of pensions?
19 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] The witness said himself, his
20 father-in-law was a pensioner at the time, and he knows that the HR-HB
21 compiled lists, kept lists, that's his knowledge. And he knows
22 specifically a person who received a pension, and that was his
23 father-in-law received a pension on this basis.
24 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour. My grandfather used to
25 receive social security benefits in the United States. That was my
1 grandfather, but that doesn't make me an expert on social security.
2 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. Scott's grandfather
3 was a very lucky man, but --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have a few minutes left.
5 Please finish.
6 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Well, I would have completed my
7 examination, had I not been interrupted, and the witness can tell us what
8 he knows and then the Prosecutor will be able to cross-examine him on it.
9 Q. Have you looked at document 2D 826?
10 A. Yes, here it is.
11 Q. Tell me, this is a list of pensioners who received assistance in
12 money for the Christmas holidays and new year holidays, and it refers to
13 one specific local commune. Which one is it? Can you tell us which
14 local commune?
15 A. Bijeli Brijeg 2.
16 Q. Does that settlement exist in Mostar?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And now we have a list, 1 to 24 on page 1.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Mr. Vegar, in our proofing session we looked at the names. Now,
21 did we conclude that there were at least 11 Bosniak first and last names
22 of persons who received pensions? For purposes of illustration, look at
23 this list.
24 A. Yes, it was common knowledge that everybody who had an
25 entitlement to a pension received a pension, and I think that we
1 established that on the basis of the previous document that we received
2 from the present Federal Institute for Pensions. The Social Pension Fund
3 confirmed that everybody who had an entitlement to a pension received
5 Q. Well, we'll go through other documents. 2D 827 is next, and tell
6 us when you have found the document.
7 A. I found it.
8 Q. What local commune is that?
9 A. Centar 2.
10 Q. Did something like that exist in Mostar?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Have you looked at the list? And I'd just like to draw your
13 attention to the fact that we have 52 names on this list, and we looked
14 at the list together and found that at least 29 Muslim names or Bosniak
15 names are on the list; is that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. All right, fine. Now, look at the next document, which is
18 2D 828. Would you please tell me, this is Local Commune --
19 A. Cernica.
20 Q. Cernica. Is it also in Mostar?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Mr. Vegar, there were some local communes in Mostar. Was it the
23 case that in Mostar even before the war, there were larger concentrations
24 of Muslims or Croats in some local communes and more or less evenly
25 distributed population in others?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Can you tell us, area by area, where there was a majority Bosniak
3 population, where there was a majority Croat or a mixed?
4 A. Muslim Bosniak population was mostly on the left bank of the
5 Neretva, but there were numbers of them on the right bank. Some
6 outskirts of Mostar had a majority population of Bosniaks before the war,
7 whereas outskirts on the west were almost exclusively Croat. You can see
8 that from the census of beneficiaries of pensions by local commune.
9 Q. 2D 829.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Can all extra microphones be switched off,
12 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
13 Q. This is local commune Strijelcevina? "Strijelcevina," correct.
14 Obviously, if you look at the first page, we can see that there is a list
15 of names, and all of them are Bosniak names. Is this one of the local
16 communes where -- with a majority Bosniak population?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. 2D 830 will be the next document. This is Local Commune Zgoni.
19 Did such a local commune exist in Mostar?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. One of the rubrics is the amount and the signature of the
23 Now, please, look at document 2D 824. This is a list of
24 beneficiaries of pensions, with forms for payment for 1994, through the
25 Hrvatska Bank?
1 A. Yes, that was the only bank.
2 Q. This is the Croatian Republic
3 Institute of HR-HB?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. Look at the number 1119. It's Pero Grubesic. Was that your
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Mr. Vegar, from all these documents, we see that the Croatian
9 Republic Herceg-Bosna at that time in end 1993 and on in 1994 was
10 distributing pensions to all beneficiaries of pensions, regardless of
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Is this consistent with your knowledge?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can we now look at P 5984.
16 A. I don't have that document.
17 Q. It should be provided separately in the binder.
18 A. Perhaps at the beginning?
19 Q. We provided it later. P 5984. You can look at it on the screen.
20 A. Yes, I see.
21 Q. This is the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, 20th October 1993
22 a table depicting pension beneficiaries, broken down by local commune.
23 It's signed by President Ante Cvitanovic. Did you know him?
24 A. No, not personally.
25 Q. Here we see local communes located in Mostar and some around
1 Mostar, such as Potoci, Rondo, Ilici. This data here, is it consistent
2 with the number of beneficiaries who received aid and pensions in the
3 beginning of 1994?
4 A. It looks pretty realistic to me.
5 Q. Mr. Vegar, we see at the bottom that by ethnicity, by ethnic
6 composition --
7 A. Yes, I have that document somewhere.
8 Q. -- there were 5.246 Croats, 2.107 Muslim pensioners, 698 Serbs,
9 and 90 others, according to this list, made on the 20th October 1993.
10 And my final question, having looked at these documents: These
11 pensions were distributed to all beneficiaries of pensions under the
12 control of the HVO; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, according to the actual situation on the ground.
14 Q. So, yes, that's what I wanted to ask you. All the citizens under
15 the control of the HVO received their pensions?
16 A. Yes.
17 MS. NOZICA: That would be all. Thank you very much for your
19 Your Honours, I've completed my examination.
20 MR. SCOTT: I'm going to object to this. And I know because of
21 the lapse of translation, perhaps we already have the answer, but this
22 is -- I've objected before, and I don't know why the Chamber doesn't
23 exercise more control over the propriety of the evidence that it's
24 receiving. This witness cannot possibly confirm --
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I don't allow you to criticise
1 the Judges, "I'm surprised that the Chamber does not control." Control
2 what? Defence counsel is currently demonstrating, on the basis of joint
3 criminal enterprise in Mostar and in Herceg-Bosna, 2.000-odd Muslims
4 received a pension. What do you want us to control?
5 MR. SCOTT: [Previous translation continues]... confirm that. He
6 has no personal -- he talked, he surveyed each of the recipients, and
7 they received their benefits cheque in the mail? This witness cannot
8 possibly testify to these facts. He cannot, he cannot. This is pure
9 speculation on his part.
10 Now, if he wants to say, "I've talked to -- I surveyed, I
11 telephoned them all on the phone and they confirmed to me that they each
12 received their cheque in the mail properly," et cetera, et cetera, that
13 might be evidence. This is sheer speculation. The evidence can -- the
14 witness cannot possibly address this. That's why I objected at the very
15 beginning, some minutes ago.
16 Thank you.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, Mr. Vegar, some time ago, on a question
18 of Defence counsel regarding these different villages, your answer was,
19 page 29, line 23:
20 "It looks pretty realistic to me."
21 You recall that?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I remember. It looks rather
23 realistic to me, compared to the ethnic composition of the population
24 then, and the proportion between pension beneficiaries of one, second,
25 and the third ethnic community looks pretty realistic.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And when you say that you know or you affirm
2 that everyone got their pensions, is that also more or less saying that
3 it is realistic or something like that, or do you actually know that each
4 and every one got his pension, as you have affirmed?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it was a
6 commonly-known fact that everybody received pensions, regardless of
7 ethnicity. And I think that it's completely wrong to expect me to know
8 whether each and every person signed the receipt, that they received it
9 or not, but it's a commonly-known fact, confirmed several years later by
10 the most responsible people, directors of the institutes for pension
11 insurance, such as Mr. Kovacevic, and I believe it's a credible source,
12 it's a fact we can believe.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, as far as the
15 knowledge you had is concerned, from what I understood, your stepfather
16 received a pension; is that right?
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note, father-in-law probably.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did you talk to your
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the course of your
23 conversations, did he say that he and other people received a pension; he
24 may have also told you that Muslim neighbours, like him, also received a
25 pension, or did you never discuss this matter with him?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I talked to him, and he expressed
2 his surprise, saying from what sources -- from what funds HVO was able to
3 distribute pensions, because nobody else distributed pensions in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, meaning the population in other parts of Bosnia
6 Srpska. It may be a coincidence, but my wife worked at the bank and she
7 also paid out these pensions, after they started to be paid out through
8 the banks several months later.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So your wife was working in a
10 bank and said that she paid the pensions out. Did she say that she paid
11 these pensions out to the Muslim people?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, certainly.
13 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, please, I would like
14 to respond to the objection of Mr. Scott very briefly.
15 In the Prosecution case, we did not see any evidence to prove
16 that every name or every incident happened in the way the Prosecution
17 claimed. They provided, instead, documents containing endless names, and
18 it was up to the Court to judge the value of such evidence. This witness
19 commented on the official documents of the official authorities that
20 governed at this time, and he spoke of his own experience relevant to the
21 documents. I believe both are relevant. He confirmed, first of all,
22 which official authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina were able to provide
23 this data, and how they provided it, and he said what he knows personally
24 about it.
25 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may with only
1 two words to add to what my colleague said, my learned friend from the
2 Prosecution objected, saying, "What makes this witness qualified to speak
3 on this subject or other subjects?" Let us just remind ourselves that
4 during the Prosecution case, we have seen a large number -- not just a
5 few, a large number of foreigners, journalists, members of the ECMM,
6 members of the UNPROFOR. Some of them spent in Bosnia all of two or
7 three days, and we heard their testimony over several days, their
8 observations, and all sorts of problems, that I have to say, most of them
9 had no clue what they're talking about, and we clearing up this gradually
10 and slowly through our case. Some of them, even the majority of them,
11 were certainly not qualified to speak on the majority of subjects they
12 actually did speak about. We did not object. It was up to the
13 Prosecution to call whoever they wanted.
14 We had another example - now the colleagues remind me - of a
15 lady, a witness who was illiterate, and she interpreted here before this
16 Court a military document and its significance.
17 So those were the criteria that applied. We can't change them
18 now. We can't have the Prosecutor change them, the same Prosecutor who
19 insisted on those criteria. And we remember his explanations when he
20 said that those were the circumstances that prevailed, We cannot provide
21 better evidence, et cetera. We can't change the criteria in midstream,
22 or we can if we go back to the beginning of the trial and start over
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall now have a 20-minute
25 break and resume after that.
1 --- Recess taken at 10.17 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 10.41 a.m.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Defence counsel has an hour and
4 a half for its cross-examination.
5 Mr. Ibrisimovic.
6 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have no
7 questions. Thank you.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 Mr. Karnavas.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning, Your
12 On behalf of the Prlic Defence, we have no questions for the
13 gentleman, but we do wish to thank him for coming here to give his
14 evidence, and we yield our time to the Praljak Defence.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as Praljak's -- right.
16 Praljak Defence.
17 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness.
18 The Defence of General Praljak, in its cross-examination, will
19 refer to the direct examination or, rather, examination-in-chief of the
20 witness, recorded on page 20, 21, line 21 -- 25, 21, lines 1, 2 and 20;
21 page 24, line 7; page 61, lines 17 to 21; page 70, line 19; page 72, line
22 12 to 19; line [as interpreted] 69, lines 11 to 15 of the transcript of
23 the 16th of February, 2009. The relevance of the questions in the
24 cross-examination of General Praljak is to be found in the paragraphs of
25 the indictment, and they are: 15, 17(d), 17(l), 17.3(k) and (m),
1 paragraph 27, 31, 33, 39(b), paragraph 100, 101, 112, 116, 133, and
2 paragraph 238. So those, then, are the references in the indictment
3 which provide the Defence team the right to raise the questions and go to
4 their relevance with respect to the observations made by this witness.
5 Cross-examination by Ms. Pinter:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Vegar.
7 A. Good morning.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. Ms. Alaburic, are
9 you going to take the floor after that or not?
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, we will have
11 questions for this witness.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And how much time have you
13 allocated, Ms. Alaburic?
14 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] You're asking Ms. Alaburic.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think that all the
16 Defence teams will be able to get through their cross-examinations within
17 the hour and a half allotted to us. And as I'd like to address the
18 questions raised by the Trial Chamber, and if I need a few extra minutes,
19 I will ask the Trial Chamber's indulgence for an additional two or three
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And Mr. Coric's Defence
23 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
24 continues]... reached a final decision in the matter, but we will state
25 our views in due course.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
2 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I think
3 that we will be able to conduct the cross-examination within the time
4 allotted to Mr. Praljak.
5 Q. Mr. Vegar, I'd like to correct certain matters from the
6 transcript that were recorded yesterday so that we don't have any wrong
7 information and wrong testimony.
8 Mr. Bozo Rajic, whom you succeeded, became minister of defence of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I'm asking you that because in the transcript, on page 20, line
12 25, and page 21, it says that Bozo Rajic became minister of the Croatian
13 Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
14 A. No, the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, when you worked in the paper
16 "Slobodna Dalmacija," it's a newspaper which is published in Croatia
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. But you did not work in Croatia
20 "Slobodna Dalmacija" in Mostar?
21 A. Yes, a correspondent for "Slobodna Dalmacija" in Mostar.
22 Q. You didn't work in Croatia
23 A. No.
24 Q. And that was recorded on page 21, line 20. Thank you. Let's
25 move on.
1 During the examination-in-chief, at one point, and this was
2 recorded on page 20, line 16, said -- you said that the war broke out,
3 there was a war during that time, and you also said that you were first a
4 soldier and then an officer. And that was recorded on page 24, line 17.
5 I'm now going to ask you the following: What war were you referring to,
6 and where were you a soldier, and where were you in 1992, up until
7 September 1992?
8 A. Throughout the time until my involvement in the Defence
9 Department, I was a journalist and correspondent from Mostar.
10 Q. Thank you. So that means you lived in Mostar and you can provide
11 information about what you saw, heard, or experienced in Mostar
12 personally or learnt directly from somebody close to you?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Right, thank you. May the witness -- ah, you have the documents
15 in front of you. Right.
16 From the first smaller set of documents, would you take a look at
17 the following documents: 3D 03267 -- and I'm going to read out the
18 numbers of the documents, and then I'll ask you one question relating to
19 that set of documents. 3D 03268, that's the next document in order.
20 3D 03269, 3D 03270, 3D 03271, 3271, 3271, 3D 03271 -- yes, that's right,
21 that's the right number now, and three 3D 03272.
22 These documents are approvals with your signature on them, and in
23 them you approve journalists and television crews and journalist crews to
24 go to Heliodrom; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And is that what you were talking about during
2 examination-in-chief when you were talking to Ms. Nozica about enabling
3 foreign journalists to acquaint themselves with the situation in the area
4 of HZ-HB?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Thank you. I'm now going to ask you to open document 3D 00785,
7 and on e-court it goes with 3D 00785-1. Mr. Vegar, are you familiar with
8 the book "Urbicide 1992"?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Can you tell us how you come to know about it at greater length
11 so that we can lay the grounds for asking you questions about it?
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, before we address
13 "Urbicide," what I'm interested in is the permission you gave journalists
14 to visit the Heliodrom. When you gave this permission, were you the only
15 person to decide to allow international reporters to go and visit the
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can confirm that, as far as the
18 permission goes, I was the one who permitted the journalists to go, in
19 agreement with Mr. Bozic, the warden of the prison.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The co-director, therefore,
21 agreed to let international media visit the Heliodrom to see what was
22 happening in that detention facility. Did you, yourself, know what was
23 happening there?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did have some information about
25 it from the journalists, and they emerged from the questions -- that
1 emerged from the question they asked, because they had information from
2 other sources. Sometimes they proved to be correct; sometimes they
3 proved to be incorrect. And I had information that I heard informally,
4 rumours going 'round town, and I said that I went with a Red Cross team
5 twice and a team of journalists to the Heliodrom military investigatory
6 prison. Now, what I know, therefore, is on the basis of those visits and
7 what I heard from other sources.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As you know, Witness, we have
9 had witnesses here who were in the Heliodrom, and they told us what the
10 detention facilities or conditions were, and you said that you had been
11 to the Heliodrom. When you went to the Heliodrom, were you able to talk
12 to the people who were in the detention facility there?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, for a very brief period of
14 time with two men who were held there.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In other words, you talked to
16 two people who were detained there. And these two people, did they tell
17 you why they were being detained there?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I asked them what the
19 conditions were like and whether they had any complaints and things like
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You, yourself, didn't know why
22 they were being detained, or did you know?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I didn't.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You didn't know. All right.
25 You don't have the names of these two people you talked to; you don't
1 remember, do you?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, unfortunately not. It was a
3 long time ago.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] According to your recollection,
5 were these people civilians or military?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] These people were --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] -- military men.
10 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Let's go back to my previous question, which was: Can you tell
12 us, in greater detail, how you came to be acquainted with the book
13 "Urbicide 1992"?
14 A. I knew that a book of that kind was being prepared. I know when
15 the book was promoted, and I know that -- or, rather, I'm sure that there
16 was some photographs in that book which I took.
17 Q. Which you took personally?
18 A. Yes. I took them in the second half of June, I believe, 1992.
19 Q. Thank you. I'm waiting for the transcript.
20 Would you now look at 3D 36/1156 or "-1156." In English, it is
21 3D 36, page 36-1172, and 1156 is the Croatian.
22 We have a subtitle where it says "Bridges." The next page,
23 Mr. Vegar --
24 A. May I take a moment. What did you say, "Mostar"?
25 Q. Yes. The subtitle is "Bridges," and that subtitle says that
1 it -- that Borislav Puljic wrote this. Do you know the gentleman?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Who is he?
4 A. He is a well-known Mostar architect.
5 Q. Have you read the text before the pictures of Mostar?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can you confirm, to the best of your recollections and knowledge,
8 that the bridges were destroyed, the first bridge in the night of the
9 24th of May, 1992, and that was the Lucki mosque?
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the other microphones kindly be switched
11 off in the courtroom. Thank you.
12 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I'm waiting for the answer which was
13 not recorded.
14 Q. Could you repeat it? Do you know that the Lucki Bridge
15 destroyed on the 24th of May, 1992?
16 A. Yes, I seem to remember that that was the case. I don't know the
17 dates off by heart. I know that Lucki was destroyed.
18 Q. Very well. Now, can you confirm that in the period up until
19 April, May and June, Tito's Bridge, Carinski Bridge
20 in Rastani, that they were all destroyed?
21 A. Yes, all the bridges were destroyed.
22 Q. Thank you. I'm now going to ask you to look at page -- it's 13
23 in the book itself. On e-court it is 3D 36, that's the number of the
24 book, "-1158" is the page number. The subtitle is "Housing." And for
25 Their Honours, it is page 3 D 36-1174 and 1175.
1 Mr. Vegar, Almas Bavcic [phoen], Jasmina Cehijic [phoen] and
2 Meviha Perzic [phoen], do those names ring a bell? Do you know those
4 A. I don't know them personally, but I've heard of them. I know who
5 they are.
6 Q. All right. Now, do you know what their ethnicity was or is?
7 A. I think they declared themselves as Muslims at the time.
8 Q. Thank you. Do you know who worked on this book? Was it only
9 Croats or did the Muslims or, rather, Bosniaks take part in its -- in
10 writing it?
11 A. They worked together.
12 Q. Now, in this section entitled "Housing" or "Collective Housing,"
13 would you look at the penultimate paragraph, where it says that:
14 "In this war --"
15 And what war is that?
16 A. Well, the war at the beginning of 1992.
17 Q. With whom or against whom?
18 A. Against the Serb Army.
19 Q. It says:
20 "In this war, everything was destroyed, even that which never
21 served war purposes. Whole settlements of the old urban structure of the
22 town, the Mahala, Carina, Luka, Donja Mahala, Karadjol Bego Mahala
23 [phoen], Fajic [phoen] Street; on the left bank of the Neretva, the
24 settlements of Podhum, Zahum, Balinovac -- Podhum, Zahum, Balinovac,
25 Fernica [phoen], were brutally destroyed and seriously destroyed. Also,
1 new urban structures for individual housing, the residential districts of
2 Cim, Jasenica, Zalik, Bijelo Polje, Buna, and Hodbina have suffered
3 equally heavy destruction and damage."
4 Now, Mr. Vegar, Podhum, Zahum, Balinovac, Zelenica are they all
5 parts of Mostar?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Which parts of the Mostar?
8 A. Well, the central part of Mostar on the West Bank of the Neretva.
9 Q. To the best of your knowledge, were these neighbourhoods damaged
10 and is this true?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, look at the paragraph just below "Collective Housing." The
13 authors are Zoran Bosnjak, Nerica Eminovic, and Maida Ljubovic. Do you
14 know these people or do you know them by reputation?
15 A. By reputation.
16 Q. From this passage, I'd like to ask you to look at 3D 36-1159,
17 which is the next page, the passage about intensity of damage to
18 collective housing. Where in Mostar were apartment buildings, not
19 individual houses?
20 A. In the eastern and the western part. In the western part, there
21 were more of them. You mean apartment buildings built after the Second
22 World War for collective housing?
23 Q. Yes. Can you tell us -- can you identify which parts of Mostar?
24 For instance, Cekrk, did it have apartment buildings, that is, for more
25 than one family?
1 A. Yes. It was it was -- there was a hotel there, I believe Soko,
2 or, rather, a low-rent hotel, and also apartment buildings for workers
3 who worked there.
4 Q. What about Rodoc, Centar 1 and Centar 2; did they have apartment
6 A. In Centar 1 and 2, I believe most of the buildings are apartment
8 Q. These areas, Centar 1 and Centar 2, are on the west bank of the
9 Neretva; right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Rodoc is in the southern part --
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] During examination-in-chief,
13 the issue of destruction was not dealt with, so the time you are taking
14 to speak about that is going to be taken out of the overall time you were
15 given, because this is an altogether new topic you're dealing with.
16 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] General Praljak agrees. We believe
17 it's an important topic, too important to have it skipped, but we agree
18 that it will be against our time.
19 Q. I just wanted to ask you about Rodoc. It's a neighbourhood at
20 the exit from Mostar, when you go south?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And in that area, there were also apartment buildings, and they
23 were also damaged; right?
24 Now please open to page 3D 007 -- sorry, 36-1160.
25 Mr. Vegar, please, we did not get a record, your answer, when I
1 asked you about Rodoc. There were apartment buildings there, and they
2 were damaged? And your answer was?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Right. Now please look at 3D 36-1160. The subheading is
5 "Infrastructure Systems"; author, Zoran Bosnjak. From this text it
6 follows, and I'll ask you if this is consistent with your knowledge, that
7 with the destruction of the bridges -- infrastructures ceased to exist
8 because the main infrastructural facilities went by these bridges?
9 A. Yes, because pipelines, telecommunication cables, electrical
10 cables all went via the bridges.
11 Q. All right. Do you know that in 1992, the transformer station
12 Cule was destroyed?
13 A. Yes, and I believe for two or three months a good part of
15 Q. What about long-distance transmission lines and network?
16 A. It was also damaged.
17 Q. Please wait a second after I finish my question. Otherwise, we
18 won't have the questions or answers on the record.
19 In this text, it says that among the first to be hit was the PTT
20 communication building, so that around 35.000 telephone subscribers
21 remained without telephone. To the best of your recollection, and in
22 view of the job you were doing at the time, did you know about the damage
23 to the PTT building in 1992?
24 A. Yes, it was damaged, but the people who worked in the PTT
25 building, according to my information, had expected that the PTT building
1 might be targeted, so that one exchange remained undamaged.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I have an important
3 question that can encapsulate the situation.
4 Based on this text, I want to know this: Whether you can answer
5 my question or not, I don't know. As to the situation in Mostar, before
6 there was a conflict between Muslims and Croats, was the situation there
7 the result of the Serb attacks that had destroyed bridges, that had
8 shelled the water supply system, the power network? Was the situation
9 the result of the Serb actions or was it the result of a conflict between
10 Muslims and Croats?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Mostar was devastated
12 during the Serb aggression against Mostar in the beginning of 1992. You
13 can see that from this book, but also from many film records. All the
14 bridges were destroyed in 1992. The infrastructure, such as the
15 electrical supply network, PTT installations, water supply, all met the
16 same fate. I believe it would be an overstatement to say that the
17 conflict between Muslims and Croats arose only because of that. It was
18 partly a result of the previous conflict, and all the consequences that
19 followed from the Serb aggression against Mostar and that part of
21 Eastern Herzegovina
22 Mostar. But Mostar cannot be viewed in isolation from all the other
23 events in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question. I can see
25 in this text I have in front of me that the generator of the Cule station
1 of 400 kilowatts was totally destroyed. The one in Rodoc, 110 kilowatts
2 was also destroyed. Apparently in Rastani and in Opine, the same was
3 done. So was all this destruction done by the Serbs?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When the destruction occurred
6 in Mostar or in surrounding places, did you see that there was no more
7 decent power being supplied?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that was clear.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Is that also true for the water
10 supply yes.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And you experienced that
13 personally, did you?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you remind us of where
16 you lived at the time, for the transcript?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I lived in a part of town called
18 "Panjevina." It is still called "Panjevina."
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I guess it is in West Mostar
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it is.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, the residents in West
22 Mostar, did they feel the consequences of all the destruction?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, certainly.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Yes, carry on.
25 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. Mr. Vegar, I'd like to ask you just, in order to save some time,
2 just to look at the photographs of the mosques destroyed, and this is
3 particularly important to me because of paragraph 116 of the indictment,
4 which says that the mosques were destroyed in 1993.
5 Please look at the Hadzi Mehmed Bey Karadjoz Mosque,
6 page 3D 361235.
7 A. Yes, I see it.
8 Q. Then 3D 36-1237, the Nesuh Aga Vucjakovic Mosque?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And then picture 20, 3D 36-1239, Koski Mehmed Pasa Mosque, and
11 page 3D 36-1245, Dervis Pasa Bajezidagic?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And page 3D 36-1246, Tabacica Hadzi-Kurta Mosque, and another
14 mosque on 3D 36-1247.
15 Mr. Vegar, these pictures were taken in 1992 [Realtime transcript
16 read in error "19"]?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. At that time, these mosques were destroyed?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you. Now please open document 3D 0 --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please repeat the number,
23 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I'll repeat the number. 3D 03101.
24 I'll ask the witness to answer one of the previous questions again
25 because it's not on the record.
1 Q. I asked you about the mosques that I enumerated. At that time,
2 they were destroyed or, rather, damaged?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And your answer was?
5 A. Yes.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, Your Honours, and I
7 apologise to my learned friend. It would be too complicated. At
8 page 49, line 3, my colleague asked:
9 "Were these pictures taken in 1992?"
10 And the year was not recorded properly. It can't stay that way.
11 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] All right.
12 Q. All right. Now, you know Dr. Ismet Hadziosmanovic?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. This part of the cross-examination refers to yesterday's direct
15 examination and the questions by Judge Antonetti on Ahmici and the
16 relationship between Muslims and Croats, that is, the Army of BH and HVO,
17 so I would like to ask that this not be deducted from General Praljak's
19 You know Mr. Ismet -- Dr. Ismet Hadziosmanovic personally?
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. Mr. Hadziosmanovic is by ethnicity is a?
22 A. A Bosniak.
23 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] All right.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please. Why should
25 this time be not taken out of your time?
1 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] For the current questions that are
2 about to follow, yes, I believe they should not be deducted because they
3 were raised yesterday in direct examination. The evidence was about
4 Trusina, and you asked the witness about Ahmici. That's why I think it
5 should not go against our time.
6 Q. If we look at this -- I'm a bit thrown off, but I'll try to get
7 back on track.
8 So you know Mr. Hadziosmanovic, you know he's a Bosniak, and you
9 know he wrote this book, and you, like him, were there in April 1993, in
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, I'd like you to look at this part of the text, the first
13 text, where it says:
14 "On the 16th of April, 1993, in the morning hours, HVO units
15 committed a crime against the Muslim civilians in the village of Ahmici
16 A. Yes, I can see that.
17 Q. In the morning hours; right?
18 And I apologise. The page is 3D 35-1092. For the Court, the
19 page is 3D 40-0037 and on.
20 The next passage speaks of the attack of an equestrian brigade of
21 the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina committed in Trusina near Konjic in
22 the early-morning hours of the same day?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And that's what you spoke about yesterday, the things that you
25 know about, these attacks that happened. And then he says, "Both armies
1 committed war crimes on the same day." That's what Dr. Hadziosmanovic
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. At the same time, on the political level, intensive talks were
5 going on between the Municipal Board of the SDA and the Municipal Board
6 of the HDZ. Is it your recollection that these two municipal boards of
7 the SDA and the HDZ met to try to resolve this situation and calm things
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you know about this passage in the book, where it says that
11 members of the BH Army, that is, the Mostar Battalion, and members of the
12 HVO came out into the street and marched together to show their protest
13 and to try to prevent the conflict between Muslims and Croats? Do you
14 know anything about that?
15 A. Well, I don't remember any of that very well.
16 Q. I see, you don't remember it well. And you cannot remember
17 that -- well, Dr. Hadziosmanovic writes here that understanding the very
18 dramatic situation, very serious for a possible border conflict, the HVO
19 and the BH Army, the Regional Board for Herzegovina issued two public
20 announcements, and after that the armies went out together which wished
21 to show their dissatisfaction and endeavoured to prevent a possible war
22 in Mostar between the HVO and BH Army. So I'm going to ask you this:
23 Your recollections, do you remember that efforts were made to avoid a
24 conflict in Mostar?
25 A. Yes, certainly.
1 Q. Very well, thank you. Now, in 2000, and we heard this during the
2 examination-in-chief, you were in the office or, rather, the Presidency
3 of Bosnia-Herzegovina; right? You were employed there?
4 A. That's right.
5 Q. While you were working in the Presidency, you had information
6 about the laws that were passed; is that right too?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Do you happen to know that a law on the return of property was
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you know that according to that law --
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.
13 Witness, counsel is now moving on to another topic, but I'd like
14 to remain with Trusina and Ahmici. You said that you knew the author of
15 this book. Page 185 of his book, second paragraph, he mentions Ahmici
16 and Trusina. These two locations are not mentioned in our indictment,
17 but from memory I believe that Ahmici was mentioned in the Prosecution's
18 pre-trial brief.
19 A professional judge, such as I, in such a situation, before
20 thinking of tu quoque, has the following question: Were the attacks in
21 Trusina and Ahmici related to one another, and should there be a link
22 between the two attacks, which was the first, which was the second? This
23 text gives no answer to the question, because it was it was that -- it
24 was the morning that the HVO attacked Ahmici and also during that morning
25 the ABiH attacked Trusina.
1 You, yourself, maybe you can't answer this, and then the question
2 we'll put to other witnesses, if need be, but from what you think in
3 terms of time, what was the first attack; was it Ahmici or was it
4 Trusina, if you know? If you don't know, just say so.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To the best of my recollections,
6 the attack in Trusina was the first.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you believe that the attack
8 in Trusina was the first. How far are the two towns from one another?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As the crow flies, I think about 80
10 to 100 kilometres.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Eighty to one hundred
12 kilometres, I see. All right, thank you.
13 I won't have any more questions for the time being. Of course,
14 I can ask the question of military who will be called to testify.
15 Please proceed.
16 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]
17 Q. A follow-up question to that. Mr. Vegar, do you know, before the
18 16th of April, 1993, in the area of Konjic municipality, whether any
19 conflicts took place and whether there were any clashes between the HVO
20 and BH Army before the 16th of April, 1993, if you know about it?
21 A. Well, I do know that before the attack on Croatian villages
22 around Konjic, around the village of Busa
23 Q. Thank you. Buscak is the village. I'm saying this for the
24 record, Buscak.
25 I asked you a question related to your knowledge of law and law
1 enforcement, and you said you knew that a law on the return of property
2 was passed. Now, what I'd like to ask you about that is this: Upon the
3 cessation of the conflict between the BH Army and the HVO, do you happen
4 to know anything about whether people exchanged apartments, whether
5 people from the West bank crossed to the east bank -- the Muslims crossed
6 to the east bank, for example, and did they -- did people exchange flats,
7 did people migrate within Mostar itself?
8 A. Yes, flats were exchanged flat for flat, but very often people
9 sold their flats on both sides.
10 Q. That's right. Now, if we were to analyse the flat situation,
11 would you agree with the conclusion that I'm going to put to you, and it
12 is this: That during 1993, at least 4.000 Muslims, and possibly up to
13 7.000 Muslims, were on the west bank of Mostar in the area under HVO
15 A. Yes, several thousand Muslims throughout the war lived on the
16 west bank under HVO control.
17 Q. Thank you. And now I'll wind up my questions, and then
18 General Praljak will be asking you questions linked to his participation
19 in the events contained in the indictment, of course if the Trial Chamber
20 permits him to.
21 Now, Mr. Vegar, doing your job in the Defence Ministry, did
22 General Praljak ever order you, ask you, request, or suggest that you
23 issue statements, whether public or otherwise, that is to say, public
24 announcements to all citizens or internal announcements for the members
25 of the HV [as interpreted] brigades, battalions, companies or whatever,
1 asking you to write incorrect data or give false information so that with
2 the soldiers and Croatian citizens, you incited hatred of the Muslims and
3 fear of the Muslims?
4 A. No. I can state that quite resolutely. No.
5 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Line 55 -- or, rather, page 55, line
6 9, it is not the HV but should be the HVO. I wasn't talking about the
7 Croatian Army, nor do I intend to at the present.
8 Q. Now, Mr. Vegar, did any of the six accused here in court ever
9 suggest, order, request, demand, or whatever, that you publish
10 information, either internal information for soldiers, brigades, areas of
11 responsibility, or public announcements in which you would incite hatred
12 in any way towards the Muslims and cause unfounded fear of the Muslims?
13 A. No.
14 Q. All right, fine. Now, Mr. Vegar, in the public announcements, or
15 press releases, or whatever, did you ever consciously and intentionally
16 write things that were incorrect; did you fabricate events to put into
17 these statements or announcements?
18 A. No, never consciously. I never put down any fact that I
19 consciously knew to be false.
20 Q. When you reviewed the reports of the IPD in the brigades and
21 areas of responsibility that came in to you, did you ever establish in
22 any one of those reports something was consciously or intentionally
23 written that was false and untruthful?
24 A. To the best of my recollections, no, no, that any -- I never saw
25 anything that might have been consciously or intentionally fabricated.
1 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Vegar.
2 Now, with the Court's permission, General Praljak would like to
3 take up the questioning at this point.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, the Trial Chamber
5 reminds you that you are allowed to ask questions in -- due to your
6 competence or because you were, yourself, involved or concerned by a
7 specific document. I'm saying that in order to avoid any issues of
9 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I
10 will adhere to your instructions, that is to say, that I ever had
11 personal knowledge, or took part, or it's a military question.
12 Cross-examination by Accused Praljak:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Vegar.
14 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Praljak.
15 Q. Look at 3D 03266, please. That's the document I'd like you to
16 look at. Did you know that I, in 1992 and 1993, up until the summer or
17 thereabouts, I was the assistant minister -- assistant to Minister
18 Gojko Susak in the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia
19 information and psychological activity?
20 A. Yes, I did have that information.
21 Q. All right. This document deals with the 12th of October --
22 3D 03266 is the document number that I repeat.
23 A. Is that in the bigger binder or the smaller binder?
24 Q. It's the smaller binder, 3D 03266, and it deals with a visit by a
25 team -- a group from the department that I headed, and pursuant to an
1 agreement reached by my head, Dr. Anto Mijatovic, a visit to
2 Herceg-Bosna. And at the seminar that took place, a lot of people had
3 been invited to attend, some 40 guests. Now, do you know that this
4 cooperation existed at all and will to help from the Ministry of Defence
5 and the department that I headed vis-a-vis you?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Do you know that the International Red Cross and the booklets and
8 brochures that arrived down there arrived with assistance from the
9 department that I headed?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Let's take a look at this document now, which speaks of many
12 things. I don't have time to go through everything that it addresses,
13 but general tasks are mentioned. There are headings such as
14 "Information," the assessment of combat readiness, and things like that,
15 and what happens and what the consequences are of the poor flow of
16 information. Then it talks about victims. Do you know that all those
17 were enormous problems that faced an organisation like that, a fledgling
19 A. Yes, I do know that.
20 Q. Towards the end there, it talks about HVO units and the
21 differences between making political decisions, implementing political
22 decisions, that is to say, the role and place of the army. And then the
23 relationship between the democratic authorities and the army, that's
24 another heading, and the difference between state, political, and party
25 politics, and the observations made is that there is no place for party
1 politics in units. Were all these subjects that you had to deal with?
2 A. Yes, and we tried to adhere as much as possible to these basic
3 principles; that is to say, that the army can only be - how shall I put
4 it - a service. It cannot make political decisions itself, and also that
5 party politics has no place in military units, although sometimes we did
6 have pressure in certain municipalities from some officials, party
7 officials, when it came to employing, say, a certain cadres, but we did
8 our best to resist pressures of that kind.
9 Q. And now finally let's see what the problems were that occurred in
10 the army. And it said the lack of response to mobilisation and the lack
11 of implementing corresponding sanctions, and the over-burdening of
12 fighters at the front, and then the multiplication of political problems
13 in certain areas inhabited by Muslims; Mostar, Vakuf, Bugojno. And then
14 it says that it is expected that through coordinated action, the
15 government, which at the level of a conflict -- had risen to the level of
16 a conflict, will be resolved, because the problems can have unforeseeable
17 consequences on the military plane. And then it goes on to talk about
18 the non-systematic resolution of problems for invalids, wounded, and
20 Now, from all this, Mr. Vegar, does it follow that in fact there
21 was a terrible programme -- a terrible problem in the army, such as the
22 wounded, the killed and so on and families, and because of our financial
23 situation, could not be solved across the board, but was solved from one
24 municipality to the other?
25 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers kindly slow down and speak
1 one at a time and avoid overlapping. Thank you.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Next, an important thing in this Tribunal -- I do apologise. Go
4 on, Vegar, answer.
5 A. Objectively speaking, it was very difficult to help the families
6 of those who were killed or wounded because of the lack of financial
7 funds, and some municipalities were richer than others and they then
8 attempted to solve the problem, whereas others didn't, especially
9 municipalities which - how shall I put it? - were on the battle-field,
10 that is to say, that were along the front-lines and the separation lines.
11 They suffered more and weren't in a position to deal with the problems
12 facing them.
13 Q. Tell us, Mr. Vegar, the problem of mobilisation, in other words,
14 that one could not control mobilisation, that people didn't have to
15 respond to the mobilisation call-up, they could go to Croatia?
16 A. Yes, the border was opened up, and I think I said yesterday, by
17 quoting an example of military psychologists, et cetera, that 70 to
18 80 per cent of people from the area escaped to the Republic of Croatia
19 and that they weren't able to be mobilised, although they were very
20 necessary, and that's what happened with many others, too.
21 Q. And what was to be done, faced with a situation like that, and
22 the establishment of power and authority, that the authorities couldn't
23 do anything about the mobilisation call-up?
24 What did you hear from the army and the soldiers? They said, "We
25 don't receive a salary, some have fled, so what can you do to us if we
1 decide to go home"?
2 A. Yes, there was a great deal of frustration among those up at the
3 front-line. They were quite simply angry at those who had left, who had
4 fled, and they asked that mobilisation be implemented. They also asked
5 that sanctions be implemented.
6 Q. And the other thing, Mr. Vegar: A soldier who was ready to lay
7 down his life and stay to fight, was it very important for him that if he
8 were to be wounded, that he would be taken care of, and if he were
9 killed, that his family would be taken care of?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And, finally, I have here the last line of that page, it says
12 that Croat crime was on the rise and what to do about it, and the
13 question of sanctions, especially the lack of clarity about the armies
14 and the civilian authorities' responsibilities. So what can you tell the
15 Court, at a time when a country is dissolving, disintegrating, and all
16 its structures disappearing with it, what ability do you have to conduct
17 investigations, to implement sanctions, and to take to task perpetrators
18 of crimes through legal procedure?
19 A. I think that at the time, the possibilities for doing that was
20 minimal. You couldn't undertake legal action, the proper kind of legal
21 action, because as we know, the judiciary and the court system was in
22 trouble, just like all the other systems.
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you. That completes
24 my examination or, rather, this part of my examination.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I have a follow-up
1 question for you.
2 This meeting which was held in October, did you attend this
3 meeting or not?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wasn't there myself, but people
5 from my section were there.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Why did you not attend this
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because somebody had to stay
9 behind, somebody had to stay on duty.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. If you'd been
11 there, I would have had a whole series of questions to put to you. But
12 since you weren't there, I won't put these questions to you.
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Now, please look at 3D 03228. It's a newspaper called "The
15 Herzegovina Soldiers," published by the 4th Corps of the Army of Bosnia
16 and Herzegovina
17 Can you see that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Do you know about this paper?
20 A. Yes. I held it in my hands.
21 Q. Open page 1, 1st January 1993
22 the Honourable Judges can see what all the writing was about at the time.
23 It says Chetniks have shelled the first lines of defence in the urban
24 area on more than one occasion. It's about Konjic, and that shelling
25 died down after the joint response by Suad Alic Brigade and Stjepan
1 Brigade, Herceg Stjepan Brigades. There was some destruction. Do you
2 see that? Do you see that? It's for the 1st of January, 1993.
3 A. Yes, I found it.
4 Q. I'll ask you the question at the end. Let's just go quickly
5 through the text. Then 8th of January, members of the independent
6 company Blagaj from the composition of the 1st Mostar Brigade took the
7 solemn oath. The text of the oath was read by the youngest combatant,
8 Amer Tanovic, and the commander, Midhat Hajdor, expressed his gratitude.
9 You knew them?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. "Congratulations, followed by Djafer Effendi Sahic and Safet
12 Memic on behalf of the MUP of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as
13 well as from Zrinko Puljic, the commander of the 8th Battalion of the
15 Is it clear from this that at that time, the 8th of January, the
16 cooperation between the HVO and the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina was at
17 such a level that the oath-taking ceremony of the ABiH was attended by
18 representatives of the HVO, and they offered their congratulations?
19 A. Yes, I know about that. That's the way it was.
20 Q. Look at the 9th of January. Again, the Chetniks opened artillery
21 fire on Konjic and the positions of the 7th Cavalry, and they used also
22 anti-aircraft machines guns and the response was fear.
23 27th of January. After a long break, the Chetniks are shelling
24 all parts of Mostar; twenty civilians wounded, one unfortunately killed.
25 And the 23rd of January, the same thing, 16 people wounded. 24th
1 of January, shells falling on Mostar, Stolac, Konjic. 25th of January,
2 shelling is dying down. The Chetnik offensive is crushed.
3 26th and 27th January, it says:
4 "The offensive is crushed, the Serb Army's offensive is crushed,
5 but as a rule, after a defeat of the Chetniks, a retribution follows.
6 The highest-calibre shells are targeting towns and cities. Civilians are
7 being killed."
8 30th January:
9 "Responding to a fierce attack, the fighting men of the 3rd
10 Battalion of the HVO and the 1st Battalion of Bregava destroyed one
11 Chetnik bunker and two tank shelters, tank bunkers."
12 The 1st of February, an attack on Stolac --
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Mr. Praljak. I don't quite see where
14 the question is and where you are going. Is it again the matter where
15 you read a long document and then you ask the witness whether he agrees,
16 or do you expect the witness to be able to confirm every piece of
17 information that you are reading out, or what? Could you please explain
18 to the Chamber what the purpose of this is, because we are a bit lost,
19 I'm afraid.
20 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the purpose
21 is very simple, I believe. My question is going to be, and I can ask it
22 already now: When you live in a town and when the enemy forces are
23 targeting you every day with 100, 150, 200 shells, and your women and
24 children and soldiers are dying, then the issue of primary importance to
25 this trial is what is going on in Mostar, what is the mindset, how hatred
1 is rising, how in that situation is it possible to defend several hundred
2 Serbs who stayed there?
3 The question is: Did the Serbs shell Mostar continuously?
4 That's one question.
5 And the second question: Does the cooperation between HVO and
6 ABiH continue throughout, in combat, in oath-taking, in everything?
7 Those are the key issues about which somebody living in Mostar at
8 the time had first-hand knowledge. And when you look at Mostar at any
9 time of night or day, without any military justification, the town is
10 shelled all the time, it remains engrained in your memory, and that's
11 what my question is going to be.
12 And since this is a newspaper published by the 4th Corps of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina Army, we shouldn't doubt its credibility, because if I
14 were giving these facts myself, then you could interpret it differently.
15 JUDGE PRANDLER: So I also would like to say, Mr. Praljak, that
16 again that the hatred and the vengeance, it is not the issue which we are
17 talking about here, and it is what I also already mentioned yesterday. I
18 had already mentioned yesterday that in this case it will be an endless
19 discussion about what happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to
20 1995, et cetera, and we would never reach an end of it. The question is:
21 What are the actual situation here, as far as in the background of your
22 questions? Do they affect in any way or are they in any connection with
23 the indictment? Or what is the purpose of your question, as was also
24 asked by Judge Trechsel? And again, I say that the issue of vengeance,
25 the issue of the hatred, is not what we are dealing with here, and really
1 I would like to ask you to take this into account in your questions and
2 whatever you are asking.
3 Thank you.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, this is a delicate
5 issue because there can be varying points of view and diverging points of
6 view on the Bench. As you said, this is an unquestionable document from
7 the 4th Corps, and the position of the enemy which is expressed in this
8 document. I don't wish to discuss the issue of hate speech. I only
9 focus on facts and what do I see in this document. And this comes to me
10 as a surprise, because I had not understood that the Serbs were involved
11 at this time, and so involved at this time.
12 If this document speaks the truth, we can see that throughout the
13 month of January 1993, the Serbs were shelling Mostar, the Mostar area.
14 And according to this document, there is a joint action of the HVO and
15 ABiH against the Serbs. I feel, therefore, that this document is highly
17 One thing, Mr. Praljak, and this is where I agree with my
18 colleagues. You must put your question in a clear manner. As
19 Judge Prandler has said, you must not put the words in the witness's
20 mouth. He does not need to confirm this. However, you should put your
21 question in such a way that one can reach a conclusion, so that the
22 Judges are informed about the situation. This is what we are asking you
23 to do.
24 You discussed the 1st of January, the 8th and 9th, the 20th of
25 January, so put your question now to the witness. If you don't know
1 which question to put to the witness, I do.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honour
3 Judge Antonetti, I know, too, how to ask him questions, but how will I do
4 it if you don't allow me to use documents that you, yourself, say are
6 Q. So, Witness, to the best of your recollection, in all that we saw
7 written in this newspaper, what is not true?
8 A. I can't say that anything is not true.
9 Q. To the best of your knowledge from living in Mostar, are these
10 reports correct?
11 A. These reports are objective. Whether there were 50 or 60 shells
12 is another matter, but that shelling was continuous and daily, not only
13 in this month. If the Court allows me, I can confirm that the shelling
14 from Serb positions did not stop, not even in 1994. And I know very well
15 that the last shells fell on Mostar on the 3rd of August, 1995. I know
16 that because one of them broke the windows in my apartment.
17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, in Mostar in January,
19 well, you were living in West Mostar. That is something we know. Did
20 you have the feeling that at the time the conflict was between the Serbs
21 and the HVO and the ABiH or was the conflict between the Croats and the
22 Muslims, the Serbs were holding their position and cast a neutral eye on
23 all of this and woke up from time to time and shelled from time to time
24 just to manifest their presence? You were a player there at the time.
25 How did you perceive the situation in January and February of this year?
1 That said, this document, at first hand, bears the hallmarks of a
2 reliable document, indicates that in Stolac at the time there were Serb
3 attacks also, and the HVO together with the ABiH counter-attacked the
4 Serb offensive. This is my question: As a resident of Western Mostar,
5 did you have any information about the fact that the conflict in January
6 was a conflict between the Serbs and the HVO or the ABiH or was it a
7 conflict between the HV [as interpreted], the ABiH, and the Serbs mere
9 I would like to ask the court reporter not to type "HV" but
10 "HVO," please.
11 So answer, please.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My understanding then, as that of
13 most people in Mostar, Croats and Muslims alike, that it was a war
14 between Serbs on one side and Muslims and Croats on the other side, and
15 not only in January, but in the months that followed as well.
16 I will remind you of what I've already said; that on the 30th of
17 June, Muslims and Croats in the HVO were on lines north of Mostar, facing
18 Serb troops north of Mostar, as well as in Velez to the south-east of
19 Mostar. And concerning that conflict between Serbs and Croats, I and
20 other people used a milder name. We did not call it "war," even when it
21 escalated in May and June in Mostar, because we always thought that the
22 negotiations that were underway between officers of both armies and the
23 politicians of both ethnic communities at peace conferences will bring a
24 reconciliation and an end to the conflict.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Excuse me. I would like to correct
1 something on page 67, line 25. It says that "June," and the witness
2 referred to the 30th of June many times, but which year? It would be
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 30th of June of what year?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 1993.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I have understood correctly,
7 on the 30th of June, 1993
8 were facing the Serbs.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were together in the same
10 trenches facing Serb troops.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] They were in the same trenches;
12 in other words, alongside each other?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the same positions, and that's
14 when this betrayal occurred, and the men who had been together in the
15 same army, wearing the same uniform, with the support of the same
16 logistics and weapons for more than a year, turned their weapons against
17 one another. On one side, there were members of the Muslim ethnic
18 community who disarmed their fellow fighters, and the BH Army [as
19 interpreted] took control of the entire area, or almost the entire area
20 north of Mostar and the Tihomir Misic barracks.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So, in other words, you have
22 added that the ABiH had disarmed members of the HVO, which means that
23 they were able to take the northern barracks in Mostar, so I bear this in
25 Mr. Praljak.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please, may I be allowed to say
2 something, Your Honours, and to make a slight correction? Not members of
3 the BH Army, but members of the HVO who were Muslims. Muslims within the
4 HVO, they unleashed this process that you mentioned, and with the
5 BH Army's help, they disarmed many, arrested others. There were a lot of
6 dead that day. And then the attack north of Mostar started as well as
7 south of Mostar and west of Mostar.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is an important
9 clarification. The Muslim soldiers of the HVO disarmed the Croatian
10 soldiers of the HVO, with the help of the ABiH. This is what you're
11 telling us. But how do you know this?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's what I said. Well, I
13 know about that, I know about the composition of those units because I,
14 myself, toured those lines north of Mostar on Mount Prenj
15 a military HVO unit, and 70 per cent of it was made up of Muslims.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Now, on the 2nd of February, just to complete that, it says that
19 a Chetnik offensive occurred on the Stolac battle-front and that the
20 attacks were refuted. And now look at the next page, sir, where it says:
21 "Fighting and not Politics." That's the title, and it says there one of
22 the goals of this paper was to raise morale and combat readiness for the
23 4th Corps. And then it goes on to say that many didn't ask themselves --
24 failed to ask themselves why they were fighting, what they were fighting
25 for. And the answer given is:
1 "At all events, the basic goals of the fight against the
2 Chetniks, from the beginning of the Greater Serbia aggression against our
3 young fledgling republic, remain unchanged. A free and sovereign Bosnia
4 and Herzegovina
5 coexistence and whose internal setup will mean that everybody who
6 considers these regions to be their homeland will be able to reach an
7 agreement on."
8 Have you found that text?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, Mr. Vegar, was that the main stand of all HVO structures in
11 Herceg-Bosna and did they remain constant?
12 A. Yes, in the HVO and, in this particular case, the BH Army too.
13 Q. Yes. Now, this article, does it differ largely in matters
14 dealing with a unitary Bosnia-Herzegovina or, rather, a united Bosnia
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. Now, turn to the next page and let's look at what it
18 says here about Pocitelj and the Pocitelj Ravens or Gavoranorji [phoen],
19 and then the first column, where it says:
20 "The war began here on the 6th or 7th of April, when the Chetniks
21 launched a breakthrough across Mount Bivolje
22 transfer Croats and Muslims across the Dubrava elevation and the Neretva
23 River. And we already know that 12.000 or 15.000 people were transported
24 in a short space of time.
25 Now, do you know about this event, that all the Muslims who had,
1 first of all, stayed on at the Dubrava Plateau were transferred across
2 the Neretva River
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now --
5 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, while we're between answer and question,
6 I assume for some minutes now, once again we've been on Mr. Praljak's
7 direct examination time, since this has nothing to do with
8 cross-examination. I assume this is time from their case in chief.
9 Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber will see
11 whether some time should be deducted from your time in relation to this
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Very well, Your Honours.
14 Q. Now, it says here combat groups in the tunnel and the right bank
15 are being organised, and then in brackets it says it's interesting to
16 mention that the first lilies were brought here by the then defence
17 commander Cetin Luburic [phoen], and that says something about the
18 relationship of the Muslims and the Croats of these regions and their
19 mutual respect. And judging by everything, it is -- this unity is
21 Now, do you know who Mr. Luburic was?
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 Q. Do you know that at that time he was under my command there?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Is it correctly stated here that the first lilies -- and lilies
1 are the emblems of the BH Army; is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Anyway, that the first lilies were brought by Mr. Luburic to the
4 Muslim fighters, that is to say, Mr. Luburic, being a commander -- former
5 command of Capljina defence?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, we have one other matter here. It says at the time, in an
9 Ahmet Hadzic and so on, and they set up the first flag with the lily
10 emblem on the left bank of the Neretva River
11 in crossing the Neretva River
12 combatants had raised a flag with their own national symbol on the
13 department store, at the top of it?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And then it goes on to say:
16 "After the liberation, Dubravko Kapin, that group, were
17 victorious and returned to Pocetelj, where Alika Petanovic [phoen] put up
18 the first flags with lilies on the tower of the mosque, and this occurred
19 on Bajram."
20 From this, is it clear, sir, that the Croats, well, not only
21 didn't they mind any Muslim emblems, but they helped by bringing in the
22 lily emblem as co-combatants in the fight against the aggressors; is that
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Now take a look at the "Armageddon over Bosnia." That's on
1 page 2 -- or page 7, and he says here -- well, have you heard of Sefkija
3 A. Yes, many times, Sefkija Dziho.
4 Q. Let me read this out. He said that the service was made up of
5 basic security elements, and then he says in Konjic, for example, in
6 recent months we had nine cases of killings. We had five killings in the
7 military police in action.
8 Now, do you know that regardless the fact I keep debating this
9 point with His Honour Judge Prandler, whether during the war the number
10 of killings, to the best of your knowledge, for reasons that we're going
11 to clarify, did they increase, and the possibility of detection of the
12 perpetrators decreased?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Right. Now, let's look at the next page, the 6th Fleet from the
15 Neretva River
16 last article; and it says with the arrival of the service in the Dubrava
17 region, we began preparing for an armed struggle together with our
18 neighbours, the Croats, led by the late Pero Dalmatin. Do you know about
19 that, do you know about that?
20 A. Yes, I do. I know about Pero Dalmatin.
21 Q. All right, fine. Now, the next column towards the end goes on to
22 say the following:
23 "After that, there was a short period of reorganisation in the
24 HVO so that the battalion was disbanded, and we then had this present
25 unit of ours. And in that unit, we have solely Muslims, and we're the
1 best unit in the brigade, which they recognise in the HVO, and we've
2 become popularly known as the 6th Fleet."
3 From this, sir, can we see whether the Croats had anything
4 against, after the liberation of Stolac and Dubrava Plateau, the Muslims
5 formed their own Muslim detachment?
6 A. Well, yes, we can see that, that that was the case -- or, rather,
7 not the case.
8 Q. And then later on it goes on to say:
9 "Through our efforts, we gained great respect within the HVO, and
10 the BH Army knows about us, too. They know our worth and just how many
11 of us there are."
12 And then lower down it says:
13 "All my soldiers bear lilies and have been doing so from the very
14 beginning. And as far as that is concerned, the HVO makes no problems
15 for us, because ultimately we're all fighters of the state of
17 And then at the end, it says:
18 "These combatants can serve as an example to their own people and
19 the Muslim people, although they gain their affirmation within the HVO ."
20 Now, Witness, in these articles written by Muslims in February
21 1993, were there any indications at all of any kind of mens rea or
22 thought that the HVO would in any way like to subjugate -- expel and
23 subjugate the Muslims?
24 A. Well, you can see that they have full trust in the HVO, and
25 nothing of the aforementioned, and that they are completely along the
1 line or follow the course of a joint struggle, if I can put it that way.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, as to this issue of
3 emblems or insignia worn by soldiers, we had an HVO soldier testifying,
4 and here it seems to be a document coming from the Muslim side, in which
5 it is said that Muslim soldiers in HVO units would have the insignia of
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina. I don't know what this refers to, to which time.
7 Mr. Praljak says it was written in February 1993. He may be right. I
8 don't know. But as far as you know, did you know that there were Muslims
9 who were members of the HVO and would bear the insignia of the Republic
10 of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes, I knew that, and I saw
12 it. Some of them carried only lilies, and others on their sleeve would
13 have the lily and the HVO coat of arms.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have just said that you saw
15 it. Where did you see it?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right, I saw them in the
17 units, and I was in the 1st Brigade, for example, which was part of the
18 BH Army there. I saw it on the streets, on the battle-front.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay.
20 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Now, let's move on. Well, since we're on this subject, let me
22 ask you about the 12th of June, 1993 [as interpreted], two days before
23 the crossing of the Neretva River
24 the army that existed over there.
25 In Sutina and Uborak, 114 Croats and Muslims were killed, of
1 which -- or, rather, who killed them?
2 A. The Serb units.
3 Q. That was in Mostar?
4 A. Yes, north of Mostar.
5 Q. I have to make a correction. It wasn't 1993, it's 1992, so what
6 I meant was the 12th of June, 1992.
7 Since, on a phenomenological level, the Prosecutor wishes to
8 extract a theory about a joint criminal enterprise, now, you're a
9 journalist, how can an event like that where 114 people are killed, some
10 of them thrown on a rubbish heap, how can an event of that nature
11 reverberate in town among their friends, relatives, brothers, and so on,
12 in that destroyed town that it was? What happened?
13 A. Well, there was general bitterness because of this event, in
14 fact. There was fear. Some tried to flee straight away because they
15 thought that the same fate might befall them. And at that time we have
16 to know that the Serb Army had complete control of the east bank of the
17 Neretva River
18 them were taken from shelters and cellars, because most of those people
19 took refuge in shelters and cellars because there was shelling on a large
20 scale. Thousands of shells fell on the town, so people took refuge in
21 cellars and basements in the surrounding areas and apartment blocks, and
22 you had people of all ethnicities. They were all together, nobody
23 separated them. And unfortunately, if I can put it that way, I was a
24 witness of the suffering of those victims, and I think that I filmed the
25 scenes of when the remains of those victims were dug up in Uborak.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Now, in Mostar, in South Camp, you had the Yugoslav People's
4 Army; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. At North Camp, you had the JNA?
7 A. Correct.
8 Q. At Ortijes, at the airport, was the air base?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And Heliodrom was a military base?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. In the Soko industry and factory, producing parts for aeroplanes,
13 you also had JNA officers controlling manufacture?
14 A. Yes, because they produced airplane parts.
15 Q. And that was all in 1992. Now, during the attack, can we agree
16 that a large number of officers of the Yugoslav People's Army lived in
17 flats throughout Mostar?
18 A. Yes, that's right.
19 Q. And before the aggression and the beginning of the aggression by
20 the JNA on Mostar, did they flee Mostar?
21 A. Yes, they pulled out of the town.
22 Q. Now I'm going to refer to Exhibit 3D 01027 [as interpreted],
23 which are books, in fact, admitted into evidence, and the witness has
24 said that they are authentic. And I'm going to ask you, Witness, to take
25 a look at this large binder that I had mentioned, 1206, 3D 1206.
1 Now, you didn't compile the tables. That was done by my team,
2 under my control and instructions, and I will be responsible for that
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There must be a mistake in the
5 transcript. It must be 3D 1026.
6 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes, 3D 0106
7 [as interpreted]. I just referred to 3D 01027 as being a collection of
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a problem with figures,
10 Mr. Praljak. I think it's 3D 1026.
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour
12 Judge Antonetti, I really do have a problem with numbers. The number is
13 correct, and it is the document that I'm showing, 01026, 3D 01026, but I
14 was referring to Exhibit 3D 01027, which were books on the basis of which
15 a database was compiled, a computer database, and on that database we
16 have calculated tables and graphs which I would like to show to this
17 witness here and now. It's all been translated for Your Honours, and
18 this is a super precise -- or, rather, a super precise analysis would
19 take a lot of time, but the matter in hand is quite a simple one, in
21 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour. Could we have a little
22 information about where all this comes from? Most of it is not
23 translated. It's pages and pages of material, apparently. Can we just
24 have a bit more information so the courtroom can appreciate, or not, what
25 this is?
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're right. This was the
2 question I'd asked myself.
3 Do explain where the document comes from, who drafted it, in what
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, of course
6 I can.
7 The witness, who had books, these books, authentic books,
8 established there was book 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, as a foundation, as a
9 database, and that number was accepted as 3D 01027. And based on that, a
10 database is developed the way it's done with computers. You have to put
11 in binary code numbers, that is, 0s and 1s, so that the relatively
12 unsophisticated device, which is the computer, could make tables.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, but who wrote these
14 books 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6?
15 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the Prlic Defence
16 brought here Mr. Borislav Puljic as a witness. Through Mr. Puljic, we
17 introduced at the time those five books made by Urbing, and there is a
18 page attached here that says that they were made by listing apartments in
19 1992. Mr. Puljic verified that those were indeed these books and that
20 based on the books we can draw reliable conclusions for purposes of
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Go ahead,
23 Mr. Praljak.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, still -- I'm sorry. I still have to ask,
25 now that we have this bundle before us: What is the idea of having pages
1 and pages, 254, with columns where one has a number 1 at different
2 places? I'm not a computer, I cannot read this, nor are other members of
3 the Bench.
4 I fail entirely, entirely, to see any value in this, and I would
5 like to have an explanation. I must say I find slightly offended by
6 being confronted with this. It looks a bit like when my computer wants
7 to print out a picture in letters.
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Trechsel,
9 what a scientific analysis of apartments abandoned by Serbs over a couple
10 of months can provide you with, other than every number -- the number of
11 every tenant, made in such a way that a judge, or the judge's assistant,
12 or the assistant of the judge's assistant, can check. Anyone who wants
13 to deal with the problem whether the HVO and the HDZ acted consistently
14 with the joint criminal enterprise or, alternatively, that it did its
15 best under the circumstances, and I mean really the best in regard to the
16 apartments, most of which were allocated to Muslims, not Croats, what
17 else can we do than put it before you? If I made this documentation
18 myself, you would say that I am a liar and a frivolous man. You have,
19 this way, the opportunity to check, and the Prosecution can check it too.
20 All this is available on a CD-ROM.
21 As well, if you want to check, you see on page 1 what kind of a
22 database it is and how the data was derived. The original foundation for
23 the database were the five books that were confirmed here as reliable
24 sources of all this information.
25 I don't know if you really have all the time to deal with this,
1 but we are all attending the longest trial in the history of
2 international justice and I'm taking it very seriously. So when I put
3 something like this before you, I hereby express my respect. I don't
4 want to offend you.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's save time.
6 If I understand properly, when a witness -- Defence Witness
7 Puljic was called by the Prlic Defence, five books were submitted to the
8 Trial Chamber. Based on these five books, you are attempting to
9 demonstrate that contrary to the Prosecution case, when it came to
10 distributing apartments, there was no discrimination and that apartments
11 were given to people from all ethnic groups or all ethnicities. And if
12 you look at the pie chart to be found in the document, you can see that
13 there were 27 per cent for the Serbs, 35 per cent for Croats, 38 per cent
14 for Muslims.
15 Is that what you are trying to demonstrate? Because if you are
16 trying to do that, you can put one question to the witness in one
17 sentence, saying there is a thorough study that was carried out based on
18 charts, very extensive charts, as to the number of tenants, and it
19 appears that the -- and we have the following distribution in percentage.
20 You can ask him whether he agrees or not, and that's gaining time for
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour
23 Judge Antonetti, thank you very much. That is precisely what I wanted.
24 The witness has had a look at this, but I believe it's clear,
25 when somebody's doing very serious work in appreciation of the Trial
1 Chamber, it is their duty to present something like this. I hope you
2 will appreciate the enormous work that stands behind this, and that
3 includes the opportunity to verify all this of the.
4 Q. Witness, you've had a look. Is it in fact the case that
5 according to the data, we favoured the Muslims and they got more
6 apartments abandoned by Serbs than the Croats, in view of the
7 proportionate -- proportions of the population?
8 A. Yes, that's true, but it was logical, because there were more
9 Muslims who were left without homes, who crossed over to the west bank,
10 where there were more housing opportunities, because the apartments that
11 belonged to the former JNA military personnel were mostly on the
12 west bank.
13 Q. Another two brief questions. First of all, when a soldier is
14 killed in Mostar, when there is shelling, everything -- it's a big --
15 it's big news, and when a child is news, it's even bigger news.
16 Everybody knows about that. And, third, in a state of war, when pensions
17 are distributed, is there also a news item?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What kind of news would it be when -- if Croats got their
20 pensions and Muslims didn't? Would it be of planetary importance?
21 A. I suppose so.
22 Q. But if 2.000 Muslim pensioners received their pensions, from all
23 we know about that time, there were 7.000 Muslims and 1.000 Serbs,
24 approximately, living under the control of the HVO in that part of town
25 throughout the war; is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I have no further
4 And Your Honour Judge Prandler, I completely understand what you
5 are seeking, but the Prosecution is trying to develop a theory that out
6 of some phenomenological level, he wants to develop a theory about the
7 joint criminal enterprise, and we don't know what the idea was, and the
8 idea has to do both with thoughts and emotions, et cetera, because in
9 estimating what could be done about something like that, what the
10 possibility of control was. I cannot defend myself successfully if some
11 sort of evil is ascribed to a perfectly organised system, a machinery
12 that does not punish that evil just because it doesn't want to punish it,
13 not because it's simply impotent, because it's deprived of any normal
14 well-organised structure that every modern state has, and even such
15 well-organised modern states sometimes have difficulty punishing crimes.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, for everybody to
17 understand this issue about flats properly, can you confirm -- I don't
18 know whether this escaped some people, perhaps. When the Serbs left
19 Mostar, the flats which were then available were occupied by Muslims and
20 Croats? Can you confirm this, please?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was so, with the proviso there
22 were more Muslims because they needed housing more at that time, they
23 were more needy.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you are saying that there
25 were many more Muslims than Croats benefitted from these flats.
1 We moved on fairly quickly. This has to be put in the right
2 context. You said that the Serb officers of the JNA were in West Mostar
3 which means that Muslims occupied flats in West Mostar? Can you confirm
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Most of the JNA apartments
6 were in the west part of town. The military personnel left in the first
7 days of fighting or even a few days before, because they knew very well
8 what they were planning, and the east part of town was completely
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You yourself lived
11 in West Mostar. The 9th of May, 1993, as far as I'm concerned, is a key
12 date, and that is a starting point. Now, from this date onwards, were
13 you made aware of the flats that Muslims in West Mostar resided in these
14 flats since Serb JNA officers had left those flats, were these Muslims
15 asked to leave these flats? This is a crucial issue. That's what I
16 would like to elicit from you. What do you have to say to this?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that there were individual
18 cases when apartments were taken improperly, in general, but I don't know
19 of a single case when an official institution ordered that such flats be
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you give us an example? I
22 don't know the street name, nor the number, but when you lived in West
23 Mostar during this period, were you aware of the fact that there were --
24 you had any Muslim neighbours?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did, I did have Muslim
1 neighbours. There were not many Muslims living in the neighbourhood
2 where I lived, because it's a new neighbourhood. I know that some of
3 them continued to live there throughout the war. I know that some had
4 left town as the fighting intensified. They went deeper into Herzegovina
5 and into Croatian Dalmacija.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you anticipated my question,
7 but my question is an important one. I would like it to be recorded on
8 the transcript.
9 Now, among those Muslim neighbours you had, did some of them stay
10 in the flats they were living in for the entire period of the conflict?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Right.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you give us a name, for
13 instance, someone you know?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't recall now, but there
15 are thousands.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
17 We still need to hear the Petkovic Defence. We'll have the
18 break. The Coric Defence perhaps also.
19 Judge Prandler has a question.
20 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 I know that we have to have the break, but I would like to make a
22 few comments, in view of the fact that Mr. Praljak personally addressed
23 me, and of course I would like to answer to him very briefly, to the
24 point, I hope, and of course knowing that I may not convince him. But,
25 anyway, I will do my best.
1 Number 1, nobody denies your right, Mr. Praljak, that within the
2 very established context and confines, you have the right to present your
3 own questions when it is really important and when they are relevant to
4 the given issues.
5 Number 2, yesterday I twice quoted that rule of the International
6 Customary Law and International Customary Humanitarian Law, which is, in
7 shorthand, called "tu quoque," that there should not be any reciprocity
8 established as far as the implementation of those rules of the
9 International Humanitarian Law, IHL in brief, should ask us to follow.
10 Number 3, you mentioned the question of the joint criminal
11 enterprise. Of course, here we are to discuss this matter, and we are
12 pleased to receive any information and any evidence which are proper, and
13 to study the issue further. On the other hand, frankly, I do not think
14 that the joint criminal enterprise can be explained by atrocities
15 committed by any side of the conflict, and again I would of course have
16 to add at least the commission of those crimes, but, anyway, we are
17 dealing with those issues, and frankly again I do not see the link
18 established between atrocities and the issue, in general, of the joint
19 criminal enterprise.
20 And, finally, that is why I am really -- I really felt, when I
21 spoke, then you asked the questions, that those questions were about the
22 morale, about the hatred, about how the soldiers reacted to this or that
23 events, atrocities which were committed here and there, in Trusina,
24 et cetera, and again I say that these issues of morale and hatred and
25 other issues cannot be the leading motives as far as your behaviour or
1 the behaviour of those forces which were there which would explain
2 everything. And, therefore, I am still of the conviction that we should
3 avoid those issues which are not related strictly to the issues contained
4 in the indictment.
5 That is my position. Thank you.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
7 Let's have the break now, because the tapes are running out. I
8 shall take the floor when we resume.
9 --- Recess taken at 12.41 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, this is a
12 continuation of cross-examination.
13 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours, good
15 afternoon Mr. Vegar and everybody else in the courtroom.
16 I should first of all like to tell you the contents of my
17 cross-examination, Your Honours, and please listen to me too, Mr. Vegar,
18 so you will know what the topics I will be addressing are.
19 The first topic relates to Arif Pasalic's speech over the War
20 Radio BH on the 30th of June, 1993. My questions will be directly linked
21 to the questions asked by His Honour Judge Antonetti as to why
22 Arif Pasalic makes mention of the military commanders and not the
24 And if I think that I have enough time, I would like to
25 indicate -- to show some documents to Their Honours that show that
1 Tihomir Blaskic, the commander of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia,
2 as a rule, informed the head of the Defence Department, because I don't
3 wish, on the basis of just one document, it appears that one commander
4 ignored the head of the Defence Department.
5 The third topic would be the report of 1993 or, rather,
6 statement -- or, rather, the article appearing in "Slobodna Dalmacija"
7 under your name, Mr. Vegar, and I'd like us to see what the foreign press
8 said about this, how you present -- you were presented in the foreign
9 media, and the Prosecution on that basis concluded that you were the
10 spokesman for the Main Staff, and that statement was in fact a statement
11 from the HVO Main Staff.
12 Now, the fourth topic relates to the horizontal and vertical
13 organisation of the Sector for Moral Guidance, and for the most part you
14 spoke about that, but I'd just like us to hear extra explanations of your
15 views on the basis of documents that you're familiar with.
16 The next topic relates to the source of information, and you,
17 Mr. Vegar, quoted a series of information sources on the basis of which
18 you were able to comply with your job of informing the public and
19 providing internal information, but also the -- it related to the report
20 from the Main Staff or, rather -- and I would like to present a more
21 balanced view and then explain the topic.
22 And then a topic that goes beyond the frameworks of the
23 examination-in-chief and relates to the collegium of the Defence
24 Department, the way in which the senior staff meetings worked and whether
25 the collegium was a collective body or not.
1 Now, if Their Honours agree with my assessment that that is,
2 indeed, outside the scope of the examination-in-chief, I will agree that
3 I spend just three minutes on that topic and it be deducted from the
4 Petkovic Defence time.
5 Q. Now, Mr. Vegar, let's go back to the first topic which I
6 mentioned, which is Arif Pasalic's speech, and it is a document which, in
7 preparing for the cross-examination yesterday, I didn't include in this
8 set of documents, so you can find it in the Bruno Stojic Defence
9 documents, and it is document 2D 00448.
10 My colleague tells me that the document is in the second binder,
11 in actual fact.
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Would the usher help the witness
14 and show him Arif Pasalic's speech, because I'd like to focus on what I
15 consider some important details. The document is in the second Stojic
16 binder of the.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, I am looking at
18 the clock. Overall, the Defence has 38 minutes left. I don't know if
19 Mr. Coric's Defence counsel wishes to say something.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, before my colleague
21 Dijana states her views, I would like to draw to your attention that the
22 Praljak Defence said that he'd had received Defence time from Mr. Prlic,
23 so that along with our 18 minutes, we have another 18 minutes at our
24 disposal, which makes a total of 36 minutes. Now, if General Praljak
25 used up more time, I don't think that that could be at the expense of the
1 Petkovic Defence in any way.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak spoke for 52
3 minutes. You have an hour and a half minus 58 minutes. You have 38
4 minutes left. We shall not be flexible on this matter. Thirty-eight
5 minutes, and that is if Coric's Defence counsel doesn't say anything.
6 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I knew
7 for certain that everybody conducting a cross-examination, whether it be
8 the Defence or the Prosecution, that they would strictly adhere to what
9 was discussed in the examination-in-chief and wouldn't be allowed by the
10 Court to go beyond that, then in that case, after the
11 examination-in-chief, I could state my views straight away and say
12 whether I have questions or not. However, faced with a situation like
13 that, in order to protect my client's interests, I can't say that at this
14 stage. I don't think I'll have any questions, but I must keep at least a
15 few minutes back for myself, if the need arises.
16 MR. KOVACIC: On the questioning of Defence of General Praljak,
17 you noted -- you said that some minutes will be taken out of account for
18 the cross and will be deducted from our future account, so perhaps this
19 should not be used in order to harm Ms. Alaburic.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but we can't rule straight
21 away. The Judges have differing views, and we cannot rule on this,
22 whether time should be taken off Mr. Praljak's time. We shall see that
23 later on.
24 There's one hour and thirty minutes for the cross-examination.
25 The witness is not a hostile witness vis-a-vis the other accused, and I
1 have given my opinion on this. The cross-examination is, in fact,
2 examination-in-chief. I wanted this to be recorded on the transcript.
3 Ms. Alaburic, you have the floor, and we will finish at a quarter
4 to 2:00.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Since
6 this trial is going to go on for more than four years, I don't think it
7 will be a great problem, whether I'm going to have 38 or 45 minutes at my
9 Q. Now, Mr. Vegar, you have found this speech by Arif Pasalic, I
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did I understand you correctly when you told us today that you
13 and your colleagues did not like using the concept of war or term "war"
14 for relations between Muslims and Croats in Mostar, even at the end of
15 June, when the first serious clashes began? Did I understand you
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, let's see what Mr. Arif Pasalic says. Towards the end of
19 the first page of the Croatian text, which is, for Their Honours'
20 benefit, on page 2, line 5 and 6 of the English, Arif Pasalic says:
21 "Rest assured that you declared war on us. This morning, you
22 declared war."
23 And then the last sentence of that whole speech:
24 "You should know that hundreds and thousands of Hujkos will be
25 born today, precisely against those of you who imposed war upon us."
1 So, Mr. Vegar, I can conclude from that that Mr. Arif Pasalic
2 considers that on the 30th of June, 1993, a war began between the Muslims
3 and Croats in Mostar. Would you, as an analyst of this speech, agree
4 with an observation of that kind?
5 A. No. First of all, the war in Mostar began earlier on. And the
6 second point is we did not impose the war, so the people he is
7 addressing -- Mr. Pasalic is addressing, well, especially not on that
8 day, the 30th of June, when the units that he commanded launched an
9 attack both in town and in the barracks and North Camp.
10 Q. Mr. Vegar, let me just tell you, I'm not asking you what you
11 think happened then, but whether you, having read this speech by
12 Mr. Pasalic, would interpret it as him saying that then on the 30th of
13 June, war was declared, and that that's when the war began, because the
14 sentence before that -- or, rather, the paragraph -- in the paragraph
15 before that, he says that he was sitting in a cafe with a military
16 commander, Vr lic, and with Puljic he created a joint command, and then
17 he says, "You declared war upon us."
18 Now, is it Arif Pasalic who considers that the war began on the
19 30th of June, 1993, based on this speech of his and what he says in it?
20 MR. SCOTT: I apologise for the interruption, but one of the
21 problems that recurs, Your Honours, is that if I wait for the
22 translation, then often then we get the answer, and then it makes the
23 objection a bit late in that sense, so it's difficult not to intervene
24 earlier, before the witness has a chance to answer the question.
25 Your Honour, I don't see how we're assisted by this. The
1 Judges -- Your Honours can read the letter. Why -- what's the special
2 added value having this particular witness read the letter and tell us
3 what he thinks it means? Your Honours have it. You can read it. You
4 can decide for yourself. But I don't see what this witness -- how this
5 witness can add to that.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I can respond to that.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, it is better you
8 put the question to the witness in this manner: "We have a document,"
9 and you sum up the contents of the document, and then you put your
10 question. Otherwise, you can spend your entire time reading out the
11 document wait for him to say "yes" or "no." What we are interested in is
12 that you highlight your strategy, your defence. Otherwise, we are
13 wasting our time.
14 We are entitled, according to the Rules, to control the witness's
15 testimony, and I would like you to put clear questions to the witness
16 without reading out the entirety of the documents, and then you can put
17 your question to the witness. Just sum it up.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I read out just ten
19 words -- approximately ten words from the document, so I wasn't actually
20 reading the document, the entirety of the document. And this question
21 was asked of the witness because he dealt with relationships with the
22 public and liaising with the public, and he was an expert in this area,
23 and he could have analysed Arif Pasalic's speech and drawn conclusions
24 about the effectiveness of that speech that was broadcast over the radio
25 at 11.00 on the 30th of June. So that's why I'm asking him whether he
1 read this speech, as a conclusion of Arif Pasalic to the effect that war
2 had started, so my next question will be directly linked to that.
3 Q. So I'd just like the witness to tell me whether we can understand
4 the speech that way and if he understood it that way.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Mr. Vegar, we had at least two witnesses here who lived in Mostar
7 at the time and who said that regardless of the conflicts that took place
8 in May and June 1993, that the real conflict, serious conflict, occurred
9 only after the events of the 30th of June, 1993. Would you agree with
10 that assessment?
11 A. Yes. From that day on, the conflict intensified.
12 Q. Now, take a look at the last passage, the last paragraph in that
13 speech. In that last paragraph, Mr. Arif Pasalic calls upon all citizens
14 able to bear arms and every citizen who can carry a rock to kill Ustasha
15 criminals. Tell us, Mr. Vegar, can this be considered a call to each and
16 every citizen to use rifles, rocks, or in any other way to stand up to
17 the HVO?
18 A. Yes, precisely.
19 Q. That's all I wanted to ask you in relation to this document.
20 Now, in the separate set of documents, in connection with
21 Judge Antonetti's question as to how a report by Tihomir Blaskic was not
22 sent to the head of the Defence Department, Mr. Stojic, we prepared six
23 reports at random. You can leaf through them. They're not essential to
24 us. We're not dealing with the contents of those, but just to see direct
25 communication between Mr. Tihomir Blaskic and the head of the Defence
1 Department, Bruno Stojic. And in that connection comes my next question.
2 Were you informed and aware, Mr. Vegar, that certain commanders
3 of the brigades and commanders of operative zones would send certain
4 reports directly to Mr. Stojic as well?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. The third topic, as we said, relates to the April announcement.
7 Now, Mr. Vegar, I'm going to go briefly through your functions, and I
8 hope I understood what you said correctly.
9 From September to the 31st of January, 1993, the head of IPD --
10 you were head of IPD; right?
11 A. Yes, the Information and Propaganda Department, Moral Guidance
13 Q. Now, from the 1st of February, 1993, you were de facto assistant
14 head of the Defence Department for Morale and officially appointed to the
15 function on the 27th of August, 1993; is that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And you were also the spokesman for the Defence Department, were
18 you not?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And as a deputy for your colleague from the HZ-HB, sometimes you
21 would be a spokesman for the government as well?
22 A. No, no, I wasn't a spokesman for the Croatian Defence Council at
23 the HZ-HB. That was just an exceptional situation on one occasion, when
24 my colleague from that department was not there, so I had to step in and
25 draw up an announcement.
1 Q. All right. So I will correct myself. You weren't a spokesman,
2 but you wrote reports for meetings. Can I also conclude that you were
3 never a spokesman of the Main Staff of the HVO?
4 A. Yes, you can conclude that.
5 Q. Very well, thank you. Now, in my journalist documents, I looked
6 through articles to see how you were presented and represented in the
7 media, and I see you were represented as being the spokesman of the
8 Main Staff, and as the spokesman for the HVO, and even as the head of the
9 Defence Department. Can you confirm, Mr. Vegar, that different
10 newspapers and media defined your post and function differently?
11 A. Yes, that's a typical example of imprecision on the part of a
12 journalist or journalists.
13 Q. I'm going to skip over two documents that my colleague
14 Senka Nozica showed you, which is the minutes from a session of the
15 Croatian Defence Council in April 1993. The document is P 1798, and an
16 article appearing in "Slobodna Dalmacija," signed with your name. It is
17 a statement from that session. P 9519 is the document number, and I'm
18 sure you will remember those documents. I don't think we need waste time
19 reading them.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Let's see what the foreign media wrote. And in my set of
22 documents, look at P 10675, for instance. We have the first piece of
23 information, which is Reuters, and in the third paragraph or section, it
24 says -- or, rather, it talks about the ultimatum. In the statement it
25 says, "The Command of the Bosnian Croat forces."
1 And then a little further down on page 5 for you, we have the
2 article from the "Christian Science Monitor" where the eruption of the
3 crisis is mentioned, and an ultimatum of the 15th of April is mentioned
4 there too. And finally we have "Agence France Presse" which in similar
5 fashion defines that press release.
6 And now look at another document and I'm going to ask you a
7 question. My colleagues tell me that on e-court, the wrong document was
8 pulled up, but I see that there is nothing on e-court now, whereas the
9 number of the document was properly recorded on the transcript, P 0675.
10 Now look at P 1808, P 1808. That's a short article from Belgrade
11 daily "Borba" of the 5th of April, 1993, and it carries information from
12 Reuters, and there, too, it says that the HVO Command issued a statement,
13 asked for something, and so on.
14 So, Mr. Vegar, can we conclude that the information which relates
15 to your announcement and the HVO HZ-HB session of the 3rd of April were
16 wrongly portrayed in the media as being a statement from the Main Staff
17 of the HVO?
18 A. Yes, we can say that, and I think that in these reports the news
19 agencies, as far as the statement goes -- well, I just conveyed this
20 message to the media without any comments on my part.
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Now I'd like to draw Their
22 Honours' attention to part of the cross-examination by my learned friend
23 Mr. Scott, Defence witness Prlic -- or, rather, Neven Tomic, and the
24 pages I'm referring to are the following: 34713, 34713, 34713.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment before you continue,
1 Ms. Alaburic.
2 Witness, Ms. Alaburic thought it useful to mention this document
3 from "Borba." Since she did so, let me ask you a question.
4 It is stated here that Izetbegovic did not want to sign the
5 agreement of the 15th of April and that the HVO will unilaterally
6 establish its authority in Provinces 7, 8 and 10, and that comes from an
7 HVO headquarter in Mostar. Was it normal for the headquarters to take
8 such a stance, whilst this was an international agreement? How do you
9 account for this press release from the HVO HQ?
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment. Your Honour
11 Judge Antonetti, what I -- my questions so far have the purpose of
12 showing you that it was not a press release from the Main Staff of the
13 HVO, so I would appreciate it, if you go on questioning on the subject,
14 please bear in mind that it's not a press release of the Main Staff, but
15 of the HVO HZ-HB. And my questioning has the purpose of finally clearing
16 up in this courtroom --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All the more reason to ask an
18 answer from the witness.
19 Your "Borba" colleagues, when they quoted a press release from
20 the HVO headquarters, did they get it wrong or not?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, they made a mistake. They
22 quoted the wrong press release. In fact, there was no press release from
23 the Main
24 information or disinformation can only be among press releases from the
25 sessions of the HVO HZ-HB, because there is simply no press release of
1 the Main Staff.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Just two questions, perhaps, on
5 I quoted transcript 34713 and 34714, and both Judge Antonetti and
6 my learned friend Mr. Scott questioned the witness about where he was
7 working, and the witness could not say that he was working for the HVO
8 HZ-HB, but he did work for the military component.
9 Q. And at the end of this subject, the witness said you were the
10 board parole [as interpreted], the spokesperson of the military
11 department of the HVO?
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness answer again, because he
13 spoke at the same time as counsel.
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Could you please repeat your answer? My question was: Can we
16 agree again that you were not the spokesperson for the Main Staff? And
17 your answer is?
18 A. I was the spokesperson for the Defence Department.
19 Q. Now we come to a very important question. In all these foreign
20 media, mention is made of an ultimatum and the date 15th April. In the
21 transcripts of the HVO HZ-HB sessions, and your press release, there is
22 no reference to an ultimatum or a date by which the Muslim side should
23 accept the implementation of the Vance-Owen Plan. Tell me, does your
24 press release faithfully reflect what actually happened at the HVO
1 A. Yes, precisely.
2 Q. I have finished with this area.
3 Now, Mr. Vegar, could we discuss the vertical and horizontal
4 organisation of the Sector for Moral Guidance. I will share with you one
5 impression, and you will correct me if I'm wrong. I had the feeling that
6 when you were talking about people working in that sector, you were
7 talking about the entire vertical organisation, and that when you say
8 people in the IPD, you also include assistant commanders, and that's why
9 counsel for Mr. Stojic asked you several times if you make a distinction
10 between various workers in the sector as opposed to IPD officers in
11 military units. Was that a problem in communication, really?
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could all extra microphones please be switched
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Could we now look at some basic documents to see if officers in
16 this Sector for Moral Guidance include assistant commanders in military
17 units. I know, Mr. Vegar, that you are not a lawyer, and I don't expect
18 you to interpret law, but I believe you can be of help to us in
19 understanding the real military organisation.
20 One of my colleagues warns me that the witness's answer to my
21 question from line 8 is not recorded, whether it was really a problem in
22 communication. Your answer, Mr. Vegar?
23 A. Answer with a "yes."
24 Q. The first document I'd like you to see --
25 MR. SCOTT: I was trying not to, Your Honours, I was trying to
1 sort it out for myself and the transcript, but I can't find where the
2 witness says what was his press release. There was a reference in the
3 question, whether his press release accurately reflected the minutes of
4 the HVO HZ-HB meeting, and I apologise in particular to Ms. Alaburic if I
5 missed it, but we looked at the one press article from "Borba," and the
6 witness information there that I saw there, the testimony is that the
7 journalists had gotten it wrong, it was misinterpreted.
8 So I don't know, when the question is put, "Was your press
9 release," the press release of this witness, "... based on and accurately
10 reflected what happened at the HVO HZ-HB meeting," what press release
11 we're talking about, and if I missed it, I apologise. If someone could
12 assist me, it would be appreciated.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Gladly, Your Honour. I thought it
14 was not necessary to dwell on this excessively, but I would like
15 Mr. Scott to look up P 9519 in my set of documents. It's a press release
16 published in "Slobodna Dalmacija" under the name "Veso Vegar." It's an
17 official document admitted into evidence already. And in response to a
18 question from Ms. Nozica, the witness did say it was, indeed, the press
19 release from that session of the government. The witness also explained
20 he did not attend the session. He prepared the press release based on
21 the transcript, and that that transcript is P 1798. And from that
22 article in "Slobodna Dalmacija," we can see that, indeed, the witness
23 very faithfully conveyed the debate and the conclusions of the session of
24 the HVO HZ-HB.
25 Q. Can you tell me, Mr. Vegar, what I just explained for the benefit
1 of Mr. Scott, is that really true? Did I interpret your evidence
3 A. You did, you did.
4 Q. So to come back to the horizontal and vertical organisation of
5 the Sector for Moral Guidance, it is an important subject to us, because
6 it matters a lot to establish whether, in the vertical organisation of
7 this sector, there is the Main Staff or the Defence Department, that is,
8 the head of the Defence Department. That's why we are dealing with this.
9 The first document is P 586. You have already seen that
10 document. It's a decision on the basics of the organisation of the
11 Defence Department. You told the Stojic Defence about paragraph 6 of the
12 document, dealing with moral guidance.
13 Some correcting. P 586.
14 Please look at paragraph 14 of that document. In that
15 paragraph 6, it says that the way of management of internal units and
16 other relationships within the department shall be decided upon by the
17 head of the Defence Department, with the consent of the president of the
18 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Is that what it says here?
19 A. Yes, we can understand it that way.
20 Q. This provision seems to say that the Main Staff of the HVO will
21 not participate in defining the model of the Sector for Moral Guidance;
23 A. Right.
24 Q. Another document is 2D 567. In para D of this document,
25 reference is made to the Sector for Moral Guidance. This segment has
1 three paragraphs. In the first one, we read about the way heads of
2 certain administrations are appointed. In the second paragraph, it's
3 about appointment and relief of assistant commanders of operations zones
4 and military units. And now in this third paragraph that begins with the
5 words: "All the other officers and operatives of the Main Staff shall be
6 appointed by the chief of the Main Staff [as interpreted]," when we look
7 at this language, "other," it seems to mean that the staff mentioned in
8 the first two paragraphs is also personnel of the Main Staff. Can you
9 agree with this?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, you told us, Mr. Vegar, at some point, and I believe it
12 should be cleared up --
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. I draw your attention to the fact
14 that there is either a problem of translation or you may have misspoken,
15 because you have quoted page 103: "All the other officers and operatives
16 of the Main Staff ..." I've heard that, but you wanted to say "of the
17 Moral Sector," I suppose.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you. I can't
20 always follow the record. I was not talking about the Main Staff at all.
21 I quoted one section of this decision, and the witness and I understood
22 each other, because there was no misunderstanding in our language.
23 So in the third paragraph, it says that:
24 "All the other employees and operatives in the Sector for Moral
25 Guidance shall be assigned by the chief -- by the assistant head of the
1 Defence Department."
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] That's why my question was the
4 Main Staff does not participate in selecting the model of the Sector for
5 Moral Guidance, and the witness answered affirmatively.
6 Q. You told us yesterday -- Mr. Vegar, you told us that assistant
7 commanders for IPD were subordinated primarily to the commander of the
8 military unit or the operations zone they were in. I'm interested in the
9 word "primarily," and I want you to tell us to whom else they were
10 subordinated, apart from their own commander.
11 A. Apart from their own commander, they were in communication with
12 employees of the IPD, IPD personnel at levels superior to their own, up
13 to the assistant chief of the Defence Department Sector for Moral
15 Q. All right. Now look at -- skip two documents and look at
16 4D 1284. It's a diagram of the Sector for Moral Guidance prepared by my
17 associates. Look at the sector structured in this way, and you can see
18 on the basis of which documents this diagram was developed. Is it
19 approximately the way it was envisaged by the regulatory acts --
20 enactments, documents on the organisation of the Defence Department? Is
21 it consistent with your knowledge?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Speaking of the professional vertical line, does it go exactly
24 like it is drawn here: Assistant commander of the company through the
25 assistant commander of the battalion, and then assistant commander of the
1 brigade, then assistant commander of the operations zone, up to the
2 assistant chief of the Defence Department, later minister?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. The Stojic Defence showed you several orders of General Petkovic
5 relating to his activity, which was closely linked to information and the
6 work of your sector, but these orders were from the year 1992, so I won't
7 deal with them, because at that time sectors were only being developed
8 and established and relations were only arising, but I'd like you to
9 comment on P 2331. That's a request dated 12 May 1993, addressed by
10 General Petkovic to Chief Bruno Stojic, and I'd like to remind both the
11 Trial Chamber and my colleagues from the Prosecution that the document
12 was mistranslated as "Order." The translation should have been
14 Now, tell us, Mr. Vegar, if you can, when somebody who belongs to
15 the military, in what cases do they write an order and in what cases do
16 they write requests, if you know?
17 A. I suppose requests are written to someone to whom you cannot
18 issue orders, and if somebody is lower in the hierarchy than you are,
19 then you can write an order.
20 Q. There's also a situation --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have to finish at quarter
22 to, because the Popovic trial is on this afternoon and I don't want to go
23 over time and take some of their time. We have to finish for the day.
24 You have exactly -- well, we'll tell you how much time you have
25 exactly, and we shall continue with the cross-examination tomorrow.
1 I wish you all a good afternoon. We shall reconvene tomorrow at
2 9.00 in the morning.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.44 p.m.
4 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 18th day
5 of February, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.