1 Tuesday, 22 September 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The accused Coric not present]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.14 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you please
7 call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
9 everyone in and around the courtroom.
10 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et
11 al. Thank you, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
13 This is Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009, and I greet Mr. Prlic,
14 Mr. Stojic, Mr. Praljak, Mr. Petkovic, and Mr. Pusic. I also greet the
15 Defence counsels, all members of the OTP, in great numbers today, and I
16 also greet everyone helping us.
17 Let me first give the floor to our Registrar. I believe he has
18 some IC numbers for us.
19 THE REGISTRAR: That's correct. Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Some parties have submitted their lists of documents to be
21 tendered through Witness Josip Jurcevic. The list submitted by 3D shall
22 be given Exhibit IC1042. The list submitted by 1D shall be given
23 Exhibit IC1043. The list submitted by 4D shall be given Exhibit IC1044,
24 and the list submitted by the Prosecution shall be given Exhibit IC1045.
25 The Prosecution has also submitted its objections to the lists of
1 documents tendered by 3D and 4D via Witness Slobodan Praljak. These
2 lists shall be given Exhibit IC1046 and 1047 respectively.
3 Thank you, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
5 The Trial Chamber is now going to issue an oral decision, and I
6 will read it slowly.
7 Oral decision on the parties' dead-line to respond to the
8 Rule 92 bis Praljak Defence motion.
9 On September 22nd, 2009, the Prosecution filed, confidentially, a
10 reply to the -- a response to the motion on the admission of Rule 92 bis,
11 motion filed by the Praljak Defence on September 14th regarding the
12 admission of these written statements. The Prosecution is asking mainly
13 for the Praljak motion to be dismissed. Alternatively, the Prosecution
14 is asking for the response dead-line to be extended to November 23rd,
16 The Trial Chamber believes that it is in the interests of justice
17 to analyse the Praljak Defence motion in light of all replies provided by
18 all parties who wish to reply before ruling on the admission. However,
19 the Trial Chamber believes that the extension of the dead-line requested
20 by the Prosecution would significantly delay the procedure.
21 Consequently, the Trial Chamber extends the dead-line for all parties
22 wishing to respond to the Praljak motion until October 28, 2009.
23 There, in a word, in a nutshell, all parties have until October
24 28, a month from now, to file their submissions in response to the
25 Praljak Defence motion.
1 I believe everyone understood this oral decision.
2 Now, as far as the schedule is concerned, we've been informed by
3 a letter by Mr. Kovacic that the witness Skender could only come on
4 Thursday. Is that it, Mr. Kovacic?
5 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, sir, exactly.
6 [Interpretation] Mr. Skender will be coming in as planned. As I
7 said, we tried to speed the schedule up, but he wasn't able to fly in,
8 and he's coming in from Corsica this evening, so we won't be able to see
9 him before tomorrow morning. Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 Let's bring the witness into the courtroom, the first witness,
12 Arbutina Alojz.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning [as interpreted],
15 sir. Could you please tell us your name, sir, name and date of birth,
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Alojz Arbutina. The 24th of
18 November, 1931. I was born in France.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were born in France. Where
20 were you born in France, please?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Haltbont [phoen].
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You must be retired, given your
23 age. Could you tell us what your last occupation was?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was a skilled electrician working
25 in the company Elektra, and I've been retired since 1988.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you ever testified in
2 court or is this the first time that you are testifying?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first time, here now.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you please read the
5 solemn declaration, please.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
7 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 WITNESS: ALOJZ ARBUTINA
9 [The witness answered through interpreter]
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may be seated.
11 Let me give you some information so that this hearing runs
12 smoothly and for the best for everyone.
13 First, you will be answering questions which will be put to you
14 by the Praljak Defence. You might even answer questions put to you by
15 General Praljak, himself, if those questions are within his competence.
16 Then after that phase -- normally, this should take about an hour, so
17 after this hour, the other counsels for the other accused who are in
18 front of you, on your left, will also be putting questions to you, and
19 this phase should last about 30 minutes for all other accused. The
20 Prosecution had an hour for his questions, but he told us last week that
21 he did not intend to ask any questions, after all. The four Judges on
22 the Bench might ask you a few questions. They probably will, actually,
23 questions on the elements that you will be giving in your answers.
24 Please try and be concise in your answers. If you do not
25 understand a question, don't hesitate to ask the one putting the question
1 to you to reformulate it.
2 If at any point in time you feel ill at ease or unwell - you
3 never know because a hearing is always stressful and can sometimes be
4 very uncomfortable - so just raise your hand so we can just break for a
6 I don't think that this is much of a surprise for you. I'm sure
7 that Mr. Praljak's counsels have told you all about this hearing, and
8 since you -- I also want to tell you that since you're talking the same
9 language as Mr. Praljak's counsel, wait for them to be finished with
10 their question before you answer, to make sure that the both of you don't
12 Thank you.
13 You have the floor, Ms. Pinter.
14 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
15 Good afternoon to you all and everybody else in the courtroom.
16 Examination by Ms. Pinter:
17 Q. [Interpretation] And good afternoon, Mr. Arbutina. I'm over
18 here. You can look at me. I'm over here. You can turn towards me.
19 Well, you can look where you like, but just I want you to know that I'm
20 asking you the questions from here.
21 I can see that the Prosecutor glanced at the papers that you have
22 in front of you. What is it that you have there?
23 A. Well, I have the statements that I gave earlier on in Croatia, in
24 Sunja, and I have that before me now.
25 Q. You said that you gave a statement. Did you give that statement
1 of your own free will and to the best of your recollections and
2 knowledge, and did you say what you said truthfully?
3 A. Yes, I did make a truthful statement of my own free will, without
4 anybody having to persuade me to do so, and I am happy to be a witness
5 for the general.
6 Q. Thank you. You said you were born in France, but where do you
8 A. I live in Sunja, Croatia.
9 Q. Well, that is additional information because we don't have your
10 date of birth or address in the statement, so that's why I asked you
11 that. And since when have you lived in Sunja?
12 A. Since 1936, when we settled there, my parents and I, and that was
13 the Yugoslavia of the day.
14 Q. Can you describe to the Court what the situation was like in
15 Sunja up until the beginning of the war in the Republic of Croatia, or,
16 rather, until the beginning of the war in Sunja and when that war
17 actually broke out?
18 A. The population of Sunja was mixed. There were more Croats than
19 other -- than the Serbs. And in Sunja, itself, the war began on the 27th
20 of July, 1991, in the morning, between 7.00 and 8.00, with a mortar
21 attack. This was a great shock to us. It came as a big surprise,
22 because on the 26th, for example, the 26th of July, that is, I had a
23 friend - he was a Serb - and the day before the attack I was with them --
24 with him, but on the day of the attack, they were no longer in Sunja.
25 Q. Did they inform you about that; that is to say, did they tell you
1 there would be an attack? Did they know there would be an attack?
2 A. They didn't inform me about anything, and there were even cases
3 where there were very close relations of kinship and kumship, and they
4 didn't inform me about anything, they just disappeared. So there were
5 cases like that just a few days before the attack and, actually, on the
6 26th, or between the 26th and 27th.
7 Q. In your statement, on page 12 of the Croatian text, you say that
8 they left across the railway line. What does that mean; that the local
9 Serbs went across the railway line or what?
10 A. Well, that's what we called the border. In fact, the railway
11 line was the border.
12 Q. The border of what?
13 A. The border between us and the paramilitary forces there, Martic's
14 men, the Chetniks, and the inhabitants who were in Serb villages across
15 the railway line, beyond the railway line.
16 Q. And that is, otherwise, the territory of the Republic of Croatia;
17 right? It's not the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina? It was the
18 separation line between two sides, that kind of border; right?
19 A. No -- well, yes, it's an area of Croatia. It was our local
20 border, so to speak, and we knew that across the way, across the railway
21 line, you couldn't go any further, you couldn't go to that side, because
22 when the actual attack began in the morning, we organised ourselves
23 straight away, and during the day and during the night the civilian
24 population was evacuated, both Croats and the Serbs who had stayed on, or
25 they were near the railway station and were, therefore, under threat.
1 They were under threat from the attacks that they started to launch
2 against us, so those people were evacuated.
3 Q. Thank you. Now, tell us, how was the line organised? What did
4 it look like?
5 A. I think I'll be able to describe this to the Trial Chamber. The
6 line, the boundary, was the railway line, and from the railway line to
7 Sisak and the road running to Sisak --
8 Q. I apologise, but the question was whether the line was well
9 organised, well set up, well fortified, or were there any problems? I'm
10 not asking you where it was, but what it was like there on the first day,
11 the second day, at the beginning of all this.
12 A. Well, I don't know how to describe it. At the beginning, just to
13 be on the safe side, we were sort of on a peninsula. The River Sava was
14 an exit for us if the place were to fall, but we couldn't go to the left
15 or the right because the line was from the Sava River towards the
16 station, and part of that station, and then down Vladimir Masal Street,
17 the villages of Krimadze [phoen], Metbogovac [phoen], and across the
18 fields and meadows.
19 Q. Were there any bunkers, were there any trenches, any obstacles?
20 Were the soldiers well protected, any barriers put up, that kind of
22 A. At the beginning, we didn't have anything because we weren't
23 expecting anything like that. The only thing -- the only barriers we had
24 was up at the station, where there was the station depot warehouse, and
25 at first, up at the front-line, as we referred to it, the railway line,
1 the front-line, there was the police. Well, we called it the militia
2 first, but then it was called the police. And there was a few volunteers
3 who were organised at that first stage, during those first days, until
4 the 2nd Guards Company arrived, and the reserve police force, I think,
5 arrived on the third day from Zagreb.
6 Q. Very well. Now, was that the situation at the front-line
7 throughout or were there any changes?
8 A. In September -- well, the first commander was Zarko Pesa, and so
9 in September General Praljak arrived. And when he took over the command
10 in Sunja, the situation was quite different. But, nevertheless, it was a
11 difficult situation, difficult to deal with all those volunteers. They
12 didn't actually understand what was going on. They didn't realise that
13 it was a war. And when General Praljak arrived, then they began to
14 organise the front-lines better, their bunkers were built, trenches,
15 barriers, and all the rest of it, and the discipline improved at that
16 time, too. Everything became better organised.
17 How can I explain this? Well, us locals, it was difficult when a
18 local person was a commander and so on, and I was an officer in the
19 previous army. I had a rank, I was lieutenant, and I -- when I told the
20 young guys that we had to build bunkers and so on, they wouldn't really
21 listen. It was all sporadic. But when General Praljak arrived, then
22 discipline was raised to a much higher level and there was a certain
23 measure of respect, because he was somebody from other parts, he wasn't a
24 local, because if locals tend to issue orders to locals, that's a
25 different matter, but everybody felt they knew how to defend the area
1 themselves. But when Praljak came in, that was quite different.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you're telling us that
3 General Praljak arrived -- you were born in 1931, so in 1992 you were
4 over 60. When you saw General Praljak coming, what did you think at the
5 time? Did you think -- was he being sent by Zagreb or is he just coming
6 just like Zorro, you know, coming to the rescue?
7 A. I don't know how to answer your question. He came as a
8 volunteer, of his own will. He was brought by Zarko Pesa, who was our
9 previous commander. He came of his own will. He came to Sunja to help
10 us, to assist us in defending us from our enemy that was across the
11 railway line.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You are telling us
13 that Zarko Pesa asked him to come, and he came as a volunteer. So could
14 you tell us why it is that someone who came from the outside is suddenly
15 commanding the troops, whereas on the field there are people like you?
16 You had been a lieutenant in the JNA, so why is it that it was a person
17 coming from the outside that ended up commanding the troops?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that this did not come
19 from the outside, that this came from the Main Staff of the Republic of
20 Croatia for the defence of Croatia, but he came as a volunteer. He came
21 to help us, and he made sure that we were more active in everything. I
22 don't know how to answer. And as I told you, it was easier for somebody
23 who came from the outside than from a local midst, because that person
24 commands more respect, because I, as a local, if I wanted to tell you
25 something or explain something to you because I had some military
1 knowledge and experience, I could go on talking and asking people to do
2 this or that or the other, but then the response would always be, Don't
3 you tell us what we should do. We know very well how we should do it.
4 I don't know if there is anything else I can tell you in answer
5 to your question. There were people who made bunkers on their sheds near
6 their homes or behind the sheds. Of course, people had cattle and manure
7 was behind the shed, and behind that was a cornfield, and of course that
8 he could see, if somebody was walking through the cornfield, he was
9 visible at a 30-metre distance. He could not come closer -- any closer
10 to the shed because there was a clear field of vision.
11 I would explain to them that the enemy could crawl through the
12 cornfields and throw a hand-grenade on them, or any such thing.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
14 Ms. Pinter.
15 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Mr. Arbutina, in the month of July 1991, did you know anything
17 about the organisation of the Croatian Army? Did you know what was in
18 place at the time? Was there any organisation in place, were there any
19 brigades in place, or was this developed gradually after that? I'm
20 talking about the year 1991.
21 A. In Croatia, there were things, and I'm talking about my area. At
22 that time, we started organising ourselves. First of all, we had
23 volunteers, and then, on the 1st of September, I believe, there were
24 first mobilisation papers distributed. And before the 20th of July, we
25 were all volunteers, as part of a unit that was organised together with
1 people from Sisak. We were a company in Sunja, and that company grew
2 with time. More people joined, and that's how we became a brigade, and
3 then we became a home guard regiment. And there were also active
4 brigades, but our brigade was a reserve brigade.
5 In Sunja, we were assisted by a guards brigade and some other
6 units from other brigades, from the 102nd and 101st Brigades, and all
7 those things changed before 1995.
8 Q. Very well. I'm just waiting for the record to be finished.
9 Mr. Arbutina, when we were talking about the arrival of
10 General Praljak, when did that happen, when did he arrive in Sunja? When
11 did he first arrive in Sunja?
12 A. In the month of September 1991.
13 Q. Thank you. Did you have any contacts with the general while he
14 was in Sunja?
15 A. Yes, I did. At the very beginning, I was appointed by the
16 Crisis Staff as the commander of the logistics there.
17 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell the Trial Chamber about the
18 attitude of General Praljak towards the civilians? Do you know anything
19 about that? How did he treat the civilians who remained living in Sunja?
20 A. I can say that General Praljak did not make any difference
21 between the civilians and the troops. He looked after everybody equally.
22 I was appointed the assistant commander for logistics, and, as such, I
23 cooperated very strictly with the general, and we discussed everything
24 that concerned my position as a logistics man.
25 Every evening, we had a short briefing. Every evening, I was
1 supposed to go to him, because by then we received all the food from
2 Sisak, and that's why I had to go to Sisak every day, to fetch the food.
3 And after that, I always had to go and seek the general's signature. And
4 then once I asked him, General, sir, I don't think that I should come to
5 you every evening just for the signature. You know that I have to go,
6 but you don't have to know that I am going to fetch 300 kilos of potato
7 or 100 kilo of onion. And he said, Well, I don't see a problem. This
8 will be one less worry for me if you don't come for my signature.
9 And from then on, things changed. However, our co-operation was
10 very good, and whatever I needed, whatever assistance I may have needed,
11 if there was a problem, whenever I addressed the general, there was
12 always good co-operation.
13 Q. Were people hungry in Sunja? Was there enough food?
14 A. There was enough food because we looked after that. The
15 general's order personally to me was that there shouldn't be any
16 shortages, not only for the troops but also for the civilians. There
17 were a lot of Croatian civilians as well as Serbs who remained living in
18 the area. Later on, they joined the Croatian Army. And we also had a
19 few Muslims who lived in Sunja. But he would often tell me, Please make
20 sure that everybody has enough to eat, all the civilians. And we even
21 have some elderly Serbs that we took care of, and they all regularly
22 received food and provisions, just like the troops.
23 There were no shops where one could get food. The situation was
24 not normal. There were shops, but they were closed down. This is what
25 I'm saying.
1 Q. The Serbian civilians, did they remain living in Sunja of their
2 own will? Were they incarcerated? Did they lead a normal life? What
3 can you tell us about them?
4 A. They led a normal life. There were no differences between them
5 and the rest of the population, the Croatian population. For example, we
6 treated everybody equally. Maybe there were -- there was some sporadic
7 taunting, but that was really sporadic and insignificant; that they
8 stayed of their own will. And for the benefit of the Trial Chamber, I
9 have to say that the neighbourhood from the railway station to the center
10 of Sunja, half of that part may be 500 or 600 metres away from the
11 railway station, we removed from that area both Croats and Serbs, and
12 there were Serbs who remained in Sunja as well as the others who were
13 further away from that area, and the rest left across the River Sava and
14 joined their relatives in Sisak or Zagreb.
15 Q. Did you chase them away or did they leave of their own will,
16 those that left? And I mean the Serbs that you just mentioned.
17 A. I know what you're saying. Nobody chased them away. Those who
18 wanted to leave left. Because some order had been introduced into the
19 command of the company in our firefighters hall, that's where the command
20 was, and then when Pesa was there, they had the Main Staff, and when
21 Mr. Praljak came. However, initially before they came, those who wanted
22 to leave, they would be given passes for the barge to get across the
23 river to the other parts of Croatia where they had relatives. There was
24 no expulsion or anything.
25 Q. I have two more questions for you, sir. The first question is:
1 What was the treatment of soldiers, and do you know anything about the
2 discipline among the troops?
3 A. I can only say that discipline improved significantly after
4 General Praljak arrived. He told them, We are a military and we are
5 defending our homeland, and we have to abide by military rules, and we
6 have to discharge our military duties in a proper way.
7 It was very difficult to introduce order and discipline.
8 However, the general was not very rigid in his behaviour, but he asked
9 for discipline and order. And what I found very impressive was, for
10 example, our morning briefings. General Praljak introduced a
11 flag-raising ceremony every morning, and every morning the anthem was
12 played by a soldier, and then we had very short briefings. Mr. Praljak
13 would then say, The 1st Company, any problems, the 2nd, the 3rd, the 4th,
14 Logistics? And those briefings were very short, not more than half an
15 hour, and then he would say to us, Let's go on, lads, let's continue
16 working and making sure we know what we are doing.
17 Q. When did General Praljak leave Sunja? Do you know the date or
18 just an approximate date?
19 A. I don't know the exact date, but I believe that it was in
20 [indiscernible] 1992, in April 1992.
21 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as far as the Defence
22 is concerned, we have no more questions. I would just like
23 Mr. Arbutina's statement under 3D03699 to be tended into evidence.
24 I don't know if General Praljak believes that there is something
25 to be added to my examination of this witness.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.
2 Witness, I have a whole series of follow-up questions to put to
3 you. I'd like to get back to the question of the civilians.
4 Sunja was part of a municipality, and if I've understood you
5 correctly, this small settlement had, by and large, 1.300 inhabitants
6 when the census was conducted in 2001. So in 1991/1992, one could
7 reasonably presume that there were at least a thousand inhabitants. The
8 2001 census indicates that 17 per cent of these people were Serbs. Ten
9 years prior to that, if we calculate on the basis of a thousand
10 inhabitants, there were approximately 100 Serbs, 40 to 45 families, all
11 in all, according to my calculations.
12 You told us that there was a street on the other side of this
13 station, and you said that the Croats and the Serbs left from that
14 particular point. You decided that, but you remained very discreet as
15 far as the fate of the Serbs was concerned. Why did you ask the Serbs
16 living on that street to leave? When I mean you, I don't mean you,
17 personally. I mean the Croats in general. Why did you ask them to leave
18 their houses, their homes?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, nobody persuaded them
20 to leave or forced them to leave.
21 You said that our place was small. Yes, it was. Before the war,
22 Sunja was part of Sisak municipality. We were just a local commune. And
23 to make things clearer to you, I have to say that this part or this
24 neighbourhood between the railway line and the Sava River was occupied by
25 Croats; 90 per cent were Croats. Sunja, Krivaj, Zremen, Bobovac, Gornja
1 and Donja Letina, and the border on the Sava River. Across the railway
2 line, there were villages with a predominantly Serb population. We
3 called that area Maksimir, but there were also Citvertkovac [phoen],
4 Drljaca, Donji Hrastovac, Paukova [phoen], Mala and Velika Gradusa.
5 Those villages were part of the locale commune of Sunja, but all those
6 villages were inhabited by the Serbian population. And I stated in my
7 statement that the part between the railway line and the Sava River and
8 the streets in that area, that's where the Socialist Alliance was
9 located. And along the Sinjak [phoen]-Sunja-Dubica road and where the
10 road forks off from Hrastovac to Hrvatska Kostajnica, in that part we
11 could not even go to Voldera [phoen] Polje, where there was local
12 population between the railway line leading to Novska. We were on the
13 very outskirt of the streets called Vladimir Nazer [phoen] and
14 Milos Podric [phoen], and those two streets led towards the railway line
15 leading to Sisak. We had only the area where the Vajda company, and
16 that's very close to the railway station, maybe 50 or 60 metres away from
17 the railway station, but we could not enter Vajda, we could not go to
18 Vajda because of them, and that part was what we called -- and it was our
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm interrupting you because
21 you haven't answered my question. What I would like to know is what
22 became of the civilians. Did they leave of their own accord or did you
23 force them to leave? What happened to them? That's what I'm interested
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, nobody forced them to
1 leave. I have to -- if I may, I would like to finish my sentence. They
2 left of their own will, without us even knowing when they left. On the
3 27th, there were no longer there. Those who remained there were just
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So the 27th of what
6 month? You said on the 27th, they weren't there anymore. Which months
7 do you mean?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 27th of July, 1991. And if
9 I might be allowed to just add something.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No, I won't allow you because
11 my time is invaluable.
12 On the 27th of July, 1991, had they all left or did some remain?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, in my statement I said that
14 some of them stayed. Those who stayed, well, there were no repercussions
15 that they were exposed to. They went where they wanted in Croatia, where
16 they had relatives and so on, of their own free will, and the younger
17 members joined the army.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How many Serbs remained in
19 Sunja, how many exactly?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't give you any figures,
21 but in the Croatian Army there were more than ten, and three Muslims, and
22 they were inhabitants of Sunja.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you are telling us that some
24 Serbs and Muslims joined the Croatian Army. What I'm interested in: How
25 many Serb civilians remained in their houses in Sunja; one, ten, fifty?
1 How many?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] About a dozen, ten or so.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have told us that
4 General Praljak asked you to look after logistical affairs. These Serbs
5 who were there, did they have enough to eat, did they have enough food,
6 like all the others, or not?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They all had the same food, just
8 like the Croatian Army; not only the Serb inhabitants at the beginning,
9 but the Croats too, all the same.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] From what I understood, in
11 Sunja there must have been fighting. Yes or no?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there were major
13 battles to begin with, but they didn't manage to break through our
14 front-lines, but they did shell us heavily.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Among the people
16 living in Sunja, because of the shelling, were any of the people killed
17 or injured?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, about four. Two women -- or,
19 rather, three women were killed in the shelling, and one man. I'm
20 referring to the civilians now.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Sunja forces headed by
22 General Praljak, did you capture any enemies or not?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] While General Praljak was the
24 commander, we didn't have any prisoners, but at the beginning, the very
25 beginning, we had two, one before General Praljak was the commander,
1 while Zarko Pesa was the commander, that is, and we exchanged one of them
2 for one of ours, one of our soldiers who was captured.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One of my last questions. Now,
4 as far as you remember, General Praljak exercised command for how long,
5 and when was he no longer a commander in Sunja?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I said in September 1991.
7 I'm not sure of the exact date when he took over. And in April, he left
8 Sunja, so that was the period of time that he was commander there,
9 commander of the defence of Sunja.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My last question. You told us
11 a while ago that every morning General Praljak hoisted the flag and
12 someone was playing the trumpet. I assume this was the Croatian national
13 anthem which was being played. General Praljak then held a briefing
14 session which lasted approximately 30 minutes, as you told us, and then
15 he questioned everybody to understand what was going on. What you have
16 described to us, did it apply to the period of time, i.e., six months
17 that General Praljak was there, i.e., hoisting the flag, briefing? Did
18 this occur every day?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Every day, every day while he was
20 the commander there. And when he left Sunja, the tradition continued.
21 Well, I can't say "tradition," actually, but, anyway, this continued
22 in --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as the troops were
24 concerned, how many men accounted for the forces in Sunja; 100, 200, 400?
25 How many?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the first couple of months, the
2 forces in Sunja, and not only there, but depending on the period, it was
3 between 1500 and 2.000 soldiers, 2.500, and from other regiments, special
4 units and so on.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ranging from 1.500 to 2.000
6 men, which is quite a substantial figure. In any army, you always have
7 black sheep, people who start drinking, who start fighting, who start
8 looting and pilfering. As far as you know, were these soldiers
9 prosecuted in any way? Were any disciplinary measures taken against
10 these people? Did General Praljak hold a very strict position vis-a-vis
11 these men who had violated the discipline in the army or was it total
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think -- well, just like you
14 said, Your Honour, at times somebody drank more than they should, but
15 I think discipline was at a high level, generally speaking. There wasn't
16 any major chaos because we were all together at the time. We didn't look
17 at each other's ethnicity. We were just all there together, defending
18 our thresholds.
19 And if I might be allowed to say, well, I'd like to mention to
20 the Trial Chamber that Sunja, and we called it breakfast, lunch, and
21 supper, whenever we would distribute food to the soldiers, there was
22 shelling, non-stop, until UNPROFOR arrived in April, and then the
23 shelling was not as fierce as it had been before that. But on a daily
24 basis, it was between 100, 200, and 300 shells falling on Sunja. But
25 when UNPROFOR came, over 40.000 shells were dropped on Sunja.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the presence of
2 General Praljak, did you attend any briefing sessions which aimed at
3 setting up the defence of that locality, and do you remember what kind of
4 instructions General Praljak may have given the soldiers? You were a
5 lieutenant in the JNA. Therefore, the question I am putting to you is
6 this: Were the forces in Sunja commanded by someone who was in the know
7 or did General Praljak give the impression that he was an amateur?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At every briefing session while the
9 commander was Praljak, and also the other commanders too, I was present,
10 and I had the rank of major, major of the Croatian Army. It was like an
11 assistant commander for logistics, let's say. And every day, I had
12 contacts and cooperated with General Praljak because the briefings were
13 in the morning, and then I had my duties to attend to. I had to go to
14 the 1st Logistics Base which was in Sisak, and then it was expanded to
15 Zagreb. So I had to travel around to procure goods, weapons, and
16 everything else.
17 And I'd just like to say that at the beginning, we weren't armed
18 at all, not so much at all. The weapons that we had, well, at the
19 beginning you had the various hunters with their hunting rifles, and I
20 said that. I said, in response to a question from Defence counsel, until
21 the 2nd Guards Company and reserve police from Zagreb arrived, they
22 helped us a great deal because they were well armed, so then we were --
23 we were less afraid than we were at the beginning when we only had the
24 hunting rifles. And at the beginning, we had to secure all access roads
25 with anti-tank barriers.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My last question. As you can
2 imagine, I could continue for hours. This is now my last question.
3 You told us that you were assistant commander in charge of
4 logistical affairs. As far as you remember, did General Praljak sign the
5 military orders or didn't he sign much and he had devolved this to his
6 assistants, or did he want to check everything out, read everything, and
7 sign everything?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I understood
9 your question, I can say that there were no written orders because we
10 agreed about everything at the briefings. And at the beginning, and I'm
11 speaking about myself as the logistics man, I needed his signature from
12 time to time. And when I said that, he stopped doing this, he gave me
13 the assignments, and then I took care about those things. The only thing
14 was that I was to report to him orally, tell him what I had done. And if
15 I had any -- encountered any problems, I would ask him for help, but
16 nothing more than that.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I thought General Praljak
18 wanted to put a few questions to you.
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Examination by Mr. Praljak:
21 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Arbutina.
22 A. Good afternoon, General, sir.
23 Q. I think I referred to you and called you Monsieur Arbutina, given
24 the fact that you were born in France; right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Tell me, now, any family -- older family, Croatian, Serb, or
2 Muslim, were they ever left -- allowed to go hungry without you being
3 given orders to see that they were fed?
4 A. No.
5 Q. It was winter-time; right? What about fuel for heating? Is it
6 true that all the elderly and families where there were elderly persons,
7 that they were given the means for heating free of charge? Did I give
8 you orders to that effect?
9 A. Yes. We took great care about that, great care about the poor
10 and the elderly. We supplied them with fuel, et cetera.
11 Q. Was a single house set fire to in Sunja while I was there?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Was any house looted while I was there, broken into?
14 A. No.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Arbutina,
16 for coming here. I have no more questions for you.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
18 Let me ask the other Defence counsels what they intend to do.
19 Ms. Nozica, Mr. Khan, do you have any questions?
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour.
21 Thank you, we have no questions for this witness.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas. Well, he's not
23 with us, but what about the Prlic Defence? Do you have any questions?
24 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] The Defence of Dr. Prlic has no
25 questions for this witness. Thank you.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the Petkovic Defence
3 has no questions, either, for this witness. Thank you.
4 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] The Coric Defence has no
5 questions. Thank you.
6 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] No questions, Mr. President.
7 Thank you.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
9 Mr. Prosecutor, I believe you had no questions. Do you have any?
10 MR. LONGONE: We have no questions, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 Mr. Arbutina, your testimony is now over. Most questions were
13 asked by the Praljak Defence, and I also put a few questions to you, as
14 well as General Praljak. The other parties and the Prosecution have
15 decided that they would not ask you any questions.
16 Thank you for coming to testify for General Praljak. I wish you
17 a safe return home, and I will now ask our Usher to escort you out of the
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] The witness is already here. They
21 arrived at the same time. I mean the next witness, just so you know.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, but I believe we
23 will have a break right now, and then we will resume with the new witness
24 after this 20-minute break.
25 [The witness withdrew]
1 --- Recess taken at 3.18 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 3.42 p.m.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Regarding Witness
4 Miroslav Crnkovic, I believe I understood that you need an hour,
5 Mr. Kovacic. Is that it?
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, since we have saved
7 some time with the previous witness, my learned friend Ms. Pinter is
8 going to examine the next witness, and it may take a bit longer than just
9 an hour. In any case, our plan is for her to try and finish with this
10 witness by the end of the day.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's bring the
12 witness into the courtroom.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir.
15 I hope the translation is working correctly.
16 Could you please give us your name, surname, and date of birth?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Miroslav Crnkovic, 24th November
18 1969, Hrvatska Kostajnica.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your job at the moment,
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm a retired officer of the
22 Croatian Army.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're quite young to be
24 retired. Could you tell us what was your rank when you left the Croatian
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Major.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you already testified in
3 court regarding the events that occurred in the former Yugoslavia or is
4 this the first time that you're testifying?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The first time.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Would you please read the
7 solemn declaration.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
9 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
10 WITNESS: MIROSLAV CRNKOVIC
11 [The witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down.
13 Let me give you some information on the way this hearing is going
14 to unfold.
15 Ms. Pinter is going to put questions to you. She must have
16 already explained to you that she was going to ask you a number of
17 questions. You will answer these questions. After that, the counsels of
18 the other accused might decide to put questions to you, and the
19 Prosecutor, who is on your right, might also decide to cross-examine you
20 and put questions to you. And the Judges on this Bench might -- actually
21 will put questions to you.
22 So please try to be very specific in your answers, because time
23 is of the essence, and I'm sure that as a former officer of the Croatian
24 Army, you know what this means, that time is of the essence. You know
25 exactly how to be specific in your answers.
1 If you don't understand a question, which can happen, please ask
2 the person putting the question to reformulate it.
3 We have breaks every hour and a half. The next break will be in
4 an hour and 25 minutes. But if for some reason you feel unwell, just
5 raise your hand and say that you need a break so you can rest, even if we
6 have to bring a physician or something, but this is a possibility.
7 I wanted to tell you all this to put you at ease. It's true that
8 testifying is an ordeal, you know, and you'll remember it all
9 throughout -- for your entire life, I'm sure, so it's best to make sure
10 that everything runs smoothly.
11 I'll now give the floor to Ms. Pinter, and she will put questions
12 to you.
13 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Examination by Ms. Pinter:
15 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Crnkovic.
16 A. Good afternoon.
17 Q. You've been provided instructions from the Trial Chamber. The
18 only thing I need to repeat is not to speak too fast and wait for my
19 question to be over before you start providing your answer, and the same
20 thing applies to me. I will also have to make sure that we do not
22 Before you, you should have a summary under number 3D03758 that
23 has already been provided to our learned friends in the OTP and the
24 Trial Chamber. Have you read this summary?
25 A. Yes, I have.
1 Q. Does this summary contain something that you didn't say or that
2 has been mis-recorded?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Thank you. And now, as regards His Honour Antonetti's words, I'm
5 going to ask you: How come you retired? He was surprised to hear that.
6 A. Because of the circumstances. I was seriously injured during the
8 Q. So you are an invalid?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Thank you. You have provided His Honour Judge Antonetti with
11 your personal details, and could you please also tell us something about
12 your work path, i.e., where you were, what unit were you a member of, and
13 where you served during the war between 1992 and 1993?
14 A. From the month of March 1991 up to the month of June 1991, I was
15 a member of the Special Police of the Croatian Army. From the month of
16 June 1991 to the moment when I was wounded and pensioned off eventually,
17 I was a member of the 2nd Guards Brigade.
18 Q. When were you wounded?
19 A. I was wounded on the 7th of July, 1992.
20 Q. We'll come back to that later. Could you please tell us where
21 you served as a member of the Croatian Army, in which territories?
22 A. Those were mostly territories around my place of residence. I'm
23 talking about Banovina and, more specifically, the towns of Glina,
24 Kozibrod, Sunja -- not Kosovo, Kozibrod, Sunja, and after that for some
25 ten days I was in Mostar, and four or five days before I was wounded I
1 was in Bosnian Posavina.
2 Q. Thank you. We will start with Sunja. However, you have just
3 mentioned the fact that you were in the theatre of war of Banovina. What
4 is Banovina?
5 A. Banovina is the area around Cerska comprising Sunja, Glina,
6 Kozibrod, Hrvatska, Kostajnica. That's the area I'm talking about.
7 Q. When did you arrive in Sunja?
8 A. I arrived in Sunja on the 31st of August, 1991.
9 Q. Could you tell us something about the front-line as it was when
10 you arrived in Sunja?
11 A. The front-line, as such, did not exist.
12 Q. What did you find there?
13 A. We found houses, some sandbags on the windows which were supposed
14 to serve as protection and serve as a defence line. However, that could
15 not function in that way.
16 Q. When you say "when we arrived," who do you mean? Which unit
17 arrived there, which brigade? What was it?
18 A. I'm talking about my company, a company of the 2nd Guards
20 Q. How many men were there in the company?
21 A. Forty-seven.
22 Q. The front-line, as you found it when you arrived in Sunja, did it
23 remain that way throughout your stay in Sunja?
24 A. No, of course not. It was extended from the front-line to the
25 second line to the third line.
1 Q. When was that?
2 A. All that happened after General Praljak's arrival.
3 Q. Can you describe the situation and the changes in the front-line?
4 Were the lines reinforced, were the trenches dug, were the bunkers built?
5 What was the front-line composition?
6 A. When General Praljak arrived, he saw what the situation was, and
7 he embarked on the process to reinforce the line. He established
8 civilian protection, composed of men who did not carry arms at the
9 moment, and he turned them into auxiliary work platoons that were in
10 charge of supplying the front-line with sandbags, logs that were all used
11 to build bunkers. He met with resistance. I was also among those who
12 did not like all that, because we were all very tired, and he started
13 digging, himself. When we saw that we didn't have a choice and we joined
15 A few days after the bunker was dug between the railway station
16 where we were billeted, there was an attack during which the whole
17 railway station was set ablaze and destroyed. I can simply say that the
18 bunker that was dug and all the other bunkers saved our lines. That's
19 how the second line was established, the third line was established, the
20 fourth as well. All the men, all the soldiers who resided in the
21 villages, were organised at the highest possible level. Everybody knew
22 what they were supposed to do, what their tasks were. And to put it
23 simply, everything functioned really excellently at the time.
24 Q. Can you remember, as you sit today, how many bunkers were
25 constructed in that way, how many trenches?
1 A. Roughly speaking, over 200.
2 Q. Thank you. You mentioned the work platoon. Can you tell me
3 whether that work platoon went to the front-line on its own to dig
4 bunkers and trenches? Did they have some sort of security? Were they
5 exposed to enemy attacks? Did somebody go with them? Were they guarded?
6 A. We provided security for them. And when I say "we," we were the
7 unit that was active on the front-line. We were in front of them, and in
8 any case of a possible attack we would inform them and alert them to
9 that. So they were safe as much as one could be safe in a war. In any
10 case, I don't remember that any civilian got hurt when reinforcing the
11 front-line or digging bunkers or trenches.
12 Q. When you say "civilians," we're talking about younger people, or
13 middle-aged people, or elderly people?
14 A. Middle-aged people who at that moment were not assigned to any
15 military units because there was not enough weaponry.
16 Q. You were in different theaters of war. Could you please tell us
17 something about discipline in Sunja? How was it established, and what
18 did discipline mean for Sunja? Can you give us some examples of that,
19 discipline among soldiers, discipline of soldiers, vis-a-vis others,
20 particularly civilians?
21 A. Before General Praljak arrived, there was no discipline to speak
22 of. He opposed any attempts to breach discipline. He did not allow any
23 departures from the normal military norm. He did not allow anybody to
24 loot property, to set anybody's property to fire, to loot property from
25 abandoned houses. All the houses were abandoned. And if -- one can say
1 that there were all sorts of people, and some of them, you had to engage
2 in physical fights with some of them in order to curb their behaviour.
3 I can give you some examples. I can mention three of my soldiers who
4 dis-appropriated from a house five plates, five spoons, some three
5 knives, and a small black-and-white TV, and one of the members of my
6 unit --
7 Q. You don't have to mention their names if --
8 A. One of the members of my unit lost his house because it had been
9 burned by the enemy. His wife had called him and told him that there was
10 nothing in the apartment where she was moved to in Sisak. The same three
11 or four soldiers were caught on the barge as they were crossing the river
12 to go to Sisak, and they were returned to Sunja.
13 Q. Who caught them?
14 A. A member of the police caught them.
15 Q. Was it civilian police?
16 A. Yes, because the military police did not exist at the time.
17 Q. Yes, go ahead, please.
18 A. At that point in time, one of my friends, who was coming back
19 from the command, from headquarters, told me, since I was up at the
20 front-line, that General Praljak had disarmed them, stripped them of
21 their insignia and badges, and lined them up in front of the fire brigade
22 in Sunja, which was a place that served as a headquarters for the home
23 guards, of sorts. And at that point in time, I got into my car, went
24 down there, asked him what was going on. He said that, quite simply, I
25 should put them into a black Maraja [phoen] and drive them off to Sisak,
1 to the prison there, because at the time there wasn't a prison in Sunja.
2 There was a small prison up at the front-line, but there would be nobody
3 to deal with them there or guard them there. So I carried out that order
4 and I drove them to the detention centre. They were taken over by the
5 police there. And three years later, the Military Court in Zagreb heard
6 the case, and I was a witness there during those proceedings.
7 Q. Those three soldiers, did they have any assistants, legal
9 A. No. I came to the command to tell them that, and he saw them in
10 such a way as calling up his personal lawyer in Zagreb, who then went to
11 Sisak, to the Detention Unit there, to solve the issue and deal with the
13 Q. And who is the "he"?
14 A. The "he" is General Praljak.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, I have a piece of information, and I'm going to
16 ask you whether you know anything about that. Was any staged
17 execution -- was an execution staged in any way?
18 A. Well, he said that he would have them executed, but at that point
19 when this was going on, in front of the fire brigade a large number of
20 locals gathered who were members of the units from Sunja, and members of
21 the police force, and everyone was told what would happen if similar
22 situations repeated themselves in Sunja. And, actually, things like that
23 didn't happen anymore.
24 Q. You said that it was the civilian police stopping your soldiers
25 at the barge and ferry and found these goods on them. Do you know when
1 the military police arrived?
2 A. The military police arrived at the end of October, beginning of
3 November, and Mr. Praljak brought them in, brought people in from outside
4 whom we didn't know, because he assumed and knew that the locals wouldn't
5 be able to lock up their own -- their neighbours, if such a situation
6 were to arise, so he brought in people from outside.
7 Q. Were you witnesses of any -- witness to any of these reactions on
8 the part of General Praljak, apart from this instance that you told
9 about, about the theft of goods from houses?
10 A. Well, I was a witness when -- or, rather, I witnessed when two of
11 the people who were ferrying people to and fro, from Sisak and Zagreb to
12 Sunja, weapons and so on, they refused to carry out a very important
14 Q. Can you tell us what that order was and describe the situation?
15 A. At the time, there was talk of launching a great action to link
16 up the Komarevo-Kozibrod -- or, rather, Sunja, Hrvatska Kojstana [phoen],
17 Dubica and those units, and the order could only come from Zagreb, in
18 writing, through -- on the ferry. Now, as General Praljak insisted that
19 the ferry stay overnight on the Sunja side so that if anybody was
20 wounded, they could be transported, these two turned a deaf ear to calls
21 to take somebody across. However -- well, as the person carrying the
22 order rang up the command in Sunja and said that these two men were
23 refusing to ferry him across, the general issued orders to --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness speak up, please. The
25 interpreters didn't hear.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, in order to assess
2 your answers, we have something missing. You seem to be someone well
3 educated, but I don't know what you did before you joined the Croatian
4 Army. Did you go to a school, to university? If so, could you tell us
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I graduated from secondary school.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You said that
8 before you arrived in the 2nd Guards Brigade, you were a member of the
9 Special Police of the Croatian Army. What exactly is the Special Police?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was the name, "Special
11 Police," police actually going about the usual kinds of duties;
12 protecting the law courts in Sisak and some important locations, nothing
13 with respect to any military action, because there wasn't any in the
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I understand better
17 Ms. Pinter.
18 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You were saying -- you were saying that there were two men
20 manning the ferry and that they were brought to the headquarters?
21 A. Right.
22 Q. Please continue.
23 A. There was a lot of noise and shouting, and the two were arguing.
24 Q. Which two?
25 A. The general and one of those two ferrymen or bargemen. One of
1 the ferrymen started shouting at the general, and there was a lot of
2 shoving and pushing, as I say in my statement.
3 Q. And describe what you mean.
4 A. Well, there was a lot of kicking in the bum, butt kicking.
5 Q. Do you know why the general reacted that way?
6 A. Well, of course I knew, because if an operation were underway and
7 we hadn't received orders, then the two units would have encountered an
8 ambush and there would have been slaughter.
9 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I'd like the transcript to be
10 corrected on page 36, line 24. I'm going to read what it says in the
11 record. It says that there was a lot of kicking in the bum or butt.
12 Q. Was there a lot of kicking or were there several kicks?
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness repeat his answer?
14 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]
15 Q. You mentioned the military police. I'd like to ask you whether
16 you had any knowledge of any action on General Praljak's part towards the
17 policemen, towards members of the military police, if their conduct was
18 not in keeping with the rules of conduct?
19 A. Well, those members of the military police, after a certain
20 amount of time, started taking more and more responsibility into their
21 hands. They settled accounts with the soldiers physically, and there was
22 some dangerous situations where there could be shooting, too. However,
23 the general stopped all this and sent that group of military policemen
24 back to Zagreb, or Sisak, or wherever they had come from, and he set up a
25 new military police platoon made up of locals.
1 Q. So it wasn't a problem that these were locals anymore? He didn't
2 have any problem with the locals?
3 A. No, there were no more problems. Orders were no longer rejected.
4 There were no more problems.
5 Q. What I'd like to ask you is to tell us what was forbidden. What
6 did General Praljak forbid when you were in Sunja, or have you already
7 told us this?
8 A. Well, it was forbidden to touch anybody's property. All the
9 houses had been left vacant. And it was forbidden to shoot at somebody
10 before that somebody shot at you. Then it was strictly forbidden to set
11 fire to anything, and nothing was set fire to, in actual fact, down
12 there. So all these measures and steps -- precautionary measures and
13 steps were taken.
14 Q. Tell me, please, if there was unnecessary shooting, what would
15 the penalty be?
16 A. Well, the penalty and punishment depended on the units and the
17 people involved, and they could be sent to do labour. You had to go and
18 work at the bunkers and build the fortifications, for example. That was
19 one of the assignments issued as a punishment.
20 Q. Did they have to walk around?
21 A. Well, I had to walk around.
22 Q. Well, tell us what you actually did.
23 A. Well, it was just a drill, a training. You had to walk just to
24 keep your physique up. There were truces, and it was during a cease-fire
25 that people fell casualty mostly because they were bored or things like
1 that, so to prevent that he would make us go up to the front-line or,
2 rather, below the front-line, which was called Zremen, the area, and we
3 would have to walk two kilometres through a muddy field. And when we
4 arrived, we saw a group of soldiers there who didn't even notice us, and
5 we were ordered to put some masks on our heads and to make believe and
6 simulate an attack, as if we were the enemy soldiers, because they hadn't
7 noticed us coming at all.
8 Q. And these were members of the HV, right, they were soldiers?
9 A. Yes, soldiers standing guard up at the bunkers.
10 Q. Yes. Carry on, then.
11 A. They were so taken up with their cooking - they were cooking
12 something - that we managed to take them prisoner. This was simulation
13 on our part. We sort of acted as if we were enemy soldiers and took them
14 by surprise. So you can imagine what they felt like and how he punished
15 them. I don't think they fared well.
16 Q. Well, was this leisurely behaviour the general type of behavior,
17 like these people cooking and so on?
18 A. Well, they didn't leave the front-lines, no.
19 Q. What about the guards?
20 A. Well, the lines lower down were secured by people who had bunkers
21 in front of their own houses. They were people from the village who
22 would just leave their bunkers during the day, and there was a field -- a
23 three-kilometre field in front of them, and they thought that nothing
24 could happen. And on one occasion, in the village of Zremen, the whole
25 village left their post at the bunkers.
1 Q. We're not going to mention the names of villages, but just tell
2 me, if you can remember, whether there was another situation similar to
3 that with a person leaving the bunker and going home into their own
4 house. I'm jogging your memory because I know you're excited, so I'm
5 just trying to help you remember.
6 A. Yes. The man had left his post at the bunker, and we appeared.
7 We came into his yard, the yard of his house. Following orders from
8 General Praljak to return to his post, he refused to do so and said,
9 Well, nobody was going to attack, anyway, and he had to go about his
10 business. He was a farmer and had to do his farming. And at that point,
11 Mr. Praljak told me to kill his cow. I knew that that wouldn't actually
12 happen. I staged it, and the farmer jumped up, left everything he was
13 doing, took up his rifle and went back to the bunker, and never again to
14 leave his post at the bunker after that.
15 Q. Did you talk to General Praljak and ask him why he said he wanted
16 you to kill the man's cow?
17 A. Well, it's along the lines of what I was telling you earlier on.
18 You had to take a strict stand with some people. He had to deal with
19 them this way, and he just said, That's the peasant mentality for you.
20 If you set fire to his house and to anything else, he's not going to be
21 angry with you, but if you kill his cow, then watch out.
22 Q. You just said that everything was adapted to the situation and
23 that he would adapt himself to the situation, that certain situations
24 required certain actions. Now, when General Praljak physically punished
25 somebody for some misdemeanor, was that not a sign that you could behave
1 in similar fashion towards other people? When I say "you," I mean the
2 other soldiers.
3 A. No, absolutely not.
4 Q. Why not? Can you explain that?
5 A. What do you mean?
6 Q. Well, I mean if General Praljak hits the ferryman or does what he
7 did with the cow, who's to say that this isn't sending a signal out to
8 you that you could act in similar fashion, that you could beat someone
10 A. Well, of course we couldn't do that because we knew the hierarchy
11 very well. We knew who could do what at any given moment, so you
12 couldn't walk along the road and settle accounts with anybody you felt
14 Q. Did you have any prisoners of war?
15 A. Yes, we did.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me.
17 Witness, when you confirm that Praljak punished people
18 physically, what do you have in mind, specifically?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, take that ferryman, for
20 instance. That -- the interpretation of "physical," well, the man wasn't
21 beaten so badly that he would be in hospital for five days. He could go
22 back to his job the very next day. So during that next day, a soldier
23 was drowning and he jumped in and saved him. It was enough for him to
24 show that he would act, if need be that he would settle accounts
25 physically with people, but they weren't beaten up so badly that they
1 ended up in hospital. So the second day, this same man saved the life of
2 this other soldier on the ferry, and then he was commended.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have heard that, and I was not suggesting that
4 he -- that Praljak acted in an excessive way. But the examples you have
5 given seem to be very impulsive. With the punishment I have in mind, I
6 associate a situation where someone has done something wrong, he is told,
7 You have done something wrong, and then comes the punishment, which if it
8 is physical, can be formal, a certain amount of strokes, or can still be
9 informal, a slap in the face. Can you say anything about that, or was
10 your observation perhaps, what you said, not so technical?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was involved in situations where
12 an order was issued to a man on the front-line to do something or the
13 other, and that person refused, stood up and started moving or wants to
14 engage in a physical reaction -- in a physical action. So he would come
15 in to react against those who did things against the war of
16 law [as interpreted]. Such situations on the front-line existed. There
17 was no military police, there was no police at all, and somebody had to
18 do their job.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, if I have understood
21 correctly, you said that General Praljak sometimes resorted to force to
22 make sure that discipline was respected. I may have made a mistake, and
23 I stand to be corrected. If I make a mistake, I'd be grateful if you
24 corrected me. From what I understood, General Praljak sometimes kicked a
25 soldier in the buttocks when he had misbehaved. Was this something you
1 saw with your own eyes or not?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I saw the case that I described
3 involving the ferryman with my own two eyes. I eye-witnessed that.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We can understand, for
5 instance, that a father slaps his child in the face, for instance, if his
6 child has stolen sweets without parents' approval, but when it is a case
7 of a military commander, who can demonstrate violence vis-a-vis one of
8 his subordinates, don't you think this could have a negative impact on
9 his soldiers, who will capture men and give this prisoner an order, Stand
10 in line, and then the prisoner doesn't obey, and then the soldiers would
11 hit the man in question? Do you think this could have an effect on his
12 men or not?
13 I understand that my question is a very tricky one. This is the
14 case put by the Prosecution. This question has already been put by the
15 Prosecution. Since you are an eye-witness, what I'm interested in is to
16 know what your feelings about this were. Did you agree or did you
17 disagree? You are the first person to actually mention this, so it's the
18 right time to ask you the question.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, listen. It was a message,
20 one could say, to us as well. Just contrary to what you have said, we
21 knew that we were not supposed to do any similar thing to any possible
22 prisoner of war. We were made aware of that. But the soldier who was
23 kicked in the butt, as you say, several times, if he had been reported to
24 the Military Court, at best he could have ended in jail. In any case,
25 I think that he fared much better the way he did.
1 I must say that we are now talking about things that had to be
2 put in the context of the times. It's very difficult for anybody who
3 wasn't there, and who doesn't understand what was happening, to
4 understand the whole context and the whole situation.
5 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, I have a short question
6 for you.
7 The regulators enshrine in their codes whatever they wish to
8 enshrine in any country. Now, as far as military rules are concerned,
9 sometimes include corporal punishment. The question I'd like to put to
10 you is this: I'd like to know, since you are a former major in the
11 Croatian Army, as is General Praljak a former general in the Croatian
12 Army, I wanted to know whether, in the military rules -- or let's say was
13 it admitted that corporal punishment was acceptable? Was this part of
14 the military rules in the Croatian Army?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This does not exist in the rules of
16 the Croatian Army. However, in 1991, 47 men and 100-plus civilians on
17 the front-line were not the Croatian Army. Those were the beginnings of
18 the creation of what would eventually turn into the Croatian Army.
19 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
20 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]
21 Q. I'll ask you once again, because now we have a whole picture.
22 You've already told us, but repeat, please. Why was it important? Why
23 did you just say that they could have ended up in jail, serving a long
24 sentence? Why was it important for the message to reach the command?
25 Was there any operation -- military operation that was under threat?
1 Were the lives of soldiers and civilians under threat? Why was it so
2 important for the message to reach the command?
3 A. Because the lives of the soldiers and civilians alike were under
4 threat, the lives of the soldiers of the two units with whom we were
5 supposed to embark on an operation together, at the same time. Can you
6 imagine what would have happened if such two units started and, because
7 of a stupid omission, we did not receive any command? Can you imagine
8 what the consequences would have been? I believe that the consequences
9 would have surpassed any type of any punishment.
10 Q. We're still talking about the --
11 A. Yes, that's the operation.
12 Q. We're talking --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please repeat the name of the
14 operation, because it was lost in the witness's answer.
15 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]
16 Q. The interpreter has asked me to repeat the name of the operation
17 because we overlapped. I asked you whether we're still talking about the
18 event involving the ferryman. Please wait and then answer. Go ahead.
19 A. Yes, this is the incidence that we are talking about. We are
20 talking about the D-Day operation.
21 Q. And that involved the story with the ferryman, that
22 Operation D-Day?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. We are privy to the information that I would like you to describe
25 for the Trial Chamber about the incident when Radio 101 came to Sunja and
1 when there were some playful soldiers, to put it that way. Could you
2 describe, in your own words, what happened and what kind of punishment
3 was involved in that situation, if there was, indeed, any punishment at
5 A. In the month of September/October 1991, a group of young people
6 from Zagreb arrived and established a radio service in Sunja so that
7 people on the front-line could receive greetings from their loved ones.
8 A girl was there. She also came with that group of people, and she
9 brought a cat from Zagreb, that was her cat. Four members of the
10 Croatian Army at the time were on their way back from Zagreb. They
11 returned from Zagreb, went to the radio station, and wanted to order a
12 few songs, and then she told them that they had to wait a little. One of
13 the soldiers took the cat and threw her -- threw the cat against the
14 radiator and killed the cat. The girl started crying, came to me. I
15 conveyed all that to the general. At that very moment, the general
16 appeared up there, disarmed all the four soldiers. He removed their
17 insignia and their uniforms and sent them packing for Zagreb, and those
18 men were never again members of the Croatian Army in Sunja.
19 Q. And how did you explain the whole thing to yourself? How did you
20 interpret General Praljak's reaction to yourself?
21 A. It was a message, of course. The message was, If you can be
22 removed from the Croatian Army on account of a cat, you should also be
23 aware of what can happen to you on account of a human being.
24 Q. How was it with unnecessary shooting? And we've already spoken
25 about that. What was the punishment for unnecessary shooting? Can you
1 tell us why the 15th of January, 1992, is important for the Republic of
3 A. That is one of the most important dates in our history. That's
4 the date when Croatia was recognised by the international community.
5 Q. Where were you when Croatia was recognised by the international
7 A. I was in Sunja, on the front-line.
8 Q. Was that recognition celebrated? And if it was, can you describe
10 A. The recognition was not celebrated because we were not allowed to
11 fire a single shot. The only people who celebrated on our behalf was our
12 enemy, who shelled us.
13 Q. What kind of uniforms did you wear, the army? What kind of
15 A. Camouflaged uniforms.
16 Q. Camouflaged uniforms. Did you have any black uniforms as well?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Were you allowed to wear some insignia, such as letter U, or were
19 you allowed to write something on your T-shirt or on the wall of the
20 command building?
21 A. Not in Sunja.
22 Q. How come?
23 A. It was forbidden, as some lads, I don't know where from - a lot
24 of people came - they did draw something on a house, on a wall, and they
25 were forced to paint over that.
1 Q. We heard from Mr. Arbutina just before you that every morning
2 there was a briefing, that a flag was hoisted. Did that happen
3 throughout your stay in Sunja?
4 A. After the general arrived, not before that, all of the commanders
5 of the front-lines were supposed to come to the firefighters hall every
6 morning, attend the hoisting of the flag, and debrief the general on the
7 events during the previous night, whether there was any shooting, whether
8 there were any shells that fell, were there any incursions, and so on and
9 so forth.
10 Q. How was reporting and communication organised? Now, you just
11 told us that the general had to be debriefed on what had happened during
12 the previous night. How was it organised? Were there any problems?
13 What kind of information reached you with this regard?
14 A. There was no problem at all. All the lines and positions were
15 connected via the so-called field telephones, and all the commanders of
16 the lines of the companies had Motorolas and could communicate throughout
17 the day.
18 Q. Tell me, please, did it happen to you that you received some
19 false information, that you embarked on an operation, and that there was
20 no operation to speak of?
21 A. Of course. It happened quite often. There was information about
22 helicopter attacks, and every time, as a group, we went to verify the
23 information and check the situation on the ground, the general came with
24 us twice, but it all came to nothing on both occasions.
25 Q. When you were on the front-lines, did you always have enough
1 weapons or did the weaponry have to be supplemented on the front-lines?
2 A. It all depended on the intensity of the attacks. It often
3 happened that we ran out of ammunition. On several dozen times, the
4 general, himself, personally came with the logistics man to supply us
5 with ammunition, all that under the enemy fire.
6 Q. Very well. Did the general participate in any military
7 operations or was he sitting in the command office, waiting for your
8 reports to reach him?
9 A. The general mostly walked along the front-lines, communicated
10 with people. He was a very usual presence there, and he participated as
11 a foot soldier in an operation together with me, not as a commander but
12 as a foot soldier. The operation was to rescue a civilian from an enemy
14 Q. And you were his commander on that occasion?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Could you please tell us, in more detail, what operation was
17 that, what civilian was that, what was his or her ethnicity, and where it
19 A. That was not far from the front-line. A member of our unit, or,
20 rather, his father stayed behind in the village, and he was a Serb, and
21 he refused to leave the village. His son feared for his life. He feared
22 that his father could be killed. He asked us to accompany him during the
23 night and rescue the father from the village. He couldn't do it on his
24 own. He feared that he might be captured. We did that without any fire
25 having to be opened. We returned, and that man remained in our territory
1 together with his son.
2 Q. So that was at the son's request; right?
3 A. Yes, the son came with that request, made it to General Praljak,
4 and General Praljak addressed us and turned to us.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] While I was listening to you, I
6 have just discovered, but this is something we heard about with the
7 previous witness, you have just told us that there were Serbs in your
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you tell us, please, what
11 state of mind your Serb comrades were in when they were on the front-line
12 and when they faced Serbs opposite? How could they overcome this
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We were all of us volunteers of the
15 Croatian Army, people who joined up of their own free will, not people
16 who had been mobilised, so every member had come alone, reported, and
17 become a member of the Croatian Army. We were young men, 22, 23 years
18 old. We never asked who was what nationality, ethnicity.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You haven't quite answered my
20 question. I admit that my question is a difficult one.
21 You were a member of a unit in which there were also Serb
22 comrades. The enemy are the Serbs. I'm trying to understand the
23 position of your Serbian comrade. How does he cope with the situation
24 when opposite him, in front of him, there are Serbs? How does he
25 overcome this difficulty? This is what I'm trying to understand.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, quite simple. If there was
2 an attack from the Serbs, people defended themselves. Of course, they
3 shot. I had a soldier in my unit who was a Serb, and his brother was 100
4 metres away on the opposite side as a member of the enemy army. So
5 that's how things were. I don't know how else to paint the situation for
6 you. They were fighting for their lives on both sides.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's the first time I hear
8 this, but we do discover something new every day.
9 You have, in your Croatian unit, a Serb soldier, and in the other
10 unit on the other side, there was a Serb who was a member of a unit on
11 the other side. In the event of an attack, you defend yourselves. In
12 other words, the person in question -- what you are telling us, in fact,
13 is that any individual values are higher than --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, listen --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
16 continues]... form or idea.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]...
18 a specific situation, the one with the man who was on our side and his
19 brother, of course it was difficult for him. At least I assume it was
20 difficult for him. But he didn't in any way give the impression that he
21 would simply cross over to the other side and that he would do anything
22 that wasn't in order. He did not feel to be jeopardised. He was there
23 with us. I don't know how to answer your question. I didn't ask him
24 whether he was a Serb. I didn't say, Are you a Serb? He came forward
25 and told us, himself, in a situation in which negotiations -- military
1 negotiations were going on, peace negotiations between our two sides, and
2 his brother was the leader of a group on the Serb side, and he was our
3 leader on the other side, where these two commanders established a truce.
4 I don't know how he felt. You'd have to ask him that.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You're quite right,
6 it would be better to put the question to him, but we don't have time,
7 unfortunately, to do this.
8 Could you tell me whether General Praljak delivered speeches to
9 his soldiers? And if he did, what were the speeches about, We need to
10 defend ourselves because there's a front-line, or did he promote the
11 values of the Republic of Croatia? How did he enthuse his soldiers? If
12 he didn't deliver any speeches, well, then you can just tell me that you
13 can't answer the question. But if you remember any of General Praljak's
14 speeches before his soldiers, what did he actually tell them in these
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remember one occasion, one speech
17 a long time ago, when we were taking the oath. Well, it was all very
18 brief. There wasn't time for much else. He just said, Guys, look after
19 yourselves, defend yourselves, don't compromise yourselves, just look out
20 for yourselves. There wasn't time for any great speeches and talk.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Didn't General Praljak tell the
22 soldiers that they needed to defend themselves because there were
23 aggressors out there and the republic was in danger, or did he provide no
24 reasons for this; in other words, that they had to defend themselves?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we knew full well who we were
1 defending ourselves against and what we were defending. We didn't need
2 to be told. We weren't in kindergarten. We knew who was attacking us,
3 and we knew who we were at war against.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Tell me, why did you have to
5 defend yourselves?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, to defend ourselves because
7 somebody was attacking us, especially me. They had set fire to my house
8 barely a month prior to that, so I had to defend myself. So everybody
9 defends himself when he's under attack.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 Ms. Pinter.
12 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. And following on from Judge Antonetti's question, I have this
14 question for you: At the time in Sunja, and later on, did you ever check
15 and verify who was what ethnicity?
16 A. No. In 1991, while I was in the army, there were no discussions
17 about ethnicity; I don't believe so.
18 Q. Did you ever hear General Praljak checking somebody's ethnicity
19 and, in that way, checking to see whether somebody could be a member of
20 the unit or not?
21 A. No, never. I never saw that, and that is proof that he didn't
22 know who was who. When he went 'round to express Orthodox greetings,
23 Christmas greetings, he went from one to the next, and he said, If
24 anybody was Orthodox, I say Happy Christmas to them, as he did for the
25 Muslim Bajram, because in my particular unit there were quite a lot of
1 Muslims and officers.
2 Q. And what about Catholic Christmas, did he say, Happy Christmas?
3 A. Yes, just like the other two, for the other two.
4 Q. Were there any special festivities during these religious
6 A. No.
7 Q. Could you sit down, talk, have -- at a canteen or something, a
8 restaurant in Sunja?
9 A. Well, the general closed the cafes and taverns. They weren't
10 working. There was just this one canteen that was set up where you could
11 go every day, or, rather, a certain number of men could go every day,
12 20 per cent. You could go and have a drink. There wasn't that much
13 drink going 'round.
14 Q. Thank you. Let me just ask you two or three more questions
15 linked to Sunja. You mentioned several times the railway station, and
16 you said it was the line and that there were train cars there. What was
17 in those cars?
18 A. Wheat, corn, and they were in front of the railway station.
19 Q. Did anybody take this corn?
20 A. Yes. The members of the enemy army, they did.
21 Q. Could you tell us what happened?
22 A. Well, on one occasion I saw several men. I didn't see their
23 faces. I just saw them up to the waist -- down to the waist, and I saw
24 them taking the corn out of the train cars. And I informed Mr. Praljak,
25 because some of my soldiers were getting ready to shoot, and that was in
1 broad daylight. He turned up and, quite simply, did not allow anybody to
2 shoot. Later on, we learnt that those were, in fact, civilians, people
3 whom the army had forced to go and collect the corn, without worrying
4 whether we would shoot at them or not.
5 Q. And that was just once, was it? Did that happen once, that
6 things were taken from the train cars?
7 A. Well, it happened several times, but nobody ever shot at them.
8 Q. When did that take place?
9 A. During the day, in broad daylight.
10 Q. Ever at night?
11 A. I don't know.
12 Q. So what was the order; not to shoot?
13 A. That's right, Do not shoot, and there was no shooting.
14 Q. You said at one point -- or, rather, you mentioned that the
15 military operations had died down when UNPROFOR arrived, there was a sort
16 of lull. We put it that way. Can you tell us how the day was organised
17 then? What did you do during this lull? Did you sit around in the
18 canteen, did people go home to their homes, to Sisak, or did they stay up
19 at the lines, or what?
20 A. They stayed up at the lines. We would go home just as we did
21 before. And there were training exercises, attacks, defence, marches,
22 complete mobilisation, so there was no free time, no time for anybody to
23 be free and do what they liked.
24 Q. And who conducted these exercises with you?
25 A. The general did.
1 Q. Did he lead the exercises or did he take part in the training and
2 exercises, or did he just say, Go here, go there, do this, do that?
3 A. No, he participated in almost all of them.
4 Q. Can you tell us what kind of exercises were held, if you can
5 remember? It's not important if you can't.
6 A. Well, I said. The exercises and training were simulations of
7 defence and attack, and so on.
8 Q. Simulations of defence out in the open, in a house, or where?
9 A. Yes, outside, in the open, and up at the positions.
10 Q. Thank you. Now, did you provide training to anyone in Sunja?
11 A. Yes, I trained various guys who came in later and who didn't have
12 any military training. I just prepared them should they be sent to the
14 Q. I assume that when there was shooting and when there was a lull,
15 that there were moments when you were able to have some contact with
16 General Praljak outside military operations. Or let me ask you: Were
17 there any moments when you talked to General Praljak without it being a
18 briefing, or you reporting to him about the situation, or what had
19 happened up at the front, or whether anybody was wounded, or the like?
20 A. Well, yes, we did. We would go to the headquarters where he was,
21 and he would sit us down, and he'd read a book to us.
22 Q. Tell us, what book?
23 A. Tolstoy.
24 Q. What did he say? Why was he reading Tolstoy to you?
25 A. He said, Well, it wasn't enough to be a fighter, combatant, but
1 we had to be educated as well. Of course, we found it boring, but we had
2 to sit there all the time.
3 Q. Well, maybe it was useful.
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Witness, since a number of us
6 are interested in legal issues, we'd like to know which book you read.
7 Was it "War and Peace" or was it "Anna Karenina," or what?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I read that myself later on.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] "War and Peace," or another
10 story, another novel? Maybe you don't remember the title.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I just said the general read
12 Tolstoy to me, and later on I read "Anna Karenina" and "War and Peace"
13 myself, alone.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, earlier you mentioned
16 a fact, and I'd like to come back to it. I thought I understood that
17 General Praljak had given instructions for civilians not to be shot at,
18 even if they were looting warehouses. Is that what you said?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course, but they were Serb
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Did you say that
22 because you know that in Canada there has been a trial against officers
23 who ordered people to shoot in -- to shoot against civilians who were
24 looting warehouses? I think it was at Somalia. Did you answer whilst
25 knowing of this Canadian case? Out of memory, I remember that one of the
1 officers was defended by one of the counsels that is often in this
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I don't know about that case.
4 But I do know about this case because I was there, so it's first-hand
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I understand you correctly,
7 a Serb civilian could come and loot peacefully and could just loot and
8 then go home; the order was that he was not to be shot at?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were in front of our lines, so
10 they were taking the corn from there, and it's an area -- it's no-man's
11 land, in actual fact. It's that separation line where there were these
12 train cars of corn. And they were there for six months, they'd been
13 there for six months, so I don't know why there's looting at all.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fair enough. So during this
15 conflict, the Serbs who were on the other side could come and loot the
16 corn, and the orders were that they were not to be shot at? Is that what
17 you're telling us?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was the order given by
19 General Praljak in that situation.
20 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Crnkovic, to continue the topic of the corn, was it at a
22 period where it was difficult to come by food and that there were hungry
24 A. Well, one can assume -- well, if they were taking corn in broad
25 daylight, I don't think that they had had enough to eat. Let me put it
1 that way.
2 Q. All right. And linked to Sunja, and this is my last question,
3 how long was General Praljak in Sunja? Or, rather, do you know when he
4 arrived and when he left, can you tell us that, or do you only know when
5 he arrived?
6 A. I know he arrived -- well, he came in September, but I think he
7 left at the end of January and beginning of February 1992.
8 Q. That means that it's September 1991, his arrival; right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. When I asked you about what you did at the beginning, you said
11 you were in the republic -- battle-fields of the Republic of Croatia, you
12 said that you were in Mostar, and you said that you were in Posavina.
13 I'd now like to ask you to explain to us how come you came to Mostar, and
14 when you arrived in Mostar, and what the situation was like in Mostar
15 when you got there.
16 A. It was in April 1992 when I went there. The then commander of
17 Sunja came to me and said -- we referred to him as Stari. When we talked
18 about Praljak, he said, You should go to Mostar and help Stari to train
19 people and establish lines in case of a JNA attack. Every commander
20 received the report to convey to his men and asked them whether anybody
21 volunteered to go. I can say with certainty that close to 500 people
22 volunteered. All wanted to go, and it was up to me to choose the
23 remaining nine. I selected them, and we went down there, and that was
24 towards the very end of April 1992.
25 Q. What was the situation like in Mostar? Had the war already
2 A. No, no, the all out war did not start yet. However, there were
3 some signs pointing to that.
4 Q. And the lads that went with you, you said that 500 volunteered to
5 go with you, but you selected only 9. Could you please tell us who they
6 were? Were they already members of the Croatian Army? Were they
7 experienced? Were they members of your unit? Do you know what their
8 ethnic background was? It would be valuable if you knew that. We have
9 to bear that in account, and it's very valuable in this courtroom also.
10 A. Only one man was from my unit. The other eight were not. They
11 were members of the Home Guard Regiment, and they hailed from the
12 Kostajnica region. Since you are asking me about their ethnic
13 background, I can say that there were five Croats, three Serbs, and two
14 Muslims. I selected them personally. I really did not pay too much
15 attention to their ethnic background. At the end of the day, the
16 general's message was not to take nine Croats, but nine lads.
17 Q. How long were you in Mostar for?
18 A. Not more than ten days.
19 Q. What did you do there?
20 A. Well, two men stayed behind to try and train people to use an
21 anti-aircraft gun, two tried to establish military police units to patrol
22 in town, two were in the eastern Muslim part of Mostar, and two of us
23 were deployed in the western part of Mostar.
24 Q. And in very short outlines, could you please tell us about the
25 approach to the training of Croats and Muslims alike?
1 A. There were some civilian protection units. They didn't have
2 weapons, and Croats and Muslims cooperated. And when we told them, Dig a
3 trench here, they would do it, and they participated in the defence.
4 Having said that, I must say that in the Muslim part of Mostar, in the
5 eastern part of Mostar, our work came to nothing because people refused
6 to be engaged in any way. Their response was that they don't expect to
7 be attacked by anybody and that they didn't have any reason to defend
8 themselves, which means that they refused to cooperate in any way.
9 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] And now I just have two more
10 questions about Posavina, and I believe that General Praljak, with the
11 Court's permission, will have a question to put to you.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, before we move on to
13 Posavina, what you're telling us is very interesting. You are one of the
14 few witnesses we've had who volunteered and who actually is telling a
15 story now.
16 So you went to Mostar with these nine other lads that you
17 selected. I note that there is five Croats, three Serbs, and two
18 Muslims. But you're going to Mostar, but could you tell us what you're
19 going to defend over there? Mostar is in the Republic of Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina. It is not located in the Republic of Croatia. So why are
21 you going there, yourself? Could you tell us what motivated you to go
22 there? Is it General Praljak who said, I need you, and if -- you would
23 have jumped over a bridge for him, or did you go there, you know, to
24 really defend something? But if it's the latter case that prevails,
25 could you tell us exactly what you were going to defend?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not have any reason to go and
2 defend anybody or anything. Nobody told me to go and wage a war there.
3 I was told to try and establish units there, to train their commanders,
4 and that was all. We were not engaged in any war operations down there
5 at all.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fair enough. I agree with what
7 you just said. However, this was -- was this a foreign state or was this
8 a notion that you just did not take into account -- that was not taken
9 into account at the time?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what you mean. In the
11 Croatian Army, there were also lads from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and at
12 the time we all thought that we were fighting the same enemy, the JNA.
13 And to put it simply, it was only after the conflicts between Croats and
14 Muslims when questions started being asked. At the time in question,
15 nobody thought in those terms. We simply went to help the people down
16 there to prevent the things from happening as they did to us, to help
17 them prepare themselves. We just wanted to pass on our experience, our
18 knowledge, to apply our experiences to prevent some things from happening
19 to them, because they had already happened to us and we didn't want to
20 see that repeating.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You are telling us
22 that according to you, the enemy was the JNA, and you didn't really think
23 about anything else, and that's why -- that's the reason why you went to
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course. That's how the two
1 Muslim lads went with me, to help their friends defend themselves from
2 the JNA, and that was the only motive they had.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When General Praljak asked you
4 to come, did he say, The JNA is around Mostar, it's in jeopardy, we have
5 to go there, or did he say, We have to go to Mostar because there are
6 Croats in Mostar, Croats who might be in jeopardy? What exactly did he
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak sent a message asking
9 us to come and help people organise themselves. He didn't mention either
10 Croats or Muslims. It was well known who was attacking everybody. He
11 didn't have to tell me that the JNA was down there and that they were
12 getting ready to prepare to attack Mostar. We knew it, even without him
13 telling us.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I thought I understand -- I
15 thought I understood, and please correct me if I'm wrong. It would be a
16 favour. But I thought I understood that when you arrived there, you
17 executed your mission, but that you found that the Muslims were hardly
18 cooperative, whereas they should have worked hand in hand in order to
19 achieve a common goal. So you found that -- you perceived the Muslims as
20 being a bit reluctant, as far as this common defence was concerned; is
21 that it?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm a soldier. I'm not a
23 politician. I don't want to go into the reason why they refused to
24 cooperate. I came down there and tried to explain to them how to
25 establish lines. They refused to listen. I returned, I reported back to
1 the general, and he said, Okay, you don't have to go there anymore.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You had selected two Muslims,
3 so I would like to know whether you discussed with them in order to try
4 and find out why the Muslims didn't want to cooperate? Did you ask them?
5 Did you ask these two Muslim lads that you had selected, what their
6 opinion was on this?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't ask them anything.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the time, did you try and
9 understand what their motivations were or was this really way beyond the
10 scope of what you were supposed to do?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not feel that I could
12 influence them in any way, and I just did not give it a second thought.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Pinter, will we move to
14 Posavina now?
15 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. That would
16 complete my full hour, the questions about Posavina.
17 Q. We know that you went to Posavina. When was that, under what
18 circumstances? And I'm also interested in the time-frame of your
19 departure there.
20 A. We left on the 3rd of July, 1992. At that moment, that's how it
21 functioned in the army. Lads, get on the buses. We are taking you on a
22 field mission. It was never announced two days ahead. And then in the
23 second village, we were told that we would be heading for Slavonia or, to
24 be more precise, Slavonski Brod. We arrived there, Mr. Praljak was
25 waiting for us there, and he told me to get onto one of -- onto the bus,
1 and informed the lads that it was their own choice whether they wanted to
2 cross or not. I did that. 50 per cent of the soldiers crossed, and the
3 other 50 per cent didn't.
4 Q. And do you know whether the 50 per cent that did not cross --
5 were they subject to any disciplinary procedure, were they punished
6 because of that?
7 A. No, nobody was punished. The men continued to work. Some of
8 them work to this very day, some have been pensioned off, some were
9 killed. In any case, nobody was punished on account of that. Nobody had
10 any problems. They were given a choice, to cross or not.
11 Q. Why did you cross? Tell us, please.
12 A. The then company commander told us, and we obviously saw that
13 Slavonski Brod had been destroyed. Shells were falling on us as we
14 approached it, and he told us that under the military law, we could go 30
15 kilometres deep into the enemy territory if somebody shelled our cities
16 and towns from that territory, that was the most compelling reason, the
17 fact that the Croatian territories were shelled from that area. And
18 another reason was the general was there, of course.
19 Q. You've just said that the general was there; yes?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. When you arrived in Posavina, did you meet with the general? Can
22 you describe the situation for us? Did you go to the front-line on your
23 own? Were you shown where to go? Did you know already where the
24 front-line was? How did that happen?
25 A. Of course we didn't know where the front-line was. We went there
1 during the night, we arrived during the night, and the general, himself,
2 took us around the front-line and showed us what we could see in the
4 Q. So what did that look like, when you were looking for the line?
5 Do you remember, as you sit there? If you don't remember, never mind,
6 it's not a big problem.
7 JUDGE PRANDLER: I'm sorry, Madam Pinter, to interrupt you, but I
8 would like to clarify one issue here.
9 It was not very clear, when you asked about going to
10 Slavonski Brod and when the witness answered to you. I believe that the
11 issue was, indeed, that they may have crossed to Serbian territory, not
12 to Slavonski Brod, itself, but to Serbian territory, because he spoke
13 about -- now let me quote:
14 "Shells were falling on us as we approached it, and he told us
15 that under the military law, we could go 30 kilometres deep into the
16 enemy territory if somebody shelled our cities and towns from that
17 territory, and that was the most compelling reason, the fact that the
18 Croatian territories were shelled from that area ."
19 My question is that: What was that area? And as I understood
20 it, it was that that action was taken against the Serbs, or JNA, from
21 Serbian territory, but I stand to be corrected if I am wrong.
22 Thank you.
23 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Maybe the witness should answer
24 instead of me testifying. I believe that there has been a
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. To the point where we
2 crossed, that was Croatian Posavina, those were Croatian villages,
3 Croatian population.
4 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]
5 Q. In what state is Posavina?
6 A. In Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you. But again, of course, then I'm
8 saying that Sunja was, of course, and is Croatian territory, and then you
9 crossed through Posavina, that is Bosnia and Serbian -- sorry, the
10 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is what I would like to clarify.
11 Thank you.
12 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Was that part of the Serbian territory or was this the territory
14 of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
15 A. It was not the Serbian territory. It was the Bosnian and
16 Herzegovinian territory.
17 Q. And who resided in that territory of Posavina?
18 A. The majority Croatian population, Muslim population.
19 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness and counsel slow down and not
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Pinter, the Registry is
23 telling me that there's only five minutes left on the tape. Would you
24 rather that we break right now and then we'll resume after the break?
25 Yes, obviously. We're really running out of tape, so we need to break.
1 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] In that case, Your Honour, we would
2 like to take a break. And this has brought my examination-in-chief to an
3 end, but the general has a few questions.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's break for 20
6 --- Recess taken at 5.19 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 5.46 p.m.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Mr. Kovacic.
9 The Trial Chamber needs to hand down two important oral
10 decisions. Therefore, I would like all and every one to listen
12 First decision, oral decision on time allocation for the
13 testimony of Witness Zvonimir Skender of 24th and 28th September 2009.
14 The Trial Chamber will issue a decision on the time allocation regarding
15 the testimony of Zvonimir Skender, who will be heard according to
16 Rule 92 ter.
17 The Trial Chamber decides to give the Defence of Praljak one hour
18 for the examination-in-chief and any redirect. Given that the other
19 parties made no specific requests and given the topics addressed by the
20 witness, the Trial Chamber decides to give, all in all, the other
21 Defences 45 minutes for their cross-examination and one hour and thirty
22 minutes to the Prosecution.
23 I sum up. The Praljak Defence will have one hour, all other
24 Defence counsels 45 minutes altogether, and the Prosecutor one hour and a
1 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Ms. Alaburic, as far
2 as I know, and she'll be able to tell you, we plan to conduct a
3 cross-examination. We awaited your decision to be able to tell you this,
4 but, anyway, we have 45 minutes, all the Defence teams together. Now, if
5 the other Defence teams have no questions, then perhaps the two of us
6 could conduct the cross-examination during that time. But all I want to
7 say is, if need be, and I think I'm going to need 20 to 30 minutes for my
8 cross-examination, but I'd like to inform the Court on time that I am
9 prepared to have that amount of time deducted from the total amount of
10 time that the Stojic Defence has.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The second oral decision is a
12 lengthy decision. I would like you to listen to this carefully, because
13 it is important.
14 Oral decision on the court schedules.
15 At the hearing of the 16th of September, 2009, after having been
16 advised of the amended schedules for the witness testimonies disclosed
17 respectively by the Praljak and Petkovic Defences, the Trial Chamber has
18 noted that the Praljak Defence intended to close its case on Monday, the
19 19th of October, 2009, and that the Petkovic Defence wished to start the
20 presentation of its case on Monday, the 2nd of November, 2009.
21 The Trial Chamber also notes that the Praljak Defence has
22 informed the parties, at the hearing of the 16th of September, 2009, of
23 the potential cancellation of the testimony of its last witness, Witness
24 3DA, initially called to testify on Wednesday, the 14th of October --
25 from Wednesday, the 14th of October, 2009, to Monday, the 19th of
1 October, 2009. In that case, the presentation of its case would end on
2 Tuesday, the 13th of October, 2009.
3 The Trial Chamber further notices that the Petkovic Defence
4 expressed the desire, at the hearing of the 16th of September, 2009, to
5 start the presentation of its case with testimony of the expert witness,
6 Milan Gorjanc, on the 2nd of November, 2009. The Trial Chamber recalls,
7 in this regard, the decision it had handed down confidentially on the 5th
8 of November, 2008, which provides for a two months' dead-line between the
9 filing of an expert report, pursuant to Rule 94 bis of the Rules, and the
10 testimony of the said expert witness, and notes that the date of the
11 beginning of the expert witness's testimony in this case is in line with
12 the dead-lines of the Chamber. The Trial Chamber notes that in this
13 particular case, the witness of the -- the expert witness, Milan Gorjanc,
14 may only start once the dead-line is over, i.e., on the 2nd of November,
16 Anxious to keep an eye on the efficient conduct of the trial, the
17 Trial Chamber holds that in its discretion and in the interests of
18 justice, it should clarify the court schedule to avoid any stay of the
19 proceedings for an unreasonable amount of time between the end of the
20 Praljak Defence case and the commencement of the Petkovic Defence case.
21 Consequently, the Trial Chamber charges the Praljak Defence to clarify
22 the status of the testimony of Witness 3DA by Friday, the 29th of
23 September, 2009 [as interpreted].
24 The Trial Chamber further asks the Defence -- the Petkovic
25 Defence to be ready to start the presentation of its case on Monday, the
1 19th of October, 2009, in the event that the testimony of Witness 3DA
2 gets cancelled, or five days after the testimony of Witness 3DA, i.e., on
3 Monday, the 26th of October, 2009.
4 The Trial Chamber also invites the Petkovic Defence to change the
5 witness order of the witnesses it intends to call in order to allow for
6 the testimony of one or two witnesses on the above-mentioned dates set by
7 the Chamber before the testimony of the expert witness, Milan Gorjanc,
8 set for the 2nd of November, 2009.
9 To sum up, the Trial Chamber is asking that before the 29th of --
10 whether the witness is coming or not. If 3DA is not coming, the Petkovic
11 Defence must begin on the 19th of October. If the witness 3DA comes, the
12 Petkovic Defence will start on the 26th of October. The Trial Chamber
13 confirms, as far as the expert witness is concerned, that the latter can
14 only start testifying as of the 2nd of November, 2009, onwards, and
15 therefore asks the Petkovic Defence to call one or two witnesses which it
16 had already planned and to ask these witnesses to come and testify before
17 the expert witness, Gorjanc.
18 This is what the Chamber rules to avoid wasting any time. All of
19 this is crystal clear.
20 Ms. Alaburic.
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you for giving
22 me the floor. I'd just like to say something in this regard, and I hope
23 it won't disrupt the examination of this witness.
24 Thank you for that ruling, but on behalf of the Petkovic Defence,
25 I'd like to say that it is absolutely impossible to plan the beginning of
1 the Defence case with any alternative variants, without these variants,
2 depending on the wishes and desires of the Petkovic Defence. We consider
3 that we cannot be hostages of the Praljak Defence and have us wait and
4 see what's going to happen with that Defence; that we have to be ready to
5 fill a gap if any such gap comes into existence.
6 And in that context, I'd like to remind the Trial Chamber of the
7 decision made before the start of the Bruno Stojic Defence case. If you
8 recall, we finished the discussion at the end of November 2008, the
9 proceedings, because the Stojic Defence, in my opinion rightly so,
10 refused to begin its case, its Defence case, before Mr. Jadranko Prlic
11 had completed his Defence case. The Stojic Defence case also informed
12 the Trial Chamber at the time that it had conceived its Defence case in
13 such a way as to begin by hearing an expert witness, and that this expert
14 opinion -- that other witnesses would be called to deal with individual
15 parts of that expert opinion. I considered at that time, and I consider
16 this today, that that position taken by the Stojic Defence was completely
17 justified, and I considered it to be very generous and fair, and the will
18 of the Trial Chamber to respect that request made by the Stojic Defence.
19 Now, at this point in time the Petkovic Defence is faced in a
20 relatively similar position, and I'd like to remind you that we had
21 several working days - I think there were two or three days, in actual
22 fact - between the Stojic Defence and the start of the Praljak Defence
23 case, there was a gap there, and it was no problem -- it was not
24 considered a problem to have these two or three days' gap.
25 Now, the Petkovic Defence would be the first Defence team placed
1 in a situation to fill the gap, should any such gap exist, without being
2 given any leeway with respect to working days when the court would not be
3 sitting and which could be used for the preparation of the Petkovic
4 Defence case. In that context, I'd like to remind the Trial Chamber at
5 the same time that we have a pending motion from the Praljak Defence with
6 respect to statements under 92 bis, and as the learned friends from the
7 Prosecution need more time to study that material, and additional time
8 has been accorded to all the other Defence teams, I'd like to remind you
9 that the Petkovic Defence is also interested in preparing itself for a
10 possible cross-examination of one or more of the 155 witnesses put
11 forward. Now, if the Petkovic Defence is not ensured the same conditions
12 for preparing the cross-examination of the Praljak Defence witnesses, we
13 consider that we would be brought into a position of inequality compared
14 to the other Defence teams.
15 Furthermore, our first fact witness is a general of the Croatian
16 Army whose time we cannot dispose of, and we've already informed him --
17 or, rather, we've informed you that we intend to call him in the first
18 half of November, that he will be available for testifying. Now, if the
19 Trial Chamber maintains the decision uttered just now, we'll do
20 everything in our power to bring in that first fact witness at a time
21 stipulated by the Trial Chamber, but I have to say that we cannot decide
22 on anybody's time, free time, to come in, and it will be a force majeure
23 as to whether somebody can reorganise their schedule to come in to the
25 Therefore, I kindly request the Trial Chamber to look into the
1 possibility once again -- into this question once again and to allow the
2 Petkovic Defence to begin on the 2nd of November of this year. We are
3 fully conscious of the fact that the Praljak Defence will not have
4 completed the presentation of all their evidence, but as we wish to
5 comply with the Trial Chamber and everything else, we're not going to
6 insist that the Praljak Defence be presented fully and completely, but
7 I'd like to ask you to look into our request once again to start on the
8 2nd of November. And there are very good reasons for us to start with
9 Expert Witness Gorjanc, because it is his expert report that we're going
10 to link all the other testimony to of our fact witnesses. Our fact
11 witnesses will follow on from him, and we've conceived it as being one
12 entity, one whole. So the Praljak Defence would be very grateful to you,
13 if you were to -- or, rather, I misspoke. The Petkovic Defence would be
14 very grateful to you if you were to allow us to begin on the 2nd of
15 November of this year.
16 Thank you.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Your request for
18 reconsideration will be addressed by the Chamber and give rise to a
19 decision as soon as possible. That's all I can say.
20 Mr. Prosecutor.
21 MR. STRINGER: Thank you for giving me the floor, Mr. President.
22 Good afternoon. Good afternoon, Your Honours.
23 My apologies to Ms. Pinter and also the witness, who I know is
24 trying to finish, but since we've gone into some of the procedural
25 issues, one observation, and I say this is very conditional because I
1 need to discuss this with the member of the Prosecution team who's going
2 to be cross-examining the expert witness, Mr. Gorjanc, it might be that
3 in this situation the Prosecution can be prepared to cross-examine him
4 one week earlier than the two-month time-frame. And if we can be ready
5 earlier, then we could perhaps begin with that witness on the 26th of
6 October. I'm saying that conditionally, and I'm asking the Trial Chamber
7 not to hold me to it, because the person who's responsible for that is
8 not someone I've consulted here in the last few minutes, and I want to
9 just make sure that that's correct. But it's possible we might be able
10 to begin with the expert on the 26th. That's number one. We do welcome
11 the Trial Chamber's ruling. It's certainly -- the possibility of having
12 so much down time in between the two cases, I think, is troubling.
13 My second request, while I'm on my feet, Mr. President: Today
14 we've seen the Praljak Defence has filed a motion under Rule 92 quater,
15 to tender four witness statements into evidence under that Rule, and our
16 request, Mr. President, is that we file our response -- it would be that
17 the Prosecution files its response to that motion on the 28th of October,
18 at the same time it files its response to all of the 92 bis. That way,
19 we can review all of the statements and sort of process them as part of
20 the same effort. So we're requesting an extension until the 28th of
21 October to respond to the Praljak Rule 92 quater motion.
22 Thank you.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I shall consult my colleagues
24 right away.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber, after having
2 deliberated, allows you to respond to the 92 quater motion until the 28th
3 of October. No problem.
4 The Trial Chamber would also like to ask the Prosecutor to tell
5 us, as soon as possible, whether they cut-down on their -- their
6 dead-line as regards the expert witness, which means that we could then
7 start, as you have just mentioned, on Monday, the 26th of October, if 3DA
8 comes to testify. If 3DA does not come to testify, however, we will then
9 have a week with nothing in it.
10 Mr. Kovacic should let us know as soon as possible whether 3DA is
11 coming or not. If 3DA comes and if the Prosecutor can cut down on his
12 dead-line, in that case we have no problem whatsoever and we can start on
13 the 26th of October straight away.
14 Let's resume now with the witness. We apologise, but these
15 procedural issues needed to be settled.
16 General Praljak, you had questions to put to the witness, I
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, thank
20 Examination by Mr. Praljak:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Crnkovic. Just a few brief
22 questions with respect to the military aspects.
23 Tell me, please, in Sunja, did you have a rank? When I was the
24 commander in Sunja, did I have a rank? Tell us how you called me, how
25 you referred to me in Sunja.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me.
2 A. Hemingway.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have to recall the rule that there must be
4 pauses between questions and answers. The witness may have answered, but
5 now we have no answers here, so probably you should ask -- start again
6 with the first question.
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
8 Q. In Sunja, did you or any other member of, let's call it the
9 Croatian Army, up to the new year, 1991, have a rank?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Did I have a rank in Sunja up until the new year of 1991?
12 A. No.
13 Q. How did you address me in Sunja? What did you call me?
14 A. Hemingway.
15 Q. Did I punish you or the other guys and make you walk seven and
16 eight -- seven or eight kilometres over some swampland around the front?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Tell me, Mr. Crnkovic, any of the punished guys, did they remain
19 friends with me or were they friends with me and remain friends with me?
20 A. They were friends and have remained friends.
21 Q. When I asked for help, ten men to go to Mostar, how many people
22 came up to --
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That question has been answered. 500, we've
24 heard it.
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Where were you wounded, Mr. Crnkovic?
2 A. In Bosanska Posavina.
3 Q. And how were you wounded? What was the result of your wounding?
4 A. I was left without my lower leg, a part of my intestines and
5 stomach. I suffered a great deal.
6 Q. How many soldiers were in Sunja when I arrived together with
7 those 47, the reserve police and the locals, most of them peasants,
8 farmers from the surrounding villages?
9 A. I really can't give you an exact figure, but several hundred,
11 Q. What was the length of the defence line in Sunja from the
12 right-hand side to Bobovac? What was the length of the line?
13 A. Over 10 kilometres, I think.
14 Q. Give it some more thought, Mr. Crnkovic, think carefully. Ten or
15 how many? Along the line, that's what I'm asking you.
16 A. I don't know. I can't really give you an exact figure. I'm not
17 quite sure.
18 Q. All right. How many mortars did we have in Sunja when I arrived?
19 A. Not more than two.
20 Q. Do you remember how many shells for those two mortars?
21 A. Less than ten.
22 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, at one point did we obtain
23 two 203-millimetre cannons in the Sunja area, if you remember?
24 A. Yes, I do remember. We did.
25 Q. And do you remember that a single shot was fired from those
1 cannons because they didn't have any firing charts, firing tables?
2 A. Yes, I remember. You sent them all back across the Sava River.
3 Q. What was the situation like on the battle-field in Posavina? Was
4 it organised, compared to Sunja, or chaotic, compared to Sunja?
5 A. It was quite the opposite from Sunja; that is to say, complete
7 Q. You had things to do with the army later on. Did you ever hear
8 that there was -- that there was ever a better organised battle-field and
9 battleground than Sunja?
10 A. To the best of my knowledge, no, there was not.
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Crnkovic,
12 for coming in, and thank you for answering my questions.
13 Thank you, too, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 Witness, I have a follow-up question for you.
16 General Praljak asked you whether anybody had any ranks. You
17 said, "No." And he asked you how you called him, and you said, I called
18 you Hemingway. You called him Hemingway because he had a beard or
19 because Mr. Praljak's personality was such that it was very much in line
20 with the works of Hemingway, the spirit of adventure and resilience? Why
21 did you call him Hemingway?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] One of my friends called him that
23 first. It was not me. I don't know why he gave him that nickname. I'm
24 not sure.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
1 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, I have a very short
2 question for you.
3 You established a comparison between the situation in the
4 Posavina and the situation in Sunja. In Sunja, you said that everything
5 was in order, whereas in the Posavina it was total chaos, so how can you
6 substantiate this difference? Why was everything in order in Sunja and
7 total chaos in the Posavina?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In Sunja, there were well-arranged
9 defence lines, there were commanders in charge of those lines, there was
10 a regular supply of food and ammunition, there were civilian and military
11 police units which maintained order in the army and among the civilian
12 population, which means that life was as normal as it could be under the
13 circumstances. There was electricity, there was water, whereas in
14 Posavina at the same time there was nothing, none of that.
15 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Were no military commanders in the
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was a military commander, but
18 there were no linked-up defence lines with commanders in charge of those
20 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, the Defence teams.
22 Mr. Prlic's Defence team.
23 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Mr. Prlic's Defence does not have any questions for this witness.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Mr. Stojic's Defence
1 also doesn't have any questions.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] General Petkovic's Defence has no
4 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Coric's Defence has
5 no questions. Thank you very much, Your Honours.
6 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] No questions, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecutor.
8 MR. STRUGGLES: Good afternoon, Your Honours. No questions for
9 the Prosecution.
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't have any
11 questions. However, I would kindly ask you for two minutes of the
12 Court's time to deal with your procedural issue from the beginning of the
13 day. But before that, we could perhaps release the witness.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
15 Witness, on behalf of my fellow Judges and myself, I thank you
16 for coming here to come and testify for the Praljak Defence. I wish you
17 the best for your return home, and I will ask now our Usher to escort you
18 out of the courtroom.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you very much.
20 [The witness withdrew]
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic.
22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to thank
23 you for the time given to me. I will be very brief.
24 [In English] Perhaps it is better to speak in English to avoid
25 any misunderstanding. It is concerning your decision on the beginning of
1 the day, and I just wish to clarify something in that decision.
2 This decision was responsive to the Prosecution's response which
3 was filed yesterday, I believe, which made -- and that Prosecution
4 response mainly asked for the Praljak motion to be dismissed or, in the
5 alternative, to extend the dead-line to respond. The oral decision of
6 this -- from the beginning of the day extended the dead-line to respond.
7 Here is my request for clarification: I understand that the oral
8 decision has implicitly rejected the response request to dismiss the
9 Praljak motion. I just want to ask you, is it -- my understanding
10 accurate, is it correct? Was the request in the response really
12 Thank you. That is all what I want to ask. I understand that,
13 but I'm not quite sure I was reading once again. Thank you.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You did not really understand
15 the decision because you didn't listen correctly. Let me read the second
16 paragraph of our decision. It was extremely clear.
17 The Trial Chamber believes that it is in the interests of justice
18 to analyse the Praljak Defence motion in the light of the replies
19 provided by all parties who would like to reply before it rules on the
20 admission. It's very simple. The Trial Chamber is saying the following:
21 Before ruling on the motion put forth by the Prosecutor, we want to know
22 what all other parties have in mind. Then we will analyse everything,
23 when we have all the information at hand, and we will rule on the
24 possible admission that you presented in your motion, your motion where
25 you were asking for the admission of 150 92 bis, ter and quarter
1 witnesses. Before ruling on this, we need to know what the position of
2 all other Defence counsels are, as well as -- as of the Prosecution's.
3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. This is
4 exactly how I understood you, but I wasn't absolutely sure.
5 At this very moment, you have not decided, if I may paraphrase
6 what you said, about the substance of the Prosecutor's response. For the
7 time being, you have just decided on the extension, and when everybody
8 files their responses, which the Prosecutor has already done, and when
9 the others do that as well, when all the other parties file their
10 responses, then obviously you will have all the elements to make a
11 decision. I just needed to raise the issue because otherwise I would
12 have had to react with a request for a reply to the response, because the
13 response worded in this way by the Prosecutor, which is titled
14 "Preliminary Response," is non-existent under the Rules, and that's why I
15 wanted to be absolutely clear. However, what you have just told us
16 completely dispels any doubts that I may have had.
17 Thank you.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, since we have time,
19 I would kindly ask you to submit a reply to the response that we received
20 earlier today from the OTP, and that response refers to the joint motion
21 by the Defences of Stojic, Praljak, and Petkovic by which the Trial
22 Chamber was requested to order the OTP to disclose all documents from the
23 proceedings that were conducted before this Tribunal against the officers
24 of the BiH Army and all the other proceedings, as well as the documents
25 that are in the possession of the OTP and which speak about certain
1 actions on the part of the BiH Army and the Muslim political and military
2 leaderships. I don't want to go over the grounds at great length.
3 In their response, the OTP raised some other issues, including
4 the difference between the obligation for certain documents to be
5 disclosed, unlike placing certain documents at the Defence's disposal; in
6 other words, via IDS
7 different procedures, and so on and so forth. We believe that the new
8 issues that the OTP has raised in their response merit a reply, and
9 that's why we are kindly asking you -- and that's why we are kindly
10 asking you to reply to the response filed by the OTP.
11 Thank you very much.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, the Trial Chamber
14 is granting you leave to reply. You have two weeks to file your
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. We were
17 prepared to reply by Monday, but we are very happy with the extension of
18 the dead-line that we have just been given. Thank you very much.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Maybe it's best not to delve
20 into this too much. It's a topic I know very well. I know it
21 inside-out. If you want, I will have to intervene.
22 Mr. Stringer, I see that you are on your feet.
23 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Just a brief reply to the remarks of Mr. Kovacic, because I'm
25 feeling like perhaps he's trying to position the Prosecution just a
1 little bit. Maybe I misunderstood.
2 The Prosecution filed a preliminary response, and we called it
3 "preliminary" because clearly it doesn't address the substance of all 155
4 statements that he has submitted en masse to all of us for our review.
5 Now, we understand from the Trial Chamber's ruling that we have until the
6 28th of October to file our substantive responses to each of the 155
7 statements that have been tendered, and after it has that -- those
8 responses, the Trial Chamber will consider all forms of relief or rulings
9 in terms of the Defence submissions. So I just wanted to be clear that
10 the Prosecution certainly expects to file now, on the 28th of October, a
11 substantive response to each of the 155 statements. And we appreciate
12 the extension of time that's been granted.
13 Thank you, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I thank you,
15 Mr. Stringer. This is exactly what the Trial Chamber is expecting from
16 you, actually, and you've fully understood our decision.
17 We will have no hearing tomorrow. Since the witness is scheduled
18 for Thursday, you will be able to prepare his hearing on Thursday. On
19 Thursday, we will end at 6.00 p.m., we will have only one break, and we
20 will resume with that witness on Monday, since it's a witness that is
21 scheduled to be heard over two days.
22 I wish you all a very pleasant evening, and we will resume
23 Thursday at 2.15.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.27 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 24th day of
1 September, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.