1 Tuesday, 24 November 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could you please
7 call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning
9 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T,
10 the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar. This is
12 Tuesday, and I greet our witness, the accused, the Defence counsel, the
13 representative of the OTP, and everyone helping us.
14 I believe that our Registrar has an IC number for us. He has the
16 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour. The Prosecution has
17 submitted their objections to documents tendered by 3D for admission
18 through Witness Bozo Pavlovic. This list shall be given Exhibit IC01126.
19 Thank you, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mrs. Alaburic, you
21 have the floor to continue with your examination-in-chief.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. Good
23 morning to you to, my colleagues from the OTP and the other Defence
24 counsel. Good morning to the accused, to the witness and everybody who
25 is with us at the moment.
1 WITNESS: WITNESS 4D-AB [Resumed]
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 Examination by Ms. Alaburic: [Continued]
4 Q. We analysed yesterday the order by Enes Kovacevic, which was
5 document 2D246. It's dated 14 April 1993.
6 Witness, let us now try to see what subsequently happened in the
7 Konjic area. Please look at document P1874.
8 This is a summary report for the 13th of April, and let us see
9 what it says about Konjic. The first report says that the village of
10 Buscak was attacked and that the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina tried to
11 cross the lake from Ostrozac and take Mount Falanovo, but they were
12 stopped there. And it goes on to say that Butorovic Polje was shelled
13 and that Kostajnica was being shelled, and that combat activity is
14 starting at Konjic, which is blocked just as Jablanica is.
15 Is this description accurate in accordance with your information,
17 A. Yes, it is.
18 Q. Let us look at the second report from Konjic on that day. The
19 village of Buscak -- or, rather, the fall of the village of Buscak is
20 imminent. It is requested that our earlier request is -- is granted.
21 What kind of request was that?
22 A. It is about the shelling of the Muslim positions from which the
23 Croatian villages were being attacked.
24 Q. Let us look at the following paragraph. It says stronger
25 enforcements arrived from Jablanica, then moving toward Mrakovo and
1 Zuglici, and want to take Boksevica.
2 Tell us, Witness, if we remember the documents that we saw
3 earlier about the plans of the ABiH, does this direction correspond to
4 the documents that we saw about the plans of the ABiH?
5 A. Yes. It's in line with those plans. One unit from the
6 1st Battalion which was tasked to take this area toward Zuglici and
8 Q. Let us look at report number 3 from the same document with the same
9 date. It says: “There are strong attacks from mortars against Ljesovina,
10 Buturovic Polje and Kostajnica, and I skip one part. An ultimatum was
11 issued to Radesine. Forces from Bosnia threatening Konjic, movements
12 of the ABiH from Tarcin have been noticed and then comes a statement:
13 "This is an all-out attack on the entire zone of Konjic and
15 Is this an accurate report, Witness?
16 A. Yes. It is very accurate.
17 Q. Let us look at the following document, P1879. It's an exhibit
18 already, so we won't dwell on it long. Just to get the entire picture
19 let us look at item 4. It reads:
20 "Fighting has started in Konjic as well. The Croatian villages
21 of Obri and Vrci have been attacked. We have no reports from Buscak, and
22 there are attacks against Bucurovici [phoen] and Falanovo Brdo."
23 Was it really that way, Witness, as far as you know?
24 A. Yes, it was really that way.
25 Q. Let us look at the part of the report that refers to Prozor.
1 It's the fifth paragraph in this part of the report. It says that the
2 Herceg Stjepan Brigade asked for support from the Rama Brigade. It's the
3 artillery support that we mentioned, isn't it, Witness?
4 A. Yes, it is.
5 Q. It goes on to say: We have forbidden the opening of artillery
6 fire before an order is received.
7 Tell me, Witness, did you immediately get artillery support or
9 A. No, we didn't get it immediately.
10 Q. Please take a look at the final part. It says: The intelligence
11 situation is unclear in the area of Konjic and Jablanica. Reports are
12 not coming in from the commanders in charge. There's arbitrariness in
13 the opening of fire. We don't [as interpreted] the strength of units and
14 individual zones, et cetera.
15 Can you comment this -- these statements from the report for us?
16 A. This report clearly depicts the situation in the brigade. We
17 were taken aback with the attack and the scale of the attack. Some of
18 our units had lost contact with the staff and with the commander so that
19 individual commanders, even platoon commanders, asked various units
20 around us for help. So it wasn't -- it was actually people panicking and
21 asking for help.
22 Q. Toward the end of the report from Prozor, and a report from
23 Konjic was added to the summary report about the situation on the
24 15th of April at 3.00 a.m. It says: During the night massive movements
25 of Muslim units were noticed. Their sabotage groups moving from Rodici
1 and the municipality of Jablanica toward the strategically important
2 mount of Boksevica.
3 And now listen: Whoever holds that mountain, that is Boksevica,
4 controls almost the entire Neretvica Valley.
5 Tell me, Witness, is that really so, that whoever holds Boksevica
6 controls the area in the Neretvica Valley?
7 A. Yes, that is correct. Not only the Neretvica Valley but also
8 part of the Neretva Valley and the Jablanica lake from the entry into
9 Jablanica toward Celebici in the direction of Konjic.
10 Q. Now let's go a few lines further down. The report says that what
11 it boils down to is that the ABiH is trying to take Boksevica. In
12 accordance with your information, was that really the case?
13 A. Yes, that was the case.
14 Q. Let's skip one paragraph and look at the statement saying that
15 the artillery of the ABiH is firing from the Risovac Plateau. Tell us,
16 was that really the case, as far as you know?
17 A. Yes, it was.
18 Q. Tell us, this Risovac Plateau, is it anywhere near Sovicka Vrata
19 and the villages of Sovici and Doljani?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And in the last paragraph about Konjic says that: We are asking
22 from Prozor that they support us with artillery, and it says, if this is
23 not done, that is, if there is no support, then we stand slim chances to
24 get out of it.
25 Was that really the case, that unless help arrives from outside
1 that this position could not be defended?
2 A. Yes. If the ABiH had taken Boksevica, our 1st Battalion would
3 have been in the same position as the 2nd Battalion, that is, completely
5 Q. Witness, look at the following documents now, please -- following
6 document now, please, P1887?
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Ms. Alaburic.
8 Witness, on the top of the last page of this document I read:
9 "That is why we are kindly asking you that the artillery, et
10 cetera, fire."
11 Now, this is signed by the chief of HVO General Staff who
12 actually is the highest commanding officer, in fact. I am very puzzled
13 about this wording. It is not -- a military commander normally does not
14 kindly ask for fire but orders. Do you have an explanation for this?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't see the translation at all.
16 I'm not receiving translation. From the very start.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Does it work now?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I'm receiving translation now.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Good. The paragraph is on page 5 in the
20 original, and it is the two, three, four -- fourth paragraph, I think,
21 which starts with the words "Zato vas molimo," and the translation is:
22 "We -- that is why we are kindly asking you that the artillery
23 fire." I abbreviate here. And I am struck by this wording, because the
24 document is signed by the highest commander, Brigadier Petkovic, and it
25 is not the tone that one normally finds in -- in military language. The
1 commander would order fire but not kindly ask, and I was wondering
2 whether you could give an explanation for that.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I haven't completely understood the
4 question. Could you please repeat.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I am wondering about the language used by the
6 Commander-in-Chief, who kindly asks, that's the translation, for
7 artillery fire; whereas in my own military experience, which I think I
8 share with -- with everyone who knows about this matter, is that a
9 commander orders fire. And the question is: Can you explain this
10 surprising formulation?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Which paragraph is that? I haven't
12 found it. When I read it, I hope to be able to answer.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I am still --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Judge.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have -- my microphone is burning. I'm still
16 on the document P1879, and I go to the last page. I'm looking at the
17 B/C/S version now, and there the third or fourth paragraph starts with
18 the words "Zato vas molimo i trazimo" and so on. Have you found that.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I have. Your Honour, this is
20 a summary report signed by Mr. Milivoj Petkovic, and these are the words
21 of the people who requested help. In this case our 1st Battalion.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So although it -- yes. Mr. Petkovic is not
23 speaking himself but quoting what he heard from Konjic?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. That's helpful to know.
1 Excuse me for the interruption, Ms. Alaburic.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, did you know that at
3 the Main Staff every day there was a compilation made of all the
4 situation reports come being from the field. For example, the
5 Tomislavgrad report, the Vitez report, report from Bosanska Posavina, and
6 report from Konjic, and the compilation of all these reports was then
7 signed by the chief of the Main Staff, General Petkovic. Was that the
8 way things worked? Every day all situation reports coming from the
9 ground were compiled, which is why we have this report where there's a
10 request for artillery. It's not General Petkovic that is asking an
11 authorisation from himself. Of course not. Did you know that this was
12 the mode of operation, or are you discovering it today?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I haven't discovered it today.
14 This is how things worked. There were daily reports from the smaller
15 units to the Main Staff, and it was usual to send one report a day, and
16 in case of need there would be several.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. We're now about to show how these reports are made. Please take
19 a look at the following document: P1887. P1887. It's a report from
20 your brigade, Witness, signed by the commander Zdravko Sagolj, and it's
21 the final report from Konjic. This report says: We are requesting that
22 the artillery fire from the Risovac Plateau and so on.
23 Witness, is this report part of the summary report we saw a
24 minute ago?
25 A. Yes, it is.
1 Q. If we have now clarified, we can move on to the following
2 document, 4D83. A report from of the Lisin Battalion commander who was
3 in the village of Bradina. It is dated the 15th of April, 1993. This is
4 in the Konjic region, Witness, is it?
5 A. Yes, it is in the direction of Sarajevo.
6 Q. Let's look at the contents. On the 14th of April, the BiH Army
7 took control of the facilities Buscak and HVO barracks. It goes on to
8 say that they're proceeding to liberate Klis, and at the end of the
9 document it is said, and I quote:
10 "I believe that tomorrow is the decisive day and in the morning
11 the action will start to liberate the town which is under heavy artillery
12 fire from the aforementioned elevations. This time there will be no
13 stopping. We will proceed until final victory, because we are now
14 convinced that the HVO is the enemy of the Republic of
16 Witness, with regard to the features that the BiH Army was
17 attacking, is this part of the report correct?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. Tell me, the way the developments evolved, would you say that the
20 attacks intensified?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. At the end of the document it says: We propose that you should
23 order that there will be attacks on Boksevica and Pisvir with a view to
24 their liberation. As far as you know, was that the goal of the BH Army
25 attacks at the moment?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Let's look at the following document which is 4D874. This is an
3 order issued by the chief of the Main Staff, sent to the OZ Central
4 Bosnia to the commander Tihomir Blaskic. It says that with regard to the
5 newly arisen situation in the territory of Konjic, the HVO from
6 Central Bosnia should undertake certain activities, certain combat
7 activities, in order to link up the BiH Army forces or engage the BH Army
8 forces and thus facilitate the situation of the HVO in Konjic.
9 Witness, did you request for assistance from Central Bosnia?
10 A. Yes, we did. We did request assistance from Central Bosnia,
11 because we thought that in case the HVO forces started moving towards
12 Bradina, we would be able to stop the attack that was launched in the
13 direction of Konjic and further afield.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I have a few questions
15 on distances. This document 4D874 is a document that I must assess, and
16 when assessing this document I must make sure not to make any mistakes.
17 The Appeals Chamber on paragraph 332 of its Blaskic judgement noted that
18 the Blaskic Trial Chamber had made a mistake when it had assessed
19 Exhibit D269. And I don't want to make mistakes, so I'm going to ask a
20 few questions to you.
21 Could you tell me what the distance was between Central Bosnia
22 and yourself where you were placed? How many kilometres were there?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The distance from Bradina to the
24 part where we requested help in Kresevo Kiseljak and the OZ where
25 Tihomir Blaskic was, the distance was about 20 kilometres.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Twenty kilometres. Very well.
2 And could you tell me, if you know, what is the distance between Bradina
3 and Ahmici?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Between Bradina and Ahmici? I
5 can't answer that because I don't know.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, give us an order of
7 magnitude. Is it more than a hundred kilometres, less than a hundred
8 kilometres, 50 kilometres? A ballpark figure, please.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I was never in
10 Ahmici. I wouldn't be able to tell you.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You cannot help us. Fine. In
12 this document -- this is a document where people are asking help from
13 Tihomir Blaskic. Twenty kilometres away you can have logistical support.
14 You might even have fire artillery support. Could you tell us whether
15 that's possible?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We requested full military support
17 in infantry and all the other accompanying things that go with infantry.
18 We wanted a unit from the part of Kiseljak and Kresevo start marching
19 towards Bradina and Repovci in order to stop the Lisin Brigade which was
20 marching and advancing in the direction of Duboki Potok. And thus from
21 Bradina, Zulfikar's men were advancing toward Podorasac, Ganjin [phoen],
22 Galjevo, and towards Konjic as well.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. This document is
24 dated April 15, 1993. This is an important date for the OTP, because in
25 its pre-trial brief it says that the HVO made an ultimatum which was to
1 expire on April 15th, and in his submissions the Prosecutor explains that
2 Ahmici was attacked on April 16.
3 Now, you were a soldier. You were on the field. Had you heard
4 about this ultimatum sent to the BH Army and expiring on April 15, 1993?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I never heard of such a
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're saying no, but remember
8 that you are under oath.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Witness, did you personally speak to somebody from the
13 Central Bosnia OZ?
14 A. Yes, I did.
15 Q. Who?
16 A. We were connected with a commander who did not introduce himself
17 to me, and I spoke to the commander who said that he was the commander of
18 the special MUP unit, and we asked them if they could take the axis that
19 I've already mentioned in order to drew the attention of the forces that
20 were advancing towards Konjic. However, the answer that we received from
21 them was negative. They told us that they already had problems in their
22 own territory where they were deployed.
23 Q. Did any assistance from Central Bosnia ever reach you or not?
24 A. No, never.
25 Q. Let's look at the following document, 4D453. It's already in
1 evidence. Let's just look at it briefly. It is stated in here that
2 forces that arrived from Bradina and Igman have attacked Konjic, that
3 there's pressure from Jablanica in the territory of Klis, and then that
4 Zlatar and Boksevica are encircled. It says: Hurry, inform Prozor.
5 They say they cannot help us. They say they do not have orders. Further
6 on it says: Boksevica, Konjic, Celebici and Radesine are burning.
7 Please help.
8 Further on it says: Include Kiseljak in the Mount Ivan sector.
9 In Prozor tie up the forces with artillery until something more concrete
10 is done. And the final sentence reads: Move while we're still alive.
11 Can you please comment, Witness? Was this situation as drastic
12 as is portrayed in the last sentence, by the cry that you can read here?
13 A. Yes. The situation was exactly as it is portrayed and described,
14 but the words cannot describe how bad the situation was. Zeljko --
15 Zdravko Sagolj's cry does not begin to describe it when he says, Move
16 while we're still alive. The situation was really that bad.
17 Q. Look at the following document which is P1882. This is a report
18 from your brigade. It says: Frequent armed provocations against our
19 positions are taking place in Sovici. Muslim forces are carrying out
20 movements and manoeuvres in order to encircle our forces in Sovici and
21 Doljani. It is then stated: Muslim forces are moving from their
22 position towards Boksevica across the lake. And then it says BiH Army
23 are attacking Boksevica and the Neretvica Valley. This is what is
24 happening according to the commander.
25 Witness, what I just quoted, according to what you know, was that
1 a true reflection of the situation on the ground or not?
2 A. Yes, this is a true reflection of the situation on the ground.
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise. My client
4 is telling me that there are problems with the headphones and the
5 interpretation. I can't talk to him. Could somebody from the technical
6 service do that? I don't know whether that is the same case with the
7 other accused. Maybe somebody could check whether all the ear --
8 headphones are plugged in properly and switched on to the right channel.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. We can then continue. Witness, let's look at the following
11 document which is 3D557.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, let me return to this
13 document about Sovici and Doljani, which is at the very heart of this
14 topic. I understood that you confirmed how the situation was. As far as
15 you know, the Sovici and Doljani, were they encircled by the ABiH?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Those places were not encircled at
17 the time. If you remember the document that we showed and that was an
18 order from the commander from Jablanica, he did send some of the forces
19 towards Sovici and Doljani and they were waiting for further attack
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as you know, were there
22 troop movements, ABiH troop movements in Doljani and Sovici?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, around that time, on the
24 14th, 15th and 16th, all the units were mobile, which means that there
25 was an all-out action that had been ordered.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You say all the units, but you
2 mean ABiH units and HVO units? Which were the mobile units?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] BiH Army units. They were carrying
4 out the plan that we saw yesterday.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What you're saying is
6 important. The OTP may not be on the same wavelength, but you are under
7 oath and you say that on the 14th, 15th, and 16th of April, the ABiH
8 units were moving, among other places, in Sovici and Doljani. To your
9 knowledge, in those locations were they HVO units?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, there were HVO
11 units in Doljani and Sovici. And for the unit that was tasked with
12 preventing assistance to the HVO from Posusje, that unit had to block the
13 unit that was supposed to receive the other units, which is only logical.
14 And according to our information, those units from Jablanica were
15 supposed to disable the units that were waiting to be received.
16 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I apologise, Vesna.
17 I'm sorry, Your Honours. Mr. Stojic still cannot follow the
18 proceedings. He still has go on switching between one channel to the
19 next, and Mr. Pusic has the same problem. Maybe we could have somebody
20 into the courtroom from the technical service because the usher himself
21 was not able to deal with the problem.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Witness, your last sentence is not clear. You said the units
24 that were coming from Jablanica were supposed to disable the units that
25 were waiting to be received. We don't understand from this sentence who
1 was arriving, who was receiving whom, who was encircling whom. If you
2 are talking about units, could you please be more specific and tell us
3 whether you're talking about the BiH Army or the HVO?
4 A. The BiH Army units were tasked with disabling the units of the
5 HVO which were deployed in Sovici and Doljani villages.
6 Q. And the HVO units in Sovici and Doljani, if I can decipher your
7 sentence properly, were supposed to receive assistance that was supposed
8 to come from the direction of Posusje.
9 A. I may have misspoken. In case those units of the HVO in Sovici
10 and Doljani, on the occasion of the arrival of assistance to cross from
11 Posusje, it would have been easier for the units to be linked up with the
12 local units instead of acting on their own in a headless way.
13 Q. And can you tell us whether the BiH Army was active in any area
14 to prevent the arrival of the assistance of the HVO from Posusje and
15 linking up with the units of the HVO in Sovici and Doljani?
16 A. Yes, we saw that from the order issued by the Neza [phoen]
17 Brigade, the commander from Jablanica. He issued concrete tasks for
18 carrying out task, and there was even a sabotage unit that was tasked
19 with infiltrating Risovac Plateau in order to destroy all the artillery
20 weapons that belonged to the HVO. That was their task and you could see
21 that from the document that we saw earlier.
22 Q. Tell us, Witness, about Risovac and Sovicka Vrata. Are these two
23 localities near each other?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Let us look at the following document, 3D557. Let us now see the
1 assessment of Arif Pasalic. On the 16th of April, 1993, he says that the
2 HVO forces in the area of Neretvica -- that is west from Boksevica,
3 around Klis; is that correct?
4 A. Yes, it is.
5 Q. So Arif Pasalic says that the HVO forces are in a difficult
6 position due to lack of manpower. Was it really that way, that they
7 didn't have enough men?
8 A. Yes, that's exactly how it was.
9 Q. He goes on to say that the HVO forces demand that their artillery
10 on Risovac fire at our positions north of Neretvica. Tell us, were there
11 really such demands from your brigade?
12 A. Our brigade demanded that the forces at Risovac fire not at HVO
13 forces but at ABiH forces that were in that area.
14 Q. I apologise if I phrased it that way. Of course I didn't mean
15 that the HVO should have fired at its own units.
16 Let's go on to see what it says under item 3. The HVO units
17 expect help and manpower from Prozor from the northern side and that the
18 HVO troops at Kiseljak were ordered to help those units at Bradina.
19 Was that really so?
20 A. Help was requested. Arif Pasalic obviously had information about
21 it, it must be from intelligence sources, that we asked for help from the
22 directions of Prozor, Bradina, and Kiseljak, and he informs his people on
23 the ground about the condition we are -- we were in.
24 Q. Now Arif Pasalic, he orders his units to continue combat
25 activities and not allow the arrival of new forces from the direction of
1 Prozor via the villages of Kacuni and Grevici, as well as from the
2 direction of Bradina.
3 Tell us were they successful in blocking the arrival of help?
4 A. Yes, they were successful and we didn't receive any help.
5 Q. Arif Pasalic continues to order his units to synchronise and
6 integrate the joint combat activities for successful combat performances
7 and crushing the HVO forces.
8 You were on the grounds -- on the ground at the time. In
9 accordance with your information, did the forces of the ABiH act in this
10 way, in a synchronised and integrated fashion?
11 A. Yes, they did. They had agreed to -- to that effect, and they
12 signed a document with eight stamps that they would really act in the way
13 that Arif Pasalic had ordered them to act.
14 Q. Let us look at document 4D85. It's a combat report by
15 Esad Ramic. Did you know Esad Ramic?
16 A. Yes, I knew him.
17 Q. It's a report from the command of the Igman operations group of
18 the ABiH, dated 16 April 1993. Among others, it is stated that the
19 Zlatar facility is encircled and operations continue.
20 Tell us, Witness, is that an accurate statement?
21 A. Yes, the statement is correct.
22 Q. It goes on to say the HVO forces are requesting assistance and
23 regard to this feature their strength is ebbing.
24 Tell us, Witness, is this a correct statement?
25 A. Yes, it's correct.
1 Q. Toward the end of the report we can read the Babin Nos facility
2 is blocked, and the operation to capture it will be launched only after
3 Zlatar and Repovica.
4 Tell us, Witness, where you were on the 16th of April, 1993?
5 A. On the 16th of April, 1993, I was right above Babin Nos. It's
6 the village of Zabrdje.
7 Q. Tell us, Witness, is the statement that the area of Babin Nos was
8 blocked on that day correct?
9 A. Yes, it is correct.
10 Q. The final paragraph reads: It is interesting that the Konjic HVO
11 is pleading for help which has been promised from Kresevo and Kiseljak.
12 Ambushes have been laid on these routes.
13 Let us repeat, Witness, and tell us once again, did you receive
14 help and were their efforts successful?
15 A. We never received any help from this direction.
16 Q. Let us look at the following document on which we will dwell
17 somewhat longer. It's document 4D599. It's again a report by
18 Esad Ramic. This one is dated 17 April 1993, at 2000 hours. Let us go
19 through the parts of that report.
20 It says that the Stari Grad facility's encircled. Is that
22 A. Yes, it's correct.
23 Q. It goes on to say that the Zlatar facility is completely
24 encircled by 60 soldiers of the Black Swans Unit. The Black Swans. Then
25 what probably means 40 members of the special units of MUP Hadzici and
1 80 soldiers of the 7th Konjic Brigade.
2 While tightening the encirclement of the facility, 20 HVO
3 soldiers were captured.
4 Tell us, Witness, are these statements correct, as far as you
6 A. Yes, they are correct.
7 Q. With regard to the Babin Nos facility, tell us -- I believe that
8 the facility is on the list. Were you there on that day too?
9 A. Yes, I was.
10 Q. It says that the facility is encircled and that all important
11 facilities in town are under the control of the ABiH. Is that correct?
12 A. Yes, that's all correct.
13 Q. It goes on to -- to provide information about the village of
14 Radesine. I will quote what Esad Ramic, from the 4th Corps of the ABiH,
15 is saying. I quote:
16 "We will try to finish our work at Konjic as soon as possible
17 and then launch a counter-attack with all our brigades in two directions.
18 First, the direction Konjic-Jablanica-Mostar, and secondly,
20 Please comment this part of the report for us, Witness.
21 A. This part of the report submitted by Esad Ramic means that after
22 the completion of the operations from Bradina toward Konjic and further
23 on to Boksevica, where they wanted to link up with units from Jablanica,
24 they would continue to carry out the action in the Neretva Valley, in the
25 direction of valley, and further on to Capljina, Stolac, and as far as
1 Neum. And the other direction, the one from Jablanica to the right, that
2 is, in the direction of Prozor by taking the villages of Doljani and
3 Sovici and reaching the Risovac Plateau, and on to Prozor, that is, Rama.
4 Q. Take a look at the final part of this report where Esad Ramic
5 says: We will finalise the liberation of Bosnia-Herzegovina toward the
6 east and west. Please do not stop us and do not send us any negotiators.
7 Tell us, Witness, can you comment this position of the 4th Corps
8 of the ABiH for us?
9 A. Yes, I can. If we remember the 23rd of March of the same year,
10 when there was an attempt to carry out this action, that is, on the
11 23rd of March, and it was stopped by negotiations and by bad weather,
12 that is, heavy snowfall, now Esad Ramic saw his opportunity. If there
13 are no negotiations which could stop the action, he thinks that they have
14 the ability to complete it.
15 Q. Let us skip the following document and look at 2D89.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When reading this document one
17 is under the impression that there is indeed an ABiH offensive because
18 everything is detailed. Stari Grad, Zlatar, Spiljani, Polje Bijela, et
19 cetera, but at the last but one paragraph there is the following
20 mentioned. The author of this document assumes that there is
21 co-operation between the HVO and the Serbs. He even says that there is
22 an artillery operation on Muslim villages from Borak. I suppose that
23 Borak is under Serb control. If it isn't, please tell me if I'm wrong.
24 And he also says that there is an open aggression of the Serbs and the
25 Croats against the sovereignty of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 So the person writing this report emphasises a joint Serb and
2 Croat operation. What do you say to this?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was probably some shelling on
4 the part of the Serbs those days, but if we look at where the fighting
5 took place, if we go back, where the positions of Spiljani and Bijela are
6 mentioned, these were on the confrontation line with the Serbs, and that
7 is where the ABiH disarmed HVO members so that the Serbs also weren't
8 sure what was going to happen, whether they would advance against them.
9 So they probably shelled the villages mentioned here.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So as I understand it, as far
11 as you know, there was no joint operation of the Serbs and the Croats
12 against the Muslim.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was no such military
14 operation. We received some services from the Serbs, but we had to
15 provide some services in return. There have been such instances. But
16 these were merely commercial transactions in a manner of speaking, but we
17 did -- we never engaged in any joint military operations.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Tell us, Witness, this commerce or trade with the Serbs, when did
20 it take place?
21 A. At the time, we were already in the enclave. It was after the
22 18th of April. The ABiH had already taken all surrounding villages in
23 the Konjic municipality, and when only our enclave was left, then
24 together with the soldiers and the civilians there were also about
25 150 Serbs, and in the day -- following days their number rose about 450.
1 The Serbs were grateful for the service we provided to the -- to them
2 then, and they returned -- returned a favour to us with some services
3 that we needed later.
4 Q. Let us clarify. It doesn't seem clear enough. At the moment
5 when the HVO units retreated to the enclave there were also some
6 civilians coming with them; right?
7 A. Yes, correct.
8 Q. Were there some Serbs among those civilians?
9 A. Yes, there were.
10 Q. The figure you mentioned, 150 Serbs, is that the number of Serbs
11 who arrived at the enclave with you?
12 A. No. It -- that's the number of people who arrived on the first
13 day, and their total number amounted to about 450.
14 Q. What would have happened to you in that enclave if it -- that
15 territory didn't lean on the Serb-controlled territory? Would you have
16 been able to survive there?
17 A. No, we wouldn't. We wouldn't have had a supply corridor to
18 supply food or ammunition, or a corridor for saving the wounded, so that
19 at that moment the Serbs were some sort of necessary evil, and with their
20 help we took our wounded and our civilians to Stolac, to Herzegovina.
21 Q. All right, Witness. Let us go on to look at other documents.
22 2D89. It's a joint statement by Alija Izetbegovic and Mate Boban, dated
23 April 18th, 1993. These two presidents agree to stop the conflict, to
24 release prisoners. And tell us, on that day, the 18th of April, 1993,
25 were there any conflicts in the area that you were?
1 A. Yes, there were still conflicts, because on the 18th of April
2 they took the prominent elevations around Konjic, that is, Zlatar and
4 Q. Let's look at P1959. That's the next document.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, document 2D89 is an
6 essential document because it is signed both by Izetbegovic and
7 Mate Boban. Any reasonable Judge reading this document could infer two
8 conclusions from it. Firstly, these two heads -- these two heads,
9 Izetbegovic and Boban, are clearly telling their troops that
10 confrontation needs to end immediately. The word "immediately" is
11 actually stated. And that it is important to determine responsibilities
12 at all unit level in order to find out what really happened.
13 This is the first interpretation you could make of the document.
14 Izetbegovic and Mate Boban seemed to have been bypassed by their troops
15 on the field, who actually did pretty much anything. But the second
16 interpretation is the following. These two personalities, in a very
17 hypocritical fashion, agree on a so-called press release stating that
18 there is a cease-fire. And as you just said earlier, it still went on
19 after April 18th.
20 Now, you were on the field, so could you tell us what is your own
21 interpretation of this document signed by both Izetbegovic and
22 Mate Boban?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can only say that this was a
24 formality, that this was not implemented on the ground at all.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you just said
1 that this was very informally signed. This was not implemented on the
2 ground. But do you have an explanation that would say why this was not
3 actually implemented?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because of the entire operation
5 that had been long in the making and in the preparation. Most probably
6 one of the founders and advocates of that operation was
7 Alija Izetbegovic. Therefore, the operation followed its course, the
8 course that it should have followed, and of course that it was only
9 logical that it would have been absurd for him to stop an operation, to
10 stop that operation.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I understand you correctly,
12 there were two signatories, but the hypocrite was Izetbegovic, who had
13 planned an all-out operation and who had no intention of stopping
14 anything. That's your testimony, or did I understand you wrongly?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you understood me quite well.
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Witness, let's move on and let's see how many orders should have
18 been issued for the BiH Army to stop the attacks much later. Let's look
19 at P1959 [Realtime transcript read in error "P19959"]. This is an order
20 issued by the chief of the HVO Main Staff based on the conclusions
21 reached by Mate Boban and Alija Izetbegovic. The order was issued on the
22 18th of April, 1993, about the cease-fire.
23 And, Witness, did you know about the existence of this order, and
24 did you, on the ground, feel any changes with regard to combat operations
25 on the part of the BiH Army?
1 A. We did not see or feel any changes in the BiH Army comportment.
2 Q. And did you for any moment until then engage in any attacks or
3 engage in any kind of military actions that could be construed as
5 A. No. We did not launch any attacks. We did not even have an
6 occasion to launch an attack.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I repeat the document number
8 because it was mis-recorded on line 13. The document number is P1959.
9 Q. Let's look at the following document, Witness. This is 4D445.
10 This is a combat report by the BiH Army for the same day, and let's see
11 what the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was doing on that day.
12 It says the BiH Army took Zlatar, the facility Zlatar, which was
13 a very important communication hub in Konjic.
14 Tell us, Witness, according to what you know, would this be
16 A. Yes, this is a correct claim.
17 Q. It also says here that the town was also concerned
18 [indiscernible] under siege and two hours ago it was taken. Is that
20 A. Yes, the claim is correct.
21 Q. And it says the BiH Army completely took the axis between
22 Galjevo, Homolje, and Repovci, and that the village of Repovci was taken
23 as well. Is that correct?
24 A. Yes, that's a correct claim.
25 Q. It says as well that the villages of Ovcari and Vrbici [phoen]
1 were also taken and that the corridor was broken between Bradina and
2 Konjic. Are these claims correct?
3 A. Yes, these statements are correct.
4 Q. It says that at this moment, the Neretvica Brigade is liberating
5 the strongholds of the Croatian Defence Council Pokojiste and Cerici, and
6 after they are taken, the entire right bank the Neretva will be free.
7 Is that what really happened.
8 A. Yes, but the name of the village is Pokojiste and Cerici, yes.
9 And the 7th Brigade thus linked up with the Neretva Brigade from Klis as
10 a result of that.
11 Q. It says here the remaining strongholds on the left bank of the
12 Neretva still need to be liberated, and their names are Turija, Zabrdje,
13 Pomol, and Ljubina. The action has been prepared and will be carried out
15 My question to you, sir, is this: One could conclude that the
16 agreement on cease-fire has -- had come to nothing and that the BH Army
17 was still planning actions for the following days. Tell me, were there
18 offensives launched by the BH Army army on the following days?
19 A. Yes, there were.
20 Q. It says further on: All operations of both of our brigades have
21 vigorously started and are moving forward. Our goal is to liberate
22 Jablanica as soon as possible and help it further.
23 Witness, could you conclude from what was happening on the ground
24 that this assessment is correct?
25 A. Yes. This is a correct assessment. They were so much stronger
1 than us that they could have easily carried out their plan.
2 Q. Let's look at the following document which is 4D1156.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mrs. Alaburic, to make sure
4 that you can organise yourself, because you still have a few documents to
5 go through, let me tell you that you only have 20 minutes left. So try
6 and use your documents wisely.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
8 Q. Let's look at the following document which is 4D1156. This is a
9 report from the Rama Brigade, and let's look at the last paragraph,
10 Witness. It says: In Konjic Muslim extremists are trying to take
11 certain facilities. In their units there are also women who are "working
12 on prisoners" in inverted commas. They're treating them and hiding them.
13 It is noticeable that units which are active in the sectors of Konjic and
14 Jablanica are mostly composed of people from outside, who are not locals,
15 and they particularly hail from Eastern Bosnia. Those are mostly those
16 who were fleeing before Chetniks and decided to stay in these Croatian
17 regions and found shelter in them. According to our information, they
18 were being organised and incited against Croats by extremist Muslims who
19 had first created chaos in Prozor and then fled to Jablanica."
20 Witness, remind us, when we were talking about the secret
21 mobilisation in the month of February 1993, a document that was signed by
22 Alija Izetbegovic, that document and that mobilisation applied to
23 refugees. Do you remember where those refugees were from?
24 A. Those refugees were from Eastern Bosnia.
25 Q. You told us, Witness, if I understood you properly, that the
1 units that comprised refugees as well were a bit more radical and extreme
2 in comparison with units composed of local Muslims. Did I understand you
4 A. Yes, you did.
5 Q. When I compare that statement that you provided yesterday with
6 the assessment of the Rama Brigade, would you say that this conclusion
7 reached by the Rama Brigade is correct or incorrect?
8 A. It is a correct conclusion and it's a proper conclusion.
9 Q. Let's now look at the following document which is 4D90. Again a
10 report from -- a report from the 4th Corps for the 22nd April 1993. The
11 BiH Army in its report says: In the course of the day, in Konjic, we
12 carried out intense combat activities. We gave up on the liberation of
13 the villages of Turija, Zabrdje, and Zaslivlje, until we liberate the
14 village of Radesine.
15 Witness, tell us, please, was that the situation on the ground
16 that day?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Let's look at the following document which is 4D139. 4D139.
19 This is a report or information on Konjic, a list up and down villages.
20 The signatory of this document is Zarko Keza. Actually his name is
21 printed, but, Witness, do you recognise the signature?
22 A. Yes, I recognise Dinko Zebic's signature. He was Zarko Keza's
23 deputy at the time.
2 Q. Is this document based on information provided by you or
3 information provided by the 1st Battalion of your brigade?
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, let's redact
5 lines 14 and 15 because that might help identify the witness.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour. I was
7 careless in this particular instance.
8 Q. Witness, please tell us, is this report from the 1st or the
9 2nd Battalion of your brigade?
10 A. The first part is from our 1st Battalion, dealing with the
11 villages, and the second part of the report hails from the 2nd Battalion.
12 Q. According to what you know, the information contained in this
13 document, is it correct or not?
14 A. All the information contained in this report is correct.
15 Q. Let's look at the following document which is 4D137. 4D137.
16 This is a document issued by the Office for Refugees and Displaced
17 Persons of the HZ HB, which lists information about killed civilians and
18 members of the HVO in the village of Trusina.
19 Witness, tell us, please, do you know anybody from the list?
20 A. Yes, I do. I used to know Ivo Drlja [phoen] very well. I also
21 knew Stipo Ljubic and Zeljko Blazevic.
22 Q. They were HVO soldiers judging by the list; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, correct. Stipo Ljubic was a member of the police
24 administration prior to that, as well as Zeljko Blazevic who was a
25 reserve policeman.
1 Q. Witness, tell us, please, in Bosnia-Herzegovina over the past few
2 weeks, were proceedings launched with regard to the crimes committed
3 against Croats in Trusina?
4 A. Yes. Some people were arrested.
5 Q. Let's look at the following document which is 4D91. Again issued
6 by the BH Army on the 24th of April, 1993. The document says: Our
7 forces, with the forces of the Hadzici, Konjic and Jablanica MUP, put up
8 fierce resistance to the Chetniks and inflicted heavy losses on them.
9 What I'm interested at the moment is the issue of -- the issue of
10 Hadzici, Konjic and Jablanica municipalities. Are these the
11 municipalities whose representatives of the army and the police met on
12 the 20th of March, 1993, and reached the conclusions that we analysed at
13 some length which are contained in document 4D454?
14 I would like to correct the date. No, I'm not correcting the
15 date. The date is okay.
16 A. Yes. Those are the very municipalities.
17 Q. And it says here at the end: The plan is to continue along the
18 entire front and to link up Vrci and Ravni, and to link up all the forces
19 in Jablanica. Witness, at that moment what was happening with Konjic?
20 Had Konjic been taken or not?
21 A. At that moment, Konjic was already taken. The only things
22 remaining were the small enclaves of Drecelj, Zabrdje, Zaslivlje, and
23 Turija. And at that moment, Vrce, which is a small village in the area
24 of responsibility of our battalion, that was still free.
25 Q. I'm going to read to you several orders issued by the BH Army
1 about cease-fire and then after that there will be a question. The first
2 document is 4D96. Sefer Halilovic's order about the end of all
3 offensives, issued on the 25th of April, 1993.
4 I skip two documents, and I would like to show you 4D435.
5 Arif Pasalic's order dated 26th April 1993, which orders immediately to
6 cease all offensive actions again the HVO units. And the word
7 "immediately" is in block print. I skip two documents.
8 Let's look at 4D549 now. This is Sefer Halilovic's order dated
9 28 April, where it says:
10 "I'm most sharply warning you to immediately conduct
11 unconditional and absolute cease-fire against the HVO units."
12 The following document is 4D548. It's an order issued by the
13 deputy Chief of Staff --
14 MR. BOS: Your Honours --
15 MS. ALABURIC: I said -- I said what I will do.
16 MR. BOS: Okay. Well, yeah, because I'm expecting a question to
17 the witness, but I hope that will come.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I said that I would
19 list all cease-fire orders and then ask a question, because I think that
20 it would be wasting the Court's time to ask the same question about each
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Continue. Go on.
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 Q. The next document is 4D548. It's an order issued by
25 Jovan Divjak, the deputy chief of the Supreme Command headquarters, dated
1 April 28, in which also he orders the immediate cessation of all combat
3 The next document is 4D551. Arif Pasalic's command: Cease all
4 operational activities and fortify the achieved lines, the lines reached.
5 The next order is 4D436. Arif Pasalic's order dated April 29:
6 "I warn you most severely to implement immediately an
7 unconditional complete cease-fire against the formations of the HVO."
8 My question to you, Witness, is: Were these orders implemented
9 on the ground at all?
10 A. No, they were not followed. The ABiH continued its activities.
11 Q. And now my final question, Witness. There are two maps at the
12 end of this binder. The first one is 4D1216. 1216. It shows the
13 situation in the area of Mostar, but we are interested in Konjic now, in
14 June 1993.
15 From this simplified representation of the situation on the
16 ground, we can see that in the area of Konjic at that moment there were
17 two Croatian enclaves. In the one below, you were. You were in the one
18 below, Witness, weren't you?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And the other enclave was held by the 1st Battalion of your
21 brigade around Kostajnica. Is that a correct representation?
22 A. Yes, it is.
23 Q. Let us look at the following map now, 4D129 --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry, correction, 4D1219.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. It shows the situation from September 1993.
2 Now there is only one enclave, namely the one where you were. Is
3 that correct, Witness?
4 A. Yes, it is.
5 Q. Tell us the date and the month as of which only one small
6 Croatian enclave was left in the Konjic-Jablanica area.
7 A. The date is roughly in mid-July 1993.
8 Q. Tell us the share of the Muslim population at Konjic at that
10 A. At that moment the share was over 90 per cent of the overall
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm looking at the second map.
13 I believe General Petkovic drew this map himself. In green, we see zone
14 controlled by the BH Army; in pink, the zone controlled by the Serbs; and
15 in blue, HVO-controlled areas. And this is reflecting the situation as
16 of September 15, 1993.
17 When looking at the Mostar area on this map, I note that from
18 Mostar there's possibility of going south, but the direction is blocked
19 off by the HVO, but it's -- there is a possibility to go north, however,
20 without running into any problems.
21 You were in the small blue enclave at the top of the map, and
22 could you tell us whether this map correctly reflects the military
23 situation in September 1993?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it does, except for this one
25 part behind Turija should have been in contact with the VRS-held area.
1 If I may show you. Here in this part the map should be corrected.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Maybe the witness can correct it
3 and then we can assign an IC number.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you please make the
5 correction. You will be given a marker. Just a minute.
6 Nothing's happening.
7 Could you please repeat what you just did.
8 It would be maybe best to work with the ELMO.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] It can be initialed, then, 4D-AP
10 [as interpreted], and could I please ask for an IC number?
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could we please
12 have a number.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. The document just marked by
14 the witness which is a replica of 4D01219 shall be given Exhibit IC01127.
15 Thank you, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mrs. Alaburic
17 you've run out of time. If you have one last question, please put the
18 question to the witness and then we'll have our break.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I merely
20 have a correction.
21 Q. Witness, when we spoke about the share of the Muslim population
22 in Konjic there was a mistake in the transcript. Namely, some language
23 from which we -- it could be concluded that we were referring to the then
24 share of the Muslim population at Konjic, and I meant the present share,
1 A. Well, what I said was the current percentage of Muslims at
2 Konjic. It is certainly over 90 per cent.
3 Q. And my last question: As far as you know, does -- do the
4 Sarajevo authorities nowadays encourage the return of Serbs and Croats to
6 A. No.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you. I have
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll break for
10 20 minutes.
11 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 10.53 a.m.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Cross-examination is to start
14 with the other parties.
15 Mr. Karnavas.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning,
17 Your Honours. Good morning to everyone in and around the courtroom.
18 We will not be cross-examining the gentleman, but we do wish to
19 thank him for coming here to give his evidence.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 2D. I have a document from
21 Mr. Stojic.
22 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. The
23 Stojic Defence will want to cross-examine the witness, but according to
24 our internal agreement, Mr. Coric's Defence is first today, so we should
25 actually proceed in that order.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
2 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Good morning,
3 Your Honours. Mr. Coric's Defence has no questions to -- of this
4 witness. We thank him for coming and giving evidence.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So 4D has no questions.
6 Then -- 5D had no questions. 6D?
7 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Mr. Pusic's Defence has no questions.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 3D, for Mr. Praljak?
10 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Thank
11 you. General Praljak's Defence will have one brief question for this
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So as I understand it,
14 Mr. Stojic's Defence will start.
15 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I will
16 start the examination now.
17 Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, sir.
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. Witness - this is what I will call you - I hope that you are
21 about to receive the documents based on which I will examine you. I will
22 follow the examination-in-chief. And let us go back to the very
23 beginning, 1992.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Would all unnecessary microphones please be
25 switched off, the microphones of the Judges notably.
1 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Please take a look at document 2D765, the very first document in
3 my binder. Witness -- I will repeat. It is 2D765. That is correct.
4 Witness, yesterday you said, and it is noted on page 23, lines 2
5 through 5, that the HVO had good co-operation with the ABiH and almost a
6 Joint Command up until May or June 1992. Is that correct?
7 A. Yes, it is.
8 Q. This is a document signed by Mr. Rusmir Hadzihusejnovic,
9 president of the Presidency, that is the War Presidency of the Konjic
10 municipality. And in this order he says that the defence forces of
11 Konjic municipality are tasked to make sure that there is joint
12 consumption of crude oil for all members of the defence forces, and in
13 brackets he mentions the TO and the HVO.
14 Was it that way at the time? Were operations conducted jointly
15 as we see that oil is also used jointly?
16 A. Yes. That is exactly the way it was.
17 Q. Thank you. I will now deal with the events of the 23rd of March,
18 1993, which you described in detail, and therefore please look at
19 document 2D639.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] For the sake of the transcript, I
21 would like to point out that Witness Dragan Juric, who gave evidence
22 before this Trial Chamber on the 27th of April, 2009, in transcript
23 number 39038, lines 3 through 8, described these events in an identical
24 fashion, I mean the events of the 23rd of March of 1993, which you
25 described also.
1 Q. This is a report by Marko Stanic, commander of the 1st Battalion
2 called Klis. He says that on March 23rd, there were major conflicts in
3 the area around Klis. He also said that a mixed delegation arrived from
4 Mostar and truce was agreed upon. There was also an exchange of
5 prisoners. There are efforts to calm down the situation.
6 Witness, was the situation really as described in this document?
7 A. Yes. This is just the way it was on the ground.
8 Q. I will ask you to repeat what you have already said in the
9 examination-in-chief. Did the conflict stop on that day, and if so, why?
10 A. On this day, when the joint commission arrived, the conflict
11 stopped in our 1st Battalion, whereas in the 2nd Battalion there had been
12 no casualties and no conflicts. There was only disarm -- there was only
13 disarmament of Croats in a part of the town of Konjic.
14 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] For the sake of the transcript, I
15 would like to repeat something that we have already seen, that there was
16 an order by Mr. Milivoj Petkovic and Mr. Arif Pasalic about the cessation
17 of conflict. I'm referring to document 4D125.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I'd like to ask you
19 this: When the joint commission came, were you there? Did you see them
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I wasn't present when they
22 arrived. I wasn't there at the time. I have already said that I was at
23 the Zlatar facility.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But did you know that there was
25 a joint commission that was about to come?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We knew about it when the
2 commission arrived. We were informed.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm trying to see the logics in
4 this document. If there are incidents between the HVO and the ABiH at a
5 local level, it would be logical if the higher echelon were to go on the
6 ground in order to appease everybody. This could be one explanation
7 provided by this document. But this would also mean, and this is where I
8 seek your advice, this would mean that the higher echelon did not control
9 the lower echelons, and therefore that there could be at any time an
10 incident. What do you think of this?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Incidents could happen, because
12 units were on the ground, and units tasked to produce incidents tried to
13 bring about such situations in various ways. And in this instance, there
14 was the -- an order from a higher level to try and calm the situation.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So there were units that were
16 tasked to produce incidents? In saying this, you blame the ABiH. You
17 put the responsibility onto them.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes. At the very beginning
19 we said that there were units that came from somewhere else, and there
20 was also a unit under strength of -- or, rather, under the command of a
21 certain Muderiz.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So if we understand correctly,
23 if there had been no unit coming from outside, such as this Muderiz unit,
24 there would have been no incidents. But since there were people that
25 came from the outside, they caused incidents and hence the intervention
1 of the joint commission. Is this your explanation for these incidents?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If only the locals had remained and
3 if no units had come from elsewhere, there would have been very slight
4 possibilities for any incidents to break out.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Among the HVO troops were there
6 Croats coming from elsewhere or were there only locals?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In my municipality, Konjic, there
8 were only local -- locals. Nobody came from anywhere else.
9 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Witness, let's go back and follow up on His Honour Antonetti's
11 questions about the incident or the attack, if we look at the documents
12 of the BH Army. Was this BiH Army attack which happened on the 23rd of
13 March, was that the implementation of the agreement between the units of
14 the BiH Army? Under 4D454, you analysed the minutes under that number in
15 great detail yesterday with Mrs. Alaburic and you confirmed that the
16 attack on the 23rd of March was the product of the agreement within the
17 framework of the BiH Army to launch that operation. Am I right in
18 thinking that?
19 A. Yes, you are absolutely.
20 Q. And you also said that that attack was stopped very early on
21 because there was a lot of snow on that day.
22 A. Yes. I said that the snow did fall. Maybe not on the 23rd, but
23 in the next few days.
24 Q. Just to be able to see what you said, I'm just going to say what
25 the BiH Army did on that day in Konjic. And there's a document speaking
1 to that. The number is 4D438. You don't have to look for it. I'm just
2 doing this for the transcript. You won't need the document. I'll just
3 remind you that this is report issued by Commander Cerovac on the
4 23rd of March, reporting on what had happened on the 23rd of March.
5 There is another report by Mr. Kolakusic and --
6 MR. BOS: Your Honour --
7 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Just a moment. Let me finish the
9 Q. Under number P172 [as interpreted] that was shown to you and
10 which speaks about the same incident.
11 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Go ahead and I apologise.
12 MR. BOS: Your Honours, I have an objection to one of the
13 questions that was raised by Ms. Nozica. She says to the witness,
14 referring to his evidence from yesterday:
15 "And you also said that the attack was stopped very early on
16 because there was a lot of snow on that day."
17 Now, I think what the witness said was that on the 24th, it
18 started to snow, but I don't think that he said the attacks stopped
19 because of the snow. I think that's an inference that's been made by
20 Ms. Nozica.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, please clarify the
23 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes. If there has been a
24 misunderstanding, let's ask the witness to clarify.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that the operation was
1 stopped because of the large quantity of snow which fell two days after
2 the beginning of the conflict. So it wasn't on the 23rd but, rather,
3 between the 24th and the 25th, and that's exactly what I said.
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I have a technical problem. I have
5 to keep on switching off my microphone. On page 41, line 14, I would
6 like to correct the number. I mentioned document number P1712.
7 Q. Now, I'm now going to ask you to move on and see what happened on
8 the 24th of March, 1993. Look at the document 2D641. This is a report
9 issued by Mr. Zdravko Sagolj, the brigade Herceg Stjepan commander, dated
10 24 of March, and he says here that the situation in the territory of
11 Konjic was getting increasingly complicated. He said that the BiH Army
12 had killed three HVO members who were first taken prisoners. They're
13 using civilians as human shield. They do not allow us to get to our
14 wounded soldiers. All the Croatian villages are encircled owing to the
15 supremacy in manpower. And he says: The cease-fire that was agreed
16 yesterday evening was used by the BiH Army only to exchange their members
17 from our prisons, and then they carried out a regrouping -- regrouping
18 and launched fierce attacks on everything Croatian.
19 Can you confirm, Witness, that that was indeed the following day,
20 the situation in Konjic?
21 A. Yes, I can.
22 Q. Witness, I would now like to discuss some documents that are
23 connected with your testimony in the --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.
25 Looking at this document, I see that there were three HVO members
1 that had been captured, and they were killed by the ABiH. If this
2 document is accurate, so three soldiers were killed by the ABiH. We can
3 also read that civilians were used as human shields.
4 I'd like to know the following: In Konjic and in the wider area,
5 were there UN troops? Was UNPROFOR present?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Spanish Bat was in charge of
7 that part of Konjic at the time. And they were UNPROFOR, yes.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In this kind of situation, when
9 the commander of the Herceg Stjepan Brigade, Mr. Sagolj, noted that
10 soldiers had been killed, to your knowledge, did he go to see the
11 commander of SpaBat to tell him to do something, to intervene with the
12 ABiH, or were -- was there notice of them?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know whether there was any
14 meeting of the kind, but as far as I know, there were none.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As for you, did you have
16 contacts with SpaBat?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I personally did not have any
18 contacts with them.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.
20 Can we move into private session, Registrar.
21 [Private session]
22 [Open session]
23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session. Thank
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Witness, I would like to talk about the month of April. Earlier
2 today we saw a series of documents speaking about the events in the month
3 of April or, rather, the attacks of the BH Army against the HVO in the
4 month of April. Could we now look at the document number 2D403, which
5 supports everything that you said about the dates when things happened.
6 We have a report here issued by Mr. Sagolj, the commander, in
7 which Mr. Sagolj says that the BiH Army had stormed the brigade
8 headquarters in Konjic, disarmed all those who were found there at that
9 moment. He speaks about barricades in several places within the very
10 centre of the town. He also says that the apartments of Croatian
11 citizens being looted. He also says that people were being arrested, and
12 he says that in Klis the fightings were -- was intensifying and going on
13 during the night.
14 Could you please confirm that the situation on the 15th of April
15 in Konjic is reflected by this report?
16 A. Yes. I can confirm that because our brigade was disarmed on that
17 day, and some of the command staff that was found in the brigade on the
18 day were brought in.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Witness, when it comes to members of the HVO and citizens, were
22 they being arrested around that time, and if they were, where were they
23 taken, if you know?
24 A. Around that time members of the Croatian people and the HVO were
25 being arrested and taken to the sports hall in Konjic. Certain
1 individuals were also taken to the premises of the social and political
2 organisations that existed in Konjic. Those were usually or exclusively
3 political officials who were members of the HVO.
4 Q. And now I would kindly ask you to look at the following document,
5 which is 2D78 --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please. This
7 morning, Witness, I asked you a question, and I didn't know then that the
8 Petkovic Defence would present this document to you.
9 This morning I mentioned an ultimatum by the HVO, on the
10 15th of April, and I asked you whether you were aware of the ultimatum.
11 You said no, you'd never heard of it.
12 I was not aware of this document when I asked you the question,
13 but here I see that on the 15th of April it is the ABiH that disarmed
14 HVO soldiers. Based on this, I ask myself this: If there was an overall
15 plan by the HVO with an ultimatum and action, how is it that in Konjic
16 the HVO did not take any steps, and that, on the contrary, they were
17 victims of the disarmament action whilst they were the ones that should
18 have disarmed the others? How do you account for this? Is it so that in
19 Konjic you were taken by -- or surprised to see that, on the
20 15th of April, the ABiH disarmed the soldiers? Was that total surprise
21 for you or was that something that you could actually foresee?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I told you that there
23 was no ultimatum on the part of the HVO as far as Konjic municipality's
24 concerned at least. Starting with the first conflict, on the
25 23rd of March until the 14th of April, there were a lot of tensions. The
1 situation was tense all the time.
2 At that moment we didn't really expect anything to happen,
3 because we thought that the period was rather calm. However, things were
4 reactivated on the 14th of April. And on the 15th of April, members of
5 the BiH Army stormed our brigade premises and found some officers there
6 whom they arrested. And they also arrested the civilian leadership, the
7 president of the HDZ and others who were around there somewhere.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the time would you listen to
9 the radio? Was there Radio Mostar? Did you receive information, or did
10 you not have a radio set or a TV set or newspapers?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, we did not hear any information
12 to that effect, as far as I know.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There was a Croat
14 representative in the Konjic municipality. What was his name?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Drago -- Dragutin Peric, who was
16 the HDZ president. And people who were arrested in the headquarters were
17 Boro Blazevic, Ivica Azinovic, Dobroslav Zovko [phoen].
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did Dragutin Peric never tell
19 anybody, well, in Grude or somewhere else, It was decided that as of the
20 15th of April, we would take control of specific areas, and the ABiH
21 would be asked to come under our control, whilst in other areas the HVO
22 would go under ABiH control? Did he never say anything to the effect?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. Witness, in view of the questions put to you by Judge Antonetti,
2 and in view of the fact that he also put some questions to you during
3 your examination-in-chief about the alleged ultimatum by the HVO,
4 allegedly issued on the 15th of April, 1993, I will kindly ask you to
5 look at the document. If you don't have it on you, it's one of
6 Mrs. Alaburic's documents. I did not prepare for that, but I was
7 prompted by His Honour's questions.
8 Let's look at P1879. You already saw it earlier today. It's a
9 report about the events. It's a summary report signed by Mr. Petkovic.
10 Under item 3 it says in this report -- please listen to me. I
11 believe that you will have it on e-court, on your screen. Yes, okay.
12 Now, let's move on to second page in Croatian. This is the bullet
13 point 4 speaking about the OZ South-East Herzegovina. Did you find it?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. The second page in the Croatian version. Did you find it?
16 A. Yes, I did.
17 Q. Sir, it says here a report from Konjic on the 13th of April at
18 1600 hours, and it says:
19 "The fighting has just started in Konjic but we don't have any
20 detailed information. Our villages came under attack. There's shelling
21 and there's infantry fighting."
22 Sir, according to what you remember and judging by this report,
23 does it appear that the ABiH army in Konjic attacked the HVO units on the
24 13th of April at 1600 hours, which means that this report precedes the
25 alleged ultimatum of the 15th of April. Is that correct?
1 A. Yes, that's correct. The 13th of April. It says here the
2 villages of Obri and Vrci, which are in the part near our 1st Battalion,
3 or under our 1st Battalion, and this belongs to the area of
4 responsibility of the 1st Battalion Klis.
5 In those areas on the 13th of April there was fighting.
6 Q. Moreover, Witness, the fighting that was taking place in April,
7 was that the attack that started with the attack of the BiH Army on the
8 23rd of March, pursuant to the joint document issued by the
9 representatives of the army on the 28th of March?
10 A. Yes, that's correct. Pursuant to the minutes dated 20th March,
11 the operation was launched on the 23rd of March, but it was halted
12 because of the signing of the peace accord and because of the weather
13 conditions. An auspicious moment was being waited for. There were
14 certain frequent skirmishes. In the meantime, however, the weather
15 conditions improved. The troops had regrouped, and in the month of
16 April, in mid-April, they launched the final offensive.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
18 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] On page 49, in line 12, instead of
19 the 28th of March there should be the 20th of March, because I said the
20 20th of March.
21 Q. Let us now look at document 2D780, please, about the events on
22 the 18th of April. This is the following day. We saw a document about
23 the 17th. It is 2D780. It should be the following document in my pink
24 binder. Pink, sir. There are too many binders, but I'm sure you'll
1 So I repeat for your sake, 780. Have you found it?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. All right. This is another report by Mr. Zdravko Sagolj. I'll
4 start from the centre part about the events on that day. For the sake of
5 the Bench I would like to say that I spoke to you during the proofing and
6 showed you all these documents, actually many more, and I'm showing these
7 to you in the courtroom based on what you say was your recollection of
8 the events. Is that correct?
9 A. [No interpretation].
10 Q. There is no -- no reply recorded anyway, but you said yes.
11 I would like to focus on the part starting with:
12 "At 1715 hours we noticed entrenching at Gradac. We are
13 receiving reports that strong ABiH forces are massing in the region of
14 the Ribica village and are exerting pressure on Radesine which is --
15 which controls the entrance to Konjic. And there was no report from
16 Konjic and -- that there were unconfirmed reports that the Zlatar
17 facility is under the control of the ABiH."
18 Can you confirm that that was the situation on that day?
19 A. Yes. That's how it was on that day. That's why there could have
20 been no report from our 2nd Battalion, because our communications centre
21 was already under the control of the ABiH.
22 Q. Witness, for the sake of the transcript, now something that you
23 don't have to look for, this is corroborated by an ABiH document which is
25 Witness, let us now together look at something in e-court. Don't
1 look for it in the binder because it isn't there. These were questions I
2 was prompted to ask during the previous session. It is 2D49 [as
3 interpreted]. It is the agreement between Mr. Boban and Mr. Izetbegovic,
4 and it bears the same date. I would like to go into what actually was
5 happening on that day, and that may be an explanation of proceeding at
6 later events.
7 I said 2D89 rather than 49.
8 While waiting for the document to appear in e-court, on that day
9 an agreement was reached between Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Boban.
10 Judge Antonetti asked you why this agreement wasn't honoured, because you
11 said it was not, and you explained that the ABiH actually continued its
12 military activity because Mr. -- Mr. Izetbegovic, among other things,
13 following the mobilisation carried out in your area and having received
14 the report in Geneva, as Judge Antonetti has noticed, the report from the
15 meeting held on the 20th of March when the operations were planned, and
16 you said that the ABiH had no interest in stopping these operations. Is
17 that correct?
18 A. Yes. It's correct.
19 Q. Just to remind ourselves, and you don't need that, a document was
20 shown to you earlier, it can be shown in e-court, namely, 4D599. I'm
21 merely reminding you that the document is dated April 17 and signed by
22 Esad Ramic, who in that document says:
23 "We'll try to get our work done at Konjic as soon as possible and
24 then launch a counter-attack with all brigades in two directions,
25 Jablanica-Konjic-Mostar, Konjic-Prozor-Rama?"
1 You confirmed that this was part of the plan which started with
2 that joint meeting on the 20th of March, 1993; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, it is correct, and I've explained the reasons for it.
4 Q. Since you spoke about that, namely, that Mr. Alija Izetbegovic,
5 although he signed the agreement, never had the intention of abiding by
6 it --
7 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I apologise to the Bench to proceed
8 this way, but it was impossible to do it otherwise for reasons of time.
9 I would now like for document 4D1052 to be called up in e-court.
10 Q. While we wait for the first page to appear, I would like to say
11 that it's a tape recording made on the occasion of a session of the
12 Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina held on the 29th of December, 1993,
13 attended by Mr. Izetbegovic, as we see. We can see it in e-court now.
14 Let us now go to page 4D23-0699 in the Croatian version, and
15 page 25 in the English translation.
16 You can see the Croatian text already. Let us wait for page 25
17 of the English translation. I'm referring to the third paragraph of the
18 English version on that page, and in your text, Witness, it's the only
19 paragraph, and basically the first sentence. This is discussion -- or,
20 rather, the words of Mr. Komsic who says: You said once, speaking to
21 Mr. Izetbegovic, we are -- we -- we must do something on our part to
22 avoid it and get through negotiation what we believe we should get for
23 this, and otherwise we will use military means.
24 Witness, why did not -- did Mr. Izetbegovic not abide by the
25 agreement reached in April? You see Mr. Komsic quoting Mr. Izetbegovic's
1 words that he would use military means where negotiations prove
2 unsuccessful. Is that an accurate reflection of his position?
3 A. Yes, it is.
4 Q. All right. Now let's go to May. I will show you two documents
5 from May. Both refer to the level of supply where the materiel and
6 technical equipment as well as other equipment. I'll ask you whether
7 you're familiar with this situation.
8 The first document is 2D786. It's dated May 8th. It's a request
9 made by Mr. Sagolj who says: At the beginning of the conflict, between
10 the forces of the HVO and the ABiH in the Klis region, we had normal
11 supplies of food necessary for the nutrition of the 1st Battalion.
12 However, now the situation is such that he's now making a list of
13 whatever is necessary. He also says: Alert the humanitarian
14 organisations to get humanitarian aid delivered to the Croatian villages
15 in the Klis region.
16 Earlier you showed us the situation around Konjic. Was Klis one
17 of these enclaves, and what was the situation on the 8th of May?
18 A. Yes. This is one of the enclaves around Kostajnica, and now,
19 after one month, in a situation where in one enclave there were both
20 civilians and soldiers, it is logical for such requests for food to be
21 made to the Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations if it wasn't
22 possible to provide supplies in the usual fashion.
23 Q. Was it possible for supplies to apply in the usual fashion?
24 A. No. I said it wasn't possible, and that's why they were making
25 these requests through Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations.
1 Q. Please look at the following document, 2D784, of March 7th. This
2 is a request for materiel and technical equipment. Enemy attacks are
3 mentioned. It says that there were infantry attacks on the villages of
4 Vrce, Zitac, Seonica and others, from the early morning hours, and
5 there's a shortage of materiel and technical equipment and a list
7 Witness, do you know whether the unit at Klis was in such a
8 situation that it was under attack at the time, and can you finally say
9 how long was it able to keep its position in this enclave as you
11 A. Yes, this depicts the situation in which the brigade was. It
12 held out throughout May up until mid-July, but after that it was unable
13 to stay there because there was no supply with any provisions including
14 food, materiel, or technical provisions.
15 Q. Witness, to my question earlier today you replied that you knew
16 that civilians of Croatian ethnicity and members of the ABiH were
17 arrested following the events on the 23rd of March. Can you tell us,
18 according to what you know, how many civilians and HVO members were
19 arrested by the ABiH, roughly?
20 A. In the Celebici camp there were about 310 HVO members who were
21 detained there, and a total of over 1.000 persons passed through those
22 camps. That is Celebici, the Konjic sports hall, and the other prisons
23 such as Buturovic Polje and other places.
24 Q. Was anybody from your family in one of those prisons? Do you
25 know anybody who was detained, maybe some friends or neighbours of yours?
1 A. Yes, several friends of mine and even relatives. We're in open
2 session but I may be allowed to say that my brother was also detained.
3 Q. Yes. We'll be wary not to disclose your identity.
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] And that's why, namely because I
5 want to show a document that could reveal the identity of the witness, I
6 ask for private session.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's move into private
9 [Private session]
11 Pages 47208-47215 redacted. Private session.
25 [Open session]
1 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session. Thank
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Witness, you were telling us about the Muderiz unit, on page 26,
5 from line 9 through line 16 on page 27. Let's look at document 2D769.
6 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Just for the transcript, I would
7 like to say that this document is already exhibit under 2D16.
8 Q. Let's look together whether this is the same unit and the
9 commander that we see in this SIS information. Reference is made to
10 Efendi Halilovic, also known as Muderiz, who arrived in Konjic at the
11 beginning of the 1990s, that he was an active member of the SDA and its
12 founding member. He educated and trained a number of people whose number
13 rose to 300 in the year 1994, that he was a member of the religious
14 group, that some of the members of that unit had been trained in Libya
15 and Iran, that those were the so-called jihad warriors as they were
16 known. This document talks about the establishment organisation of the
17 unit and also about the activities or, rather, misdeeds of the unit
18 committed against the Croats.
19 You said that that was the unit that you would refer to as
20 extremists. You have read this information. Can you confirm that this
21 information reflects the situation as it was with regard to this unit?
22 A. Yes, it does reflect that situation. This Nezir Halilovic, also
23 known as Muderiz, he was the chief imam in the Konjic municipality. He
24 sent people to training, and later on they joined his units. They were
25 mostly young men, aged 20 or so. They wore black uniforms, and on one
1 sleeve they had a patch that read "Muderiz," and "Allah's fighters" or
2 something like that.
3 Q. Thank you, sir.
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] This -- I complete my
5 cross-examination here. I believe that Mr. Praljak's Defence will
6 continue. Thank you, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a follow-up question on
8 this document. The person writing this document seems to say this: In
9 every town in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina controlled by the
10 ABiH, there is a jihad unit commanded by religious officials who are
11 under Izetbegovic's direct control.
12 Was it your impression that you were faced with an army, the
13 ABiH, that was predicated on religious and not on lay principles, which
14 was to defend the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina? What is your
15 evaluation with regard to this document? Does it confirm what you
16 thought of the opponent or is the author of this document wrong?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Right at the beginning I said that
18 such units and the displaced persons who came to the Konjic area
19 contributed to heightening the tensions there, and they were not in
20 favour of any co-operation with the other ethnicity, and they provoked
21 and caused incidents and confrontation in our part of the Konjic
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The same document states that
24 soldiers were in black uniforms like uniforms of desert soldiers. What
25 did that mean to you?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it means what I've said
2 already, that they were people who had come from foreign countries,
3 mostly Arab countries, who fought in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they called
4 that war "jihad," that is, "sacred war." And one such unit was in the
5 area of Konjic, and it was led by this Muderiz, that is, a clergyman.
6 And these young fighters were very -- they were very young and getting
7 killed meant nothing to them. And for any special assignment, they would
8 deploy these very units.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I believe that -- yes,
10 Ms. Nozica.
11 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I just have one
12 correction. There must have been a slight technical mistake, because the
13 witness received an interpretation saying that in any major village in
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, whereas the document reads any major town. This is a
15 correction that I wanted to make for you to be able to assess the
16 witness's words correctly.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Quite. We're going to have a
18 break, but before that we are going to finish with the Praljak Defence.
19 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
20 Cross-examination by Ms. Pinter:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Witness. Most of the questions
22 that I wanted to ask to introduce document 3D332 have already been put.
23 Tell me, have you ever seen Muderiz?
24 A. Yes, I have.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Could we now please see the video
3 Q. While we wait for it to start --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
5 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Do you Muderiz in this picture?
7 A. The picture's blurred.
8 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Let's play it, please.
9 [Video-clip played]
10 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 JUDGE PRANDLER: I'm sorry to interrupt you, Ms. Pinter, but I
12 again would like to raise the question which was previously discussed
13 also upon the points made by Judge Trechsel, and here I would like to
14 quote the decision of the Appeals Chamber, and I quote it in French:
15 "[Interpretation] The Appeals Chamber is of the view that it may
16 be legitimate to present evidence regarding attacks of the opposite side
17 on civilian facilities if they tend to show or refute the allegation of a
18 generalised and wide-scale attack against a civilian population or the
19 allegation of a plan, an organised plan, to attack various villages or to
20 explain the accused's behaviour."
21 And it goes on to say:
22 "However, in such circumstances, the evidence in question must
23 relate to specific and defined aspects. In other words, the party
24 wishing to submit such evidence must justify for each and every piece of
25 evidence the exact link, for instance, the connection in time and place
1 with the alleged crimes in the municipalities mentioned in the indictment
2 and/or with the alleged liability of the accused for such offences,
3 whether the crimes are alleged to have been committed as part of a joint
4 criminal enterprise."
5 [In English] I quoted this part of the decision of the Appeals
6 Chamber because I really feel that that showing of the element of
7 "defiler jihad," in my view, has no relevance to our case here.
8 Thank you.
9 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you for this
10 question. First and foremost, General Praljak's Defence, as any other
11 Defence counsel, sticks to the indictment, as to the holy script, and the
12 OTP claims that there was a joint criminal enterprise involving both the
13 accused and other persons to the end of the implementation of a plan
14 contrived by the accused and the HZ HB, part of which was the expulsion
15 of Muslim population and attacks on them.
16 In paragraphs 33 and 34, mention is made of a comprehensive and
17 general attack by the HVO after the 15th of April against numerous Muslim
18 villages and towns. You cannot decide in this case unless you get all
19 the information and all the facts allowing you to get a complete picture
20 of the situation in which the six accused were and in which they had to
21 act and implement decisions or take decisions as individuals.
22 Apart from that, Your Honours, showing this unit is -- didn't
23 have as purpose showing jihad as such. There are documents about
24 Muderiz's unit and which go to show what that unit was like. And if you
25 deploy such a unit to a place like Konjic, where the Croats are encircled
1 anyway and where they are a minority, and when such a unit is going down
2 Allah's path, can Croats in such a situation believe that this is an army
3 that is willing to engage in a defence against the Serbs with them and
4 defend Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole consisting of three entities.
5 So the situation in the HZ HB [as interpreted] wasn't as simple
6 as that. Decisions about the acts of individuals and political
7 structures cannot be founded on documents submitted by one side only.
8 You need to have a complete picture.
9 This is the Muderiz unit at a military rally at Jablanica in
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I have a question to that witness about this unit.
11 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. I would like to
12 correct the transcript. On page 69, line 23, my colleague spoke about
13 the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was not as simple, and it was
14 recorded in the transcript that she was speaking about the HZ HB.
15 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Ms. Tomanovic. And I
16 thank Mr. Karnavas for a suggestion, but I had wanted to ask the question
17 the same anyway.
18 The video showing this unit of the 4th Muslim Brigade refers to
19 that part of the indictment in which it is stated that the policy of the
20 HZ HB, as well as the military of the HZ HB, with that foundation and
21 with using the means of propaganda created fear in the Croatian Muslim --
22 Croatian population and create negative emotions towards the Muslims, and
23 in such territories as under the indictment were meant to belong to the
24 HZ HB or HR HB, respectively.
25 As I said, this video was made at Jablanica, which can be seen in
1 the video itself. It's impossible to separate Konjic from Jablanica and
2 Prozor and other places mentioned in the indictment because they're
3 geographically connected, and it is impossible to get a complete picture
4 in this case about the reasons why certain events happened unless we are
5 allowed to present the other side of the coin. It has nothing to do with
6 tu quoque or with the efforts to show, You see, they did this and so did
7 we. No. Our intention is to give you as many -- as much information as
8 possible, and by analysing this information and assessing the evidence
9 you will reach your decision.
10 MR. BOS: Your Honour, if I may say something on behalf of the
11 Prosecution. The Prosecution is in complete agreement with what
12 Judge Prandler just said and that this video is completely irrelevant for
13 the case. And what I also wanted to say was that, like one of the other
14 documents that we saw today, is that this video has been shown before in
15 this case, to Christopher Beese, and at that time this video was denied
16 as well. And then there was a second attempt through a Rule 89(C) motion
17 from Mr. Praljak to admit as evidence. And it was again denied twice for
18 the reasons of relevance, and I think it's clear that this document --
19 this video is not relevant.
20 And then a last comment that I would like to make is that, you
21 know, we can see it reads "Jablanica," but we have really no date on this
22 video, and I think in this case a date is also very important. And
23 neither a source of the video, if I may add.
24 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] If I may reply. I apologise,
25 Ms. Alaburic. I'll start from the beginning.
1 It is true that it was attempted to introduce this video through
2 Christopher Beese and some other witnesses, but we have before us now a
3 person from Konjic, a witness who knew the person in question personally
4 and who had personal experience with the behaviour and the acts of this
5 unit, that is, Muderiz. So if we want to elicit information that is both
6 reliable and authentic, we must try to do so from a person with immediate
7 knowledge, and this is this witness.
8 Regarding the objection that the place and time when this video
9 was made are unknown, but we can see here that it was made by the
10 information service of the 44th Mountain Brigade, Jablanica. So it's a
11 video made by the information service of the ABiH, of its 44th Brigade.
12 That is why I think that the authenticity of this video can't be doubted,
13 and I don't see why the witness can't be asked questions about Muderiz
14 and the Muderiz Brigade.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To be clear, Judge Prandler
16 read out part of the Appeals Chamber decision. Not by the -- it was a
17 Trial Chamber decision, not an Appeals Chamber, and I had a dissenting
18 opinion of which I'm going to read out two paragraphs.
19 "It is, furthermore, not justified to dismiss documents on the
20 sole basis that this is tu quoque. A document relating to a crime
21 committed by another warring party may serve to justify that the crime
22 may have brought about another crime being committed by another warring
23 party without, however, exonerating anyone of criminal liability. It is
24 not justified either to dismiss a document relating to action carried out
25 by the ABiH, because the Defence case is to say that the actions were not
1 carried out by the HVO but the ABiH. The very fact that the attacks took
2 place in other places not mentioned in the indictment should not mean
3 that the exhibits are dismissed, because when it comes to military
4 actions, you need to have an overall view of the theatre of war unless
5 you make error in assessing the situation."
6 So this is what I wanted to mention for the transcript.
7 You're showing a video. You may have a question also.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with your leave,
9 just two sentences, because we're talking about very important issue.
10 My learned friend Mr. Bos mentioned the relevance of the document
11 for this case. I would like to present General Petkovic's Defence
12 position. Of course, Your Honours, you will be deciding as to the
13 relevance of any of the documents of this case, but we believe that at
14 this moment you can still not decide on what is relevant for this case
15 and what is not, and the reason being the following. The Defence teams
16 are still presenting their evidence, and you are not aware of the theory
17 of the Defence of each and every accused, nor are you aware of all the
18 documents that the Defence teams are going to present, and you don't --
19 also don't know how the Defence teams are going to create their cases
20 based on the documents. Only after you have heard our closing arguments
21 and seen our final briefs will you be able to gain a proper picture of
22 what actually happened and what is relevant for this case and what is
24 Three years ago you will remember your opinion about the
25 relevance of the documents for this case is different from what you're
1 thinking today. It's only normal. It's only understandable that this
2 should be the case. That's why I believe that you will be able to judge
3 the relevance of certain documents for a Defence team that has presented
4 a case and presented a very extensive pre-trial brief, and you can't do
5 that for the Defence teams that have not presented their cases.
6 I don't know if anything is relevant for Valentin Coric's defence
7 until he reveals it to us. That's why I believe that a flexible approach
8 when it comes to the admission of certain documents into evidence would
9 be very useful for further work, and I believe that we would all waste
10 less time on futile discussions about that. At the end of the trial
11 you're going to evaluate all the documents. You're going to estimate
12 what indeed is important and what the truth about this case actually is.
13 Thank you very much for hearing me out.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. We're still waiting for
15 the question to the witness.
16 Yes. Why did you want to speak, General Praljak? Your lawyer
17 was about to ask the question.
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the Counsel
19 is going to put a question, but we have had this tu quoque problem from
20 the very outset. Let me just say two words. The tu quoque should not be
21 incorporated into the method of any sides, being the American side in
22 Afghanistan or in Iraq, the HVO, anywhere. I'm talking about the method.
23 However, without showing what the other side does or did, you cannot
24 explain the right to an action. An action is one thing, and its
25 implementation is a different thing. Tu quoque is the implementation of
1 an action. Every state has the right to defend itself. France or any
2 other state has the right to defend itself and so on and so forth.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are entitled to ask
4 questions, but we're not now in closing arguments.
5 Do ask your question, Ms. Pinter. You showed a video that was
6 not admitted into evidence. You may seek to tender it and we will rule
7 on that, but first we need an answer from the witness. So do ask your
8 question, please.
9 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. It's not up
10 to me. I was not the one who was avoiding putting my question to the
12 Q. Sir, you have described the appearance of Muderiz unit. The
13 clothes that you can see in this video-clip, would that correspond to the
14 way his unit looked like?
15 A. Yes, indeed.
16 Q. Could this be the Muderiz unit?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You knew that Muderiz unit at one point became the 4th Muslim
19 Light Brigade, did you?
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. Thank you very much. I have completed my set of questions about
22 the Muderiz. I have just one more question about page 54 of the record
23 and the answer you give to a question put to you by Ms. Nozica about
25 You said that between May until mid-July 1993, that they were
1 encircled and that they had to leave. Are you talking only about the
2 troops or were also civilians encircled?
3 A. The encirclement of this entire part of the 1st Battalion Klis
4 included also the civilians who were there in the neighbouring villages.
5 And finally they reached the small enclave in Kostajnica and the only way
6 out towards the Croats was in the direction of Prozor, across Boksevica.
7 And that's why Boksevica was so important in all of that, the taking of
8 Boksevica was crucial.
9 Q. My learned friend Tomanovic is alerting me to the fact that you
10 will have to repeat the entire answer because what you answered has not
11 been recorded. So would you please be so kind and repeat your answer
12 with regard to Klis, Kostajnica and the civilians. But could you do it
13 slowly and could you please wait for me to finish my question, for the
14 question to be interpreted and then you can start?
15 A. May I? It is true that the 1st HVO Bojna comprised both
16 civilians and members of the HVO. The small enclave around Kostajnica
17 and Kostajnica itself was where all the civilians from the neighbouring
18 villages finally arrived. And there was no way to supply them with
19 materiel and technical equipment, food or anything of the sort. The only
20 way for them to leave was to go towards Prozor or Rama across via
21 Boksevica, as a matter of fact. And this is what they did in mid-July.
22 Q. What about the civilians? Did the civilians leave at the same
23 time? Do you know if General Praljak participated in all that?
24 A. Yes, I know that General Praljak participated in that exercise
25 and that civilians also left at the time, those who had found themselves
1 in that enclave near Kostajnica.
2 Q. After the month of July, do you know who was taken by Boksevica?
3 Was it still the HVO? Was it abandoned?
4 A. After the month of July Boksevica was not in the hands of the
6 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
7 This completes my examination.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's break for 20
9 minutes and after that the Prosecutor can start his cross-examination.
10 --- Recess taken at 12.41 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 1.03 p.m.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
13 Mr. Karnavas?
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President. I wanted to say a
15 couple of words before the break, and I say this with all due respect,
16 but we are extremely concerned, at least the Prlic Defence.
17 Members of the Bench seem to have made up their mind on certain
18 issues, which obviously leads us to believe that no matter what the
19 evidence we present is a futile process at this point, that convictions
20 will result even -- despite our better efforts to present a balanced
21 defence and documents that would show or testimony that shows a plausible
22 alternative explanations to what is being presented by the Prosecution in
23 their -- in their indictment. This whole issue of Croatisation, this is
24 a term that has been used throughout the trial, Croatisation fits well
25 into this, into what we've been doing here today and showing.
1 At this point in time I think it -- we would welcome the members
2 of the Trial Bench who believe that this evidence is tu quoque or
3 irrelevant to clearly and concretely spell out for us in writing so we
4 have a record, and then we can make a decision whether we should file
5 appropriate motions that may require, you know, action to be taken, or to
6 readjust our defences, or to seek to open our defences, because it would
7 appear to us at this early stage that when the trial -- members of the
8 Trial Chamber are making and deciding on -- on relevant issues, and also
9 precluding the Defence from introducing documents in order that they can
10 then argue in front of you and also to have a record for the Appeals
11 Chamber, it certainly puts us in a position where we're not going to have
12 a full and complete record.
13 I would like to have very much that those members of the
14 Trial Chamber put down concretely what do they mean by tu quoque, what
15 exactly that is going on here today is so outrageously irrelevant that we
16 cannot sit here and listen to it. How is it that we can possibly argue
17 that this wasn't Croatisation, that there was no reverse ethnic cleansing
18 if we cannot demonstrate through concrete evidence that the people that
19 were there were encircled at one point, and prior to the encirclement,
20 were in utter and total fear of some foreigners who came in trying to
21 wage a holy jihad. It seems to me it's all relevant, and we should at
22 the very least be able to put it forward.
23 Now, you can reject it at the end, but it seems that decisions
24 have already been made, and I don't see how we can possibly have a fair
25 process if prior to having all the evidence, you're screening it in such
1 a way because decisions have been made.
2 Now -- so if there is tu quoque, let's see it. I would like to
3 know, at least that part of the judgement, what is it going to look like,
4 because that's what it seems to me, that this portion of our defence is
5 uttering being rejected. And we have two members of the Bench, so that
6 means that two over one will control that part. And I don't say this in
7 any way to disrespect anyone, but simply because I'm concerned and I
8 would like a clear record.
9 Now, if I'm -- if I'm wrong, please correct me, but that's the
10 way it appears when you're sitting here, from the Defence, and you're
11 being told constantly, This information we will not consider because the
12 events that happened later on, even though it is in the same area, one
13 has nothing to do with the other. And we think it's all interconnected,
14 because it does go to the mens rea of the people there at the time and ti
15 the circumstances which were ongoing. And we're only talking about a
16 relatively short period of time. It's not years later. These are
17 months, weeks later, so it's all connected.
18 JUDGE PRANDLER: Yes. I thank Maitre Karnavas for his statement,
19 and I would like to say a few words about it. Let me start saying that I
20 cannot agree with him when he in his introductory part of his statement
21 he said that seemed that the Bench have made up -- or some Judges of the
22 Bench made up their mind on certain issues.
23 First of all, I believe that -- that Maitre Karnavas could not
24 prove his allegation that any of us had made up his mind on any important
25 issues or not, and when he alleges this, I can only say that he's not
1 right and I cannot agree with him. It is number one.
2 Number two, he also alleged that, and I quote him, "decisions are
3 already made," in his view which threatens a kind of, as he continued,
4 the fair process. Again I do not agree with him on that matter, and I do
5 not see his arguments, his reasoning why he alleged that one, that, in a
6 way, position, according to which the Bench or the Judges have already
7 made certain decisions. I cannot agree with this, and I believe that my
8 fellow Judges would, of course, make up their own mind, but as far as I
9 know, nobody among us have made any kind of "final decisions."
10 What this Chamber and what the -- what the position which was
11 already expressed by the Chamber and by the Appeals Chamber as well was
12 that on the issue of the tu quoque, and I underline and I stress, as I
13 did in the past as well, that according to the customary international
14 humanitarian law, the tu quoque has not been and is not being accepted
15 neither by the jurisprudence of this Tribunal and not -- and also nor
16 by -- by the -- in a way by the jurisdiction of other tribunals, as well
17 as by the scientific and juridical writings on that matter.
18 I would like to draw your attention, Mr. Karnavas, and to other
19 colleagues who are interested in it, that a few years ago, three or four
20 years ago, a -- two, three volumes were published by the International
21 Committee of Red Cross about the customary rules of international
22 humanitarian law. I do not have it now. I have it in my room. I didn't
23 bring it, but I can only stress that in that -- in that book, which was a
24 product of a great number of -- of jurists, including judges, et cetera,
25 it has been very definitely established that tu quoque cannot be accepted
1 as relevant feature in international humanitarian law. And we have,
2 among other matters -- as a matter of fact, they referred to the
3 jurisprudence of the ICTY as well. So that is why I would only say that
4 while I appreciate Mr. Karnavas's problems and his goodwill to talk about
5 those issues, I do not accept his major tenor of his saying, number one,
6 that we have, or at least some of the Judges of the Bench have made up
7 our mind. I cannot agree with this, and I reject this.
8 Number two, I would like to refer him and to those who -- among
9 also in the Defence teams or anywhere else to -- to have a look at the
10 relevant sources of international jurisprudence and, of course, those of
11 the writings on international humanitarian law.
12 Thank you.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Just to make sure that we're clear, in my opinion,
14 no one here on the Defence has ever argued tu quoque. Number two, I'm
15 well familiar with its two volumes. I've read both volumes, and I agree
16 totally with you that tu quoque is not a defence. I think we're in
17 agreement on that.
18 Where I'm concerned is that it would appear that you're saying
19 this evidence goes to tu quoque, and we don't see how that is. How is it
20 that when we're -- we're trying to put things into context. We're not
21 saying one side is entitled to commit crimes with the other one because
22 the other side committed crimes. What we are saying are the events are
23 interconnected and where there's action there tends to be reaction, and
24 that there was -- there are certain events that are connected and certain
25 actions that are taken by one side, if put into context, are not
1 necessarily done because they want to Croatise or want to commit ethnic
2 cleansing. And what I would like from the Bench is some clear guidance.
3 What parts of our defence thus far have been tu quoque? Because I
4 understand what the concept is. Now it's a matter of can we agree on how
5 it is that you believe that we're arguing tu quoque through this. We're
6 not. But I certainly agree with you 1.000 per cent that tu quoque based
7 on customary international law is an unacceptable defence.
8 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may we just add from the Petkovic
9 Defence point of view. Its -- Mr. Karnavas and the Trial Chamber know by
10 now that it's pretty rare that we associate ourselves with everything
11 single thing that Mr. Karnavas says and every single way in which he says
12 it. That's not normally what we do, but very, very often we do say, as
13 we do now, that on the essential point Mr. Karnavas is absolutely right
14 and we do endorse and support him. We also wish to make it clear that we
15 have never contended that tu quoque is any sort of defence. What
16 happens -- what seems to be happening here is some source of confusion.
17 When evidence is put forward which would support tu quoque if
18 anybody were arguing it, what tends to get overlooked is that very same
19 evidence is legitimately relevant to exactly the sort of contextual
20 questions and issues which we are seeking to put forward. And in an
21 absolute nutshell, what we would invite Your Honours to do is to take the
22 view that unless you can, and I put it this way, unless you can say
23 beyond reasonable doubt that some material is irrelevant and we simply
24 cannot and will not be able to make anything of it in the course of this
25 trial and in our final briefs, then, with respect, it ought to be allowed
1 in, because it simply, then, can't be dismissed as clearly irrelevant.
2 Your Honours obviously have the responsibility of rejecting
3 evidence which simply cannot be relevant, and every trial has some of
4 that, but it's not what we're talking about here. There is a solid,
5 legitimate argument, not tu quoque which we consistently and we accept
6 persistently because that's our job putting forward, and please if there
7 is any prospect that we may be able to make something of this evidence,
8 which there usually is, it ought to be admitted.
9 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President. With the Court's
10 permission, I would like to make a brief submission on behalf of the
11 Prosecution in response to what's been said, although it will be short
12 because we -- we're very keen to begin the cross-examination of this
14 Mr. President, it appears that really the crux of the issue is
15 the manner in which the Trial Chamber is applying the law of tu quoque to
16 the evidence that's being tendered by the Defence. I think everyone can
17 go to the books and read about what tu quoque means. The issue here is
18 how the issue tu quoque is applied by the Trial Chamber in making
19 evidentiary rulings on testimony and also exhibits that are tendered into
20 evidence. And as I understand it, the Defence is asking for some sort of
21 guidance or advice from the Trial Chamber as to how it might react to the
22 Trial Chamber's views or application of tu quoque to the Defence exhibits
23 and evidence that its tendering.
24 The Prosecution submits that's improper, and it would be nice for
25 all the parties to have some advice from the Trial Chamber along the way
1 as to how it can do things differently in order to strengthen its case or
2 to respond or to satisfy the Trial Chamber. You know, the Prosecution
3 can't come to the Trial Chamber and ask you to identify for us those
4 parts of the case that we might be a little bit weak on so that we can
5 work to support those. That's not how it works.
6 Tu quoque is just like any other issue that the parties deal
7 with. The Trial Chamber applies the law. It applies the rules of
8 evidence in determining what documents and what evidence to admit. The
9 Trial Chamber's already made a number of rulings admitting or excluding
10 documents that it perceives to be not closely enough linked to the
11 indictment. We know from a series of rulings that came out during the
12 Stojic Defence document submissions, and admittedly this is by majority,
13 but the Trial Chamber has issued decisions in which it has informed the
14 parties of the circumstances in which it will admit documents like these
15 from other municipalities they're not -- that are not found in the
16 indictment. I don't have those decisions and the dates of them in front
17 of me. I think everyone knows what I'm talking about.
18 So we have rules of evidence. Trial Chambers apply rules of
19 evidence all the time in admitting or excluding evidence. There's
20 nothing particularly unusual about that. We also have specific decisions
21 from this Trial Chamber in which it's described the conditions that it
22 will admit or exclude documents coming out of different municipalities,
23 and everybody knows what those conditions are. So we think it's
25 Again, I can empathise with the Defence that it would be nice to
1 have some guidance, but the Prosecution's submission is that it's
2 improper, it's unfair and it's not the role of the Trial Chamber to be
3 guiding parties as to how its -- its view of things might enable one of
4 the parties to modify its case and its submissions. The decisions are
5 there. The Trial Chamber has said what are the rules on admission of
6 these sorts of materials, and so, in our view, the Defence has what they
7 need. They just need to modify their approach and to apply and to follow
8 the guidance that the Trial Chamber has issued on this already.
9 Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, all the submissions by
11 the parties are on the record now and the Judges will see.
12 Witness, I'm not going to rely on the tu quoque, but I had a
13 follow-up question for you following the video we saw. We saw this
14 footage. It may be that the Praljak Defence may seek to admit it again,
15 but that's not the problem.
16 In this footage I saw ABiH soldiers dressed in black. I remember
17 at the beginning of the trial proceedings we also saw video footage, I
18 think it was admitted into evidence, in which ABiH soldiers were dressed
19 in white.
20 Now, if you compare the two videos, you hear the same shouts by
21 these soldiers in Zenica dressed in white and in Jablanica in black.
22 THE INTERPRETER: The same mottos, interpreter's correction.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'd like to know this. Now,
24 the Croats in Jablanica saw this. Well, we don't have any date for the
25 video footage so we don't know exactly when it was taken, but it was
1 obviously filmed after the ABiH took Jablanica. I guess so, but I'm not
2 sure about it. And I put myself in a Croat's shoes, who is there in a
3 square and sees all this.
4 In your view, was he afraid? Was there reason for him to be
5 afraid. Could he be prompted to leave the place because of that? What
6 impact, if any, does this shouting in Arabic have on the local
7 population? The local population spoke B/C/S, not Arabic. So in a
8 nutshell, as you see it, the fact that the ABiH displayed their own
9 soldiers in this type of clothing, could it have a psychological impact
10 on the Croats, which in turn may prompt them to leave municipalities
11 controlled by the ABiH there by increasing the flux of Croat refugees
12 that are going to move towards municipalities, which in turn may create
13 other problems? So what can you say to this?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, clearly the marching
15 of these units and this show of force was part of a campaign of
16 intimidating the local Croat population, and these people were actually
17 trained to do so. Some were even wearing green scarves with some Arab
18 inscriptions on them. And in the early days of the confrontation, the
19 soldiers we spoke about were the ones who for the most part intimidated
20 the -- massacred the Croatian population.
21 I can give you an account of such an instance. In the village of
22 Pokojiste, one Petar Josic was skinned alive to intimidate the others and
23 have them escape, have them flee.
24 In a village near Konjic, when soldiers were captured in the
25 course of the retreat from Galjevo, soldier Gajevic [phoen] was killed.
1 I believe his first name was Dragan. And on his back we saw a -- the
2 crescent and star carved in his back when we conducted an exchange. And
3 there was similar frightening scenes, so it was logical for the local
4 population to flee.
5 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. One sentence did
6 not enter the transcript. On page 86, line 13, the witness said: "When
7 his body was exchanged, then we saw that crescent carved in his back."
8 I believe the witness can confirm that he actually he said that
9 but it doesn't record it in the transcript.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, I think it is recorded, actually.
11 Nevertheless, we have it twice perhaps now.
12 Witness, you have not -- or there is something that should be
13 filled in. You have now given examples of atrocities, but the question
14 actually related or the issue was marches, marches in towns and villages.
15 What we have seen on the video appears to have been an occasion
16 of a ceremony, and my question to you is are you aware of situations
17 where these -- these Muslim soldiers that we have seen marched through
18 towns and villages not committing atrocities but marking presence in
19 order to intimidate the population?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, there were such instances,
21 because they marched, and while marching they shouted "Allahu Akbar."
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Can you say how many such instances you know of
23 and where they were held and at what times?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were many. I can't give you
25 an exact figure. In the period we spoke about earlier, especially before
1 the confrontation began and especially in the early days of the
2 confrontation, on the 23rd of March when the conflict began, and it
3 became most prominent when the second conflict began when they
4 demonstrated as much.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let us begin with the
7 cross-examination. Mr. Bos, you may proceed, and we can continue
8 tomorrow then.
9 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honours, and good afternoon everyone in
10 the courtroom.
11 Cross-examination by Mr. Bos:
12 Q. Good afternoon, Witness. We will have 15 minutes left -- left
13 for this afternoon, so I think I will ask you a few questions and then
14 we'll break and then we'll continue tomorrow morning.
15 I will go through the evidence in the same way that Ms. Alaburic
16 has done, which means that I will go through it in a chronological order.
17 So we'll start in 1992, and then we'll move forward to 1993.
18 Now, let me ask you first, in April 1992 till June 1992, is it
19 correct that the Croats and the Muslims in Konjic were jointly fighting
20 in the Territorial Defence against the Serbs?
21 A. Yes, that is correct.
22 Q. And is it correct that as of June 1992, the HVO was established
23 in Konjic and that from that period on, the HVO together with the TO,
24 which later became the ABiH, were jointly fighting the Serbs in Konjic as
25 of June 1992?
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 Q. And would you agree with me that in the early period, June 1992,
3 and maybe you can indicate when it -- it started to deteriorate the
4 relationship, but in the early period the co-operation between the ABiH
5 and the HVO was good? Would you agree with me on this -- on that?
6 A. At first everything functioned well. However, in June there was
7 some discords with regard to the vision between the HVO and the TO.
8 Something happened in the meantime. And I said it yesterday. I spoke
9 about that yesterday. The discord was about the conduct of combat
10 operations, and that was one of the reasons why the road was being opened
11 to Sarajevo, rather why the road was not opened in the other direction,
12 which was the main goal.
13 I also said that during that period, the Ljuta barracks were
14 taken and the distribution of the weapons from the barracks lead to a
15 degree of mistrust which ultimately led to the division.
16 And something else that I forgot to mention is the fact that as
17 the road opened towards Sarajevo, people came who were a bit more
18 extremist, a bit more radical, and they had different tasks in Konjic.
19 Having said all that, I would like to also say that the combat
20 readiness against the Serbs was not jeopardised by all of these events,
21 and the line of defence were manned together facing the Serbs.
22 Q. Yes. On what you just said at the end, so that the line of
23 defence was -- was still manned. Until what date in 1993 did the
24 co-operation between the Muslims and the Croats existed against --
25 against the Serbs? When did the co-operation stop and the joint defence?
1 A. The co-operation between the Croats and the Serbs with regard to
2 the manning of the line facing the Serbs lasted until the 14th of April,
3 1993. A document that we saw can confirm that. I don't know the title
4 of the document. However, it indicates that the Spiljani position was
5 where 15 members of the Croatian Defence Council were captured at the
6 separation line facing the Serbs, and that the BiH Army took over the
7 entire defence line. Also the same document says that in the Bijela
8 region, 15 other members of the HVO were captured and they were among
9 those who had held the lines facing the Serbs. The same report says that
10 they took over the entire defence line facing the Serbs.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I just make an observation to the
13 Witness, on line 13 you are recorded as saying the co-operation
14 between the Croats and the Serbs with regard -- there's -- of the manning
15 of the line lasted until the 14th April. Did you really say or want to
16 speak about co-operation between the Croats and the Serbs?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I have misspoken. I meant the
18 co-operation between the Croats and the Muslims when it came to manning
19 the lines facing the Serbs.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Thank you. I'm not too surprised to
21 hear this.
22 Please, Mr. Bos.
23 MR. BOS:
24 Q. So can we conclude from your answer that as of 14 April 1993, the
25 line against the Serbs was manned by the ABiH only as of 14 April 1993?
1 A. Yes. As of the 14th of March.
2 Q. Now, when the HVO army was established in Konjic, what was the
3 balance on the number of soldiers between the ABiH and the HVO? You've
4 said yesterday that -- that in Konjic you claim that there were three
5 ABiH brigades and that they had about 10.000 soldiers, and that the HVO
6 had about 1500 soldiers. Would that also have been the ratio in the
7 joint defence against the Serbs, that it would be a 6.5:1 ratio?
8 A. Yesterday I said that at the beginning of the war in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the aggressions of the Yugoslav People's Army and
10 the HVO were… I would say that the numbers were roughly equal. There
11 was the same number of Croats as Muslims, or maybe there were a little
12 bit more Muslims. However, as the refugees and displaced persons started
13 arriving from the eastern parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the numbers
14 grew in the BiH, whereas the numbers in the HVO remained the same.
15 Q. Well, you're saying that the numbers --
16 THE ACCUSED PRLIC: [Overlapping speakers] ... I think there is
17 again mistake in transcript. This is page 90, line 20, 21. I didn't
18 hear that witness say the aggression Yugoslav People's Army and HVO.
19 They didn't say that. They said just aggression of JNA.
20 MR. BOS:
21 Q. Witness, I find it a bit hard to believe when you say that --
22 that the number of Croat soldiers and Muslim soldiers were about equal in
23 the defence against the Serbs in 1992. If you look at the census in
24 Konjic, there's 54 per cent of Muslims in Konjic and about 26 per cent
25 Croats. So already there's a ratio of 2:1. Are you now saying that when
1 it came to the defence on the number of soldiers there was an equal
2 number of soldiers -- HVO soldiers and ABiH soldiers? Is that what
3 you're saying?
4 A. I can enumerate all the positions from north to south, and I can
5 tell you how the Croatian Defence Council troops were deployed, including
6 both Croats and Muslims.
7 For example, in Glavetica [phoen], which is the northernmost part
8 of the municipality that's where --
9 Q. Witness -- Witness, I'm going to interrupt you. That's not my
10 question. I'm asking you, is it your position that there were an equal
11 number of HVO soldiers versus the ABiH soldiers in the defence against
12 the Serbs? That my question, and you can simply say, yes, no, or -- but
13 don't elaborate on the positions, please.
14 A. I said that there was no big difference as was construed later.
15 There were maybe a few more Muslims than Croats. There were maybe
16 2500 [as interpreted] Muslims and about 1500 [as interpreted] Croats.
17 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. Another mistake in
18 the transcript. The witness said on page 91, line 25, that there were
19 2.000 Muslims and that there were about 1200 to 1500 Croats.
20 MR. BOS:
21 Q. Well, let's clear this up because I'm not really sure. Can you
22 again repeat the numbers of the number of HVO soldiers you think were in
23 Konjic and the number of ABiH soldiers in the defence against the Serbs.
24 A. I said that against the Serbs there was almost an equal number of
25 us Croats and Muslims facing the Serbs, and whereas refugees and
1 displaced persons started arriving from Eastern Bosnia that balance was
2 tipped in favour of the Muslim people. The Muslim people had
3 mobilisation, and the Croats did not have that.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's going to be a quarter to
6 MR. BOS: If I can just finish this particular topic.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But be quick, because I don't
8 want the Gotovina Chamber to be late because of us. I want to finish
9 right on the dot at quarter to 2.00.
10 MR. BOS: I will do so, Your Honour.
11 Q. Is it correct that you said that there were about 1200 HVO
12 soldiers and about 2.000 Muslim soldiers? Just --
13 A. Twelve hundred to 1500. That's what I said, and I don't know the
14 exact number.
15 Q. And just to fine -- my final question for today: What was it
16 what the ABiH and the HVO were jointly defending Konjic from in the war
17 against the Serbs?
18 A. What from? From the aggression of the Yugoslav People's Army and
19 the Serbian people.
20 Q. And would you agree with me that they were jointly trying to
21 defend the international recognised BiH territory from a Serb takeover
22 with the possible result that Konjic would become part of a greater -- a
23 Greater Serbia?
24 A. Yes. They tried to defend themselves together against that
1 MR. BOS: Your Honours, that's -- I can conclude.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Bos.
3 Everybody's going to be happy. The hearing will reconvene at 9.00.
4 Please be here. Until then, please remember -- [B/C/S on English
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.43 p.m.,
7 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 25th day of
8 November, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.