Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 44038

 1                           Monday, 31 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 2.15 p.m.

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

 8     call the case.

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

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

11     the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.  Thank you.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  This is the last

13     day of August, and I would like first and foremost to greet Mr. Praljak,

14     Mr. Pusic, Mr. Petkovic, Mr. Prlic, and Mr. Petkovic, and Mr. Coric.  I

15     also want to greet Mr. Coric.

16             I welcome our Defence counsels, Mr. Stringer and his assistants,

17     and everyone helping us.

18             I would like the Registrar to move us to closed session for a

19     minute, please.

20                           [Private session]

21   (redacted)

22   (redacted)

23   (redacted)

24   (redacted)

25   (redacted)

Page 44039











11 Page 44039 redacted. Private session.















Page 44040

 1   (redacted)

 2   (redacted)

 3   (redacted)

 4   (redacted)

 5   (redacted)

 6   (redacted)

 7   (redacted)

 8   (redacted)

 9   (redacted)

10   (redacted)

11   (redacted)

12                           [Open session]

13             THE REGISTRAR:  We're back in open session, Your Honours.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We can now pursue the

15     cross-examination in open session.  I now give the floor to Mr. Stringer,

16     whom I greet once again.

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

18     you and Your Honours, Counsel, and to everyone else.

19                           WITNESS:  SLOBODAN PRALJAK [Resumed]

20                           [Witness answered through interpreter]

21                           Cross-examination by Mr. Stringer: [Continued]

22        Q.   Good afternoon, General.

23        A.   Good afternoon, sir.

24        Q.   General, at the conclusion of the trial session last week, we

25     were just starting to work on a group of documents from -- relating to

Page 44041

 1     the period of January 1993, in relation to the area of the municipality

 2     around Gornji Vakuf, so I want to continue with those questions today.  I

 3     think when we left -- when we completed last week, we were looking at

 4     P00460, which was from October 1992, and which was a document of

 5     Colonel Siljeg.

 6             Now, you don't need to go to that document, General, because I've

 7     finished that.  I'm going to move to the next one.  But before I do, I

 8     want to recall some of your prior testimony in relation to the events

 9     that led up to the conflict in Gornji Vakuf in January.  And this is your

10     testimony on page 40580 of the transcript from 21st of May, 1999.

11     General, you were talking about escalation and the rising tensions in

12     Gornji Vakuf, and you made a reference to the -- you asserted that the

13     ABiH had closed off or blocked some roads in the region, and this

14     required the HVO commander, Mr. Tokic, to actually get an UNPROFOR escort

15     to reach his headquarters.  Do you recall that testimony?

16        A.   Yes.  It wasn't just about the roads but involved also all the

17     elevations in and around the town.

18        Q.   Now, it's true, General, isn't it, that at the same time, early

19     January 1993 at least, the HVO itself was cutting off roads or block --

20     blocking roads in the Gornji Vakuf area, and this also contributed to the

21     rising tensions?  Isn't that correct?

22        A.   I'm not familiar with that.  I knew about these things earlier on

23     when I was there as far as the BH Army actions were concerned.  Of course

24     it is quite possible that there was some form of HVO response.  This is a

25     cause-and-effect principle that we see at work here.

Page 44042

 1        Q.   Now, take a look at the next document in your binder which is

 2     P01068.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, just a minute.

 4     The Prosecutor is talking about the blocking off of roads.  During the

 5     four last years we've talked about this almost every day, you know, this

 6     blocking of roads.  It seems that according to some military experts,

 7     blocking off roads would be part of the active defence strategy.  It

 8     seems -- I haven't checked this yet.  However, in the American -- in the

 9     US military doctrine this is part and parcel of strategy.  So when the

10     HVO or the ABiH is blocking off a road, according to you is this a

11     defensive action or is this an offensive action?  Or maybe you don't

12     know.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do know.  The blocking of

14     roads, isolating the brigade commander and taking all the significant

15     elevations and trig points in Gornji Vakuf, in my opinion, can only

16     constitute an open active aggression.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Thank you.  It's on

18     the transcript.

19             MR. STRINGER:

20        Q.   General, the next exhibit is P01068, and it is from the

21     6th of January, 1993, a milinfosum of the British Battalion that was

22     based in the area, and I'm going to take you to a couple parts of this.

23     The first part is in the second paragraph, and it says that a CS from

24     Gornji Vakuf was approaching an HVO check-point, and it gives it grid

25     coordinate.  When the HVO sentry fired his weapon in the air, the CS

Page 44043

 1     withdrew back to Gornji Vakuf.

 2             "Comment:  There is an earthwork barrier at this check-point in

 3     order to force the Muslim population of Hare to travel to Prozor and not

 4     Gornji Vakuf.  Obviously tensions are rising in the area, which is

 5     reflected by an HVO presence at the check-point."  End of comment.

 6             Now, General, recognising that you weren't there at the time, did

 7     you subsequently find out when you did arrive that the HVO, as indicated

 8     here, had erected barriers, at least -- at least at this check-point in

 9     order to prevent the Muslim population from travelling into Gornji Vakuf?

10        A.   I know nothing about this.

11        Q.   All right.  Thank you.

12        A.   I stand by my previous assertion about what went on in

13     Gornji Vakuf months before.

14        Q.   Now, the next paragraph continues on, and it says:  At

15     approximately 1500 hours, on Monday afternoon, the HVO raised an Ustasha

16     flag in the town.  The Muslims reacted, and a Bosnian army soldier

17     attempted to remove the flag.  An HVO policeman then fired at the Bosnian

18     army soldier in question, resulting in a sharp rise in tensions in the

19     town.

20             And then it goes on to talk about how the commanders managed to

21     defuse the situation.

22             Now, we saw the same thing in Prozor, General.  We don't need to

23     go back to the exhibit, but it was P00608, the Markesic report from

24     October talking about rising tensions in Prozor after the Croatian flag

25     was raised there.

Page 44044

 1             Were you aware of this, General, that at least on this one

 2     occasion the Croatian flag or an Ustasha flag, whatever you want it call

 3     it, was raised by HVO soldiers in Gornji Vakuf and that this also

 4     contributed to the rising tensions there in advance of the conflict?

 5        A.   I was not aware of that incident.  In the English report and the

 6     Croatian, one should point out that the word "Ustasha" is under quotation

 7     marks, which is the difference between speaking and writing.  One must

 8     point out that in both the Croatian report and the Croatian translation

 9     the word "Ustasha" is under quotation marks, suggesting that this is no

10     real Ustasha flag but, rather, the authentic historical flag of the

11     Croatian people.

12             I do wish to point out that during the elections in Bosnia and

13     Herzegovina this flag was hoisted whenever there was any kind of

14     political rally.  The flags of the Muslim people, the crescent one, and

15     the Croatian flag were often associated as a token of friendship and

16     often seen together.

17             I would not exactly call this a sign of rising tensions, because

18     if there was a side over there that minded even the -- catching sight of

19     the Croatian flag, then this would have constituted a problem for that

20     group, because any tension arising from that would have been tantamount

21     to imposing the will of one people on the other.

22        Q.   Right.  So you're suggesting that the raising of the Croatian

23     people's flag in Gornji Vakuf was intended to be a token of friendship?

24     Is that what you're suggesting to us?

25        A.   I'm suggesting that during the elections in Bosnia and

Page 44045

 1     Herzegovina there were dozens of places, and these locations were

 2     photographed and I can actually produce the photographs.  The Croat's

 3     flags and the Bosniak's flags would be actually bound together by a

 4     single knot and shown around as a token of friendship between the two

 5     peoples.  The flags were together, meaning the two peoples would stand

 6     united against any form of aggression.

 7             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  A new day in court has started and a new week,

 8     and maybe some of the things that the Bench has told you over and over

 9     again has faded.  You are invited to answer the question.  The answer --

10     the question was:  Is it your point that this raising of a flag was a

11     gesture of friendship, and it can be answered by yes or no, and you would

12     much assist the Court if you stuck to that and would answer yes or no to

13     a simple question.

14             MR. STRINGER:

15        Q.   General, let me suggest, with the Court's permission, a third

16     answer that you should consider, which is the fact that since you weren't

17     there, you don't know whether the raising of the Croatian flag was

18     offered as a token of friendship.  So it's yes, no, or you don't know.

19        A.   I don't know, and I don't think this is a question that can

20     possibly be answered.  I can only tell you that it is an inherent right

21     of the Croatian people to raise their flag.  It is a right.

22        Q.   And since you weren't there, General, and since you've told us

23     you don't know, then you have no reason to challenge the conclusion of

24     the writer of this report, the British Battalion, that in fact this

25     incident resulted in a sharp rise in tensions in the town; correct?

Page 44046

 1     You're not in a position to dispute that?

 2        A.   I do dispute that particular inference.  I dispute its very

 3     essence.  The raising of a flag belonging to a sovereign people can --

 4     you're welcome.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I will look at

 6     this document but from another angle.  We've already seen this document,

 7     it's no surprise to us, but as the trial is advancing, any reasonable

 8     trier of fact starts to see things more and more clearly.  So the British

 9     Battalion is observing what is happening on the field and is reporting

10     this so-called flag incident.

11             We've heard some witnesses from UNPROFOR who told us that before

12     arriving on the field they were trained, and they were given information

13     on the situation at hand.  So they weren't coming without any knowledge.

14     They had been told about the ins and outs of the situation.  At least

15     this is what witnesses told us.  And when reading this report, I note

16     that at first this is a very factual report giving the facts.  In this

17     report there is no mention that this incident might, and I say might,

18     might be in line with what the HVO is doing or would be doing if it was

19     undertaken a joint criminal enterprise.  If there had been an enterprise,

20     you create an incident, you raise the flag.  Because of this you get a

21     reaction from the Muslims, and that gives you an excuse to launch some

22     kind of military action.

23             However, I have noted that in a number of UNPROFOR reports there

24     is a paragraph on comments, but here I see no analysis of the situation.

25     Thus in July [as interpreted] it seems that an incident occurred, but it

Page 44047

 1     seems to be an isolated incident.

 2             Now, please, could you tell us, as far as you're concerned,

 3     whether you think what happened in Gornji Vakuf was an isolated incident

 4     or whether this illustrates an incident that does not date back to

 5     January 1993 but which -- whose roots can be found in 1992 or even

 6     earlier in 1991.

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Antonetti, based

 8     on what I just said, the flags were regular during the elections.  The

 9     peoples had their flags.  I don't see how the raising of any of these

10     flags should bother any of the other sides.  That means there is

11     something that isn't working properly with one of these other sides.

12             Secondly, one of my tasks, both in 1992 and 1993, and during my

13     time as commander, was to continually make possible +for weapons to go

14     through and eventually reach the BH Army.  You asked me what I was doing.

15     One of my tasks was in a way to keep this secret, even without the

16     soldiers knowing, to allow the weapons to go through and reach the

17     BH Army.  A lot of my energy was dedicated to that.  For Merhamet's

18     trucks, five or six of those, concealing the BH Army weapons, allowing

19     them to pass through the positions held by my soldiers and me, and then

20     those weapons were used against us the very next day.  Any criminal

21     enterprise would have stopped this sort of traffic all together.  The HVO

22     was strong enough to simply take those areas, round the whole thing off,

23     and finish the whole story in October/November 1992.

24             I will never justify myself before this court or any other court

25     why I raised the Croatian flag in a country in which I was a member of a

Page 44048

 1     constituent people.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm not asking for

 3     justification.  I was -- asked a very specific question, surgically

 4     precise, if I could say so.  And the further -- you know, as we go on, I

 5     will be more and more specific.  I really wanted to know whether this

 6     so-called flag incident was just an isolated incident or whether this was

 7     part of a plan at all.  It's crystal clear.  And you're not answering my

 8     question.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know there was no plan.

10     This was a man who raised this flag.  Another man reacted.  What happened

11     happened.  There was no order to raise this flag.  There was no

12     speculation, Let's go and raise a flag here and then there will be a

13     reaction by them.  It was nothing like that.  This was an isolated

14     incident and tensions were allayed immediately because the commanders

15     jumped in to calm the situation down.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

17             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] If I may, a correction of the

18     transcript.  I think there is a mistake sneaking in there when the

19     Honourable Judge's question was being interpreted.  Page 9, line 22.  It

20     reads July as the month in which the incident happened that the Judge was

21     asking a question about; whereas I think the Judge said the January

22     incident, which the next paragraph records properly.  Thank you.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  I thank you,

24     Mrs. Alaburic.  I could have seen it myself, but when I put a question,

25     I -- I'm always watching Mr. Praljak, and I can't see the screen at the

Page 44049

 1     same time.  Professionally, I always want to look -- look at the person

 2     I'm talking to, and I can't check the screen at the same time,

 3     unfortunately.

 4             Thank you for -- counsel of Defence for creating the transcript.

 5             MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President.

 6        Q.   General, the document next document in the binder is P01107.

 7     It's somewhat long.  It's an order of Colonel Siljeg.  We've seen it any

 8     number of times.  I'm not going to ask you about it in great detail

 9     except for two parts.

10             First of all, as we see in the preamble, and this is dated the

11     12th of January, 1993, he notes a deterioration in the relation between

12     Croats and Muslims.  He says the BH Army is attempting to take over key

13     buildings in Gornji Vakuf which are under the control of the HVO, and

14     given the incident that are present at all times, such as taking down the

15     Croatian flag in the centre of town, arresting certain individuals on

16     both sides, arrival of BH Army forces, et cetera, and the failure of

17     civilian authorities to function, and in particular because of the

18     attempt by the BH Army to eliminate the HVO in Gornji Vakuf, and then he

19     issues this order.

20             And my question, General, is -- is at the -- if you turn to the

21     very end, we can -- I don't want to go through it.  I don't want to take

22     the time to go through this.  He's talking about the attack forces,

23     objectives, taskings of the various units, various brigades, use of

24     artillery in paragraph 3, et cetera.

25             And then in item 6 at the end of the document, he says:

Page 44050

 1             "Be prepared for combat immediately, which is to be started when

 2     I give the order."

 3             General, my question simply is whether we can call this a

 4     preparatory attack order or a preparatory combat order.

 5        A.   That's right.  This is something that a commander must do.  He

 6     must prepare, and then he says preparedness right now.  The attack shall

 7     commence depending on my later order.

 8        Q.   All right.

 9        A.   Depending on how the situation evolves.  And then there were

10     attempts --

11        Q.   Thank you.  You gave me the answer I was looking for, General.

12     And the next question on this would be whether -- as I understand it, you

13     arrived in this area, that is Prozor-Gornji Vakuf, if I can put it that

14     way, on the -- late on the 15th or early on the 16th of January.  Is that

15     correct?

16        A.   The morning of the 16th.  I can't say really.  That morning,

17     before noon.

18        Q.   After you arrived on the morning of the 16th of January, did you

19     become aware at that time or subsequently that Siljeg had issued this

20     preparatory combat order?

21        A.   I didn't know that he issued this, but on the 16th the fighting

22     was already going on.

23        Q.   All right.

24        A.   The fighting started on the 16th, actually.

25        Q.   The next document is P01132, and we're going to take a moment to

Page 44051

 1     see what's being said on the other side.  This is a document of the

 2     Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, dated the 14th of January, 1993, and this is

 3     Mr. Hadzihasanovic writing to the Supreme Command, and he's talking

 4     about -- he says one of the most complex problems -- this is at the

 5     beginning:

 6             "One of the most complex problems the command corps has

 7     encountered since the corps' establishment to this day is the relation

 8     between ARBiH units and HVO units.  Such relations culminated in the

 9     HVO's armed attack on Gornji Vakuf, resulting in huge material damage,

10     the wounding of civilians," et cetera, and he goes on.

11             And I want to move down to the bullet points that are at the end

12     of the next paragraph.  He first lays out a conclusion that the latest

13     conflict is a well-thought out, planned policy, planned -- excuse me,

14     well-thought out and planned activity on the part of HVO extremists and

15     part of the HVO policy with the chief aim of an open conflict between the

16     Croat and Muslim people.

17             Now, this is Hadzihasanovic making this assessment and sending it

18     to the Supreme Command of the ABiH.  And in support of that conclusion he

19     cites these facts, he says:

20             "Civilians bodies of authorities, where the HDZ ostensibly won,

21     are creating a state set-up in the state of so-called Herceg-Bosnia.

22     Muslims as well as those who do not recognise the laws of so-called

23     Herceg-Bosnia are being removed from the bodies of authority."

24             He continues to say that:

25             "Parallel bodies of authority within -- with the so-called HB's

Page 44052

 1     legislature are created in territories the HVO considers its own ..."

 2             Then skipping down, he continues by saying:

 3             "... the HVO units are confiscating weapons, equipment,

 4     foodstuffs, other means intended for the ARBiH, as well as that of

 5     humanitarian organisations."

 6             Now, General I'm not going to go back to the documents but, when

 7     we were talking about lead-up to the conflict in Prozor in 1992, we

 8     looked at a few of the documents related to the HVO's political takeover

 9     of Prozor municipality.  Do you remember that?  Do you remember the

10     document we looked at where Dario Kordic signed on behalf of Mate Boban

11     appointing people to the municipal HVO in Prozor?

12        A.   According to all my information the HVO did not take over

13     political power in Prozor, but at meetings it shared the power and

14     authority on the basis of the election results.  That's my information

15     when I was up there.

16        Q.   I asked a different question which was whether you remember the

17     document where Dario Kordic signed on behalf of Mate Boban appointing

18     individuals to the municipal HVO.  If you don't remember it, just tell me

19     and we'll move on.

20        A.   Yes, I do remember that document, and that's all I can tell you

21     about that document.

22        Q.   All right.  And now what we see now a couple of months later in

23     Gornji Vakuf is the same sort of reference or a reference to the same

24     sort of activity, that is the appointment, the creation of parallel

25     civilian or political authorities in these areas under HVO control.  And

Page 44053

 1     the ABiH people here are concluding that that, in fact, is part of an HVO

 2     policy that's going to lead to open conflict between Croat and Muslim

 3     people.  And isn't that indeed the case, that the establishment of these

 4     separate HVO bodies, parallel structures, is in large part what led to

 5     the military conflict between the HVO and the ABiH in Gornji Vakuf?

 6        A.   No, that's not correct.  In Gornji Vakuf, complete power and

 7     authority -- or, rather, parallel authority was created by two people,

 8     Topcic or whatever the man's name was, and none of these points that

 9     Hadzihasanovic is setting out here is correct, not a single one.

10        Q.   General - excuse me - the next exhibit is P01146, and this is one

11     that we've seen a lot, and it's one of a series, and so let's just go

12     through the series and then we'll talk about this issue of the -- the

13     ultimatum or the position of the HVO in more detail.

14             General, P01146 is a decision of the HVO HZ HB that was made or

15     issued at its extraordinary session held on the 15th of January, 1993, in

16     Mostar.  And we see in this decision, and we've seen it many times

17     already in this trial, the decision providing or directing that in

18     Vance-Owen canton 3, 8, and 10, the HVO is -- well, the ABiH is going to

19     be subordinated to the HVO, and in Vance-Owen cantons 1, 5, 9, the HVO is

20     going to be subordinated to the ABiH, and in the documents to come, we'll

21     see how this decision moved down the chain of command.

22             Before we do that, General, this is the 15th of January, and

23     you've told us that it was on the morning of the 15th of January, 1993,

24     when you left Zagreb and made your way down to Mostar with the text that

25     we find in this decision; is that correct?

Page 44054

 1        A.   Correct.

 2        Q.   And you're saying that the text of -- of what's in this

 3     decision --

 4        A.   On the 15th, before noon.

 5        Q.   Right.  And if I understand correctly, you're tell us that this

 6     text was text that was agreed upon in Zagreb in meetings that were held

 7     with you, Mr. Izetbegovic, Gojko Susak, and others; correct?

 8        A.   I took part in one or two meetings.  They lasted for a day or

 9     two.  I can't remember all the names, but Boban, Izetbegovic, Susak, yes,

10     and some others, and I myself were there.  I think I was at two meetings,

11     not the whole of the meetings.

12        Q.   And I asked you about this last week, and you said that the

13     agreement on this text was an oral agreement, that is, that Izetbegovic

14     and his people did not sign off on a text.  Rather, it was an oral

15     agreement; correct?

16        A.   No, that's not what I said.  The document was compiled.  It

17     wasn't signed because the minister in the government of

18     Bosnia-Herzegovina was supposed to make it public first.  Bozo Rajic, he

19     was the defence minister at the time.  And I see no reason why it should

20     be signed and initialed if the minister was going to make it public.

21             Anyway, the text was drawn up, and they agreed upon it.

22        Q.   So neither Boban nor Izetbegovic signed off on this text, but

23     it's your testimony that it was going to be made public as an agreement

24     nonetheless?

25        A.   Mr. Stringer, the text was written, dovetailed, and handed over

Page 44055

 1     to the minister in the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to the defence

 2     minister, in fact.  That's all.  And I think he made it public on the

 3     16th, and I think we've already seen the text of that during these

 4     proceedings.

 5        Q.   Coming back to this exhibit, P01146, this extraordinary session

 6     that was held on the 15th of January, 1993, in Mostar, were you present?

 7        A.   No.

 8        Q.   Now, the text of this decision, since it came from you, did you

 9     arrive in Mostar, give the text to the membership of the HVO HZ HB, and

10     then they went in and had their extraordinary session?  Is that how it

11     worked?

12        A.   I'm not the author of the text.  I took part in elaborating this

13     document.  So to be an author and to take part are two different things.

14             I brought the text, that's true, and I handed it over to the

15     gentlemen there, Mr. Prlic, Stojic, and Petkovic.

16        Q.   And, so then my question is:  After you handed the text over to

17     them, is that when they went into this extraordinary session and passed

18     this decision, or do you know?

19        A.   I don't know.

20        Q.   Okay.  So you don't know how this decision came about?

21        A.   How it came about?  Yes, I do know that.

22        Q.   No -- go ahead.  I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off.  Go

23     ahead, please.

24        A.   I don't know when was meeting was.  I don't know when they signed

25     it.  All I know is that I brought it as a finished decision, something

Page 44056

 1     that we were very happy to have put down on paper and that we would have

 2     reciprocity, and that this could stop any possible conflicts that arose

 3     from minor issues and that were more and more difficult to mitigate.

 4        Q.   All right.  Now, in paragraph --

 5             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Excuse me, Mr. Stringer.

 6             The translation, Mr. Praljak, reads, "I don't know when they

 7     signed it," plural.  I have only found one signature on the document.

 8     Why do you use the plural here?

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because a similar decision with

10     very minor differences was signed by Mr. Stojic and Mr. Petkovic.  So

11     that's why I used the plural.  I know of this decision.  And then

12     afterwards there were two orders, and we have seen those two orders here.

13             MR. STRINGER:  Your Honour Judge Trechsel, the subsequent ones

14     from Mr. Stojic and the others are coming so --

15             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I have seen that.  I have seen that.  It will be

16     interesting to know how they relate to each other, because at first look

17     it seems a bit strange that one would have three identical, if they are

18     identical, orders signed by different members of government.  Thank you.

19             MR. STRINGER:

20        Q.   General, I just wanted to take you to paragraph 1 of this.  It

21     says:

22             "All units of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina which at this

23     moment are stationed in provinces 3, 8 and 10, which have been declared

24     Croatian provinces in the Geneva accords, shall be subordinated to the

25     command of the Main Staff of the HVO armed forces."

Page 44057

 1             General, now, are you asserting that Alija Izetbegovic agreed to

 2     that language that Vance-Owen provinces 3, 8 and 10 had been declared

 3     Croatian provinces?

 4        A.   Yes.  In that respect, an agreement had already been reached, and

 5     Mr. Izetbegovic agreed with it.  And it was always emphasised that this

 6     decision, decision number four, was considered a provisional decision and

 7     would be in force until the final Geneva agreements were signed.  So it

 8     didn't jump the gun in any way.  It just made sense in one aspect.  The

 9     fighting in Vakuf had already begun.  I was asked to go down there and to

10     try and assist the people to calm the situation down, and -- yes, very

11     well.

12        Q.   So -- and again when you talk about this agreement with

13     Izetbegovic, you're talking about an oral agreement.  You don't have

14     President Izetbegovic's signature on this text anywhere, do you?

15        A.   Mr. Stringer, we have this decision here and the order, and it's

16     signed by his minister in the government, Bozo Rajic.  You asked me this

17     ten times --

18        Q.   General --

19        A.   -- as if you think I'm stupid and --

20        Q.   No, I'm actually asking you a different question which is, just

21     to confirm for us, you do not have Alija Izetbegovic's signature on this

22     text anywhere, do you?

23        A.   That is correct.

24        Q.   Let's move to the next document as we follow this down the chain,

25     P01140.  And this is dated the same day, the 15th of January, 1993, and

Page 44058

 1     this is the document, General, that you referred to a moment ago that

 2     bears the signature of Bruno Stojic, head of the Defence Department.  And

 3     he's issuing this order, which is pursuant to the HVO decision that we

 4     just looked at, and this is an order from the head of the Defence

 5     Department.  We see it goes to the Main Staff of the HVO.  It appears to

 6     be going to some command of the army of the -- command of the Army of

 7     Bosnia-Herzegovina, minister of defence, Bosnia-Herzegovina military

 8     police.

 9             In this one Mr. Stojic orders -- I'm not going to read it all but

10     it is similar to, although not identical to, the text that we just were

11     reading in the previous document.  Ordering the establishment of direct

12     contact with the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the various Vance-Owen

13     cantons in order to achieve an implementation of the decision that we

14     just referred to.

15             In number 2 he directs that the HVO is going to subordinate

16     themselves to the command of the ABiH or leave the territory.

17             And then he essentially says the same thing in paragraph 3.  He

18     says:

19             "Members of the units of the armed forces of the HVO and the

20     Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina ... who do not leave the territory of the

21     province and do not wish to subordinate themselves to the relevant

22     command shall be treated as members of paramilitary units who shall be

23     disarmed and taken into custody."

24             Now, General, would you agree with me that this reference to

25     treating units as paramilitaries is not something that's found in the

Page 44059

 1     text of the original HVO decision that we looked at in the previous

 2     document?

 3        A.   Well, the government is obviously making a decision, and the

 4     minister, on the basis of that government decision, is issuing an order.

 5        Q.   Well --

 6        A.   He elaborates on the situation in such a way -- in a way that's

 7     quite logical.

 8        Q.   The question was a simple one.  Can you agree with me that the

 9     reference to the paramilitary units here is not something that's

10     contained in the original text that's found in the HVO decision?  It's a

11     yes or no.

12        A.   Well, we would have to take the original text of Bozo Rajic's to

13     see what it says there.

14        Q.   No.  I'm asking you about the text that's in the HVO decision

15     that we just talked about in the previous document, P01146.

16        A.   There is a difference.

17        Q.   And since the HVO decision, which is P01146, is the text that you

18     brought from Zagreb, then this reference to paramilitary units is

19     something new that Mr. Stojic added, isn't it?

20        A.   I don't know, because I didn't say that I'd brought this document

21     passed by the government but that I was bringing in a document that had

22     been dovetailed and coordinated, and the original was published by

23     Bozo Rajic.  Now, it was you who said that I brought in this document

24     issued by the government.  I didn't.  I brought the document that had

25     been dovetailed, the one that was published by Bozo Rajic.

Page 44060

 1        Q.   Well, you're telling us something different now, General.  A

 2     couple of minutes ago you told us that you carried the text to Mostar and

 3     that you handed it to Dr. Prlic and Mr. Stojic and the others.

 4             Now, are you changing your testimony?

 5        A.   No, but I didn't say that the document that I brought was signed

 6     by Prlic.  My logic is quite clear.  I brought a document, and that

 7     document is the document that was published by Bozo Rajic.  The --

 8        Q.   So --

 9        A.   -- differences or --

10        Q.   When did you give it to Bozo Rajic?  This is new.

11        A.   I didn't hand it to Bozo Rajic.  Bozo Rajic received it from one

12     of the participants at the meeting.  Now, who gave it to him, whether it

13     was Boban or Izetbegovic or both of them, I don't know.

14        Q.   All right, General.  I want to skip down to paragraph 8 of this

15     document where Bruno Stojic orders that:

16             "The Chief of the Main Staff of the armed forces of the HVO and

17     the chief of the HVO military police administration shall be responsible

18     to me for implementation of this order."

19             Now, given that this in your view, General -- well, let me start

20     over again.  What this document purports to do, General, is to provide

21     for the military implementation on the ground of a political agreement

22     that you claim was reached; correct?

23        A.   Correct.  And point 5 is particularly important, which speaks

24     about the very proper conduct on the Croatian side.  So I don't think you

25     should skip that one.

Page 44061

 1        Q.   And in paragraph number 8, then, since we see military

 2     implementation on the ground of a political agreement, it's appropriate

 3     then that it would be the head of the Defence Department as the highest

 4     ranking -- or most direct civilian authority over the Main Staff to issue

 5     such a decision, isn't it?  Civilian control over the military is what

 6     this shows, doesn't it?

 7        A.   I'm not sure I understood you correctly.  I do apologise, but I'm

 8     not quite clear on what you're asking.

 9        Q.   I'm looking at item number 8 where Bruno Stojic directs that the

10     chief the Main Staff, who at the time was Brigadier Petkovic; correct?

11        A.   Yes.

12        Q.   And the chief of the HVO Military Police Administration -- at

13     that time it was Valentin Coric; correct?

14        A.   Yes.

15        Q.   He holds them responsible to report to him on the implementation

16     of this order.  And so what this tells us, General, is that the head of

17     the Defence Department had the authority to direct the military and the

18     military police in matters involving implementation of political party --

19     or political policy or political agreements; correct?

20        A.   That would follow quite obviously from item 8.  After political

21     agreements had been reached, it is quite obvious that in that respect,

22     and looking at item 8, it follows that he has the right to ask that the

23     Main Staff implement a political decision of that nature.

24        Q.   All right.  Now and in fairness, you mentioned item 5 so I'll

25     come back to it.  I take it General, that you wanted to point out here

Page 44062

 1     that the Stojic order provides that there is to be proportionate

 2     representation in the command structures based upon the -- the proportion

 3     of soldiers on the front line; correct?

 4        A.   Correct.  And a consistent implementation of item 5, in view of

 5     the fact that the BH Army soldiers were more numerous and they were up at

 6     the front lines towards the Serbs, and if they were there they could take

 7     over command of the brigades in the operative zones and in the provinces

 8     in which allegedly the HVO had been given the right to command.  So item

 9     5 speaks about the very proper conduct.  Let's have soldiers up at the

10     front, and proportionate to the soldiers fighting the Army of

11     Republika Srpska, in proportion you should take the command of the

12     brigades in the operative zones.  And I don't think you could have any

13     more proper guidelines than that.

14        Q.   Then the next -- the next step in this chain or in this process

15     is the next document, General, P0 --

16             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Excuse me.  Excuse me, Mr. Stringer.  I would

17     like to ask a question regarding number 6 here, where Mr. Stojic "forbids

18     the engagement," I'm quoting, "of officers of the Army of BH who have

19     influenced the breakdown of relations between the Croatian and Muslim

20     people in their previous work."

21             Mr. Praljak, what does that mean?  What kind of officers are

22     referred to there?  Is it everyone who fought against the HVO, or is

23     there a special criterion?

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.  I don't think that that's it.

25     I don't know what it is exactly, but up until then there was just the

Page 44063

 1     conflict in Rama.  They weren't fighting against the HVO up until that

 2     time, but then there was some information about some people like Paraga,

 3     for example, in Vakuf, and other people mentioned there.  It was obvious

 4     looking at that that a certain number of people in the BH Army, some of

 5     them who had come from the Yugoslav People's Army, and we had every

 6     indication that in fact they were working within the frameworks of KOS,

 7     K-O-S, and that they were working to disrupt any agreement between the

 8     BH Army and the HVO and a Joint Command, that those people shouldn't

 9     become members of any joint commands or joint staff because they would do

10     what in fact they succeeded in doing later on.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  That's -- okay.

12             MR. STRINGER:

13        Q.   General, the next document is P01139, also dated the

14     15th of January, this one over the signature of Brigadier Petkovic, who

15     was the chief of the HVO Main Staff.

16             So here we see in the -- P01139.  Do you have it now?

17        A.   Yes, sir.

18        Q.   This is same date, 15 January 1993, and here Brigadier Petkovic

19     makes a reference first to the decision of the HVO of the HZ HB, and with

20     the document reference numbers we can -- we can confirm that he's

21     referring here to the decision of the HVO HZ HB that we looked at a few

22     minutes ago, P01146.  And then he also makes a reference to the order of

23     the chief of the Defence Department, and with that reference number we

24     can see that he's referring to P01140, which is the Stojic order.  So now

25     he's taken the Stojic order, and pursuant to the Geneva agreements, he

Page 44064

 1     issues this order.  And again, this is simply passing down the chain of

 2     command the terms or the provisions of the text that we've been talking

 3     about with the other documents on subordination of units based on which

 4     canton they were found in.

 5             And here we see in item 4 that the reference to the paramilitary

 6     units that appears in the Stojic order is repeated, then, in the order of

 7     General Petkovic, providing that:

 8             "Units which do not submit to the appropriate commands should

 9     leave the province where they do not belong.  Otherwise, they will be

10     treated as paramilitary units and disarmed."

11             So item 8 then provides that this order is to be carried out by

12     the 20th of January, 1993.

13        A.   Excuse me, what is the question in relation to item 4?  Am I here

14     to answer your questions or do you plan to just read on?  Item 4 reads:

15              "Members of" --

16             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreter's note:  Could all the unnecessary

17     microphones be switched off, please.  Thank you.

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you're about going to go on

19     reading this document, then you hardly require my presence here, do you?

20             MR. STRINGER:

21        Q.   Well, I'm finish reading it, General.

22             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak, a bit of respect, please, for the

23     Prosecutor as for everyone else.

24             MR. STRINGER:

25        Q.   I'm trying to get through it as quickly as I can while being fair

Page 44065

 1     to you about the parts I'm going to ask you about.  Okay?

 2        A.   Thank you very much for that, but what I'm trying to say is this:

 3     You're talking about paramilitaries units.  No, that is not true.  What

 4     this document is saying is that units, BH units or HVO units, that are

 5     not resubordinated again, that this will be another mirror image.  If

 6     these units don't obey, be it HVO or BH Army units, such units will of

 7     course be considered as paramilitary units because they refuse to obey

 8     orders.

 9        Q.   Okay.  This reference to paramilitaries, let's apply it, then, to

10     the situation in Gornji Vakuf.

11             As applied to the situation in Gornji Vakuf, since Gornji Vakuf

12     was within Vance-Owen canton number 8, then the ABiH units present in

13     Gornji Vakuf at this time would either have to submit to the command of

14     the HVO there or they would have to leave.  And if they didn't leave

15     Gornji Vakuf, then they would be considered by the HVO to be

16     paramilitaries.

17             Isn't that a correct interpretation of this?

18        A.   In Gornji Vakuf the only unit that was there was the

19     Jajce Brigade, and then Petkovic here again says in proportion to the

20     number of soldiers on the battlefront, if in Gornji Vakuf there are more

21     Muslim soldiers who will reach the line facing the Army of

22     Republika Srpska, they will be getting greater proportion in command in

23     the operation zones and brigades as well.

24        Q.   You're not answering my question.  I'm asking you about the

25     status of ABiH units in Gornji Vakuf that do not submit to the command of

Page 44066

 1     the HVO.  And isn't it true that such units would be considered to be

 2     paramilitaries by the HVO after the 20th of April -- excuse me,

 3     20th of January, 1993?

 4        A.   That follows from the order and decision approved by

 5     Alija Izetbegovic.

 6        Q.   All right.  The decision again, and the decision approved by

 7     Alija Izetbegovic, this is text that was not the text that you handed

 8     over to Dr. Prlic in advance of the HVO meeting, right?  Because we don't

 9     see that language about paramilitaries in the HVO decision, do we?

10        A.   Mr. Stringer, I'm just trying to make sure we have an

11     understanding on this.

12             I brought along a document, I'm not sure what it looks like

13     exactly, but the original is with Bozo Rajic.  If you show me that

14     document, I will tell you, to the best of my recollection, this is what

15     was involved in, involved.

16        Q.   All right, General.  We'll come to that.

17             Now, I want to take you to the next exhibit, which is P01186.

18     Now, General, this is the 18th of January, 1993.  It's a couple of days

19     before the 20 January deadline that is contained in the Petkovic order we

20     just looked at, and this is a communication from Arif Pasalic, commander

21     of the ABiH 4th Corps, and he's referring to -- we can tell by the

22     reference number in the first sentence that he's referring to P01139,

23     which is the -- the order we just looked at that was issued by

24     General Petkovic, and he's talking about the establishment of the

25     4th Corps in November of 1992.  He says -- he continues in paragraph 1

Page 44067

 1     that throughout the time that the 4th Corps was established, he says:

 2             "Your staff and command of the operative zone did not express any

 3     interest in the questions, what command it was, its purpose and command

 4     structure."

 5             He goes on to say that on several occasions he'd been orally

 6     informed by the chairman of the Defence Department about it, but he

 7     reacted disparagingly and said, "What corps?  Where is that corps?"

 8             Now, here we see, then, that he is writing to Petkovic, and in

 9     item 5 he says that:

10             "I cannot carry out item 2 in your order due to the fact that the

11     4th Corps of the Bosnian Army and its units are not under your command

12     regarding such decisions and their execution."

13             I'm going to move back up to paragraph 3.  He says:

14             "I am informing you that I do recognise, I do recognise the HVO

15     Main Staff as a superior command for coordination of activities on front

16     lines and combat actions -- operations against the enemy, Chetniks and

17     the remnants of the former JNA."

18             So here -- and he continues on.  He concludes by asking Petkovic

19     to rescind his order.

20             Here we have a direct statement from the ABiH side that this

21     order coming from the HVO HZ HB through Stojic, Petkovic on subordination

22     is not going to be respected or carried out by the ABiH; correct?  They

23     were not going to subordinate themselves to the HVO in Gornji Vakuf.

24        A.   No.

25        Q.   Now --

Page 44068

 1        A.   Mr. Pasalic had nothing to do with the Gornji Vakuf command.

 2     Secondly, Mr. Pasalic claims that he believes the Main Staff to be his

 3     superior in terms of coordination, which is precisely what Petkovic's and

 4     Stojic's document, the previous one, refers to.  Thirdly, Petkovic says,

 5     "Start talks."

 6             That document marked the beginning of the talks between the

 7     commands of the HVO, the brigades, and the operation zones about how

 8     joint commands should be established in order to keep incidents, minor

 9     incidents, petty incidents, individual incidents, group incidents such as

10     this one, from occurring, leaving the army commands in a very unpleasant

11     situation.

12        Q.   Well -- yeah.  Let's just continue on, then, with the events that

13     follow, General.  I'm going to skip ahead in the binder a little bit, and

14     I'm going to take you to P01168.  1168.  Because you say -- you've

15     indicated that Pasalic was not -- well, you said he had nothing to do

16     with the Gornji Vakuf command, so let's see if we can get more from the

17     ABiH on their position.

18        A.   No, no.  I said Pasalic did not command the BH Army in Vakuf.

19     What could he have had to do with that?  That's a different story

20     altogether.  The 4th Corps did not have any Gornji Vakuf units under its

21     command.

22             I would like to see some precision and let's not use

23     diplomatic language when it comes to the army.

24        Q.   Pasalic was based in Mostar; correct?

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, do not talk to

Page 44069

 1     the Prosecutor asking for more accuracy.  If you believe that the

 2     question is not well formulated or not specific enough, just ask him for

 3     specifications, but don't give any orders.  He's just here to put

 4     questions to you.  The question might be formulated a specific way.  You

 5     might not like it.  If you believe that in terms of military jargon it's

 6     not correct, well, just be more specific in your answer.

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Antonetti, what I

 8     said what Arif Pasalic was in command of Mr. Stringer changed slightly,

 9     and then I said that's not what I said.  I didn't say he had no

10     influence; I said the units in Gornji Vakuf were not under the command of

11     Arif Pasalic, just that.

12        Q.   It might be that there was an interpretation issue.  It's a bit

13     nuanced.  I read from the transcript.  We were told initially that you

14     said that Arif Pasalic had nothing to do with Gornji Vakuf.  So let me

15     try to clarify it.

16             Pasalic was in Mostar; correct?

17        A.   Yes.

18        Q.   Now, this order -- I'm not going to call it an ultimatum.  You

19     know the Prosecution's position is that this is in fact an ultimatum that

20     was not carried out by the ABiH, and that's what resulted in the outbreak

21     of conflict on or about the 20th of January.  You know that's our

22     position.  For our discussion purposes, I'll refer to it as "this order."

23             The fact is that this order on subordination not only applied in

24     Prozor or Gornji Vakuf, it also applied in other parts such as Mostar.

25     Isn't that true?  It also was applied in Pasalic's area of responsibility

Page 44070

 1     down in Mostar; correct?

 2        A.   Correct.

 3        Q.   Okay.  Now if you'll go to P01168.  This is the 16th of January,

 4     and this is Sefer Halilovic, Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command of the

 5     ABiH armed forces, and he's sending this out to commands of all the

 6     corps.

 7             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise to my learned

 8     friend, just in order to forestall any potential problems in

 9     Mr. Praljak's binder, maybe not.  This document we only have page 1,

10     11 -- P1168.  When I look at the English I see that it has page 2 and

11     page 3, and then I'm looking at the English the translation shows who the

12     signatory is.  The original document in the Croatian does not have

13     page 2.  There is only one page.  There seems to be an error there.  Not

14     in ours.  Not in ours.  It might be an error.  It might be a photocopying

15     error.  There you go.

16             I'm talking about ERN 8979, last four digits.

17             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, I think I can clarify it.  What we

18     have in the English --

19             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I hope there are no problems.

20             MR. STRINGER:  I don't think there are.  Well, in the original

21     language version we have the page 8979, which counsel's just referred to,

22     which ends at paragraph number 7 or item number 7, and then the following

23     page that everyone should have is -- got some handwriting on it with the

24     stamp -- it's got the stamp of Halilovic's signature and then handwriting

25     under it.  And if we look at the English translation, we see that it's

Page 44071

 1     indicated there that after Halilovic's signature on the stamp, then the

 2     rest of it is handwritten text and it's indicating the distribution of

 3     the document, the dates and the times that it was all sent out.  So I

 4     think it's all there.

 5             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] All right.  I mean, maybe I wasn't

 6     clear.  I said in my binder it doesn't appear to be there.  If

 7     General Praljak has it, if you have it, it's all right.  He can go on

 8     discussing, but now that we've lost time on this document, I do have to

 9     say it doesn't tell me anything.  This page 2, that is really page 2 of

10     this document, but let's just let that rest.  I don't think it matters

11     right now.

12             MR. STRINGER:  Well, I can give counsel the second page which has

13     the stamp and the handwriting on it if you don't have that.

14             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] We've got it.  It's been given to

15     us by our learned friends.  I think that's a different thing, but if you

16     say so, the ERN number is there, then perhaps that just might be the

17     case.  Thank you.

18             MR. STRINGER:

19        Q.   Okay.  General, you've had a moment or two to look over the

20     document.  This is Halilovic sending out a command on relations with

21     HVO HZ HB.  It's an order, as he puts it, to commands of all the corps.

22     Then he talks about the January 15th, how they were informed about the

23     decision of the HVO HZ HB and the command of the unit commander of the

24     Defence Department in Mostar, and he goes on to describe again this order

25     or the document sent out on subordination of units in the various

Page 44072

 1     Vance-Owen cantons.  And the first command is that the ABiH must not

 2     accept or act upon decisions of the HVO.

 3             He goes on ordering combat readiness be lifted.  He orders, in

 4     paragraph 3, that within the zone of responsibility measures are to be

 5     taken to realise further cooperation with the HVO and to prevent any

 6     conflicts between HVO and ABiH army.

 7             He goes on to order that behaviour -- extreme behaviour has to be

 8     dealt with.

 9             In item 4 he talks -- he orders that they estimate the current

10     situation and possible conflict situations in relation to HVO.  Make a

11     plan of measures for preventing them.

12             So -- and all of this goes out.  And then the indications in the

13     handwritten part are that this is all -- this is sent out to Mostar,

14     16 January, Bihac, 1 K, I'm not sure what that is.  So we've got pretty

15     widespread distribution to the corps of an order that, although they're

16     not to comply with this subordination order, they are to look for ways to

17     cooperate and to avoid conflict.

18             General, the fact is that as of 16 January 1993, the HVO really

19     was the only party that was looking for conflict, if necessary, to

20     enforce the terms of this decision on subordination.  Isn't that true?

21        A.   No, it's not true.  The decisions discussed the beginning of

22     talks.  Mr. Halilovic refuses to agree.  He discards everything.  Some

23     days after that it was also discarded by Mr. Alija Izetbegovic.  On the

24     20th, he made it null and void, the order adopted by his own defence

25     minister, and then the whole thing was placed on the back burner.

Page 44073

 1        Q.   Well, just to stay with this let's look at the next exhibit which

 2     is dated the same day, 16 January 1993, 8.00 in the evening.  P01162.  We

 3     looked at this document during your earlier part of your

 4     cross-examination, General.  This is a report of Colonel Siljeg to the

 5     Main Staff in Mostar, and at the very end -- well, bottom of page 2 of

 6     the English he says:

 7             "Tonight at Gornji Vakuf, Colonel Siljeg and Colonel Andric

 8     negotiated with BH Army representatives.  There were no results.  Unless

 9     there is an agreement, Gornji Vakuf, southern strongholds," and they're

10     all listed there, "will be taken and our line strengthened."

11             He says:

12             "General Praljak sent them a message that they will be

13     annihilated if they do not accept the decisions of the HZ HB."

14             Now, General, this is the 16th of January.  We've got two things

15     happening here.  We've got Sefer Halilovic sending out an order to all

16     his corps telling them to avoid conflict with the HVO but not to accept

17     the decision on subordination.  And on the same day, we've got

18     General Praljak in the area informing the ABiH that they will be

19     annihilated, they'll run over, however you want to call it, if they do

20     not accept the decisions of the HZ HB.

21             So I'll put my question to you again, General.  As of the 16th of

22     January, it was only the HVO that was looking for conflict, military

23     conflict, and that it would do so if this decision on subordination was

24     not accepted by the ABiH; correct?

25        A.   Not correct.  About the outbreak of clashes in Gornji Vakuf.  The

Page 44074

 1     cause of the clashes and their continuation have nothing to do with what

 2     you're saying, that being any agreement that was reached and then

 3     annulled on how the joint commands of the BH Army should be established.

 4     The clashes in Gornji Vakuf broke out on the 11th, and they continued.

 5     Praljak did not say this.  I didn't go there to impose any ultimatum on

 6     anyone.  You will see later documents about making suggestions to Siljeg

 7     and Andric where they would say during the talks it had nothing to do

 8     with any ultimatum.  It was only about them moving out of these

 9     strongholds around the town, the strongholds that they had taken for no

10     reason at all.

11        Q.   And when it says here that they'll be annihilated or overrun if

12     they do not accept the decisions of the HZ HB, that's a reference to the

13     decision on subordination that was issued by the HVO of the HZ HB;

14     correct?

15        A.   Mr. Stringer, I'm challenging the suggestion that I said this

16     during those talks.  Regardless of what Siljeg reported, that wasn't the

17     line of action that I took during those talks.  You will see the

18     transcripts of those talks and the items discussed.  It was no ultimatum

19     stemming from the 15th and so on and so forth.  What was discussed there

20     was lifting the full blockade of the HVO in Gornji Vakuf and putting an

21     end to the clashes in such a way that the BH Army didn't block the roads,

22     which was, as I said in response to the question by Judge Antonetti, a

23     classic act of military aggression.

24             MR. STRINGER:  I'm going to stay with this specific issue a bit

25     longer, Mr. President, but it appears to me it's time for the break.

Page 44075

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, it's time for the break,

 2     so we'll break for 20 minutes.

 3                           --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.

 4                           --- On resuming at 4.07 p.m.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall resume our hearing,

 6     Mr. Stringer.

 7             MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President.

 8        Q.   General, before the break we were talking about Gornji Vakuf and

 9     the events involving the order or decision on subordination that was

10     issued by Mr. Stojic and the others, and I believe that we were looking

11     at your -- I should say at the report of Colonel Siljeg in which he

12     attributes to you a statement that was sent to the ABiH that they would

13     be annihilated if they do not accept the decisions of the HZ HB, and I

14     understand that you deny having sent such a message.

15             Now, we can move to the next exhibit, which is P01174, and this

16     is the same date as the Siljeg report that we were just looking at,

17     although this is a report on ABiH side from Dzemal Merdan and

18     Enver Hadzihasanovic for the attention of the chiefs of the

19     Supreme Command Staff.

20        A.   This one's the 16th, and the other one's the 17th.

21        Q.   You're right.  You're right.  Indeed P01174 is the 17th.  And it

22     makes reference to the commission for negotiations to resolve the

23     conflict in Gornji Vakuf, and that's dated Gornji Vakuf, 16 January 1993,

24     at 1845 hours.

25             Now, General, you were present there during this period of time.

Page 44076

 1     Maybe not in Gornji Vakuf, but in the area.  This commission that's

 2     referred to here, do you recall, General, that this was a commission at

 3     which ABiH and HVO representatives were talking, internationals were

 4     present in order to try to find a way to defuse the tensions in

 5     Gornji Vakuf?

 6        A.   Correct.  Those were the demands -- or, rather, the

 7     recommendations that between the HVO and BH Army, along with the

 8     international community, the problem of the conflict in Gornji Vakuf

 9     should be resolved that began on the 11th of January, 1993.

10        Q.   Now, in this report, Merdan and Hadzihasanovic are reporting

11     about negotiations that occurred during the night of 15 to 16 January, it

12     appears.  In the second paragraph they say:

13             "Around 1730 hours, the HVO representatives, Colonels Miro Andric

14     and Zeljko Siljeg arrived.  The preceding night, at around 2200 hours,

15     they had gone to Prozor for consultations with General Slobodan Praljak."

16             Now, is that correct, General, that in fact although you were not

17     yet present in Gornji Vakuf, you were nonetheless consulting with

18     Miro Andric and Colonel Siljeg in respect of negotiations and talks

19     underway at the commission?

20        A.   Correct.  They came to see me.  I think it was the 16th, because

21     the dates are a bit mixed up.  On the 15th and 16th there was sporadic

22     artillery fire, but I think it was the 16th at 2200, or whatever.  Yes,

23     they had consultations with me, that is correct.

24        Q.   And so is that correct if it indicates that you were in Prozor at

25     2200 hours on the 16th?

Page 44077

 1        A.   I think that that is correct, yes.

 2        Q.   And now here Merdan and Hadzihasanovic are passing up -- or

 3     reporting on the various --

 4             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Excuse me.  I have a little problem, probably

 5     something I didn't understand.

 6             This is referring to negotiations that happened on the

 7     16th January.  On the 16th January, I think, they say that around

 8     1730 hours HVO representatives came, and that they said that the previous

 9     night they had consulted with Mr. Praljak.  So either they get the dates

10     wrong here, or Mr. Praljak got them wrong, because the previous day for

11     the 16th is usually -- usually it's the 15th.

12             MR. STRINGER:  Yes, Your Honour.  I think it's safe to assume

13     that in this case the 15th preceded the 16th.

14             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  No generalisation, of course.

15             MR. STRINGER:  I wish I could shed more light on it.  I don't

16     know that the General can either.  I think the General's indicated that

17     to the best of his recollection --

18        Q.   You were in Prozor --

19        A.   On the 16th.  This must have been the 16th at 2200 hours.  Now,

20     what the date was then, it's on the 17th.

21        Q.   All right.  All right.  Well, maybe if we can just at least focus

22     not perhaps on the date of the document but on -- on the negotiations

23     that took place after you met with Siljeg and Miro Andric here, because

24     what's being reported is the HVO demands that they then brought back to

25     the negotiations after meeting with you, and we can see them all on the

Page 44078

 1     document:

 2             "The HVO decision on the organisation of provinces is a temporary

 3     decision based on reciprocity."

 4             General, would you agree with me that the HVO decision referred

 5     to here is the decision of the HZ HB, HVO, emanating from Dr. Prlic and

 6     the government of the HVO that we looked at earlier?

 7        A.   I think that they received the decision of General Petkovic as

 8     far as the army's concerned.  I think that one arrived, reached them.

 9     It's the decision which I still think was reciprocity and that all armies

10     behave that way if they wish to cooperate with other armies.  During

11     World War II or after World War II or whenever.

12        Q.   Is this -- can we safely say that the reference to the HVO

13     decision here is a reference to the decision on subordination that came

14     from Mr. Stojic and Mr. Petkovic?

15        A.   What I'm saying is that it was probably -- well, Mr. Andric was a

16     deputy, Mr. Petkovic's deputy, and the commander of the operative zone

17     was Siljeg, so I believe that General Petkovic's decision reached them.

18     That would be logical.

19        Q.   And I'm not going to read it all, but just moving down this we --

20     we see the various other items that are set out in this report, and the

21     one I want to read next is:

22             "Equality will be respected in all areas although the armed

23     forces must be subordinated to the HVO, and their direct commander will

24     be the HVO commander."

25             So, General, is it safe to say that at least as of 10.00 p.m. on

Page 44079

 1     the 16th when you met with Siljeg and Andric, the HVO position was that

 2     the ABiH had to agree to the terms of the Petkovic order on subordination

 3     and that they must be subordinated to the HVO in those areas falling

 4     within Vance-Owen cantons 3, 8 and 10?

 5        A.   Yes, I can agree with you there, along with respect for equality

 6     and reciprocity, and in the operative sense too.  So the commander

 7     regulating everything -- well, the BH Army remained separate with its

 8     command.  Its operative subordination as NATO functions, as UNPROFOR

 9     functioned in Bosnia-Herzegovina, so also all the armies function in this

10     way.  In the operational sense, they have one command.  You can't do it

11     better than that if you wish to avoid a conflict.

12        Q.   And we see additional requirements of the HVO as reflected in

13     this report, and one of which says, and this is again Merdan and

14     Hadzihasanovic reporting about the HVO position, they say:

15             "They demand a denial over the radio that they have torched

16     mosques, massacred civilians and soldiers and killed civilians.  It

17     should also be added that a civilian was killed, the driver of an

18     ambulance wounded, a soldier butchered, and another soldier killed as he

19     was assisting in carrying the wounded soldier into the ambulance."

20             And then it continues:

21             "Unless these requirements are carried out, they shall not be

22     responsible for any consequences of a refusal to meet these demands which

23     are intended to lessen tension, halt the conflict, and introduce law and

24     order in the area in which disturbances have emerged."

25             So, General, all of these requirements of the HVO, these are all

Page 44080

 1     requirements that were issued by you in your meeting with Colonel Siljeg

 2     and Miro Andric; is that correct?

 3        A.   No, it isn't correct.  I talked about all these terms with two

 4     people.  One was a deputy of the Main Staff.  The other was a deputy of

 5     the main operative zone commander.  And I agreed I had nothing against

 6     that because, among other things, propaganda was a major source or reason

 7     for bitterness among people, and so it's normal to ask for false

 8     propaganda to be refuted and denied, because when people hear things like

 9     that over the radio, they become very angry.

10        Q.   So, General, would you agree with me, then -- well, let me

11     suggest to you that in your meeting with Siljeg and Andric in advance of

12     this negotiation with the ABiH, you were meeting with them in your

13     capacity as someone sent by President Tudjman to calm the situation.  You

14     were an assistant minister of defence of the Republic of Croatia and also

15     a major-general in the Croatian army.  So those were the positions that

16     you held at the time of your meeting with Siljeg and Andric here;

17     correct?

18        A.   I was sent by President Tudjman and Mr. Alija Izetbegovic.  I

19     perform my duties, the ones you enumerated, and I agreed that what -- the

20     terms here for calming the conflict were logical, taking them one by one,

21     that there should be a mixed composition of policemen, proportionate,

22     that there were to be no people with long-arms except for mixed patrols

23     and so on and so forth.  I had no criticisms to make, no objections to

24     make with respect to what they would put before the BH Army in order to

25     calm the situation down.  Everything was correct, logical, proper.

Page 44081

 1        Q.   And in fact, they consulted with you in advance and presented

 2     these demands to the ABiH after you approved of them.  Isn't that true?

 3        A.   Sir, they didn't need me to approve something or not approve it.

 4     I merely agreed.  They were the commanders.

 5        Q.   Now, was it your view at the time that demanding the ABiH

 6     subordinate itself to the HVO in Gornji Vakuf or be declared a

 7     paramilitary unit was a demand that would calm the situation there?

 8        A.   No.  As you can see, that was not discussed here.  It was a work

 9     in progress, a decision that needed time to be put into practice, whereas

10     the situation in Gornji Vakuf was different, and this defines precisely

11     what they're talking about.

12        Q.   Well, let's continue with the next passage after the one I just

13     read --

14             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Mr. Stringer.  Mr. Stringer, I'm sorry to

15     interrupt you.  Let me ask you again and again, both of you to slow down,

16     please, and to have a pause between questions and answers.  I would be

17     very pleased if you could follow this.  Thank you.

18             MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Your Honour.  I apologise for that.

19        Q.   General, you just said that this was a work in progress, a

20     decision that needed time to be put in practice, whereas the situation in

21     Gornji Vakuf was different.  So continuing with the text from where I

22     left off, Merdan and Hadzihasanovic report:

23             "This envisages that everything must be completed by tomorrow.

24     If it is clear that these demands will not be carried out by tomorrow at

25     around 2400 hours, or if there is no desire to carry them out, they will

Page 44082

 1     not wait for the following day."

 2             So the HVO was not only demanding that the ABiH subordinate

 3     itself to the HVO, but that it do so within a very short period of time

 4     here, 24 hours or less; correct?

 5        A.   No, that's not correct.  Gornji Vakuf was a completely isolated

 6     case.  General Petkovic clearly states there:  "Contact and begin

 7     negotiations for joint commands," and so on.  Here it says:  "Leave the

 8     trenches, the repeater station," and so on.

 9             So this is quite a different situation, and it's about something

10     that we've discussed here umpteen times.  The HVO here was engaged in

11     active defence after what the BH Army had been doing for several months,

12     that is to say, preparing to cut off all communications with

13     Central Bosnia and placing HVO -- the HVO in Gornji Vakuf in a completely

14     impossible military situation.

15        Q.   Now, skipping down two paragraphs, they continue.  They say:

16             "Irrespective of their interpretation that these demands" --

17             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Excuse me to interrupt you, Mr. Stringer.  I

18     would like to add a question to the previous paragraph that you spoke

19     about.

20             There in the last two sentences they speak of borders:

21             "The borders are closed, and the army is already prepared to

22     move, and the borders will not be opened," et cetera.

23             Which borders, according to you, does this refer to, Mr. Praljak?

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have no absolutely no idea,

25     Judge Trechsel, what borders this refers to and what Hadzihasanovic is

Page 44083

 1     referring to there.  There were no borders.  I assume he means the border

 2     between the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Now, which army

 3     is ready to move, I have no idea once again.

 4             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm raising it because normally the limits of

 5     municipalities are not called borders, and therefore, your point that

 6     this is limited to Gornji Vakuf is a bit weakened, I think.  If the word

 7     for borders in Croatia would be state borders also.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Judge Trechsel, Your Honour,

 9     that's precisely what I said.  The only border would be the border

10     between the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  I don't know

11     what Hadzihasanovic is alluding to here, what he has in mind.  I have no

12     idea what borders he means here.

13             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  Excuse me, Mr. Stringer.

14             MR. STRINGER:

15        Q.   General, skipping down to the third paragraph from the end,

16     they're reporting that:

17             "Irrespective of their interpretation that these demands do not

18     represent an ultimatum but a categorical position, I consider the demand

19     an ultimatum and believe they are prepared to use force if we do not

20     accept their demands, since they have already grouped their forces from

21     the direction of Prozor and have carried out preparatory combat

22     activities on this axis."

23             Now, General, the preparatory combat activities referred to here,

24     would that be a result of the preparatory combat order of Colonel Siljeg,

25     P01107, that we looked at a few minutes ago that was issued on the

Page 44084

 1     12th of January?

 2        A.   No, or partially.  Mr. Siljeg envisaged a broader plan of action

 3     over there.  However, in talking to me -- or talks between myself and

 4     them, the situation in Bugojno was completely calm.  It had been quelled.

 5     So there that broad plan had nothing to do with anything here.  Bugojno

 6     was quite calm, negotiations were underway of some kind.  As I say, the

 7     situation was calm in Bugojno, and it was just a matter of the

 8     Gornji Vakuf situation.

 9        Q.   Well, then, in Gornji Vakuf at the very least, wasn't the HVO

10     preparing for combat activities in the event that the ABiH did not accept

11     these demands on subordination?

12        A.   Mr. Stringer, there were no demands for resubordination.

13     Here it was exclusively a question of the fact that the BH Army had taken

14     control of all the elevations, and we've been saying this for 50 times

15     now.  Let's be quite clear.  The HVO had the right to resolve an

16     unfavourable military situation of this kind by threat.  And there's a

17     categorical position taken here.  It says dig in the trenches.  Let's

18     pull the units out of the town, and so on and so forth.

19             So let me tell you my role.

20        Q.   Excuse me, General.  I'm going to ask you more questions on this.

21             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I apologise, Mr. Stringer, but on

22     page 46, line 19, the answer that General Praljak gave was not recorded

23     as General Praljak said, loud and clear.  It was a response to your

24     question whether -- of whether the HVO was preparing for military

25     activities if the BiH were not to accept the demands for subordination.

Page 44085

 1             Now, can you repeat your answer.  You started by saying,

 2     "Mr. Stringer."

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.  The conflicts began on the

 4     11th of January.  So they had nothing to do -- the isolated situation in

 5     Gornji Vakuf had nothing to do with this text that Mr. Stringer says is

 6     an ultimatum, whereas I claim that it is a very honest approach to what

 7     was agreed with Alija Izetbegovic, a very proper approach to setting up

 8     two armies which wished to fight together.  Everything else -- well, the

 9     11th.  This arrived on the 15th or the 16th of January, and we're dealing

10     with the situation in Gornji Vakuf as it was.  And we've discussed this

11     with various witnesses, and we'll continue discussing it.

12             MR. STRINGER:

13        Q.   Well, General, the fact is that despite what you're telling us

14     here, the report of Dzemal Merdan and Enver Hadzihasanovic here clearly

15     indicates that the subordination is among the demands that are being

16     issued by the HVO.  Isn't that true?  And this is perfectly consistent

17     with the other orders we've seen coming from the HVO HZ HB, Stojic,

18     Petkovic, right down the chain of command.  Isn't that true?

19        A.   No.  The decision here speaks about the establishment of the

20     provinces.  It says it's provisional, temporary, and not important for

21     this meeting.  And then it says if there are changes in the Geneva

22     agreement, the Croats will adhere to that, but the demand of the HVO

23     vis-a-vis the BH Army is precisely as follows:  The specific demand

24     related to the positions of the BH Army in Gornji Vakuf, which were

25     aggressive.

Page 44086

 1        Q.   Let's go to the next exhibit on this point, which is P01163.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I have a

 3     follow-up question.  I haven't taken the floor for about an hour, and I

 4     follow very carefully the questions and your answers, and I'm trying to

 5     see clearly through all this, and I have to confess that I do not see

 6     very clearly in all this.

 7             There is a document, the Prosecutor has mentioned it -- well,

 8     first of all, we've seen all those documents before.  Those documents

 9     have been looked into through various witnesses, hence the need to see

10     this very clearly now.

11             We have a first document, P1107.  On the 12th of January, 1993,

12     Colonel Siljeg prepares an action on Gornji Vakuf and Bugojno, and in

13     this order the objective is to take control of roads and perhaps also of

14     towns since Gornji Vakuf is mentioned.  So the order is rather detailed,

15     but I can also see that in this order there is no starting point for the

16     action.  In other words, we do not know whether the order was executed or

17     not.

18             And then we have the last document showed by the Prosecutor, and

19     he looked into this document at length.  It's P1174 [Realtime transcript

20     read in error "P1147"], and as far as I'm concerned, I believe this

21     document is very interesting, because from the outset, in the first

22     paragraph, it states that during the night from the 15th to the 16th of

23     January, there were artillery fire, but a reason is also given to that,

24     namely, because the troop movement of the ABiH towards Crni Vrh, point

25     1303 had been detected.  And this document coming from the ABiH states

Page 44087

 1     that they had moved themselves, that the movement had been detected,

 2     hence artillery fires.  And the Prosecutor, but that's his case, linked

 3     the ultimatum of the 15th of January based on the document issued by

 4     Mr. Prlic, links this to those events.

 5             Any reasonable Judge could ask himself whether those events are

 6     all linked between each other or whether there is no concomitance of

 7     several events.

 8             In the last document you do play a role, because it is stated in

 9     this document.  In other words, in this document it says that Miro Andric

10     and Siljeg came to see you in Prozor.  And then thereafter, they meet

11     with the ABiH, which will lead to Merdan's report, and during this meet

12     the HVO position is clearly defined, and it is detailed very clearly.

13     And Colonel Merdan makes an assessment of the situation.  We don't know

14     whether it's Merdan or Hadzihasanovic, because we can assume -- but we

15     can assume that it was Merdan who was cosigned by Hadzihasanovic.  Merdan

16     makes an assessment of the situation by stating that the HVO had come to

17     express a position, but as far as Merdan is concerned, it's an ultimatum,

18     and according to him, this would mean that should the conditions of the

19     HVO not be met or executed, the HVO could attack because they have put

20     all their forces together within Prozor.

21             So what I'm interested in is the fact that you were in Prozor.

22     We have seen it already last week.  Your task was to be an advisor,

23     but -- that's the first theory, but we could also think that you are

24     managing all this, that you are preparing all this, and that you are

25     doing that from Prozor.

Page 44088

 1             So I'm faced with two options.  You are pulling the strings.  You

 2     are preparing everything.  You are sending your associates to meet with

 3     Merdan and to explain what you want or what your demands are, and they

 4     have to be met, or the other option is that you are in Prozor to try to

 5     defuse the tension given the events of Gornji Vakuf, and in that case

 6     there is no link between the events in Gornji Vakuf, the ultimatum,

 7     and -- well, basically that is what I've tried to summarise here.

 8             I have not formed an opinion yet, because everything is very

 9     complex, but I would like to know what is your point of view, and I would

10     like to know whether -- (A), whether you were pulling the strings; and

11     (B), whether, if it's not the case, whether there was not a concomitance

12     of events which means that the Prosecutor could feel that this was an

13     ultimatum.

14             My apologies for being very long, but since last week I said that

15     I had to be very cautious because we in the heart of what is at stake

16     here, namely, your responsibility.  I have to put on the table, as it

17     were, all the documents, all the hypotheses, and to ask for your point of

18     view, since I have not really formed an opinion yet, as I said.

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Antonetti,

20     whatever the case may be, on the 15th of January, 1993, the documents

21     issued by Prlic, Stojic, and Petkovic cannot -- because it must have been

22     sometime that evening or late in the evening, that cannot have anything

23     to do with the BH Army moving its units towards Crni Vrh.  That is

24     entirely impossible.  Certainly that document saw the light of public day

25     and the army in Bosnia-Herzegovina on the 16th when Bozo Rajic's document

Page 44089

 1     came.  That's number one.

 2             Number two, the clashes started on the 11th for an entirely

 3     different set of reasons.  In this limited area of Gornji Vakuf, it had

 4     nothing to do with that.

 5             Number three, I was not the one who orchestrated this.  I was

 6     merely an advisor.  I am saying before this Trial Chamber this:  I

 7     approved -- or, rather, I agreed, not in terms of actually granting

 8     approval, but during talks I agreed with Mr. Andric's and Mr. Siljeg's

 9     explanation to the effect that the situation faced by the HVO in

10     Gornji Vakuf, having taken the elevations and blocked the roads to

11     Bugojno and to Prozor, left it virtually cut off from any and all forms

12     of communication.  They had the right to deal with the situation by

13     military action.

14             Again, I agreed that this situation that the HVO had been made to

15     face, starting with October, November 1992, December 1992, because those

16     talks with the BH Army did not commence then, these two men, even earlier

17     on when I was in the area, I sent them to conduct talks with the English

18     over in -- and over in Gornji Vakuf several times to tell them about the

19     situation, draw their attention to the behaviour of the BH Army to make

20     it clear that that was not allowed and that there would have to be a

21     response sooner or later.  Again, I agreed with that.  I agreed the HVO

22     had the right to use military means to lift the blockade of their

23     positions in Gornji Vakuf, get the BH Army off all the elevations in

24     town, the two principal ones stated here, the repeater, Krc and so on and

25     so forth.  Everything that we've shown already here, but also that

Page 44090

 1     Bugojno had to be left in peace and that as soon as this limited

 2     operation was completed there would be no entering Gornji Vakuf, no

 3     conquering anything, no nothing.

 4             Proposals were made to the BH Army to keep this from happening.

 5     They were told to leave those positions of their own accord, to close the

 6     trenches, to make a joint military position, to move all the soldiers out

 7     of town and leave the town free of unarmed -- free of armed men.

 8             I agreed with that, Your Honours, and whatever the responsibility

 9     is that is at stake, I'm still saying that any army in that situation

10     would do the same, made to face the same situation that the HVO was made

11     to face by the BH Army in Gornji Vakuf.  It's something that we call

12     active defence in military-speak.

13             As soon as this was done I got in touch with General Petkovic,

14     who was in Geneva on the 20th.  The orders came for the cease-fire and

15     then the trenches were closing and everything else, and then there was

16     nothing there would be unclear about my role, and I'm speaking publicly

17     about exactly what my role was.  So on the 23rd I managed, based on

18     orders that came up there, to stop.  And mind you, it's not easy to stop

19     an army.  The army had suffered great losses, as you've seen, to the

20     effect that there would be no entering Vakuf, that the operation must

21     stop, and that the agreement that had been signed now had to be

22     implemented.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Very well.  Your

24     answer, your very comprehensive answer, does somewhat meet my -- what I

25     had -- what I was wondering, but my fellow Judge has a question.

Page 44091

 1             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  A mere technical matter.  On page 48, line 24,

 2     the document referred to by the President is P1147, whereas in fact he

 3     said and meant P01174.  Thank you.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.

 5             MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President.

 6        Q.   One last question on this document, General, that I should have

 7     asked you earlier.  In the second paragraph here where they're writing

 8     about the discussion with Miro Andric and Zeljko Siljeg at the

 9     negotiations, they say that at the negotiations they, that's Andric and

10     Siljeg, they were accompanied by Mr. Ivica Lucic, Ivica Lucic, from the

11     information bureau of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.

12             Now, just for the record, is that a reference to Mr. Lucic who

13     was the head of the SIS?

14        A.   Quite certainly not because I didn't see him over there.  I don't

15     know who they're talking about.

16        Q.   All right.  To stay with this negotiation but to move on to the

17     next exhibit, General, in the binder, P01163.  And this is again another

18     one of the milinfos from the British Battalion.

19             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Excuse me.  Excuse me.  The last question and

20     answer, you said whether Ivica Lucic was the SIS chief.  Mr. Praljak says

21     no, but he would have seen him.  I'm not aware that Mr. Praljak was

22     present at the meeting that is at issue here.

23             As I read this text, they say that Ivica Lucic was accompanying

24     Miro Andric and Zeljko Siljeg when they came to -- to talk to them, but

25     Mr. Praljak was not there, as I interpret this document.  So how can you

Page 44092

 1     say that it is impossible that Mr. Lucic was there, Mr. Praljak?  Wasn't

 2     there an error in your conception of the question?

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said I did not see

 4     Mr. Ivica Lucic over there.  That is why I assumed that he didn't

 5     actually attend these talks.  It is stated here specifically that there

 6     was a man who misrepresented himself there or made a false introduction.

 7     That's one thing.  And thirdly, there were several men called

 8     Ivica Lucic.  So my answer, for my part, was in fact quite specific.

 9             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  It was specific, but it's not logical.  How does

10     it make -- how can you say, "I did not see him," when you were not there

11     in the first place?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not talking about the meeting.

13     I'm talking about the preparation for those talks, not at the meeting

14     that I didn't attend, just that I didn't see Ivica Lucic, and probably he

15     would have got in touch.  I was talking about the probabilities -- the

16     certainty that I didn't see him in Rama and then the probability that he

17     didn't go to attend any meeting.  And thirdly, they say this is the false

18     representation or misrepresentation, that someone falsely introduced

19     himself and they hadn't found out before the end of that meeting.

20             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Well, that's a mere assumption of yours.  You

21     cannot say this with certainty as you have pretended.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I had looked

23     at this document, and this is what I understood, and if I'm wrong, please

24     correct me.  I accept to be corrected whenever I make mistakes, of

25     course.

Page 44093

 1             You -- in Prozor you meet Miro Andric and Siljeg.  That's

 2     absolutely sure, because it's written down.  You meet them around

 3     10.00 p.m. the might before.  So it must have been on January 16th.  So

 4     you, Praljak, meet Siljeg and Andric.  Then the next day, on

 5     January 17th, those two meet Merdan, but in addition, there's another

 6     person who says that he is Mirko Radic, and Merdan, after the meeting,

 7     discovers that in fact it is Ivica Lucic.

 8             Two conclusions can be drawn.  First, when you met them at

 9     10.00 p.m., maybe you also met Lucic.  Or second conclusion, at the

10     meeting on the next day, Lucic came to that meeting, even though he

11     wasn't with you the day before, and pretends to be Radic.

12             Now, maybe there are other assumptions possible, other hypotheses

13     possible.  At least there you have two.

14             What is your take on these?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wish to say the Ivo Lucic, who

16     headed the SIS, I didn't see him.  The talk here is about Ivica Lucic

17     from the information bureau.  I have no idea about the existence of such

18     a person.  I'll refrain from everything else, because as Judge Trechsel

19     suggests, I do not have absolute certainty.  I wasn't at that meeting.  I

20     did not see Ivo Lucic, the one from the SIS, in the area at the time.

21     There's another man over there, I think, whose name was Ivica Lucic.  I'm

22     sure in fact.  I can't remember off the bat what that man was doing

23     there.  There.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

25             MR. STRINGER:

Page 44094

 1        Q.   Well, General, just let me ask one last question on that.  Even

 2     though you weren't present at the negotiations, to your knowledge, did

 3     Mr. Lucic, the head of SIS, participate in negotiations at this

 4     commission on Gornji Vakuf?  Do you know?

 5        A.   According to any information that I had, no.

 6        Q.   Very well.  All right.  Now, the next exhibit is the British

 7     Battalion milinfosum from the 16th of January, 1993, P01163.  General, I

 8     want to refer you to page 4 at the top of your version in Croatian.  And

 9     the English is on page 3, starting at the middle of the page and it says

10     here under paragraph E:

11             "Colonel Andreivitich, the HVO ops zone commander, read the

12     following message from his commander, a general in Mostar."

13             Now, this is again in reference to the negotiations that are

14     taking place at the commission.  General, I'm going to put this to you

15     that the Andreivitich that's referred to here by the British Battalion is

16     actually Mr. Andric, but let's read the quote, the message that's

17     contained in this.

18             "At the Geneva conference it was agreed that all provinces would

19     be administrated by the leading ethnic group, in this area the Croats.

20     The HVO and Croats fully attend to abide by this agreement."

21             And then it continues on to say that:

22             "The HVO formally requests ABiH units to return to their normal

23     locations, withdraw the units from Jajce ... in return, the Croats and

24     the HVO guarantee nothing will happen to the Muslim population unless

25     those suspected of, or accused of war crimes.  The Muslim population will

Page 44095

 1     be given full equality, but the BiH must be subordinate to the HVO."

 2             It goes on to say:

 3             "All troops must leave, fill in the trenches, dismantle the

 4     barricades."

 5             Continuing down toward the bottom of the English version, page 3:

 6             "The Bosnian media is to report the following in its bulletins, a

 7     list of demands that it should be reported that the HVO shelled no one,

 8     shot no one, and did not burn any houses, and that all these actions were

 9     carried out by the Muslims.  With immediate effect, the land border with

10     Croatia is closed."

11        A.   That's right.

12        Q.   Then it makes reference to two HVO brigades in Prozor, supported

13     by tanks and artillery, ready to advance on Gornji Vakuf:

14             "You will have until tomorrow to agree to all demands and put

15     them into action or face the consequences.  You are to send your reply

16     via UNPROFOR.  Comment:  BH have stated that they cannot agree to all the

17     demands.  The HVO do not appear to be willing to negotiate their demands.

18     Therefore an escalation seems inevitable."

19             Now, General, this statement here of the HVO on its demands, this

20     text is in fact the position of the HVO that was approved by you in your

21     consultations with Siljeg and Andric.  Isn't that true?

22        A.   The discussion here is about -- well, first of all, the person

23     writing this document can't recall the fact that Andric's name is not

24     Andrejevic and Prija [phoen] is not Prijic.  And by the way, this was all

25     outside the UNPROFOR mandate, any observations they made, dispatching

Page 44096

 1     things like these they find it impossible to differentiate what

 2     Judge Antonetti believes they weren't properly trained and their reports

 3     are entirely deficient.

 4             Mr. Merdan conveyed relatively well what they'd asked for.  It --

 5     there's no need to -- I don't know.  If that's what it says, then, well,

 6     why would I comment what this report says?  It was copied with quite a

 7     number of errors.

 8             What two brigades at Rama?  Based on just what do they see that,

 9     and who says they can close down the border with Croatia?  Some commander

10     in Vakuf.  All these are things that -- well, they're just stories.

11        Q.   That's one of the points, isn't it, General, that you're the only

12     person in the area on the Croat side who has the authority to talk about

13     closing land borders with the Republic of Croatia.  Isn't that true?  I

14     mean, you're the only person that would have the authority to issue such

15     a demand.  Correct?

16        A.   Entirely incorrect.  Based on what are you saying that, that an

17     assistant defence minister can close down the borders of the Republic of

18     Croatia.  That is nonsense, inaccurate.  Just to caught this short,

19     entirely inaccurate.  False.  Absurd if you like.

20        Q.   Actually there is a high degree of consistency between this

21     report of the British Battalion and the report of Merdan and

22     Hadzihasanovic that we've just been looking at, and the fact is, General,

23     that both of these documents accurately set out the HVO position on

24     Gornji Vakuf.  Isn't that true?

25        A.   Mr. Merdan's position is approximately accurate, except he

Page 44097

 1     believes this to be an ultimatum, and it wasn't an ultimatum.  It was

 2     just a very categorical position as -- as he claims he had been told.  I

 3     would not like to comment on this document, because ...

 4        Q.   Let's move on then.  The next exhibit is --

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, this document

 6     is of importance, because it does coincide with documents we've seen and

 7     it does talk about documents we have seen.  And you're right, of course,

 8     there are some mistakes like Andric or Andrejevic, and so forth and so

 9     on, but still, the document says the following.  We don't know what

10     sources are used, maybe it's from observations, but in the document it is

11     stated that two brigades are in Prozor, and I wondered immediately which

12     brigades were mentioned.  The Prozor Brigade, and maybe people from

13     Ljubuski, those who were supposed to come.  So that then we would have

14     two brigades.  And in this document there's also mention of tanks.  But

15     this document states that the forces are ready for action, and in the

16     document they add that - we don't know where they got the

17     information - they add that the borders with Croatia are closed.  We do

18     not know where they obtained the information, but that is what is stated.

19     And the comment is very interesting, because according to the British

20     Battalion, an escalation of the conflict seems inevitable.

21             This is what is stated.  We would like to know exactly what their

22     sources are, where they got their sources for a number of facts, but as

23     far as their assessment is concerned, it's obvious it -- they are sure

24     there will be a conflict.  Of course, you had no knowledge of this

25     document at the time.

Page 44098

 1             So what can you say about this conclusion that they draw, the

 2     fact that conflict was now inevitable?  Are they right?  Are they wrong?

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Again, they're talking here about

 4     the inevitable conflict, about the positions of the BH Army and moving

 5     the units towards here or towards there.  Clashes would break out.  They

 6     were right.  And I said that a number of times.  The HVO had the right to

 7     take action, having very fairly made proposals as to how the conflict

 8     might be avoided.

 9             Given the fact that the BH Army not only refused to withdraw from

10     those hills whereby they were blocking the HVO, but also move their units

11     towards Crni Vrh, the clashes were inevitable.

12             Look at page 2 of the English -- or, rather, the Croatian.  What

13     big weapon was it that the HVO had?  Look at the number of Croats killed

14     in the clashes up to that point.  HVO eight, BH Army three, and so on and

15     so forth.  Wounded, HVO 20, BH Army 0.  That tells you who was attacking

16     whom and who was facing what kind of situation.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.

18             MR. STRINGER:

19        Q.   General, the next exhibit is P01194.  Just a brief question.

20     We've already touched on this.  This is a report of the

21     Spanish Battalion.

22             MR. STRINGER:  It's under seal, Mr. President, so I don't think

23     it can be shown on the monitors outside the courtroom.

24        Q.   Page 3.  General, for you this is going to be under paragraph 3,

25     "Situation in Mostar and Jablanica."  Do you see that?

Page 44099

 1        A.   Yes.

 2        Q.   "According to the Malaga Tactical Force in the zones of Mostar

 3     and Jablanica, there has also been an ultimatum from the HVO to the

 4     Muslims.  While the deadline set by the HVO for Mostar seems to be the

 5     20th, it is not clear whether any time limit has been fixed for the

 6     withdrawal of Muslim forces from Jablanica."

 7             So, General, this just confirms what you told us a little while

 8     ago, that this order or decision on subordination that was to come into

 9     effect on the 20th did not just apply in the Gornji Vakuf area, but it

10     was intended to apply throughout, at least, the Mostar and Jablanica

11     areas as well; correct?

12        A.   No.  Not in Gornji Vakuf.  Nothing to do with Gornji Vakuf.

13     Talks are to be started.  The HVO was prepared to make 20.000 of its

14     soldiers available to the nine or ten brigades under the command of the

15     BH.  I believe that was the only way for the conflict to cease, the

16     conflict that was later to erupt between the HVO and the BH Army.  This

17     reflects a deep misunderstanding of what it actually says.  The only

18     thing you should do is go back and re-read what it says.  It's entirely

19     fair.  It's reciprocal.  There's a mirror-image principle at work there,

20     and it's in keeping with all the military standards according to which

21     all the armies in the world operate.

22        Q.   And it's all contingent on the ABiH subordinating itself to HVO

23     command in Vance-Owen cantons 3, 8, 10; correct?  Whether it's

24     Gornji Vakuf, Mostar, Jablanica, or elsewhere, if it's in

25     Vance-Owen 3, 8 or 10, it's all conditioned upon ABiH subordination;

Page 44100

 1     correct?

 2        A.   Not the way you put it.  I have nothing to add to what it says.

 3     It's very specific.  On the 20th the whole thing was discarded.  The

 4     solution to the problem in Gornji Vakuf was not to resubordinate --

 5        Q.   All right.

 6        A.   -- or indeed to chase the BH Army away from the area.  It was

 7     just about them leaving the positions from which they were cutting off

 8     the HVO entirely and isolating the HVO.  I have nothing further to add.

 9        Q.   The -- the next exhibit, General, is P01183.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I was looking

11     at the Spanish version, because I speak Spanish, and I was looking at the

12     text and the message of the Spanish Battalion to its authorities issued.

13     There's a lot of stamps.  They are very well organised.

14             You have the situation in Gornji Vakuf, and according to the ABiH

15     and to the HVO, well, it looks like they're going to fight or to clash,

16     but it is also said they strongly condemn this action, and they feel that

17     everyone is responsible.  So they're not taking sides either for the ABiH

18     or for the HVO.  They just realised that there is a situation on the

19     ground.  They are not stating who they feel is responsible for the

20     situation, but as a precautionary measure they condemn any action that

21     would be instigated as a result of the situation.

22             Given the information that you had available, I was wondering

23     whether when we talk about the Spanish Battalion could we say that they

24     were strictly neutral or not, because, as you know, unfortunately they

25     will be hit very severely by the death of one of their officers.

Page 44101

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Spanish Battalion had nothing

 2     to do with Gornji Vakuf, with the exception of generic stories saying

 3     nobody wanted war and all, that this was merely amounting to copying

 4     something that was already a copy, everybody pushing their own agenda and

 5     dispatching back to their own government or back to base anything at all

 6     just to make sure that something was being sent back in writing.

 7             The entire meaning of this was reflected in our requests, our

 8     requests that the UNPROFOR should have what is called a possibility or a

 9     mandate to maintain a peace that is once agreed.  They didn't get that,

10     and then instead of making sure humanitarian aid got through, they spent

11     their days just moving around and writing reports.

12             They did some good things, too, and if you ask me, SpaBat was

13     very fair in the Mostar area when it came to the wounded, the

14     transport-related issues.  The relations were good as far as I was

15     concerned.  Anything we could do we did in that respect.  They did their

16     job.  They wrote down what they wrote down and dispatched it to whoever,

17     although that was not their job.

18             JUDGE PRANDLER:  I believe, Mr. Praljak, that the question was

19     not for you to describe how the Spanish Battalion acted, but it was only

20     asked what is your view about their neutrality, and I believe that it is

21     the crux of the matter, and it would be better for you not to describe or

22     make certain comments about the Spanish Battalion.  Thank you.

23             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They told me that themselves.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Stringer.

25             MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President.

Page 44102

 1        Q.   General, the next one is P01183.  This is now the

 2     18th of January, 1993.  This is a Paket communication that appears to

 3     have been issued or sent at about 1.30 in the afternoon, and it's Siljeg

 4     to the Eugen Kvaternik Brigade in Bugojno.  He's responding to their

 5     request for an evacuation, and he says:

 6             "We hereby inform you that given that this morning we have

 7     launched an attack on Gornji Vakuf from the direction of Makljen, there

 8     is heavy fighting going on over there ..."

 9             And then, General, just turn to the next exhibit.  We'll talk

10     about these, dated the same day, 18th of January.  This is a document

11     that I believe you have indicated someone signed on your behalf.  Is that

12     correct?

13             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Could you please identify it for the record?

14             MR. STRINGER:  I'm sorry.  P01202.  1202.

15        Q.   General, is this your order, P01202?

16        A.   Well, Mr. Stringer, I certainly didn't sign this.

17        Q.   No, I'm not asking you if you signed it.  I'm asking you if you

18     issued the order.

19        A.   I can't remember with any certainty that I asked for five MGLs,

20     but I would have nothing against having asked for this myself.  And if I

21     didn't, I can state that I wouldn't have minded asking this to be sent,

22     and then perhaps somebody wrote this order and signed my name.  So I

23     consider this -- even if I didn't ask for this, I could have done.  And

24     then someone translated this request of mine into an order.

25        Q.   Well, we're in Sanction.  I just want to put up on the screen for

Page 44103

 1     a moment the transcript from your testimony on the 23rd of June,

 2     page 41882.  Maybe it will refresh your memory on this.

 3             On that day, Judge Antonetti was looking at this document with

 4     you, and he asked you whether you issued the order, and you said:  "Yes."

 5             And then you continued on to say:

 6             "... Your Honour, I didn't sign this document, just to make it

 7     clear.  I said, Okay, fine, use my authority, and we'll ask for those

 8     three pieces to be returned by the Kralj Tomislav Brigade, but somebody

 9     else signed it."

10             So again, General, apparently you're not willing -- your

11     recollection is not as good when you answer my questions.  It's better

12     when you answer Judge Antonetti's questions.  So does that help you

13     remember that, in fact, this is your order, even though someone else

14     signed it for you?

15        A.   Sir, I don't question that I gave that answer to Judge Antonetti

16     in response to his question.  However -- now, whether in that number of

17     documents and the facts, a request for three MGLs doesn't come under my

18     recollections for me to be able to say 100 per cent yes, if my answer

19     satisfies you.  I can't write an order, but probably, most probably,

20     highly likely I requested something like that.

21        Q.   Now, General, these two documents together, P01183 and P01202,

22     these pretty much confirm for us, don't they, that the HVO began combat

23     operations against ABiH units in Gornji Vakuf on the 18th of January;

24     correct?

25        A.   Mr. Stringer, I don't know -- well, from the 11th of January

Page 44104

 1     onwards, along with the negotiations, the HVO started some actions, and I

 2     don't challenge that.  I don't question that at all, because the BH Army

 3     units had taken Makljen, too.  Now, what were they doing up on Makljen

 4     which is between Gornji Vakuf and Prozor?  What were they doing there in

 5     the first place?  But I'm not questioning --

 6        Q.   All right.  So we agree, then, that the HVO launched an attack on

 7     Gornji Vakuf from the direction of Makljen as is indicated in the report

 8     or this document from Colonel Siljeg.  We agree on that, then, don't we?

 9     On the 18th of January.

10        A.   In response to an attack.  No, we don't agree that it started

11     this attack from scratch, just like that.  You want to say that they were

12     sleeping, they were quiet, and now you, the aggressors, want to attack.

13     No, that's not true.  I don't agree with that.

14             There was an active defence in Gornji Vakuf, and you can go on

15     about that until kingdom come.  That's what the documents show and that's

16     how it was.  It is true that the HVO launched an active defence from 11

17     January onwards.

18        Q.   All right.  And this active defence operation was launched

19     because the ABiH refused to accept the decision, and the ultimatum of the

20     HVO that the ABiH, among other things, subordinate its units to the HVO

21     in this area; correct?

22  A.  Incorrect.  That they should move away from the positions they had taken

23  control of and that they should free the roads and engage in combat with the

24  Army of Republika Srpska and to enable the commander of the brigade to come

25  to his HQ in Vakuf rather than be escorted by UNPROFOR, that has nothing to

Page 44105

 1     do with the ultimatum in Vakuf, and I've repeated this for 28 times.

 2        Q.   Let's talk a little bit about some of the HVO units that were

 3     involved in the -- in the military operations.

 4     JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I think there's a problem with channels.  I suddenly get

 5     French, which I don't mind, but it's not the one that should be there.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I wanted to

 7     know, between Tomislavgrad and Prozor, how many kilometres are there?

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Twenty-five to Lipa, for instance.

 9     Tomislavgrad -- perhaps some 40 kilometres.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.  About

11     40 kilometres.

12             The document that we have before us, which you have signed,

13     please look at the seal or the stamp.  First of all, is that your

14     signature?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay.  It's not your signature.

17     Now let's look at the stamp.  There's a number 1, and it says:

18     "North-west Operational Zone or area."

19             I was wondering, in military terms, this document is asking for

20     large-sized grenades.  Any reasonable Judge could draw the conclusion

21     that in Prozor you are heading the forward command post, and you are in

22     charge of the entire operational zone, because the stamp is the number 1

23     stamp.  So we carried this stamp 40 kilometres -- we travelled

24     40 kilometres, and so you are pulling the string.  You are managing

25     everything, and you go as far as to those details in order to have three

Page 44106

 1     rocket launchers.  And as far as I could understand, you were there as an

 2     advisor to try and do some PR, but in fact, you do intervene in a

 3     military action.  But I have to agree that it is not your signature.  It

 4     might be someone who signed on your behalf, but I would like to know how

 5     you explain that this stamp, which represents this command structure,

 6     moved 40 kilometres to reach Prozor.

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The commander, if that were me,

 8     wouldn't have asked for five MGLs.  Quite obviously -- well, if we assume

 9     that I'm the commander, then the commander doesn't deal with three MGLs.

10     They're not any rocket launchers.  They're this other type of weapon with

11     some small bombs that it releases, bomblets.

12             I don't know -- well, since I know what I was doing there,

13     somebody asked me, "Go on.  Ask them."  And then I probably called

14     someone up and asked them to send this in, and then they wrote this

15     order.  I never wrote this order, but it is highly probable that I did

16     request them to send them this.

17             Now, who signed me, where the stamp came from, I don't know.  It

18     was the forward command post, so possibly it was Siljeg who took the

19     stamp, or his staff took the stamp with them.  It wasn't that somebody

20     brought this particular stamp for that occasion from Tomislavgrad, but

21     40 kilometres with the road as it is, you'd have to drive for three or

22     four hours to cover that distance.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  We will stop here,

24     but I was wondering if there was no contradiction with the document where

25     General Petkovic was making you play a role.  But at the same time, we

Page 44107

 1     could draw the conclusion that you were not part of a command chain.  You

 2     were an advisor, and you were bringing on board your knowledge, but with

 3     this document you are issuing orders, and this is what I'm trying to

 4     understand.

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judge Antonetti, Your Honour, I

 6     didn't sign this order, and I couldn't have issued an order.  Well, only

 7     if my failure to act would create great evil did I violate some rules.

 8     This wasn't that case.

 9             Now, who wrote this, well, probably my request for these pieces

10     to be sent, somebody probably took me up on that and wrote this.  I

11     didn't issue this order.  I didn't sign it at that point in time, and I

12     don't know which of General Petkovic's orders you're referring to now.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  One last question.

14     Could you please look at the document.  You will see that at the top it

15     says "18.01.93," it's handwritten, and it says 1900 hours.  And in your

16     language -- well, it was translated into English as "sent," and it says

17     something like Pescano [phoen].  Is this your writing, your handwriting?

18        A.   No, Your Honour, it isn't.  I don't have nice handwriting, but I

19     certainly don't write like this.  And it says the Main Staff of Mostar to

20     the commander of the operative zone.  I have no idea how anybody from the

21     Main Staff of Mostar could send this to the commander, and then this

22     person asking Tomislavgrad to do -- no.  With the best will in the

23     world --

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So it's not you.  Very well.

25             MR. STRINGER:

Page 44108

 1        Q.   General, the next document, I believe, is P01198.  Just a quick

 2     question on this.  I don't know that you would have seen this.  It's a --

 3     it's a report from Gornji Vakuf, 18th of January, by an Ivan Kraljevic,

 4     Assistant IDP Commander, and he's talking about the day's events in

 5     Gornji Vakuf, various combat activities, and in the third paragraph he

 6     says:

 7             "It was reported that two members of the Convicts Battalion were

 8     killed in the village of Uzricje today."

 9             Now, General, this is January of 19 --

10        A.   It doesn't say "battalion" anywhere.  It just says the

11     convicts -- well, I've never seen this document, and I can't comment on

12     it.

13        Q.   Do you know if the members of the Convicts Battalion, under the

14     command of Mario Hrkac, fought as part of the -- the combat in Gornji

15     Vakuf in January 1993?

16        A.   I think so, yes.  I think so.

17        Q.   Okay.

18        A.   Part of them were under Hrkac and were up there.

19        Q.   And they would have come from Siroki Brijeg?

20        A.   Probably.

21        Q.   The next document, and this relates also to units involved in the

22     Gornji Vakuf operation, P03090.

23             General, this is a report on the work of the HZ HB military

24     police for the period January to June 1993.  It's dated July 1993, over

25     the signature of Valentin Coric.  And, General, in your version if you

Page 44109

 1     turn to the Croatian version page ending with the numbers 6216, 6216.

 2             MR. STRINGER:  It's pages -- page 6 of the English,

 3     Mr. President.

 4        Q.   And for you, General, ends with 6216 of the ERN number.  Do you

 5     have that?

 6             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, before we start with this document,

 7     perhaps it's time for the break.  I think the General's indicated that

 8     he'd like to take a break now.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No problem.  We can have a

10     break now.  We'll have a 20-minute break.

11                           --- Recess taken at 5.32 p.m.

12                           --- On resuming at 5.55 p.m.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.

14     Mr. Stringer, you have the floor.  [In English] You have the floor.

15             MR. STRINGER:  [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

16             [In English] Your Honour, before I begin, perhaps I should inform

17     the Trial Chamber and the other Defence teams what I just informed

18     Ms. Pinter about so that everyone knows about sort of the pace of what

19     may be left.  We're on our list seven, now, binder number seven, and I

20     think that the way it's looking is there will be three more binders, and

21     I think they're all going to be in the smaller-sized binders.  Not the

22     big fat ones but the smaller, so indicating a smaller number of

23     documents, and after those three I think there is going to be a very

24     small amount of just loose-end documents that I'm going to come back to,

25     but my hope is that certainly by the end of this week we're very close to

Page 44110

 1     the end.  Maybe that's too ambitious or unrealistic for me, but that's

 2     my -- that's my wish anyway.  So we're sort of working our way through.

 3     I think there's going to be three more binders and then a little bit of

 4     loose ends and then we'll be finished.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

 6             MR. STRINGER:

 7        Q.   General, the next document here is P03090, which is this work

 8     on -- report on the work of the military police for the first -- first

 9     half of 1993.  Do you have that one?

10        A.   Yes, sir.

11        Q.   And are you at page 6216 of your version?

12        A.   Yes.

13        Q.   Okay.  And this is page 6 of the English.  And we don't need to

14     get into this in depth, but this report describes the role and activities

15     of military police units that were a part of the Gornji Vakuf operation.

16     And I'm not going to read all of it, because we all have it in front of

17     us.

18             The fourth full paragraph on the English version says -- first

19     it's talking about units.  Well, it talks about the overall attack

20     launched by newly arrived HVO units and HVO military police units.  This

21     is on the 18th of January at 0400 hours.  Do you see that?  It says:

22             "On 18 January, 1990" --

23        A.   Yes, yes.

24        Q.   The question simply is this:  General, it makes a reference to

25     newly arrived units and HVO military police units.  Are you able to tell

Page 44111

 1     us which HVO units arrived from elsewhere and participated in the

 2     operations on the 18th of January?

 3        A.   No, I'm not.  I have seen some of Siljeg's orders here in this

 4     courtroom specifying how many men came and from where.  I think that is

 5     indisputable.  The documents that I've seen specified that, the number of

 6     men and where they came from.

 7        Q.   All right.  So we agree, then, that there are HVO units that

 8     arrived in -- as -- that participated in the Gornji Vakuf action that

 9     came from other parts, although you can't remember which units.  Is that

10     a fair summary?

11        A.   Sir, I've seen the same documents as you.  I cannot agree to

12     anything other than that's what the documents say.

13        Q.   All right.  Now -- and the military police units here that

14     arrived, the next paragraph says:

15             "The military police units were commanded by the 1st Light

16     Assault Battalion commander and Military Police 2nd Battalion commander."

17             Do you know if Zlatan Mijo Jelic is one of those commanders that

18     is referred to?  Did he command military police units in the Gornji Vakuf

19     operation?

20        A.   I don't know.

21        Q.   Okay.  And while the military police units were in the

22     Gornji Vakuf theatre taking part in these combat operations, were they

23     subordinated to the operative zone commander, Colonel Siljeg?

24        A.   Not as far as I know.  They talk about cooperation.  I can't

25     answer the question accurately, but I don't think there was any

Page 44112

 1     resubordination.  At least I don't think so.

 2        Q.   Because we've talked about this a number of times, about whether

 3     military police units would, for operational purposes, be subordinated to

 4     the operative zone command.  You do recall that subject; correct?

 5        A.   The subject was discussed in terms of me during my time as

 6     commander of the Main Staff, and the Light Assault Battalion of the

 7     police, those units, not the regular military police, but those police

 8     units were trained for military activity.  Those were subordinated to me

 9     for a certain amount of time for specific missions in specific areas.

10        Q.   So, General, for Gornji Vakuf, January 1993, you do not know who

11     was in direct command of the HVO units that came into Gornji Vakuf and

12     fought there?

13        A.   I don't know.  It says what it says.  I'm unable to comment

14     anything beyond that.

15        Q.   All right.

16        A.   Cooperation was established, and the commanders exercised command

17     over their units --

18        Q.   All right.

19        A.   -- in the way specified here.

20        Q.   The next exhibit --

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I was looking

22     at this report from the military police.  This is how I read the

23     document:  According to this document, the conflict started on

24     January 7th.  This is written in the document in black and white.

25             It says that the local military police had 50 people and was

Page 44113

 1     reinforced with 92 members of the 2nd Battalion and by 40 members of the

 2     1st Assault Battalion.  If I add all this, I end up with 172 military

 3     policemen.  Then after the fighting on January 11th it seems that another

 4     99 members of the military police of the 2nd Battalion arrived as

 5     reinforcement, as well as 53 members of the 1st Light Assault Battalion.

 6     And when you add all this up, you end up with close to 300 military

 7     policemen fighting on the field, which is a huge number of policemen.

 8     Obviously the fighting was fierce.

 9             On January 18th, the fighting is still going on and will actually

10     continue until about January 22nd.  It's still going on on January 23rd

11     and on January 24th.

12             In the English version, on page 7, we see that 10 military

13     policemen were killed and 63 wounded.

14             A few months ago, maybe a few years ago, I was quite surprised at

15     the number of casualties in the military units -- military police units,

16     and here we have a confirmation of this.  So it seems that there's

17     fights, combat going on leading to a great number of people being killed

18     or wounded.

19             When reading this document, I note that sometimes the fighting

20     starts at 4.00 a.m.  Everything seems to be very organised.  However,

21     what's missing here is to know what happened exactly on January 7th.

22             Why is it that so many military policemen were brought together

23     in the field?  I -- you know, I end up with 300 of them.  It seems that

24     it was a large-scale operation.

25             Now, you were in Prozor.  Were you aware of the presence of all

Page 44114

 1     these military policemen that were sent over there to end up being -- to

 2     end up being a force of 300?

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was aware of members of the

 4     battalions of the military police and the Light Assault Battalion

 5     participating in the fighting.  I didn't know specifically about the

 6     numbers, but they didn't all arrive on the 7th.  On the 11th, the severe

 7     clashes started, and then obviously, as it says, another 99 policemen

 8     came, and 33 members of the Light Assault Battalion.  And then it goes on

 9     to say that all the prominent elevations around the town were being held

10     by members of the BH Army.

11             I think another thing that's noteworthy here is reinforcements

12     came to form a ring around the BH Army positions being held surrounded by

13     the HVO, who happened to be there at the beginning of the clashes.  It's

14     precisely what I've been saying throughout.  The prominent elevations

15     around the town were being held by the BH Army and the HVO was being

16     surrounded, as well as the military police, in town when they found

17     themselves there, and that's when the HVO began with these other data.

18             Your Honour Judge Antonetti, on the 24th there are no further

19     clashes.  There is only talk here of the 23rd, when they launched another

20     attack.  On the 22nd, Siljeg and I agreed or, rather, we conveyed an

21     order that had arrived for all activities to cease, all military

22     activities, and that Vakuf was the -- no longer to be attacked.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  General Praljak,

24     you pre-empted my next question almost.  I was trying to find out why

25     there's such a high casualty list.  The combat must have been fierce, but

Page 44115

 1     maybe it's because of the terrain also.  You've told us that the ABiH had

 2     dug up trenches, almost bunkers, you know, and that they had to be

 3     captured, which makes plain why there's such a high casualty list.

 4             So was this a close combat?  Why do we end up with so many killed

 5     and wounded?

 6             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, on the 22nd I looked

 7     at some of the bunkers over near the -- over near the repeater and Krc,

 8     and I assure you they were awfully -- and I have shown photographs here,

 9     20 years later, those same bunkers, those were fortifications that can

10     hardly be seen anywhere else.  To take that sort of thing would have

11     taken an exceptional military feat, and that's why this resulted in an

12     incredibly high number of wounded and killed.  The bunkers took months to

13     build at these prominent features and elevations.  You saw those

14     documents from later on.  The commander walking around with UNPROFOR and

15     then saying, We'll close this one and that one, and then they were saying

16     no.  There they stood up to him, they wouldn't be closing that, and it

17     was a bit like that.  So in terms of fortifications, this was done by the

18     book.  They were perfect excellent bunkers.  There was very -- they were

19     very difficult to take, and the fighting was obviously very severe

20     but ...

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Taking a bunker is a very difficult

23     thing, a fortified bunker like that.  No mean feat.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Pinter.

25             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.  Just for

Page 44116

 1     the transcript, page - just a minute - 74, line 11 to line 14.  We see

 2     your question there following up on the reading of that document and your

 3     statement concludes:  "This was written in the document black and white,

 4     and it starts with the fact that the conflict started on January the

 5     7th."  Nevertheless, that is not what the document states.  Obviously

 6     this caused a problem with the interpretation.

 7             Before the beginning of the conflict between the BH Army and the

 8     HVO in Gornji Vakuf on the 7th, and we can't see the number there, of

 9     1993, in Gornji Vakuf.  The 7th of January is not when the conflict

10     erupted.  This is just for the transcript, for this to be verified.

11             And then if we go on reading the text it shows that after the

12     clashes broke out on the 11th of January, 1993, and so on and so forth.

13             Since General Praljak's statement will be analysed in detail, we

14     just want to make sure there are no discrepancies between his evidence

15     and --

16             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreter's note:  Could you slow down,

17     please.  Thank you.

18             Interpreter's note:  Could the speakers please not overlap.

19     Thank you.

20             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Correction of the transcript.  On

21     page 76, lines 1 through 4, General Praljak spoke about who was being

22     held surrounded by whom, and if I understood correctly, he said that the

23     HVO was keeping the units -- or, rather, the members of the BH Army

24     surrounded, and then those members of the BH Army were keeping the

25     members of the HVO surrounded, which would imply that these were actually

Page 44117

 1     two rings, whereas the transcript reflects something entirely different.

 2     If you believe that to be relevant, perhaps we should ask the General to

 3     repeat this for our benefit.  Thank you.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, did you actually

 5     say that the HVO was encircling members of the ABiH, but that they had

 6     already encircled members of the HVO?

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's why the HVO action was

 8     launched, because the BH Army had been keeping the HVO units and military

 9     police in town surrounded for a month, and then the units that were

10     entering the fray formed the outer ring and were taking elevation by

11     elevation in order to free the HVO from its isolation.  That's what it

12     says, and that's what I've been saying throughout.  Not just me, mind

13     you.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Thank you,

15     Mrs. Alaburic.  This cleared the situation.

16             Mr. Stringer.

17             MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President.

18        Q.   General, I'm going to skip ahead to go to Exhibit P01293.  Now,

19     General, this does not appear to be a document with a date.  It's a

20     handwritten document from Geneva and from Brigadier Petkovic in Geneva.

21     Do you recognise this document, or did you see it during roughly the

22     period we've been talking about, the third week of January 1993?

23        A.   I didn't see the document, but I knew that an order had arrived

24     from General Petkovic.  I think this is -- I think this document is in

25     reference to the 23rd, possibly the 24th of January.  Why?  Because on

Page 44118

 1     the 23rd of January, that morning, having visited the wounded commander

 2     Andric in hospital near Prozor, in Rumboci, I left for Mostar.

 3        Q.   And as indicated in item 3 of this document, then, Petkovic

 4     directed Colonel Siljeg to report urgently to you and to send a report on

 5     the situation in Gornji Vakuf directly.

 6             Do you recall what Siljeg was to report -- well, let me back up.

 7     When Siljeg's to urgently to Brada in Mostar, is that a reference to you,

 8     "Brada"?

 9        A.   Yes.

10        Q.   And did Siljeg continue to report to you about the situation in

11     Gornji Vakuf?

12        A.   It doesn't say that Siljeg would forward the report to me.  It

13     just says that he would be getting in touch with me.  He would be sending

14     a sitrep on Gornji Vakuf to the HVO Main Staff in this sentence, to get

15     in touch with me and send a report.  It's not to send a report to me but

16     to get in touch with me, yes.  That's true.  Yes, and then -- well, then

17     I will not go further into that.

18        Q.   Do you know what he was supposed to get in touch with you about?

19        A.   Yes.

20        Q.   What is that?

21        A.   Despite the cease-fire that had been signed, the BH Army

22     continued to stage acts of provocation.  Siljeg was a commander

23     surrounded on all sides by dead and wounded, and he was in command of

24     that army.  It was difficult for him to simply put an end to the attack,

25     but an order had arrived from Mate Boban and Alija Izetbegovic.  I was

Page 44119

 1     supposed to tell Siljeg, The orders have arrived, stop at all costs.

 2        Q.   Then related to this is the next exhibit, P01277.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecutor seems to move

 4     quickly to another document.  I would like to stay on this document that

 5     is coming from Mr. Petkovic.  It is handwritten by Mr. Petkovic, and this

 6     document seems to be important, because it is written "Urgent" three

 7     times.

 8             As far as I can understand this document, Mr. Petkovic, from

 9     Geneva, is writing directly to Siljeg, asking him to stop all operations,

10     and then he's asking him to contact you and then to draw a report.  So

11     this document is rather surprising.

12             We could wonder whether General Petkovic had wind of what was

13     going on, which would mean that he was not aware of what was going to

14     happen.  That's the one possibility.  The other possibility is that he

15     was aware of it and the international community said that it was

16     unbearable and that everything had to be stopped, and that's the reason

17     why he's sending this document.

18             My question is the following:  When did you get to know

19     General Petkovic's position from Geneva?  In other words, when did you

20     hear that he wanted to stop everything?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I managed to go

22     through Gojko Susak -- or, rather, his secretary, and get in touch with

23     Geneva.  I asked that orders be sent through on the cessation of all

24     activity.  It arrived.  I think Mate Boban signed on the 19th, and

25     Petkovic on the 20th.  I don't believe Mr. Petkovic was privy to every

Page 44120

 1     single detail over in Geneva at the time.

 2             Orders arrived on the cessation.  As you know, a military

 3     operation is not something you can put an end to just like that, blowing

 4     out a candle.

 5             On the 22nd, an agreement was drawn up in Gornji Vakuf, as far as

 6     I remember.  Siljeg stopped the whole thing.

 7             What this is about, obviously, is that Siljeg was facing a far

 8     more difficult situation than Petkovic over in Geneva and everyone else.

 9     He was still facing all these provocations on the ground and cease-fire

10     violations by the BH Army.  Nevertheless, regardless of the fact that

11     there was sniping activity still ongoing, as far as I remember, killing

12     our lads, the operation needed to be stopped.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You say that Mate Boban reached

14     an agreement with the other side on the 19th, and the order comes on the

15     20th to stop all activity, and General Petkovic has sent this message so

16     that everyone is aware of this, but in the previous document what do I

17     notice?  Well, I notice that on the 22nd of January, namely, two or three

18     days later, at 4.00 a.m., an attack is launched against the Rincigav

19     [phoen] village, and I don't understand.

20             You say it's very difficult to hold a military operation, and

21     you're right, but when orders are coming from Mate Boban, they are also

22     coming from Geneva via Mr. Petkovic and, and Mr. Siljeg is also informed.

23     I was wondering how it is possible that on the 22nd of January, at

24     4 a.m., this attack was launched.

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is possible, Your Honours, the

Page 44121

 1     reason being the order had been sent to the other side too.  You should

 2     bring those commanders here and ask them who was still attacking and what

 3     the response was.

 4             On the 23rd, obviously there was a small-scale action, no more

 5     than that.  It was started and not finished.  Perhaps it was provoked.

 6     It's not for me to say.  But it is not possible to end a military

 7     operation on a five-minute notice.  All the units are still on the

 8     ground.  You need to tour the units.  You need to inform everyone.

 9     Someone is in the middle of a combat operation.  If you just put an

10     abrupt stop to it, you face heavy losses.

11             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I do not want

12     to put you in a difficult position, but you know the three-C rule,

13     control, communication and command, and I'm sure you're aware of all the

14     rules, which means that from the private up to the head of the military

15     operation there must be communication.  And if the order is coming from

16     Geneva to stop all operations, I find it difficult to believe that on the

17     22nd of January some activities were still going on.  So you give us an

18     explanation and you say, and I'm sure you're right, that one would have

19     to find out under which conditions and who attacked first.  I agree with

20     you.  But you also have to agree with me that it took several days for

21     the orders to reach the ground from Geneva.

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right.  You need to go to

23     each and every position.  We're talking about communication,

24     communication between Geneva, Mostar, Siljeg, and each of the units on

25     the ground.

Page 44122

 1             This was not the kind of communication that is not familiar to a

 2     modern-day army, unfortunately.  I do know everything about the three

 3     golden rules in the military, but you know, there is army and army.  The

 4     communications in that area were exceptionally poor.  Poor.  What am I

 5     saying.  Every time there was some line of communication it was

 6     constantly disrupted by the other side, by the enemy, and that is the

 7     best I can say.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very briefly, I think that it

 9     was the pre-trial brief from the Prosecution where it says that a double

10     game was played.  You say one thing, and you do something else.

11     General Petkovic could say, Do this, but then say, We all agree that we

12     are going to do the opposite.  What is your take on this?

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My take on this, Your Honours,

14     Judge Antonetti, is this:  The HVO positions in Gornji Vakuf on the

15     22nd of January were such that I'm putting it to you that Gornji Vakuf

16     could be taken in its entirety in a single day, but no, that was not the

17     objective.  I conveyed those orders staking my own authority on it

18     despite the large number of dead and opposition from my soldiers who

19     might as well have refused to fight the next day.  They were professional

20     soldiers having suffered large-scale casualties, and knowing that they

21     were under attack, they would obey and still be there in the ranks

22     tomorrow.  That is a higher level of skill.  If I may use foul language,

23     they might just as well have told me to sod off, left the area all

24     together and I couldn't have possibly done anything to them.  This was

25     not the US army, this was not the French army, a fully professional army

Page 44123

 1     where I had full control.  These were people who ...

 2             MR. STRINGER:

 3        Q.   General, I want to take you to the next exhibit now, which is

 4     P01278.  This is one of the British Battalion milinfo documents dated

 5     23 January 1993, and section 1 is about Vitez.  Section 2 is about

 6     Kakanj, and then I want you to look at section 3 on Gornji Vakuf.

 7             Now, this is the report, Vakuf, and then we're going to move down

 8     to about halfway through this paragraph where first they say that they

 9     dropped off ICRC medical supplies at BiH and HVO medical posts in the

10     town.  Do you see that?  And then it continues --

11        A.   Yes.

12        Q.   "Talks occurred between HVO and BiH and a truce agreed from 2318

13     hours and 241200 hours when further negotiations will take place.  At

14     1635 hours the village of Bistrica came under rocket attack from an

15     HVO" -- some form of weapon is indicated there, BM 21.  "The houses in

16     the village were reported to be burning fiercely.  Company 1 Cheshire,"

17     this is a regiment of the British Battalion, I should add, "is keen to

18     stress that this is definitely ethnic cleansing by Croats on a Muslim

19     village.  At 1910 hours, fighting was continuing within the town.  There

20     is no cease-fire being implemented by either side."

21             Now, General, this is the 23rd of -- were you aware that

22     Colonel Siljeg and HVO forces were engaged in ethnic cleansing of Muslim

23     village Bistrica as is indicated here?

24        A.   No, I can't accept that for the simple reason that ethnic

25     cleansing cannot be carried out with a rocket attack.  If the HVO units

Page 44124

 1     were in the village of Bistrica, then you can't shoot at that village

 2     with a multiple-barrel rocket launcher.  And if you use a multiple-barrel

 3     rocket launcher, then houses cannot be aflame because that's not what

 4     that -- those weapons produce.  So this is quite unclear militarily

 5     speaking, that you could use one charge of 12 rockets or 21 rockets,

 6     anti-infantry weaponry, to cause ethnic cleansing and to have houses

 7     burst into flame in this way.  And that speaks of the level of knowledge

 8     that the person who compiled this has.

 9        Q.   Well, let's talk about the damage from another source that you

10     might consider to be more reliable.  If you would turn to P01351.  1351.

11             Now, this, General, is a report of Colonel Siljeg, report on

12     situation in Gornji Vakuf on 28 January 1993.  And he's reporting to the

13     Presidency of the HVO of the HZ HB, the government of the HVO HZ HB

14     Mostar, Defence Department, and the Main Staff.  And I want to take you

15     to page 3 of the English version, and this is where he's talking about a

16     sub-commission that toured villages per requests and determine the

17     situation in those sectors.  This is a report of the commission on

18     establishing the factual state of the occasion.  Combat operations in

19     these various areas.

20             Now, the first village that's referred to here is a place called

21     Uzricje, and it talks about persons taken away, persons who had been

22     killed.  There are references to houses being torched, and this continues

23     for other villages as well, property that's looted, again imprisoned

24     soldiers.  I'm looking at page 5 now of the English.  Killed civilians.

25     This is in Duse.  A total of 18 houses and sheds destroyed, 16 of which

Page 44125

 1     were torched.  Trnovaca is the next village, number 3.  Again, four

 2     houses destroyed, torched, looted.  And this continues on.  And then on

 3     page 7 of the English, there's a reference to Bistrica, which is the

 4     village we were just talking about in the previous document.  Do you see

 5     that, General?

 6        A.   Yes, I see that.  Bistrica.  Bistrica is the most critical point

 7     it says.

 8        Q.   "... and we have to calm it down on our side, and when a global

 9     solution is found, then we know what we shall do in Bistrica and in other

10     places."

11             And then -- first of all, General, recognising that you probably

12     did not -- well, did you ever see this report of Colonel Siljeg?

13        A.   No.

14        Q.   And these villages that he's reporting about, is -- do they

15     appear, can you tell or do you know whether they appear to be Croat or

16     Muslim villages?  Or mixed?

17        A.   Well, it says here exactly what it is, but you're not giving me

18     enough time for me to read through this and to comment, nor do I know

19     from this point in time how mixed they were, which is which.  I can't

20     comment really.

21             This is a document that was signed by Mr. Siljeg on the 28th, and

22     I had played my role a long time ago, and I described what that role was.

23     I was no longer in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time.  It is a commission

24     report.  Obviously he's writing what he is setting out.  Whether it's

25     correct, how far it is correct, I don't know, I can't say, but quite

Page 44126

 1     obviously the commission has signed -- has described all this, everything

 2     that was destroyed, what was looted, and so on and so forth.

 3        Q.   Well, General, that leads to my next -- excuse me, my next

 4     question, because we know that you were present in Gornji Vakuf at least

 5     from the 16th to the 23rd.

 6        A.   No, I wasn't.  I was in Rama.

 7        Q.   All right.  You were in Prozor meeting with Siljeg and

 8     Miro Andric from the 16th.  Did you stay in Prozor until the 23rd when

 9     you left?

10        A.   Yes.  I left on the 23rd in the morning.

11        Q.   So you never went to Gornji Vakuf?

12        A.   I did once.  I did go to an elevation to the left of

13     Gornji Vakuf, in the direction of Krc and the repeater station there.

14        Q.   And so throughout this period of time, 16th to the 23rd of

15     January, General, you were consulting with and, in fact, you were issuing

16     orders to Colonel Siljeg, and then, as you say, you left.

17             Now, are you claiming that by leaving the territory you're

18     excused from any responsibility of what happened in Gornji Vakuf if, in

19     fact, you were holding a command position there during the time of the

20     16th to the 23rd?

21        A.   No, I wasn't holding a command position, Mr. Stringer.  I came

22     with a specific assignment, and I told you what I did.  I told you when I

23     left, and I don't feel responsible.

24        Q.   But the fact is that Siljeg, Miro Andric, consulted with you

25     about the HVO policy and its demands which were rejected.  Conflict

Page 44127

 1     resulted.  You think you bear no responsibility for what happened up

 2     there simply because you left on the 23rd of January?

 3        A.   It's not true that the conflict arose because, as you say, there

 4     was an ultimatum.  That is not correct.  Now, whether I should feel

 5     responsible or not responsible for having left on the 23rd, that's not

 6     correct either.  It's not correct that I issued an order, and I'd like to

 7     ask Their Honours where I'm asked a question -- well, could you please

 8     establish whether I was in command.  Now, if I answer the question, am I

 9     answering everything that the Prosecutor uttered earlier on.  So please

10     break up this question and ask, "Were you in command?"  Then your next

11     question.  You're making five assertions and after five assertions you're

12     asking one single question and I can't answer that question because it

13     would mean that I answer in the affirmative to all your previous

14     questions, which I don't agree with.

15        Q.   Well, I'll break it down and I'll put it to you this way.

16     General, isn't it true that the documents we've been discussing today

17     clearly show that you did hold a command position or you held command

18     authority in respect of Gornji Vakuf even though you did not hold an

19     official military rank or position in the HVO?  Isn't that true?

20        A.   No, not true, incorrect.  None of the documents point that out.

21        Q.   And that you knew that in these various military operations

22     Muslim houses were shelled, torched, burned, civilians were ethnically

23     cleansed, as the British Battalion says, throughout that period, and that

24     despite having this command authority, you did nothing to prevent it or

25     to cause, order any investigation or prosecution --

Page 44128

 1             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Stringer, you have just said that you are

 2     going to break down, but now you're really putting question over

 3     question, and in my mind I can see a whole network of which goes right

 4     and left and then on -- I think it will be good if you took it piece by

 5     piece.

 6             MR. STRINGER:

 7        Q.   General, did you ever order an investigation or do anything to

 8     prevent the crime that were committed against Muslims in Gornji Vakuf

 9     during 16 to 23 January, 1993?

10        A.   I did not have a function which would require me to order an

11     investigation about what happened in Gornji Vakuf.  And apart from that,

12     Siljeg writes and says what happened in Gornji Vakuf.

13             Now, apart from the fact that he says what happened in

14     Gornji Vakuf, he doesn't say who the culprits are, who did what, when.

15     This is an observation of the situation, the state of affairs, whereas an

16     investigation comes after that.  And it was his duty as commander of the

17     operative zone, or, rather, of all the other structures dealing with

18     this, the prosecutor, the civilian authorities, the police and so on and

19     so forth.  It's their job.

20        Q.   So I know you've said this before.  We should just -- I want to

21     come back to this.  Your position, General, is that you and Siljeg,

22     unless you actually know the name of a -- of a particular perpetrator,

23     have no obligation to prevent or to order an investigation.  Is that your

24     position?

25        A.   No, sir, that's not what I said.  You talked to Siljeg, and you

Page 44129

 1     resolved that with him.  You're now dealing with my role in those events,

 2     and I've described that role in very precise terms.  Siljeg here, within

 3     the frameworks of the commission and a good commander, is making an

 4     observation of the state of affairs.  Afterwards, he will take the steps

 5     in his power to uncover the possible perpetrators of those acts.

 6        Q.   All right.  General, a few questions, probably for the rest of

 7     the day, on the Vance-Owen Peace Plan, which of course is looming largely

 8     in the context, in the background, when we discuss Gornji Vakuf.  So --

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before discussing the

10     Vance-Owen Peace Plan, I have a few questions.  I'm still looking at the

11     document.

12             Colonel Siljeg is reporting, and he seems to be very frank about

13     the facts that he has been told about in his report.  As far as

14     Gornji Vakuf is concerned, he mentions the case of Vlatko Rajic who

15     abused and decapitated an invalid.  Now he doesn't say whether he,

16     Colonel Siljeg, actually reported this to the military or civilian

17     prosecutor.

18             Secondly, he's also talking about the case of Branko Sapina.  We

19     discovered that the brother of Branko Sapina was killed, and because of

20     this Branko Sapina is going to separate two civilians from others and is

21     going to kill them, you know, with a pistol in front of all the

22     inhabitants.

23             What did Siljeg do?  Did he report this to the civilian or

24     military prosecutor?  Well, we don't know.  But Colonel Siljeg does

25     report a number of facts, facts that require some follow-up, and there

Page 44130

 1     might have been a follow-up, I don't know, but this is the situation as

 2     it stands.

 3             According to you, did Colonel Siljeg behave properly?  Should he

 4     have drafted a report saying, "I will report this to the competent

 5     authorities in order for the perpetrators of all this to be prosecuted"?

 6             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judge Antonetti, Your Honour, in

 7     this report he does not need to mention that, but he did.  He said a name

 8     and surname, and it's quite certain that he had to set this into

 9     motion -- or, rather, to report this.  I don't know about Sapina, but I

10     think Vlatko Rajic was a mentally disturbed person.  I don't know about

11     this other man, Sapina.  But I learnt about this case later on, I think,

12     or at this Tribunal.  He ended up at the psychiatric ward as mentally

13     disturbed, and he could not have been tried.  But once you name names and

14     mention events, which Mr. Siljeg does very properly, then of course the

15     next step would be -- the next thing would be -- well, otherwise he'd

16     skip the names and skip the event.  And as a well-trained policeman from

17     before, how would he not report this to the military investigators to

18     deal with the person who was the perpetrator?

19             As far as I can see, Siljeg has not hidden anything here.

20     Everything he learnt and everything that he observed is noted here.  Of

21     course, an investigation then begins to protect a certain area, to take

22     statements and so on.  The procedure that we've discussed here was

23     unleashed, and we looked into who should have done what and so on.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  One last question.

25     It seems that after the combat there were 132 members of the ABiH

Page 44131

 1     captured by the HVO, and 23 members of HVO were captured by the ABiH.

 2             As far as you know, the 23 prisoners, HVO prisoners, were they

 3     eventually exchanged?  What happened to them?  Do you know?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I was able to see at this

 5     Tribunal and some documents, it was an exchange all for all, on an

 6     all-for-all basis.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  There's ten minutes

 8     left, Mr. Stringer.

 9             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] If my colleague will allow me for

10     the record to help everybody out, this man mentioned, Vlatko Rajic, now,

11     three documents have been admitted into evidence about the fact that this

12     man Vlatko Rajic was prosecuted.  I can -- yes, I see him nodding.  It is

13     2D008899 [as interpreted].  I think that is the judgement.  Then there's

14     another court document from those proceedings which is 1D00946.  Those

15     are the relevant documents and numbers.  And there's another one which I

16     think is a certificate on the sentence served, and it is 1D00945.  The

17     first number is 2D00889.  Thank you.  I repeated that first number.  So I

18     hope I have been of assistance.

19             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  It may be helpful for the purposes of the

20     understandability of the record that we recall the crime committed by

21     this Mr. Rajic.  I think it was the murder of a young girl early in the

22     morning when the family was told to move from the house.  Is that

23     correct?  Is that the case?

24             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] The event was in Vakuf, and a throat

25     was slit, a young man's throat was slit, head cut off.

Page 44132

 1             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  I mixed it up with another case

 2     where also the perpetrator had been prosecuted, and also he was a

 3     psychiatric case and dealt with by psychiatric treatment.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.

 5             MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President.

 6             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I do apologise, Mr. Stringer.  But

 7     that was Ante Bunoza, and it concerned Capljina, and it was the killing

 8     of that girl.  Her name was Kaplan, and he was sentenced to prison term

 9     of five years but he didn't undergo psychiatric treatment.  He did, in

10     fact, spend time in prison.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.

12             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, my intention is to round off the

13     Vance-Owen Peace Plan in the next six minutes.

14             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Do you, in fact, say that you would prefer to

15     start tomorrow morning?

16             MR. STRINGER:  No.  Actually, I was trying to make a joke,

17     Judge Trechsel, but --

18             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  We'd never have guessed.

19             MR. STRINGER:  I could ask a few preliminary questions maybe to

20     set the stage for tomorrow.

21        Q.   General, Vance-Owen Peace Plan.  Can we agree that very early in

22     January of 1993, Mate Boban, on behalf of the Bosnian Croat side, signed

23     off on all of the components of the plan?  Agreed to it in its entirety.

24        A.   Correct.

25        Q.   Can we agree that the Vance-Owen Peace Plan, as it existed in

Page 44133

 1     January of 1993, consisted of different parts, different annexes?  There

 2     was a part on the constitutional framework.  There was the proposed map

 3     with the cantons.  There was a cease-fire agreement.  There were various

 4     components of the Vance-Owen Peace Plan.  Is that correct, based on what

 5     you know -- on what you knew at the time?

 6        A.   Yes, that is correct.  I knew that there were constitutional

 7     frameworks, that they had proposed maps, corridors linking up certain

 8     provinces or cantons, and that there was an agreement about moving out

 9     the heavy weapons and so on and so forth.  But the constitutional

10     solutions to Bosnia and Herzegovina, that was certainly there, and the

11     maps were proposed for the territorial set-up of Bosnia-Herzegovina

12     internally.

13        Q.   And would you agree with me if I suggested to you that on the

14     10th of January, 1993, Alija Izetbegovic signed off on the constitutional

15     framework part of the Vance-Owen Plan?

16        A.   Yes, he did sign the constitutional part, and I think -- well, I

17     don't know for sure, but I think he also signed up to the separation and

18     delineation with some examples, the corridor through Posavina, and he had

19     some other objections and provisos and asked the international community

20     to prevail upon the Serb side to sign too.

21        Q.   Can we agree that on the 10th of January he did not sign off on

22     or agree to the proposed map?

23        A.   I think he lay down certain conditions, but I can't say with

24     certainty.  I think he signed conditionally.  He signed and then wanted

25     to have it fine-tuned during the negotiations.

Page 44134

 1        Q.   We'll get to this probably tomorrow.  I think that on the

 2     conditions you might be referring possibly to events in March of 1993.

 3             Maybe just in the very little time that's left, let me just read

 4     from one of the exhibits and we'll see if we can agree as to what was the

 5     situation on the 10th of January.

 6             This is P01187, and, General, I don't think we have this

 7     translated into Croatian.  It's among those UN-type documents that we

 8     don't have to have translations for.

 9             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Stringer, am I correct in assuming that you

10     are now turning to another binder --

11             MR. STRINGER:  No.

12             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  -- which is not distributed.

13             MR. STRINGER:  I apologise, Judge.  It's in the binder that we've

14     been working on.  It's just earlier.  P01187.

15             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Got it.

16             MR. STRINGER:  I skipped over this earlier.

17             JUDGE PRANDLER:  I'm sorry, Mr. Stringer.  I apologise.  Since

18     you spoke about the binders, I wonder if I may ask you to give us

19     instructions.  Which binders should we carry and take to them my office

20     and then it bring it to tomorrow to conference room 1, because I believe

21     that is why we have -- we have to remove -- I believe that list 6 and 7,

22     but you may tell us otherwise.

23             MR. STRINGER:  Judge Prandler, since we're really at the end of

24     the day, we are binder number 7, which is the binder we've been in, and I

25     can inform everyone what the exhibits are going to be on this so that

Page 44135

 1     they can look at them tonight if they want.  It's P01187, which actually

 2     we do have a translation into Croatian.  And then P09852.  Those two

 3     exhibits are in binder number 7, which we have -- or which everyone

 4     already has.  So those are the only two documents that we're going to be

 5     using to talk about Vance-Owen.  Probably also we'll go to Presidential

 6     Transcript, P01158, which is also in binder 7.  And then after that we'll

 7     be finished with binder 7 and we'll go to binder 8, which we'll be

 8     distributing before court tomorrow morning.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  As you've

10     understood, for some kind of reason, some undetermined reason, we're

11     moved to Courtroom I.  Gotovina case is going to sit in Courtroom III.

12     Sometimes they sat in Courtroom II, and II is free tomorrow, but they're

13     moving to III.  I don't know what Registry did but if they knew the

14     amount of binders we have to move with us, they probably wouldn't have

15     told us to go to Courtroom I.  But Judges, we'll take binder number 7,

16     and we'll leave the courtroom with this binder to make sure that our

17     assistants don't have to do this work of lugging volumes and volumes of

18     documents all around the Tribunal.  And tomorrow we'll have the great

19     pleasure of inaugurating binder number 8, but it will be in Courtroom I.

20     So tomorrow we meet at 9.00, Courtroom I.  Have a nice evening.

21                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.,

22                           to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 1st day

23                           of September, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.