1 Monday, 27 April 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The accused Prlic and Coric not present]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you please
7 call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
9 everyone in and around the courtroom.
10 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus
11 Prlic et al.
12 Thank you, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
14 This is Monday, April 27th, 2009, and I would like to greet our
15 accused, first and foremost, then also counsel for the Defence, Mr. Scott
16 and his assistants, and all the people helping us in this courtroom.
17 We will now start our fourth year of trial. This is a historic
18 landmark. It's been going on for four years now, and maybe next year at
19 the same day I'll be telling you this is now going to be our fifth year.
20 Very well. Mr. Registrar, in the meanwhile, could you please --
21 you have the floor.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Some parties have submitted lists of documents to be tendered
24 through Witness Bagaric, Ivan. The list submitted by 2D shall be given
25 Exhibit IC990. The list submitted by 3D shall be given Exhibit IC991.
1 The list submitted by 4D shall be given Exhibit IC992, and the list
2 submitted by the Prosecution shall be given Exhibit IC993.
3 Thank you, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
5 Ms. Nozica, you have the floor. I believe you had something to
7 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good afternoon to everyone in the
8 courtroom. Good afternoon to you, Your Honours. Thank you for giving me
9 the floor.
10 I'd just like to ask us to move into private session for a few
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
13 [Private session]
11 Page 39250 redacted. Private session.
14 [Open session]
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you please give us your
20 name, surname, and date of birth.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Dragan Juric, born on
22 the 10th of July, 1955.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your occupation at the
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm retired.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you already testified
2 before a court or is this the first time that you're testifying?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first time that I'm in
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you please read the
6 solemn declaration.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
8 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 WITNESS: DRAGAN JURIC
10 [The witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I've asked you a
14 series of questions to know whether you had already testified in court,
15 and you told me that this was going to be the first time that you
16 testify. It's true that when you testify in court, in front of many
17 people, it's something that you tend to remember. It's an important
18 moment in one's life. I know that you've had some health problems, so
19 I'd like to tell you right away that if at any moment you feel poorly,
20 just raise your hand and tell us, you know, to stop the proceedings,
21 maybe because you're under too much stress or you don't feel right. So
22 just tell us.
23 Furthermore, let me tell you some things that your counsel
24 probably had already told you, but some things that will help things run
1 You'll have to answer questions put to you by Ms. Nozica.
2 Ms. Nozica is also going to show you a number of documents that are in a
3 binder that will be handed to you in a minute.
4 Once this stage of questioning is over, and it should last for
5 two hours, the other counsels who are with her, around her, and who
6 represent other accused, other than Mr. Stojic, will also be entitled to
7 put questions to you, and this will be their own cross-examination. But
8 experience has shown that up until now, everything went very smoothly up
9 until then.
10 The four Judges on the Bench can also intervene to ask questions
11 in order to shed some light on a number of items coming either from
12 documents that were presented to you or from your answers, and there
13 again normally things run quite smoothly.
14 Then there will be a more -- a rockier moment, if I could say so.
15 It's when the Prosecutor will be asking questions to you in his
16 cross-examination, and that's his job. The cross-examination has two
17 goals: We have to test your credibility to see whether you're lying or
18 not and also put questions to you regarding the substance of the issues
19 that you have addressed, and there the Prosecutor will be leading his
20 cross-examination in a way that could be perceived as difficult by you.
21 It's not really a picnic, if we could say so. But please stay cool and
22 just answer the questions put to you.
23 We have breaks every hour and a half so you can rest.
24 You are now under oath. You're now in the hands of justice,
25 you're the witness of justice, and you will no longer be in contact with
1 Ms. Nozica.
2 Your hearing might have to continue tomorrow, but you are not
3 supposed to contact her either today, overnight, or tomorrow. So in your
4 hotel room, you know, don't talk about today's testimony.
5 Please be very brief and very accurate in your answers. If you
6 don't understand the meaning of a question, just ask the person putting
7 the question to you to reformulate it.
8 Of course, the Trial Chamber is available if you need to ask for
10 I've told you all this to make sure that this hearing will run as
11 smoothly as possible.
12 So these were my preliminary remarks, and I will now give the
13 floor to Ms. Nozica, representing Mr. Stojic.
14 Ms. Nozica.
15 MS. NOZICA: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Examination by Ms. Nozica:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Juric.
18 A. Good afternoon.
19 Q. I'm going to go through your CV for the benefit of the Court and
20 you can just tell me, when I finished, whether what I've said is correct,
21 and set me right if it isn't.
22 You graduated in 1973 from the secondary school in Fojnica. From
23 November 1973 until 1983, you worked in the Igman Factory in Konjic.
24 From 1985 until 1992, you worked in the Energo Opskerba [phoen] Factory
25 and the heating plant in that factory as the manager. And in March 1992,
1 you joined the Territorial Defence of Konjic Municipality, and you were
2 put forward for the assistant head for operative and training courses in
3 that Joint Staff. At the end of September 1992, the HVO Herceg Stjepan
4 Brigade was set up in Konjic, and you were appointed assistant head of
5 operations and training. On the 22nd of March, 1993, you were appointed
6 the deputy commander of the HVO of the Herceg Stjepan Brigade, and you
7 remained in that post until the 18th of April, 1993, when, on the basis
8 of internal agreement, part of the brigade which had moved to the
9 Turija-Zabrdje-Zaslivlje area; yes, Zabrdje and Zaslivlje, you were
10 appointed commander of Zabrdje and Zaslivlje -- I'm waiting for the
11 transcript to get the names, Zaslivlje, Z-a-s-l-i-v-l-j-e -- and you were
12 appointed commander of that sector, and you remained in that post until
13 the 3rd of July, 1993, when you were wounded. On the 15th of August,
14 1993, once again on the basis of an internal agreement on the part of the
15 Command of that area, you were appointed assistant commander and were
16 charged with working with civilians, and you remained in that post until
17 March 1994. And you retired on the 30th of May, 1997.
18 Mr. Juric, is that date correct -- your CV; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you. Now, Mr. Juric, could you explain to the
21 Trial Chamber, and we saw, from the introduction I made, all the posts
22 that you occupied in Konjic, all your duties, and we're interested in the
23 period from 1992 to 1993, until March 1994, in actual fact, so could you
24 tell the Trial Chamber where the town of Konjic is located?
25 A. Your Honours, the town of Konjic
1 M-17 running from Sarajevo
2 from Sarajevo
3 River runs through the centre of town and divides the town into two
4 parts, the left and right bank. There are some hills around the town of
5 Konjic, and on the right-hand side you find Mount Zlatar
6 left-hand side you will find the village of Borici Borak with a dominant
7 feature called Borasnica [phoen], and to the south of that is Mount
9 Lake Jablanica
10 it's called Butorovic Polje, a gorge.
11 Q. You said Butorovic Polje; right? I'm looking at the transcript.
12 So for the transcript is Butorovic Polje, B-u-t-o-r-o-v-i-c.
13 Tell me, Mr. Juric, or rather tell the Trial Chamber what the
14 ethnic structure was in the Konjic municipality in 1991?
15 A. According to the population census in 1991, Konjic had about
16 45.000 inhabitants, and, percentage-wise, 54 percent were Muslims, about
17 26 percent were Croats, and about 15 percent were Serbs, and 5 percent
18 others, miscellaneous.
19 Q. And how about inhabitants did the town of Konjic proper have, if
20 you can answer that?
21 A. Well, I can't give you an exact figure, but I would say it had
22 about 20.000.
23 Q. The hamlets and villages and suburbs which surround Konjic, were
24 they mono-ethnic or were they of mixed ethnicities?
25 A. Mostly mono-ethnic. There were very few settlements with a mixed
1 population, and the town of Konjic
2 predominantly inhabited by Croats, Ovcari [phoen] Repovica [phoen],
3 Donje Selo, Pokojiste, that's on the right bank, and on the left bank we
4 have Turija, Zabrdje, Zaslivlje.
5 Q. Can you tell me the Trial Chamber when combat began in Konjic
7 A. At the end of March 1992 and the beginning of April saw the
8 departure en masse of the Serb population from the town of Konjic
9 in the area of Borak, which is where there were military facilities and
10 JNA communications facilities. When the Serb population left and the
11 military-able men, the town began to be shelled, and the first shells
12 fell on the village of Turija
13 Q. And when did the first military units -- when were the first
14 military units set up in Konjic?
15 A. Well, precisely at that time. So that Konjic could defend
16 itself, a Municipal Staff of the TO was set up, and the Croats and
17 Muslims joined that body because the Serbs avoided it. The commander was
18 Sead Regapagic [phoen], he was a Muslim ethnically and his deputy was
19 Ivica Azinovic. He was a Croat. I was proposed to be the assistant
20 commander in that Staff for Training, and the establishment of the staff
21 was never completely set up, because with the beginning of April 1992,
22 combat action started.
23 Q. You said that the staff was set up, and you've just explained to
24 us how that came about at the end of March. Now, tell the Trial Chamber
25 whether any units were formed on the ground, in the field.
1 A. Yes. In almost all the villages and hamlets, the population
2 organised themselves and set up units. They were manned by people living
3 in those villages, the locals, and they would have 20 -- units of 20 or
4 30 or 40 men, depending on the number of inhabitants, and they just had a
5 commander. That was it. All the others were fighters.
6 Q. You said a moment ago that the villages, hamlets and settlements
7 around Konjic were mostly of a single ethnicity. Did the units reflect
8 that population setup as well?
9 A. In the places which had single ethnicity, this was reflected on
10 the units, but there were quite a number of villages with a mixed
11 population and so the units there were mixed as well.
12 Q. Now, tell me whether there was any military -- whether there were
13 any military operations that started after the establishment of the
15 A. At the beginning of April 1992, the staff was led -- or, rather,
16 the staff led operations to free the facility of Ljuta.
17 Which is where the weapons were stored of the TO reserve force
18 for Konjic, Jablanica and Prozor, and that facility was guarded -- or,
19 rather, that's where the members of the Yugoslav People's Army were and
20 some Serb civilians standing guard. Also during that period of time,
21 there was an operation at Zlatar, the Zlatar facility, also guarded by
22 the JNA, and that's where the communications and signals centre was. And
23 the staff also led the operation to take the plateau of Ljubljana,
24 because that was the dominant feature, the dominant elevation from which
25 you could see the whole of the town of Konjic, and also all the access
1 roads to Konjic were controlled. And the fighting on this plateau went
2 on for two days. We managed to take control of the plateau, and the
3 Serbs withdrew, and we suffered the first losses. Three fighters were
4 killed, two Croats and one Muslim. It was -- Suad Alic was the Muslim
5 person who was killed, and one of the brigades took his name after that.
6 Q. Thank you. Now, what was the situation like in Konjic at the
8 A. Well, in Konjic at the time, the civilian population, the Croats
9 and Muslims were in a panic, and they began leaving the town of Konjic
10 and moving towards Jablanica, Risovac, and toward Herzegovina and further
11 afield to Croatia
12 Q. You said Risovac, didn't you?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Very well. All right, we will correct this later. Tell me,
15 please, did the population later come back, mostly come back?
16 A. They started coming back at the end of August, and then further
17 on the majority of the population returned to Konjic by the end of 1992.
18 Q. Mr. Juric, how were these units armed, the units that were under
19 the Joint Staff?
20 A. As far as I know, we received weaponry from Croatia and from the
21 Logistics Base in Grude. There wasn't enough weapons, so that a large
22 number of soldiers didn't have any.
23 Q. Mr. Juric, were there, and if so when, any disagreements between
24 the members of the staff who were Croats and Muslims?
25 A. Yes, there were disagreements; not major ones, but there were
1 some. The first thing we noticed is that within the staff, the
2 Joint Staff, the Muslims attempted to have a leading role in
3 decision-making, in leadership, and in command. The fact was that at the
4 time, they had very few people engaged in defence, and they were much
5 better armed than we Croats were.
6 Further on, there were frequent changes of commanders in the
7 staff, and that disrupted the coordination and work between us and them.
8 Thirdly, when the facility in Ljuta was taken, where a large
9 number of materiel and equipment were seized, the distribution of this
10 equipment wasn't properly done, the allocation wasn't well done, so that
11 our fighters received very little weapons from that cache. And later on
12 we learned that some members of some units sold or resold that equipment
13 later on.
14 Q. When you say, Mr. Juric, "We received much less weaponry," who do
15 you have in mind?
16 A. Croatian soldiers.
17 Q. What was the result of these disagreements, Mr. Juric?
18 A. Precisely because of these disagreements, we did not have accord
19 within the staff, and there were parallel units established of the HVO
20 and the BH Army.
21 Q. When was this taking place?
22 A. In early June 1992.
23 Q. Did you personally take part in the establishing of the HVO unit?
24 A. No. In all of the activities mentioned so far, I acted in -- I
25 was involved as a soldier. I was active within the unit in the village
1 where I lived.
2 Q. And who took part in these activities on behalf of the HVO?
3 A. On behalf of the HVO, that was Mr. Ivica Azinovic and --
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't catch the second name.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, as you were answering
6 this question, I was wondering whether counsel was going to talk about
7 the ethnic make-up of the municipalities. There were no document about
8 that. It seems that the Konjic municipality comprised 50 percent Muslim,
9 20 to 25 percent Croats, approximately. When the weapons were handed
10 out, as you mentioned a few moments ago, and according to what you have
11 said, you seem to be saying that you weren't given enough weapons. As
12 far as you remember, did the weapons distribution factor in the ethnic
13 make-up or were the weapons divided among everyone without considering
14 this particular factor? I also forgot to mention that there were
15 15 percent Serbs, approximately.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the majority of these
17 weapons were destroyed because a lot of these facilities were burned
18 down. However, the equipment that had been seized, as I said, it was
19 distributed proportionally to the percentage of residents, in view of the
20 ethnic make-up. And I said that we should have received more, in view of
21 how numerous we were in that area.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In other words, this was not
23 done according to the population make-up.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I just add a question.
1 Mr. Juric, who distributed MTS?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was the officers of the staff
3 which was in charge of these activities, and those were jointly Croats
4 and Muslims.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
6 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Juric, let me just see whether a mistake was made in
8 interpretation. You said that the weapons were distributed
9 proportionally to the number of residents. Was it the number of
10 residents or number of soldiers?
11 A. Number of soldiers, that's what I had in mind.
12 Q. You also said that there were many more Croats who took part in
13 the staff and in the units than Muslims; is that correct?
14 A. The facts spoke for themselves.
15 Q. Very well. Now, let me us go back to the establishing of the
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Ms. Nozica, I'm not satisfied with this answer.
18 What does it mean, "The facts spoke for themselves"? They do not speak
19 to me, Mr. Juric, so if you could please explain more clearly.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I have said earlier, in the
21 villages there were self-organised units, so that the actual figures
22 could not be determined at the time with certainty. However, analysing
23 how many there were in view of the number of residents, we believed that
24 we received much less weaponry than we were due.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And by saying "we," you mean the Croats; is that
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I would like to see more clearly. I hope I'm
4 not doing your job less good than you would have done it, Ms. Nozica. I
5 would suppose that MTS was distributed to the villages; is that correct?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, to the units that existed in
7 villages, to the soldiers who were in villages.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Right. And your impression is that the Croat
9 villages got too little as compared to the, quote, "Muslim" villages; is
10 that how I have to understand you?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We had a lot of soldiers who were
12 active, engaged, who did not receive any weapons.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I still do not quite understand. The weapons
14 did not go to the individuals, or did they?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The commanders of those units had
16 the weapons, and they would ask, for example, 20 rifles for their unit,
17 and they would receive only 10 and they would be told that there wasn't
18 any more available, whereas they had 20 soldiers.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And you are saying that this only happened to
20 the detriment of Croats and not to the detriments of Muslims. If Muslims
21 said, We need 10 rifles, they got 10 rifles?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, they wouldn't, they wouldn't
23 receive as many. There were more of them who had not been engaged yet.
24 Later on, they joined units.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay. I leave it at that for the moment. Thank
2 Excuse me, Ms. Nozica.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you have said
4 something which seems important, all the more so that the Trial Chamber
5 has been seized of Doljani and Sovici. This is on line 16, page 15. You
6 said that units existed in the villages -- line 16, page 15. When you
7 say that, when you're talking about the Konjic municipality, there were
8 151 localities or communes, perhaps each village was organised, but when
9 you're saying that, do you mean that this happened like this everywhere,
10 in other words, that people were getting themselves organised in each
11 village, or are you saying that some villages only had organised
12 self-defence or defence units, whichever way you would like to put it?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't understand the question.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me say this again, because
15 it is important.
16 A while ago, this is on line 16, page 15 -- that has nothing to
17 do with you, this is for the lawyers, you said that the units, and so
18 we're getting ourselves organised in the units, what I would like to know
19 is this: When you're saying that, is this a principle that applied to
20 all the villages? Does this mean that in all the villages, all the
21 people were getting organised in fighting units, or did this only apply
22 to some of the villages?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In all of the villages. Initially,
24 this is how units were organised in all villages.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In all the villages; fine. At
1 least this is an important clarification.
2 Now, to pick up on the question put by my colleague, you said
3 that these villages had different ethnic make-ups, and it seems that in
4 your municipality, in the Konjic municipality, there were 50 percent
5 Muslims, approximately. So in some villages, some villages were
6 predominantly Muslim and some villages may have been predominantly
7 Croatian. But as far as arms distribution is concerned, were these
8 weapons handed out, as the Defence counsel put the question to you,
9 according to the population make-up or were the weapons handed out
10 according to the number of fighters that were present? Because if we're
11 talking about a predominantly Muslim village, there would be only
12 Croatian fighters. In that case, all the Croatian fighters would have
13 received weapons, even if the village was predominantly Muslim?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I said this, I was referring
15 to the amount of soldiers engaged at that point in time, both on the
16 Croat side and the Muslim side.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you tell us who the enemy
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Army of Republika Srpska.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right.
21 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Juric, I will go back to the questions put by
23 His Honour Trechsel, and I hope they won't take it against me, that I'm
24 going back a little bit. I'll try and not be leading. I will only speak
25 of the things mentioned to you.
1 You said after the facilities were taken, the facility in Ljuta,
2 it was taken back from the Serb Army. It was taken by the Joint Staff.
3 A large number of MTS was seized, but it wasn't distributed equally so
4 that a large number of Croat soldiers were left without weapons.
5 Judge Trechsel asked you several times, and I will continue along
6 that line. What did you believe, that the Croats received less than
7 Muslims? What did you think was the reason behind these disagreements?
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Ms. Nozica, here I must object. I do
9 not recall the witness saying that the Muslims got more than the Croats
10 and the Croats less. I asked him -- Witness, I hope you can confirm
11 this. I asked you whether it was different with the Muslims, and you
12 told me the Muslims also did not get as much weapons as they wanted and
13 as they needed. Have I misunderstood you?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think you misunderstood me,
15 because I gave some figures that we Croats know that based on the number
16 of our soldiers who were engaged, we thought that we should have received
17 more weapons than we did receive. We didn't have the actual figures for
18 weapons that the Muslims received, but this was our opinion, this was our
19 official view.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, what you are saying is
21 important. When you say that the Croatian fighters realised that they
22 did not receive the weapons they should have because the enemy is the
23 Republika Srpska, what does this mean? What did that mean?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not mention Republika Srpska
25 in any other context than saying that they were the enemy. I did not
1 mention Republika Srpska in the context of weapons distribution, as far
2 as I gather.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, perhaps the questions put
4 to you by the Bench are too complicated. Let me take the case of, let's
5 say, a particular village. In this particular village, there are
6 fighters who are both Croatian and Muslim. Do you follow me? Weapons or
7 MTS are being handed out, and you realise that the Croatian soldiers
8 don't have the number of rifles they should have. So this is my
9 question. My question may be of a geopolitical nature, but why did the
10 Croatian soldiers not get the rifles they should have had? Is there any
11 reason for this?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's like this: I will speak in
13 figures, if I can concentrate enough.
14 In a village, in a Muslim village, there are 100 men fit for
15 military service. Eighty of them are engaged. Twenty do not want to
16 join units. They receive weapons according to the numbers of men fit for
17 military service, not to the number of those who are engaged; whereas in
18 our village we have 20 men fit for the army, 20 of them join, and we
19 receive only 10 rifles. So in the Muslim villages, they had people who
20 were not engaged, yet received -- yet they received weapons to cover
21 100 percent of the men in the village.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Everyone can
23 understand what you've just said. But as far as I'm concerned, my
24 question is this: Why did the Croatians not receive all the weapons they
25 had asked for, when all the Muslims received the weapons they had asked
1 for? This is what I'm trying to understand.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have said in the beginning that
3 within the staff, the staff that we formed, the Muslims asked to have a
4 leading role in decision-making, command and control, precisely because
5 the main man who was in charge, who worked there, we Croats believed that
6 this distribution was to the detriment of us Croats, that we were -- it
7 was to our detriment. This is why these disagreements arose.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We understand that the
9 distribution of weapons was not carried out fairly, but I'm trying to
10 understand why. What was the political or military ideological reason
11 for which 20 Croatian fighters did not receive those 20 weapons and why
12 they only received 15 rifles? Why was this done in such a way?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I, too, I can't explain it, I
14 don't know why that was the case, and that's why we disagreed, we had our
15 disagreements over that.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you wonder why,
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry if I'm assisted a little bit. If one
19 goes back to page 16, line 15-16, I have asked you if the Muslims said
20 they need 10 rifles, do they get 10 rifles, and you say, No, they don't.
21 Now you say that if they have 100 men able to fight, they get 100 rifles.
22 This is -- I cannot help finding a certain contradiction in these two
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't understand. I really don't
25 understand your question.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, I will not now insist.
2 Please continue, Ms. Nozica.
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. We'll come back to that in due course. We'll deal with the topic
5 of arms and weapons, but we can move on.
6 And we were establishing the establishment of the HVO units, and
7 your last answer was to say that Mr. Ivica Azinovic and Mr. Dinko Zebic
8 were in charge of that. Now, Mr. Juric, when was the HVO Brigade
9 actually established?
10 A. At the end of September 1992.
11 Q. And who was appointed commander of the brigade?
12 A. Zdravko Saban.
13 Q. I think you said "Zdravko Sagolj"; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Who appointed him?
16 A. President Mate Boban did.
17 Q. Were you appointed to some post in the brigade on that occasion?
18 A. Yes, I was, the assistant chief for operative affairs and
20 Q. And who appointed you and at whose proposal?
21 A. The commander of the brigade appointed me, and the proposal came
22 from the council of the coordination and my chief of staff.
23 Q. And what about the other assistants; were they appointed at that
24 time? Or, rather, the other men who made up the Brigade Command.
25 A. Yes. They were appointed before me, before I was appointed to my
2 Q. And who appointed them?
3 A. They were appointed by the brigade commander, this inner circle.
4 He made the proposals for their appointment.
5 Q. I see. Now, did you ever get a document stating that you were
6 appointed to that post by -- from the Defence Department, for example?
7 A. No, we didn't receive any documents, personally, but there was a
8 list of the members of the brigade and that was compiled at the end of
10 Q. And on the basis of that document, were the lower, subordinate
11 commanders appointed, those people who already performed those duties?
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. Do you know who sent in the proposal for the appointment of these
14 individuals to the Defence Department in Mostar?
15 A. The brigade commander, through his assistant for cadres and
16 establishment affairs.
17 Q. And how long did you perform your duties at that post in the
19 A. Until the 3rd of March, 1993.
20 Q. And what happened then?
21 A. Then the commander of the brigade replaced his deputy and put my
22 name forward for the deputy -- as deputy commander, and at the end of
23 March, I received my appointment papers and became the deputy commander
24 of the brigade.
25 Q. And how long were you in the brigade -- or, rather, for how long
1 were you the deputy commander of the brigade, and who made the proposals
2 to appointment men to the Brigade Command?
3 A. It was the Defence Department who put forward the proposals to
4 the posts proposed, in turn, by the brigade commander.
5 Q. When you say the Defence Department, what do you actually mean?
6 A. I don't know what you're asking me.
7 Q. Do you mean the Defence Department or the Defence -- you said
8 "Defence office," but do you mean Defence Department?
9 A. Yes, Defence Department.
10 Q. Tell me, Mr. Juric, we've just seen, to summarise, that at the
11 end of September 1992, the brigade of the HVO was established, and its
12 name -- or tell us the name of the brigade.
13 A. The brigade was called the Herceg Stjepan Brigade.
14 Q. I see. Now, when were the units of the BH Army established?
15 Let's take a look at that.
16 A. Well, when there was a division in the TO - that was in
17 June - that's when the BiH Army units began to be formed in Konjic.
18 Q. And which units, in particular, was set up? What was its name?
19 A. The Suad Alic Brigade was established in Konjic, and the
20 Neretvica Brigade in Klis; and to the best of my knowledge the Suad Alic
21 Brigade was established far before our Herceg Stjepan Brigade, the HVO
22 brigade, was established.
23 Q. And what was the relationship between the command of the units of
24 the HVO brigade, the Herceg Stjepan Brigade, and the BH Army brigade
25 which was called the Suad Alic Brigade? And we're looking at the period
1 from September 1992. What was the relationship between the two brigades
2 and their commands?
3 A. Do you mean in Konjic? Well, in Konjic, we had very good
4 cooperation with members of the Suad Alic Brigade and the TO Staff. We
5 visited the front-lines, talked to the fighters, and cooperation was
6 generally at a very high level.
7 Q. And at that time, and I'm referring to the HVO Herceg Stjepan
8 Brigade now, did you establish a training centre of any kind?
9 A. Yes, we did, precisely in agreement with the TO Staff, in the
10 region of Bradina, where there was a meteorological station. We
11 refurbished it and turned it into a training centre, where we were able
12 to train about 35 soldiers.
13 Q. Tell me, please, did you hold joint meetings, that is to say,
14 between the HVO Command and the BH Army Command?
15 A. Yes. Those meetings were held regularly, every fortnight, and if
16 the needing arose, then more frequently. They would discussion the
17 situation on the ground. We would tour the lines and look at the defence
19 Q. And what was the defence line like facing the enemy? And let's
20 remind the Trial Chamber who your enemy was at that time. Who was the
22 A. Our enemy was the Army of Republika Srpska, and the front-line
23 facing the enemy was established on the basis of an agreement between the
24 BH Army and the HVO, and the front-lines were manned jointly by fighters
25 from both camps, except in Turija and Prevlje where, for instance, the
1 Croats held the Turija sector and the other sector was held by the
2 Muslims. But otherwise in all the other sections of the front, if the
3 commander was a Muslim, the Croat would be his deputy, or vice versa, at
4 the individual positions up at the front-line.
5 Q. And for how long did this go on, Mr. Juric?
6 A. All this went on until mid-March 1993.
7 Q. Tell me, please, you say until mid-March 1993. Now, what I want
8 to know is this: During that period, that is to say, from the end of
9 1992 until March 1993, were tensions raised, were they running high? Was
10 there dissatisfaction over someone's conduct in Konjic and the
11 surrounding parts, perhaps?
12 A. Well, yes. Although we cooperated very well in Konjic, what
13 happened was that members of units from outside arrived in Konjic and
14 tensions flared, and there was unrest among the citizens and the fighters
15 in the town of Konjic
16 special units, special-purpose units, the Handzar Division, Zuka's units
17 and the like, and they came into town. They wore special uniforms, they
18 had scarves on their heads with some letters that we couldn't read and
19 didn't know what they were. They must have been Arabic. And they made a
20 show of force, of might, going through town, and this affected the
21 population, and the soldiers didn't like seeing these people move around
22 town either. So that raised tensions.
23 And also at the end of 1992, in the area of responsibility of the
24 3rd Battalion in Jablanica, a brigade was established. It was called the
25 Neretva Jablanica Brigade, and it was manned by people from Eastern
2 and from Prozor in part, and we were informed by the Municipal Staff of
3 the BH Army that that brigade was being established and that the brigade
4 would be intended to launch attacks against the Republika Srpska.
5 However, when that brigade was established, the members of the brigade
6 set up check-points at Aleksin Han, facing Mostar, and in Doljani, which
7 is also the Risovac axis, and the road towards Herzegovina, that general
8 route; and we considered that those check-points were not justified
9 because at no point in time was that area under jeopardy by our common
10 enemy, that is to say, the Army of Republika Srpska, so that the
11 establishment of these check-points were a sore point as far as we were
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, let me go back a
15 Earlier, you said that when the commander was a Croat, his deputy
16 would be a Muslim, and when the commander was a Muslim, the deputy would
17 be a Croat. When I heard you say this, I wondered whether the brigade,
18 headed by Sogolj was at one point -- whether in this brigade at one point
19 in time there was a Muslim deputy.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I meant the positions, just at
21 the positions up at the front-line, the defence line that we held facing
22 the Army of Republika Srpska. It was at those positions that the
23 commanders in individual sectors were a member of the BH Army and the
24 deputy would be from the HVO. That's what I meant.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What you're saying is much more
1 complicated, then. There will be some militaries who will come and
2 testify, notably General Praljak, and I'm sure we'll come back to this
3 with him; but you're saying something that leads me to asking you a very
4 specific question. If I understand you well, there is a defence line in
5 front of the Serbians of the Serbs. And on this defence line, if I
6 understood you well, we have HVO and the ABiH, and both are under joint
7 command. And there, when the commander is a Croat, the deputy is a
8 Muslim, but if the commander is a Muslim, his deputy will be a Croat; is
9 that what you said?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but specifically I meant just
11 that position, the defence lines facing the Army of Republika Srpska,
12 just there.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's a shame that we don't have
14 a chart here, you know, like there was at the Nuremberg trial, because
15 this would really help us make some sketches, because if I had a chart,
16 you know, I could draw the defence line, I could position the HVO with
17 the ABiH, and I could also write where the Croat -- Croatian commander is
18 with his Muslim deputy. But then in the rear we have the HVO brigade and
19 the ABiH brigade. Now, regarding these two brigades, there's no mix of
20 ethnicity in the Command. The brigade is all -- one brigade is all
21 Croat, the other brigade is all Muslim, as far as you know; is that it?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [No interpretation].
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. At least it's very
24 clear in my mind.
25 Madam Nozica.
1 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Witness, did you say "yes," did you answer in the affirmative?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. Now, let's clarify, sir, some points. When you said that there
5 was raised tension with the arrival of certain divisions, the Handzar
6 Division, Motorised Division, and the others, were they BH Army units?
7 Let's clear that up first.
8 A. As far as I know, yes, they were.
9 Q. Now, you spoke about the unrest and what caused it, the
10 check-point at Bradina you mentioned. We'll come back to that, but what
11 I want to ask you now is whether the conflicts between the BiH and the
12 HVO at the end of October in Prozor in 1992 had any influence on your
13 relationship with the Suad Alic Brigade.
14 A. No, not specifically. We still had very good cooperation, and
15 the commanders -- or, rather, the TO commander and the Suad Alic
16 commander and the Herceg Stjepan commander held a meeting and discussed
17 the situation in Prozor and insisted that all the orders were issued down
18 to the lowest level and that the situation in Konjic must be kept under
19 control without a conflict breaking out.
20 Q. What happened next at the end of 1992 and beginning of 1993,
21 because you have described the situation to us when the check-point was
22 established; were there any other events that took place, anything else
23 that happened that would be characteristic of the relations between the
24 HVO brigade and the BH Army brigade?
25 A. Well, at the end of 1992 and the beginning of 1993, in Konjic,
1 the president of the War Presidency of the Konjic municipality and the
2 Prozor and Jablanica municipality, we have Mr. Safet Cibo, and he
3 replaced Dr. Rusmir Hadzihuseinovic, who performed that function until
4 then, and that was a man who worked a great deal to bring Croats and
5 Muslims closer together in Konjic municipality.
6 Q. Speaking of the arrival of these units who had come in from
7 elsewhere, did you have information and did you consider where they had
8 come from, why they were coming from elsewhere, and what was the purpose
9 of the arrival of these units from elsewhere, the units of the Army of
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina?
11 A. Well, we held meetings and we discussed it, even with the members
12 of the Suad Alic Brigade, and we simply concluded that the arrival of the
13 members of these units in Konjic, that it wasn't bringing anything good,
14 it wasn't improving the situation, that somebody tried to disrupt the
15 good environment in Konjic, somebody from the outside. And in our
16 opinion, this influence -- these winds were blowing in from Sarajevo
17 because these positions and these units had been stationed towards
19 Q. What was the ethnic make-up in Konjic, or was it different after
20 these events from mid-1992 until early 1993? Was there a change in the
21 ethnic composition there?
22 A. Yes. Until the end of August 1992, some 30.000 [as interpreted]
23 refugees flowed into Konjic, mostly Muslims. Perhaps there were some 200
24 Croats among them.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, it was 13.000
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And among them, there were many who
3 were fit for the military, who joined the units of the BH Army, so that
4 the ratio - I'm now speaking in terms of figures - between the BH Army
5 units and the HVO, the ratio in Konjic was 5:1 in favour of the BH Army.
6 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Very well. How was the HVO brigade, Herceg Stjepan, organised in
8 Konjic? In general terms, how was it organised?
9 A. The HVO Brigade in Konjic had about 1300 soldiers. It had three
10 battalions. The first one was in Klis, which numbered some 400 people.
11 Its Command was stationed in the village of Kostajnica
12 said that Kostajnica and Klis were some 20 kilometres away from Konjic.
13 The 2nd Battalion, which gravitated towards the town of Konjic itself,
14 had some 500 soldiers, and the Command of that battalion was stationed in
15 the premises of Metalpromet Company. The 3rd Battalion stationed in
16 Jablanica was the smallest one, had the fewest soldiers, and had up to
17 150 soldiers. The Command of that battalion was located in the entrance
18 in Jablanica. There was another battalion, which was an artillery unit
19 numbered some 200 people, and they were stationed in the premises of the
20 Rudar Company. That's where their command was headquartered.
21 Q. Mr. Juric, how was the BH Army organised in that territory?
22 A. In late 1992, early 1993, according to my information, the
23 BH Army had three brigades in Konjic -- or, rather, in that territory.
24 They had Suad Alic Brigade in Konjic, which in my view had some 3500
25 soldiers, and then they had the Neretvica Brigade stationed in Klis,
1 which had about 1500 soldiers. They also had the Neretva Brigade in
2 Jablanica, which was established in late 1992. As for their numbers, I'm
3 not sure. I think they had up to 1.000 soldiers. Then in the town of
4 Konjic, they had artillery/engineering unit and communications/signals
5 unit numbering about 400 soldiers. The Command of the brigade and the
6 Municipal TO Staff moved around for a while. They were stationed in an
7 elementary school called the 3rd of March, and then they moved to a hotel
8 in Konjic.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I have an ancillary
10 question which has to do with the question just put to you by Ms. Nozica.
11 Earlier, you told us that around the month of August 1992, 13.000
12 Muslim refugees came alongside with 200 Croatian refugees. If my memory
13 serves me right, I believe that Konjic has 13.000 inhabitants and the
14 municipality has 151 towns. So, you see, I know this case inside-out,
15 but I know altogether there were about 40.000 inhabitants altogether. So
16 when 13.000 refugees come into this place, where do they find housing?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were housed in neighbouring
18 villages that had been deserted by Serbs and also in apartments
19 throughout Konjic. Those were mostly civilians who had been expelled
20 from the territories taken by the Army of Republika Srpska.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you said that
22 they were housed in apartments that were in Konjic, but were they empty
23 or were they -- were there people living in these apartments?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were a lot that were vacant,
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So they were
2 accommodated in empty flats that had been deserted, but who had deserted
3 these flats in the first place?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I have said, in late 1992 the
5 Serbs left the town of Konjic
6 elsewhere had -- were to be housed. For a while, they were put up in
7 schools until they found houses to put them up in. They would not enter
8 those houses and apartments immediately, no. As the houses and
9 apartments became vacant, they were used to house refugees. Sometimes
10 there were many more people than could be housed, and they needed to find
11 accommodation for them. They couldn't let them live in open air.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The refugees would
13 first be accommodated in schools that were used as collection centres,
14 and then I assume the municipality would tell them, This family can go to
15 such and such flat. Is that how things occurred?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I wasn't responsible, I
17 wasn't in charge of that. There were services that dealt with civilians
18 and finding housing for them.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm not talking about you. I'm
20 talking about the people who were organising the accommodation for the
21 refugees. So first they were sent to collection centres in school and
22 then they would be sent to flats. So the conclusion -- could we draw the
23 conclusion that it is the Konjic Municipality
24 refugees in the vacant apartments?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were offices within the
1 Konjic Municipality
2 housing, some sort of housing for them.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Q. Mr. Juric, you spoke about how the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
6 organised in that area. Would you tell me, please, under whose command
7 the BH Army brigades were, according to your knowledge?
8 A. According to what I know, under the command of the 4th Corps.
9 Q. All right. Now, let us take a look at the documents that are
10 next to you. There is a binder of documents next to you placed there by
11 the usher. Would you please look at it, and look at the first document
12 in there. These documents pertain to what we were dealing with. The
13 first one is 2D764. But before we turn to that document, there's
14 something I've forgotten.
15 On page 31, in line 2, it is recorded that you said that the HVO
16 brigade in Konjic had -- and then the number of soldiers is missing. How
17 many soldiers did it have? Could you please repeat?
18 A. 1.300.
19 Q. Very well. Have you found the document 2D764? That should be
20 the first document there. Tell me when you find it, Mr. Juric, please.
21 Now, could I ask the usher to assist the witness to find the
22 first document.
23 A. I've found it.
24 Q. Very well. This is what Judge Antonetti asked you about. This
25 is a certificate of the Municipal Secretariat for Displaced Persons,
1 Labour and Welfare, dated the 17th of July, 1996, where they certified --
2 the secretariat certifies that between May and August 1992, in the
3 territory of Konjic
4 refugees, non-Serbs, arrived from the neighbouring villages in Konjic
5 municipality, Eastern Herzegovina and Eastern Bosnia. It says here that
6 about 13.000 of them arrived and that their arrival, as
7 His Honour Antonetti said, basically doubled the number of residents of
8 Konjic. Is this in compliance with what you know? Is this consistent
9 with what you knew, Mr. Juric, about the arrival of refugees into Konjic?
10 A. Yes, that's precisely what I spoke of.
11 Q. Very well. Would you now please look at the following document,
12 2D9 --
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, one little legal item.
14 You're not a legal expert, but I'm sure the counsels have noted this.
15 This certificate was issued in 1996. I believe that it must have
16 been asked after the fact, but it seems that Edina Residovic, who is
17 asking the administration for this document, but it seems to be based on
18 a law of the former Republic of Yugoslavia
19 allowed for the refugees to be taken out. Did you know this or not?
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I assist?
21 This is the law, the one mentioned in the preamble. This is the
22 law based on which municipal organs are duty-bound to issue certain
23 certificates. This does not pertain to refugees. It is in general. It
24 is the Law on Administrative Procedure, and this is where the law is
25 being invoked to confirm that they are duty-bound to issue such
1 certificates and provide such information. I apologise for intervening,
2 but I think I know this better than the witness. But we can still ask
3 the gentleman who issued the certificate, whether he knows the person.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I know the person. We used to
5 live together in the town of Konjic
6 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
7 Q. All right. Can we then move to the following document, 2D954.
8 It should be the following document in your binder.
9 You spoke about how the Joint Staff was armed, and here we have a
10 letter, a request by the Konjic Municipal Assembly, 12th of April, 1991,
11 forwarded to the Republic of Croatia
12 Army. It says there:
13 "Dear sirs. We are writing about the issuance of certain MTS and
14 also military kitchens," which is also part of the MTS. This is signed
15 by the Crisis Staff of Konjic, Prozor, Jablanica, Professor Rusmir
16 Hadzihuseinovic. Do you know this gentleman? You have mentioned him
18 A. Yes, and I wanted to say a number of very positive things about
19 him. This is perhaps the person who did his utmost to improve the
20 relations between Muslims and Croats in Konjic to ensure that they were
22 Q. This gentleman's name will be appearing. Let us clarify his
24 A. Rusmir Hadzihuseinovic.
25 Q. Yes, Hadzihuseinovic. We have "Hadzihasanovic" here, but we
1 shall clarify this later. Now, with respect to this document, are you
2 aware that this Joint Staff received weapons from the Republic of Croatia
3 in April of 1992, weapons and other kinds of MTS?
4 A. I wasn't familiar with this specifically, but I was informed that
5 the weapons had arrived, although I wasn't a direct participant in these
7 Q. Very well. Can we please look at document 2D957.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I was looking at the
9 document. First, there's a mistake in the English version. It's not
10 April 12, 1991
11 there was a mistake. It is April 12, 1992
12 Now, Witness, the president of the municipality, called
13 Rusmir Hadzihuseinovic is a Muslim; could you say that?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So could you explain the
16 following: Why is it that the Konjic municipality, which is supposed to
17 belong to the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
18 the Republic of Croatia
19 against the Serbs? Why aren't they sending this letter to the Government
20 of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina? In this letter, we see that they
21 are directly calling on the Republic of Croatia
22 the reason behind this. Could you shed some light on this, maybe?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm not able to
24 clarify that for you, because the person doing this here was the
25 president of the War Presidency in Konjic municipality. His name was
1 Dr. Rusmir Hadzihuseinovic. Now, why he turned to Croatia and not to
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina, I'm not in a position to explain that, nor can I.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I would like to ask a question with regard to
5 the previous document, the one 2D00764. It is this certificate speaking
6 about 13.000 refugees, and the comment is, I quote, "literally doubled
7 the number of citizens in the town of Konjic."
8 Now, at the beginning of your testimony today, you have told us
9 that the town of Konjic
10 is about two-thirds, so there is a considerable difference. Can you
11 explain this? Was your estimate wrong, was it rather 13.000 than 20.000,
12 or was there a difference in the population, for instance, because 7.000
13 Serbs had left? How are we to understand this apparent discrepancy?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In what I said previously, I didn't
15 say there were 20.000 inhabitants in the town of Konjic. I said I didn't
16 know the exact number, but there were -- that there were up to 20.000,
17 perhaps. There might have been 18.000. I didn't give you an exact
18 figure. I said I didn't know the exact figure. Now, the number of Serbs
19 who left during this period, once again, I don't know how many of them
20 exactly left Konjic, the exact figure. I can give you the percentages.
21 There were about -- or, rather, there were about 6.000 Serbs in Konjic,
22 if from 45.000 you subtract the 15 percent, but there were many Croats
23 and Muslims who left Konjic during the shelling. And the refugees came
24 in from those areas and remained in Konjic, because many of them, many of
25 the refugees, were in Herzegovina
1 the figures were when this report was written.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: You have, in fact, said: "I would say it had
3 about 20.000." This is lines 18-19 on page 9, but thank you for
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I believe it's time for the
7 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes. I'd just like to add
8 something, an important thing, before the break.
9 My question about the number of inhabitants was before the war,
10 and he said 20.000 in answer to that question. So when the war started,
11 the figure changed along the lines of the explanation provided by the
12 witness a moment ago.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is all noted on the
15 We will now have a 20-minute break so we can have some rest.
16 --- Recess taken at 3.49 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 4.16 p.m.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
19 Ms. Nozica.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Mr. Juric, would you look at the next document, and we're still
22 on the topic of joint arming, and it is 2D957. Have you found it?
23 A. [No interpretation]
24 Q. Here we have Konjic Municipality
25 Municipal Headquarters of Territorial Defence and the HVO, the 5th of
1 June, 1992, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia
2 Army Headquarters Zagreb
3 [phoen], and the commander of the HVO, Zebic, Dinko, for certain MTS to
4 be sent. Now, Mr. Juric, are you familiar with this, and we're dealing
5 with June 1992, that at that point in time, on the territory, the
6 Municipal Staff of the TO and the HVO was being armed from Croatia
7 this way?
8 A. Yes, I am aware about that, I know about that.
9 Q. Let's now look at document 2D765, which is the next document.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Ms. Nozica. We have here "letter
11 requested" something, and you say -- you ask the witness does he know
12 whether they got it. But the letter does not say that this was
13 delivered, as far as I can see. It's a demand, is it not? This is a
14 request, or have I got it wrong?
15 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I asked the witness
16 whether he knows if the weapons were obtained in this way, and the
17 witness said that he did know.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The document does not say that they were sent,
19 actually, but okay. Go on, go on.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that's why I'm asking
21 the witness. That's precisely why I'm asking the witness.
22 Q. Have you seen the next document, 2D765?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And once again we have the War Presidency. The date is the 3rd
25 of June, 1992, Konjic municipality. It is an order, ordering the
1 Main Staff of the defence of Konjic municipality is obliged to ensure the
2 consumption of crude oil and oil derivatives for all members of the
3 defence forces of Konjic municipality. And this is signed by the
4 president of the Presidency, Mr. Rusmir Hadzihuseinovic. We've already
5 mentioned the gentleman. He was the president of the Presidency at the
6 time, and my question to you is this: Do you know that the TO and the
7 HVO gained their supplies of crude oil and oil derivatives in this way?
8 A. Yes. There was a petrol pump where they would tank up both for
9 the HVO and BH Army.
10 Q. I'm going to ask you to look at document 2D809 now, please, which
11 is the next document in order, the next one. And this is an agreement
12 from a meeting held on the 8th of January, 1993, held in Mostar, in the
13 Defence Department building, and present at the meeting, as we can see,
14 were Mr. Bruno Stojic, and can you now tell the Trial Chamber which of
15 the people on this list you know or you knew at that time, which of the
17 A. Number 2, I knew number 2, number 3, number 6, and number 7.
18 Q. And here we have the functions of those individuals, so we don't
19 need to dwell on that. It says in the agreement, Mr. Juric, that trucks
20 with license plate TZ. What is TZ? What does TZ stand for?
21 A. Tuzla
22 Q. All right. That they were loaded up with brass tracks and bars,
23 intended for the production of ammunition in the Konjic factory of Igman.
24 Now, can you tell the Trial Chamber what the Igman factory in Konjic
25 produced before the war and up until the 18th of January 1993, what did
1 the factory produce?
2 A. In the former Yugoslavia
3 factory, producing all calibre 7.65 and all the other calibres, 7.67 and
4 so on, so it was one of the three largest ammunitions factories.
5 Q. Now, this agreement was concluded on the 8th of January, 1993
6 and in point 3 of this agreement it says that of the amount of material
7 on the trucks, the HVO Konjic would receive part of the ammunition for
8 their needs. Now, my question to you is this: Before this period,
9 January of 1993, did you receive any ammunition from this factory at all?
10 A. As far as I remember and as far as I knew, I don't think we ever
11 received any ammunition from this factory.
12 Q. Now take a look at the next document, which is 2D265.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, before we move on to
14 the next document, I would like to stay with this document. You told us
15 that you knew number 3, number 7 and number 2, you didn't mention
16 number 4. I can read this. This person is called Safet Orucevic, and he
17 is seemingly the logistics coordinator for President Izetbegovic, which
18 means that on the 8th of January, 1993, Mr. Stojic attends a meeting
19 where a representative of Mr. Izetbegovic is also present, and everyone
20 agrees on the question of ammunition and weapons. As far as you know,
21 did you know that Mr. Izetbegovic, via one of his close associates, was
22 directly concerned by this kind of agreement?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You didn't know about it. Was
25 this something which you happened to learn? Did you know that this
1 meeting took place or was it something you discovered afterwards?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Later. Under number 2, the
3 president of the HVO, Ivica Azinovic, he informed us that a meeting had
4 been held and that we would receive a certain amount of ammunition from
5 the factory, but we never received it.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
7 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Now we can
8 move on to 2D265, the next document.
9 Q. Have you found it? The document is an exhibit, and it's also a
10 document from the BH Army, the Command of the 4th Corps. And it says
12 "In talking to the director of the firm Igman Konjic, I learned
13 that all the daily production of ammunition is delivered immediately
14 pursuant to instructions or based on orders received from Visoko (Lemes)
15 so there is no production stock. During the period from the 1st of
16 January, 1993, to the 12th of February, 1993
17 And then a list of what was manufactured. And we see that these
18 amounts were distributed to the 4th Corps, and I'd like to draw your
19 attention to the last paragraph and point 2 of page 2, where it says:
20 "By making checks with Dzevad Huseinovic."
21 And, Mr. Juric, could you tell us once again who this gentleman
22 is, Mr. Dzevad? He was at the last meeting. What post did he hold?
23 A. He was director of the Igman Konjic factory.
24 Q. Thank you. He says:
25 "I have established that he has a letter from the government of
1 the RBiH of the 30th of January, 1993, without a registration stamp and
2 signature, in which it says -- or which orders the distribution of the
3 materiel produced delivered in a ratio 50:50, 50 percent ratio,
4 50 percent to the BH Army and 50 percent to the HVO."
5 This is signed by the assistant for logistics of the 4th Corps,
6 Mr. Mirsad M. We needn't go into that now, whether you knew the man or
7 not, but let's look at the last paragraph. And it says, from looking at
8 the quantity of ammunition delivered from the 1st of January to the 12th
9 of February, we can see that the order was not acted upon. And this
10 relates both to the previous period, on the basis of what Dzevad said,
11 and I'm going to ask you once again whether at any point in time, both
12 during this particular period from the 1st of January to the 12th of
13 February and -- whether you received any type of ammunition from this
14 factory whatsoever.
15 A. No, and in the previous document I stressed this, and this
16 document says that Mr. Dzevad claims that the HVO was not supplied with
17 anything, that no MTS was delivered.
18 Q. Very well. Now look at 767, please, the next document, and we're
19 going to look at the relationship between the HVO brigade and the
20 problems that occurred between you and the Suad Alic Brigade. So let's
21 look at the document together. It is 2D767. Have you found it?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. This document was signed by the commander of the HVO in Konjic
24 municipality, Mr. Dinko Zebic, on the 8th of October, 1992. It's
25 entitled "Response to Materiel by Main Staff of the Armed Forces of
2 of the Main Staff of Sarajevo and to the municipality staff of the BH
3 Army in Konjic, and it says here, in relation to the order which was
4 based on the report of your coordinator and which pertains to the
5 jurisdiction of facilities D-0, D-1, D-3 and D-4:
6 "I have to respond to you by way of responding several facts:
7 Number 1, it is clear that your coordinator does not recognise the HVO as
8 the armed element of the Croatian nation, and, secondly, that he is not
9 familiar enough with our municipality, and based on that he informed you
10 wrongly, as a result of which you issued the said orders."
11 Can you tell us, what are these facilities, D- 0, D-1, D-3 and
12 D-4, and what is this about the Main Staff of Armed Forces of Sarajevo
13 receiving some wrong information from somebody?
14 A. Your Honours, the D-0 facility was the facility in Ljuta, where
15 MTS and weaponry were warehoused. D-1 facility was the communications
16 centre in Zlatar. The D-3 facility was the facility under the control of
17 the Serbian Army and the JNA in the Borak area, and facility D-4 was in
18 that same area. It was a communications centre also under the control of
19 the JNA. Based on that, I can conclude that the coordinator, who
20 informed wrongly about these facilities, the Main Staff of the
21 Armed Forces in Sarajevo
22 under control, we, the Croats, the HVO, had facility D-1 under its
23 control, where the communications centre was housed. D-0 facility was
24 under the control of the BH Army, under the Suad Alic Brigade.
25 Q. Mr. Juric, this period of time, August of 1992, were there
1 already certain disagreements emerging, and did this inaccurate
2 information contribute to disagreements?
3 A. The document speaks by itself. Throughout the time, we had good
4 cooperation between the members of the Suad Alic Brigade. However, this
5 coordinator mis-informed the Main Staff in Sarajevo so that they would
6 get a wrong picture about us causing the conflict.
7 Q. Very well. Now, let us please look at 2D00798. I asked you,
8 Mr. Juric, whether there were disagreements or some serious problems in
9 Konjic municipality after the conflict of the BH Army and the HVO in
10 Prozor. This document is signed by the staff commander of the BH Army in
11 Konjic, as well as the commander of HVO in Konjic, and it is dated the
12 23rd of October, 1992. This is a press release. Since it is quite
13 important and you have already spoken about it, I will try to highlight
14 and read out the most important parts:
15 "The newly-created situation in Prozor municipality, where an
16 armed conflict erupted between part of the units of the Army of BH and
17 HVO caused a great deal of anxiety among the residents of Konjic
18 municipality. Fully aware of the gravity of the situation and real
19 possibility that this should escalate and spread into the territory of
20 our municipality, commanders of the HVO in Konjic and of the BH Army
21 staff in Konjic met on the 23rd of October, 1992, and agreed on several
22 key issues, which would help to avoid all undesirable consequences and
23 create conditions for further successful and efficient cooperation and
24 activity against the common enemy."
25 And then in the following paragraph, it says that:
1 "It has been agreed that contact should be established with the
2 commander of warring sides in Prozor municipality and that there should
3 be a cease-fire in force immediately, that a joint commission should be
4 set up to investigate the causes for the conflict."
5 And then it says that:
6 "It has also been agreed that in the area where disagreements
7 erupted, there shouldn't be any movement of units. At the same time, all
8 measures need to be taken in the units of the HVO and the BH Army in
9 order to avoid any clashes."
10 Then it says that based on that:
11 "Orders need to be issued to commanders of basic units, as well
12 as the staff of the BH Army and Herceg Stjepan Brigade."
13 And then in the last paragraph, it says the commander of the
14 BH Army Staff in Konjic and the commander of the Herceg Stjepan Brigade
15 also agree that they need to meet more often and that these meetings
16 should serve to establish joint check-points at the exit points from town
17 and also border areas of the municipality and that also a solution needs
18 to be found for manning a defence positions with joint forces, and that
19 to this aim, any information of significance for the action against the
20 common enemy should be exchanged, and that they would also look into the
21 possibilities of creating joint military police.
22 Mr. Juric, were you informed about this meeting?
23 A. Yes, and I need not say anything else about the meeting because
24 everything is quite clearly explained in this press release.
25 Q. Mr. Juric, I am especially emphasising here that there was an
1 agreement between the commander of the BH Army staff and also commander
2 of the HVO units that there shouldn't be any movement of units throughout
3 this territory. Why was that important, Mr. Juric, in this particular
5 A. Well, precisely because any movement of any units would have
6 caused conflict in Konjic.
7 Q. Now, could you please look at 2D799.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I have a question for
9 you based on this document. This document is dated the 23rd of October,
10 1992. You have just reminded me that on the 23rd of October, 1992
11 were the chief -- head of the Stjepan Brigade; is that right?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, assistant commander for
13 operations and training.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, between Konjic and Prozor,
15 how many kilometres are there?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My estimate is about 80 to 100
17 kilometres, as the crow flies, Konjic-Prozor.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Between 80 and 100 kilometres.
19 If the HVO had launched an operation on a large scale against the
20 settlements in which Muslims lived, does this mean that automatically,
21 since you were the assistant commander for operations and training, you
22 would have been made aware of an order of this kind?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I did not understand
24 your question entirely.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me put my question to you
2 Assuming that the HVO, at the level of the Command, decides to
3 engage a military action against several municipalities, as this may have
4 happened in Prozor, because something happened in Prozor, you, in Konjic,
5 would you have been informed about such an order?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't answer. I don't know.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You can't answer. This makes
8 it difficult, because I put questions to you and you can't answer these.
9 I don't know whether you understand what I'm asking you or whether, at
10 your level, you were not able to, so let me address the question from a
11 different angle.
12 This document you have before you, which is signed by the HVO and
13 the ABiH, which you were aware of, according to you does this document
14 show that at the time, at least, in Konjic that between the HVO and the
15 ABiH, there is no major conflict?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This document clearly states that
17 not only there were no major, there were no conflicts whatsoever in
18 Konjic at that time.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you are saying that there
20 was no conflict at all.
21 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, you said that there were
22 approximately 85 kilometres between Prozor and Konjic, and the document
23 we have before us indicates that an agreement was signed between the
24 commander of the ABiH in Konjic and the commander of the HVO to make sure
25 that those events that occurred in Prozor could not happen again in
1 Konjic. So this is my question: Where you were in Konjic, had you
2 understood what had happened precisely in Prozor? Who was behind this
3 situation, according to you, if you knew?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was not in a command position. I
5 told you that I was assistant commander for operations and training. So
6 I was informed only to the extent that I needed to know at that point in
7 time. Perhaps my commander knew more, but I didn't.
8 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
9 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Mr. Juric, we spoke about movements, and I pointed out the
11 previous document and why it was important to prevent any movement of
12 units. Now, would you please look at 2D799. This is a letter signed --
13 this is in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this is signed by
14 the Main Staff of the Supreme Command of Armed Forces of the Republic of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina on the 25th of October, and it says that the purpose
16 of this letter is to establish the extent of responsibility of
17 Zahir Hrnjica. And then it says on the 25th of October, 1992,
18 Mr. Zahir Hrnjica failed to carry out an order of the Main Staff of the
19 Supreme Command of Armed Forces, to carry out a safe escort of a company
20 of the Municipal Defence Staff of Gornji Vakuf between Konjic and
21 Parsovic. Mr. Zahir Hrnjica, as a commander of the 1st Klisani
22 Battalion, came to the Konjic municipality to warn that he would not
23 allow any movement of units of the BH Army in the territory of Neretvica
24 and that, if necessary, he would prevent it by way of weapons.
25 Based on this document, Mr. Juric, it is clear that Mr. Divjak,
1 on behalf of the Main Staff of the Supreme Command of Armed Forces wants
2 this case investigated and established how this came about. Let me ask
3 you first, did you know Mr. Zahir Hrnjica?
4 A. I knew him as commander, but we did not have much contact.
5 Q. Do you know why Mr. Zahir Hrnjica did not allow any units to pass
6 through the territory of Konjic
7 A. Well, this conduct of his is precisely based on the report
8 written earlier about not allowing any units to pass via our territory,
9 the territory controlled by us, the HVO, and the BH Army units.
10 Q. Can we hear once again why you had this view that no units should
11 be allowed to pass via your territory on their way to Prozor? Why did
12 you have this firm position?
13 A. Well, that was clear, because had we allowed any units to pass
14 through, then conflict would have most likely spread to Konjic as well.
15 Q. Now, would you please look at 2D806. This is a report by a group
16 or, rather, by a commission of the 4th Corps, dated the 17th of December,
17 1992. We can see here that in the previous document, the request to
18 allow passage through Konjic municipality was signed by Mr. Divjak. Now,
19 would you look at the second page of this document, page 2, paragraph 3.
20 It says:
21 "Commission of the 4th Corps on the 7th of December, 1992
22 states, when speaking of Colonel Divjak, that they suspected him of being
23 involved with Zejnil in various activities in Prozor municipality and
24 creating conflict between Croats and Muslims so that there should be a
25 war in a wider area, so that Muslims would be drawn into a war with
2 Now, Zejnil mentioned here, and you can see this on the basis of
3 the document, is Zejnil Delalic. Is this a person who lived in Konjic?
4 A. Occasionally, at the time, he did live in Konjic.
5 Q. Based on this position of the 4th Corps, can it be concluded that
6 they were accusing Mr. Divjak and Zejnil of creating conflict in Prozor?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Mr. Juric, had the units passed through, based on the previous
9 order of the BH Army, had they passed via Konjic, would that have caused
10 conflict in Konjic?
11 A. Yes, in Konjic and in the wider surrounding area.
12 Q. All right, thank you. Could we look at 2D255, please. This is a
13 document signed by Mr. Arif Pasalic on the 16th of January, 1993, and he
14 states, once again, on the basis of an order of the Supreme Command, to
15 ensure military control of all incoming/outgoing traffic and to set up a
16 check-point. Now, was this check-point established and why -- if so,
18 A. The check-point in Bradina was controlled by the MUP of Konjic
19 municipality previously, and in the MUP of Konjic there was a mixed
20 composition, Croats and Muslims, working together. Now, with the
21 establishment of this check-point at Bradina, what is sought for here is
22 control and insight into what our fighters were doing, the ones that had
23 been at the training centre, and this was in cooperation with the TO.
24 And they had nothing against this and said it was a good thing that
25 people should be trained in the area of weapons, explosives, and the
1 like. And looking at this and seeing who it was addressed to and sent
2 to, I can say that what I said earlier on, that is to say, that it was
3 the leaders of the BH Army who were seeking to affect a conflict in
5 Q. Now look at 2D771 now, please, and we'll comment on it just
6 briefly, because this is taking up too much time. Tell me when you've
7 found the document, please.
8 A. Yes, I've found it.
9 Q. This document was signed by Mr. Sagolj --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, this document dates
11 back to January, but I'd like to go back in time because I'm more
12 interested in October 23rd, 1992, and what happened in Prozor. I'm
13 trying to understand the questions put to you by Ms. Nozica, but so far
14 it's not really clear in my mind and I need to ask some questions to see
15 if I really understand what she's trying to demonstrate.
16 According to the few documents we have seen, who are in-house
17 documents of the BiH and the 4th Corps, it seems that -- I might be
18 wrong, but it seems that the events in Prozor could be blamed on some
19 Muslim elements which would have committed a number of things that led to
20 the conflict, whereas in other regions, like in your region, there was no
22 Now, according to you, is this a credible assumption; i.e., could
23 we think that what occurred in Prozor could not be blamed on the HVO, but
24 should be blamed on elements of the ABiH who disregarded the orders and
25 committed some actions which led to what happened in Prozor? Can you
1 confirm this assumption or do you believe that it is not a correct
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, from these documents, the
4 ones we've just gone through, and in the way you explained them, my
5 conclusion is certain elements of the BH Army were included in this
6 conflict in Prozor.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is also your conclusion?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica.
10 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, when you say that you
11 don't know where these questions are leading, it puts me in a rather
12 difficult position, but we'll take it step by step and we'll see how the
13 conflict in Konjic came about. And that's why we're taking it this way,
14 but we'll get to the crux of the matter very quickly.
15 Q. Witness, have you found the document? Just tell me who signed
16 it. Who was Mr. Sagolj? We can see that at the bottom.
17 A. He was the commander of the Herceg Stjepan HVO Brigade.
18 Q. Now, this report, sent to the HVO Mostar, to the Command of the
19 Operative Zone, the Operations Department, the IPD, Information and
20 Propaganda Department, once again speaks about a joint meeting, and
21 that's important, attended by all the commanders of the HVO and BiH, the
22 BH Staff in Konjic, the president of the War Presidency, the HVO
23 president, and the president of the MUP, with the aim of sizing up the
24 security situation and taking specific activities to diffuse the growing
25 tensions between the two ethnic groups. The following conclusion was
1 reached at the meeting: A, conflicts between the Croats and Muslims, as
2 a method, should be ruled out, and an order should be issued to the level
3 of platoons; then, B, urgently call a meeting of representatives of the
4 4th Corps in the Operative Zone of the HVO and to implement the decisions
5 already reached with respect to housing in a single building.
6 Now, Mr. Juric, were you ever informed by your commanders that a
7 meeting of this kind took place?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Mr. Juric, at that time, and we're talking about the 21st of
10 January here, were attempts still being made by your brigade, the
11 Herceg Stjepan Brigade, and the representative of the BH Army to prevent
12 a conflict from breaking out in Konjic; is that what follows from this
14 A. Yes, this joint meeting shows precisely that, and these important
15 conclusions were made whereby a conflicts should be prevented at all
16 costs between the HVO and the BH Army.
17 Q. Now, I'm emphasizing the date of this meeting, which is the 21st
18 of January.
19 Now look at 2D814, and this is an order from Mr. Sefer Halilovic,
20 the Supreme Command Staff of the armed forces, and the date is the 28th
21 of January. He says here:
22 "We have information that in the areas of Jablanica, Konjic,
23 Pazaric and Turcin, and we'll deal with Konjic that a small part of the
24 BH Army, police and other authorities are probably in other areas too
25 have fully sided with the Greater Croatia policy and are implementing
1 orders received from the Establishment of the Croatian Community of
2 Herceg-Bosna, and this is having a direct impact upon our struggle for
3 the unified and democratic BH ..."
4 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel kindly slow down when reading the
5 document, please. Thank you.
6 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
7 Q. We have from Tufo from Hadzic and Cerovac, Midhad, the commander
8 of the Konjic Brigade, and he is issuing an order here to investigate, to
9 see what the situation is like, to talk to Arif Pasalic -- Fikret
10 Alipasic [phoen]. Now, Mr. Juric, may we have your comments on this
12 A. If I link this document up to the previous one that we've already
13 looked at, then we can clearly see in this document that specific people
14 are referred to who were in Konjic, occupying these various posts, and
15 the people attending the meeting, where it was stated loud and clear that
16 a conflict in Konjic must not be allowed to break out. And now this is
17 being sent -- the order, or the commander, or whatever, is sent so that
18 these people can be checked out. So I stand by what I've already said,
19 and that is that the conflict between us Croats and the Muslims in Konjic
20 was staged precisely in the Supreme Command in Sarajevo.
21 Q. Now look at page 2 of this document, please, which is the ERN
22 number you have here, and it says that it is sent to the commander,
23 Safet Bozic in Jablanica, and it says:
24 "Safet, you should go to Konjic and issue a serious caution to
25 Guska, Jasmin, because of his cooperation with the HVO and disclosing the
1 positions of the BH Army."
2 Now, could you tell us who the doctor was that is signed here at
3 the bottom? Who was referred to as the doctor?
4 A. That was Cibo, Safet, and I've already said at the end of 1992
5 and the beginning of 1993, he became the president of the War Presidency.
6 He was appointed by President Alija Izetbegovic as president of the
7 War Presidency Konjic and Jablanica municipalities.
8 Q. And who did he replace?
9 A. He replaced the man who we had good contact with and cooperation,
10 and that was Rusmir -- Dr. Rusmir Hadzihuseinovic.
11 Q. Now let's equip over the next document, which once again
12 indicates attempts to maintain good cooperation, and let's move on to
13 P1675, the next document.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I'm trying to
15 understand, because this is very complicated and you might be able to
16 help us. This document from Halilovic seems to be questioning a number
17 of people in Konjic, a number of people who are actually mentioned, but
18 he also says that some people seem to be implied --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Involved, interpreter's correction.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Involved in this notion of
21 Greater Croatia
22 Now, this is my question: At your level, did you ever hear about
23 Greater Croatia
24 are you discovering this for the first time today?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm learning about this just now.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the time, the Croats from
2 Konjic had never heard about these notions of Greater Croatia and didn't
3 discuss this among each other, or did you discuss these notions among
4 each other?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, this kind of thing couldn't
6 have been discussed in Konjic, because the ratio between Muslims and
7 Croats, in terms of numbers of inhabitants, there were far fewer Croats,
8 perhaps just a third or even less than a third, so the Croats couldn't
9 have accomplished what you've just said, this greater Croatian state or
10 whatever you just said.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Counsel, please.
13 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Juric, I'm just going to ask you something. I'm going to ask
15 a follow-up question to what Judge Antonetti just asked you. For
16 example, in April 1994, did you fight for Bosnia-Herzegovina? I meant to
17 say "April 1993." Did you fight for Bosnia-Herzegovina, together with
18 the BH Army, and did you make public statements to that effect?
19 A. Yes, I did fight for Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I did make public
21 Q. Could you tell the Trial Chamber where and when you made these
22 public statements or announcements?
23 A. When I came to be the brigade commander, some 20 days after that
24 I granted an interview to a paper in Konjic, and the editorial board of
25 that paper, and I described to them my life and ended up by making a
1 conclusion and stating what the object of my struggle was. So that's it,
2 and that was as deputy commander, actually, of the brigade when I made
3 that statement.
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] All right. Now, I would like to
5 tell the Trial Chamber that I do have that newspaper article. Mr. Juric
6 brought it with him when he arrived here, not before. I've had it
7 translated, so he we can place it on the ELMO, if necessary, and then we
8 can have it interpreted to see what his positions were in April 1993.
9 Now, I said we'd skip a document, Witness.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, we're now discovering
11 that you have granted an interview. We didn't know this, but you just
12 told us. And you said that you were fighting for the Republic of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but this feeling that you had and that you expressed
14 in this newspaper article, was it shared by all your Croat friends within
15 the brigade or was it your own feeling? Were you the only one to feel
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I can just speak in my
18 own name, but I can also give you my opinions, and I shared the view of
19 most of the Croat inhabitants of Konjic when I said what I said.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Now, Mr. Juric, take a look at document P1675. You can skip over
22 one and find 1675. Have you found it?
23 A. 1675, you say?
24 Q. Yes, that's right. It's a letter signed by Mr. Sefer Halilovic,
25 and he's writing it on the 17th of March, 1993. And let me ask you
1 first, Mr. Juric: When did the conflict -- or, rather, was there an
2 attack launched by the BH Army against the HVO in March, and what was the
3 date, if it did?
4 A. Yes, the 23rd of March, 1993, was when that happened.
5 Q. All right, fine. So we can look at the document now.
6 Mr. Sefer Halilovic is writing to the Main Staff of the HVO, and he says
7 that in Sarajevo
8 he informed him of developments in the area of Herzegovina and beyond.
9 And he says at the end:
10 "I propose that Pasalic visit you and inform you of our views of
11 existing problems and how we see the possibility of overcoming them. I
12 hope that this aspect of our cooperation will make our friendship and
13 trust stronger and greater."
14 Signed by Sefer Halilovic.
15 So can we link that up with the previous document and the order
16 given on the 28th of January, which was P814? May we have your brief
17 comments to this letter and Mr. Halilovic's views expressed there?
18 A. From this document, we can see that Mr. -- that the gentleman is
19 informing the HVO Main Staff about the fact that cooperation is very
20 good, and the spirit of communality, and that it is being continued, and
21 in the previous document we see that he needs to remove the people that
22 we were having good cooperation with. So it's not quite clear, what
23 method the man is applying. However, immediately after this, four days
24 later, there was an all-out attack against the HVO in Konjic, so things
25 became clear to me on that day.
1 Q. Mr. Juric, can you explain what actually happened in March, and
2 when exactly?
3 A. On the 23rd of March, 1993, the BH Army attack against the HVO in
4 Konjic started. In the morning, the Brigade Command was blocked and the
5 Battalion Command was blocked, and so was the Military Police. And in
6 the early morning hours, Zuka's units were in the area of Bradina, where
7 our small barracks or training centre had been set up, and they arrested
8 or took captive 35 of our fighters who were undergoing training over
9 there. They did not put up any resistance. They were inside the
10 facilities and premises. They confiscated their weapons and the MTS and
11 brought these fighters to Bradina, to the school there, and held them in
12 detention. According to what I knew, the information I had, this was
13 certainly an attack that had been planned, and it was an attack of a
14 broader scale. However, in the early-morning hours, the poor weather
15 conditions - it was snowing - made it impossible for further activities
16 that had been planned, for effecting them, and there was a lot of
17 snowfall during the day so that the movement of troops and units were
18 made completely impossible.
19 Q. Mr. Juric, what happened in the town itself?
20 A. I've already said that. In the morning hours, the Brigade
21 Command was blocked, as well as the Battalion Command and the Military
22 Police, and in town members of the units, the Suad Alic Brigade, arrested
23 people, confiscated HVOs -- confiscated weapons from HVO soldiers, and on
24 that day about 150 of our soldiers were disarmed.
25 Q. What happened next? Did the conflict cease that day in the area
1 of responsibility where you were? What happened next on that day, during
2 the day?
3 A. That same day and the following day, joint meetings were held in
4 Konjic in order to deal with the situation and calm things down. Several
5 meetings were held, and on the 25th of March, in Konjic, Bruno Stojic
6 arrived, as did Milivoj Petkovic and Arif Pasalic, to size up the
7 situation in Konjic and to do their best to calm the situation down.
8 They held a joint meeting in town. I wasn't there at the meeting. But
9 after the meeting, these gentlemen, together with a mixed group from the
10 BH Army and the HVO, I mean, they started touring the positions where
11 some trenches had been dug, and they, themselves, took part in filling in
12 the trenches. I was in one of those areas. It was the area of Orlovica
13 [phoen], at the foot of Batar [phoen]. And I'd just like to mention that
14 this combat activity took place in the area of Operation Klis, which is
15 the area of responsibility of the 1st Battalion, and there was much
16 heavier fighting in Klis, up there in that area, and the brigade
17 commander there was Zdravko Sagolj.
18 Q. Now take a look at the next document, which is 2D2 --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I said that all this
20 was very complicated, but this is really an understatement. We have a
21 document signed by Halilovic, dated March 17, 1993, sent to the
22 Main Staff of the HVO in Mostar. In this document, Halilovic is
23 recalling the friendship uniting the HVO and the ABiH, and now you're
24 telling us that just a few days after this, there was an all-out attack,
25 and then we discover that a few days later Mr. Stojic came on site with
1 Pasalic and others to cool things down. It's almost impossible to
2 understand anything. Either everyone is playing games, Halilovic is
3 lying, saying, on the one hand, We're for peace, we're for friendship,
4 and is not actually walking his talk; or there is another explanation
5 which may involve the HVO and the ABiH. Behind the heads, there are
6 other people who have their own agendas and who are doing what they can
7 for their own agenda, and so they seem -- they just put fire on the keg
8 of powder, and then the heads have to come over to try and cool things
10 Now, you were there on the field. You were in the brigade, you
11 played a role in the brigade. So could you tell us what your opinion is?
12 Do you believe that these attacks had been ordered by the very top
13 echelons or do you believe that these were just attacks that had been
14 triggered at local level by a number of military leaders that were more
15 or less under control, and when these attacks occurred, everybody had to
16 chip in in order to try and cool things down? What do you think is the
17 actual true version of facts?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Within my remit and as far as I'm
19 able to assess the situation at the time, I can just say, loud and clear,
20 that at that time this man, Sefer Halilovic, gave false information in
21 what he said. And let me just add that I have my suspicions that the
22 conflict was staged at the very top, at the very peaks of the BH Army in
24 of the BH Army, then this leads me to believe that that was the case. So
25 those were my suspicions.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
2 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Very well. Mr. Juric, following on from Judge Antonetti's
4 question, whether it was planned and who planned it and so on, how the
5 attack came about, let's look at 2D253, which is the next document. You
6 have already seen the document. We looked at it during the proofing
7 session. This document was -- is dated the 20th of March, and it's about
8 a joint meeting with representatives of the BH Army commands, the
9 Suad Alic, the Neretvica and Neretva Brigade, and the document was signed
10 by all the representatives of the units mentioned. Now, did you know
11 these people, or most of them?
12 A. Yes, I did.
13 Q. Very well. Now, this is an assessment of the situation in the
14 area of Hadzici, Jablanica and Konjic, and I'd now like to draw your
15 attention to some of the points in this document. And this is already an
16 exhibit, so let's look at page 2 of the English and Croatian, point 5,
17 where it says in Jablanica, Donje Selo, and Bradina, that at all times
18 the men must be on the alert. Now, Mr. Juric, we're talking -- this
19 meeting was held on the 20th of March, 1993. At that point in time, was
20 there a conflict at all between you and the BH Army in Konjic?
21 A. No, there wasn't, not yet.
22 Q. All right. Now, point 9 says the BH Army forces should prepare
23 to take control of Zlatar urgently, and in point 13 it says:
24 "Through the assistant commander for operative affairs and the
25 chiefs of staff, and the Public Security Service, to device a plan for
1 the united action of all our forces in the area, should the need arise."
2 Now, Mr. Juric, why was -- well, let me ask you, did you know
3 about this meeting at all, if you had good relations with the
4 Suad Alic Brigade?
5 A. We did have very good relations. I did not know about this
6 meeting, and I claim with certainty that this meeting was not held in
7 Konjic. I don't know where it was held, but definitely not in Konjic.
8 Q. All right. Tell me, what did these conclusions mean "especially
9 prepare army forces to take up Zlatar facility urgently"?
10 A. That was the plan, to take up and occupy that position, because
11 that was our communications centre. By taking up that facility, we would
12 no longer have any communication lines with the operations zone or with
13 our units.
14 Q. Very well. Tell me, please, in that attack on the 23rd of March,
15 was that facility occupied?
16 A. No, because as I have said earlier, the bad weather most likely
17 was the factor in not allowing them to reach that facility.
18 Q. Was there later another operation during which this facility,
19 Zlatar, was taken up?
20 A. Yes, it was later, when there was an all-out offensive against
21 the HVO.
22 Q. All right. We will skip over some documents, and now please look
23 at 4D -- that's the next document in your binder --
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Let me intervene, please. We did
25 not record the entire answer of this witness. The witness said that this
1 attack began between the 13th and 14th of April, 1993, and these dates
2 were not recorded in the transcript. So could the witness please repeat
3 the dates that he mentioned?
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you to my colleague.
5 Q. Mr. Juric, did you say that the new attack was between -- was
6 commenced between the 13th and 14th of April, 1993?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. All right. Now, would you please look at just two more documents
9 in relation to this attack from March. Would you please look at 4D438.
10 Let me know when you have found the document.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Who signed this report to the 4th Corps? It was signed by
13 Midhat Cerovac, and he was the commander of Suad Alic Brigade at the
14 time, wasn't he?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And he says that he's hereby informing you about the situation in
17 the area of responsibility of your brigade; 115 of the HVO captured; town
18 blocked; the life and town paralysed. "We continue with arrests." Was
19 that how it was, Mr. Juric, according to your recollection?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now, would you please skip over a couple of documents. You said
22 that soon thereafter, a commission arrived.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, the interpreter is
24 asking you to slow down. You're going too fast.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I lingered
1 on some topics due to additional questions, and this is why I need to
2 hurry up now. I will slow down, though.
3 Q. Now, would you please look at 2D463 [as interpreted]?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, this is a report by Veso Vegar. You said that on the 25th
6 of March, 1993, Mr. Bruno Stojic came to Konjic, as did Mr. Petkovic, and
7 here we have the names of some other persons. And then in the last
8 paragraph, it says that a joint commission, three-member commission, was
9 established, a commission of the HVO and the BH Army, and its task was to
10 tour the area engulfed by war activities and to establish the facts on
11 the ground. And then it says the commission -- after the meeting, the
12 officials of the HVO and the BH Army went to tour the ground, went on the
13 field. Were you present when they were touring the situation in the
15 A. Yes, and I've already stated so.
16 Q. I will correct the number in the transcript. The number of this
17 document is 2D643. There was a permutation of numbers.
18 Now, let us turn to April of 1993.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before moving on to the months
20 of April, I would like to discuss the months of March. We can see that
21 an incident took place and that the authorities intervene. In document
22 2D253, we can see that the army representatives assess the causes of the
23 conflict, and they mention a parallel authority which gave rise to a
24 different tax system, different license plates, and traffic control by
25 the HVO and so on and so form. So the reasons that led to the conflict
1 are analysed, and then on the other hand, we see that the authorities
2 intervened, and this is where I am at a loss.
3 As far as you are concerned, in this municipality of Konjic
4 you have the feeling that the HVO, with its taxation system and license
5 plates, had created the conditions for the conflict to erupt?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in this document that
7 you are now referring to, what they describe is the political situation
8 that I'm not familiar enough in order to be able to comment on it. If
9 you're referring to the meeting, I haven't found it yet.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, when Mr. Petkovic came
11 on the spot, did you actually see him?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was the last time I saw him,
13 when he came to cover up the trenches.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as you remember -- my
15 question is a difficult question, because it's difficult to remember what
16 was said 15 years ago. But as far as you remember, what did
17 General Petkovic say?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean General Petkovic, what
19 they said? Well, they were in that commission, Stojic, Petkovic and
20 Pasalic, and they never acted individually, any of them. Their joint
21 appeal was the situation in Konjic had to calm down and conflict should
22 not be allowed to erupt. There wasn't a lot of talk in those meetings.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. If I have
24 understood you well, because it's so complicated, then, when one piece is
25 missing, it's very difficult to understand the whole story, it seems that
1 Generals Petkovic and Stojic said that the trenches needed to be filled
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, and they took up shovels and
4 started filling it -- filling in trenches in some parts, in some
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So Mr. Stojic and Mr. Petkovic
7 picked up the shovels and filled in the trenches. When these trenches
8 were dug in the first place, does this mean that this was done without
9 the HVO Command being aware of it?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you please repeat? I haven't
11 understood it quite --
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me say it again. If
13 General Petkovic and Mr. Stojic take a shovel and fill the trenches with
14 soil, this means that they want to make sure that there are no trenches
15 anymore. But when that happens, the trenches must have been dug before
16 that, and could these trenches have been dug without them knowing about
17 it? They didn't know anything about it?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was at a local level in
19 Konjic. This is why they came to tell us that the trenches were being
20 filled in, and that they shouldn't exist.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may allow
23 another intervention, once again not the entire answer was recorded.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As soon as Mr. Petkovic's name
25 is mentioned, you stand up. What is it you would like to say?
1 Fortunately, I didn't mention Mr. Prlic. Otherwise, Mr. Karnavas would
2 have stood up.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] If I may remind you, Your Honours,
4 I intervened a bit earlier because of the wrong interpretation, and it
5 had nothing to do with General Petkovic. Once again, not the entire
6 answer was recorded. He first said not -- they didn't know that that was
7 at a local level, not -- "they didn't know that" was missing, and I think
8 it's important for you to understand completely.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. In French, I heard,
10 no, he didn't know about it. This is why I continued along those lines.
11 Thank you very much for this clarification. At any rate, it's an
12 important point, it's important that it's on the transcript.
13 Ms. Nozica.
14 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I thank my colleague. I was going
15 to intervene, but she did it before me.
16 Q. You said, Mr. Juric, that conflicts erupted again in April. Let
17 me ask you now, from that conflict on the 23rd of March, 1993, did the
18 situation calm down until the following attack which took place between
19 the 13th and the 14th of April, 1993?
20 A. Somewhat. The situation in Konjic calmed down quickly, because
21 during that conflict there were no victims in Konjic whatsoever.
22 However, the situation in the area of responsibility of the 1st Battalion
23 in Klis was quite complicated, because there were victims there, so that
24 even after that agreement, there were occasional movements of units and
25 there was occasional firing. There were victims only in the first
1 conflict, and later on there were no further victims, but there were
2 movements of units. So that was the area of responsibility in Klis of
3 the 1st Battalion, where the commander of the battalion, Zdravko Sagolj,
4 was located.
5 Q. Have I understood you well? You said in the area of
6 responsibility of the 1st Battalion, there were victims initially?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And later on, there was only movement of units, but there were no
9 conflicts, no victims? Have I understood you well?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, Mr. Juric, can you explain what happened between the 13th
12 and the 14th of April, 1993?
13 A. Between the 13th and 14th of April, 1993, is when an all-out
14 attack of the BH Army against HVO began. In the town of Konjic
15 morning hours, they captured officers of the brigade who were there on
16 their posts, and also members of the Battalion Command, and also the
17 security forces.
18 All in all, they captured 15 people that morning. And then in
19 the course of the day, they started with operations to take up the Zlatar
20 facility and to attack the edges of Konjic, where Croatian villages were
21 located, Retica [phoen], Galjevo [phoen], Donje Selo, Pokojiste. On that
22 day, soldiers of the HVO who were not manning positions facing the Army
23 of Republika Srpska, organised the defence of their villages and hamlets,
24 and I found myself among those soldiers because my house was in that
25 sector as well. We put up resistance. We organised defence around our
1 houses. The combat lasted for four days. The BH Army brought in new
2 forces every day, and our defence was weakening. After four days of
3 combat, we had 20 -- or, rather, 7 fatalities and 10 wounded slightly.
4 During the 18th of April, we decided to cross over to the left
5 bank of the Neretva towards the villages of Zaslivlje, Turije and
6 Zabrdje. We had a large number of civilians, and our main duty was to
7 protect and save those civilians and to transfer them across the Neretva,
8 so this operation lasted some 14 hours, which is to say that on the 18th
9 we withdrew from our positions, we abandoned the right bank of the river
10 and crossed over to the left bank to these three villages, Zaslivlje,
11 Turije and Zabrdje.
12 Q. Can you please tell the Chamber, why did you cross over to this
13 particular area, or did you have any other choice? Were you deported,
14 expelled from that area?
15 A. Had we remained on the right bank, we would have all been
16 arrested and taken to a camp, because throughout the duration of this
17 operation, they were making announcements on the radio that HVO soldiers
18 should disarm and place themselves under the command of the BH Army. We
19 crossed into this other area because, in our view, it was possible to
20 organise some sort of defence in that area. We believed that we were not
21 far from Konjic and that eventually we would be able to return back to
22 our homes.
23 Q. What happened with other soldiers of the HVO and Croat civilians
24 in Konjic? Did you have any information about them?
25 A. In the course of the night, after we crossed, on the following
1 day we started urgently organising and setting up defence in that
2 territory. The area where we crossed to was just as steep as the part on
3 the other bank. If one looks at the Neretva River, one could see the
4 river flowing, and then there were mild slopes on both banks and we could
5 have good visibility from that area, so that on the following day we
6 could follow and we could watch what happened to soldiers and civilians
7 who had remained on the other side of Neretva.
8 In the course of the day, the civilians and soldiers were taken
9 from there to the sector of the village of Gradina
10 to interrogation. Sometime in the afternoon, a group of people was lined
11 up. In my view, there were more than 150 people in that group, and they
12 were taken to the village of Homolje
13 hall in Konjic. Among those 150 - later on we learned there were also 10
14 Serb civilians among them - civilians were released to go home in the
15 afternoon hours.
16 Q. What happened? Did these civilians cross over later -- oh, let
17 me ask you this first: How long did you remain in that area, Turije,
18 Zabrdje and Zaslivlje?
19 A. A full 11 months.
20 Q. How many civilians crossed over, all in all, together with those
21 who initially crossed over with you?
22 A. Initially, about 600 civilians crossed over, including 150 Serb
23 civilians. And later on, in the course of 11 months, another 800
24 civilians came to us -- about 800 civilians came to us in this new
1 Q. Thank you, Your Honours. Tell me, please, what happened with the
2 1st and 3rd Battalion of the HVO?
3 A. On that same day when attack was carried out against our units in
4 Konjic, an attack against the 1st Battalion in Klis was commenced as
5 well. We learned about that only in 1993, once we left that area,
6 because we had no contact -- no communication with them. And it was only
7 that we were -- we were only able to see that there was fierce fighting
8 going on in that area. Later on, we found out that the commander of the
9 brigade was located precisely in the area of responsibility of that
10 battalion in Kostajnica, and later on we learned what went on. We
11 learned that the majority of civilians and soldiers managed to leave the
12 area, and then they were putting up -- those who remained and were
13 putting up defence until July were later captured and taken to the sports
14 hall in Konjic.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Ms. Nozica. We
16 have to have our 20-minute break now.
17 Looking at how much time you have left. You have something like
18 15 minutes left, I believe, 15 to 20 minutes, so see how you can use your
19 time at best. I'm a little bit concerned, because the other Defence
20 counsel will certainly cross-examine the witness, and the Prosecution
21 will have two hours, and we have tomorrow still, but we need to finish
23 Ms. Nozica.
24 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise. I truly
25 apologise. I can see already that I will need an additional 15 minutes
1 to the time allotted to me, because I had to go back to certain topics,
2 but that won't exceed 15 minutes.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, well, if that's the
4 case, I won't put questions to the witness in the future anymore. That's
5 for you to say, is it better for the Judge to put the question or is it
6 better for you to put the question. I am a good timekeeper, and I know
7 that the other Defence counsel will need time, and if you ask for an
8 extra 15 minutes, then the Prosecution will ask for an extra 15 minutes
9 left. Whatever the case may be, the Registrar just told me that you've
10 got exactly 16 minutes left, so please think about it.
11 We're going to have our 20-minute break now.
12 --- Recess taken at 5.44 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 6.05 p.m.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, you have the floor.
15 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in view of the remark
16 you made before the break, I do apologise. I hold your questions in high
17 regard. Perhaps it was just my poor assessment of time. So I would like
18 to request just an additional 15 minutes extra time, and I will, of
19 course, try and get through everything I intended as quickly as possible.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm awfully sorry, Ms. Nozica, it appears that I
23 have been the cause for you having been interrupted. That was not my
24 intention at all, and if you have not finished, I would encourage you to
25 finish. Excuse me. There must have been a misunderstanding.
1 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I just requested
2 that I be given 15 minutes over my time because I did not assess how much
3 time I would need -- I did not assess that properly.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, the Trial Chamber
6 deliberated and says that you still have 16 minutes. You had two hours,
7 and we will not give you any extra time. You have 16 minutes left.
8 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Mr. Juric, can you tell the Trial Chamber, just briefly, what
10 kind of terrain you were forced to go to? What was in front of you, what
11 was behind you? What was the kind of terrain there?
12 A. Turije, Zaslivlje, and Zabrdje are about 24 kilometres of a very
13 hilly terrain, with streams and hillocks, and there are about 300 various
14 facilities or houses which can be -- in which people can live, and there
15 were about a thousand inhabitants. And then there was a main road, the
16 main road running from Konjic to Mostar above that, and we controlled
17 part of the road for about 1500 metres. And then to the right you have
18 the Neretva River
19 BH Army, and the Neretva River
20 metres, as the crow flies. Now, behind our positions to the north -- or,
21 rather, to the east was the Army of Republika Srpska, with its positions,
22 so that we were under total encirclement, on the one hand, by the Army of
23 Republika Srpska, and the BH Army on the other.
24 Q. Mr. Juric, did you have any communication whatsoever with the
25 Defence Department and the Main Staff? And I'd like to mention here that
1 you said that you stayed in the area for 11 months. So could you explain
2 to us whether you had a radio, radio communication, or communication by
3 road, or any other type of communication with the Main Staff and the
4 Defence Department?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Could you tell the Trial Chamber, briefly, what your living
7 conditions were like? Or let me put it this way: Did you have enough
9 A. No. What food we had, we distributed in small amounts, because
10 there were a large number of civilians and the important thing was to
11 give women, children and the elderly the food that we had. And if
12 anything remained, then we'd distribute it among the fighters. Because
13 we had the local population, they had some of their stores, and there
14 were two or three shops in the area, so that we used the food that was
15 stored in those shops to feed the population and distributed it in as
16 fair a manner as possible so that people could have food equally, both
17 the citizens and our men.
18 Q. Did you have electricity?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Did you receive any assistance from any international
21 organisations in the form of food, medicines, or anything like that?
22 A. While I was the commander in the area, until the 3rd of March,
23 1993, I don't remember ever having received any assistance in the form of
24 food or medicines.
25 Q. Mr. Juric, were you the commander in the area until the 3rd of
1 March? Or, rather, until when were you the commander, and how were you
2 appointed commander of the area?
3 A. As we moved to this area, we held a meeting, an urgent meeting,
4 as I've already said, and the -- I was the deputy commander of the
5 brigade at the time, and they proposed that I become the commander, and
6 so I appointed my assistants and closest aides.
7 Q. And for how long did you remain commander in the area?
8 A. Until the 3rd of March, 1993. Or, rather, the 3rd of July, 1993
9 is what I meant to say.
10 Q. You said that you stayed on in the area for 11 months. How did
11 you come to leave the area?
12 A. After the signing of the Washington Agreement, UNPROFOR pulled us
13 out via Jablanica, Slatina, and further on towards Herzegovina in their
15 Q. Okay, fine. Now, my last topic. Your unit, in mid-June, did it
16 capture some translators -- some interpreters of the UNHCR?
17 A. I was informed towards the evening -- my assistant for security
18 informed me that a group of our fighters, without anybody else's
19 knowledge, without any orders, had captured four persons, among whom
20 there were three interpreters and one driver, I believe; and he had to
21 resort to the military police to save these people. And then he took
22 them to the house that he worked in, where he was accommodated, and
23 interviewed them. After the interview, we decided that we should keep
24 these people in the area for a few days so that somebody could come to
25 the area, because we'd been there for 60 days without anybody coming to
1 see how we were doing. So we thought we'd keep them there and that
2 somebody might turn up.
3 Q. Now let's take a look at a few documents, the first of which is
4 2D793. And, Mr. Juric, perhaps -- well, the document will come up on
5 your screen. Perhaps you can rely on that. Here, you have it. It is
6 signed by Mr. Stojic, and it is a command to Mr. Keza on the 16th of
7 June, and it says:
8 "With the aim to resolving the situation concerning the alleged
9 capturing of interpreters of UN and EU."
10 And to Mr. Keza representatives in Konjic to use his authority to
11 have the following prisoners released. Now, Mr. Keza, did he arrive in
12 your area during those days?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Now, let's look at the next document, which is P2794, and it is a
15 report from the Tactical Group Canarias. P2794 is the document, P, not
16 2D but P. Have you found it perhaps, Mr. Juric?
17 A. Yes, I have.
18 Q. This is a report by the Canarias Tactical Group, and please look
19 at point number 3, and underneath that it says "Jablanica-Konjic," which
20 is on your page 4, page 4 of your version. And it says here that the
21 UNHCR has made a breakthrough to the Konjic pocket, with the aim of
22 holding a meeting, and it says a group of HVO soldiers threatened them
23 with weapons and shot up into the air, capturing the interpreters. And
24 it seems that the HVO soldiers who had captured the interpreters did so
25 without the knowledge of the commander of the pocket; is that correct?
1 A. Yes. I've already said that.
2 Q. Now, on page 2 of this same document, we have the names of the
3 interpreters, and it says that contact has been established to resolve
4 the incident and that two letters had been sent, one from General Lasic
5 and the other from General Stojic, with an order to the commander of the
6 pocket to free the prisoners. Did you ever receive one of these letters?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Which one?
9 A. The UNPROFOR brought the General Lasic letter.
10 Q. And did you act upon it? Did you free the interpreters?
11 A. No, we didn't free them. We responded to the letter, sent an
12 answer, and said that we requested someone from a higher HVO level to
13 come to the area to size up the situation and to see the situation we
14 were in. So we insisted upon that, that somebody should come to the area
15 with UNPROFOR.
16 Q. I see. And that explains the next document, which is P2804, so
17 you can just take a look at that. And from that document, we can see
18 that SpaBat did not manage to break through with Mr. Stojic's letter, and
19 that fully confirms what you've just said. It is number 1, the area of
20 influence on page 3, and two more documents remain. P2808 is the first
21 of them. This, once again, is a report from the commander of the
22 Rapid Intervention Forces, and the date of it is the 17th of June, 1993
23 and it is on page 4 of your version, where it says that the BH Army,
24 under the heading "Jablanica-Konjic," that the BH Army did not authorise
25 Mr. Keza's passage through the area, and it says that telephone
1 communication was established by means of the Inmarsat, and that they
2 talked to you, that Mr. Stojic talked to you and the command of SpaBat;
3 and that you said that you would give a response with respect to the
4 freeing of the prisoners at 1700 hours. Now, can you explain to the
5 Trial Chamber why you gave them this answer and why you didn't meet their
6 demands after talking to Mr. Stojic and the commander of SpaBat with
7 respect to the freeing of the prisoners?
8 A. Let me emphasise right away that Mr. Stojic would not be able to
9 order me directly to implement this order, and the fact that I carried on
10 and left another one and a half hours of the dead-line was because we
11 wanted to analyse the situation a little bit more in order to reach a
12 final decision about what would be done in that area.
13 Q. According to this document, it says that you said that there was
14 another call at 1700 hours, and you said that the answer would be sent on
15 the 18th of June, 1993?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. So after that, did you nevertheless decide to release the
19 A. Yes, that is correct.
20 Q. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber why?
21 A. Your Honours, after these two or three days of negotiations,
22 simply we decided that there was no longer the possibility of achieving
23 anything, and then thanks to Mr. Stojic, who promised that we would
24 receive food, even though it did not arrive, we released those people
25 because, in any case, they were a burden to us up there, because we
1 didn't have enough food for our own people, never mind also to feed the
2 persons that we had imprisoned in that area or were holding in that area.
3 Q. Let's look at the last document. This is P2826, and --
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I may just interject a question.
5 Mr. Juric, did you at all think on the legal situation, on
6 whether you were entitled to detain these people? Did that cross your
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, we did think about that also,
9 but we were simply afraid for the security of those people if we were to
10 release them from the area, that somebody else might detain them and
11 ultimately neutralise them, and that later then we would be the ones to
12 bear responsibility and to be accused of committing such a thing.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And it didn't cross your mind that they could
14 take their responsibility, themselves; you simply let them free, and they
15 either go or stay and assess the danger?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We didn't think about that. And
17 while they were with us in that area, they didn't really complain all
18 that much that they were having a bad time while they were sitting there
19 with us and talking, because they also saw the situation that we were in.
20 And, simply, they too felt sorry for us, expecting that they would be
21 able to help us as much as they could.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you are part of a
24 military structure. Some interpreters are captured, interpreters who
25 belong to the UN. Your authorities orders you to release them, and you
1 say that you wanted to meet up with the authorities to address some
2 issues. Do you know that during, first, World War I, and I'm sure that
3 this also occurred during World War II, that there were situations where
4 those who did this were actually placed with their back to the wall and
5 shot for insubordination? So if you thought that it was possible for you
6 to have this kind of behaviour towards your authority, this means that
7 your hierarchy was not able to control you, actually? This is what it
8 seems to mean.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the area where we
10 were, nobody could issue orders to us, and we were not able to submit a
11 report to anyone. We were cut off from everyone. We could communicate
12 through letters or memos or telegrams via UNPROFOR, so we were -- we
13 decided to do this as a measure of desperation, because our situation
14 there in that area at the time was desperate.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I showed document P2794, P2794.
17 It's a document under seal, so can we please do what is required in
18 relation to that document.
19 Q. You said, sir, that Mr. Stojic would not be able to issue orders
20 to you. In view of Judge Antonetti's question, I'm going to come back to
21 that. But you said you did that because you were promised you would
22 receive food.
23 Can we now look at P2826, please. Have you found the document?
24 This document is also under seal, so can we please not show the
25 document outside the courtroom.
1 Sir, have you found the document?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. We have some instructions or directives on procedure or work, and
4 this is on page 2 in your document, where it says that Mr. Stojic used
5 all of his persuasion -- powers of persuasion to try to work on the
6 release of these persons. And then it says:
7 "In the last two months the HVO commander in the pocket has been
8 out of connection. He acted on his own, without any instructions or
9 coordination from the HVO HQ."
10 Is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. It says:
13 "Mr. Stojic promised to the commander, who was desperate for food
14 and medicine, that he will assist him on this issue. Mr. Stojic
15 committed himself to go with me to the area," with the person who wrote
16 this document, "to the area with a convoy of supplies."
17 You, yourself, said you did not receive that convoy of supplies.
18 And also it says here that Mr. Stojic promised that he would provide this
19 assistance. I'm going to ask you, again: If you did answer that, why
20 did you finally decide to do what you did? There was a promise, wasn't
21 there, that was made?
22 A. Well, we were thinking that if the promise was firm that it would
23 also be fulfilled, but as it was, things stayed the way they were.
24 Q. Sir, can you please tell us, could you be reached without the
25 assistance of international forces, who controlled the roads beneath the
1 pocket where you happened to be?
2 A. It was the B and H Army from Jablanica to the place where we
4 Q. In any other way, other than the army territory or through the
5 territory controlled by the Army of Republika Srpska, was it possible to
6 reach the area where you were?
7 A. No.
8 Q. And, finally, can you explain to the Trial Chamber, first, did
9 you receive an order from anyone -- did you receive an order from
10 Mr. Stojic, and did Mr. Stojic -- was Mr. Stojic in a position to issue
11 orders to you?
12 A. I already said that my immediate superior was the commander of
13 the brigade. If he was absent, then the next person in line would be the
14 commander of the operations zone or the person of the Main Staff. So I
15 respected Mr. Stojic for the duties that he was carrying out, but he was
16 not in a position to issue orders to me.
17 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have significantly
18 cut short my questions and I have finished, in respect of your -- in
19 adherence to your decision, and I have even finished two minutes before
20 the time that was allotted to me.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 Let's move to 3D.
23 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, for our
24 internal order, I would like to state that Mr. Coric's Defence has no
25 questions, just to avoid any kind of confusion.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, you're standing
3 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] For the purposes of the
4 transcript, Mr. President, I would just like to say we have no questions
5 for this witness.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
7 Mr. Karnavas, 1D.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Good afternoon to Your Honours. Good afternoon to
9 everyone in and around the courtroom.
10 We have no questions for the gentleman, although we do wish to
11 thank him for coming here to give his evidence. Thank you very much, and
12 good luck.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours. Good day
15 to everyone in the courtroom.
16 I would just like the usher to distribute the documents. I just
17 have questions for the witness for about two or three minutes that have
18 to do with the authenticity of the documents relating to his testimony.
19 Cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Juric. I am representing
21 General Praljak. We had the opportunity to meet briefly when you were in
22 The Hague
23 I would like to ask you to look at this document first. Look at
24 it carefully. Look at the person who signed the document. Look at the
25 memo, whom it's addressed to for the beginning, and, of course, please
1 look at the date. The number of the document is 3D03519.
2 It seems, on the basis of this document, that it was written on
3 the 14th of October, 1992. To avoid any kind of misunderstanding, at the
4 time the HVO and the B and H Army or, rather, the TO and the army jointly
5 were defending the area where you were from, the JNA aggression; is this
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Mr. Kovacic. I read "14/11/92
8 that would be November rather than October.
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, you're quite right,
10 Your Honour. In Croatian, I said the 14th of the 11th month, that is to
11 say, the 14th of November, 1992, so it's a matter of interpretation.
12 Q. But I don't see the witness's answer recorded, so could you
13 repeat and tell us if there were no conflicts between the HVO and the
14 BH Army at that time?
15 A. No, there were no conflicts between the BH Army and the HVO
16 during that time.
17 Q. Thank you. Now let's see what's in the document. Let's look at
18 the contents. Obviously, there was discussion between Maric and
19 Mehmed Zilic, and you mentioned that link to the events in Konjic, and
20 Arif Pasalic says that he is aware of the following elements:
21 "We found out about the following elements."
22 Anyway, it is a letter addressed to whom, please? Who is it
23 addressed to?
24 A. The Municipal Staff of Mostar, the HVO Municipal Staff, Mostar.
25 Q. All right. Now, from this, do you consider that it is a fact
1 that Arif Pasalic, writing to the HVO Municipal Staff of Mostar, confirms
2 that there's complete cooperation between them at that time?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And that agrees with what you knew of the situation at the time;
5 is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Among other things, in the second line of the middle part of the
8 text -- well, let's read it out. Pasalic says:
9 "The BH Army units and the HVO Herceg Stjepan Brigade jointly
10 elaborated a plan of activities in detail."
11 And then he goes on to say:
12 "They are waiting for Mr. Praljak's order."
13 Now, can you tell me what activities or what plan of the -- what
14 plan of the BH Army and HVO Herceg Stjepan Brigade is this? Did you know
15 that there were joint plans with respect to certain operations?
16 A. Yes. We compiled an order jointly for the liberation of the town
17 of Konjic from the Army of Republika Srpska. It was an order for attack,
18 and we compiled that together with the BH Army. We compiled the map and
19 wrote out the order jointly.
20 Q. Very well. Now, within the plan, did the plan provide for the
21 fact that General Praljak would launch the action, that it was up to him
22 to decide when, when the operation would start?
23 A. I'm not quite sure of that, so I can't say with any certainty.
24 Q. And do you know that General Praljak played a role in the plan to
25 refute the Serbs from Konjic, the surrounding parts of Konjic, to push
1 the Serbs back, in view of the fact that it says here they are waiting
2 for Mr. Praljak's order? What does it mean, that line, that point,
3 they're waiting for Mr. Praljak's order?
4 A. Well, I think that would mean that Mr. Praljak was to give the
5 green light for the attack.
6 Q. All right, thank you. Now, the individuals mentioned here,
7 Stanko Maric and Mehmed Zilic, you mentioned them during your testimony.
8 You know who they are?
9 A. Yes, I know Mr. Stanko Maric and Mr. Mehmed Zilic.
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. That completes my
11 examination. I have no further questions.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, where does this
13 document come from?
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] This document, as far as I remember
15 off the top of my head, is the result of my own investigation. It was
16 brought from Bosnia-Herzegovina, but I don't have the information to hand
17 in greater detail. Perhaps Mr. Praljak has some additional information
18 to give you, if you will allow him to speak.
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't have
20 any additional information about the document, but I would like to be
21 allowed to ask a question. I'd like to ask the witness a question,
23 Cross-examination by Mr. Praljak:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Before this date when the plan of attack was
25 determined, did you see me in Konjic at all, and did you happen to know
1 that with a joint team from the BH Army and the HVO, I carried out
2 reconnaissance in the area, the area that we were supposed to liberate?
3 A. Yes, and we met, and you came to the headquarters. I saw you.
4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes. And there's another
5 document that testifies -- well, I don't know why we didn't look at this
6 other document. It should be put up on the ELMO. It testifies that the
7 beginning of the operation --
8 Q. Well, do you remember that it was a joint operation, devised
9 jointly, and so on and so forth?
10 A. Yes.
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon to the
14 Trial Chamber and everybody else.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. I'm going to give
16 you the floor, but I am turning to the witness.
17 Witness, if I have understood you well, around the months of
18 November, or a few days before the 14th, you met General Praljak; is that
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Praljak came to Konjic.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Who was he representing? Let
22 me repeat. When he came, who was Mr. Praljak for you at the time?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I knew that a man was coming from
24 the Main
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When he came, was he a person
1 with some authority or were there decisions taken by the local HVO?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour, but could
3 you repeat your question? I am afraid my hearing isn't what it used to
4 be, and that's why I speak fairly loudly.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When Mr. Praljak came, given
6 your position at the time, did you feel that this was a man of authority
7 who was coming, or was this somebody from the Main Staff of the HVO, and
8 despite that, any decision would be taken by the local HVO?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time, I was the assistant
10 chief for operations and training, and I was on duty in my brigade. I
11 received the gentleman and reported about the numerical situation in
12 Konjic. Now, I received the gentleman as somebody who had authority. He
13 was the person who had authority.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
15 Mr. Alaburic, we have 15 minutes left.
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we still have about
17 15 minutes left today, but I think that I will use the rest of the time
18 that was allocated to the Defence.
19 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Juric, special greetings to you.
21 A. Thank you.
22 Q. We haven't had the opportunity to meet so far; is that correct,
23 Mr. Juric?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Very well. I know that Mr. Bruno Stojic's Defence is familiar
1 with the documents on Konjic, prepared by the Petkovic Defence, so I hope
2 that you are also familiar with those documents and that you will be able
3 to comment on those documents.
4 Mr. Juric, I'm only going to tell you this: I'm going to ask you
5 exclusively about questions which you described on the 23rd of March,
6 1993, then the conflict in April 1993, and I'm going to show you some
7 documents. I would like to draw your attention to parts of those
8 documents, and I would like you just to say whether what is written in
9 the documents corresponds to what you know, and if you don't know, then
10 we're going to move to the next document without much discussion.
11 The first series of documents has to do with the 23rd of March,
12 1993. On that day, if I understood you correctly, Mr. Juric, you said
13 that the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina attacked the HVO in the Konjic
14 sector; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. The first document that I prepared is 4D438. It was already
17 shown to you by my learned friend Ms. Nozica, so we will skip it.
18 Can you please look at the first document that follows. That's
19 document 3D550.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. In this document, the commander of the 7th Brigade, Suad Alic,
22 Mr. Midhat Cerovac, informs the commander of the 4th Corps that:
23 "Related to yesterday's arrests, we completely surrounded or
24 blocked the town."
25 The previous document that you already commented on contains the
1 identical sentence. Mr. Juric, can you confirm that this document
2 corresponds to what you really do know about the blockade of Konjic of
3 that day?
4 A. Yes, yes.
5 Q. Very well. Let's look at the next document, and that is 4D125,
6 and that is document P1709. Mr. Juric, you spoke about how the joint
7 commission of the HVO and the Bosnia
8 how members of that commission came to the Konjic area in those days.
9 Can you please tell us if you saw this joint command of Mr. Petkovic and
10 Mr. Pasalic before on behalf of the HVO and the Army of Bosnia and
12 A. No.
13 Q. All right. The introduction of the order speaks about attempts
14 to calm down tensions in certain areas. Can you please tell us whether
15 these attempts to calm tensions in that area corresponds to what you know
16 about the efforts of the military commanders of the two armies? Did they
17 really try to calm down the tensions?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you look at item 8, where it says:
20 "The joint commission of the HVO and the BH Army that is being
21 sent to you shall have all the powers in commanding."
22 Did you know about the establishment of that commission which was
23 supposed to come to your sector as well?
24 A. No, I didn't.
25 Q. All right. Now we're going to skip the next document that talks
1 about that commission. That's document 2D638. We are going to skip that
2 document, and we're going to skip the next document.
3 Can you now please look at P1712, P1712. It's an interim report
4 from the Rama Brigade, where it says dramatic news are arriving from
5 Konjic about the situation in the town and that they are asking from
6 Konjic that the Rama Brigade artillery opens fire at the villages that
7 are noted here. Mr. Juric, can you please tell us, according to your
8 knowledge, was the situation in Konjic on that day, the 23rd of March,
9 really dramatic?
10 A. Yes. That day, I already described the attack on our barracks in
11 Bradina took place, and these villages also that are referred to here are
12 in the area of responsibility of the 1st Battalion in Klisa.
13 Q. Mr. Juric, can you please tell us, if you know, that there was no
14 artillery activity from the Rama Brigade, in spite of the requests from
15 Konjic, on that day and the following days?
16 A. I don't think that there was, but I cannot be sure. I wasn't in
17 Konjic. Where I was is quite a way from Konjic.
18 Q. All right. Now we're going to move to March. This is document
19 4D872 [Realtime transcript read in error, "4D782"] that we're going to be
20 looking at now. It's a report of the commander of the Klis 1st Brigade
21 Mr. Zeljko Mlikota, for the 24th of March, 1993. Can you tell us,
22 Mr. Juric, did you know Mr. Mlikota?
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. So he was really able to submit a report on behalf of this
25 brigade, he had the authority to do that?
1 A. Yes, he did. He did the Information and Propaganda Section in
2 that area -- in that brigade.
3 Q. In that letter, it says --
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me for being precise, but here the
5 document's number seems to be 4D00872 and not as it is written a few
6 lines above, 782.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] That is correct. I thank you,
8 Your Honour Judge Trechsel. It is 4D872, and we're talking about the
9 contents of the document. It's saying that the forces of the Army of
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina from the morning have started intense firing at
11 positions of the HVO, and then the military police of the HVO's blocked
12 in Konjic, and the Command of the 2nd Battalion, and that "our flags are
13 being burned in town," and HVO people or Croats were being arrested.
14 Mr. Juric, can you please tell us, does this correspond to the
15 actual situation on the ground.
16 A. Yes. We talked about that before, and I already described the
17 events there.
18 Q. At the bottom of the page and the beginning of the next page in
19 the Croatian text, and that is the end of page 2 in the English text, it
21 "We received information that the Suad Alic Brigade had been
22 tasked to defeat us militarily at all positions around Konjic," or,
23 rather, "on all the lines towards the Chetniks."
24 Is this something that also corresponds to what you know about
25 the situation?
1 A. Yes. Members of this brigade, the Suad Alic Brigade, were
2 disarming and arresting our fighters. I also mentioned how many were
3 arrested that day; 150 of them.
4 Q. All right, very well. Let's look at the next document, 4D554.
5 Although you said that you didn't know about the commission that was
6 formed according to the previous order, Mr. Juric, but did you know that
7 there was a commission that came to the Konjic area, so that Petkovic and
8 Pasalic came to that area as members of that commission? Is that how it
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Let's look at what it says in this document. Mr. Arif Pasalic,
12 on the 26th of March, 1993
13 superior, Sefer Halilovic, about the situation. The commission is tasked
14 with monitoring and securing a cease-fire. The same is going to
15 submit -- well, the sentence is not correct, an announcement by the
16 public media. And now I'm going to read the last part:
17 "Safet Cibo has arrived, and he will be connected in Jablanica
18 and Konjic and will be continuing his further duties."
19 Mr. Juric, do you ever hear the name Mr. Safet Cibo before?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you know who that is?
22 A. That is Dr. Safet Cibo.
23 Q. Can you please tell us if this was the person who was the number
24 one -- actually, who replaced the number-one person in Konjic?
25 A. Yes, that is correct, Dr. Rusmir.
1 Q. So we said that Mr. Safet Cibo replaced Rusmir Hadzihuseinovic.
2 Mr. Juric, you said that Mr. Hadzihuseinovic was somebody who wanted to
3 establish good relations with Croats?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. What would you say about Safet Cibo in that sense? Was he also
6 that sort of person?
7 A. No. He had just come. He was sent from Sarajevo in order to
8 cause the conflicts which actually did break out in March and April.
9 Q. Thank you very much. I'm going to skip the next document so that
10 we can make the best use of our time.
11 Let's look at document 4D434. It's a document after the one that
12 we are skipping. There is a commission report here, and we can see the
13 composition of the commission. It's sent to the Main Staff of the HVO on
14 the 26th of March, 1993, and it says that the commission toured the
15 crisis area in the broader region of Klis, removed the barricades, cooled
16 the passions, halted the fire, and partially withdrew the army to their
17 initial positions. And even though Klis is mentioned here, Mr. Juric,
18 and you were not there, does that correspond to what you know about the
19 situation on the ground?
20 A. Yes, because our commander, Zdravko Sagolj, told us that a
21 commission had come to Klis and had toured these sections.
22 Q. Can we look at 2D645. That's the next document. Again, the
23 representatives of the joint commission of the Army of the BiH and the
24 HVO, on the 28th of March, 1993, are informing their superiors about the
25 situation, and it says -- well, they mention the villages that the
1 commission toured during the day, and it says that in the crisis areas,
2 local commissions were formed, which are working on filling in the
3 trenches and restoration of trust.
4 Mr. Juric, what you read here, does that correspond to the
5 situation on the ground?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Very well. Let us now look at the next document, P1810, 1810.
8 It's a joint report of the Main Staff of the HVO for the 4th of April,
9 1993. Let's look at page 3, the report pertaining to Konjic. In the
10 English text, this is also on page 3, and it says here, amongst other
11 things, that members of the B and H Army commission did not show up in
12 Klis. They had a meeting at a motel in Konjic at 1600 hours, where the
13 newly-appointed mayor was supposed to be presented to the commanders of
14 brigades of the B and H Army.
15 Mr. Juric, can you please tell us if this mayor who is being
16 referred to here is perhaps Mr. Safet Cibo whom we mentioned before?
17 A. Well, yes, it seems to me that it is.
18 Q. It says -- we're going to skip a paragraph, and then it says
19 Croats are not allowed to pass the check-point at Oracac [phoen] under
20 the pretext that moving out is being prevented in this way. A group of
21 members of the B and H Army got into Prijeslop village at about 1800
22 hours. They were destroying things, plundering, and expelling women and
23 children who were still in the village. So from this last piece of the
24 text that we read, it seems that in April 1993, in spite of everything,
25 there were certain provocations and incidents in the Konjic sector
1 provoked or caused by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina; is this
3 A. Yes, it's correct, and I also pointed that out, that in Konjic
4 itself and in the area around Konjic, there were no such incidents,
5 although tensions were high. But I did say that in this area of
6 responsibility in Klis, conflicts continued, and they continued
7 throughout this whole period.
8 Q. Let us look at the next document. It's 2D774. It's a report
9 from the 1st Brigade of -- the 1st Battalion of Klisa, and it's sent to
10 the Main Staff and the command of the operations zone for the previous
11 day. It says that there were occasional provocations. The village of
12 Gornji Prijeslop and Aleksin Han are mentioned, and it says that HVO
13 members and the barracks were fired at, and there was intense
14 entrenchment of Muslim forces that was reported. I'm not going to read
15 any more. My question, Mr. Juric, is: Are you aware of these events,
16 and do they confirm your assertions that there were incidents which kept
17 growing in number and significance in April 1993?
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 Q. We have time for one more document.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. No, you have no
21 more time, because it is now 7.00.
22 A follow-up question for you, Witness. In this document, it
24 "We cannot discard the idea that a member of KOS may be present."
25 I assume this has to do with Jusa Hadzajlic, nicknamed Homeini.
1 The fact that this is mentioned, well, does this mean that as far as the
2 HVO in Konjic is concerned - you were a member of the HVO - you could not
3 discard the idea that the Serbs, through their intelligence services or
4 counter-intelligence, were manipulating some people to fuel the conflict?
5 Is this what this means?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am sorry, Your Honours. If you
7 can repeat your question. I'm not quite sure I understand the whole
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Every time I put a question --
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] If you permit me, Your Honour, I
11 would like to put the same question.
12 Q. Based on this document, Mr. Juric, it can be concluded that this
13 gentleman who is mentioned here, Jusa Hadzajlic, could perhaps be a
14 member of the KOS
15 HVO, you and your colleagues, believed that some events, or some clashes
16 with the Bosnia-Herzegovina Army were actually a consequence of KOS
17 activity, that they were -- there were provocations organised in advance
18 in order to provoke conflicts between the Muslims and the HVO, all under
20 A. I'm sorry, can you put the question to me again?
21 Q. Very well. Perhaps we can do it tomorrow.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Put the question tomorrow.
23 Ms. Alaburic, you can put the question to the witness again. I have the
24 feeling that things run more smoothly when you put the question.
25 Witness, you will therefore be coming back tomorrow. We shall be
1 sitting in the morning, and we will start at 9.00. According to the
2 calculations of the Registrar, there will be 40 minutes left for
4 I wish you all a pleasant evening, and we shall meet again
5 tomorrow at 9.00.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.02 p.m.
7 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 28th day of April,
8 2009, at 9.00 a.m.