1 Wednesday, 26 August 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The accused Coric not present]
5 [The witness takes the stand]
6 --- Upon commencing at 2.14 p.m.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
8 the case, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
10 everyone in and around the courtroom.
11 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et
12 al. Thank you, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
14 I would like to greet today Mr. Praljak, Mr. Prlic, and
15 Mr. Stojic, Mr. Petkovic, and Mr. Pusic. I wouldn't like to forget to
16 greet those who are absent as well. I would also like to greet Defence
17 counsel, Mr. Stringer and his assistants, and everyone else assisting us
18 in the courtroom.
19 One administrative announcement I would first like to make. As
20 the Gotovina Chamber won't be sitting tomorrow morning, tomorrow, the
21 hearing will be held in the morning instead of in the afternoon. So we
22 will start with the hearing tomorrow morning. I, personally, I think
23 this is also the opinion of others, prefer the morning. I know that
24 Mr. Praljak prefers to have lunch first, but it will be necessary for him
25 to have a substantial breakfast on this occasion. However the case may
1 be, we will be sitting tomorrow morning.
2 Next week, there will be the appointment of new Judges. There's
3 a former lawyer among them, there are rumours to that effect, or there
4 has been rumours to that effect, for sure. These Judges will be taking
5 their oath on the 2nd of December [as interpreted] in this courtroom, and
6 as a result we will have to complete our hearing at 1.00 p.m. and not at
7 1.45. So the hearing will end at 1.00 p.m. because they need one hour to
8 prepare the courtroom to place the Judges here. So as they will be
9 taking their oath at 2.00 p.m.
10 1.00 p.m.
11 Mr. Stringer, I'd like to greet you once again.
12 Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do apologise. I
14 thought you had completed what you wanted to say.
15 Perhaps towards the end of the day, I could be granted a few
16 minutes so that I could make sure we all have the same information with
17 regard to our schedule for our forthcoming witnesses, the witnesses who
18 will be testifying after Mr. Praljak, because I can foresee certain
19 scheduling problems and I'd like to spend a few minutes on this matter
20 later on. Mr. Stringer and myself have been exchanging information to
21 that effect, but nevertheless ...
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ten minutes, would you need
23 about ten minutes, so we could end ten minutes earlier?
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I need a few minutes, but I
25 don't know to what extent others will be taking the floor.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. In
2 fact, I was concerned about this matter as well, so it would be good if
3 you informed us of any problems that you might encounter.
4 Mr. Stringer, I greet you once again and I give you the floor.
5 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President, and, Your Honours,
6 Counsel, and everyone else in and around the courtroom.
7 Mr. President, I hate to say this, but it turns out that I've got
8 a personal matter scheduled for tomorrow morning, and we do have lives
9 outside of this trial and this courtroom that we have to arrange around
10 the court hours. If I could maybe just have some time to sort of think
11 about it over the break and see if perhaps I can find a way to
12 accommodate things. I'd at least like to have the possibility to come
13 back to the Trial Chamber later today about the situation. I would be
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 WITNESS: SLOBODAN PRALJAK: [Resumed]
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Stringer: [Continued]
18 Q. General, good afternoon.
19 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Stringer.
20 Q. I see that you do not have the binder that we were working with
21 yesterday, so I'll ask that the usher provide that to you. This is the
22 list number 6 of documents.
23 And the next exhibit, General, as we continue talking about
24 Prozor is Exhibit P00640 [realtime transcript read in error "P00460"].
25 General, do you want to take a moment to look that document over? This
1 is a list of -- I believe it's prepared by the SDA of Prozor
2 municipality. It's entitled "List of Vehicles Confiscated in Prozor
3 Municipality Since the HVO and HV Aggression Begun ...," in other words,
4 from 23 October, 1993
5 Now, General, I know that you subsequently to this date of 23
6 October -- oh, Mr. President, I'm told the document is under seal and
7 that we need to go into private session for this one.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll move into private
10 [Private session]
11 Pages 43863-43868 redacted. Private session.
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session. Thank
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.
23 Mr. Praljak, I'd like to go back to the issues of the vehicles.
24 First of all, and this is something you have pointed out, there were
25 three vehicles that belonged to the ABiH, so they could be considered as
1 falling under the category of war booty. Perhaps you noted, but perhaps
2 you didn't have the time, that in fact there were 161 individuals
3 concerned, because the five vehicles that were confiscated in August, not
4 on the 24th of October, but on the 20th of August. It's in the list, and
5 then there were individuals who had or owned a number of vehicles. But
6 this isn't what my question relates to.
7 It seems that there might be three situations, three possible
8 situations: war booty; legitimate confiscation by an army, with receipts
9 delivered and the signature of the owner; and, thirdly, the theft, pure
10 and simple, of vehicles by X, Y, or Z. At the level of the HVO, did you
11 consider these various cases, these various situations?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. In the HVO, a
13 vehicle could be commandeered for war needs in certain situations, but
14 then a receipt would be issued to the owner. It would contain
15 information on the make of the car, the date of the car, and so on and so
16 forth. And on the base of the receipt or signatures issued to him, the
17 owner could then request that the vehicle be returned to him or that he
18 be compensated for the damage, and so on and so forth. Naturally, there
19 was also the case of classical or traditional war booty. The enemy unit
20 fled and left equipment of any kind, military equipment or a car, well,
21 then naturally that would be listed as war booty for the unit concerned.
22 And naturally there were cases of theft, too. All I can say is that I
23 very much doubt that the number of cars was so high, as I doubt that they
24 were attacked by the HV, and in any war there's a lot of propaganda. You
25 want to tarnish the reputation of the other side. But I participated in
1 taking away a vehicle from someone who had stolen a vehicle. A witness
2 testified to that effect here. My pistol was drawn, as in the usual Wild
3 West films, so whoever has better nerves is the person who is victorious,
4 usually. But apart from the HVO, there was a wild HOS unit, a savage HOS
5 unit. Their members were quite numerous. It was difficult to control
6 them, impossible to control them. I made many attempts to control the
7 situation. It's too long to explain, this story is too long to explain.
8 They weren't under control, and a lot of time passed before they left the
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. Just to make sure, on line 21 --
12 20-21, you are reported as saying:
13 "... that I very much doubt, that the number of cars was so high,
14 as I doubt that they were attacked by the HV ..."
15 Just to make sure, you wanted to say "HV" and not "HVO" here?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour Judge Trechsel.
17 They say in the document that an aggression was conducted against them by
18 the HVO and the HV, which is simply false, it's a lie. Let me be quite
19 frank about it. And then one lie follows another, and they are
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. I don't see the link to any other
22 lies, but this I take. Thank you.
23 MR. STRINGER:
24 Q. General, the next exhibit in your binder is P00662 [realtime
25 transcript read in error "P06622"], 6622. Now, this is a document dated
1 28 October 1992
2 correct that this is the same Ilija Franjic that we talked about
3 yesterday on the list of people who were appointed to positions in the
4 municipal HVO of Prozor by Mate Boban in the document that was signed for
5 him by Dario Kordic?
6 A. Mr. Stringer, with a high degree of certainty, yes, but I can't
7 tell you 100 per cent. I do know one Ilija Franjic.
8 Q. Now, the Ilija Franjic that you know, was he a brigade commander
9 of the Rama Brigade, as is indicated in this document?
10 A. At the time I was in Rama, he was commander of the Rama Brigade.
11 At the time of this event, he was brigade commander.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry. Again, the number, P00662 is the number
13 of the document, as I see it. In the record, line 21 of page 13, it
14 says, wrongly, "P06622." So the correct number would be P00662.
15 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Your Honour. I'll try to be more -- I
16 think I got that one right, but if I didn't, I'll be more careful with
17 the next ones.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: No criticism here.
19 MR. STRINGER:
20 Q. General, now this one is dated the 28th of October. Were you in
21 Prozor by the 28th of October, again if our reference is that Jajce fell
22 on or about that day?
23 A. It is highly, highly probable that on the 28th of October, I was
24 in Rama. A day later, perhaps, or a day earlier. And then I went to
25 Konjic, Jablanica. Mr. Stringer, I'm trying -- I was moving around from
1 one meeting to another, but I simply am unable to say exactly that on
2 that particular day I was in Rama. I didn't keep any notes, nor did I
3 have any time to do that. And though I'm doing my best, I can't tell
5 Q. Now, in this document the commander of the Rama Brigade is
6 ordering the release of some prisoners who were being held at a place
7 called Ripci so that they can be used to load MTS. General, during this
8 period of time, recognising that you were in Prozor, but that you were
9 moving elsewhere as well, were you aware of the presence of HVO prisoners
10 at a place called Ripci?
11 A. First of all, it says "detainees" and not "prisoners." I think
12 there's a difference there. That's number 1. And, number 2, it is true
13 that when I learnt that there were detainees as a result of this
14 conflict, I asked, and my request was met, that they should all be
15 released, and they were released. Now, whether this was on the 29th or
16 the 30th, I can't tell you exactly, but I insisted and requested, and my
17 request was met and they were all sent home.
18 Q. And did you request that they be released because they were --
19 there were no proper grounds for holding them?
20 A. I wouldn't agree with that. I had the people who were opposed to
21 such a position, and quite logically, actually. And on the basis of the
22 documents confiscated by the HVO, it was clear that these members of the
23 ABiH army were preparing an attack. They had detailed plans as to how
24 and when they would attack. These people needed to be interrogated and,
25 if there was a basis, then processed. However, as it was far more
1 important at that point in time to deal with the situation, I requested
2 that all this be put aside, that people be sent home so that confidence
3 could be rebuilt, because the common enemy had already captured Jajce,
4 and according to my knowledge there was no good defence between Travnik
5 and Sarajevo
6 home and the situation dealt with.
7 Q. Did you ever go to this detention facility and see any of the
8 people who were being held there?
9 A. No, I didn't go there. But immediately after that, I spoke to
10 their commander, Zutic or something like that, that was his name, that he
11 should go and see his people, that we should have another meeting, that
12 the elders of the village should come, and so on and so on. It was all
13 very complicated, you see.
14 Q. And, General, and I know that you're using the word "request,"
15 the fact is that as an assistant minister of defence for the Republic of
17 Croatian Army, the fact is that whether you call it a request or an
18 order, the fact is that your authority is the reason why those people
19 were released when you wanted them released; isn't that true?
20 A. No, sir, if someone were to send an assistant minister from
22 humanitarian convoy that was stopped at Citluk, a representative of the
23 international community spoke, the former minister of Croatia, Granic,
24 and Prlic, and they wouldn't listen to them. So my authority at that
25 time emanated from the fact that I had certain successes, in the military
1 sense, in liberating Mostar and halting the Army of Republika Srpska and
2 the Yugoslav Army in the spring and summer of 1992, and not simply
3 because somebody may have sent someone from Zagreb to be -- or hand out
4 wise advice.
5 Q. So that based on your prior experience and military activities in
6 other theaters of battle, they recognised your authority and they did
7 what you told them to do; isn't that true?
8 A. Mr. Stringer, I think I know how to talk to people. I can talk
9 to them passionately, I don't lie to them, and I think that is the basis
10 on account of which they listened to me, nothing else, and the fact that
11 I explained to them that Central Bosnia would fall, that we have to calm
12 down, that units have to head towards Travnik to save that, and so on and
13 so forth. I think the Muslims trusted me, too, and you saw this from the
14 witnesses, because I wasn't partial. I treated both Croats and Muslims
15 equally. I didn't lie to them. I told them the facts, I told them what
16 could be done, I told them that things could not be resolved overnight.
17 Q. And based on all of these things, then, General, that you're
18 telling us, the HVO in Prozor at this time recognised your authority, and
19 they did what you told them to do, correct, for all the reasons that
20 you've been giving us?
21 A. I made a request, and they acted upon it. Now, why they did
22 that, I wouldn't like to enter into that. I don't know. You can call
23 them and ask them.
24 Q. General, I want to take you back to the testimony of Mr. Hujdur,
25 Omer Hujdur, who we talked about yesterday.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me.
2 MR. STRINGER: Yes.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: It seems, Mr. Stringer, that you are leaving
4 this document and this issue of the prisoners.
5 MR. STRINGER: I'm leaving the document, but not the issue of the
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Anyway, I would like to ask two questions, raise
8 two points.
9 The first is, and I think I know the answer, but I would like to
10 hear it from you, anyway: How many prisoners were there at that moment,
11 28 October 1992
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know, Your Honour, I don't
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. That is, in fact, the answer that I
16 The second point is: You seem to read this document as some sort
17 of evidence that you had persons who had been detained in the context of
18 operations in Prozor released in order to reconcile things and so forth.
19 I find it not easy to reconcile this document with such a thesis, because
20 this does not say that the prisoners were to be released to go home, but
21 they were to be released and put at the disposal of Ante Simunovic, I'm
22 quoting, "for loading MTS."
23 So this might even be similar to what we have seen with prisoners
24 from Heliodrom, to take but one example, where prisoners are taken and
25 then put to work somewhere. I'm not commenting whether that would have
1 been the work and putting them to work in this way would have been or not
2 in conformity with the 3rd, I think, Geneva Conventions, but why should
3 we suppose that these people were really left to go home, or did I
4 misunderstand you, that you were saying that your intervention had the
5 scope of letting them go home and be really free.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Trechsel, the
7 release came after this. There's no doubt at all that there were
8 detainees and members of the ABiH who were detained, and that they
9 considered themselves detainees. And someone here asked them to load
10 MTS, which I think is permissible. It's not up to me to judge. But I do
11 know that I released them all home; not I, but I asked that they all be
12 released, and they were released. So this must have been before my
13 request and before my request was heeded, so that is the time sequence.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. That would lead me, then -- thank
15 you. That would lead me, then, to conclude that this document actually
16 is practically irrelevant. Would you agree to that?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what is it relevant
18 for. That there were detainees? Of course there were detainees. Who
19 would I release if there weren't any detainees?
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, I'm going to move
22 on to another area which has nothing to do with prisoners.
23 I'm looking at the document, and I'm going to compare this
24 document which is in your binder, P1327, but for the moment let's keep to
25 this document. What do I see: "Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
1 Prozor Municipality
2 document by a strict jurist would lead to the conclusion that the person
3 issuing the order is, in fact, a part of the Rama municipality and that
4 the Rama Brigade is a municipal brigade with a military task, but
5 certainly municipal. Why? Because it doesn't say "Republic of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina" in the heading, and also it doesn't say the "Croatian
7 Defence Council." Now, when we look at document P1327 - could the
8 Registrar find it, please - look at this document, please. I want to see
9 the header. You see a change there. Here, we have the words "Republic
10 of Bosnia and Herzegovina," then the "Croatian Community of
11 Herceg-Bosna," and unlike the previous document, "Croatian Defence
12 Council" and "Command of the Rama Brigade." And this is a document from
13 January, and the other is from October. On that basis, I am asking the
14 following question, and that is why I'm asking you this: In October,
15 what we qualified as the HVO, were they not forces of a municipal origin
16 and after the events when the Croatian Defence Council took control and
17 militarised these units, which would explain that this document is of an
18 absolutely military nature, which is not the case with the number
19 appearing on the previous document?
20 So the people who were at Prozor, some belonging to the HOS, was
21 this an armed force under municipal control, or the people who were in
22 Prozor, were they directly linked by a chain of command to
23 General Petkovic, who was the military commander of the HVO?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The worst thing, Your Honour
25 Judge Antonetti, is that one could say both. They were a municipal
1 force, but the HVO and the Main Staff endeavoured to put it all under
2 military control, and unfortunately this varied. At the beginning, they
3 were more municipal, but then gradually more order would be put into it.
4 Then, due to lack of funds or some other reason, they would return to the
5 control -- municipal control, and again it's not the same for every
6 brigade. For instance, the Livno Brigade was more its own than the
7 Ljubuski Brigade, so the situation varied. The influence of the
8 municipality and the influence borne by the Main Staff varied. There's
9 no equation that can be put between municipalities, between brigades, and
10 also things changed in time.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But for Prozor, who had more
12 control, the municipality over the military or the military over the
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think at this point in time, the
15 municipality was more important than General Petkovic's command and order
16 that the conflict should be calmed down. Such an order coming from the
17 chief of staff over there didn't have too much impact. One could just go
18 there, and with the force of one's will, personality, shouting, ability
19 to deal with people, you could achieve something. But an order, in the
20 military sense, you send an order and it has to be carried out, that
21 didn't function. Not even Siljeg could achieve that.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, the fact that
23 I note that in the month of January the documents change in nature, does
24 this show that the military structure of the HVO had greater control over
25 these brigades then? Because here we have a document which is fully in
1 accord with military criteria.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not quite sure about that.
3 There is mention of the Croatian Defence Council. I don't know
4 Simun Zutic, who is the signatory. All I can say is that 11 commanders
5 of the Rama Brigade changed, for various reasons. Two were killed,
6 I think, and the others were replaced in an effort to be more successful,
7 up until Ante Pavelic, who was there, whom I brought from the Croatian
8 Army to try and influence the situation, because the influence of
9 villages and clans, local clans, is very difficult in relation to what we
10 call the army.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
12 MR. STRINGER:
13 Q. General, just to follow up on the last question from
14 Judge Antonetti, let's turn back to P00647, which is one of the documents
15 we looked at yesterday; 647. This is dated October 24, 1992, so it's a
16 few days earlier. Do you have 647?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, this one is the report written by Jure Smidt, the gentleman
19 you smoke about yesterday, and here he's reporting directly to Colonel
20 Siljeg. Now, is it true that at this period of time, the 24th of
21 October, 1992, the Rama Brigade was a part of the North-West Herzegovina
22 Operative Zone, which was under the command of Colonel Siljeg?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Let me just follow up my question and then you can comment. So
25 what we're seeing in this document, then, is a report from a member of
1 the Rama Brigade up to the operative zone commander, and there's nothing
2 particularly unusual or remarkable about that reporting chain of command,
3 is there?
4 A. Yes, Mr. Stringer. The Jure Smidt says "Commander." It doesn't
5 say what he's commander of. As far as I know, he was not commander of
6 anything in Rama, and yesterday I found a document, a report sent to
7 General Petkovic, which was obviously copied by Jure Smidt, so a report
8 sent to General Petkovic which Jure Smidt copied out and sent to Siljeg.
9 Of what he was commander, I'm sure of nothing in Rama. So obviously he's
10 copied a report here where there's no mention of ethnic cleansing, but a
11 completely different word is used, and he sent something to Siljeg. He's
12 not the commander of a brigade or a battalion or anything in Rama. I
13 don't know what exactly he was doing, but he certainly didn't have a
14 command position in Rama.
15 Q. Nevertheless, this tells us that a member -- a commander, as is
16 indicated here - and I know you challenge his position - of the Rama
17 Brigade is reporting directly to the commander of the operative zone;
18 isn't that what this tells us?
19 A. That is true that that is what the report says, but I don't know
20 what position he held to write that report. He obviously did this at his
21 own initiative. I'm quite certain that in Rama, he didn't have any
22 position, because I would rally those people together and speak to them
23 at least ten times.
24 Q. General, I want to go back to my outline now and recall some of
25 the testimony from an earlier witness in this case, Omer Hujdur, who came
1 and testified about the events in Prozor during October of 1992. And
2 specifically on the 20th of June, 2006, at page 3520 of the transcript,
3 he gives us the following testimony about events that followed in the
4 wake of the military operations in Prozor. It's page 3520, and I think
5 we can put it up on sanction, on line 17.
6 He's asked a question about whether a lot of the people did,
7 indeed, go back to Prozor after the conflict there. He's asked about
8 whether a lot of Bosniaks returned to Prozor who had left, and Hujdur
10 "Yes, but this is was some 10 or 11 days later when, probably at
11 some high level, but to this day I don't know at what level and with
12 whom, an agreement was reached that the population should be allowed to
13 go back to Prozor. But terrible things had happened in the town of
14 Prozor itself. Over 70 houses, Bosniak houses, were torched, houses
15 belonging to the more prosperous Bosniaks. About ten civilians were
16 killed as a result of the entry into and conquest of the town.
17 "All the homes and houses that had been left empty because the
18 population had been moved to a safer part of town were looted."
19 It continues on on the next page:
20 "All vehicles were stolen. All the private businesses were
21 destroyed. In these 10 to 11 days, there was intense destructive
22 activity in the town, destruction of property. And after a certain
23 period of time, the people at the high level said that the population
24 should go back. However, it's important to say that the men were
25 separated from the women, and the men were taken to the Ripci primary
1 school, which is 12 kilometres to the west of Prozor, and there all the
2 men had to sign statements to the effect that everything that had
3 happened in Prozor had happened as a result of Bosnian extremists and
4 that they were to blame for this."
5 Now, General, you arrived and you were in the Prozor region
6 during this period of time, some 10 to 11 days after the conflict
7 occurred there. His description of the destruction and the crimes that
8 occurred in Prozor after the HVO took the town, it's an accurate
9 description, isn't it? These are the things that you saw, when you were
10 there, that were taking place; isn't that true?
11 A. No, not in the way described here by a man who fled from Rama.
12 He cannot know what was going on in Rama. Ten dead civilians, there
13 weren't. That is not true. There are documents signed by both parties
14 on the number of soldiers killed and the rest, and you will see from
15 those numbers that this was a conflict between more or less equal forces,
16 because there was roughly an equal number of casualties on both sides,
17 six or seven on the Bosnian side and four or five on the HVO. And then
18 he says a part of the town, not the whole town, was occupied, and for 10
19 or 11 days it was necessary -- that time was necessary for the situation
20 to be calmed down. I never heard of such a statement being signed in
21 prison. And that the people who were sent back, that they should be
22 detained, that was absolutely not true.
23 Q. You are aware, General, that as he indicates here, scores of
24 houses of Muslims, Bosniaks, were torched and were looted after they had
25 fled and after the HVO took the town; that is a true statement, isn't it?
1 A. No, sir. From the time that I arrived up there, there was no
2 more torching, for certain, no more destruction, nothing that could be
3 attributed to the HVO. As to what happened in the course of the fighting
4 itself, well, it certainly has nothing to do with the number referred to
5 by this gentleman. That is completely erroneous.
6 Q. Well, I'm putting to you, General, that in fact the damage -- the
7 destruction that he's talking about here is not collateral damage; that
8 this was damage that was inflicted deliberately by HVO soldiers after
9 they'd taken the town, after the military conflict was completed. Isn't
10 that what happened? And you were there while it was happening; isn't
11 that true?
12 A. Sir, according to all the information I had, this information was
13 incorrect, and that concerns the ten individuals. That was a lie. You
14 need to have the first and last names. And then to use such numbers and
15 say there were ten of them and tons of houses were torched, that's wrong.
16 I won't claim that there weren't units such as the HOS units that were
17 out of control. I won't say that they didn't do anything. But it is
18 necessary to be quite precise about this.
19 The HVO up there, after the completion of the action, didn't do
20 anything that could be considered as a dishonourable military act. And
21 when I arrived in Rama, a group was roasting some lamb on the spit,
22 raising a flag. I tried to oppose them, and that didn't go well, but I
23 managed to solve the situation on the following day, but in a different
25 Q. I want to take you now to some other testimony, the testimony of
1 the "Guardian" journalist, Edward Vulliamy, who testified on the 8th of
2 August, 2006, about what he observed when he drove into Prozor in late
3 19 -- late October 1992. This would be page 1534 of the transcript. And
4 I'm not going to read all of it, General. I'm going to put it on the
5 screen. I know that it's not in your language. I'll read parts of it to
7 He's talking about when they were driving towards Prozor. He
8 says, and this is on line 6:
9 "... but before we got to Prozor, on the junction we saw some
10 women straggling - it was raining - up a road turning off to the left,
11 and stopped to talk to them."
12 And I'm going to skip down a few lines, where he talks about that
13 it was late morning. And then he's asked to describe what happened when
14 he encountered these women walking along, and he says, on line 18:
15 "Yes. We asked them what happened. One of them, I noticed, was
16 wearing bedroom slippers. They looked frightened, they looked
17 bedraggled, and one of them said that they'd spent the night looking for
18 caves, that soldiers were out killing people and looking for them. And
19 as we were having this conversation, a mini-cab pulled up."
20 And he goes on, General, in his testimony, and I'm not going to
21 read it all, to talk about how he, Mr. Vulliamy, and the person who was
22 driving this cab gave these women a ride, and he continues and he says:
23 "A little way up this road and then turning off to the right up a
24 track mountain track, and the track rose up through, I think, some wooded
25 country and then opened out into open country, and there was this amazing
1 sight of large numbers of people wandering the fields in groups or
2 standing, looking to get away, looking for somewhere. I don't know what
3 they were looking for. They were wandering the open country."
4 And he goes on in his testimony to estimate, with difficulty,
5 that it was scores if not hundreds of people that he saw, and he said
6 that they were wandering in the direction of Jablanica.
7 Now, General, recognising that we don't know the exact date and
8 time that Mr. Vulliamy encountered this group of people, General, you
9 wouldn't dispute this testimony, I take it. You don't dispute that there
10 were large numbers of Muslims who were trying to make their way down to
11 Jablanica in the wake of the conflict in Prozor; correct?
12 A. Mr. Stringer, as a child who, from the age of six to ten, lived
13 in Rama, well, I used that road from Rama to Jablanica, I went down that
14 road. Because it was iced over in the winter, I would use a sled to go
15 down there. There are no -- there are no fields there, no fields that
16 can be seen. This man doesn't know what he's saying.
17 Q. So you dispute -- you don't accept his testimony? You deny that
18 there were hundreds of people out there, as he described, on the road
19 making their way down to Jablanica?
20 A. Mr. Stringer, if a journalist says something like that, there are
21 no fields there, there's just a precipice to the left and a precipice to
22 the right, and the Murgere [phoen] Italian Division came to harm there in
23 the Second World War. They were thrown into the ravine. So if this
24 journalist is saying that he saw a field there, he's lying. There is no
25 field there. You can't turn either to the left or to the right.
1 Q. Earlier today, General, you've told us about the Muslims whom you
2 met in Jablanica, who had come down there after the conflict in Prozor.
3 So the fact is, as you've already indicated, there were large numbers of
4 Muslims on the move, trying to make their way to Jablanica from Prozor;
5 isn't that correct?
6 A. I've told you very precisely. The people had fled from Rama --
7 some of them had fled from Rama and arrived in Jablanica. I spoke to
8 them. But that doesn't mean that there were fields there, and -- and
9 what this gentleman has described is something that doesn't exist. You
10 don't have anything of that kind on that road.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, if we admit
12 that what you are saying is true and that there are no fields, there is
13 no field, very well, I don't know. If the journalist says that or he
14 said that when he was sitting in your place, well, he said that, but one
15 should bear in mind the fact that he was remembering everything that
16 happened 15 years ago. It's very difficult. I'm sure the journalist saw
17 many things. Perhaps he was confused, he mixed up the road with a field,
18 but nevertheless there's something that is important. He says that he
19 saw Muslims, columns of Muslims, and these people were heading in the
20 direction of Jablanica, and this is what is important. This is what
21 needs to be explained to us. Why were these people heading in the
22 direction of Jablanica? There could be two reasons for this. Either
23 they were forced to do that or they were afraid and, as a result, set off
24 in that direction. You said, I spoke to them in Jablanica. What did
25 they tell you?
1 You should tell us about this, rather than dispute the existence
2 of the field. It's as if you, 15 years later, were to talk about the
3 hearing that is taking place today, and you might say that Mr. Scott was
4 present, but he's not present. So there we have it.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the people I spoke to
6 in Jablanica, well, in the hall there were perhaps between 80 and 100
7 individuals who had arrived from Rama. They've told me precisely what I
8 have told you: that they had been attacked, that there was fighting, that
9 they had fled. And we spoke about the matter for two or three hours in
10 this manner. But many villages from Jablanica to Rama are Muslim
11 villages, and you saw in the report the HVO was up at -- was as far as
12 Jasen, and then further on the area was under the control of the ABiH.
13 As far as Jasen, the village, the dam, there are no fields. There's just
14 a precipice to the left and to the right. I don't know what the
15 gentleman saw over there, but there are no fields.
16 It's a fact that the soldiers who lost or fled, those who had
17 arms, those who didn't, people were certainly afraid. There were people
18 who had been captured or were being held in detention. The reports show
19 that in many villages the Muslims said, Fine, we'll surrender our
20 weapons, but please leave us in peace. And that is what happened.
21 The first thing doesn't exclude the other. I'm not saying
22 that -- well, I can't exclude all the details, but I'm telling you about
23 the information I had. There was a fight, a conflict. People were
24 detained or released, people returned. There were dead on both sides.
25 We know the precise numbers. There were houses that were damaged, for
1 sure. There were houses that were torched. As to what was done in the
2 course of the fighting, well, the numbers that these people have provided
3 are incorrect.
4 Later, very precise lists were compiled, precise information;
5 each person who was dead, the side the person belonged to, the first and
6 last name. We needed to have a list of the houses so that we could know
7 where shooting was opened from, whether ABiH had machine-gun nests, and
8 the whole town hadn't been conquered. Part of the town was still under
9 the control of the ABiH. This wasn't an attempt to expel the Muslims.
10 There are certainly always individuals who will try to do certain things
11 that violate international -- the International Law of War, International
12 Humanitarian Law, any kind of law, but these are completely different
13 matters; two entirely different matters.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may just for one second, and here is where I
16 believe that there is some confusion at times.
17 When the Prosecution reads from a transcript, where there are
18 numerous facts in a particular passage, and then requests a yes-or-no
19 answer, it requires the person who's answering the question -- if the
20 answer is "yes," it has to be "yes" to all the facts, "no" to all the
22 Yesterday, there was quite a good observation by Judge Trechsel
23 when there was a compound question. The answer was, you know, is it
24 "yes" to the first part, to the second part, to both parts. The record
25 wouldn't reflect that.
1 I believe General Praljak was attempting to answer the question
2 by at least looking at one part of the facts within that passage that he
3 believed was in error. So I think the better approach might be to have
4 questions that are much more focused. I think when the Prosecutor came
5 back on the follow-up question, he got to the essence of the question
6 that he wanted to ask, but the way it was couched the first time, where
7 people are in the fields, wandering about, and so on and so forth, the
8 general was trying to make an observation, and that's why I believe if
9 we're going to, you know, sojourn on through this particular
10 cross-examination, we'll only going to get through it if the questions
11 are much more focused and fact oriented.
12 Thank you.
13 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Q. General, I'm going to skip over a few pages. I'm going to stay
15 with the testimony of Mr. Vulliamy for just a couple more minutes,
16 because on page 1539 of his --
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Stringer, it would assist us in finding the
18 place in our transcripts if you could indicate the date of the testimony.
19 MR. STRINGER: Yes, Your Honour. This is the 8th of May, 2006,
20 and it's now at page 1539, starting on line 21.
21 Q. He's talking about when they were trying to file their story, and
22 they were heading for a telephone which was in Tomislavgrad, and they
23 reached Tomislavgrad, and it was in Tomislavgrad that Mr. Vulliamy then
24 had the meeting or a meeting with Colonel Siljeg, and I'd like to ask you
25 a few questions about that. And you may or may not recall this
1 testimony, General. Vulliamy spoke about a dinner he had with Colonel
2 Siljeg, and so he is asked to recall the details of his long conversation
3 with Siljeg. And this is what Vulliamy says at page 1540, line 6. He
5 "I can recall a few details. Well, I can recall one important
6 detail. He said that Prozor was now clean. He made a reference to
7 the -- the rather drunken celebrations outside as night games, as boys
8 will sort of way. And then he got out a -- he got out a series of maps
9 of Croatia
10 through each map as Croatia
11 remember was labelled "Future Croatian Federation," and had Croatia
12 extending all the way almost to Belgrade
13 it was the 1941 so-called Banovina Croatia. That was not actually HVO
14 policy at all. It was, if anything, that of its old rival HOS. But it
15 was a long, long lecture about history, as one had got quite used to."
16 General, the -- Colonel Siljeg -- and I'm going to use this to
17 ask you a couple of questions about Colonel Siljeg. You were with him
18 there in the Prozor-Tomislavgrad during late October of 1993, upon your
19 arrival there, and, as I understand, you stayed largely in that area,
20 including Travnik, Gornji Vakuf, and other places, until just before
21 Christmas 1992; correct?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. So throughout that period of time, almost two months, you were
24 present and working on a frequent basis in the Siljeg operative zone;
1 A. Well, we would meet, but not really that frequently. Work in the
2 operative zone? I didn't really work that frequently in the operative
3 zone, to be quite frank. But I'd be interested in knowing which
4 direction Vulliamy came from and then went to Tomislavgrad. It would be
5 good to see this in the transcript, if it's there, to see if there was
6 anything he could see in the direction of Jablanica, because if he came
7 from Makljen and then turned off towards Tomislavgrad, well, that's in
8 the town.
9 Q. Well, General, your counsel can ask you questions about that when
10 you have your redirect exam.
11 Staying will Colonel Siljeg and the North-West Herzegovina
12 Operative Zone, you've indicated already in your testimony that during
13 August and September of 1993, after you took command of the HVO
14 Main Staff, you also spent a good deal of your time then in the
15 North-West Herzegovina Operative Zone; isn't that correct?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. And yesterday we spoke briefly about the division of labour, as
18 we're calling it, that was in place as between yourself and
19 General Petkovic and --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.
21 Mr. Registrar, could you please leave the document on the screen,
22 the Vulliamy testimony, where he speaks about Colonel Siljeg, because
23 it's not there anymore and I had a question I wanted to put. I do
24 apologise for interrupting you.
25 Mr. Praljak, Mr. Stringer has reminded us of what the journalist
1 said before us, and he has shown us this document in English. You don't
2 know English, but that's not what is at stake. As far as I understand
3 the matter, Vulliamy says he had a lengthy conversation with Siljeg, and
4 apparently Colonel Siljeg gave him a lesson in history on Croatia
5 showed him maps, et cetera. And as far as the journalist can remember,
6 he saw a map apparently entitled "Future Croatian Federation." And in
7 line 14, I see that the journalist said that it was not actually HVO
8 policy at all, but rather it was the policy of its old rival, the HOS,
9 and this appears important to me.
10 There was a conversation between Siljeg and Vulliamy. Siljeg
11 showed him some maps, and then one might perhaps have the impression that
12 Siljeg was in favour of this Greater Croatia. He showed him maps,
13 something on the federation, but then the journalist gives his own
14 personal assessment. He has other information at his disposal, and he
15 says that, Siljeg, it's not HVO policy, it's HOS policy. When I see this
16 on the screen, I tell myself, well, perhaps matters are more complicated
17 than one might believe. Siljeg was perhaps passing off personal ideas of
18 his own, or HOS ideas, but ideas which, according to the journalist, were
19 not HVO ideas.
20 You, who know Siljeg, would you say that this is possible or not?
21 How is it that a colonel in the operations zone, who has other things to
22 deal with, has an entire series of maps, historical and other maps? How
23 is it that he has said this? If the journalist said this under oath, so
24 we can assume that this is the truth, there's no reason to think that he
25 said anything else, apparently his memory is quite precise.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, when someone says
2 something under oath, it doesn't mean that he's lying. But as to whether
3 his memory is reliable with regard to his conversation with Siljeg, well,
4 I'm afraid that that might not be true. Siljeg was not conducting HVO
5 policies. He was a military policeman in the JNA. I think he was a
6 major; perhaps he had that rank. He was a professional. As to whether
7 he showed this gentleman how history in the Balkans developed, whether he
8 showed how conquests took place with ten significant forces, I don't
9 know, but Siljeg wasn't in charge of policies and he couldn't say to
10 Vulliamy that Prozor had been cleansed for the simple reason that those
11 who had left -- out of those who had left, 90 per cent of them returned
12 also as a result of attempts made by Mr. Siljeg. So this would
13 contradict any logic.
14 As far as I know, from people who came from the outside, they
15 want to understand the history of a certain area in two days' time. As a
16 rule, the area is a small area, it's a small state, so they think they
17 can learn about the history of the state rapidly. You know, between a
18 fly and a man, the DNA
19 difference is 3 per cent.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I'll interrupt
21 you there because I don't believe you have understood my question. You
22 haven't understood the importance of my question. All the questions I
23 put are important; otherwise, I remain silent, I don't put questions. So
24 when I do put a question, believe me, it's important. It's a result of
25 something I have thought through. I'm trying to see matters in a clear
1 manner. Things are very complicated.
2 I have the testimony of a witness in front of me. He testified
3 under oath, and he is supposed to tell the truth to the best of his
4 ability. And what is it that this witness claims? He says that he had a
5 lengthy conversation with Siljeg, Siljeg showed him numerous maps, and he
6 showed him something that related to the Croatian Banovina, and this is
7 at the heart of the Prosecution case, in fact. The journalist then adds,
8 while sitting in the place you are now occupying, and he adds this in
9 line 14, he says that this was not HVO policy at all. We don't know why
10 he made such a claim, but this is what he claimed.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's not true.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] He continues to say that these
13 policies were policies pursued by its rival, the HOS. So this foreigner,
14 who had contact with Siljeg, listened to Siljeg, who spoke to him perhaps
15 about the Banovina, and this foreigner said that this was not HVO policy,
16 and this is what I'm trying to understand. I'm asking myself, Siljeg,
17 who was he? Did he share the ideas of the HOS or did he just take the
18 maps out to give this journalist a lesson in history, or was Siljeg in
19 favour of a banovina, but that did not necessarily imply that the HVO was
20 also involved in this? The journalist says that the HVO didn't pursue
21 such policies or support such policies, so I'm trying to understand the
23 Have you understood my question more fully now?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I have. The answer is the HVO
25 didn't pursue any policies that supported the Banovina, not at any point
1 in time. It recognised Bosnia-Herzegovina, it was part of the Army of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and so on and so forth. Siljeg couldn't represent
3 the policies of the Banovina because he was a commander in the operative
4 zone and he had absolutely nothing to do with this. The HOS [realtime
5 transcript read in error "HVO"] did support policies of an entirely
6 different kind; not only policies that supported a banovina, they wanted
7 a Croatia
8 as far as the Drina
10 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. I think there has
11 been a significant error in the transcript. Page 37, line 24, the
12 General said the "HOS supported entirely different policies," not "the
13 HVO supported entirely different policies." I think this has to be
15 General, could you perhaps confirm that?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. The HOS wanted to pursue the
17 policies enforced in the Second World War, policies of the then
18 independent state of Croatia
19 should extend as far as the Drina River
20 Croats of Islamic faith. In the worst-case scenario, well,
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina was to be a confederation -- or at least
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina should be in Federation with Croatia and reach as far
23 as the Drina
24 should leave Bosnia and Herzegovina, they should be expelled.
25 Unfortunately, such HOS policies, not of everyone in the HOS - there are
1 many honest fighters who later transferred to the HVO - but unfortunately
2 commanders of the ABiH accepted such policies while it suited them, and
3 this is what was ugly in this entire story.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may paraphrase
5 my client, General Petkovic, could you please put the following question
6 to General Praljak with regard to this transcript that reflects
7 Vulliamy's testimony? If we have a look at line 12, a reference is made
8 to the future Croatian Federation. Line 13, it says that it was a
10 mentioned, but it's not correct. The town is, in fact, Zemun, it should
11 say "Zemun." It's the town of Zemun. And then it says that this is a
12 state that existed in 1941 and that it's a state that was also supported
13 by the HOS.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] So perhaps General Praljak could
16 tell us which state is, in fact, concerned and whether the description
17 provided by Vulliamy, that it's a Croatian banovina, is that correct, or
18 is it a different state that is concerned?
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There is an objection that the
20 Prosecution would like to make.
21 MR. STRINGER: Well, Mr. President, I know it doesn't seem that
22 way, but actually this is the Prosecution cross-examination, or at least
23 it was a half hour ago. And, you know, I will say, Mr. President, there
24 is a bit of frustration on my part. I feel as though the level of
25 intervention is increasing. An observation has been made that the
1 questions could be more focused. It's probably a correct observation.
2 I can only say that it's really hard to do this when you're having to do
3 it in fits and starts. And I know -- and, I mean, we're obviously
4 grateful and the Trial Chamber's highly attentive and interested, and
5 these issues about the HVO and the HOS were clearly significant enough, I
6 was going to raise them myself before moving on. But while we're here,
7 if I could respectfully request, perhaps, if I could flag for the Trial
8 Chamber when I've finished a particular document, and then --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. To make a -- we're going
10 to have a break now. Finish with this document.
11 Madam Alaburic, your comments were not absolutely necessary
12 because I saw, myself, that there was lines 14 and 15 and that we need to
13 understand it better. Unfortunately, I have to say that when Vulliamy
14 came, we didn't have all the documents that arrived later, so when he
15 said this, this escaped me, I didn't think it was so interesting, but
16 now, with hindsight, of course it requires further precision. If
17 Vulliamy were here, I would ask him to explain, How could you, as a
18 journalist, make the distinction between the HOS and the HVO, et cetera.
19 But at the time he came, we didn't have all the documents, and that is
20 why we wanted to specify this.
21 It is time for the break. Mr. Stringer will see if he can be
22 here tomorrow morning, and he will tell us later on. Thank you.
23 --- Recess taken at 3.50 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 4.14 p.m.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed.
1 We'll go into closed session because counsel for Mr. Coric has
2 something to tell us.
3 [Private session]
9 [Open session]
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session. Thank
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Praljak.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have lost one of
14 the lenses from my glasses, so I will not be able to see properly.
15 However, as I envisaged that this might happen, I left a reserve pair of
16 spectacles here in a cupboard. So could somebody fetch them for me, that
17 is, my reserve spectacles, because I expected this to happen? But in the
18 meantime, I can manage.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Go and fetch them yourself. Is
20 it nearby?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the Defence locker. I keep them
23 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] We have already informed the Case
24 Manager and told him to fetch it for us.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So I'll give the floor to
1 Mr. Stringer. He can continue, and he will try and avoid asking you to
2 look at documents until your glasses arrive.
3 So, Mr. Stringer, you have the floor.
4 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. If you don't feel comfortable answering my questions until you
6 have your glasses, General, just tell me and I'll stop. I want to come
7 back to this -- the testimony of Mr. Vulliamy that we were talking about
8 before the break.
9 Now -- and I was asking you about the periods of time and the
10 division of labour which made Mr. Siljeg's area of responsibility sort of
11 your top priority, if I could put it that way, during the time that you
12 were the commander of the HVO Main Staff. Is that an acceptable way of
13 putting it, that your priority was the North-West Herzegovina
14 Operative Zone, at least during August and September of 1993?
15 A. Correct. Because of the operations of the ABiH, this was the
16 priority issue. Their operation started from Bugojno, and it was
17 militarily the most sensitive and most difficult section.
18 Q. So you were in the Prozor area or that operative zone
19 August/September 1993. We know that you were also in that area
20 previously from late October until about the 24th of December, 1993. So
21 is it fair to say, General, that you had -- and I know that you say you
22 didn't work closely with him. Did you have frequent dealings and
23 interactions with Colonel Siljeg?
24 A. At the time I was there in 1993, yes, we cooperated very closely.
25 Q. Now, during 1992, during late October until Christmas of 1992,
1 when you were in Prozor, Tomislavgrad, Gornji Vakuf --
2 A. I wasn't in Tomislavgrad.
3 Q. When you were in Prozor, did you work out of the headquarters
4 where Colonel Siljeg was located?
5 A. Very, very rarely, because it was just an effort to calm the
6 situation in Rama. After that, I went on to Travnik. Most of the rest
7 of this period I spent between Travnik and Vitez. Then I would go back
8 to Konjic, which -- in view of an operation there which the armija later
9 cancelled, then the operation at Komar, et cetera. Please don't be
10 offended, but your questions are too general.
11 Q. The reference in the transcript here from Mr. Vulliamy, where
12 Colonel Siljeg told him that Prozor was now clean, General, this was, in
13 fact, one of the purposes and results of the HVO operation in Prozor in
14 late October; isn't that true?
15 A. Incorrect, Mr. Stringer. First, I don't know what Siljeg said to
16 Vulliamy, but I do know what I was doing and what was the position of the
17 political structures of the HVO, because I was in contact with them. For
18 heaven's sake, if they didn't agree with the policy of return and calming
19 down of the situation, they would have sent me away. The HVO in those
20 days, in 20 or 25 days, could have defeated the still weak Army of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina and disarm them, so what you are trying to achieve is
22 not correct.
23 Q. Would you agree with me, General, that when Siljeg referred to
24 the drunken celebrations outside as sort of a "boys will be boys" sort of
25 conduct, if, in fact, that was his attitude, it would set a command
1 climate in his operative zone that would not be appropriate and would, in
2 fact, lead to unprofessional conduct on the part of subordinates; is that
4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] If I may intervene for the
5 transcript. I didn't hear it. Whether the transcript is incorrect or
6 not, but in the question was when Siljeg spoke about the drunken
7 celebrations. In the document, it's Vulliamy who's talking about it and
8 not Siljeg, so I think we have to be more precise.
9 MR. STRINGER: Well, I'll read the transcript again.
10 Vulliamy says:
11 "He made a reference to the rather drunken celebrations outside
12 as night games, as boys will sort of way."
13 Q. So, General, what Vulliamy is telling us is Siljeg was tolerating
14 drunken behaviour by his subordinates, that he was aware of; isn't that
16 A. Sir, that is what Vulliamy says. I cannot comment on this in any
17 other way but to say that I know that Siljeg, nor anyone else in the HVO,
18 tolerated this. There were hundreds of documents, including my own;
19 close all the bars, introduce a curfew. As far as this is concerned, it
20 is true, from the report of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and their
21 representatives that I contacted in Rama, there were drunken soldiers of
22 the HOS who, I repeat, were roasting that lamb. And the report says that
23 Praljak was astonished, he tried to deal with it, they didn't respect
24 him. In the final analysis, I managed to deal with it. That's what
25 I can tell you.
1 Q. I'm asking you about Colonel Siljeg's attitude in respect of this
2 conduct. And if Vulliamy is to be believed, then what we have is a
3 situation where the operative zone commander is tolerating or shows no
4 discomfort with sort of drunken celebration, unprofessional military
5 conduct that is being -- that he's referring to; isn't that true?
6 A. And to the best of my ability, I don't know what to tell you.
7 Siljeg, in all the contacts we had, did not tolerate these things that
8 Vulliamy is talking about. Now, what Vulliamy says that he heard Siljeg
9 telling him, how can I guess? As commander of the operative zone, Siljeg
10 never tolerated -- neither did he tolerate, nor was this permissible.
11 Throughout the war, I didn't take a single glass of alcohol, not
12 even a glass of wine. And, believe me, I like wine.
13 Q. General, the reference here on the Banovina, the HVO, and the HOS
14 policy. Now, Vulliamy is a journalist from the United Kingdom, he works
15 for the "Guardian," he's arrived in this area, Prozor area, and in his
16 testimony he tells us about his conversation with Siljeg, and Vulliamy
17 makes reference to the so-called banovina, the Banovina Croatia. Now,
18 the fact is that Vulliamy would only have gotten that word -- those
19 words, "Banovina for Croatia
20 conversation; right?
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection. Objection to the form of the question.
22 I think this is totally improper, and I believe it is time -- high time,
23 I would say, that the Trial Chamber take control over this
24 cross-examination and limit it to its scope and nature.
25 First of all, how can this question be possibly answered?
1 Assuming that Vulliamy is what he claims to be, and might I remind
2 everyone that we -- I tendered testimony by way of Dr. Schindler's book
3 where Vulliamy indicated in an interview that he must take sides in a
4 war, meaning that he's not an objective observer, but how can --
5 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I'm going to object to --
6 MR. KARNAVAS: This person, if he is what he is, can certainly
7 read, and this is a historical fact, and anybody can know about this. To
8 now ask this question as if -- this is only through this person
9 individual, that is Siljeg, that someone who is as internationally
10 renowned as Vulliamy could have gotten this information is pure and
11 unadulterated poppycock, and I don't think this is proper
12 cross-examinations, none of this is.
13 Now, the Prosecution put on its case. They had every
14 opportunity, if they wished to, to bring Siljeg into this courtroom and
15 impeach him, and to try to validate what Siljeg has told, supposedly, to
16 Vulliamy through this particular witness is utterly improper. I have
17 never seen any of this sort of cross-examination in a courtroom, and I
18 don't think that as relaxed as we are in this particular system, that
19 this sort of cross-examination should be tolerated. It has no value
21 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, can I respond?
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, of course.
23 MR. STRINGER: Thank you.
24 The general's challenged the testimony of Ed Vulliamy. I'm
25 asking him questions about Siljeg and the conversation. I'm putting the
1 Prosecution case to the witness. The witness is free to disregard and to
2 disagree with me, as he has on numerous occasions. Now, there is
3 questions -- there is obviously interest on the part of the Trial Chamber
4 about this part of the conversation, and I think I'm entitled to put the
5 cross-examination case on it to the witness. If he disagrees with me,
6 that's fine, but I don't know that this is terribly different than
7 anything that's been happening in this courtroom.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: The problem, Your Honour, is that General Praljak
9 was not present. We don't even know how this conversation took place.
10 And might I remind everyone in this courtroom, because I certainly
11 haven't forgotten it, that when Mr. Vulliamy was here we had very tight
12 dead-lines as far as being able to cross-examine the gentleman. And so
13 now to somehow try to bolster Vulliamy's testimony through this witness,
14 I don't see how you can possibly place any weight on it. You can accept
15 Vulliamy's testimony as you wish, but to suggest that somehow
16 General Praljak can opine as to what was in Siljeg's mind when,
17 supposedly, he made these comments, which are counter-intuitive, by the
18 general's remarks thus far, I don't see how it benefits the Trial
19 Chamber. We are not getting anywhere.
20 What I am seeing, however, is the abuse of allowing either side
21 an enormous amount of time for cross-examination, which is why we're
22 spending two or three hours to try to make one point that, in the end of
23 the day, is rather mindless.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I am going to consult with my
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Chamber, after
3 deliberation, would like to learn from Mr. Stringer the precise questions
4 that he wishes to put to General Praljak concerning the words of
5 Mr. Vulliamy and what he told us when he was testifying. Before the
6 Chamber being able to say anything, we would like to know the area of the
7 questions that you're going to put, because we are a bit in the dark.
8 MR. STRINGER: The question would be this, Mr. President, whether
9 the witness agrees with me that when Siljeg spoke of the banovina, he
10 was, in fact, telling Vulliamy what precisely was HVO policy.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, how do we know that he actually
12 spoke? Do we have a tape of -- yes.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Because I think that this is a question which
14 really calls for speculation. It calls for the witness to say what he
15 thinks that Mr. Siljeg thought, and I do not think that it is proper to
16 ask that kind of question. I hope you also agree, Mr. Karnavas.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: I do agree.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Judge Trechsel has responded,
20 so, Mr. Stringer, please move on. If you wish to stay on this subject,
21 approach it differently, because it is very difficult, as my colleague
22 has said, talking about a witness who was not present during a
23 conversation, to enter into the thoughts of the two participants at that
24 meeting. That is rather complicated.
25 MR. STRINGER: I'll move on, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's best to move on to
2 something else. I, personally, when I asked a question about what
3 Mr. Vulliamy might have said, and I noted that Vulliamy said that that
4 was not the policy of the HVO, but rather of the HOS. That is as far as
5 I went. I didn't go into the thoughts of either of the two. So please
6 move on.
7 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Q. General, the next exhibit is P00721, and it is a report of the
9 SIS, Municipal Staff, Prozor, 8th of November, 1992. There are initials
10 that appear at the bottom of it. One of those is "LM." General, we've
11 talked -- you've talked a fair amount or at various times in your
12 testimony you've spoken about reports -- SIS reports of Luka Markesic.
13 Do you agree with me that possible or, indeed, even likely that he's the
14 "LM" that's referred to here?
15 A. It's possible and highly probable.
16 Q. Now, he's reporting on the situation in the town following the
17 conflict between the HVO and the ABiH, and he says that:
18 "A large number of the civilian population fled. Due to
19 extensive material damage, the town has been largely deserted. However,
20 over the past couple of days, the situation has begun to normalise and
21 people started to return to their homes and repair the damaged
23 And I'm going to skip the next paragraph, and he says:
24 "Large-scale thefts of both private and community properties have
25 taken place, including goods, vehicles, and even arms."
1 And then he says:
2 "The military police have done nothing in that respect, neither
3 have it issued receipts on seised items, which enabled a certain number
4 of military policemen to take possession of the seised items and arms."
5 Now, General, just a few questions there on these last two
7 Based on what you saw and observed during your time in Prozor
8 here, do you agree with this statement that there were, in fact,
9 large-scale thefts of both private and community properties?
10 A. All that I have already said was that I confirmed that there were
11 thefts, and that is true. The only problem is when we talk about the
12 amounts or the quantity, unfortunately, nobody indicates a number. Now,
13 what Luka Markesic means when he says "large-scale," I don't know. Is 10
14 or 50 for him "large-scale"? Unfortunately, reports are not precise
15 enough determining the quantity or the numbers of what is being reported.
16 Q. And then when he says in the next paragraph that: "The military
17 police have done nothing in that respect ...," do you agree with that
18 statement as well, that the military police, in fact, did nothing to
19 prevent the large-scale thefts that he referred to?
20 A. I don't know, sir. SIS and the military police should have
21 collaborated. I know with certainty, because I spoke about it, and that
22 is that Valentin Coric did issue an order, and I saw it here, that the
23 cars should be collected. To what extent they succeeded, I don't know,
24 because after the release of prisoners and after the population returned,
25 I left to go to Travnik because Central Bosnia was in danger.
1 Q. And then he says that the Command is working on appointing a new
2 military police commander, and then he continues -- or the reports
3 continues and it says:
4 "The conflict was followed by introduction of curfew, which is
5 not adhered to in most of the cases and, as a result, drunk armed
6 individuals, members of our units, frequently fire their weapons. They
7 even steal and burn private facilities, in spite of the fact that the
8 conflict is over and that the situation is calming down."
9 Now, General, is that, indeed, the situation that you observed
10 when you were in Prozor, following the conflict there, when you arrived?
11 A. Certainly there were such problems, Mr. Stringer. There's no
12 doubt about it. But this person's duty is to say -- this is the Security
13 Service. He should say, Such and such a soldier, at such and such a
14 time, in such and such a place, did such and such a thing, and then,
15 according to my information, these people torched this building. So this
16 is a general story, and then when you ask someone, Who are we going to
17 arrest and who are we going to prosecute, then this paper means nothing
18 at all. And then he also says that 90 per cent of those who had done
19 what they did had already fled the territory of the municipality.
20 Q. Now, he continues on to say:
21 "A great number of those who are responsible for the conflict,
22 about 90 per cent of them, are at large and out of our municipality,
23 while those less responsible either do not feel responsible at all or
24 they report to the military police themselves, and some of them are
25 forcefully brought in and disarmed by the military police. We have to
1 admit that the military police are more or less powerless when it comes
2 to seizing and returning the taken property, and therefore we deem that
3 the only solution is engaging a military police unit from elsewhere."
4 Now, General, the fact is that a big part of the problem in
5 Prozor was the military police, itself; isn't that true?
6 A. That is what the man who, according to establishment, should have
7 authority over. The military police has written that. Now, who is he
8 writing to? The military police, according to establishment, should have
9 been a part of the SIS, S-I-S. I don't know. I know that there were
10 problems. I know how dealt with them. Of course, I couldn't run from
11 one bar to another, nor did I have such authority, nor is it physically
12 possible. I calmed the situation down in that area to the best of my
13 ability with the assistance of many people, Siljeg and others, not on my
14 own. Not that there were problems; there were, certainly.
15 Q. General, we're going to be talking sometime soon, maybe tomorrow,
16 about Gornji Vakuf and the events that happened there in January of 1993.
17 Based on the experience in Prozor, General, would you agree with me that
18 you and any HVO commander, who is commanding HVO units at Gornji Vakuf in
19 January, should have been well aware of the possibility that HVO units
20 and soldiers would get involved in criminal activities as part of or
21 following military operations?
22 A. I don't know how I could answer that. Naturally, every civilian
23 in every town, in any place, can be involved in some sort of a crime. I
24 don't know how I could answer such a conditional question. Anyone can
25 become a criminal at any point in time. No one is immune to this. No
1 one can claim for certain that such a thing might never occur.
2 Q. And based on the events in Prozor, where the HVO committed a
3 number of crimes, thefts, looting, at the very least, that we've been
4 talking about, you and Siljeg were on notice that, in fact, the same
5 sorts of crimes were likely to occur when military operations were
6 conducted in Gornji Vakuf; isn't that true?
7 A. Mr. Stringer, the HVO never committed any crimes. Individuals
8 commit crimes. For the HVO to commit crimes, it would have been
9 necessary to issue orders -- for orders to have been issued, for this to
10 have been authorised or suggested, but this was never done, from
11 Mate Boban to Petkovic to myself and so on. Individuals can do such
12 things. They're held to account. There are investigations, charges,
14 Q. You knew that a significant number of HVO individuals committed
15 crimes in Prozor; correct?
16 A. No. A significant number of HVO individuals didn't commit
17 crimes. I didn't know about that, I didn't know which individuals were
18 concerned, which municipalities they had came from, where they came from,
19 because 90 per cent of them, according to the report, fled, so it's
20 certain that in that area there were a certain number of criminals who
21 were present. This wasn't written on their foreheads, naturally.
22 Q. And you knew and Colonel Siljeg knew, Brigadier Petkovic knew,
23 that it would be necessary to closely monitor and to implement measures
24 to prevent similar crimes from taking place in Gornji Vakuf; correct?
25 A. First of all, you have the assumption that crimes were
1 perpetrated in Gornji Vakuf. I'm not aware of that. The first thing is
2 correct. In each and every place, we referred to continual training, to
3 rules, to duties, preparation for operations. Whenever there were
4 preparations for operations, we spoke about military conduct. Whatever a
5 commander could do, did it in the HVO. If there were any violations,
6 this would be noted after an investigation and the procedure would be
7 followed such as it was.
8 Q. General, the next exhibit --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A technical question,
10 General Praljak.
11 I have noticed that this report was drafted -- when it was
12 drafted, there were two copies. It's the last sentence in the document,
13 so there are two copies. We don't know where the copies were sent to.
14 Where was the document found, the one we have in B/C/S? We can see the
15 stamp from the archives, but where was it found? So I have a series of
16 questions there.
17 Nevertheless, in your opinion, in technical terms, the SIS report
18 is usually addressed to whom, exactly?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think there was -- what was it
20 called? There was part of the SIS for the operative zone. I don't know
21 whether it was in Tomislavgrad or Livno. And there's a SIS
22 administration that sends the second document. I think those two copies
23 were sent to the person responsible. I don't know. Stojic, don't
24 intervene. I'm talking about what is possible.
25 THE ACCUSED STOJIC: [Interpretation] May I say something?
1 Where does it say that it went somewhere, that it was sent
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You say "I think." I'm not
4 asking you about what you think. Usually, in military terms, an SIS
5 report should be addressed to whom, exactly? To whom is such a report
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I won't express any
8 opinions, I won't say what I think, so in that case I don't know. The
9 SIS wasn't part of the Main Staff, so you should bring someone from the
10 SIS here to answer the question so that I don't have to speculate.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you can't answer the
12 question. That's sufficient for me.
13 Ms. Nozica.
14 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would just like to
15 draw your attention to what you already noticed in the case of a
16 document. You asked whether the document was a military one. I'd like
17 to draw your attention to the fact that in the heading of this document
18 it says the "Stozer Municipal Staff," and within that staff, the SIS,
19 within that framework, the SIS. So when we have a look at all the SIS
20 reports, I believe it's very difficult to speculate, and I don't think it
21 would be a good thing to speculate as to whom these documents were
22 addressed to, because as part of the Municipal Staff there were a number
23 of addressees to whom this report could have been sent.
24 Thank you very much.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I apologise, although, I was
1 asked to express my opinion, but it could be completely false --
2 completely wrong.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
4 Mr. Praljak, this is just a hypothesis, but let's take the
5 following hypothesis: This SIS report is sent to the Defence Department,
6 but I have no proof for this, of course. Given such a hypothesis, I put
7 the following question to myself with regard to criminal enterprise, of
8 which Mr. Stojic and others are a part: If there is a criminal
9 enterprise that includes the whole series of individuals, would the
10 department of the person who is part of the criminal enterprise draft a
11 report to say, This is what is happening? I'm trying to find a logic
12 behind all of this, because I have already raised this issue. As far as
13 I can remember, there was a military document that said that there were
14 cases of people being rounded up in Mostar, and so on and so forth, so I
15 already raised the issue. I'm raising it once more now, and I'm saying
16 that if this report is sent to the Department of Defence - we don't know
17 whether that is the case or not, I have no evidence - but in that case
18 would the subordinate inform the superior and say, Look, this is what has
19 been happening? I'm trying to be logical here.
20 So you, without speculating, in purely logical terms, would you
21 say that something of this kind would be done, but as there's a
22 Department X, for example -- well, Ms. Nozica said, It could be the
23 Municipal Staff, please pay attention to this. Everything is possible,
24 but in logical terms, if you have a military administrative structure,
25 would the subordinate inform his superior of what was being done?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. If this
2 hypothesis is accepted, you could call Mr. Markesic, you could call his
3 superior, or whoever else may have been concerned. This wouldn't have
4 been done. It wouldn't be logical, for example, for me to allow a TV
5 team to go to a prison to show what I had done as a criminal. That would
6 be crazy. One would conceal that. If anyone had wanted to do anything,
7 not even a madman would have written down, Look, we have such and such an
8 intention, and, urbi et orbi, he would say what was happening.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So this report, and we don't
10 know to whom it is addressed because there's no information about that,
11 and as a result a criminal judge has to proceed by creating a number of
12 hypotheses, but is this report drafted for the military prosecutor? If
13 that is the case, the military prosecutor has to react. Is it for the
14 civilian prosecutor? If so, the civilian prosecutor has to react to it.
15 If the report is intended for the commander of the Prozor-Rama Brigade -
16 well, then there's this matter of disarmed individuals - well, should the
17 brigade commander then have to react or not?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A brigade commander can't react,
19 because it's not his job. Judge Antonetti, I know Luka Markesic fairly
20 well. He's a very honest, good man, in a certain way. But when you have
21 such information, information that he provided to me up there, well, my
22 question to Markesic was, Give me a name, a first and last name. Who,
23 where, when? Of what use is it to relay information that you obtain
24 someone? You can take action if you have a first and last name. Who
25 stole things, who opened fire, and so on and so forth. There were
1 difficulties, naturally, when it comes to bringing people in. This is
2 all noted here.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At that point in time, the
4 person who received this report, shouldn't he have asked for an
5 additional report in order to have the perpetrators identified, in your
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Given this is an organisation that
8 was separate from what I was involved in in 1993, well, I would refrain
9 from answering a question by speculating as to what should have been
10 done, that probably should have been done. However --
11 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise, I
12 apologise. I didn't want to intervene, but -- and I apologise to my
13 colleague, but I would like to draw your attention to a paragraph in this
14 document which is a partial answer that doesn't involve speculation, a
15 partial answer to a series of your questions, because here it says many
16 of those guilty for this conflict, about 90 per cent of them have fled,
17 they have left our municipality, whereas those who are less guilty or not
18 considered to be guilty have handed themselves in, to a large extent, to
19 the military police. A smaller number of them have been brought in by
20 force and disarmed by the military police. Without speculating in any
21 way, I can draw the conclusion from this paragraph that this does not
22 concern unidentified individuals. Someone, the SIS or the commander of
23 the brigade, of the military police, identified these individuals and
24 took action against them. So we know that there are 90 per cent who have
25 fled, and those they have access to are the subject of investigations, of
1 actions. So this is information on the event and on action taken, if you
2 read through the entire document.
3 Thank you.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Praljak, Ms. Nozica
5 is perfectly right, and I did notice that 10 per cent of them had been
6 identified because they had been disarmed. But my question concerns the
7 90 per cent who are elsewhere. The person who drafted the report said
8 that this wasn't within his remit, so in that case, with regard to those
9 who are elsewhere, the 90 per cent who hadn't been identified, who should
10 have been responsible for dealing with this matter, in your opinion?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, if they were soldiers, then
12 the SIS has to investigate the matter. If they were civilians or weren't
13 part of the military structure, for example, if it was the HOS, in that
14 case the civilian police would have been responsible for the matter.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We won't go any
16 further because we've spent a lot of time on the subject, but my
17 colleague has a question or some questions.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: One rather brief question.
19 Mr. Praljak, on page 58, lines 6 to 9, you have said that
20 Mr. Markesic was an honest, good man, and then you say:
21 "My question to Markesic was, Give me a name, a first and a last
22 name, who were they, who, where, when."
23 Now, this could give the idea that you have actually seen this
24 report, the one that we do not know to whom it was sent. Did you see a
25 copy of it?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No, no, Judge Trechsel. When
2 I was up there, when I noticed this breakdown of order, I spoke to him.
3 But as far as I know, he only had one other man in that department with
4 him, and then on one or two occasions he came to see me with similar
5 information, and I said, Well, look -- the rest you know.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. I thought this should be clarified.
7 Please, Mr. Stringer.
8 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. General, the next exhibit is 3D00424. This is one of your
10 documents. You've talked about it already in your direct examination.
11 This is a document issued jointly by yourself and Valentin Coric on
12 ordering that the cars taken away from the people at Prozor be returned
13 to them. Just a couple of questions about this.
14 The order, General, in the heading or the letterhead part is
15 dated the 14th of November, 1992, but then there are notations to the
16 left of Mr. Coric's signature, which are above your signature, which
17 indicate that the order's being directed to Colonel Siljeg and that the
18 dead-line for implementation of the order is 2000 hours on the 19th of
19 December, 1992. So there is more than a month between the date of the
20 order and the date of its implementation, and I was just wondering if you
21 could shed some light on that for us. Was it your intention to allow for
22 about five weeks for the implementation of this order to take place?
23 A. No, no, sir. This order obviously consists of two parts. This
24 is an order to the Military Police Administration, signed by Mr. Coric,
25 or someone signed on his behalf. He's put it in the present tense. He
1 says the vehicles that were confiscated from those who had confiscated
2 them, those vehicles are located in a certain place, they have to be
3 given to Ante Alilovic, who will ensure that the vehicles are returned to
4 their owners. This order has to be implemented by the 17th of November,
5 so from the -- between the 14th and 17th of November, up until 1200
6 hours, and this is to be done by Zdenko Andabak.
7 But the order to Siljeg, as to what that concerns, I have no
8 idea, but it's not the same thing. Something was sent to him, and he had
9 to take action, and I signed all of this.
10 Q. General, did you -- assuming that Mr. Coric signed this order on
11 the 14th of November, 1992, did you also sign it on the 14th of November?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So you didn't add your signature later on or about sometime in
14 December, directing it specific to Mr. Siljeg?
15 A. No, I think we drafted this together. I didn't add anything to
16 the order.
17 Q. Now, this order does not contain any reference to investigation
18 or punishing people responsible for taking all the vehicles. General,
19 did you, yourself, issue any orders requiring investigation or
20 prosecution of individuals responsible for taking all the cars that are
21 the subject of this order?
22 A. Mr. Stringer, I didn't. I co-signed this order, I gave it a
23 certain weight. I didn't have the right to issue orders to what you are
24 saying. I made requests. The order on returning doesn't also have to
25 contain information on action to be taken against those who are guilty.
1 This is the responsibility of the military police, and then punishment is
2 meted out on the basis of the person who has been captured. Here, this
3 has to do with returning -- this order has to do with returning the cars
4 by the 17th of November, the cars that were confiscated.
5 Q. Now, it says here the cars were located at the stations of the
6 2nd Military Police Battalion and that they have to be transported and
7 handed over to this person in Ljubuski. General, do you know where the
8 cars were located on or about the 14th of November, when this order was
9 issued? Where's the location of the 2nd Military Police Battalion?
10 A. I don't know, sir. It says what it says here. Apart from very
11 normal conversations about the issue -- about the issue that they should
12 be returned, and this was Coric's desire as well, and what was seised was
13 seised, apart from that...
14 Q. So assuming that all of these vehicles went from Prozor, where
15 the owners lived, and ultimately ended up in Ljubuski, as referenced in
16 this order, you don't know how they would have gotten from Prozor to
17 Ljubuski or down into the Ljubuski area?
18 A. I don't know. But as people were captured, well, then this was
19 obviously taken to two places. Zdenko Andabak was to -- well, I think
20 the 2nd Battalion was in Livno or Tomislavgrad, so the vehicles have to
21 be gathered and someone had to process them. And then once they had been
22 gathered, they would be transported.
23 Q. It just seems to me it would have been quite a logistical effort
24 to transport all these cars down to Ljubuski, and I'm wondering whether
25 you have any information about that aspect of this.
1 A. Mr. Stringer, no one transported them to Ljubuski. As the car
2 would be seised, you had to take the car to a place that was protected,
3 and naturally that was a place where the military police had some sort of
4 parking space which they could supervise. And once they had gathered
5 them, they'd be transported to their owners. That's what it says here.
6 Q. General, the next exhibit, unless there are questions on this --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, General Praljak, I've
8 been listening to you and I have been wondering about the following. You
9 will tell me whether this is realistic or not.
10 We know that there are a certain number of vehicles that were
11 "confiscated," in inverted commas. In the previous document, we saw that
12 10 per cent of the perpetrators were identified, so one might think that
13 the police were doing their work. The police gathered the vehicles, and
14 they were all gathered in Ljubuski. That took a certain amount of time.
15 On the 14th of November, Mr. Coric issues an order according to which
16 these vehicles are to be returned by the 17th of November, by 1200 hours
17 on the 17th of November. So this is an order on returning the vehicles.
18 And then you, on the 18th of December, perhaps on the 17th, but on the
19 18th, and you'll see why, you discover the problem, because perhaps you
20 heard about the fact that some vehicles weren't returned. At that point
21 in time, you write on the document that you had a little note stating
22 that by the 19th of December, at 2000 hours, the order that apparently
23 hasn't been implemented should be implemented. It's on the 18th of
24 December that you come to this realisation.
25 But have a look at the document. You can see that there's a fax.
1 It says the 18th of December, noon, 1200 hours. Perhaps one should have
2 identified this number, 38, 58, et cetera. You discover there's still a
3 problem, and you do what is necessary, and you say, Return them. And the
4 following day -- noon
5 otherwise how could one explain the following? You sign on the 14th of
6 November, and you give them five weeks to return vehicles that were
7 already -- or that had already been gathered. So what I am saying:
8 Would you say that this is possible, impossible? I don't know. What
9 would you say?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation]I don't know either, Your Honour.
11 However much I try, I can't remember all the details. I know our
12 position was that vehicles should be returned, but as to what this means,
13 I don't know.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Praljak, I think a different reading of the
15 document is possible. I read it slightly differently.
16 I think that the dead-line -- this order must be implemented by
17 1200 hours on 17 November, refers to the order to transfer the cars to
18 the deputy chief of the General and Traffic Military Police, Ante
19 Alilovic. This transfer must occur before the 17th, and this something
20 which can easily be done because you know where you're going. Whereas, I
21 can imagine that it is not so easy, even if you have the car, to find all
22 the owners and get them to come and pick up their cars, and that would
23 explain that the second phase, namely, the first [indiscernible] is a car
24 from one place within the HVO to another place within the HVO, the second
25 phase is from the HVO to owner, and that second phase, I could imagine,
1 was not so easily performed as the first phase, and therefore a longer
2 period was provided for the implementation. How does that appear to you
3 as a hypothesis, Mr. Praljak?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All I can say is, once again, that
5 the number of events and problems, from the moment I arrived until
6 Christmas, the defence of Travnik, meetings, there were so many events
7 that I can accept this, and I can't say more than that the vehicles had
8 to be returned. And I think that the government even made a decision to
9 financially compensate the owners, but Mr. Prlic could tell you more
10 about that than me. I simply can't claim with any certainty what was
11 really happened [as interpreted]. Maybe there was a problem with
12 returning those vehicles to their owners, and then I'm addressing myself
13 to Siljeg. I simply can't say with certainty, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, there is a more
16 important subject than the question of vehicles, and which appears in the
18 You know that the Prosecutor's case is that you were the
19 commander prior to the 27th of July. On the 19th of December, you issue
20 this order, you write a comment, but I note that there is a stamp with
21 number "1" on it. Look at it.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I see it.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You know, like me, that stamps
24 are used under very precise conditions. It's not anyone that is entitled
25 to use a stamp, et cetera. So the person who put the stamp on the
1 document, after your signature, it could be you, a secretary, or anyone,
2 but anyone who has stamped the document "Praljak number 1," he must think
3 that you have the authority given by this stamp. What do you think about
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Nothing. It is for the first time
6 here in court that I heard that stamps have a number that has any
7 importance. Let me say, for the hundredth time, I was not the commander,
8 I was the assistant. I didn't pay any attention to stamps at all, nor
9 did I know who was stamping what. The -- 99.9 per cent of my energy, my
10 thoughts, my intelligence was focused on what I have said; to calm the
11 situation down, to reconcile people, to help in establishing joint
12 command, to defend Travnik. Even there I assumed a role that I shouldn't
13 have had. When no one else is reacting and the whole valley is going to
14 fall, I didn't have the authority of a commander, but I did command in
15 Travnik. So what else could I do?
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I'm going to
17 stop you there because you have given a long answer. You say that it was
18 for the first time in this Tribunal that you discovered the importance
19 and the existence of stamps. That's what you are saying. You are saying
20 this under oath, so I may believe you and I may also have my doubts. But
21 this means that the HVO commander did not know that stamps had a certain
22 significance. And you are telling us that only when you got here did you
23 realise that?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Quite so, Your Honours. I am
25 saying it under oath, that I discovered the importance of these numbers
1 only when I got here to -- in the Tribunal. That's how it was, and
2 nothing more.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. According to my
4 recollection, documents from the JNA, and this must apply also to the
5 ABiH and the HVO - they had the same rules - stamps have numbers. And
6 there aren't 36 stamps, so a stamp that was put, where was it physically?
7 When you signed, in which office did you sign this document?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. There's no point in
10 pursuing my question any further.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Probably where General Petkovic
12 was. I can't remember just now, but if the stamp was in the Main Staff,
13 then I must have done it in the Main Staff, in Petkovic's office or -- I
14 don't know, I can't remember. I repeat, under oath, stamps did not mean
15 anything to me. Whether that is wrong or not, that is how it was.
16 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with your
17 permission, I should like to return briefly to the issue prior to this
18 one with the stamps.
19 Though the stamp is illegible, perhaps it would be useful, as
20 this is a document of the 3D Defence, that we look at the original
21 document, and we see that there is certain commas, and at the top it says
22 "aorist," the past perfect tense. So it would be useful to ask the
23 general whether he knows who put these markings on the document and what
24 does this word in the upper right-hand corner mean?
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, I noticed that
1 "aorist" was indicated on the text, and I was wondering what this is.
2 Perhaps you can tell us. How would you interpret this, "aorist" and then
3 a line, what does all this mean?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It says "aorist," which is a tense
5 which, in the Croatian language, is the past perfect text. So we can
6 again engage in guess-work and say this was Siljeg or someone else.
7 Anyway, he said "aorist," which would mean, according to the Croatian
8 language, what is being required by this order has already been carried
9 out. It's a verb, an action. "Aorist" is a verb tense which indicates
10 that the action was completed in the past, so it's the past perfect. The
11 order has been fulfilled, that is what this person wants to indicate.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for this
14 Mr. Stringer, we took some time, but it was necessary to fully
15 exhaust this document.
16 MR. STRINGER: Yes, Mr. President.
17 Q. General, the next document is P01327, 1327, and this one is dated
18 the 27th of January. It's addressed to the military police from the
19 brigade commander, Simun Zutic. And, General, the first question is
20 this, because we looked earlier at an order or a document of the brigade
21 commander of the Rama Brigade, and that was Mr. Franjo --
22 A. Franjic.
23 Q. Franjic.
24 A. Not Franjo Franjic; Ilija Franjic.
25 Q. Now, does this -- does this indicate now that the Rama Brigade
1 has a different commander and his name is Zutic?
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I may.
3 I seem to recall that in the document where Mr. Franjic signed,
4 it was indicated "for the commander, Franjic." Maybe we could -- if you
5 recall the number, we could look at it. It is document 00 -- P00662.
6 MR. STRINGER: That's correct, yes, 662.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And you have -- I read the English, handwritten,
8 "for brigade commander," which would indicate that Ilija Franjic is not
9 the brigade commander, because he is the one who writes. In the
10 original, it is "Za," in handwriting before the name, "Za Zapovjednik
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I think, Your Honour
13 Judge Trechsel, the brigade commander is Ilija Franjic, but as he was not
14 there to sign the document, it was signed by Zutic on his behalf.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. That is not excluded. I can take it
16 that the signature is Zutic.
17 MR. STRINGER:
18 Q. Let me just ask it this way, General. Perhaps you can just tell
19 us. Do you know --
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. January 27, 1993
22 Rama Brigade at that time?
23 A. I don't know. I wouldn't like to guess. I don't know.
24 Q. The earlier document, which was from October of 1992, the Ilija
25 Franjic document --
1 A. I don't know about that, either. I can't say with any certainty.
2 All this is guess-work. I don't feel well when I am guessing. I don't
4 Q. In any event, in this report, and now we're back to P01327, in
5 this report to the military police, the author of this is informing the
6 members of the military police at the check-points in the Prozor
7 municipality of the following:
8 1. No Muslims are allowed to go through the area of this
10 2. Check buses going through the area of our municipality --"
11 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I apologise to my learned
12 friend, but maybe an error in the translation or maybe he misspoke, but
13 on page 70, line 16 and 17, the question speaks about a report, and from
14 the document we see that it is not a report, but an order. And I think
15 the distinction is important.
16 MR. STRINGER: Thank you. Yes, it's an order, clearly, not a
17 report, and the order is that, as is indicated here:
18 "No Muslims are allowed to go through the municipality."
19 Secondly, that buses should be checked, and that Muslims on the
20 buses should be removed, and that the goods and cargo that Muslims try to
21 take through the area of Prozor should be confiscated. And then the
22 order is that this takes effect immediately and all of the military
23 police check-points should be informed of it.
24 Q. General, first question: Would you agree with me that this is an
25 illegal order, in that it makes no distinction between Muslim civilians,
1 combatants, military reasons why people would be treated in this way
2 versus --
3 A. I agree with you.
4 Q. Were you aware of this order, which was issued in the couple of
5 weeks or so after the events in Gornji Vakuf?
6 A. No.
7 Q. And I take it from what you've said, General, then, that you
8 would not approve of such an order or approve of a practice or the
9 practices that are being required in this order?
10 A. Absolutely not.
11 Q. Do you know whether or not the military police in Prozor carried
12 out this order?
13 A. I have no idea, because on the 23rd of January, I left the area.
14 I could have even been there without knowing everything that was going
15 on. It doesn't mean that if you're in a certain area, you know
16 everything that someone might do.
17 MR. STRINGER: I have nothing further on that document,
18 Mr. President.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak --
20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I just wanted briefly to draw
21 attention to something.
22 I don't know whether there were any errors in the transcript;
23 I think not. But when I read through twice, what I see, there was a
24 certain misunderstanding. And as these are your questions, Your Honour,
25 perhaps it would be best if you could clarify this.
1 On page 66, line 9, there is the question, and then line 17 the
2 answer, and it's almost identical; that is, repeated on page 67, line 2,
3 when your question starts, and line 10, Praljak's answer. It's about the
4 conversation about the stamp. You're asking Praljak about the stamps,
5 and Mr. Praljak obviously is answering about the number appearing within
6 that stamp, so as if you were not on the same frequency, so it emerges
7 that Praljak was not aware of the significance of stamps. What he really
8 was saying is, I never realised that the numbers within the stamp are of
9 significance. Perhaps you could clarify this, because in this way it
10 will be quite unclear.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, let us specify.
12 When an officer signs a document, there is a stamp, and in
13 ex-Yugoslavia these stamps carried numbers, and the numbers corresponded
14 to position, number 1 being the highest, 2 below that, et cetera. When
15 you answered my questions, your reply included the stamp and the number
16 or exclusively the number within the stamp?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Give me a minute, please. I never
18 took a stamp and stamped a document with it. In the former Yugoslavia
19 there were millions of stamps on hundreds of papers, on documents. This
20 was something I didn't like. I always admired the Americans, who would
21 sign a diploma and there would never be a stamp, whereas in our country
22 there were millions of stamps and the papers meant nothing. In view of
23 this, and the fact that I had a different job, I knew nothing about
24 stamps or the numbers on the stamps. It was the first time, at this
25 Tribunal, that I realised that a number on the stamp meant something. So
1 I would sign a document, and somebody would stamp it and forward it.
2 Those were my understandings.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Concerning the document which
4 is on the screen, in this document one can again give it two readings,
5 which complicates our task. I'm trying to analyse this document, and the
6 request is that those controlling check-points should verify whether the
7 Muslims have any goods on them, and to confiscate them, and to remove
8 them if they are in the vehicles. That is one understanding. However,
9 what is not clear in the document is whether these are vehicles which are
10 entering the zone or which are leaving the municipality, because the two
11 are quite different. If the order applies to vehicles which are leaving
12 the municipality, one could read into that that the Muslims are being
13 prevented from leaving the municipality, and, due to that, this could
14 have a certain impact on the enterprise, that is, the wish to have the
15 Muslims leave. The situation is different if the Muslims are coming from
16 outside and who wish to enter the municipality. Why are they being
17 prevented, for what reason? Is it because they are bringing aid to those
18 who are already in the municipality, or are they going to reinforce the
19 number of Muslims in the municipality? I don't know.
20 So this document, for a Judge who reads it, poses a number of
21 problems; hence my question. You have condemned this document, you have
22 already said that, but according to you, who has full control of the
23 language, what was the purpose of this document; to prevent the Muslims
24 from entering, to make them leave? What was the actual aim of this
25 document, if there was an objective behind it?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From this document, I cannot give
2 this document a single interpretation. It is a semi-literate document
3 which one cannot interpret simply and clearly; at least I cannot.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, perhaps it's time
5 for the break. I see it's already 20 to 6.00.
6 We're going to have a 20-minute break.
7 --- Recess taken at 5.39 p.m.
8 --- Upon commencing at 6.03 p.m.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will now resume.
10 You have until 10 to 7.00, because we shouldn't forget that
11 Counsel Kovacic needs a few minutes.
12 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. General, the next exhibit is P02526, 2526. Now, we're still in
14 Prozor municipality, but we're moving forward in time. This is an order
15 from General Petkovic to the Ljubuski Brigade regarding sending of units
16 to Prozor, and he's saying due to the exceptionally complex situation
17 around Bugojno and the threat to Vakuf and Prozor, he orders that
18 company-strength forces are immediately to be prepared and sent to
19 Prozor. The company commander is to report to General Slobodan Praljak.
20 General, this is from May of 1993, the 26th of May, so this is
21 after the conflict between ABiH and HVO forces in Mostar that broke out
22 on the 9th/10th of May. General, is it correct, as is indicated or as
23 suggested here, that at this time you were in Prozor?
24 A. Yes, that's correct, at the time I was briefly in Prozor.
25 Q. Where, precisely -- when you say you were in Prozor, just --
1 again just to be clear -- well, tell me first, what were you doing in
2 Prozor or what was the purpose for your being there at that time?
3 A. Well, the assistant for General Petkovic that was ordered -- I
4 issued an order about this, as a volunteer. Well, after the attack of
5 the ABiH on the 9th of May in Mostar, after the situation had been calmed
6 down in Mostar, well, similarly it was necessary to calm the situation
7 down on the Bugojno-Uskoplje-Gornji Vakuf axis, and to this effect there
8 were very -- there was very clear information about the fact that the
9 ABiH had already begun to prepare for what was subsequently to happen.
10 Q. When you say you were --
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I apologise to my learned friend
12 Mr. Stringer. Could we perhaps correct something in the transcript? It
13 might be important.
14 At line 16 of the page we are now on, it says that the general --
15 it says that General Praljak said, "I issued an order about this."
16 General Praljak said that he was assisting General Petkovic and that
17 General Petkovic issued an order. I just wanted to avoid any confusion.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] General Petkovic issued orders to
20 MR. STRINGER:
21 Q. Now, you say you were briefly in Prozor at this time. Can you
22 tell us approximately how much time you spent in Prozor during this
23 period, 26th of May, 1993?
24 A. I can't -- couldn't say so, but I wasn't there for long, because
25 after the situation stabilised in Mostar and in that area, after that I
1 returned to Zagreb
2 very short period, but no matter how much I would like to, I can't give
3 you precise dates.
4 Q. And the fact that these units are going to be sent from Ljubuski
5 and are to report to you, General, suggests that even though you didn't
6 have a formal position in the HVO at this time, you did exercise command
7 authority over HVO units. Would you agree with me on that?
8 A. Not command authority, but a certain amount of authority when it
9 comes to assistance, yes.
10 Q. So it's like the prisoners we spoke about earlier who were at
11 that place in Prozor, the primary school at Ripci. By virtue of your
12 experience and your attributes, you had authority, and the soldiers --
13 the HVO soldiers there did what you told them to do. But the same
14 situation then applies in respect of these soldiers, then, coming from
16 A. I wouldn't agree that they did what I said. The commander of the
17 company would contact me. The men who came from Ljubuski, and I was on
18 good terms with them from the beginning because we had been in combat in
19 1992 together, I knew them very well. They had to be persuaded about the
20 necessity of leaving or abandoning the territorial war. The necessity of
21 assisting Siljeg. It was assistance, and it wasn't as you described it.
22 It was different.
23 Q. So you had fought with these soldiers or these units previously,
24 and it was thought that you could exercise some influence and authority
25 over them; is that what you're telling us?
1 A. That's correct, yes.
2 Q. And now if General Petkovic is telling them to report to you,
3 then from their point of view, what that means, in military terms, is
4 that you're going to be their commander; is that correct?
5 A. No, no. I was to assist with their reception, with explaining to
6 them the reasons for their arrival there, why they had left their
7 municipalities, with regard to assisting Siljeg, to incorporate them in
8 the command structure. It was a matter of assistance.
9 Q. So that after reporting to you, they were -- they became part of
10 the operative zone command structure under Colonel Siljeg; is that what
11 you're saying?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Very well. General, the next exhibit is P --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, the
15 Prosecution has just put a question to you that you answered in negative
16 terms. The Prosecution would like to know whether this document made you
17 the commander of the units that were sent from Ljubuski to go to the
18 Prozor area and the Vakuf area, given the situation that prevailed. You
19 said, No. When we have a look at the order, and I'll put the questions
20 that come to me - I'm quite open about this, I have nothing to hide - the
21 first legal question I have is as follows: In the chain of command, did
22 Mr. Petkovic have the right to directly appoint the superiors of the
23 Ljubuski Brigade? That's my first question.
24 The second question: The order of control, command,
25 communication, the three Cs, this order seems to apply to this because --
1 applies to this order, because under 3, under item 3, General Petkovic is
2 requesting a report, and if you are taking command, you have to be asked
3 to provide a report, but this is for the Ljubuski Brigade in this case?
4 That's a question that also occurred to me.
5 General Praljak, this order makes you someone who will contribute
6 to the unit or does it integrate you within the chain of command? Does
7 it make you the superior commander of the units sent to Prozor?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, Your Honour. No,
9 Judge Antonetti. That's my answer to the first question.
10 General Petkovic didn't have the authority to appoint brigade
11 commanders. That was Mate Boban's authority. He could have asked for a
12 replacement, he could have suggested certain appointments, but as far as
13 I know, and I know this in my case, Mate Boban would appoint brigade
14 commanders and relieve them of their duties.
15 Secondly, the Ljubuski Brigade, in item 3 -- under item 3, was to
16 inform him of when they had sent men in and also whether the men had
17 arrived in the area. The Ljubuski Brigade, that's what it says under
18 item 3.
19 There was a significant problem in the HVO, when it came to
20 sending units, as you're well aware, outside of the municipality or the
21 vicinity of the municipality. My relationship with the brigade -- the
22 Ljubuski Brigade commander, Tomic, was taken advantage here. At the very
23 beginning of the war or, in fact, when I arrived in 1992, I met this
24 young man. This brigade was involved in the defence of Capljina, Stolac,
25 et cetera, to a large extent, and I had to incorporate this brigade in
1 the chain of command of Mr. Siljeg. It was a matter of assistance. I
2 was assisting. I had a certain amount of authority. I had the force of
3 persuasion, to a certain extent. But as for the chain of command, as for
4 my ability to issue orders, no, I didn't have such authority, although
5 sometimes I violated this rule. If there was no other way, I'd write
6 something down, and if it worked, it worked; in Travnik, for example, and
7 so on. This wasn't really official, but it was a matter of urgency to
8 avoid a terrible situation.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Praljak, I would be interested simply to
10 know, factually, and specifically, "concretno," what you did; I went here
11 and told them to do this, and so forth. Would you do that?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I received them, I gave them
13 the political speech. I said that we were under threat, that they had to
14 leave their municipality, that they had to reinforce the lines up there.
15 I said that the ABiH might take action, and I placed them in the chain of
16 command that was Siljeg's or, rather, they were part of the sector that
17 they were to be in.
18 With your leave, Judge Trechsel, Colonel Blaskic, in Travnik,
19 issued, for example, a certain order. The director of a factory that had
20 to produce ammunition wouldn't abide by the order, wouldn't implement the
21 order. General Blaskic didn't know how to implement the order. In that
22 case, since everything was going to fall, I used my force, the fact that
23 I'm corpulent, that I have certain knowledge, that I'm a man of the
24 theatre, and I took things into my own hands. As you saw, that was the
25 case when I had to deal with returning units to their positions. I used
1 my verbal skills. When there was no other way out of the situation, I
2 would do such things.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. You have started being pretty
4 specific, and then you have switched off to general and other incidents
5 and so forth.
6 The last thing we know is you integrated these newly-arrived
7 troops into the -- I think it was the Rama Brigade, probably. Did you
8 divide them up, did you take them to the front, did you take them to a
9 commander and give them over to the commander of the brigade?
10 Afterwards, what did you do? This is the kind of information I would be
11 interested in hearing.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it's not the Rama Brigade, it's
13 the Ljubuski Brigade, and that's why this was necessary, because it was
14 100 kilometres from Rama. That's why it was necessary for me to explain
15 to them the purpose of their arrival there.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, excuse me. The order says: "Send
17 them immediately to Prozor." Prozor, I thought, was an area which was
18 not under control of the Ljubuski Brigade but of the Rama Brigade, but
19 maybe I get this wrong.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, the area of Rama, but they
21 didn't go to Rama but in the direction of Gornji Vakuf. And Siljeg was
22 in command of this, so --
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So did you take them to Siljeg or to a
24 sub-commander of Siljeg?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judge Trechsel, I didn't take them
1 there. They arrived there. They were provided with accommodation. I
2 gave them explanations, and then they received orders from Siljeg as to
3 where they were to go.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And was that the end of your contribution? You
5 received them, you gave a speech, and then they were left to Siljeg, and
6 you went away, that was the end of your mission? If not, what else did
7 you do?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Nothing. I was helping Siljeg. I
9 was helping Siljeg. I spoke to the men. I spoke to them. Much could be
10 achieved through speaking to them. It wasn't necessary to always use
11 orders. They could think of a hundred reasons not to leave Ljubuski, and
12 General Petkovic at the time couldn't do anything that a normal army
13 would do in order to go up there. And you have seen this in the
14 documents. Someone can quite simply leave the territory and not suffer
15 any consequences. You don't know what to do to them. You don't have any
16 other troops. I'm trying to answer to the best of my ability by just
17 providing you with factual answers.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, first of all, they had left Ljubuski,
19 because they were now in Gornji Vakuf. So they had already left
20 Ljubuski. So the question whether they liked to do that. And you say, I
21 assisted Colonel Siljeg, I talked to them. I find that it is not clear
22 to me. I cannot imagine how this actually happened. Did you go around
23 and talk to these people individually, or did you assemble sub-groups,
24 or -- I mean, to assist someone is not a very precise description of
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If at the time, after what had
2 happened in Mostar, General Petkovic hadn't written down that they should
3 report to Praljak, I'm not sure that they would have gone there, because
4 they respected me. It says here, Go up there, General Praljak will
5 receive you, and I'm claiming that that was perhaps the only real reason
6 for which they actually set off on this trip.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with your leave,
8 could I draw your attention to item 4 of the order with regard to this
9 subject? It might assist us in understanding this situation.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course, Judge Trechsel, in which
11 order would a commander write -- try and understand this, Prozor and
12 Vakuf under threat? It says, Please try and understand what is at stake.
13 Which army and which state would write something like this? It says, Go
14 and report to General Praljak. This is how the HVO functioned to a large
15 extent. Try and understand. Who, in the American or French Army, would
16 write down, Please, such and such a company should go down there, they
17 are under threat, so if possible, please go there? That's what I'm
18 trying to explain to you. He's pleading. He's trying to make them feel
19 they should go. It's not a military order, if you can understand what I
20 am trying to say. That's how it was.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I see that I do not really get an answer to my
22 question, which is quite specific.
23 I had noted number 4. It was absolutely not necessary to draw
24 our attention to it, Ms. Alaburic. And it is -- it strikes me as a
25 highly unprofessional military order, I must say. You are right, this is
1 not a normal military order, but it seems to me -- I mean, the technique
2 of giving orders seems not to have been very developed in the HVO, which
3 is fully in agreement with much that you have told us. So this is --
4 this is just evidenced here again. But I think I will not insist, and
5 let Mr. Stringer continue.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.
7 General Praljak, just a minute.
8 General Praljak, I don't want to linger on this issue, but when
9 you provide an answer and we have a document, I try to regard this in the
10 context of all the evidence that we have seen to date. As a result, I
11 have to perform a sort of intellectual gymnastics so that I have all the
12 information at my disposal. As a result, I'm totally exhausted at the
13 end of each and every hearing.
14 The order that we have before us, I link it to what you have told
15 us, but not only you; others have said the same thing. You said that the
16 military component of the HVO was, in fact -- well, they were, in fact,
17 municipal brigades. They were located in municipalities. And you said
18 that the soldiers, they didn't want to leave their municipalities and
19 they didn't want to go and fight elsewhere. Fine, this stuck in my
20 memory. And here we see that Prozor and Vakuf were in danger. That's
21 under item 4. General Petkovic, who realised the nature of the
22 situation, wanted to send reinforcements to the area, but apparently he
23 hadn't had the Ljubuski Brigade at your disposal. And you said a minute
24 ago that Ljubuski was a hundred kilometres away. And as a result,
25 according to everything you have already said, the men from Ljubuski
1 hesitated to go to Prozor, and this explains the fact that -- or could
2 explain the fact that under item 2 you are attributed a certain role.
3 And you said that this role -- you said this in response to a question
4 from my colleague. You said that this role meant that you had to go
5 there. You gave them a speech, you told them that Prozor and Vakuf were
6 in danger and that they were needed. And, finally, as far as I
7 understood the matter, they accepted to go, they agreed to go, and they
8 placed themselves under the authority of Colonel Siljeg. Is that, in
9 fact, the situation?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In essence, yes. General Petkovic
11 is a high-ranking professional officer in the JNA. He has issued
12 thousands of perfect orders. The fact that this one isn't a perfect
13 order shows that we weren't dealing with an army in which orders are
14 issued in the usual way. He was aware of the fact that men and units
15 refused to obey orders for many reasons, and that is why item 4 says:
16 "Do realise that ..." item 2 says report to Praljak, and because I knew
17 the men, I knew half of them very well -- well, because that, they would
18 go and he'd be informed of it. They arrived. I spoke to them, I went
19 into the field with them. I -- Siljeg was there, too, and they were
20 incorporated within the normal chain of command. What can I do? That's
21 what the army was like. It's not my fault that I or, rather, Petkovic
22 didn't have the 101st American Marine Division.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] According to what you say,
24 there's a small issue. Look at the stamp next to the signature of
25 General Petkovic. You see there number 2, a number "2" on the stamp. As
1 far as I know, General Petkovic was not the number 2. How come that
2 there's the number "2" here? You're going to tell me, perhaps, that, I
3 can't give you an answer. Well, tell me that you can't answer the
4 question. When General Petkovic testifies, I will ask him. But as far
5 as you are concerned, can you give me an answer?
6 Tell me. It's not in the transcript unless you say it.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know, I don't know.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let us imagine that
9 I am an officer in the HVO and I receive this order, and I am polarised
10 by the stamps. I look at the order and I see that General Petkovic has
11 the number 2. Can I legitimately ask myself whether number 1 is not
12 Slobodan Praljak, especially so if I am familiar with the document on the
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But on that stamp, we don't see the
15 Main Staff and everything. I don't know where it came from. On that
16 one, you can't see everything. You can't see that it is the Main Staff
17 at the bottom. And I think General Petkovic is very familiar with these
18 things, and you will be able to ask him these things.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay. When the time comes,
20 we'll look into that.
21 MR. STRINGER:
22 Q. General, the next exhibit --
23 A. [No interpretation].
24 Q. Excuse me, General. Thank you.
25 A. Let me just answer.
1 Q. I have the floor. We've exhausted --
2 A. Very well.
3 Q. We've exhausted this issue and this document, in my submission,
4 and I think it's time to move on.
5 P03887, 3887. General, this one is dated the 2nd of August,
6 1993. We have a signature, "Ilija Franjic," who in this document is
7 indicated to be the military police commander in Rama-Prozor at this
8 time. Do you know whether, in fact, Mr. Franjic was the military police
9 commander in Prozor on the 2nd of August, 1993?
10 A. I think he was, yes.
11 Q. Do you know who appointed him to that position?
12 A. I don't know.
13 Q. Under the structure of the Military Police Administration, would
14 he have been appointed to that position by Mr. Coric?
15 A. I don't know.
16 Q. Now, in this document Mr. Franjic is issuing what he calls an
17 approval regarding freedom of movement, and he says that:
18 "In the capacity of the Rama-Prozor Military Police commander, I
19 personally grant Omer Beric, aka Baja, born on the 2nd of March,
20 1940...," et cetera, "... a member of the HVO and of the HDZ, freedom of
21 movement throughout the Rama municipality, having all the rights that are
22 enjoyed by all other members of the Croatian ethnicity."
23 Before I continue, General, would you agree with me that based on
24 his name, it would appear that Omer Beric was a Muslim person?
25 A. One could make such a conclusion.
1 Q. Then the document continues:
2 "I also strictly forbid any harassment of the above-mentioned or
3 belittling of his integrity in any other way.
4 "The above-mentioned is bound to report to the military police
5 commander or his deputy on a daily basis.
6 "This approval regarding freedom of movement for the
7 above-mentioned is valid indefinitely or until it is revoked."
8 Now, General, what we have here is a person who appears to be of
9 Muslim ethnicity, who's a member of the HVO armed forces, because a
10 military identification card is indicated, and he's also a member of the
11 party, the Croatian Democratic Unit, the HDZ.
12 The first question would be, General, whether you're aware of
13 this particular situation or similar situations in which these sorts of
14 freedom of movement documents were issued to Muslim people in Prozor?
15 A. I was not aware of them.
16 Q. Because at this period of time, you're commander of the HVO
17 Main Staff, and as we've been discussing, this is taking place right
18 within the area that you spent most of your time and directed most of
19 your attention, Prozor; correct?
20 A. Yes, this happened in the area where I was, but on the 2nd of
21 August, as far as I am concerned, there was so much shooting along a line
22 30 kilometres long that apart from defending the front-lines, there was
23 nothing else in my mind, nor could there be, from night to night, one
24 night to the next, from one day to the next.
25 Q. General, would you agree with me, based on the fact that you were
1 in this region, that it was necessary to issue this sort of document
2 because members of the Muslim population in Prozor, even by August of
3 1993, were being terrorised and victimised by the HVO; isn't that true?
4 A. I am not familiar with this order, but I did not see, nor did I
5 have any knowledge about the Muslims being terrorised, not the least
6 information about that. On the contrary, I had some contacts with the
8 Q. General, I'm going to put this to you. We talked last week -- or
9 we talked about an autonomous Croatian area that you wanted. Let me put
10 this to you, that when the sort of thing that's referenced here, where
11 it's necessary to issue passes to people of one ethnicity, directing that
12 they have all the rights to be enjoyed or that are enjoyed by members of
13 another ethnicity, that's the sort of situation that happens when you
14 start carving out territories based on ethnicity; isn't that true?
15 A. I wouldn't agree with you, sir. The strength of the attack, the
16 number of people from Bugojno, the dispersed army, the crimes of the Army
17 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, may be the reason for this kind of wording,
18 that you mustn't act against them. The number of dead HVO people was
19 very high in those days as a result of attacks by the BH Army, so I can't
20 comment on what Mr. Franjic wrote there. But to have control over those
21 people and the 15.000 refugees and one and a half thousand combatants,
22 the situation was extremely difficult. You don't have an apparatus to
23 deal with it. It's mostly talk, talk, talk, and persuasion as to what
24 may be done under what -- and what may not. Of course, there were things
25 that --
1 Q. But the fact is that every Muslim in Prozor was entitled to this
2 sort of treatment, equal treatment, not just Muslims who happened to be
3 carrying HVO or HDZ membership cards; isn't that true?
4 A. That is true, sir.
5 Q. And the military police in Prozor should have been protecting all
6 of the people, including Muslims, regardless of whether they were members
7 of the HVO or carried HDZ membership cards. Would you agree with me
8 there, too?
9 A. I agree with that too, sir, but the military police was mainly
10 involved at the front, both the military and the civilian police, because
11 the BH Army was conducting a terrible aggression. These are facts. And
12 I suppose Franjic wanted to emphasise that you must treat him like a
13 Croat, not to distinguish between them, but the people who had left
14 dozens of dead and captured members up in Bugojno -- you see, reprisals
15 are a terrible thing. Of course, that is a crime, there's no doubt about
16 it, but -- we know that it's a criminal offence, but still people do all
17 kinds of things. And we know that this was a terribly difficult time for
18 anyone, and one would -- well --
19 Q. The next document, unless there's a question on this one,
20 Mr. President, the next document is P03458, 3458. This is going back a
21 few weeks to the 15th of July. This is a report of SIS Chief Drago
22 Banovic of the North-West Herzegovina Operative Zone SIS, and it's a
23 report to the SIS Administration, HZ-HB, Mostar. And he's reporting that
24 the military security situation in Prozor has been disturbed by members
25 of the local military police, or civilian police, or members of the Rama
1 Brigade. And he says that:
2 "In Prozor, the military police is the strongest by numbers, with
3 134 military policemen, who do not answer to anyone for their 'work,' who
4 raid villages, loot, torch, and so on. We have pointed to the problems
5 with the above-mentioned several times already, but nothing has been done
6 on the matter."
7 And then he goes on to cite a specific example of an event that
8 occurred on the 5th of July, where houses were burned, stock was killed,
9 and we see the rest.
10 He continues, and I'm moving to the next page now in the English:
11 "They are taking from the Muslims gold, money, and more valuable
12 goods which are ending up in the pockets of local thieves (mostly
13 military policemen, whose commander knows about them but is not doing
14 anything). Many more examples could be cited."
15 Now, General, the first question is this, because we're going to
16 talk about the military police and the military police that you were
17 using when you were in Prozor: The fact is, first of all, that the
18 looting and the theft and the terrorising of the Muslim population that
19 we've been talking about, as early as October of 1992, the fact is,
20 General, it was continuing here in Prozor in the months that followed
21 here, as late as the 15th of July; isn't that true?
22 A. What am I expected to reply, that I knew about all this and did
23 nothing? This is a report I have nothing to do with. These are reports
24 that have nothing to do with me. It's a report signed by Mr. Banovic,
25 and you're asking me to testify about it as if I knew that the situation
1 was like he says. I've told you what I was aware of, what I did, and I
2 would stop there. Mr. Stringer, you could have spoken to Mr. Banovic and
3 brought him here to tell him -- to ask him about the connections, rather
4 than asking me about things that --
5 Q. You spent August and September of 1993 in Prozor. I recognise
6 this is from 15 July, but the fact is, General, and this is my question:
7 You were aware, weren't you, in August of 1993, that the Muslim
8 population was being preyed upon by the military police in Prozor? You
9 were aware of that, weren't you?
10 A. I was not. And I didn't spend the whole of August and September
11 in Prozor. I spent some time going to Mostar. On the 15th, I was
12 involved in battles in the south of Mostar. When I say "most of the
13 time," then you mustn't take that to mean for two months without
14 interruption, because I was also on the hills and to the south of Mostar.
15 But I did spend a good part of the time down there fighting.
16 Unfortunately, fighting on a daily basis.
17 Q. So you're fighting. You're the commander of the HVO military --
18 excuse me, the HVO Main Staff, and you're fighting. Are you telling us,
19 General, that because you're busy fighting, you can legitimately avoid
20 undertaking all of the other responsibilities that fall to the
21 highest-ranking member of the HVO military, responsibilities such as
22 looking after civilian populations in areas under the command of you and
23 your subordinates?
24 A. The civilian population was not under my command, and I am not
25 responsible for the civilian population. Other people are responsible
1 for that.
2 Secondly, sir, one has 24 hours at one's disposal, and
3 responsibility doesn't stem -- does stem from the situation one is in.
4 You cannot be held responsible for something -- well --
5 Q. General, we're going to end in just a minute, because I know that
6 there's a matter to bring up, but let me just conclude with this.
7 Yesterday, you told us that you didn't have any responsibility or
8 you bore no responsibility for HVO prisoners of war during the time that
9 you were commander of the HVO Main Staff. Now you're telling us that in
10 addition to that, you bear no responsibility -- you have no obligations
11 in respect of civilians who find themselves within zones under HVO
12 military control? Is that your testimony as well?
13 A. What is a military zone? I am not an occupier. I didn't
14 occupier a certain territory or a captured territory, and then to
15 administer that territory. A military commander has the defence lines,
16 and the territory behind him is not under his command, as far as I am
17 familiar with international war law.
18 Q. So you're only responsible for what is happening on the
19 front-line and you're not responsible, as the commander, for the general
20 area that's controlled by the HVO military behind the front-lines; is
21 that what you're telling us?
22 A. Why are you saying that the HVO military is holding behind the
23 lines? The HVO is holding the lines. It has a narrow belt behind it,
24 and it is not controlling the Rama municipality because the positions
25 towards the army are in Uskoplje. The Rama municipality is not a
1 military zone, it's not an occupied area.
2 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, perhaps we should come back to this
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you.
5 Mr. Kovacic, we have nine minutes exactly.
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I shall be very brief.
7 In view of the schedule that has been distributed prior to the
8 recess, let me remind you that we had envisaged that General Praljak's
9 testimony, including the possible redirect, would be completed on Monday,
10 the 31st of August, and that on the 1st of September we can call our
11 first expert witness, our first witness, et cetera. Of course, I think
12 that in the mail that we have sent, that we cannot envisage with
13 precision how long the cross would take on the part of the Prosecution,
14 and that, therefore, certain leeway must be allowed for in the schedule.
15 I am in touch with my learned friend from the Prosecution
16 regarding the schedule. We communicate very well. I am following the
17 number of hours that he has used, but we both agree that it is very
18 difficult to envisage when this cross-examination will be completed
19 because the progress is rather atypical. I have analysed the amount of
20 time used by the Prosecution compared with the overall time. It varies a
21 lot, and it is very difficult to plan for the future.
22 I have a clearly technical problem. It is quite clear that the
23 Prosecution will not be finished at least by mid-week, so if,
24 theoretically, the first day for the first expert is Thursday, the 3rd of
25 September, I must tomorrow, by the latest, inform the Victims and
1 Witnesses Unit for them to organise their trip. So what may happen is
2 that the cross-examination may be completed, you, Your Honours, may also
3 have certain additional questions. We do not think that the redirect
4 will take more than one or two hours, but we cannot be sure. But I would
5 like to avoid the situation when we finish our work and the witness isn't
6 here. Then, also, there are certain obligations and funds involved.
7 I can ask for the witness to be brought on the 2nd or the 3rd of
8 September. I'm not paying him. It's the Registry that's paying. Of
9 course, I can't do that. I'm trying to be reasonable, and I'm trying to
10 bring the witness two or three days before his testimony for the minimum
11 proofing that we need to do.
12 At the same time, I do not wish to be in a situation that I could
13 call a witness on Monday and I haven't called him in time. So could I
14 please ask that perhaps tomorrow, at the end of the day, we try to make
15 some forecasts.
16 I know that it is difficult. Of course, the closer we are to the
17 end, it will be easier, and my learned friend has agreed with me in that
18 respect, but it's too vague for the moment.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, it is almost
20 impossible to forecast, because the Prosecution have 16 hours. They have
21 used 24 hours. They have 16 hours left. Mr. Stringer may tell us now
22 whether he's going to use those 16 hours or not.
23 A second factor that we know, and that is that you're going to
24 use about two hours for the redirect. As far as I am concerned, I will
25 be very brief. I will only have some questions to put to Mr. Praljak
1 regarding the maps, because I wish to see the exact positions of the
2 units over time. This will not take long. But the other Defence
3 counsels may also have questions to put. The Chamber is not opposed to
4 this, but having deliberated, the members of the Chamber feel that if
5 Madam Alaburic has questions to put -- but this will be taken off her
6 time. But we don't know at this stage whether she intends to have
7 questions or not. I'm talking about the Stojic Defence.
8 So, first of all, it's up to Mr. Stringer to tell us how much
9 time he intends to use, because he still has 16 hours to his credit.
10 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, it's really hard for me to say
11 whether the Prosecution will use the entire 16 that's left or not.
12 What's easier for me to think about is the topics and the binders that we
13 have completed versus the topics and the binders that are left, and
14 that's -- all of us can look on the list that we filed prior to the
15 beginning of the proceedings last week, and I would have to take a look
16 to see. So for me, we are intending to question the general on all the
17 topics that are set out in that list. If it takes us 16 hours to do it,
18 then that's what we're going to do. I would be delighted if it took less
19 than the full 40 hours, Mr. President, I can assure you, but at this
20 stage it's really -- I wouldn't want to say about the hours. What I can
21 say is about the lists and the topics that remain. And as I've been
22 communicating with counsel for General Praljak, what we are going to be
23 doing is we're going to be informing them, you know, when there are four
24 binders left, and then three binders, and then two, which is for me, at
25 least at the moment, a more accurate way of giving an idea of how the
1 pace is going, as opposed to trying to anticipate whether we'll use the
2 full 40 hours.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. In any event, what
4 appears to be already more or less certain is that your witness,
5 Mr. Kovacic, will not come next Monday because we won't be finished by
6 next Monday. So it's better to see where we stand mid-week. Perhaps we
7 will have a clearer idea maybe next Wednesday, and then we will see how
8 we stand. But he certainly won't be coming on Monday, so it would be
9 best for you to raise this issue next Wednesday. Perhaps we will have a
10 better idea then.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
12 I fully agree with this methodology that as we approach the end,
13 it's easier to judge when this will be over. But for technical reasons,
14 we have to give instructions to the Victims and Witness Unit a minimum
15 seven years [as interpreted] in advance. We have told the witnesses
16 roughly when they're expected, but that's as much as we can do.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Seven years in advance?
18 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry, seven days. My mistake, the
19 interpreter's mistake, sorry. Seven days.
20 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, seven days.
21 [Interpretation] Please bear in mind we will all know better in a
22 couple of days, but don't crucify me if I'm a day late with the witness.
23 But we will see.
24 Thank you.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That's quite normal, and no one
1 will blame you for this because everyone knows that court schedules are
2 difficult. But it's very good that Mr. Stringer and Mr. Kovacic are
3 communicating amongst themselves, as you have told us, and this will help
4 us to see things more clearly. So if you agree, we will raise the issue
5 against next Wednesday.
6 I think Judge Prandler wants to say something.
7 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you, Mr. President. I really feel
8 duty-bound to state the following: that I would like to appeal to
9 everyone in the "pretoir" [phoen] to exercise self-control in the
10 forthcoming days in order to really let the Prosecution finish its
11 business. Thank you.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
13 We meet again tomorrow at a quarter past 2.00, as you know, and
14 we will finish at 6.00 p.m.
15 [The witness stands down]
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.02 p.m.
17 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 27th day of
18 August, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.