Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 10300

 1                           Wednesday, 1 July 2009

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The witness entered court]

 4                           [Accused Prlic and Coric not present]

 5                           [The accused entered court]

 6                           --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could you please

 8     call the case.

 9             THE REGISTRAR:  Good afternoon, Your Honours.  Good afternoon

10     everyone in and around the courtroom.  This is case number IT-04-74-T,

11     the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, registrar.

13             This is Wednesday, July 1st, 2009, and I welcome everyone here,

14     notably Mr. Praljak, Mr. Stojic, Mr. Petkovic, and Mr. Pusic.  I also

15     welcome the counsels from the Defence, notably Mr. Khan, who is always

16     with us, who seems to be in all courtrooms, morning and afternoon.  I

17     also welcome Mr. Stringer and the people helping him, and all people

18     helping us also.  I believe that Ms. Alaburic has something to say.

19             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon to Your Honours and

20     everybody else in the courtroom.  I wanted to respond to your offer of

21     yesterday that the additional time that I need for -- or additional time

22     for General Praljak's cross-examination I use the time that has been

23     accorded to the Petkovic Defence.  I'd like to thank you once again for

24     giving us this possibility, and I'm sure that this was made in the best

25     of intentions, but I cannot accept that proposal for the following

Page 10301

 1     reasons, and they are reasons of principle:  The Defence of

 2     General Petkovic asked for additional time for examining the expert

 3     witness, that is to say the accused Bruno Stojic, in keeping with the

 4     guidelines issued, timely guidelines, and with the corresponding

 5     explanations.

 6             Now, our request for a total of four hours for the

 7     cross-examination of this important witness was not accepted, but the

 8     Honourable Trial Chamber gave us the right to cross-examine for a time of

 9     one and a half hours.  The Defence of General Petkovic, considering it to

10     be standard practice whereby the Defence has the right freely to

11     distribute the time it has been allotted for presenting its defence case

12     sent to the Honourable Trial Chamber on the 15th of December, 2008, a

13     notice informing them that they will use their own two and a half hours.

14     Approximately one month later, that is to say on the 12th of January,

15     2009, the Trial Chamber, proprio motu, as regards the notice by

16     General Petkovic, treated it as being an additional request for

17     additional time and refused that request.

18             The Defence of General Petkovic tabled a new request for the

19     reconsideration of the first decision and ruling and -- to appeal against

20     such a decision, but that request was rejected.  Therefore, the Defence

21     of General Petkovic was not allowed, to the detriment of its own time, to

22     use its own time to use the Stojic Defence witness Mr. Dvor Marijan

23     during the time that it deemed necessary, that the Petkovic Defence

24     thought was necessary.  We considered that thereby the rule had been

25     established whereby the Defence cannot distribute its own time in such a

Page 10302

 1     way as to extend the cross-examination of a defence witness from another

 2     Defence team.

 3             With every respect for the ruling and position taken by the Trial

 4     Chamber, the Petkovic Defence, during the defence of Mr. Stojic, and

 5     never again repeated the same request.

 6             The proposal made yesterday, it seems to me that the Trial

 7     Chamber changed its position on this topic.  Now, to avoid any

 8     misunderstanding with respect to your question, the Petkovic Defence at

 9     this point in time is making an oral motion and requesting that the

10     Honourable Trial Chamber define its position with respect to the right of

11     using its own time by a Defence team in order to prolong the

12     cross-examination of the witness of another Defence team -- or, rather,

13     to define whether it is going to change the position it took during the

14     Stojic Defence case.

15             The Petkovic Defence considers that by changing the position on

16     this important issue the right of an accused to a fair trial would be

17     violated along the lines of Article 20 of the Statute, and Article 21(1)

18     of the Statute on equal rights and equality of arms for the accused.

19             Of course, it is possible that the Petkovic Defence has

20     erroneously evaluated the possible arguments as to the change in the

21     Trial Chamber's position, and therefore we expect that a decision on this

22     oral motion will be explained in the proper way, and the Petkovic

23     Defence, depending on how the decision is expounded, will see whether it

24     needs to seek legal remedies against that decision or not.  If the

25     arguments put forward in the opinion of the Petkovic Defence are not

Page 10303

 1     contrary to the Statute and the rules of in Tribunal, then we will not

 2     oppose such a decision.  However, if we consider that by changing the

 3     position on the part of the Trial Chamber one Defence team would be

 4     privileged to the detriment of another, in this case General Praljak's

 5     Defence and maybe the Petkovic Defence as well, we will oppose such a

 6     change with respect to this important decision.

 7             That is all, Your Honours, and thank you for your patience.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, the Trial Chamber will

 9     deliberate on this and we'll issue a decision.  Let me give the floor to

10     my fellow Judge, but personally, first I have something to say, something

11     that I wrote in a good number of opinions, and would I like to state it

12     again.

13             As far as I'm concerned, the cross-examination in its common law

14     sense, as resulting from the Rules of Procedure, is for the following:

15     It's whenever what the witness is saying is against your own interest.

16     Up until now, I really don't see how Mr. Petkovic's interest can differ

17     from those of Mr. Praljak.  You'll have to demonstrate this to me.  So

18     far Mr. Praljak has testified for dozens of hours, and I don't see where

19     or when he actually challenged or questioned Mr. Petkovic.  First thing.

20             Second thing, this morning I was listening to other trials,

21     like -- because I usually do this to try, you know, and learn, and I was

22     listening to the pre-trial conference of Mr. Karadzic, and I noted that

23     in the time that has been allotted for cross-examination, Judge Bonomy in

24     person said that cross-examination would be allowed 60 per cent of the

25     time.  I'm sure you know that here it's a hundred per cent of the time

Page 10304

 1     that is allotted.  So we were extremely generous.  I even believe that we

 2     were excessively generous.  We should have placed limits on this.  The

 3     problem is we placed no limits and now we run into problems.

 4             Thirdly, we gave you an extra 45 minutes.  You know, you only had

 5     four hours.  We gave you an extra 45 minutes which was taken from the

 6     time that would the no be used by Mr. Pusic's Defence.  So we were

 7     lenient once again.  You did not agree with this.  The Trial Chamber

 8     deliberated on this yesterday and said, Well, if Ms. Alaburic needs time,

 9     well, she can just use her credit, the credit that she has.  So this was

10     really extremely generous on our part.  You still aren't happy with this

11     decision, and you're still coming up with the problem again, talking

12     about major principles, equality of arms, and so forth and so on.

13             Let me tell you, as far as I'm concerned, I can tell you as legal

14     professional that neither in the Statute or in the rules of procedure or

15     anywhere in any national documents do we have this problem, is there

16     anything on the limits of time.  It's up to the Judges to decide, always.

17     We have to rationalise our time.  We have to save time, and time, you

18     know, is not infinite.  Of course not.  And we have to take this into

19     account.

20             Of course, if during your cross-examination we note that there

21     are very important questions that require additional time, what do the

22     Judges do most of the time?  You saw what we do here, you know, which is

23     something that is -- that is not done in other Trial Chambers.  We Judges

24     put questions, you know, and the time that we use to put questions is not

25     taken, deducted from your allotment.  So why do you complain?  We could

Page 10305

 1     just, you know, not say anything, stay silent and let you operate.  If

 2     you'd rather have it that way, just tell us.  But then instead of giving

 3     you four hours, maybe we will give you an extra 20 or 30 minutes and we

 4     will not put any question to the witness.  But you're complaining, and I

 5     really don't understand why you keep complaining.

 6             You made your oral motion.  Fine.  You will get a decision to

 7     answer this motion.

 8             I don't know what my fellow Judges have to say.  I'm sure that

 9     they all have their own opinion, and my colleague Judge Trechsel wanted

10     the floor.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Well, first of all of course I agree.  We will

12     examine the question and give you an answer.  But, I would indeed like to

13     hear with a bit more precision why you consider that the -- a change

14     which would -- if it is a change.  I'm not aware that we actually ever

15     really discussed this.  I'm not aware that we discussed it.  But if we

16     now were to change the practice in that we would allow Defence teams to

17     make use of their time credit to cross-examine witnesses, in what way do

18     you consider that this could impair the fairness of proceedings?

19             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.  I'd like

20     to thank Judge Antonetti and Judge Trechsel for their observations.

21             I'd just like to put right something that Judge Antonetti said

22     recorded on page 5, line 3.  His Honour Judge Antonetti said that I did

23     not agree with the decision made by the Honourable Trial Chamber whereby

24     the Petkovic Defence would be given an additional 45 minutes from the

25     time remaining with respect to Mr. Fahrudin Ibrisimovic and the Pusic

Page 10306

 1     Defence.  That assertion is not correct.  I did not challenge that

 2     decision in any way, nor did I require leave to appeal the decision.  All

 3     I did was yesterday at the beginning of the cross-examination, I said

 4     that all the documents had been prepared on the assumption that I had six

 5     hours, but if I did not have six hours, then I would skip over some

 6     subjects and some areas.  That's all I said.  So in no way did I bring

 7     into question the Trial Chamber's decision.

 8             Now, Your Honour Judge Trechsel, I'm going to repeat what we

 9     wrote in our request for reconsideration of your decision not to allow me

10     to use my own time for questioning an expert witness.  I reminded you on

11     that occasion that for the presentation of the Prlic defence the Defence

12     teams were allowed to use their own time in order to extend the time for

13     the cross-examination of individual witnesses, and that is an indubitable

14     fact.

15             Now, believing that practice had been established thereby, I

16     asked the same right when it came to Witness Dvor Marijan.  I can give

17     you lengthy explanations as to what organisation of time means to each of

18     the Defence teams and the possibility of discussing certain areas using

19     their own time and additionally examining the witnesses of other Defence

20     teams.  Had I had sufficient time at my disposal to cross-examine Dvor

21     Marijan, perhaps I would not today using exactly the same documents

22     broach exactly the same topics with General Praljak as the witness

23     sitting in the chair at this point in time.  However, at that time I did

24     not have enough time, and from Your Honours' questions I can understand

25     where the problems lie in understanding the competencies for bringing

Page 10307

 1     criminal procedures to bear and responsibilities -- criminal

 2     responsibilities for crimes committed, and I consider that I had

 3     sufficient time to clarify those matters using the Stojic Defence

 4     witnesses who came into this courtroom to discuss precisely those topics.

 5             Similarly, I consider that it is completely unacceptable that

 6     during the Defence case of Bruno Stojic the rule was used whereby one's

 7     own time was not used.  And I'd like to remind you that none the Defence

 8     teams in this courtroom after your decision with respect to the Praljak

 9     Defence request for additional time with respect to Dvor Marijan posed a

10     similar request, because as far as we were concerned there was no dilemma

11     as to that being the position taken by the Honourable Trial Chamber.

12             Now, theoretically what can happen is this, for example, the

13     Stojic Defence, for example, has at its disposal some ten hours, I

14     believe, which it did not use for its own examination.  Now, if you

15     change your position with respect to the right of using your own Defence,

16     and I'm only putting this as a hypothesis, as a hypothetical, the Stojic

17     Defence can then be brought in to a situation of being privileged whereby

18     at the detriment of their own time, using up their own time in

19     questioning General Praljak or General Petkovic without having to in

20     keeping with the guidelines table a request for additional time with the

21     Trial Chamber and explain the reasons for that, for that request.

22             Therefore, according to the guidelines we all have the right to

23     ask for additional time.  That is indubitable.  But we would like to

24     convince the Trial Chamber that our reasons are valid ones, and if we

25     succeed in doing that then there is no doubt that we will be allotted

Page 10308

 1     time, but if we change the practice with respect to using one's own time

 2     credit or credit time, then we will enable other Defence teams outside

 3     that rule to extend the time they have for the cross-examination of

 4     witnesses from other Defence teams.

 5             There, Your Honours, is what I wanted to ask you briefly, and if

 6     we are going to appeal to the Trial Chamber decision, then we'll be

 7     supplying further explanations.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me give the floor to

 9     Mr. Stringer so he can tell us what his point of view is regarding what

10     you just said to give us grounds for your oral motion, and the Trial

11     Chamber will then deliberate and we'll issue a decision on this next

12     week.

13             MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Good afternoon to you

14     and Your Honours and to everyone else.

15             Beyond observing that we are in complete agreement with what the

16     president's just said about the generosity in terms of time that's been

17     granted, I think to all of the Defence teams, and the flexibility that

18     the Trial Chamber has shown at various times in accommodating the various

19     teams in their wishes to get additional time for cross, beyond expressing

20     our agreement with that, we don't have a position to take in respect of

21     the application by counsel.  We don't support it, nor do we oppose it.

22     We think since it goes to cross-examination by the Defence, especially of

23     a co-accused, it's -- it's not for the Prosecution to take a position,

24     and so we will accept, obviously, whatever ruling the Trial Chamber makes

25     on that issue for now and also for the remainder of the Defence cases.

Page 10309

 1             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you allow me just

 2     one sentence.  I think I'm duty-bound to give you my position as regards

 3     the magnanimity or generosity regarding the time allotted to each Defence

 4     team.  If you are giving the example of the accused Karadzic who was

 5     granted the right to cross-examine the witnesses to the amount of 60 per

 6     cent of the time that the Prosecution gets, I would like to say that the

 7     Petkovic Defence had far less time because we had only one-sixth part of

 8     the time allotted to the Prosecution.

 9             Other Defence teams are other Defence teams.  That's not the

10     Defence of Milivoj Petkovic.

11             As regards the right to the cross-examination of witnesses on the

12     part of -- or called by other Defence teams, well, this is immaterial at

13     this point in time, and I don't think that this was a generous rule.  I

14     think it was relatively strict, but I definitely do acknowledge the

15     effort of the Trial Chamber to give additional time to the Defence teams

16     for their examination of the witnesses whenever they could show cause for

17     that.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  The Trial Chamber

19     will issue a decision on this, and Ms. Alaburic, you have the floor to

20     pursue your cross-examination.

21             Mr. Stringer?

22             MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Apologies to counsel

23     for this, but I -- while we're on procedure, if I could just make one

24     remark or comment for the Trial Chamber.  Today we received -- I don't

25     know whether the Trial Chamber has seen it yet or not, but a letter came

Page 10310

 1     in from one of the accused, Dr. Prlic, and he's asking essentially for an

 2     opportunity to make further submissions of documents.  It's a letter.

 3     It's not a motion from the Prlic Defence, and I just wanted to clarify

 4     that for the record what the status of the letter is, because I want to

 5     make sure that the Prosecution has an opportunity to respond to the

 6     letter.

 7             Our view is that, without getting into the substance of the

 8     issue, my own view, if you will, is I remembered a recent ruling by the

 9     Trial Chamber in which it was critical of notices that had been filed by

10     parties, and the Trial Chamber observed that it did not consider notices

11     to be motions under the rules and that it wasn't going to consider itself

12     to be seized of things said or asserted in notices so that it wasn't

13     going to issue any rulings on them, and I think the Prosecution position

14     is that in respect of the letter from the accused, it falls into the same

15     category or it should.  It's not a motion, and our suggestion would be

16     that if the Prlic Defence wants to make this application by motion, it

17     should do so at which time then the Prosecution would file its response.

18     Otherwise, I'm not sure how we would be expected to respond to a letter

19     that's come directly to the Trial Chamber from an accused, and so we're

20     seeking the Trial Chamber's guidance on that.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. -- could you please give us

22     some information on this?

23             MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon to the Chamber and

24     everyone in and around the courtroom.

25             Mr. Karnavas, yesterday, after receiving your decision manage to

Page 10311

 1     have it translated, and he took the translated decision to Mr. --

 2     Dr. Jadranko Prlic in the detention unit.  They discussed the decision,

 3     but as of yesterday, no decision was taken on their part regarding this

 4     decision of yours.

 5             This morning Mr. -- Dr. Prlic spoke to Mr. Karnavas twice and

 6     notified him of his wish to send a letter to the Honourable Trial

 7     Chamber.  Well, you've seen the contents thereof.

 8             Now, what status the Trial Chamber will accord to this letter,

 9     it's entirely at the discretion of the Chamber.  If you want any

10     additional information or if you would like to have a hearing about the

11     status of this letter or to discuss it in any form, I propose that we

12     take 15 minutes of our time at the end of our hearing so that we don't

13     hinder Ms. Alaburic's cross-examination, and Mr. Karnavas will be here to

14     provide any additional arguments that you might require.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Tomanovic, very well.

16     Yesterday the Trial Chamber received the B/C/S version.  We were awaiting

17     the translation.  We obtained early in the afternoon, and obviously it

18     seems that the accused Prlic is directly calling directly upon the Trial

19     Judges with this letter.  It's extremely polite.  We have nothing to say

20     about this letter.  There is a copy of this letter to the Prosecution as

21     well as to the counsels -- to all counsels of Defence, and he is raising

22     this problem in his letter, but of course he also says that it is a very

23     unusual way to proceed, to write a letter.

24             The Trial Chamber will thus deliberate on the legal status that

25     is to be granted to this letter, whether it will fall within the category

Page 10312

 1     of the famous notices that Mr. Stringer told us about.  If that's the

 2     case, then the Trial Chamber will say that the Trial Chamber only

 3     authorises motions filed by the counsels, and because of that the Trial

 4     Chamber will not look into this letter, or the Trial Chamber may decide

 5     to have a different position, say that the accused is always entitled to

 6     seize his Judges, after all, because there absolutely needs to be some

 7     circuit between the accused and their Judges.  And if that's the decision

 8     we choose and that's the avenue we choose, then we will try to do decide

 9     on this.  But I'm always trying to find the hidden agendas, you know,

10     behind all these letters.  I want to know what the real motivation was

11     for writing this letter.

12             Mr. Prlic should have told his counsel, "I don't agree with the

13     content of the Trial Chamber's decision so please make a certification of

14     appeal."  That would have been the traditional way of doing things.  If

15     he'd rather use another avenue, that might mean something.  Maybe there's

16     something wrong, something I don't know about.  You know, Mr. -- I

17     already told you, Ms. Tomanovic, the fact that Mr. Prlic does not want to

18     attend the trial means that something is wrong.  He might feel that he

19     hasn't been heard correctly, that he is not being listened to, that he

20     has not been understood correctly, which might explain why he no longer

21     wants to attend the trial, thinking that maybe this is just a mock trial.

22     Maybe that's what he thinks.

23             I'm -- I already told Mr. Karnavas all this, because I wanted

24     Mr. Karnavas to try and convince Mr. Prlic come back in the trial.  If he

25     had been here, you know, he might have been very useful during the

Page 10313

 1     examination of Mr. Praljak either directly or through his counsels.  It

 2     could have been very useful if Mr. Prlic had been there.  It's always

 3     better to be there, anyway.

 4             He does say that he is following the trial.  I hope he is, but I

 5     think he would be in a better situation to follow the trial if he were

 6     attending it, but you all know that this has to do with the fact that the

 7     Trial Chamber did not admit the voluminous work that he did when he

 8     drafted a huge document.  You know, that was probably very useful to his

 9     defence, but you know that for procedural reasons we could not admit this

10     document.  It was impossible to admit it.

11             In its decision the Trial Chamber clearly told and showed you

12     that the document could very well be tendered at one point in time,

13     during Mr. Praljak's examination.  He could stand up, he could have stood

14     up and said, "I made a study.  I would like to admit -- I would like to

15     tender this document that I wrote because it might either confirm or go

16     against what Mr. Praljak is saying."  It could have been a procedure that

17     could have been used, and the Trial Chamber thus would have been placed

18     in other legal situation.

19             I must say that in the 30 years of my career it's the first time

20     that I have an accused that does not -- that refuses to attend his own

21     trial.  And coming from Mr. Prlic, I must say that I'm quite

22     flabbergasted, especially given the very high responsibilities that he

23     had at the time.  So there is a problem some place, and maybe this matter

24     is just a fallout of this problem.

25             We'll take all this into account.  We'll look at the human

Page 10314

 1     situation, the psychological situation, and the legal situation to try

 2     and find a good solution that will satisfy the interests of justice, the

 3     interest of your client and the interest of the Prosecution also.

 4             Thank you.

 5             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Yes, I would like to say the following, that I

 6     do agree, of course, with our President, what he has been saying.  Just

 7     for the record, I would like only to -- to read out the quote, two parts

 8     of the letter which I believe are important.  Again, let me say that of

 9     course the Chamber will deliberate on this issue and will make its own

10     decision.  So I believe that in the original letter, Mr. Prlic made two

11     important points, and I quote the first part of it when he said:

12             "I would like to take this opportunity to ask the members of the

13     Trial Chamber simply to grant leave to my Defence to file another motion

14     to introduce new evidence in accordance with the rules established by

15     this Chamber.  Of course, no new documents would be introduced.  No new

16     documents would be introduced.  It is my opinion that this would not

17     constitute a precedent."

18             And now the second point which I believe that is important to

19     summarise and to -- and to quote, it is the following, that:

20              "I would like to take this opportunity to ask the members of the

21     Trial Chamber simply to grant leave to my Defence to file another motion

22     to introduce new evidence," but afterwards, actually the letter

23     continues:

24              "That I do not think that the appeals procedure, which as I

25     understand my Defence wishes to start, is necessary if my request is

Page 10315

 1     granted.  I understand that it is outside the regular procedure.

 2     However, it has a very clear and decent intention, to offer all the

 3     parties in the proceedings the relevant documents to make a just ruling."

 4             So I quoted these parts in order to shed light on the thinking of

 5     Mr. Prlic, but again, as we agree in this Trial Chamber, we are going to

 6     discuss this matter further and to -- to reach a decision on it.

 7             Thank you.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.  I could add also the last

 9     paragraph of this letter, Mr. Prlic wishes the Trial Chamber Judges all

10     the best in their -- in the procedure.  So Mr. Prlic is also fully aware

11     that this trial must be held in the best conditions possible, and he

12     would like to contribute to this, and this is good news.

13             Ms. Tomanovic, you might tell him this.  It would be even better

14     if he came back, you know, to attend his trial.  That way he could give

15     us his point of view.  He could actually tell us why the decision of the

16     Trial Chamber jeopardised something as far as he's concerned.

17             I never told any accused not to speak out.  So he can come back.

18     He should come back.  He should tell us everything, you know, that he has

19     against us and then we could continue with this trial, because it's not

20     good for him to be far from his trial.

21             Obviously, Mr. Prlic must be in despair, you know, and must feel

22     very poorly about being placed in this situation.  I believe that

23     everyone now must chip in.  He must understand that we do have a Rule of

24     Procedure and Evidence.  Contrary to what some people think, it's a very

25     good regulation that really helps -- that allows us to do many things.

Page 10316

 1     It's a mixture between civil and common law.  As far as civil law, a lot

 2     of things are allowed.  Of course, some items have been locked by -- in

 3     practice by a number of Trial Chambers but it's only because one Trial

 4     Chamber will not allow one thing that another Chamber must absolutely

 5     abide by that.  This is a very versatile Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

 6     Judges can ask questions, for example, this is allowed in the

 7     regulation -- in the Rules of Procedure.  And in the Rule of Procedure an

 8     accused can also complain and say why he's not interested with this or

 9     that.  So Mr. Prlic's interest is to come back in the courtroom to tell

10     us what's wrong.  If it's a problem with time, the Trial Chamber has

11     already answered.  The Appeals Chamber confirmed its -- the decision, but

12     we can ask the Appeals Chamber once again, you know.  It's -- not

13     attending your trial is not a good thing.  We were very surprised, you

14     know, the day he left the courtroom we were in confronted with a fait

15     accompli.  We didn't expect this at all.  No one expected this; whereas

16     as if he had opened his heart before, you know, and told us about what

17     was wrong, you know, we would have found a solution.  We will study this

18     letter and we will issue a decision on this after having deliberated on

19     the question.

20             Mr. Stringer, you want to take the more again?

21             MR. STRINGER:  Yes.  Thank you, Mr. President, just to clarify.

22     If I understand correctly, the Trial Chamber is going to deliberate and

23     issue a decision, and the decision is going to be about what status to

24     give this so that the Prosecution knows in what we way can file our

25     response, because we obviously want to be able to respond in some fashion

Page 10317

 1     to the requests that are being made in this document, so I just wanted to

 2     clarify that that's the decision that's going to be coming down as

 3     opposed to a decision on the merits of the requests that are being made

 4     by Dr. Prlic.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Absolutely, yes.  It's on the

 6     statute of this letter.

 7             MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] If I may, just very briefly to

 8     take some of Ms. Alaburic's time and to thank the Chamber for their

 9     comments, since Dr. Jadranko Prlic is regularly reading the transcripts

10     from the trial, he will read everything that you have said, and I will

11     also inform him this evening as I do every evening after the hearing.  We

12     discuss at length the developments at the trial, and I believe that

13     Dr. Jadranko Prlic will convey his opinion in a proper way to you.

14             And finally, let me say something that I should have said right

15     at the beginning but I forgot.  Mr. Karnavas would like to apologise for

16     not being in court today.  He's dealing with some administrative issues

17     that are very important that the Registry has asked him to do, and the

18     deadline is next Monday.  But at any rate, if you wish to open any

19     additional discussion on this topic, he can be here within 20 minutes.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  We will continue

21     with our cross-examination, but my fellow Judge Trechsel has something to

22     say.

23             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Just a very light observation.  You have not

24     used Ms. Alaburic's time.  It remains intact.  Thank you.

25             MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.  Yes, I really would

Page 10318

 1     not like to get into any conflicts with Ms. Alaburic.

 2             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.  Thank you,

 3     Your Honour, Judge Trechsel.  I never doubted for a moment that this

 4     minor slip of the tongue of my colleague Ms. Tomanovic would be corrected

 5     by you and we always count on your interventions.

 6                           WITNESS:  SLOBODAN PRALJAK [Resumed]

 7                           [Witness answered through interpreter]

 8                           Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic: [Continued]

 9        Q.   [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, good afternoon.

10        A.   Good afternoon, Ms. Alaburic.  Good afternoon to Your Honours and

11     to everyone in the courtroom.

12        Q.   General, we stopped at the second model.  The US army is waging

13     war in the US territory, and I have been thinking, trying to avoid any

14     question which would require you to provide a legal opinion of any sort,

15     so I thought that it would be best to phrase my question in the following

16     way:  If you were the commander of the US army and if you were to defend

17     the USA on its own territory, would you consider that public law and

18     order would be something that the police would be taking care of and that

19     the perpetrators of any crimes would be prosecuted by the bodies that are

20     duty-bound to do so?

21        A.   Yes.  That's how it is actually done.

22        Q.   If you allow me to use the phrases, the wording that you used in

23     your examination-in-chief, does that mean that you, as the commander, are

24     responsible for what's going on at the front line and that the

25     developments in the rear are something that the organs that have this in

Page 10319

 1     their jurisdiction would take care of that?

 2        A.   Yes, but if I learn of something, if I come across a crime in the

 3     course of the commission and if no one else is aware of it, then I am

 4     duty-bound to do that.  They do it ex officio, but I am also duty-bound

 5     if I learn of something to seek assistance from the organs in whose

 6     jurisdiction it is.

 7        Q.   Well, we will deal with this in some greater detail later, but

 8     for the time being let's just draw some conclusions.

 9             So if we take these two models, the US army occupying Iraq and

10     the US army defending the US territory on its territory, now if we tried

11     to transpose those two models to Herceg-Bosna, what would you say?  Is

12     the HVO operating in accordance with the first model or the second model?

13        A.   We were not an occupying army.  We did not occupy anything.  So

14     we were simply -- we simply had behind us an organisation.  Well, it was

15     a weak organisation, but such as it was, it was supposed to do its job as

16     best it could.  It did its job but not well enough to prevent all those

17     things, but a lot was done.

18        Q.   General Praljak, could you please tell me whether the civilian

19     authorities and the military authorities were in fact in embryonic

20     stages, were getting organised and were trying to deal with the situation

21     as best they could?

22        A.   They were indeed an embryo, and those who don't know how

23     difficult it is to create a society, it takes decades, decades, and I

24     could be talking about that for hours.  Legal professionals usually

25     believe that as soon as they issue laws, a state of law with the rule of

Page 10320

 1     law and order would ensue but that's not the case.  Society is the most

 2     complicated form in nature which sometimes takes decades to take off the

 3     ground.

 4        Q.   Very well, General.  Let's move on to the next topic.  We're

 5     still talking about documents in binder number 1, and the third topic is

 6     the HVO as an element of the armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia and

 7     Herzegovina and a Joint Command.

 8             General Praljak, a lot of the documents in the binder are already

 9     in evidence.  I have included them, however, because I wanted to provide

10     the Trial Chamber to have as many documents in one place, because those

11     documents confirm that the HVO was a component of the armed forces.

12             Let's go through the documents together, and let's do it as

13     quickly as we can.  The first document is P339, an agreement on

14     friendship and cooperation which was signed on the 21st of July, 1992, by

15     Franjo Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic.

16             In bullet point 6, General Praljak, it says as follows:

17             "The armed element of the HVO is an integral part --"

18             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Excuse me, Ms. Alaburic.  I believe it is simply

19     a technical problem but to be sure.  You said, I quote:  "The first

20     document is P339," but I believe it should be 1339.  Isn't it so?  1339.

21             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours.  I called number

22     P399.  This is the first document in the third group of documents.  This

23     is the fifth topic on my list -- or, rather, in the binder, the fifth

24     topic, and [Previous translation continues] ... [In English] "armed

25     forces."

Page 10321

 1             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Thank you.

 2             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

 3        Q.   General Praljak, we're looking at bullet point 6 where it says

 4     and I quote:  "The armed element of the HVO is an integral part of the

 5     armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The HVO will

 6     have its representatives in a Joint Command of the armed forces of Bosnia

 7     and Herzegovina."

 8             General, in your opinion would this be an indisputable proof to

 9     show that the HVO was part of the BiH armed forces and that together with

10     the BiH army it was supposed to establish a Joint Command?

11        A.   Ms. Alaburic, I believe that I have spent hours talking about

12     this.  This is indeed correct and there is nothing to add to this.

13        Q.   General, I'm going to skip all the documents that are already in

14     exhibits in order to --

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, I have already asked

16     this same question to another witness, but the witness did not have your

17     political or -- knowledge or military competencies, and I think that you

18     can answer this question.

19             In the document -- the documents is an international agreement

20     signed by Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Tudjman.  It is an agreement on

21     friendship and cooperation, a fairly traditional agreement according to

22     international law.

23             Looking at the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, and you

24     know that I have already asked you several questions on that matter, I

25     had noticed that international agreements had to be ratified by the

Page 10322

 1     Sabor.  This specific agreement, was it examined by the Sabor?  Was it

 2     published by the official journal of the Republic of Croatia, or was it

 3     an agreement that stayed as a confidential agreement on the shelf and

 4     without the Sabor being -- knowing anything about it.

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The agreement was publicised.  It

 6     gained a very high profile in public on account of the fact that this was

 7     an agreement that opened or provided prospects.  Whether it was ever

 8     published in the Official Gazette, I don't know.  I've never checked that.

 9             It was certainly something that was discussed at a session of the

10     parliament.  The parliament has a scope of precisely defined activities

11     which enable it to restrict the foreign policy pursued by the president of

12     the state, such as army deployment, not being allowed to change borders

13     and so on.

14             Whether this type of agreement on friendship and cooperation

15     would fall within the remit of the parliament's work and ratification, I

16     can't tell you at this moment because I don't know.  But I know some

17     other things, for example, what the president of the state could not do

18     without the approval of the parliament.

19             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak, you will agree with me:  If you

20     will tell us all the other things that you know we will never finish.  So

21     I think it's better if we remain limited to the question.

22             I have another question for you with regard to this text, for

23     instance.  On page 20, line 6 following, this afternoon you have said,

24     and I quote:  "Legal professionals usually believe that as soon as they

25     issue laws, a state of law, that the rule of law, order would ensue, but

Page 10323

 1     that is not the case."

 2             Now, I have no idea wherefrom you take your ideas of what lawyers

 3     think, because you definitely are not a lawyer, and I can assure you that

 4     this is not what an informed lawyer thinks at all, on the contrary.

 5             In this case isn't this an agreement which mainly is paper but

 6     which never really came to life?

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Trechsel, my

 8     experience gained in politics and working with legal professionals speaks

 9     to the contrary.  I've been listening to people, and I still listen to

10     people in the states that pass democratic laws.  Only yesterday talking

11     about the ineffectual nonexistence of democracy.  I heard that that was

12     the case in Hungary.  A vast number of such people, and I will apologise

13     when I say, with all due respect, that I am familiar with law and even

14     fewer people are familiar with sociology and everybody speaks about

15     society.  Please don't keep on telling me I'm not a lawyer.  None of you

16     are a professor of sociology.  None of you have read books.  And they

17     still talk -- in other words, my experience --

18             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Stop.

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You put a question.

20             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I asked a question, yes.  How much of this paper

21     was actually transferred into reality and did not remain paper?  A

22     declaration of nice intents which, however, I would say history shows,

23     was not really serious and not implemented.

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The answer is as follows:  On the

25     Croatian part we honoured everything.  Croatia offered and implemented

Page 10324

 1     a -- bullet point 4 where it says that they will help in the area of

 2     jurisdiction and judiciary.  Further on, diplomatic relations were

 3     established on the Croatian part.

 4             Then bullet point 10, the ministry did meet the ministry of

 5     finance; for example, through that ministry Croatia assisted various

 6     ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina with performing their job and

 7     travelling, for example.

 8             Let's go on.  Pursuant to this agreement, Croatia received the

 9     refugees, raised humanitarian and financial aid.  Croatia also helped

10     with every matter concerning sports and athletic competitions and sent

11     delegations and teams of Bosnia-Herzegovina to some large competitions

12     such as the Olympic Games.  Croatia consistently advocated matters

13     mentioned under bullet point 1 which is was full equality of the three

14     constituent peoples, and the establishment of constituent units.

15             Croatia provided help with the delivery of electrical -- Your

16     Honour, you've asked me a question, did you not?

17             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Yes, and you are well aware of the fact that it

18     related to bullet point 6, and you're talking about all sort of different

19     things.  Did that join --

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The agreement never took off the

21     ground, but bullet point 6 did.

22             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Well, we'll hear certainly about that.  Thank

23     you.

24             MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise.  This is a huge

25     mistake in the transcript.  I don't know how this was translated into

Page 10325

 1     English.  General Praljak actually said, Your Honour, Judge Trechsel, you

 2     said that this agreement has never taken off the ground, and this is not

 3     what General Praljak is saying, so it is not a dead letter on paper.

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I heard Judge Trechsel saying this

 5     is another dead letter on paper, and I am disputing that, and I'm saying

 6     that as far as Croatia is concerned, this agreement was honoured.  It was

 7     not honoured in terms of bullet point 6 as a result of total resistance

 8     on the part of Mr. Izetbegovic and his generals.  As far as Croatia is

 9     concerned, it was honoured -- honoured in all of its elements, and it

10     would have been honoured even in bullet point 6, because we were trying

11     for almost two years to implement that as well, and there are other

12     documents speaking to that effect.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, point 6 you

14     have two paragraphs.  Now, you have in mind the first paragraph which is

15     on the way the army is composed and the HVO, and it was necessary to have

16     your point of view.  But there's also the second paragraph which,

17     according to me, may be even more important, because we're here talking

18     about the joint criminal enterprise.

19             In the second paragraph it is said explicitly something about the

20     constitutional problems linked to the defence matters in Croatia.

21     Izetbegovic signed and seems that by signing this paragraph he recognises

22     the legality of the Croatian Defence Council, because there's an explicit

23     reference to the effect that it has to be compatible with the

24     Constitution of the RBiH.

25             In your recollection was there at the time at the level of

Page 10326

 1     Croatia, I'm not talking here about Bosnia and Herzegovina, any thoughts

 2     on the legal and constitutional aspects of this questions.  And actually

 3     the conclusions we can see them in this second paragraph.  And somebody

 4     could actually draw the conclusion the fact that Mr. Izetbegovic does not

 5     put into question the legality of the Croatian Defence Council.

 6             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, Mr. Izetbegovic

 7     never questioned the legality of the Croatian Defence Council.  All laws

 8     that were adopted by the HVO and the HZ HB were expressly worded in the

 9     following way:  The Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the HZ HB, until a

10     political internal solution was found.  All the laws were interim laws,

11     and they were all in compliance with the Constitution of

12     Bosnia-Herzegovina.  More or less all the laws were adopted from the

13     former Yugoslavia.  The few lawyers that were down there of course could

14     not produce hundreds upon hundreds of new laws in such a short period of

15     time.  A vast number of laws and regulations -- the regulations were

16     adopted by the Bosnia-Herzegovina from Yugoslavia, and HZ adopted their

17     respective laws from the federal republican laws.  And if you will

18     remember Mr. Jaganjac's report where I say, "Okay, if the Washington

19     Agreement was indeed signed, then the HZ HB no longer exist."  HZ HB was

20     not for its own purpose.  It was in February 1993.  There was nothing in

21     dispute on the Croatian side, and he conveys that as a message as Alija

22     Izetbegovic's advisor to his boss, and he says there's nothing in dispute

23     here.  HZ HB no longer exists as soon as the agreement is signed.  We

24     have already --

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I have one

Page 10327

 1     last question.  And I'm saying that you're testifying here under oath,

 2     but you know, this means that I attach great importance to the questions

 3     as well as your answers.  This is a warning, that I'm giving you even at

 4     all times.

 5             As far as you remember, in the government of the Republic of

 6     Croatia and the different meetings you attended, either at that level or

 7     at the level of Herceg-Bosna, where you were either just a private or the

 8     commander of the HVO, I would like to know whether you knew about the

 9     decision made by the constitutional court which in its decision declared

10     that the Croatian Defence Council was illegal.  We saw this decision, and

11     consequently, of course, all decrees made by the Croatian Defence Council

12     were illegal also.  Were you aware of this?  Did you know about this at

13     the time?

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  Your Honour Judge Antonetti,

15     thank you for the warning.  I am testifying here with full concentration.

16     I am very focussed, and I believe that my brain is still working quite

17     decently and properly.  I am sharing with you everything I know.  I'm

18     providing the best possible answers from the point of view of my

19     analytical and synthetical brain, and I'm providing you with very precise

20     information.

21             The decision arrived from the Supreme Court.  However, this was

22     accompanied by a piece of information according to which the decision had

23     been reached in an illegal, unlawful way, that people who reached the

24     decision at the Supreme Court were only Muslims and that according to the

25     information that existed at the time, there had been no quorum.  They

Page 10328

 1     were not in a position to reach any decisions.  They even forged the

 2     facts, and they said that a judge was there although he wasn't.  So that

 3     decision is what I'm saying, according to our view, did not have the

 4     validity of a legal document for a simple.  The conditions were the same

 5     or similar to the conditions that were in place when the Republika Srpska

 6     was proclaimed.  So the existence of Republika Srpska and the

 7     confirmation of the Serbian state, because that's its title in the Dayton

 8     Accords, is not a document that brings people to the court for joint

 9     criminal enterprise.

10             I'm still thinking logically, and I don't think that you can

11     avoid thinking logically at this Tribunal.

12             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

13        Q.   Now, General Praljak, let's try and speak more precisely.  You

14     mentioned the decision by the Supreme Court, and it was in fact a

15     decision of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina; isn't that

16     right?

17        A.   Yes, I misspoke.  That's right.

18        Q.   And let's be specific with regard to another point.  The proposal

19     of the decision of the Constitutional Court.  Judge Antonetti asked you

20     and said that the Constitutional Court was proclaimed by the HVO to be

21     unconstitutional.  We have seen documents here according to which the

22     decision to set up the HZ HB was proclaimed unconstitutional.

23        A.   Yes, that's correct.  But since we're on the subject,

24     Judge Antonetti showed me the Constitution of the Republic of

25     Bosnia-Herzegovina.  However, Judge Antonetti, in part of the

Page 10329

 1     Constitution it says the purified text of the Constitution passed by the

 2     Presidency and that purified text does not mean that it was just simple

 3     corrections, but they changed the Constitution.  So they sifted through

 4     the text and throughout what they did not want.  It was a revised text,

 5     actually.  And so -- and the Presidency of a state enacts a Constitution.

 6     Where does that exist, and it's all jumbled up.  It's a jumbled up legal

 7     act.  I don't think we've seen that anywhere.

 8        Q.   Well, this is a very broad topic, and I'd like us to go back to

 9     the questions we were discussing.  Let's conclude.

10             Nobody of Bosnia-Herzegovina ever concluded that the HVO, either

11     the civilian section or the military section, would be unconstitutional

12     or unlawful; is that right?

13        A.   That is right.

14        Q.   Now, General Praljak, let's try and provide an answer about the

15     international ratification of agreements, a question raised by

16     Judge Antonetti, and he's asked the question several times and I'm going

17     to set aside some of my time to go into that area.  And may we have on

18     e-court P19.

19             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I would still like to ask a question with regard

20     to the previous 00339 document.  I think there can be no dispute that

21     this is an agreement between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Would you

22     agree to that, Mr. Praljak?

23             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct, Judge Trechsel,

24     Your Honour.

25             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  Now, if one looks at bullet point 6,

Page 10330

 1     it appears that obligations are -- are set up for the HVO.  That is to

 2     say, this is supposed to bind an entity which is not a party to the

 3     agreement, because the HVO is neither identical to Croatia nor identical

 4     to the BiH.

 5             Now, by what arguments can one say that this agreement binds the

 6     HVO?  You may say that it's too technical a question and that you prefer

 7     not to answer because you're not competent.  I would absolutely accept

 8     that.

 9             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Judge Trechsel, if you'll just

10     allow me to follow -- with a follow-up question to ask the witness a

11     follow-up question, and let's start out from the introduction to this

12     agreement in which it is stated that the agreement was passed after talks

13     between the delegations of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the

14     Republic of Croatia.

15             Now, General Praljak, in the delegation of the Republic of

16     Bosnia-Herzegovina, was there the Croatian component in that

17     tuce [as interpreted, and therefore in that agreement between two states

18     we have the provision which relate to the HVO as well.

19        A.   Yes.

20             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Well, I'm not very happy by the way you have

21     organised and engineered this question, Ms. Alaburic.  You have given the

22     answer, actually, in a tortuous way.  What you have explained is obvious,

23     and I'm aware of that.  It has nothing to do with the fact that here

24     there are obligations for a party which is not a party to this agreement,

25     full stop.  The introduction does not speak of the HVO at all, and the

Page 10331

 1     HVO is something different from Bosnia and Herzegovina.  I think there is

 2     no answer to this question, and I think we should go on.

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The HVO is Bosnia-Herzegovina,

 4     Judge Trechsel.  The HVO is Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Here you have talks

 5     between two statesmen.  One is from Bosnia-Herzegovina and the other is

 6     from Croatia.

 7             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak.  Mr. Praljak, we are sitting in

 8     this trial for more than three years.  This is the first time that I hear

 9     someone pretend, and under oath, that the HVO is Bosnia and Herzegovina.

10     It is most definitely not, but you do not understand such matters, so I

11     will not hold it against you.

12             I think we should go on with the question, Ms. Alaburic, please.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.  No.  My answer was very

14     precise and no --

15             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak.  Mr. Praljak, it is enough.  You

16     cannot speak as much and as often and on what you want.  I have now asked

17     Ms. Alaburic to continue it, and that is what should happen.

18             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

19        Q.   General Praljak, we're going to look at the transcript of that

20     discussion --

21        A.   Just a minute, Ms. Alaburic.  I'm not a chair here.  I'm not just

22     a chair, and I should kindly like to ask Judge Trechsel when he makes a

23     point, which he can write down in a judgement, I'd like him to bear in

24     mind that I'm a witness for the truth.  Not only just for Judge Trechsel

25     or anybody else but for the truth, and when I say that HVO is part of

Page 10332

 1     Bosnia-Herzegovina and is Bosnia-Herzegovina, I don't say that those

 2     circles coincide, but it means that the HVO was set up to defend

 3     Bosnia-Herzegovina.  So the expression I used was quite clear and

 4     understandable and truthful.  If Judge Trechsel does not agree, then in

 5     his judgement he can write down and say Praljak lied and I sentence him

 6     to 20 years' imprisonment, but I'm a witness for the truth here and of

 7     the truth, and I am talking the floor exactly what that answer warrants

 8     or send me home and I'll stay in my cell.

 9        Q.   We have some ten documents to go through, General Praljak, and

10     they're going to show precisely what you're saying, and that's my

11     objective, to show the Trial Chamber that the HVO is in fact a part of

12     Bosnia-Herzegovina and that HVO, in fighting on the territory of

13     Bosnia-Herzegovina, is defending Bosnia-Herzegovina, and we'll come to

14     that little by little, step-by-step.

15             I'd just like to propose that we digress for a moment and try and

16     provide an answer to Judge Antonetti's question about the verification of

17     international agreements in the Croatian parliament.

18             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] And for that I'd like to put up on

19     e-court document P19, which is the Constitution of the Republic of

20     Croatia from 1990, and let us look at Article 133 of that Constitution,

21     and that is the last page of the Croatian text and the penultimate page

22     of the English version.

23        Q.   Article 133 is the one I'd like us to look at, and we can read it

24     all together.

25              "In which cases international agreements signed by the

Page 10333

 1     responsible individuals on behalf of the Republic of Croatia must be

 2     verified in parliament and by parliament."

 3             We have a situation, first of all, when that international

 4     agreement which entails the passage or amendment of laws; secondly, when,

 5     an international agreement of a military or political nature or another

 6     international agreement financially binds the Republic of Croatia; and

 7     third, international organisations by which international organisations

 8     or alliances are granted powers, powers derived from the Constitution of

 9     the Republic of Croatia?

10             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Could you say what you're quoting from,

11     Ms. Alaburic?

12             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm quoting from the

13     Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, which is document -- the

14     document that we can see on our screens, on e-court.  We have it in our

15     binders, but this is an attempt to respond to the question raised by

16     Judge Antonetti, and it -- we are in fact dealing with Article 133 and

17     not 33 as the record says, but we have Article 133 up on our screens now.

18        Q.   Now, General Praljak I'm in the going to ask you anything about

19     that because it speaks for itself, it's quite obvious, and I hope that

20     Judge Antonetti has now received an answer to the question that he was

21     rightly interested in.

22             Let's move on to other documents which had to do with the HVO as

23     a component part of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  And the next

24     document for us to look at is the decree about the armed forces, the

25     decree law on the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina where we can see

Page 10334

 1     that the HVO is a component part.

 2             We're going to mix -- skip that document because it already has

 3     exhibit status and move on to the next one which is 4D410.  4D410.

 4     4-1-0.

 5             THE INTERPRETER:  Could Judge Trechsel's microphone please be

 6     switched off, thank you.

 7             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] The next document is 4D1524.

 8     4D1524.  And this is a piece of information from the Chief of Staff of

 9     the Supreme Command of the armed forces, Sefer Halilovic, in which at the

10     end of point 1 he says:

11             "The Army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, within whose

12     composition are the armed formations of the HVO."

13        A.   I can't find that document, Ms. Alaburic.

14        Q.   It's the third document in order, but it's come up on our screens

15     on e-court, so you can take a look at it there.  At the end of para 1,

16     Sefer Halilovic says -- he talks about the armed formations of the HVO

17     being a part.  Now, General Praljak, to the best of your knowledge, Sefer

18     Halilovic in his documents, did he treat the HVO in the same way as a

19     component part of the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina as we have

20     already seen?

21        A.   Wherever it is to his advantage.  When it was to his

22     disadvantage, then he failed to do that.

23        Q.   Let me repeat the question.  My colleague says it was not

24     transcribed, and my question was whether Sefer Halilovic in his documents

25     also described the HVO as a component of the armed forces of

Page 10335

 1     Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the answer has been correctly recorded, so we can

 2     move on.

 3             Now, the next document, General Praljak, is 4D1523, and that is a

 4     document from the security administration of the Supreme Command Staff.

 5     Take a look at the beginning of the second paragraph where it says that

 6     in Zenica, in addition to the BH Army units, and then in brackets it says

 7     what the BH Army comprises of, and then it goes on to say that there is

 8     also the HVO.

 9             Now, General Praljak, to the best of your knowledge was the HVO

10     in the Zenica area active as a component part of the armed forces of

11     Bosnia-Herzegovina?

12        A.   Yes.

13        Q.   All right.  Thank you.  Now, the next document is an exhibit.  So

14     we'll skip that, but I'll give the number of the document so it's

15     recorded.  It is 1D2077.

16             And the next document, which is also an exhibit, is document

17     1D2432.

18             Now, General Praljak, we'll stay with that document for a moment

19     because it's one that is signed by Alija Izetbegovic, and that is why it

20     is of special importance.

21             Let us look at point 1 of this order where he says:

22             "The armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the BH Army and the

23     HVO) ..."

24             Tell us, please, General, without a doubt Alija Izetbegovic, at

25     least the point at which he wrote this order, considered that the HVO was

Page 10336

 1     a component part of the armed forces of BH; is that right?

 2        A.   Yes, right.

 3        Q.   Very well.  Now let's go on to the next document which is also an

 4     exhibit, and it is a joint statement by Izetbegovic and Mate Boban dated

 5     the 27th of January, 1993.  The number of the document is P1329, and at

 6     the end of point 2 it says that a Joint Command will be established.

 7             Now, General Praljak, you told us that at that time you were

 8     involved in the formation of a Joint Command for the two components of

 9     the armed forces of BH.  Was that how things stood?  Is that how it was?

10        A.   Yes, even before and after that.  It went on for a year.  There

11     were great efforts made in the course of a year, at least on the Croatian

12     side, to establish a Joint Command.

13        Q.   Now let's look at the next document.  It is 4D19, which is an

14     order issued by General -- well, he was a brigadier at the time it, so I

15     apologise, by Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic, and it refers to the

16     implementation of a joint statement made by Boban and Izetbegovic, which

17     we looked at earlier on, and in point 3, General Praljak, here it says

18     that:  "At the level of the operation zones contact will be made with the

19     corresponding army commands in order to set up joint commands."

20             Now, my question to you is this, General Praljak:  Is it true and

21     correct that these joint commands were supposed to be established at the

22     level of the operation zones and then united at the level of the Main

23     Staff -- or, rather, the General Staff of the BH Army?

24        A.   Correct.

25        Q.   The document number has been recorded, so we can move on to the

Page 10337

 1     next document, which is P1341.  And it is an order, once again from

 2     Milivoj Petkovic.  It is the 28th of January, 1993, and once again based

 3     on the joint order by Mate Boban and Alija Izetbegovic that we saw

 4     earlier on, and what is being established here is a coordinating body for

 5     the 4th Corps area -- or, rather, for South-east Herzegovina as far as

 6     the HVO is concerned, and an order, and let's look at it together in the

 7     lower left-hand corner, the order is being sent to the operative zone of

 8     the HVO and the 4th Corps of the BH Army.

 9             Tell us, General Praljak, to the best of your knowledge at the

10     end of January 1993, in conformity with all these orders and all the

11     previous activities, attempts were really made at establishing a Joint

12     Command; is that right?

13        A.   Yes, and not only in this operative zone but in all the operative

14     zones where the HVO was in contact with the BH Army, and the parity was a

15     3:3 ratio, three Muslims, three Croats.  And the coordinating body

16     selected people for appointment, and two of these, one Croat and one

17     Muslim, were politicians and the our four were soldiers.

18        Q.   Look at the next document which is identical to the previous one,

19     but now it is issued by Commander Arif Pasalic on behalf of the BH Army.

20     It's 4D366.  We're talking about the same people, the same coordinating

21     body.  The order is completely identical in its contents as the one

22     signed by General Petkovic; is that so?

23        A.   Yes, that's correct.

24        Q.   We have our next document, which is an exhibit.  It's P1467.

25     P1467.  We will not dwell on that.  So let us look at our next document.

Page 10338

 1     It's 4D1205.  This pertains to the cooperation in the Central Bosnia

 2     Operational Zone, or, rather, in the area of responsibility of the

 3     3rd Corps of the BH Army.

 4             General Praljak, this document confirms that in February 1993 the

 5     two armies worked together, tried to resolve all the problems.  Does that

 6     correspond to your knowledge of the events in the field?

 7        A.   Yes.

 8        Q.   Did you take an active part in the efforts to calm the situation

 9     down in Central Bosnia at that time?

10        A.   I put in a great deal of energy and passion.  A huge amount of

11     passion.  At least those who know me know what I look like when I'm

12     passionate about something.

13        Q.   So we looked at the documents from early 1993.  Now I would like

14     to remind you that some of your statements -- of some of your statements

15     in the examination-in-chief so that we can perhaps confirm some of them

16     once again.  You told us that after the Vance-Owen Plan was signed by the

17     representatives of the Bosnian Croats or Croats from Bosnia and

18     Herzegovina, that the Herceg-Bosna authorities thought that the war was

19     over, that Boban in fact ordered a demobilisation, and that everybody was

20     convinced, sincerely convinced that joint commands would be set up and

21     that that would be an end for any large-scale conflicts between the BH

22     Army and the HVO.  Did I understand correctly what you said in your

23     examination-in-chief?

24        A.   Yes, correctly.  This plan was signed by Alija Izetbegovic too.

25        Q.   In its entirety?

Page 10339

 1        A.   In its entirety as far as the Croats were concerned.  So -- well,

 2     as regards the territory, the military, the constitutional principles, so

 3     the essential elements were signed, and there was this sincere

 4     conviction, first of all, that this marked the end to the conflicts, that

 5     the Joint Command would be set up, and then Mate Boban, acting on the

 6     basis of that belief, which was apparently unreasonable, reduced the

 7     number of soldiers.  Well, you couldn't even pay their salaries, so a lot

 8     of them went abroad.

 9        Q.   Let us look at what is happening a couple of months later.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's nearly a quarter to.  I

11     think it would be a good idea to take a break.  So you will continue

12     after the break.  We'll break for 20 minutes, and we'll continue

13     afterwards.

14                           --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.

15                           --- On resuming at 4.10 p.m.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic.

17             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.  I would

18     like to apologise to the interpreters because it appears that at the

19     beginning of our work today I was going too fast, and they told me that

20     in ten years they have not seen anything of that magnitude, so horrible,

21     and I really apologise and I will do my best to mend my ways.

22        Q.   General Praljak, let us move on to our next document.  That's

23     P2002.  It's an agreement entered into -- in Zenica on the 20th of April,

24     1993, by Sefer Halilovic and Milivoj Petkovic in the presence of the

25     representatives of the international community, its organisations.

Page 10340

 1             Now, General Praljak, at this point in time I'm only interested

 2     in paragraph 1, which states that:

 3             "The BH Army and the HVO are legitimate military forces of the

 4     Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and shall be accorded equal

 5     treatment."

 6             Now, my question to you, Mr. Praljak -- or General Praljak, I

 7     assume that you were aware that this document was signed on the 20th of

 8     April in Zenica?

 9        A.   Yes.

10        Q.   And to your knowledge is it a fact that in other documents, not

11     only this agreement adopted at that time in April 1993, the treatment of

12     the two armies in Bosnia and Herzegovina was the same, they were treated

13     equally, at least in documents?

14        A.   Yes.

15        Q.   Our next document is an exhibit --

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, this

17     document -- now, I don't know if General Petkovic will testify, but if he

18     does, I will ask him a question.

19             General Morillon, did you meet him at one point?

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No -- or, rather, yes.  On one

21     occasion in Medjugorje, but we didn't --

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This French general received a

23     military education in French military schools, and he must make a

24     distinction between nonprofessional army, paramilitary groups, and a

25     traditional army.  In this specific document, he chairs a meeting.  A

Page 10341

 1     meeting is chaired by himself and Mr. Thebault.  He says that the HVO is

 2     a legitimate army of -- of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 3             Could he be mistaken?  You met him once.  Is he someone that

 4     cannot understand what the army is?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's impossible based on what I

 6     knew about him and from his speeches and public addresses.  Well, to my

 7     mind, he was one of the most honourable generals of the international

 8     community, and he was extremely well-informed and the most objective, the

 9     most impartial, to my mind.

10             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

11        Q.   General Praljak, please tell us, the fact that you did not meet with

12     General Morillon, apart from this one occasion that you mentioned, is that a

13     consequence of the fact that General Petkovic was in charge of contacts with

14     the international community and the participation in those talks?

15        A.   That's correct.  General Petkovic was the Chief of the Main Staff

16     of the HVO, and he participated in the talks.  I did not have any

17     functions at the time.  When I took that post I appointed him to this

18     duty, since he had been conducting these negotiations, to carry on

19     negotiating on behalf of the HVO.  He was authorised to participate and to

20     run the talks as he saw fit.

21        Q.   We'll see documents to that effect.  Now let us look at document

22     P2078, 2078.  The document is an exhibit.  It's a joint statement by

23     Mr. Alija Izetbegovic and Mr. Mate Boban, witnessed by Franjo Tudjman.

24     The date is the 25th of April, 1993.

25             We have seen this statement many times in this courtroom.  Let us

Page 10342

 1     look at the end of paragraph 3 where it says that the BH Army and the HVO

 2     shall promptly start implementing the provisions of the agreement about

 3     the BH Army and the HVO being equally legitimate formations and that they

 4     shall establish a Joint Command.

 5             Please, this is a yet another piece of evidence indicating that

 6     the HVO was undoubtedly a legitimate component part of the BH Army armed

 7     forces?

 8        A.   Well, yes.  Perhaps we'll find -- or we will have to tender

 9     thousands of such documents.  Not thousands just a dozen or so.

10        Q.   Let us move on to our next topic.

11             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Ms. Alaburic, you promised to us that you will

12     do your best, not to repeat what you have been doing as far as the

13     problems with the translation is concerned, but now you again and also

14     Mr. Praljak are interrupting each other.  Thank you.  Overlapping each

15     other, I'm sorry.

16             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I apologise.  I was not aware of

17     it.  I will really do my best.

18        Q.   So, General, let us move on to the next document, P2091, 2091.

19     It's the Appendix 1 to the agreement or, rather, statement that we have

20     just seen, which was signed on the same day, the 25th of April, 1993, by

21     Alija Izetbegovic and Sefer Halilovic on the Muslim side and Mate Boban

22     and Milivoj Petkovic on the Croatian side.

23             In paragraph 1 we again see the same statement:

24             "The BH Army and the HVO shall keep their separate identities and

25     organisation of the command."

Page 10343

 1             And then in paragraph 2 it is stipulated that they shall form the

 2     Joint Command.

 3             General Praljak, were you aware of this military appendix to the

 4     agreement that was signed in Zagreb on the 25th of April?

 5        A.   Yes.

 6        Q.   Very well.  Let us look at our next document, which is 4D1611.

 7     4D1611.  It's an order by Alija Izetbegovic, dated the 16th of June,

 8     1993, where he says:

 9             "Immediate cessation of all hostilities between the units of the

10     BH Army and the HVO units is hereby ordered."

11             And in paragraph 2:

12             "Persons responsible for the implementation of this order shall

13     be Rasim Delic and Milivoj Petkovic."

14             Now, General, have you ever seen this order before or is this the

15     first time that you see it?

16        A.   I have seen it before, but here I have to add something that is

17     quite unusual.  At that time, the BH Army had already attacked Travnik,

18     and this order runs parallel to the 25.000 refugees, Croat refugees, who

19     had had to flee from Travnik, and that's really mind boggling.  And that

20     action was ongoing, the action launched by the BH Army in Travnik.  So

21     25.000 refugees are already thundering down the roads and up the

22     mountains, and these orders are issued.

23        Q.   General Praljak, we will get to Central Bosnia, and we'll see

24     what was going on at the time, but for the time being, for our topic now,

25     what is important is that Alija Izetbegovic is issuing an order affecting

Page 10344

 1     also the HVO units, and he designates the commander, Milivoj Petkovic, as

 2     the person responsible for its implementation.  That's it.  So did you

 3     know at the time that Alija Izetbegovic was issuing orders that also

 4     pertained to the Croatian component in the armed forces of

 5     Bosnia-Herzegovina?

 6        A.   Yes.

 7        Q.   Our next document is 4D1586.  It's a decision signed by Mr. Alija

 8     Izetbegovic.  The date is the 20th of July, 1993.  It's a decision of the

 9     Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in paragraph 1

10     the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina calls upon the units of the BH

11     Army and the units of the Croatian Defence Council to immediately cease

12     the conflicts, the hostilities.

13             General Praljak, were you aware of the fact that the Presidency

14     of Bosnia and Herzegovina at that time issued and made such decisions

15     which affected the Croatian component of the armed forces of Bosnia and

16     Herzegovina?

17        A.   Yes, but just very briefly, this followed after Bugojno, after

18     Konjic, after Fojnica, after Kakanj, and after the attack in Mostar.

19     That's what's really mind boggling here.  I know what you're driving at,

20     but all those locations that I've just listed were already captured by

21     the BH Army and the population had already been expelled from those

22     places.

23        Q.   We will show all that to Their Honours later.  Let us look at our

24     next document.  I'll just mention it.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Still on this document, as on

Page 10345

 1     the others, you have seen that third paragraph.  The UNPROFOR also has to

 2     play a role, and the Red Cross, in the realisation of the present

 3     decision.  So there are several hypotheses.  There is a criminal judge,

 4     and he has to speculate on the basis of different hypotheses in order to

 5     find out the truth, and he doesn't -- he has to check all the hypotheses.

 6             When we look at this document, the first hypothesis that comes to

 7     mind is that Mr. Izetbegovic is joking.  He, with his army, started a

 8     large-scale operation, the HVO, and he takes this type of decision in

 9     order to appear as the pacifist of the conflict.  This is one hypothesis.

10             Second hypothesis:  What he says in the document is true, that

11     is, there isn't a single conflict but several conflicts.  You can see

12     there's the plural.

13             So if there is the plural here, and I attach importance to

14     semantics, if there is the plural it means that there are sporadic

15     conflicts here and there, and maybe as a political leader he himself does

16     not control the territory on a political and military point of view, and

17     maybe he is trying to follow his generals and maybe other units which

18     have hidden agendas.  And he's trying to calm the situation down, in

19     particular, in the eyes of the international community.

20             So this was -- that was the second hypothesis.  So there could be

21     other hypotheses, but these are the two main ones.

22             Now, what would be your hypothesis?

23             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The first one, well, that's not

24     something that I would lean towards, but Mr. Alija Izetbegovic appointed

25     Mr. Cibo in contravention of the electoral results to run the

Page 10346

 1     municipalities of Konjic, Rama, and Jablanica.  He imposed Cibo because

 2     he was his man.  And in Bugojno he was the person behind the attacks

 3     launched by the BH Army.  And now if are talking about an isolated

 4     conflict when it wouldn't then be in Kakanj, if Fojnica, in Bugojno, in

 5     Mostar, and we would not have a situation with 50 or 60.000 Croats

 6     displaced or expelled, whatever you want to call it, but at any rate,

 7     there were -- they were no longer in their homes.

 8             There was an isolated conflict in Prozor, and we managed to deal

 9     with it.

10             These are not isolated conflicts.  This is clear-cut and open

11     aggression.

12             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Judge Antonetti,

13     thank you very much for drawing my attention to the plural of the word

14     "conflicts."

15        Q.   General, Praljak, now I would like to put to you the following

16     explanation why -- or hypothesis why the term if plural was used, and

17     then tell me if I'm right or correct me if I'm wrong.

18             In Bosnia-Herzegovina there was no single conflict between the BH

19     Army and the HVO, but it was the case that in some parts of Bosnia and

20     Herzegovina there were different situations so that in parts of Bosnia

21     and Herzegovina the BH Army and the HVO fought the Republika Srpska army

22     together, side by side.  There were parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina where

23     the HVO, in operational terms, was subordinate to the relevant command of

24     the BH Army.  We saw Sarajevo and Tuzla, examples of that.

25             In some parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina there were no conflicts

Page 10347

 1     at all, none whatsoever, and in some parts of the territory there were

 2     conflicts, but does that actually mean that there was a whole series of

 3     conflicts in a narrow area, parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina?  But we'll

 4     go back to the actual objective and what was behind those conflicts.  So

 5     a series of conflicts in various parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina if we

 6     look at Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole.

 7        A.   Well, I would like to demystify that.  There was no need for the

 8     BH Army to do anything against the HVO in Bihac for as long as the HVO

 9     continued to fight and defend Bihac and die there.  There were few Croats

10     there.  They were not a problem, because there was a predominant Muslim

11     majority.  The same goes for Tuzla and for Sarajevo, which has 97 Muslims

12     living there.

13             There were conflicts where the BH Army had supremacy and a

14     sufficient number of Croats had to be expelled so that they could get the

15     territory.  That's Travnik, Zenica, Kakanj, Konjic, and that's where the

16     conflicts were.  They needed the territory for the refugees and for a

17     possible set-up of their future state for the Muslims.  They needed to

18     create space for that.

19        Q.   Very well.  General Praljak, based on the transcripts of the

20     sessions of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, we will see how they

21     planned to spread territories under the control of the BH Army, but let's

22     round this topic off first.

23             The document number is P1234, and in that document, in bullet

24     point 6, there is a reference to the military agreement of the two

25     components of the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Page 10348

 1             The next document is 4D1299.

 2             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Excuse me, Ms. Alaburic.  I have a technical

 3     question to you.  This is the - I don't know how manyth time - that you

 4     evoke a number of a document and then you go immediately to the next one,

 5     and I wonder what the purpose is.  You have mentioned this.  You have

 6     said something about it.  The witness has not said anything about this

 7     document, the recent one of the Security Council, and you just go on.

 8     Isn't that a loss of time, because this is not something which then

 9     allows the document to be admitted if it is not already admitted.  I'd

10     just like to understand, because it seems to me that some time is being

11     lost by that procedure.  I may be wrong, of course.

12             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will gladly

13     explain.  I am skipping documents that are already exhibits.  I don't

14     want to waste my time on them.  I don't want to waste my time on any

15     documents that have already been admitted.  I think it's enough for me to

16     mention those documents, because I want you, your Honourable Judges, to

17     have on the record a list of all the documents that have been prepared

18     and that speak about that topic.

19             If you don't think that I should mention documents that have

20     already been admitted into evidence, I'm going to skip them without even

21     mentioning their numbers.

22             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Maybe my colleagues have another view.  I see no

23     use in it, frankly.  If you just jump a number or two you can say it, "I

24     jump a few numbers," and that, I think, would be quite enough, and I

25     think most of your colleagues have proceeded in that way.

Page 10349

 1             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask my learned

 2     friend Alaburic, unless there is an express ban on the part of the Trial

 3     Chamber, to continue with her method, because at the end of the day we

 4     are all going to have to prepare our -- our final briefs, and any

 5     reference to an exhibit about the topic that is part of the

 6     cross-examination is more than welcome, unless the Trial Chamber wants to

 7     put an express ban on such a practice, but I don't see why.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, we have to be

 9     very cautious.  Why?  Well, you have a scene -- well, it wasn't my

10     personal point of view, but it was the point of view of my colleagues,

11     that is, the majority.  That is why I didn't say anything against it.

12             When a counsel asks a question and explain his or her question,

13     Judges can object and say that you are testifying, but that is the result

14     of no rule [as interpreted] of the rule.  In the rule it is not

15     prohibited for a counsel to ask a question and explicit the question.

16     It's practice.

17             In my own country, a legal professional asks a question, explains

18     why this question.  He says what is the objective, and then the witness

19     or the accused answers to that question.  But here it seems, and I stress

20     that it seems, but it is not standard practice.

21             Now, according to me, the Appeals Chamber did not examine this

22     specific question.  So what is left to the counsel to explain his own

23     vision of the case.  As it was said, it is the final brief, which means

24     that in the final brief you will have to develop your reasoning.

25             Now, in the whole history of this specific Tribunal, we will

Page 10350

 1     probably be the case where most -- with the biggest numbers of documents.

 2     So you will not be able to mention in the final brief the thousands of

 3     documents.  So you have to select the documents.  By selecting the

 4     documents, the Judges, in the final briefs of the Defence and of the

 5     Prosecution, will examine the quoted documents.  It is possible that the

 6     documents are not quoted, but the Judges should see these documents.  And

 7     in the decision, in the judgement, it could be possible that they

 8     could -- some of the documents.

 9             The fact that you're not mentioning a document means that there

10     will be a risk that this document is out of sight, and during the

11     deliberations the Judges will have hundreds of thousands of pages, even

12     millions of pages to examine and thousands of documents.  So this is the

13     risk, which means that when you quote a document and when you think that

14     there are other documents that can support the first document, and you

15     believe that it's important, it's better for you to say that there is

16     this document and I don't talk about did because it was already admitted,

17     but it is linked to the document which is about to be submitted or shown

18     to the witness.  If you do not specify this, if you do not say this, and

19     if you think that the Judges will automatically bear in mind this

20     document, I warn you, we have a huge number of documents, and we could

21     forget.  We're trying to be very vigilant, but if you forget this

22     specific document in your final brief and in your closing remarks, you --

23     of course you cannot take into account all the documents, otherwise your

24     closing remarks will take days, and it's not possible.

25             So do select the most important documents, and in the final brief

Page 10351

 1     try not to forget any documents that could support your reasoning.

 2             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I thank you for your

 3     instruction.  I take them into consideration, and I will follow that.  I

 4     would like to draw attention to the fact that the documents that I've

 5     prepared for my cross-examination are just my selection from a vast

 6     number of documents.  And if you look at the dates, you will see that

 7     I've tried to cover every of the relevant periods, every month, for

 8     example.  I try to cover each month by using at least one document,

 9     because it is my desire to show you that the HVO was an integral

10     component of the armed forces from the very beginning from the moment

11     when tensions started growing among the Croats and Muslims in Bosnia and

12     Herzegovina until the moment the Washington Agreement was signed.  That's

13     why I have so many document -- documents.

14        Q.   General, I would like to show you another document 4D1299.  It is

15     not an exhibit.  This is an agreement which was signed on the 12th of

16     March, 1994 -- or, rather, 12 March, 1994, and it was signed by Delic and

17     Ante Roso.  Let's look at the second bullet point where there is a

18     reference to the establishment of federal army.

19             Bullet point 1.  In the English text it's on page 2, about the

20     middle of the page, and I quote:

21              "The federal army will be establish, it will be organised

22     according to the principle of joining -- of the joining of the BH Army

23     and the HVO, and it will report to the federal command, the president of

24     the federation via the minister of defence."

25             Tell us, General Praljak, is this an agreement that is just one

Page 10352

 1     of the agreements that were signed together with the main Washington

 2     Agreement?

 3        A.   Yes.  This was signed in Split as far as I can remember, and it

 4     is a part of the principal agreement on the federation and confederation.

 5        Q.   General Praljak, please tell me whether there were any dilemmas

 6     surrounding this agreement to the effect that the federal Army of Bosnia

 7     and Herzegovina would be composed of two components, the BH Army and the

 8     HVO?

 9             MR. STRINGER:  Objection, Mr. President.  The general held no

10     official position at the time the Washington Agreement was reached in the

11     spring of 1994, nor did he take part in the negotiations that led to the

12     agreement at that time-frame, so he's not qualified to talk about whether

13     there were ambiguities or the nature of the negotiations that led to the

14     agreement.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I think that

16     when I asked you questions, I'm actually sure about it.  I showed you a

17     presidential transcript in which you, with Mr. Tudjman and other senior

18     political and military leaders, where you talked about your strategic and

19     political matters.

20             General Praljak, in 1994, when apparently you had re-entered the

21     first cycle.  President Tudjman.  Did you contribute to what was done by

22     the Republic of Croatia leading to the Washington Agreement, because the

23     Prosecution says you had no competencies.

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that at the time I was

25     President Tudjman's military advisor.

Page 10353

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And as the military counsel of

 2     President Tudjman, military advisor, you probably were heard when you

 3     said anything about the consequences of the Washington Agreement; is that

 4     correct?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes.  I travelled to Sarajevo

 6     together with President Tudjman and the delegation.  I was well-informed,

 7     and I took an active part in all that.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you participated in Sarajevo

 9     with the Croatian delegation to the meetings and to the negotiations.

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yesterday you saw a document

11     showing that I was present during the negotiations.

12             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I just wanted to

13     draw your attention to that document that we saw yesterday.  The number

14     is 4D1454, 1454, a meeting in Sarajevo on the 16th of June, 1994, dealing

15     with the joint activities of the -- of the armed forces of BiH and the

16     Croatian army, and General Praljak attended the meeting.

17        Q.   General Praljak, let's go back for a moment to the previous

18     document which was signed by Delic and Roso.  This is the framework

19     agreement, dated 12 March 1994.

20             At the very end of that agreement it says that the agreement was

21     reached on the 12th of March, 1994 in Split.  According to what you know,

22     General Praljak, was the Ministry of Defence involved in the organisation

23     of that meeting in Split?

24        A.   Yes.

25        Q.   Were you abreast of the organisation of this meeting and the

Page 10354

 1     establishment of the joint army of the Federation of Bosnia and

 2     Herzegovina?

 3        A.   I was abreast.  I spoke with everybody about that and I supported

 4     that whole-heartedly.

 5        Q.   Let's move on to the following document which is 4D1300.  Again

 6     Delic and Roso, this time in Sarajevo on the 26th of March, 1994, and

 7     here a reference is made to the joint staff, the establishment of a joint

 8     staff and its task.

 9             It arises from the text that this joint staff would be composed

10     of the representatives of the BiH army and the HVO.  Are you familiar --

11     or, rather, were you familiar with this agreement between Roso and Delic,

12     General Praljak?

13        A.   Yes, I was familiar with that.  This deals with the organisation

14     of the Federation Army, and this continued for a number of years later

15     until the moment the Serbian component joined that and it all ended

16     differently.

17        Q.   Let's now see what the -- what did the parliament of

18     Bosnia-Herzegovina have to say about the Croatian component of the armed

19     forces.  The document number is 4D826.  It is already an exhibit but, we

20     will still dwell upon it a little.

21             Article 37.  General Praljak says as follows:

22              "The army of the federation consists of the units of the BH Army

23     and the Croatian Defence Council, inclusive of the corps level and the --

24     and it is composed of wartime and peacetime corps."

25             General, do you know that the parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina

Page 10355

 1     confirmed that the HVO and the BH Army were equal component of the

 2     Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

 3             JUDGE PRANDLER:  I'm sorry, Ms. Alaburic, for interrupting you,

 4     but really I feel that -- I feel a bit uncomfortable now and taking into

 5     account previous remarks, also by our President, by Mr. Stringer.  I

 6     really feel that it's a bit -- it is -- we are going too far if now all

 7     the documents which are now being introduced, if they really have

 8     anything to do with Mr. Praljak as a witness, like, for example, this one

 9     which you have introduced, 4D00826, of August, 26th of August, 1996.

10             I really believe that it is rather far-fetched to think that

11     Mr. Praljak, at one time he was of course he was a military advisor to

12     President Tudjman, has to know or had to know about everything.  So I

13     believe that somehow the basis should be established if he participated

14     in the deliberation of those documents or if he was there and it was

15     adopted and whatever, but now to introduce a great number of documents

16     without any proof of personal attention and personal participation, I

17     really feel that it is far-fetched.  Thank you.

18             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Prandler, I

19     would like to thank you --

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.  I believe that

21     Judge Prandler really raised a problem that the Defence must absolutely

22     take into account.

23             As far as I'm concern, it's absolutely obvious that the military

24     advisor to a head of state is automatically aware of everything

25     happening, militarily at least, and politically and militarily, otherwise

Page 10356

 1     he would not be in that position as military advisor.  For those who know

 2     what this position entails I'm sure they know exactly what it means.  Not

 3     all Judges necessarily know how the military works.

 4             So, Ms. Alaburic, please try and listen to Judge Prandler.  Try

 5     to lay the foundations first so that we know that Mr. Praljak knew about

 6     the meetings, attended the meetings, and so forth and so on.  Lay the

 7     foundation.  Otherwise, everything that you're doing might just be set

 8     aside.  We could just say, well, we have no evidence that he actually was

 9     a military advisor and that he attended all these meetings.  So please

10     lay the foundation.

11             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as to my questions to

12     General Praljak, I'm not posing them intending to admit -- have these

13     documents admitted into evidence through General Praljak because the

14     documents already have the status of exhibits.  What I do want to show

15     the Trial Chamber is the following:  That the parliament of the

16     federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina stated that the army of the Federation

17     was composed of two components, the first being the BH Army and the

18     second being the HVO.  As I said, the send being the HVO.

19             If the BH Army parliament viewed the Croatian component of the

20     armed forces in the laws of Bosnia-Herzegovina in this way and qualified

21     them in this way, then I consider that during these proceedings this is

22     an exceedingly important fact.  What we can hear from General Praljak

23     which -- who hails from Bosnia-Herzegovina and who, after the war ended,

24     travelled to Bosnia-Herzegovina and who would probably be there

25     frequently today, too, my only question to him is did he know that the

Page 10357

 1     parliament of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina defined the HVO as

 2     being an equal component of the BH armed forces and that's all.  I

 3     consider that this is a very important topic which will certainly be one

 4     of the supporting points, and we will he a talk about it during the

 5     Petkovic case, and I think that this is quite sufficient reason for me to

 6     continue questioning General Praljak and introducing the documents

 7     through him.

 8        Q.   But, General, let us now take a look at three laws.  Document

 9     2D1183 is the first document, which is the law on special rights for

10     those who receive wartime commendation and recognition.  And in Article 1

11     we see defined the -- that these special rights are enjoyed by the

12     Croatian Defence Council.  Isn't that right, Mr. Praljak?  If you can

13     just confirm that and we won't belabour the point.

14        A.   That's correct, and I know that the lads whom I commanded took

15     over functions within the federation and thereby issues of status were

16     resolved such as pensions and so on, and dozens of young lads who went to

17     the Joint Command of the federation, well, I knew about that.  It was

18     part of their destiny and financial security later on and so on.  So

19     that's how it was.

20        Q.   Let's conclude -- let's round off this topic now,

21     General Praljak, and to the best of your knowledge, is it now certain

22     that the authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina in question defined the HVO as

23     a legitimate and legal component of the armed forces of the Federation of

24     Bosnia-Herzegovina?

25        A.   Yes.

Page 10358

 1             MR. STRINGER:  Excuse me.  Could we just clarify the time-frame

 2     that counsel's now talking about?  The previous document was from August

 3     1996.  The current document has on the top the date of 15th December,

 4     2005.  So I think that as we get farther from early 1994 at the latest,

 5     this testimony in these documents really have very limited relevance if

 6     any whatsoever.  So what's the time-frame that the general is talking

 7     about now?

 8             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I'll happily answer that,

 9     Mr. Stringer.  The whole time up to the present day, throughout, and

10     that's what we wish to demonstrate, that from the first agreement in June

11     1992, right up to the provisions relating to this subject which are

12     adopted to the present day by the parliament of BH, it is not contended

13     that the HVO was a legitimate and legal component of the armed forces of

14     the BH Federation.  And in each specific law, you will be able to see

15     when it was passed and so on.

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, from the 18th of

17     September, 1991, the HVO was recognised as being legal, because it is as

18     of that date that the wartime military service is recognised for all HVO

19     members, and that's when the war began as far as the legal BH Army is

20     concerned.  And those who took part in that war received various benefits

21     according to rank, the years of service during the war, invalidity,

22     pensions and the decorations they received.

23             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

24        Q.   That is true, General Praljak, but let's be very precise on this

25     point.  In September 1991, in formal terms this was still not the HVO,

Page 10359

 1     because we saw that it was establish in April 1992, but there were other

 2     units there or other armed groups of individuals.

 3             Now we'll move on to a more dynamic topic, the topic of effective

 4     control.

 5             General Praljak, let's lay down some premises for this topic.

 6     Tell us first, please, whether in Bosnia-Herzegovina, at the beginning of

 7     the conflict with the Army of Republika Srpska, there existed some kind

 8     of peacetime army, let me say of the Muslim and Croatian people?

 9        A.   No, it did not exist.

10        Q.   Does that mean that the armies, both of the HVO and the BH Army,

11     were created under wartime conditions?

12        A.   Yes.

13        Q.   I'd like to remind you now of an opinion expressed by a military

14     expert called by the Prosecution in this courtroom before this Trial

15     Chamber, and that was recorded in the transcript on page 24246.  It was

16     Mr. Pringle, and he said that it was necessary for a few years to go by

17     to build up a fully functioning army and rights of a fully functioning

18     army.

19             Now, General, would you agree with that assessment made by

20     Mr. Pringle?

21        A.   I don't know when he says a few years how long that is.  I don't

22     think it can be two or three years.

23        Q.   Well, tell us what you think.

24        A.   The Croatian army that was built up, well, they needed seven or

25     eight years of intensive work for it to adapt and become a NATO alliance

Page 10360

 1     army.  So if you have two or three years without a war to collect people

 2     together, you can't really make an army, because an army is a large

 3     apparatus, and you can't make a positive selection in the space of just

 4     two or three years.  You can't train the cadres for it.  You can't find

 5     the psychologists and logistics.  You can't even have the uniforms made

 6     up.  You can't test the weapons.  It's a long and lengthy business.

 7        Q.   General Praljak, although you said you have not read the

 8     indictment, but I do think that you read more of it than you owned up

 9     to --

10        A.   No, I have not.

11        Q.   Anyway, do you know that a military commander can be sentenced by

12     this court for certain acts or omissions on the assumption that he had

13     exercised effective control over his subordinates?  Are you aware of

14     that?  Do you know about that?

15        A.   Well, yes, but the concept of effective control --

16        Q.   We'll come to that.

17        A.   And if I say I have not read it, then don't think that I have.

18        Q.   Very well, General.  Now, the way you presented your defence

19     case, I would say that you are well-versed with the contents of the

20     indictment, but of course that doesn't mean you have read it, but never

21     mind, let's leave that to one side now.  I'm going to enumerate questions

22     that are important for deciding on effective control, and I'd like to

23     inform the Judges that I'm going to ask you questions about elements

24     which are not challenged and which are considered important for

25     establishing effective control, and this will be made up of 15 elements.

Page 10361

 1             The first of those elements as is follows:  You told us, General,

 2     that HVO brigades existed which quite simply did not want to respect

 3     orders to launch a -- a military action outside the territory of their

 4     municipality and that you had to explain this to the soldiers to try and

 5     convince them to follow orders and so on.  Was that really what the

 6     situation was like?

 7        A.   Yes.

 8        Q.   Now, my second example, the example of soldiers asking for

 9     explanations, and for that let's look at the document in the next set of

10     documents.  It is 4D1463.

11        A.   Is that in the new binder?  Is that another binder?

12        Q.   No, it's still in the old binder.  Topic 4, under the title of

13     "Effective Control."

14        A.   I see.  I've found it.  What document did you say?

15        Q.   1463.  This is from the period of time when you had no post or

16     function in the HVO, but I'm interested in the pattern of behaviour.

17     This is information which the chief of SIS, Ivica Lucic, is sending to

18     Mr. Biskic, the assistant minister for security.  And here Mr. Lucic is

19     announcing a peaceful protest by the soldiers of the 4th Battalion of the

20     3rd Brigade, and he says that the soldiers are going to call for the --

21             JUDGE PRANDLER:  It is again only a technical question.  You said

22     or it was written here that it is document 1463, but actually I'm sure

23     that you are talking about 4D1464.  Isn't it so?  That is, the work plan

24     issued by Perica Jukic to the HVO Main Staff, et cetera, forwarded by

25     Marijan Biskic.  Isn't it so?  Because I -- at least I didn't try the

Page 10362

 1     previous one.

 2             Thank you, that's fine.

 3             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Judge Trechsel.

 4        Q.   Now, let's take a look at the document.  I'm recounting its

 5     contents.

 6             The soldiers' demands are going to be investigating irregular

 7     payment of salaries, the difference in pay between certain soldiers, to

 8     look at the number of soldiers on the salary list of those who are at the

 9     front line, and that an explanation be given about the status of the town

10     of Mostar after an investigation.

11             Now, from this information, General Praljak, I would conclude

12     that this is, if I can put it that way, a self-management principle for

13     the functioning of the army; that is to say, when people are asking about

14     explanations as to salaries and other issues just like workers in the

15     socialist self-management system as was.

16             Can you comment on this?  Was that the general practice when you

17     were commander of the HVO?

18        A.   Yes.  In many cases I had meetings of this type, and so did

19     Mr. Stojic, and there were protests and so on.  But let me tell you,

20     Ms. Alaburic, you want to have a soldier who -- well, a young lad of 22

21     who is going to lay down his life for what?  Why would a young man of 22

22     be killed or go to be killed?  Thousands of young men of 20 or 22 have to

23     go to their death.  So death becomes the purpose for life.  Death, I ask

24     you.  And why?  Because you've called him a soldier.  And what is it that

25     that soldier is fighting for?  What is the purpose of his dying?  What is

Page 10363

 1     the metaphysical sense and meaning of his death?  They change his state,

 2     they change their politics, everybody manages him in one way or another,

 3     they have unequal pay, they freeze and are cold for years on end.  They

 4     never signed a professional contract with an existing state.  He, the

 5     soldier, is the person who is creating that state, and everybody around

 6     him, meetings in Geneva, they are all convened and still exist precisely

 7     because this young man is dying.

 8        Q.   Yes.  I agree that soldiers have the right to explanations on

 9     various subjects, but I have to ask you pragmatic questions, and look at

10     page 2 for that, please, where we see a stamp.  It is the Ministry of

11     Defence stamp, and you have a lot of experience with archive documents

12     from the Ministry of Defence.  Does this stamp confirm that the document

13     came from the Ministry of Defence archives?

14        A.   Yes.  That should be the case.  That should be right.

15        Q.   Thank you.  Now, the third element that I wanted us to discuss is

16     this --

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, this document

18     creates a real problem as to the very nature of the HVO Army.

19             As far as you know, in the 1970s and in the 1980s during

20     Marsal Tito, if this kind of protest had existed within the JNA, wouldn't

21     the soldiers be court-martialed, court-martialed and actually shot at

22     dawn?

23             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct, Judge Antonetti.  At that

24     time those soldiers would have been sanctioned severely.  They would be

25     sent to prison for many years.  It was quite inconceivable that anybody

Page 10364

 1     should enter it into their heads to do something like that.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, if in January 1994 this

 3     was possible, what's the reason for it being possible, according to you.

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] the reason for this and cause of

 5     this lies in justice, is to be found in the realm of justice.  They want

 6     to know what the status of the town of Mostar is, among other things.  So

 7     will somebody who is powerful and mighty and unjust, by a stroke of the

 8     pen say, "That is not yours and all your deaths were in vein.  It no

 9     longer belongs to you"?  "We're going to, for example, give that to the

10     Republika Srpska, 49 per cent, in fact, because we're powerful and

11     mighty."  And they say, "All right.  We're not going to fight any more.

12     Explain why our salaries are different and so on."  And that was not only

13     the situation in 1994, it was already the situation in 1993 and so on.

14             And they needed an answer.  Somebody needed to tell them what

15     kind of state they were fighting for, what the sense and purpose was of

16     all these deaths.  That's it, Your Honours.  And what was the sense of my

17     death, my dying, because I fought a lot.  What for?  What was I fighting

18     for?  I thought that all that I wanted was a very simple thing, the right

19     of the nation to which I belonged to have the same rights that the other

20     two nations or ethnicities enjoy, but we were withheld that right because

21     some strong and mighty right, backed up by power and might, came into

22     being.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I'm trying to

24     get to the crux of the matter so we waste no time.

25             In this document, which is quite extraordinary, we see that the

Page 10365

 1     soldiers themselves are asking legal questions as to the status of

 2     Mostar.  They noted, obviously, that there are contradictory information

 3     broadcast in the media.

 4             What was this contradictory information that existed at the time

 5     in January 1994 as far as this is concerned?

 6             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, to put it simply, the future

 7     status of the town was unknown, whether it would be given into the hands

 8     of the Muslims, whether a majority would be -- majority rule would be set

 9     up there.  A law was passed, and it is still in force, and this is what

10     it says:  Regardless of the election results in Mostar, Croats and

11     Muslims have to have parity in government.  And there are election

12     results, yet this is the law that is in force in the town of Mostar.  You

13     can check, but I'm saying that it exists.  Only in Mostar.  It's not in

14     force for any other town in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

15             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

16        Q.   General Praljak, please tell me whether in January 1994 the --

17     whether there were ideas that Mostar should be administered by the EU or

18     EC?

19        A.   Yes.

20        Q.   Is it possible that the soldiers are seeking explanation about

21     the status of most in light of that issue?

22        A.   Yes, probably.

23        Q.   Let me move on to my third element of effective control, and

24     that's influence that bypasses the regular chain of command.

25             Could you please look at document 4D1328, 4D1328.  It's a letter

Page 10366

 1     of resignation from December 1993, sent by Colonel Saskor to

 2     General Roso.  What I'm interested in at this point are the reasons.  Let

 3     us look at paragraph 2 where it says:  "My sacred duty to defend the

 4     Croatian people and homeland, I cannot carry this duty out because of the

 5     opposition on the part of the local authorities and an informal group of

 6     powerful people who have stricken root there and behind the backs of the

 7     brigade command, I commanded up until this resignation.  To those people

 8     and this group of powerful men, everything is more important, war

 9     profiteering and local rivalries, than the defence of the homeland."

10             You spoke about the influence of those local powerful people on

11     the local military units, so could you please in that context comment on

12     this document briefly.

13        A.   I know Colonel Ante Saskor personally.  I begged him to come and

14     take over this post.  He was killed in the effort to liberate Bosnia and

15     Herzegovina.  I know him from before.  He was an extremely valorous and

16     honourable man, and this is how it was to a greater or lesser extent to

17     each and every municipality.  It was only a question of degree, not of

18     kind.  There was always a lot of it going on.  There was just a question

19     of how much, but it was always a lot.  And, Ms. Alaburic, from the end of

20     1992 and even before 1992, this war turned into an oasis for war

21     profiteering and smuggling because this was what the situation was like

22     with weapons, food, alcohol, cigarettes.  It was a bonanza for smugglers

23     in all structures, or many structures, many structures in the rear.

24        Q.   We'll go back to this topic later, but please now look at our

25     next document.  We'll spend some more time on it.  It's P3642.  P3642.

Page 10367

 1     It's a report, B, annual report covering six months sent by

 2     General Petkovic to the head of the Defence Department.

 3             Look at item 4, the problems that are listed in item 4.  In item

 4     4.2 it is stated that there are no professional and rapid reaction forces

 5     which would be able to carry out assaults and special operations.

 6             In this respect I would like to ask you, General Praljak, whether

 7     this statement corresponds to what you have been telling us, that the

 8     municipal brigades were in fact set up to defend the territory of those

 9     municipalities where they existed and that there were about 1.000

10     soldiers and professional units which were a rapid reaction force.  So is

11     that in effect one and the same statement?

12        A.   Well, less than 1.000.  About 880.  But I subscribe to everything

13     that is contained in Petkovic's report, every single letter, to cut a

14     long story short.

15        Q.   No, I don't want to cut a long story short.  I think that it is

16     chalked full of important things, and it is important for our Judges to

17     get a good overview to actual capability to exert effective control in

18     the field.  Let us look at 4.4 where it says that the chain of command

19     has been disrupted and so has the coordination, so cooperation between

20     operational zones, units within operational zones, and -- operational

21     zones and cooperating with the Main Staff.

22             Based on your experience, you can say that there were situations

23     in which the chain of command and the system of coordination were

24     disrupted.

25        A.   Well, this is what happened regularly.  This is what I'm talking

Page 10368

 1     about.  When France or Swiss or Croatia go to war -- every soldier in

 2     Croatia, regardless of the unit they belonged to, knew where the borders

 3     of Croatia were, and 98 per cent of the people were intimately deep down

 4     inside ready to go and fight to reach those borders.  It was a clear

 5     goal, a state which has those borders, but here you don't know where the

 6     borders are.  Every municipality -- well, those units are not set up to

 7     defend this municipality.  They were set up in that municipality.  They

 8     managed to defend their municipality, and now the question is why should

 9     we go and get ourselves killed in Mostar if somebody it going to declare

10     Mostar to be a part of the territory of Republika Srpska or of a Muslim

11     republic of sorts?  So what is the purpose of me dying then?

12        Q.   I fully understand you.

13        A.   In Vakuf or wherever.

14        Q.   Now let us look at what is stated in item 4.6.  It's very

15     important, and your clarification is going to be of immense value to us.

16     It says here that:  "The expectations that the HVO troops will solve

17     everything militarily on the battle-field.  This is to be expected and

18     this is the task of the military.  We do not have such an army organised

19     in a modern way, technically well equipped and with a well-designed chain

20     of command, yet.  The authorities, the government has to do much more on

21     all levels to create such an army and this should be its fundamental

22     task."

23             And by way of conclusion let me quote:

24              "Practice has showed us that the army is being privatised.  Each

25     municipality, each town, indeed each village have 'their own army.'  It

Page 10369

 1     is impossible to get the 'municipal army' to move outside of the borders

 2     of its municipality, and thereby the use of larger forces to carry out

 3     major task is impossible."

 4             General Praljak, is this precisely what you have been trying to

 5     explain to us in the long hours of your testimony, that these were the

 6     main problems in the functioning of the HVO.

 7        A.   That's correct.  Furthermore, Ms. Alaburic, in the many civilian

 8     structures very soon after the HVO came into existence, the military, so

 9     from Stojic, Petkovic, myself, well, people tended to look at us saying,

10     "Well, we have an army here," and suddenly people just went crazy.

11     That's what I call it.  They went crazy.  The army, it's no longer the

12     people.  It's -- it's just cannon fodder.  They should get killed.  The

13     army.  A general said that in World War I, when he was told, "A lot of

14     your people are getting killed at Verdun and at Somme," he said, "No, no,

15     it's not the people getting killed.  It's soldiers getting killed."

16             That's what was the prevailing opinion among the structures which

17     were not of course not serving in the army.  People there were not

18     serving in the army.  They were outside of it waiting for the war to end.

19     They profited from the war and expected that they would profit from

20     peace.  Once people put on uniforms, they were no longer people but just

21     soldiers, and now nobody knows what the soldiers are supposed to be, some

22     kind of robots I guess who can killed.  You write an order, they can get

23     killed, and they can change political options every three minutes in

24     London or in Geneva and, well, people will get killed in accordance with

25     their decisions.  I'm really sorry.  This is this pain that I have deep

Page 10370

 1     down inside me and sometimes it just gushes out.  It's my intimate

 2     deep -- the pain that I have deep inside me.

 3             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Ms. Alaburic, I would like to ask a question

 4     concerning this report which is a kind of -- it calls itself a condensed

 5     report for six months, and from Mr. Petkovic, and it is indeed very

 6     important and should be studied further.

 7             I would like to ask one question about one of the sentences on

 8     pages -- on page 2 of the report.  If I'm not mistaken, it is the third

 9     paragraph, and I quote:

10             "We are currently supplying the combat needs of HVO units in the

11     given places, partly through a third party, 'XY,' which we consider a

12     very great risk."

13             My question is that if Mr. Praljak could answer to this and to

14     tell us what was that third party, XY?  It is number one question.  And

15     number two:  Why should it be -- why was it then considered a very great

16     risk?

17             Thank you.

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Prandler, XY,

19     that would be the Republika Srpska army, in answer to your first

20     question.  So some HVO units in Zepce remained surrounded, in an

21     encirclement, attacked by the BH Army, and the only way to supply

22     ammunition to them was through the mediation of the Republika Srpska

23     army.  And as General Petkovic says, they were very expensive.  They were

24     really bleeding us dry.  It cost us an arm and a leg.  And secondly, it

25     was a politically very dodgy issue, because we were friends with the BH

Page 10371

 1     Army throughout this time, all agreements are signed, and on the other

 2     hand, the BH Army, the same army, is attacking us, and we have to make

 3     use of what is officially our enemy lest our people and our troops in

 4     that area get killed.  So that's the explanation.

 5             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Thank you, Mr. Praljak.  And so I thought --

 6     actually, we have already met the problem of the XY, but sometimes we

 7     have not received an answer to it when Bench was -- if they were asking

 8     some other questions, so thank you.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, my fellow

10     Judge is right.  It is important, and it's probably one of the most

11     important documents amidst the thousands of documents that we were shown.

12     Why is that?  This document dates back to the 22nd of July, 19 --

13             THE INTERPRETER:  The interpreter didn't hear.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] -- and the person who actually

15     wrote this document didn't think that once he would be accused.  He's

16     actually reporting to the minister of defence, and as is stated in the

17     document, it is a condensed report for six months.  As you can see,

18     the -- it starts in January.

19             When we examine this document, as the Judges already did, the

20     first thing that we read in the document is that there are sporadic

21     conflicts, and this notion of sporadic conflicts are found in documents

22     by Izetbegovic and by the HVO.  So there's not one conflict but many

23     conflicts.  So this is what we can draw from the document.

24             Secondly, when we examine in document - and this is linked to the

25     theory of the JCE -  so what we can see is that the -- there's an

Page 10372

 1     intervention by the BH Army.  Why is that?  Well, in order to conquer

 2     territories.  And the consequence is ethnic cleansing of the Croatian

 3     population.  So this is the second element that we can draw from this

 4     document.

 5             Thirdly, General Praljak, this is what we can read here, and

 6     you'll tell us later on what you think about it - contrary to what you

 7     said the report, 1:10, on the forces, here the report seems to say 1:20.

 8     The ratio.  It was a question on the ratio.

 9             Four, it seems that concerning corruption and reality there are

10     problems because the general explains that we can buy ammunitions from

11     Chetniks, and he doesn't exclude the fact that UNPROFOR are humanitarian

12     organisations.  Some services could also be supplied when paying.  So

13     this has been said.

14             And the report also states, as my fellow Judge said -- mentions,

15     actually, doesn't say, mentions XY.

16             And finally, right at the end, and this is actually a question

17     that I asked myself a very long time ago:  What is the nature of this

18     army?  General Petkovic says that this privatised army says that -- that

19     every municipality, every town and village have their own army, and we

20     have already seen documents on that, on the fact that soldiers were paid

21     by the municipalities and that the counsel of Mr. Petkovic introduces

22     this document on the theory of the control.  And the legal scope of that

23     has been already determined by the Appeals Chamber.

24             So this document, does it reflect the situation that you, and I

25     remind that you took over your post two days earlier, you took over your

Page 10373

 1     post on the 24th of July.  So this situation described by

 2     General Petkovic and the situation that you encountered when you took

 3     over your post and the situation that you knew when you were at your post

 4     for several months, are they the same situations?

 5             Now, you have already answered several questions, but this is a

 6     synthesis document which is very important from my point of view, so

 7     please be brief in your answer too.  Thank you.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There a nutshell Your Honour

 9     Judge Antonetti, this document was drafted before I arrived there, so it

10     has nothing whatsoever to do with me, and I didn't know of it and I

11     would --

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I cannot hear you.  I cannot

13     hear the translation any more.  Please start again.

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The document was drafted before I

15     arrived there.  I didn't know of it.  It was drafted by General Petkovic

16     however --

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, I cannot hear you.

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.  Can you hear me

19     now?  C'est la vie?

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I understood c'est la vie, but

21     what I would like to understand is what you're saying in your own mother

22     tongue.

23             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] I think there's a problem with the

24     President's headphones.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please go ahead.

Page 10374

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] General Petkovic drafted this

 2     before I arrived there.  This is his document.  And I signed this

 3     document --

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That doesn't work.  I cannot

 5     hear the English, and I cannot hear the French.  I cannot hear anything.

 6             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] There's a technical problem,

 7     because I can hear for my part the translation in French.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll take a break.  The

 9     registrar will check everything.  We'll make a 20-minute break.

10                           --- Recess taken at 5.33 p.m.

11                           --- On resuming at 6.02 p.m.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The headset seems to be working

13     now.  Ms. Alaburic, you have the floor.

14             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

15        Q.   General Praljak, with respect to what Judge Prandler asked you,

16     I'd like to say that that portion of this report, which refers to page

17     XY, wasn't mentioned, XY side, was not something that I was dealing with,

18     but let's deal with XY side.

19             Is it true that the HVO started to cooperate with the Army of

20     Republika Srpska and the authorities of Republika Srpska at the time when

21     in Central Bosnia, because of the offensives launched by the BH Army,

22     Croatian enclaves were created which you couldn't reach otherwise but

23     going across Serb territory?

24        A.   Yes, that's what I said, but refugees from Travnik had to pass

25     across Republika Srpska, Vlasic, and so on.  In other words -- and the

Page 10375

 1     same applied to Bugojno.  So thousands of people couldn't flee in one

 2     direction, and they took the direction that they could cross.  So there

 3     were no joint operations.  We had to pay dearly for them to treat the

 4     wounded, and we paid in the form of fuel in order to purchase weapons for

 5     those enclaves to defend themselves.  But I haven't answered

 6     Judge Antonetti's question yet, so I'll do so now.

 7             This report was written before my arrival.  General Petkovic

 8     informed me of that.  There was nothing that he could tell me that I

 9     didn't know already.

10             And, Ms. Alaburic and Judge Antonetti and Your Honours, the

11     situation was worse than ever, worse than General Petkovic describes

12     here, on a psychological level, and there was a lot of smuggling and

13     division and so on.  So the situation was far worse than it says here.

14             So this report which went to the government, together with other

15     reports which Bruno Stojic had to send to the government to keep them

16     informed.  So that would be it.

17        Q.   Thank you, General.  And I'd like to thank Judge Antonetti for

18     asking that question.  Let's move on now.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, my eye has been drawn

20     to paragraph 4.3.  You followed General Petkovic tactically and

21     operational.  It seems that the situation is exceptionally unfavourable,

22     especially in Central Bosnia and in parts of Northern Herzegovina,

23     because it seems that your units are either semi-encircled or completely

24     encircled.  So at paragraph 4.3, it looks like you're very -- in a

25     defensive position and that you're almost unable to combat.

Page 10376

 1             Is that the situation as it was at the time?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  You have understood that very

 3     well.

 4             Your Honours, at that moment in time we were suspended on a very

 5     thin thread.  And let me add in passing that the fighters who knew

 6     everything, everybody knew everything, but they weren't clear on why all

 7     this peaceful policy on the part of the HDZ and Franjo Tudjman and the

 8     arming and Bosnia and Herzegovina and so on when they were being killed

 9     with those weapons.  I cannot describe to you the difficult situation

10     that we were facing.  It was just terrible to allow weapons to go

11     through, and they knew about this.  You couldn't hide anything.  It was

12     all small, a small place.  And then after supplying weapons for a year

13     and a half, these people were expelled and killed.

14             Now, you stand in front of them and let me see what you would

15     tell them.  It's a terribly difficult situation to be in.

16             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Yes.  We are really exploiting this document, as

17     you can see, Ms. Alaburic.  I'm sure you're happy about it.

18             Mr. Praljak, in point 4.5, Mr. Praljak says -- Mr. Petkovic

19     writes that there is a lot of lack of professionalism, and he says that --

20     "Let us be honest," I quote, "on the level of the zone -  HVO staff."

21             Now, two questions first.  Is he even exercising some sort of

22     self criticism?  And second question, when you joined the staff did you

23     also find that the General Staff was lacking professionality, and were

24     there any measures that you'd take in order to repair the situation in

25     the General Staff?

Page 10377

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did know about all these

 2     problems, and I'd especially like to mention that the army is based on

 3     the lowest unit, on sergeants, the sergeant level that we do not have.

 4     However, Your Honours, you can't do anything if you haven't got the men

 5     to do it with.  We had 30 men in the Main Staff, for example, for

 6     everything, and they were of the kind of men they were.  So it's not a

 7     question of will.  It's a question of having half a loaf of bread.  And

 8     if there are ten people to feed, then you have to divide it up among ten

 9     people.  You haven't got a whole loaf of bread.

10             So this is just an observation.  It's not any criticism.  Well,

11     education, training, that lasts for two months.  We sent them to schools.

12     We did what we could, but there was just not enough manpower, and you

13     couldn't create an officer out of somebody who just wasn't officer

14     material.  If you sent them to school, that would take six months.  So we

15     were lacking in cadres at all levels, in the government, Ministry of Defence,

16     whatever it is called, in the HVO and in everything else.  Too few people,

17     too few professional and well-trained people.

18             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.

19             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

20        Q.   General Praljak, let's move on to the next document, which I am

21     tying to the fourth element of effective control, and that is the

22     question of whether the chain of command was constant and uninterrupted

23     or whether there were situations when the commanders were not in control

24     of the situation on the ground.  And the document I'd like to us to look

25     at is P3314, to illustrate that.  3314 is the document number.  It's an

Page 10378

 1     exhibit, but let's analyse it nonetheless.  Let's look at what the

 2     situation was.

 3             In this report by the military police, it is noted that in Rama

 4     soldiers and civilians are arriving from Kostajnica.  And that's the

 5     beginning of July, 1993.

 6             You, General Praljak, as far as I know, are well-versed with the

 7     situation in Kostajnica and that general area of the Rama municipality,

 8     and here we have people moving from Kostajnica into Rama.  Am I right?

 9        A.   Yes, I was at Boksevica, and they crossed over Boksevica to

10     leave.  I took those people in, and as I said told you I carried two

11     children, two little twins, girls, they were eight days old, two babies.

12        Q.   Now let's look at the next excerpt.  And it says here:

13     "Unfortunately, we did not succeed because some individuals went further

14     on foot."  And now the essential point of this.  It says:  "And the

15     soldiers refused to listen to anybody's orders.  And the commanders from

16     Kostajnica do not have any control over the -- over the soldiers."  And

17     now we come to the final sentence:  The operative zone cannot deal with

18     this problem either and resolve it, that is to say Zeljko Siljeg.

19             Now, tell us, General Praljak, is it possible that the situation

20     was really like that, that the military commander simply with the best

21     will in the world could not control the situation on the ground as it is

22     described here in this document?

23        A.   Ms. Alaburic, at Boksevica, for example, after they were there

24     for I don't know how long, I was up at Boksevica.  Now, the soldiers were

25     no longer functioning properly.  You couldn't even call them soldiers or

Page 10379

 1     human beings.  At one point in time one ceases to function.  You're not a

 2     human being any more.  You're not functioning like a human being, let

 3     alone a soldier, and they said we're going to leave Boksevica.

 4             You cannot issue an order because they're not going to listen to

 5     you.  They're not going to obey you.  And on that occasion I said, "Okay.

 6     You go and I'll stay.  I am not going to leave."  And then they decided

 7     to stay rather than leave me alone.  So that was the situation up at

 8     Boksevica to allow for enough time for these people to be pulled out.

 9             Secondly, these 500 individuals and the people who came in, well,

10     Ms. Alaburic, they were erased people.  Just points of singularity.  They

11     were expelled, killed.

12             It's a matter of psychology.  It's not a matter of the army, of

13     the military.  And I mentioned the French army at Arden when they were

14     withdrawing and saying that nobody was obeying orders.  It's no longer an

15     army.  You're referring to an army and you say people are soldiers if

16     they're wearing uniforms, but these weren't real soldiers.  They were people

17     who needed psychiatric treatment, and there were lots of them like that.

18        Q.   Very well, General.  Let's move on to the next document?

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, this document also is

20     interesting.  It dates back July 1993, and it's here there is an urgent

21     response that is required from -- in this document, but when reading this

22     document, we find out the soldiers who are fleeing or mixed up with the

23     civilians, and the person who wrote the report says there is a solution.

24     The solution is to resort to force.  But he says but among all these

25     soldiers there are women and children, so it's impossible to resort to

Page 10380

 1     force.  At least it seems to be what Mr. Franjic is saying.  He says that

 2     there's about 500 since and 500 soldiers, so a thousand people

 3     altogether, and there's only 60 military policemen in front of them.

 4             As I was reading this, I remembered, you know, the withdrawal of

 5     the Southern Vietnamese when they were being attacked by the North

 6     Vietnamese and the way they withdrew, and in that withdrawal soldiers

 7     were mixed up with the civilians and it was a complete mess.  Normally --

 8     notably during the Tet Offensive.  So obviously the situation was

 9     impossible to control.

10             This is something that was written in July 1993.  Did you know

11     about all this?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  I took them in, Your Honour.

13     I greeted them at Boksevica.  There was no solution.  The only solution

14     was that they be taken away somewhere, put up somewhere, that

15     psychiatrists be brought in.

16             What do you mean shooting?  You could kill him, kill them.  They

17     didn't mind.  They -- they didn't care any more whether you're going to

18     shoot at him or he's going to shoot at you.  They just couldn't care

19     about anything any more.  And you had to let these people go to Croatia,

20     or to Posusje.  Of course there was no accommodation for them there.  If we

21     had that then you would have to take care of them for several months and

22     perhaps you would succeed in having 300 of them return, but the other 200

23     never would.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.

25             General Praljak, given -- given the situation, did you contact

Page 10381

 1     the UNPROFOR to ask for assistance, or did they just say, "It's not our

 2     problem.  It's not our business.  Just manage the situation yourself"?

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. Petkovic went to

 4     that place, Kostajnica, with UNPROFOR three or four times.  They did not

 5     wish to solve the problem.  And I was up at Boksevica with some 30 lads

 6     for some ten days, left without any food or water, up on some hill.  I

 7     stood guard round the clock, just like any other soldier because there

 8     were too few of us, and the Muslims were not 30 metres off.  They shot

 9     at my… my…  Well, those are details.  I don't have to tell you about

10     them, but believe me when I say that it was a situation that just

11     could not be solved.  It was impossible to solve a situation like

12     that unless you resort to psychology, military psychology, social

13     psychology, human psychology or whatever.  Because those people had 

14     just lost it.  You know the expression "lost it"?  They broke down. 

15     Their morale had broken down and they needed treatment, all of

16     them.

17             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

18        Q.   General Praljak, let's now talk about the fifth element of the

19     effective control, and we're talking about units which were not under the

20     control of the Main Staff of the HVO.

21             Given the contents of the indictment, I'm going to focus on the

22     Convicts Battalion.  Let's look at P7419, P7419.

23        A.   Where's that?

24        Q.   That's the next topic within the topic that we're just

25     discussing?

Page 10382

 1        A.   Yes, yes, I can see it.

 2        Q.   Look at the first page of the document.  What I'm interested in

 3     is in the -- is the following statement:

 4              "All professional units have been abolished if they were not

 5     tied to the Main Staff of the HVO in organisational terms."

 6             This is an official report issued by the Ministry of Defence.

 7     General Praljak, I can conclude based on this statement that there were

 8     indeed professional units which were not under the control of the Main

 9     Staff.  Was that indeed the case?

10        A.   I know one unit which was not under my control, at least

11     one.

12        Q.   Which one was that?

13        A.   That was the unit under the command of Mladen Naletilic Tuta.

14        Q.   Let's look at the following document which is 2D925.

15     Mr. Naletilic wrote this document in February 1994 and sent this to Mate

16     Boban, and at the end he greets him as his own personal advisor.

17             I suppose that you will remember this document, because the Bruno

18     Stojic Defence team has already shown it to you in this document -- in

19     this courtroom?

20        A.   Yes.

21        Q.   General Praljak, an important question may be raised here, and

22     that question is whether Mr. Naletilic had any power in the Croatian

23     Community of Herceg-Bosna and later on in the Croatian Republic of

24     Herceg-Bosna?

25        A.   Yes.

Page 10383

 1        Q.   Could you please explain, what was the source of that power

 2     according to you?

 3        A.   I really wouldn't know what his ties with Mate Boban were and

 4     where that power -- how far it reached, and so on and so forth, but I've

 5     already explained the event that took place between the two of us, that

 6     involved the two of us, that is, and simply after that there was no way

 7     anybody could issue him with any orders.  I did not consider him to be a

 8     member of the HVO.  Neither I nor Petkovic could remove him from that

 9     position, and that would be that.

10        Q.   General Praljak, the Convicts Battalion was, nevertheless, part

11     of the system of the armed forces of Herceg-Bosna, and that's why I'm

12     going to ask you the following:  This particular military unit, was it

13     under the direct command of the Supreme Commander, Mr. Mate Boban?

14        A.   Listen, this unit, the Convicts Battalion, there was something

15     very unusual about that battalion.  A unit of that type, and I don't know

16     exactly what its name was, whether its name was the Convicts Battalion or

17     anti-sabotage unit, that was a unit that was initially under the command

18     of Andabak whose nickname was Lija .  That particular unit, those lads

19     were okay.  However, in addition to those people who were okay, there was

20     a grey group, as it were, that did not participate in combat, and that

21     group had a certain power.  I don't know what kind of power it was.  It

22     was not very clear as one would like to purport.  Those lads that

23     included Mico Lasic and others had their dignity, their morale, their

24     valor and courage, but there were also some groups that did not

25     participate in combat that were in the grey area, as it were, and beyond

Page 10384

 1     the reach of the Main Staff.

 2   (redacted)

 3   (redacted)

 4   (redacted)

 5   (redacted)

 6   (redacted)

 7   (redacted)

 8   (redacted)

 9   (redacted)

10   (redacted)

11        A.   Yes.  Could you please ask the Trial Chamber to move into private

12     session if you want to pursue this line of questioning.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Move to private session.

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And could this -- could your last

15     words also be redacted?

16                           [Private session]

17   (redacted)

18   (redacted)

19   (redacted)

20   (redacted)

21   (redacted)

22   (redacted)

23   (redacted)

24   (redacted)

25   (redacted)

Page 10385











11 Page 42385 redacted. Private session.















Page 10386

 1   (redacted)

 2   (redacted)

 3   (redacted)

 4   (redacted)

 5                           [Open session]

 6             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

 7        Q.   And now moving to bullet point 6 --

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  [Previous translation continues] ...

 9             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

10        Q.   -- in -- in this part dealing with the effective control, and

11     the second -- or the sixth part.  The first is the practice according to

12     which in --

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.  Before

14     Ms. Alaburic deals with the other aspects involved in effective control,

15     let me go back to May 9th.  There are a number of assumptions around all

16     this, you know, and I've -- I put a number of questions to you, but I

17     believe it's time to put new questions to you.

18             If we follow your case, I'm saying if we follow your case, which

19     is that Mr. Naletilic was a rogue element, totally out of control, and

20     the document we have, 4D805 might be very important in this respect,

21     obviously without abiding by the chain of command he writes directly to

22     Mr. Boban to report on the situation of two captains.

23             So if there seems to be an alternate -- alternative chain of

24     command in which you're not, and neither is Mr. Petkovic, then how can we

25     analyse the operation that was carried out on May 9?  Do you think it

Page 10387

 1     could have been a operation that could have been directly ordered by

 2     Mr. Boban so that Mr. Boban would have ordered Mr. Naletilic to carry out

 3     an all-out military operation with his units, i.e., arresting hundreds or

 4     thousands of people in order to send them to the Heliodrom?

 5             Up until now all the evidence we've had, all the witnesses we've

 6     seen seem to say that Mr. Prlic wasn't there, you weren't there either,

 7     neither was Mr. Petkovic, and so forth.

 8             This struck me, because when you have an all-out military

 9     operation of such magnitude, you know, the leaders should be on the

10     field, on the ground, and here surprisingly there's no one.  Notably,

11     since there was a strong logistical support that had been required for

12     this operation, for example, all the buses had to be available and so

13     forth.

14             So if this is what happened, you know, this -- we have a direct

15     connection between Naletilic and Boban, what was their goal, and why

16     didn't they involve you all?

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Antonetti, I

18     can't answer your question.  I only know from reliable sources on the

19     11th, if he was asked to go there, we can only assume that that was how

20     he wanted to put everybody in a position which was a dead end and that

21     left no options.  However, this fell through.  On the 9th of May, the

22     army attacked and that fact was used for the things that ensued that you

23     know all about, and I don't know because I arrived later.  But you know,

24     when sometimes a forcible move can put you between a rock and a hard

25     place.  When the shooting starts on the line, somebody can say, "They

Page 10388

 1     attacked us," and somebody else says, "We attacked them."  Whoever was

 2     the first to open fire, you have to respond, but those are such

 3     situations that can put you between a rock and a hard place.

 4             I opposed him.  Nothing came out of it, although I repeat all the

 5     information that I had gathered and that I had put at your disposal on

 6     the 9th of May, as you will see in the document, it was the BH Army that

 7     launched the first attack.  How this was used, it's up to you to see who

 8     participated, how things developed after that.  I wouldn't know anything

 9     about that.

10             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

11        Q.   General Praljak, and let's now move on to part 6, which I entitle

12     "Skipping the Links."

13             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you, and please excuse me.

14             General Praljak, perhaps you do, perhaps you do not know about

15     this:  Naletilic was operating with his convict units.  He certainly

16     needed logistics of all -- of many kinds, MTS and so forth.  Where did he

17     get this?  Did he get it through the normal HVO channels, and if so, was

18     that not the possibility to control him?

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour Judge Trechsel.

20     The channels were anything but usual.  He had his own channels.  I'm sure

21     that he didn't go through the Main Staff of the HVO.

22             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  You say you are sure.  That means that you

23     believe it is like this.  You have no exact knowledge of where he got his

24     material.

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct, Your Honour

Page 10389

 1     Judge Trechsel.  I know that he did not go through the Main Staff.  How

 2     he did it, I wouldn't know.

 3             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.

 4             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

 5        Q.   General Praljak, in the Main Staff there was no logistical base

 6     as such, and not all units of the HVO were supplied through the Main

 7     Staff.  Would that be correct?

 8        A.   Yes.

 9        Q.   Okay.  Okay.  Let's now move on to part 6 of the effective

10     control, and my title of that part is "Skipping the Links in the Chain of

11     Command."  Skipping the links in the chain of command which may be

12     considered as an element that aggravates the effective control.

13             General Praljak, so far we have seen a number of documents in

14     which, for example, Mate Boban communicates directly with Ivica Rajic,

15     which means that he skipped a level -- or the level of the Main Staff and

16     level of the operation zone Central Bosnia as well.

17             We've also seen that Boban communicated directly with Tihomir

18     Blaskic, who was the commander of an operation zone, which means that he

19     bypassed the Main Staff in doing that.

20             And we have also seen some of your documents, and Honourable

21     Judges have asked you a lot of questions about them, because as the HVO

22     commander, you directly communicated with the brigade commanders.

23     Honourable Judge Trechsel had a lot of questions about that for you, and

24     I also have a few questions of my own with this regard.

25             How frequent and common was the practice of communicating by

Page 10390

 1     skipping or bypassing a level or two in the chain of command, as far as

 2     you know?

 3        A.   As far as I'm concerned, this was done when no other options were

 4     available.  Sometimes it was due to the speed, sometimes it was

 5     impossible to establish communications, and whenever that was the case, I

 6     was known to skip one or two levels of the -- in the chain of command,

 7     especially when I was in the field.  I was there among them.

 8        Q.   Very well.  You're saying that that practice didn't exist.

 9     However, one could say that this was not a rule, but this was also not

10     uncommon.  Would that be a good conclusion?

11        A.   Ms. Alaburic, in an army conducting operations it's not a rare

12     occurrence.  Well, I don't want to go on to expand on that, give you

13     examples, but yeah.

14        Q.   Very well.  Let us move on to the seventh element about -- in

15     this topic of effective control, and that's whether there were some

16     situations in which some of the commanders did not report their superiors

17     about some major events.

18             Were there such situations or could you say as the commander of

19     the Main Staff?  You had absolutely all information about all the

20     relevant developments in the field?

21        A.   That was not the case, not at all.  A huge amount of information

22     was either wrongly filtered or misrepresented or the information itself

23     was incorrect.  I gave you a mind-boggling example.  The lines in Vakuf

24     fell between 2.00 a.m., and I was touring the lines at that time, between

25     2.00 and 6.00 a.m., and I was in Rama, 15 kilometres away.  They all

Page 10391

 1     fell.  All the lines fell.  Nobody informed me.  Nobody informed the duty

 2     officer, so nobody -- so it's simply mind boggling.  One cannot simply

 3     understand it, but it's possible.

 4        Q.   Let us move on to the eighth topic, the question whether there

 5     was any power struggle and any personal conflicts in the chain of command

 6     that might have resulted in the disruptions in the ability to exercise

 7     effective command.

 8             Let us look at 4D805.  It's a document from the Ljubuski Brigade

 9     commander, Jure Rupcic, and he's sending it to the commander of the

10     Mostar military district, Miljenko Lasic, so that's his superior.  And he

11     says the following, I'll read this report in its entirety because it's

12     very short.

13              "With regard to your order of the --" well, I can't say, is it

14     the 3rd or the 5th?

15        A.   The 5th.

16        Q.   "-- of the 5th of December, 1993, I hereby inform you as follows:

17     Where do you get the nerve and guts to issue any orders in order to be

18     able to communicate with you?"

19             Let me repeat:

20             "With regard to your order of the 5th of December, I hereby

21     inform you as follows:  Where do you get the nerve and guts to issue any

22     orders?  In order to be able to communicate with you in writing, I would

23     have to stoop intellectually, immorally, to your level, you moron, and I

24     definitely don't want to do that."

25             General Praljak, have you seen this document before?

Page 10392

 1        A.   Yes.

 2        Q.   Well, all the Defence teams are quite familiar with it.  Could

 3     you please comment on this document in the context of this topic about

 4     the communication within the chain of command that we're discussing now?

 5        A.   Yes.  In an army of this kind, it was much more important to

 6     identify commanders or find commanders who are not in any conflict with

 7     each other, conflict dating from an earlier period, because they brought

 8     with them all the baggage of their problems from before, the village, the

 9     family and so on, and they simply moved it together with them to the

10     army.  They didn't say, "I'm a professional.  This is what I am, and I'm

11     going to set aside everything else."  They brought all this baggage with

12     them.  There are dozens and dozens of such cases where one commander

13     tells another, "Well, you idiot.  How dare you issue any orders to me?

14     You used to be a waiter," or something of that kind.

15             Unfortunately, this is what spilled over from their real life to

16     their life in the army, or, "I was here before you," or "You were a

17     member of the League of Communists.  I'm not taking any orders from you."

18     So whatever.  All kinds of things.  So this whole complicated life spilt

19     over in an area where there should be an order of a completely different

20     kind.

21        Q.   General Praljak, tell us whether these situations that you

22     described to us, did they have an influence over the effective control

23     that a superior had over his subordinates to your knowledge?

24        A.   Yes, how can you have effective control if this man will say,

25     "Well, this is a guy from my village.  We don't want him."  You could see

Page 10393

 1     from the Pavlovic unit, where he said, "Those from Rumboci don’t want me,

 2     these are against me, these think they are right…", and so on and so forth.

 3        Q.   Could you please look at the next document, which is related to

 4     item 9 --

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I discover

 6     this document right now, and such a document is -- is striking for all of

 7     us.

 8             What was this situation?  Who was Mr. Lasic.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what his education

10     was, Your Honours.  I don't know his educational background.  I was one

11     of those who proposed him as the zone commander because he was very

12     honest.  He had military flare.  He was very courageous.  But I also

13     asked for the chief of his staff to be a military career man.  As a

14     commander he fought really well in Vrdi.  He always went into combat

15     first before his troops, which is very important.  And his Chief of Staff

16     was very well-versed in military matters.  He was a former officer of the

17     JNA, Puljic.  And it was a brilliant combination, a very good

18     combination.

19             On the one side there was a good and honest fighter.  I know, I

20     know that he had been a capable businessman.  I don't know what his

21     educational background was, but -- but that would be that.  I know

22     everything about him.  The only thing I don't know is what his

23     educational background was.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In December you were not in

25     that post, but in such a situation a military commander -- shouldn't a

Page 10394

 1     military commander conduct an operation to command Rupcic, to arrest

 2     Rupcic because he destroys the whole chain of command by such documents?

 3     So wouldn't -- he should be arrested?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  He should have been punished,

 5     but, Your Honours, you know, if you were to remove him or if you sent him

 6     to prison, he doesn't see it as a punishment.  He sees it as a reward.

 7     If you remove him from office, it's also a reward.  He just picks up all

 8     his stuff and leaves.  The whole thing is upside down.  In a well-ordered

 9     society if you punish somebody it's punishment, that's what it is, and

10     here punishment was a reward.  This guy sits in prison and he doesn't

11     have to go to the front line.  If you remove him from office, he says

12     "Well, thank you very much."  All of them wanted to be removed from

13     office.  You saw Saskor and the guy in Ramo, Pavlovic, and even Mico

14     Lasic wanted to be removed from office.  And he really didn't want to

15     accept this post at all.  He had to be talked into it.

16             Well, I would have dealt with this in a different way if I had

17     been there.  I would do a show of force, and then I would pound this man

18     to the ground, and I would show him that he is -- that he was a total

19     moron, the father of all morons, but that's just a question of style.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic.

21             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

22        Q.   General Praljak, let us move on to our ninth topic in this set

23     that deals with effective control.  The prevailing opinion is that if

24     something's wrong in the chain of command if there's a need for an order

25     to be repeated but from a level higher up, and in this context I would

Page 10395

 1     like us to look together at document P468.  It's an order from the head

 2     of the Defence Department.  The date is the 12th of September, 1992, and

 3     it is issued because this same order from the Chief of the Main Staff of

 4     the HVO had not been complied with.

 5             This is a warning to the soldiers that they should not carry

 6     firearms during their time off, that they should not be in uniforms.  And

 7     the commanders of the units are told to control this kind of behaviour on

 8     the part of their soldiers.

 9             General Praljak, to your knowledge the orders that a military

10     commander issued, were they obeyed without any problems or was it really

11     necessary for orders to be re-issued -- well, I don't want to go into too

12     much detail here, in that soldiers should be talked into doing something

13     and that all kinds of things had to be done in order to achieve the

14     desired result, i.e., the appropriate behaviour on the part of the

15     soldiers?

16        A.   The orders were, unfortunately, repeated and repeated, and then

17     one had to ask for Stojic to sign them.  I personally tried hard not to

18     repeat my orders.  If I could, I would deal with it by physical force.

19     So I would try -- no, I don't mean by that --

20        Q.   When you say "physically," you mean in direct contact with that

21     person?

22        A.   Yes, that's right.  And then some people would say that and would

23     see that, and then -- I can give you an example.  For instance, there's a

24     lad who discharges his firearm in Citluk.  He's just come back from the

25     front line.  He's shell-shocked and there's police there.  And it was

Page 10396

 1     considered to be a normal kind of behaviour.  And then I approached him.

 2     I would say, "Why are you shooting?"  And then I would shout at them or

 3     at him.  I would grab his rifle.

 4             Well, the system broke down in every places and writing orders

 5     was in vain.  Well, we can all write.  I can write a hundred orders every

 6     day in proper style, proper format.

 7        Q.   So in some situations one had to act in direct contact and to

 8     show in a convincing manner what these people were supposed to do.

 9        A.   Yes.

10        Q.   The tenth element in our effective control topic has to do with

11     the necessity to obtain some assistance from outside to solve a problem.

12     The document that I'm going to show you is directly related to you.

13     Let's comment on it.  It's 4D1671.  It's a letter that the head of the

14     Defence Department --

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, if it's a new topic,

16     maybe we should start it tomorrow, because we only have a few minutes

17     left.

18             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's not a new topic.

19     I have six more items within this topic effective control, so if I can

20     just complete this one and then we'll move on to the next five elements.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, do -- do finish.  We only

22     have four minutes and ten seconds left.

23             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

24        Q.   So this is a document, the head of the Defence Department in late

25     October 1992 writes to the office of the president of the Republic of

Page 10397

 1     Croatia.  Let's look at last paragraph of this letter.  He asks that you

 2     come to Herceg-Bosna, and then he explains why, and let me quote:

 3             "Because of the general situation in the Croatian Community of

 4     Herceg-Bosna and the respect that he enjoys among the commanders and

 5     soldiers, it would be good for this pre-emptive operation to be conducted

 6     by General Praljak; we are convinced that the action would be a success

 7     and that we could face a more peaceful or quieter winter."

 8             In your examination in chief you told us, General Praljak, that

 9     you did not come to Herceg-Bosna as an individual invited by anyone, that

10     you were not invited by anyone, so I would like you to explain whether

11     you knew about the situation that -- that people from Herceg-Bosna ask

12     the Republic of Croatia to make it possible for you to come down there to

13     Herceg-Bosna to deal with the situation.

14        A.   Yes.  I was aware of it, and I said that I never ever, from the

15     end of the war until the beginning of this trial, I never did say

16     anything positive about me.  I never bragged about what I did or what my

17     importance was, but here I say that they asked for me to come again in

18     Central Bosnia, in Rama and here, because in their opinion I was

19     passionate, courageous.  I was a good organiser, and I didn't give in to

20     anyone, and I can say that before this court as an accused that I did

21     that job with the greatest possible commitment and honesty, strictly on

22     personal merit, and fiercely, sometimes very fiercely.

23        Q.   Thank you, General Praljak.

24             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] So now this might end our hearing

25     today.

Page 10398

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Ms. Alaburic.  You

 2     have finished the last point you wanted to examine.

 3             As you know, we're sitting tomorrow at 9.00 a.m.  We will have

 4     four hours to finish with all the questions posed by Ms. Alaburic.  So

 5     good evening to all, and see you all tomorrow morning.

 6                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.59 p.m.,

 7                           to be reconvened on Thursday, the 2nd day

 8                           of July, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.