1 Tuesday, 1 December 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could you please
7 call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
9 everyone in and around the courtroom.
10 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et
11 al. Thank you, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
13 This is Tuesday, December 1st, 2009, and I greet our witness, I
14 greet the accused, the Defence counsel. I also greet Mr. Scott and his
15 case manager, as well as everyone helping him. And I also greet everyone
16 helping us around the courtroom.
17 Mr. Registrar, you have some IC numbers for us.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 4D and 2D have submitted their objections to the Prosecution's
20 list of documents tendered via Witness 4D-AB. This list shall be given
21 Exhibit IC01134 and 01135 respectively. The Prosecution has also
22 submitted their objections to 2D and 3D lists of documents tendered via
23 Witness 4D-AB. This list shall be given Exhibit IC01136. Thank you,
24 Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
1 WITNESS: Filip Filipovic [Resumed]
2 [The witness answered through interpreter]
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, before I give the
4 floor to Ms. Alaburic, I have a small question for you. I would like
5 some additional information.
6 When you took office, so far as you remember, could you tell us
7 who was the head of the Main Staff at the time?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I took office, which post do
9 you mean, at the beginning of the war or maybe later?
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, at the beginning of the
11 war, when you left the JNA, in 1992. I looked at you here in the Kordic
12 case, and I saw "Mr. Petkovic." Very well, it was Mr. Petkovic. And
13 what month was it when you took office?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not sure. I first met him in
15 May. Whether he was chief of the Main Staff, I don't know, but he was
16 the person I communicated with. These were just the beginnings, and he
17 was one of the persons I communicated with, and I realised that he was a
18 person I could communicate with.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It was in May, as
20 far as you remember.
21 In the indictment, Mr. Petkovic is chief of the Main Staff as of
22 April 1992, so what you said seems to corroborate, that he was chief of
23 the Main
24 Ms. Alaburic.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
1 I'd like to greet everybody in the courtroom, and particularly
2 you, General.
3 Examination by Ms. Alaburic: [Continued]
4 Q. [Interpretation] By questioning Mr. Petkovic, we are going to
5 deal with the moment when he took office of chief of the Main Staff, so
6 I'm not going to inquire about that with you. Let's resume where we
7 stopped yesterday, the issue of Busovaca.
8 We promised to produce some maps. I hope that Their Honours
9 received those maps. I propose that we give the witness both maps so
10 that we can save some time. We are going to show the map in connection
11 with the document 4D392. This is dated 18th of January, 1993, the
12 Security Administration of the Staff of the Supreme Command. The last
13 paragraph, which may I remind everybody here, read:
14 "Army of the BiH, in the area of responsibility of the 3rd Corps
15 or Central Bosnia, can fight the HVO under the condition that they cut
16 off road communications: first of all, Busovaca-Kiseljak-Fojnica at
17 Lugovi and Kacuni; and secondly, the road communication Busovaca-Vitez --
18 secondly, the road communication Busovaca-Vitez; and, thirdly, the road
19 communication Vitez-Travnik at Mecave."
20 General, you see on the ELMO this document. I can't see what's
21 showing there.
22 A. [Indicates]
23 Q. General, the other map, the other map, please.
24 General, to save time I marked what you did during the proofing
25 for your examination, so let's just see where would be the cutoff point
1 of the first road communication, Busovaca-Kiseljak-Fojnica at Lugovi and
3 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Mr. President, Your Honours. Good
5 We're not getting -- I don't know about the Judges, but we're not
6 getting any broadcast of what's on the ELMO. We can't follow the
7 testimony or the markings that are being made, so it's a bit difficult
8 for us to -- now we have it. It's not on -- it's not on ours, anyway.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Now I no longer have the image,
10 now the Defence teams do not have the image.
11 Let's not waste time. Let's skip working on the map, since we do
12 not have the technical possibility for that, or maybe we can put it off
13 for a bit. We are going to skip the documents relating to the maps. If
14 things are mended in the meantime, we can revisit the maps.
15 Q. Let's now continue with the issue of Busovaca. Let's take a look
16 at 4 -- 2D1206 [as interpreted].
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, unfortunately we
18 couldn't see the map. Maybe we will have an opportunity to see it later,
19 when the system is up again.
20 There is a question that crops up every week from the Prosecution
21 as well as from the Defence. It's the question of the lines of
22 communications, of the ways of communication, and we're told that there
23 were these corridors, and if the corridor is cut off, then there are
24 consequences. At least that's what we are told, as Judges. And the
25 Prosecution and the Defence is always talking about these consequences.
1 And as we just saw, if the road is cut off, it's impossible to move
2 forward anymore. Now, I'm talking to the servicemen. When you are in a
3 situation when the road is cut off, can't you just bypass it, going
4 through the woods, maybe, or through the mountains, maybe transporting
5 weapons on your back, you know, like the Vietnamese did in the Ho Chi
6 Minh Trail or on bicycles, because, you know, they had bicycles and they
7 were able to carry artillery pieces that way? So in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
8 when roads were cut off, did this really prevent any army, whether it be
9 the HVO or the BH Army, to act? Did it really immobilise these armies?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were many cut-off points, but
11 there were alternative routes for vehicles, and of course say nothing
12 about pedestrians. But those three or four points where communication
13 would be cut off would mean that the person or the side cutting off
14 communication would prevent the other side from gaining access to
15 alternative routes. There were no functional alternatives to those
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You say that there
18 was no alternative route. Fine, I agree with you. But even so, if you
19 go through the mountains or through the woods, can't you just bypass the
20 blockade that way?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, provided it is not manned.
22 But, first of all, those check-points, those cut-off points, were
23 introduced by allies. These were a psychological blow. Then you start
24 to wonder whether we are allies or not. People cannot travel, they
25 cannot see their physician, go to a hospital. So this cutting off of
1 communication was not just a military ploy. It will add ramifications on
2 the civilian life.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are adding an additional
4 element which may be important. You're saying that the fact that allies
5 are cutting off the road has psychological consequences, important
6 psychological consequences, but militarily you could bypass that
7 roadblock as long as the woods or the mountains are not occupied by the
8 enemy. But for you, the most important thing is that it's a
9 psychological blow?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Both a psychological blow and a
11 military blow. If I'm taking a transport from Kiseljak to Jajce and it
12 encounters check-points very frequently, then communication grinds down
13 to a halt. So one of the main problems were those check-points on roads.
14 These were not just a handful, it was a host of check-points, and we were
15 fighting all along to remove those check-points. First of all, there was
16 a war of plunder, and later on it was ethnical, political, and military.
17 Check-points served the purpose of looting, of taking property away, and
18 very few check-points were set up by the military. They were just set up
19 by officers in the rear along the roads.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I'm sure we will
21 revisit this issue later on.
22 Ms. Alaburic.
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I've been told that
24 the ELMO is now working.
25 Q. So, General, please, take a look at the map, first the map
1 concerning the document 4D392. This is the map.
2 So, General, please tell us, in this document by the Army of BiH,
3 it is stated that the road communication Busovaca-Kiseljak-Fojnica should
4 be cut off at Lugovi and Kacuni, as first. Please put "1" by the
5 location Lugovi and number 2 by the location Kacuni.
6 A. [Marks]
7 Q. Please tell us, General, under "1" on the map, it doesn't state
8 "Lugovi," it says "Bilalovac." Could you please explain where Lugovi is
10 A. Well, Lugovi is a settlement close by. It doesn't show because
11 of the fact that the map is not that detailed.
12 Q. Fine. It says "Vitez-Travnik" in the document. It should be cut
13 off at the place Mecave. Please put number 3 by that place.
14 A. [Marks]
15 Q. And then it is stated -- for the Busovaca-Vitez road, it doesn't
16 state where it should be cut off. We've placed this dotted line here.
17 Please, General, explain why was it put here?
18 A. This is the place Santici or Ahmici [indicates], and this is the
19 best place to cut off this road. At other places, it's much more
21 Q. Place "4," please, by that place, and now date the map and sign
23 A. [Marks]
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] And I would like to get an IC
25 number for this map, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, the marked map shall be given
3 Exhibit IC01137. Thank you, Your Honours.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Let's take a look at the next map. It's connected with 4D1208.
6 In the last paragraph of that document, it is stated that:
7 "PAT is relocated from Gornja Visnjica village to the village of
8 Dusina to secure the road between Dusina and Sudine."
9 Please place "1" next to the village of Visnjica
10 village of Dusina
11 A. [Marks]
12 Q. Please tell us, General -- indicate the direction of this PAT.
13 A. It is transferred from the Bosna River Valley
14 control the area towards Kacuni or the Busovaca-Vitez communication.
15 Q. Thank you. Please place "4" by Kacuni, and date and sign the
16 map, please.
17 A. [Marks]
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] And I would like to get an IC
19 number for this map.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could we have a
22 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. The second marked map shall be
23 given Exhibit IC01138. Thank you, Your Honours.
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. General, let's go back to the document which we started our
1 conversation with, 4D1206. It is a report by the commander
2 Dzemal Merdan. In the paragraph entitled "Zenica," in the second
3 sentence it states --
4 A. I do not have the document.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Can we please give the witness the
6 binder containing the documents of the General Petkovic Defence.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do have it now, but in
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Now you have it in the B/C/S as well. In the second sentence,
11 General, it is stated:
12 "With the aim of closing down the Dusina-Lasva-Sudine road from
13 elevation 852 to Dusina, we engaged 25 newly-mobilised men, 70 men from
14 the 7th Muslim Brigade, and 20 soldiers of the Anti-Sabotage Detachment."
15 Please specify the place those forces of the Army of BiH are
16 heading towards.
17 A. Those places are along the left bank of the Lasva, that is to
18 say, opposite Dusina.
19 Q. Is it in the direction of Kacuni?
20 A. No. Just a moment. Let me take a look. Yes,
21 Dusina-Lasva-Sudine. It's the same direction and access that we marked
22 on the map.
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] May the witness be provided with a
24 binder containing the documents.
25 So until we're waiting for that, we're going to skip over a few
1 documents, Your Honours, and take a look at map 4D560, 4D560, which is a
2 schematic, and you'll see it on the monitor, General, of the area of
3 Central Bosnia
4 Q. Take a look at this map, please, General. One of the axes of
5 action by the BH Army, we have listed here the area around Busovaca. Can
6 you tell us whether Kacuni is within that general area covered by the
8 A. Yes, correct, Kacuni. But I can see that the direction towards
9 Bugojno was cut off, but that was in October. Anyway, the arrow does
10 show the place where Kacuni is located.
11 Q. Now, General, as Judge Antonetti asked you about alternative
12 directions and axes, tell us what the width of this blue area is
13 controlled by the Croats at Vitez, for example. How broad is that?
14 A. It's 800 to 900 metres at Vitez.
15 Q. And in the Vitez area, moving towards Busovaca, what is the
16 largest width of territory under Croatian control?
17 A. The largest width is about two and a half to three kilometres.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, regarding Dusina at
19 elevation 852, I know this village because I've been there. There was a
20 massacre in this village. Everyone knows about it. Now, whenever an
21 army captures a village, whatever the army, and perpetrates crimes, the
22 army doesn't stay in that area, it moves on. Now, according to you, is
23 it controlling the territory or is it a strategic capture? If it's a
24 strategic capture, you're supposed to stay and hold the territory. But
25 if you just move about after that, what does it mean?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When the army takes control of a
2 locality, in principle, there should be no forces coming after it to
3 commit crimes. But in this war of ours, taking control of a place means
4 having control of it, which means that the opposite side, the enemy side,
5 no longer has control or does not have control, but the population stays
6 there with all their frustrations and God knows what from before. And
7 then, in continuation, crimes or the various things that they should not
8 do are done. For example, in 1993 we took Grbavica, and then we saw
9 other people taking away property the next day; civilians, that is.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You have answered
11 my question, in part. You're saying when a place is taken over, it's to
12 control it, but does this mean that controlling it does not necessarily
13 involve constant presence of the army? You can take over the place and
14 then move on; is that it?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Now, General, let's look at another map, which is 4D561. It's
19 the same territory, but now with the situation as of March and April
20 1993. Here we have it.
21 Now, General, this Croatian territory has cut between Busovaca
22 and Kiseljak. Tell us, please, until the end of the war did the Croatian
23 forces manage to establish communication between Kiseljak and Busovaca?
24 A. No. It was a depth of 12 kilometres, and the area remained cut
25 off between Busovaca and Kiseljak.
1 Q. On this map, General, we see the attack by the BH Army launched
2 in the vicinity of Vitez from the Zenica direction. Now, within that
3 area, is that where the village of Ahmici
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Very well, General. We are finished with the topic of Busovaca
6 now, and cutting off the corridor, and realising the plan to form
7 Croatian enclaves.
8 I'd like to inform the Trial Chamber now that because I spent
9 rather a lot of time yesterday, I have reorganised my
10 examination-in-chief so that now I'm going to deal with Sovici and
11 Doljani, and these are documents to be found in the second binder. And
12 if there's any time left over after we finish discussing that topic, I'll
13 revert back to other areas and topics.
14 Your Honours, we're first of all going to show you a film, or
15 half an hour of it, the beginning of a film, a film by Television Konjic.
16 It is P2187, and it is about a meeting between the representatives of the
17 HVO and BH Army held on the 4th of May, 1993, in Jablanica. You have the
18 transcript. We're showing you this film because we want to paint a
19 portrait of General Milivoj Petkovic, and we consider that it would be
20 very useful if you could hear the speakers speaking in their own tongues,
21 Bosnian, Serbo-Croatian, B/C/S, just so that you can see the tones used
22 by Sefer Halilovic and Arif Pasalic, on the one hand, and
23 General Petkovic, on the other. That's the purpose of us showing you
24 this film. Thank you.
25 So let's look at that now, let's watch it.
1 [Video-clip played]
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Tell us, please, General, were you at that meeting?
4 A. I'm the main person there sitting to the left of Petkovic. I was
5 there as one of the main people in the Joint Command. Delic is sitting
6 here, Sefer and others. Perhaps you didn't notice them, but I did.
7 They're there. And in Zenica, I was shown the command that would be a
8 joint command, and then with Delic and Sefer and the others, and with
9 UNPROFOR, we moved to the Konjic area. I spent the night there with
10 them, or, rather, two nights in Konjic, in those caves there, and then
11 came to this meeting. And I was absolutely astounded to see the
12 atmosphere prevailing at the meeting, because I was in all that
13 commotion -- all those commotions and so on. This was a continuation of
14 the previous relationships, allowing the people behind there to shout and
15 behave in that general way.
16 Q. Now, since you're describing the atmosphere in that way, are you
17 describing the conduct of the president of the HVO or the BH Army?
18 A. This is how the BH Army behaved, or the Muslims ultimately,
19 because we were in Jablanica, they controlled Jablanica. There were no
20 Croats there. Well, there were 150 metres away. In a museum or
21 somewhere, there were over 100 persons incarcerated down there.
22 Q. Now, did General Petkovic demonstrate readiness for co-operation?
23 What was your impression about his real intentions and wishes?
24 A. Our side, on the whole, as a whole, wanted, wished, and
25 endeavoured to do that. Well, if it was Bosnia-Herzegovina, you couldn't
1 have somebody else try to appropriate Bosnia-Herzegovina and exclude me,
2 for example, when you have statehood. But in this particular case, and
3 this has jogged my memory, it was absolutely a flagrant example. A state
4 was being destroyed, they're slaughtering us, slitting our throats, but
5 it's all a pose. First of all, there were organised meetings by the
6 international community, UNPROFOR in actual fact, so the UNPROFOR
7 commanders were there, but -- well, the European Monitors, too,
9 So this was just play-acting for representatives of the
10 international community. They repeated "the republic," "we," "we are the
11 legal ones, we're the real ones, and you are," everything else, all the
12 rest of it, which according to the Goebbels model, when he said that a
13 lie repeated 100 times becomes the truth. So in international relations
14 and overall relations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, for instance, it became
15 evident that the green flag was the main flag, the official flag. That
16 was what was being portrayed, and that my tricolour was of no value at
17 all, that I wasn't in Bosnia
18 culmination point of relations of this kind.
19 Now, the question was: What was Petkovic like? Well, in my
20 opinion, he was too calm, faced with the events that were discussed at
21 that meeting. I suppose that he was able to restrain himself, and you
22 could see that demonstrated at this meeting. So he was calm and he
23 believed that he should work consistently to achieve his aim; first of
24 all, to avoid a conflict and to have conflicts resolved, and to start
25 setting up a Bosnia-Herzegovina in the best way possible for the people
1 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, not only for one nation, for one ethnicity there.
2 Q. We heard at this meeting, General, that Mr. Petkovic said,
3 discussing Mostar, Let's make Mostar an open city, and Mostar will be the
4 way that Mostar people want it to be. According to your knowledge at the
5 time, would you tell us whether this was the frank and earnest attitude
6 of the Croats of the time and as expressed at this meeting?
7 A. I left an area where I'd been for a year in very shaky
8 circumstances to go and resolve problems. I was not familiar in detail
9 with this situation in Mostar, or in Jablanica, or in Konjic. I was just
10 getting to know the facts. And in my example and in Petkovic's example,
11 you had to attend hundreds of meetings to make some progress, and risk
12 your life in the process, and the overall attitude of the Croatian side,
13 and Petkovic as being at the head of the armed forces, was we were pro
14 co-operation. We wanted to resolve problems and allow everybody to live.
15 Q. Let's take a look at some details concerning Sovici and Doljani.
16 You have the documents, and I would like to ask Madam Usher to help the
17 witness find the document.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, before we move on to
19 Sovici, I, like all the other Judges, have watched this video very
20 carefully, and in this footage we saw Mr. Halilovic, Mr. Petkovic. You,
21 yourself, were there, so was Pasalic, and then there's the Spaniard
22 presiding over the meeting. And watching and listening to the footage, I
23 was very impressed by the tone of all those who took part. Mr. Halilovic
24 was very firm in the way he spoke, and Mr. Petkovic really is very
25 moderate and he tries to open the way for movement on the ground. He
1 offers to Mr. Halilovic to go straight to Doljani, to go with him to
2 Mostar, and each side blames the other for responsibility to some degree.
3 And the background to all this has been set by Halilovic, when he asked
4 General Petkovic whether he was a friend or a foe. And depending on the
5 answers, he will adjust his position, together with a threat of an
6 all-out conflict. So any Judge watching this video footage is rather
7 impressed by the will of each side that addresses obvious facts; arrest,
8 people being driven out, and all that.
9 And I'm also surprised by the fact that on several occasions,
10 General Petkovic told General Halilovic that he should give him lists for
11 checks, and for people to be released immediately, or for them to be able
12 to go back home straight away. So there seems to be goodwill on both
14 But if you watch this footage, you think, well, what is the
15 Spaniard doing? He could have taken hold of the dialogue, controlled it,
16 but he didn't say a thing. How do you account for that? Is it because
17 he had to remain neutral whilst he's in front of two individuals who are
18 willing to enter into a dialogue? So it seemed as though it was possible
19 to find a solution easily, but in this footage the Spaniard does not say
20 a single word. How do you account for this?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all, Sefer Halilovic and
22 others, and the audience sitting at the back, attacked us so much that I
23 personally felt threatened, and I accepted to be shot at any moment.
24 This was the general climate. But it wasn't for the first time, so in a
25 way we had gotten used to that.
1 Throughout that meeting, there were attacks against the HVO. We
2 were blamed for everything. We were blamed for being alive. That was
3 the general atmosphere.
4 If you ask me about the Spanish Battalion, the person chaired the
5 meeting as long as he could, and you could see that in the first half of
6 the movie. Later on, he could not chair the meeting, and Sefer Halilovic
7 could not control his brigade's commander to keep his attitude in check
8 during such a meeting.
9 Generally, at such meetings, for instance, at one meeting in
10 Konjic some two or three days later, there was this local commander,
11 Zuka, who burst into the meeting and hugs Cibo on the other side, and he
12 said, We've resolved the issue of Vrce. For me, it was an international
13 meeting at the top level, and you have some local commander bursting in
14 and kissing one attendee and saying that he'd resolved the Vrce issue.
15 What had they done? They'd liquidated the HVO in the Vrce village, and
16 that was three days after the meeting with Sefer Halilovic that we saw on
17 the film, maybe four days later.
18 So in terms of frankness, the possibility of resolving problems
19 and issues, on the Croatian side, on the part of the HVO, realising that
20 we had to fight for our positions in different ways, both through
21 negotiations, which we did all along, but we continuously were battered.
22 In terms that the international community could not help us, well, they
23 could not help the other sides either. They could only be mediators.
24 The Spaniards were in the same position as other units of
25 UNPROFOR, as far as I could tell where I attended meetings.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, at the very beginning
2 of the meeting, the Spaniard said, in his language, We're going to work
3 for peace, "Vamos a trabajar por la paz para." Very good, but apparently
4 General Petkovic and General Halilovic are along that line. But if
5 they're all working towards peace, what does SpaBat do? Is it totally
6 neutral? That's what I wanted to know from you. Why did SpaBat not take
7 over the situation and try to control it, because technically it seemed a
8 rather easy thing to do, given the commitment displayed by all sides. So
9 how do you explain this?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you are forcing me into an
11 awkward situation.
12 In terms of the quality of the armies that I had contact with,
13 the British, the French, the Nordic people, and the Dutch people, you
14 could rely on them; the Dutch to a lesser extent. As far as the other
15 forces were concerned, you could hardly rely on whether to attend those
16 meetings or not, because they were not ready and equipped and trained for
17 critical situations, in my opinion, and critical situations are
18 foreseeable and possible.
19 In this concrete example, the Spanish Battalion was far from --
20 particularly when new units would come in - they had a tour of duty of
21 six months - they could not find their bearings. But at that meeting, I
22 was taken aback by the atmosphere and the mode of work. And, after all,
23 the Spanish Battalion were also threatened, they were also in jeopardy.
24 Let's not be fooled to think that UNPROFOR and European Monitors
25 did not risk their lives. They were threatened as well. They were
1 sitting ducks at times between two sides in the conflict.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. But that may be one
3 more reason to get more involved, because if you go by this footage, this
4 can be sort of a very animated discussion, but we've all been part of
5 much harder meetings, and it did not seem impossible to find common
6 ground between all sides. That's the impression I gathered from this
7 footage, and I was seeking your impression. And in answering my
8 question, you said that SpaBat did not really seem to be up to the task,
9 which may be true.
10 But, sir, following this meeting, did General Halilovic and
11 General Petkovic go together on the ground?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, they did go in SpaBat APCs to
13 the area of Sovici and Doljani. I, with another group, were supposed to
14 go to Konjic, and a third group was supposed to go to Kostajnica.
15 However, the other two groups could not go through -- at least my group
16 could not on that day, allegedly because of a check-point. And, you see,
17 when you're sitting in an APC
18 what's going on. But I do know that that group visited Sovici and
19 Doljani. Well, for me, toponyms and the people in that area were unknown
20 to me. There were hundreds of people, hundreds of toponyms. I tried to
21 get to know brigade commanders, battalion commanders, the names of
22 places, as far as I could, so that in my capacity as a member of the
23 Joint Command, to function and to perform my duties.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 Since we were speaking about Doljani and Sovici, Ms. Alaburic
1 wanted to address these issues.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. General, please tell us, when you visited the ground on the 4th
4 of May in those different groups, where did you spend the night?
5 A. I said that the preceding two nights I spent in Konjic, which was
6 completely under the control of the ABiH, and I think that that night I
7 slept in Capljina with family that I saw for the first time after several
8 months. I think it was either that or the next day, the 5th of May,
9 because there was another meeting later on. At Capljina, it was.
10 Q. And I'm interested in the 5th of May meeting.
11 Please, Your Honours, in the other binder, and for the witness in
12 the penultimate set of documents, there must be a book-mark. There is a
13 document P2200.
14 General, it's a very brief document. You may rely on e-court to
15 peruse it. The document is P2200, in the penultimate set of documents.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may be of assistance, I had to
17 reshuffle the sequence of documents.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Madam Usher, if you could bring
19 the binder to me, I will find the document for her [as interpreted].
20 Q. General, please tell us, have you ever seen this brief memo
22 A. I saw it during the proofing meeting in the past two or three
23 days while being primed for this examination.
24 Q. Who is the author of this memo?
25 A. It is a query addressed to a unit concerning Sovici and Doljani,
1 but it, in effect, is a fruit of my intervention. In other words,
2 Petkovic and Halilovic spoke, and Petkovic asked me to inquire about the
3 buses for Doljani and Sovici, and I did not know anything about Doljani
4 and Sovici, or any other buses. But to cut a long story short, I
5 established contact with the Main Staff, and they tell me -- or, rather,
6 the duty officer -- well, I had to explain that there was an agreement
7 that we would provide the buses to transport the greens. So who, what?
8 And then I said, Well, to transport the greens. I was, in essence, the
9 author of this inquiry.
10 Q. Tell us, General, when you said "the greens," who did you mean?
11 A. I meant the Muslim side, because otherwise -- in our
12 communications and in my way of thinking, villages with green flags,
13 denoted in the green colour, that was the Muslim side.
14 Q. Now, with this word "green" or "greens," did you wish to
15 under-rate the Muslim population in any way by using that word?
16 A. You can't under -rate something that is there, that I grew up
17 with, and that was the majority.
18 Q. Well, was it your intention, tell us, to belittle them? Was it
19 supposed to be a sort of insult, insulting word for the Muslims?
20 A. No. In the area that I came from, for the Serbs and Muslims and
21 Croats, there are derogatory terms, and in this case that would be
22 "balija," but that was not it. It was just a way of denoting who it
23 might concern. And in wartime, in general, I try not to insult anyone.
24 It was the duty officer down there, in talking to me - it couldn't have
25 been otherwise than that - he included the word, but it wasn't
1 derogatory. They were under a green flag. So I don't see where the
2 problem is there.
3 Q. Tell us, General, did you receive a response? Had the buses been
4 dispatched or not?
5 A. We received oral information that the buses had been sent. Well,
6 this is the gist of it, that the buses were from Arif Pasalic.
7 THE INTERPRETER: "That there were buses, I know that from
8 Arif Pasalic," interpreter's correction.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Now look at the next document, 4D477.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, regarding this
12 question of the greens, according to the Prosecution this means that you
13 looked at the Muslims as people who might be potential victims.
14 Ms. Alaburic is asking you to give more details about who those greens
15 are. Now, I would like to know the following: On your military maps,
16 when you were meeting together with your officers, did the Muslims use
17 green markers?
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did you use green markers and
20 green flags to symbolise the Muslims? Did the greens represent the
21 enemy, the Muslims? Without any derogatory meaning behind this, as you
22 would say, the reds, the blacks, the whites, did you use those just to
23 say who they were, militarily-wise?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the JNA, you had the red was JNA
25 and the enemy was the blue. Now, as far as I was concerned, I had a bit
1 of a problem because we used red to denote the Serbs, the colour blue for
2 the HVO, and the green was for the Muslim forces, not in attack and
3 defence; but deployment and so on, their positions and so on.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I understood that.
5 Now, in your document, because you told us that you wrote this
6 document, you are asking a question about the population. You seem to be
7 surprised about the fact that they were in Sovici and Doljani, and you
8 were wondering where they came from. According to you, there weren't
9 supposed to be any civilians present there, and you were told that they
10 had to be evacuated and you were very surprised? Is that why you put
11 this question in your text about these people?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me repeat.
13 At meetings, and you just saw an excerpt from one such meeting,
14 the footage we were shown, there's the official part and then there are
15 talks and meetings, waiting for APCs or whatever, this interim period.
16 And at one of these sort of interim periods, Petkovic was talking to
17 Sefer, or Sefer talking to Petkovic, and then Petkovic came up to me and
18 said, Have this checked out, check and see if the buses have been sent to
19 Sovici and Doljani. And then he left.
20 Now, had he asked me that in Bosnia
21 and that would have been easy, but all these toponyms, Sovici, Doljani,
22 these names, these villages, I didn't know anything about them, I didn't
23 know who the inhabitants were. And in talking to the duty operative down
24 there, I asked him about the buses, considering that he knew something
25 about these buses, that he knew everything about the buses. He says,
1 Who, what, where, when, how? And then I said, Well, they're supposed to
2 drive somebody from Sovici and Doljani. Who those people are, probably
3 the greens, because I knew that Sovici were an exit to --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, this document you
5 wrote could be incriminatory:
6 "Have five buses come to Sovici or Doljani to evacuate the
7 population," in brackets "green," "towards Jablanica. If they have,
8 where did they come from."
9 This is what you wrote. And when reading it, it seems that you
10 sending five buses to evacuate the civilians, which is fine, but you seem
11 to wonder what on earth these people are doing there. If they are there,
12 where are they coming from? So one could think that according to you,
13 there were no longer any civilians there, and then Halilovic is suddenly
14 telling you, But there are Muslims in Sovici and Doljani, and you seem
15 surprised. And so you're asking the question, Well, if they're there,
16 where did they come from?
17 What do you have to say on this?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's wrong. From the film --
19 well, the previous day it was said that there were a thousand dead over
20 there, or incarcerated, or -- well, Arif Pasalic said, Doljani, Sovici,
21 the day before, and now this name is a name I hear for the first time,
22 this place name. I didn't go to Sovici and Doljani, so I don't know what
23 they were dealing with there, Sefer and Petkovic. What I do know is they
24 said, Check and see whether the buses have arrived in Doljani. And so I
25 didn't find my way very well there, and then I talked to the duty officer
1 in the military district and --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me finish my question.
3 This is my interpretation of this document, and you can agree
4 with it or not. I might be wrong, of course. A military action is
5 underway in Sovici and Doljani. Whether either by the HVO or the
6 BH Army, I'm not going into details to know exactly who did what, but
7 there are combats. Fighting is going on between soldiers. It seems that
8 whenever there is fighting, the civilian population might be there, but
9 sometimes is no longer there. At the HVO level, you know that there is
10 fighting, and you believe that the civilians are all gone. But then
11 suddenly Halilovic is telling Petkovic, during this meeting, that there
12 are civilians in the area. Now, of course, you do not know in neither
13 Sovici nor Doljani, and you do what is needed to send the buses, which is
14 a humanitarian gesture that no one could blame you for. But at the same
15 time, you seem to be very surprised to suddenly find out that there are
16 civilians, and in this question [as interpreted] you actually put the
17 question about the civilians.
18 That's what I'm trying to understand, so please answer honestly.
19 There's no need to beat around the bush.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand that in Sovici and
21 Doljani, what I understood was that there was a population there, and
22 later on, with the actors of the conflict, I gain a picture of what was
23 happening over there. And when I was asked whether the buses had left, I
24 didn't know. I talked to Piske, Cibo, Polo, Zuka, Nihad, Cibo, so that I
25 could gain an impression about Sovici and Doljani to know what was going
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, it's noted.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. I'm trying to make myself
6 The President has put it to you that this was a fine humanitarian
7 gesture. That is quite possible. I think it is a one-sided view. Maybe
8 it's right. But one could also say that this is a piece of ethnic
9 cleansing, because you only take away the greens. You know nothing about
10 the places, you say. How do you know that there's only greens there and
11 that there are no Croats that need protection? This is what I find a bit
12 strange. I wonder whether you have an explanation for this.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't know. I'm surprised
14 that various insinuations are now being made about all this. The whole
15 problem of Doljani and Sovici I see as --
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, please don't say that
17 you're surprised. Judges have to check all the different assumptions,
18 those who are in favour of a case and those who go against a case also.
19 That's the role they're supposed to play. A Judge is not supposed to
20 take the written word at face value. It tries to understand and to check
21 the different assumptions. And my colleague, my fellow Judge, is trying
22 to check a hypothesis. It's not an insinuation. He's trying to verify a
23 situation, nothing more.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said yesterday I transferred
25 Muslim refugees from Vasic when the Serbs had expelled them, and then I
1 said, Send ambulances. Who's being driven? The greens are. So this is
2 certainly the Muslim population, and it's certain that there were Muslim
3 inhabitants there. Now, why they needed the buses, they need it for
4 Jablanica. If they were going to Jablanica, then it was quite certain
5 that they were greens. So I asked whether the buses had been sent and
6 had arrived to transport the greens to Jablanica. There were no blues
7 going to Jablanica, no way. So it was quite clear to me that it was the
8 greens that were going.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I believe it's time for the
11 break, so we shall break for 20 minutes.
12 --- Recess taken at 3.54 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 4.20 p.m.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, before I continue,
16 I'd like to make a request, if I may.
17 We're dealing with Sovici and Doljani, and on the first document
18 that I showed, with respect to your questions we came to something that
19 was supposed to be my conclusion with the witness; that is to say, how
20 and why the HVO secured the buses, whether it was just responding to a
21 request from the BH Army or, alternatively, was it assistance to the HVO
22 so that Sefer Halilovic could cleanse Sovici and Doljani, or, as a third
23 possibility, that the HVO independently ethnically cleansed Sovici and
24 Doljani. I would like to assure you that I intend to discuss this matter
25 with the witness, but could you allow me to conduct my
1 examination-in-chief as I had planned to do? And when I complete my
2 examination, if I don't succeed in receiving an answer or fail to raise
3 those very important questions, then you can, of course, step in.
4 Q. Witness, one more question on the document that I assume is still
5 on our screens, your request about the buses or query about the buses.
6 The last sentence:
7 "If they have, where do they come from?"
8 Does that sentence relate to the buses who were supposed to come
9 to Sovici and Doljani?
10 A. Yes, the buses.
11 Q. Now let's look at the next document, which is 4D447, and it's a
12 document from the BH Army, a report dated the 4th of May. And roughly in
13 the middle of that document, it says that:
14 "For tomorrow, we have agreed the unconditional evacuation of the
15 civilian population from Doljani and Sovici."
16 My question to you, General, is this: In your opinion and to the
17 best of your knowledge at the time, was it the evacuation of the civilian
18 population which the HVO -- and the HVO laid down no conditions; is that
19 what it's about?
20 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour. The witness said a few
21 moments ago, under oath, that he knew nothing about what happened in
22 Sovici/Doljani, so I don't understand how he can answer these questions.
23 He said earlier this afternoon, on page 24 of the transcript:
24 "I didn't go to Sovici and Doljani, so I don't know what they
25 were dealing with there."
1 He's never been there, doesn't know anything about it, I have no
2 idea how these questions can be put to him.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. But, Mr. Scott, at face
4 value you are no doubt right, but the problem regarding this document is
5 that the document shows that there was a meeting, and apparently the
6 witness attended the meeting. So even though he doesn't know those two
7 villages, it may be that he knew or heard from Mr. Halilovic that the
8 civilian population had to be evacuated; hence the document, the BH Army
9 document. But you're right, he did say that he did not know what
10 happened in those villages. But we're going to see more clearly through
11 Ms. Alaburic's questions.
12 MR. SCOTT: Well, further on that, Your Honour, just for one more
13 moment, Your Honour, excuse me --
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Scott.
16 MR. SCOTT: I also just remind -- I'll remind the Chamber of the
17 Judges, your questions, before the break and questions as to why he --
18 how he didn't know that there were civilians in the area and how -- what
19 he had thought was going on. And again, Your Honour, I take it when you
20 take the answers to Your Honours' questions, the President's questions,
21 and Judge Trechsel's questions before the break, and his testimony that
22 he didn't know what was happening there, had never been there, didn't
23 know what they were dealing with, but again he has no basis to answer
24 these questions?
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, let me explain.
1 I'm not asking the witness about the events in Sovici and Doljani
2 now, in the sense of war activities. I'm asking the witness about the
3 evacuation of the civilian population from Doljani and Sovici, and I'd
4 like to remind you of two statements made by the witness. First of all,
5 he said, when first asked, that he knew nothing about it, and he didn't
6 even know where Sovici and Doljani were located, but then he went on to
7 say that he talked about it to Arif Pasalic, and then mentions Zuka, and
8 Cibo, and polo, and all the rest of them. So what the witness learnt in
9 talking to these people, we'll hear about that later on. But now what
10 I'm asking -- I'm asking this witness -- well, if the witness knows
11 nothing about the topic of the evacuation and the conditions of the HVO,
12 the witness will be able to say so. So there's no fear that the witness
13 won't answer in the manner in which he thinks best, under oath or not.
14 Q. Now, my question to you, General: To the best of your knowledge,
15 did the HVO place any conditions for the civilian population to be
16 evacuated from Sovici and Doljani, lay any conditions?
17 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour. I'm going to object to the
18 use of the term "evacuation." It's an argumentative term. The term --
19 she can talk about transportation, the people were transported.
20 Of course, in the Tuta Stela case, both the Trial Chamber and the
21 Appeals Chamber rejected any notion that this was an evacuation, clearly
22 concluded that. That's an adjudicated fact found in this case. It was
23 not an evacuation, could not have been an evacuation. And if counsel
24 wants to pursue the matter further, she should, please, use a neutral
25 term and not "evacuation."
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, regarding your
2 objections, let me read out what Judge Robinson said in the Kordic case,
3 that you know perfectly well. On page 17140, this is what Judge Robinson
5 "Mr. Sayers, the less objections you raise, the faster we will
6 move on. I'm going to listen to you. However, I wish to remind you that
7 you were interrupted only very rarely during cross-examination conducted
8 by you, and remember to behave in a similar fashion."
9 So Judge Robinson, who's now the President of the Tribunal, who's
10 a very experienced man, who is of a common-law tradition, remembers and
11 reminds that the lawyer isn't supposed to raise objections for
12 objection's sake; it's a waste of time.
13 We understood your first objection. Ms. Alaburic was made aware
14 of the problem, which she understood, and no doubt she's going to put
15 questions in order to highlight what the witness knew or did not know.
16 And thereafter, the Judges will rule.
17 Please continue, Ms. Alaburic.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you allow me just
19 a sentence to respond to my learned friend Scott concerning adjudicated
20 facts from the Tuta Stela case.
21 From his remark, I would conclude that Mr. Scott is not familiar
22 with the fact that adjudicated facts can be challenged in this
23 proceedings. I would like to say that I'm well familiar with adjudicated
24 facts from the Tuta Stela case, and this is because -- exactly why I'm
25 trying to challenge them using BiH Army documents and not HVO documents,
1 because I want for the facts to be determined accurately and
3 So my question to the witness, the witness uses the term
4 "evacuation" because this term is used by the BiH Army, 44th Mountain
5 Brigade Security Sector.
6 Q. My question to you is: From your knowledge of that day, did HVO
7 impose any conditions on the evacuation of the civilian population from
8 Sovici and Doljani?
9 A. No, there were no conditions imposed.
10 Q. Witness, please, at that point in time did you know that the
11 Croatian population from that part of the Jablanica municipality had been
12 evacuated in the direction of Posusje?
13 A. I had no knowledge of that.
14 Q. Fine. Please, Witness, after first learning about Sovici and
15 Doljani, did you try to find out from anybody what had happened, really,
16 in those villages in the municipality of Jablanica
17 A. Since this emerged as the main problem after the first meeting, I
18 tried to quiz the immediate actors who were at that meeting, and
19 subsequently I tried to find out what had happened. The commander of the
20 Herceg Stjepan Brigade was among them. I believe the family name was
21 Sagolj, aka Piske, and the battalion commander within that brigade, in
22 charge of Sovici and Doljani, I remembered him as "Marco Polo," but his
23 name was Stipo or Cipe, on the one hand. And on the other hand, I spoke
24 to Zuka, Nihad, and Cibo about the same thing, and I tried to compose a
25 picture of those events in my mind of those events in that cluster of
1 villages in that valley, bearing in mind my experiences of events in
2 other areas, because I did not fall from Mars there. So my knowledge
3 about Sovici and Doljani in those days was complete for my purposes, in
4 my capacity as a member of the Joint Command.
5 Q. I'm going to ask you a series of questions, and depending on your
6 answers, you should tell us whether you learned that from Muslims or
8 In Sovici and Doljani, were there any murdered civilians?
9 A. In Sovici and Doljani, there were no civilians killed, and there
10 was no destruction, as was customary in other places.
11 Q. General, did you receive any information to the effect that in
12 Sovici and Doljani, any Muslim woman had been raped?
13 A. I am surprised by this question, but this never cropped up in any
14 negotiations as an issue. So my answer is, No.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me.
16 Witness, you say that you have not been in Sovici and Doljani.
17 Did I understand that correctly?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I, personally, was not there. I
19 visited other axes, Kostajnica and Konjic.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So it is simply hearsay when you affirm today
21 that there are no destructions there?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it was second-hand
23 information, but from both sides to the conflict. I did not rely upon
24 only information from one side.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. General, please tell us, what did you hear? What was the main
3 problem at Sovici and Doljani? What crime did happen there?
4 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour. Perhaps he could tell us the
5 source of this information, too, so we could have a chance to check on
6 it, rather than general, vague allegations.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to
8 remind everybody that the witness precisely said who he spoke to on the
9 Croatian side and on the Muslim side. So, please, my learned friend
10 Scott should peruse the transcript and then clarify the matter in his
12 MR. SCOTT: Well, Your Honour, I want to know who said what. I
13 don't want just general things floating around about he talked to three
14 or four nameless people or people we don't know who they are, and then
15 just said, Someone told me that. I want to know who told him which
16 specific things so that, if necessary, I can send investigators into the
17 field to contact those people and see if it's true.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, in order not to waste
19 any time, can you tell us who told you what, specifically? Or it may be
20 that you can't remember, which is perfectly comprehensible. But if you
21 do remember, who told you what?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Piske, the brigade commander - I
23 believe his family name was Sagolj - told me that two brigades attacked
24 his brigade from the north and the east, the Konjic Brigade and the
25 Neretvica Brigade respectively, and that from behind he was attacked by
1 the Jablanica Brigade, brigades of the Territorial Defence of the Army of
2 BiH, in the direction of Kostajnica and Boksevica. In the latter case,
3 the case of the Jablanica Brigade of the Territorial Defence, at one
4 point they cut off the communication or captured the saddle named
5 "Sovicka Vrata," which is the part or section on the salvation road, as
6 we called it. It is a watershed between the Rama Valley
7 Valley or the Blidnje lake, and by doing so they cut off and encircled
8 his battalion. And heading that battalion was Stjepan Tole -- sorry,
9 Stjepan Polo. Well, "Marco Polo" was the way I remembered his name. So
10 this was this battalion encircled, and that battalion belonged to the
11 aforementioned brigade.
12 Then, by an action of the HVO or, if I'm not mistaken, by an
13 action of a battalion, the so-called Convicts Battalion, they resolved
14 the issue of the Sovici gateway or the saddle, and they lifted the
15 encirclement around that battalion, and allegedly everything calmed down.
16 In later combat two or three days subsequently, part of the
17 Convicts Battalion, or elements of that battalion, intervened, or
18 attacked, or defended themselves at a feature where this one Cikota was
19 killed, and he was one of the commanders or heroes from the ranks of that
21 When they buried Cikota, they came to that village and raised
22 hell, in terms of harassing the population, torching the houses, and Polo
23 stood up to them, and he told me that he even reported that to the
24 Main Staff. I tried to verify those facts from Zuka and Nihad who are,
25 on the other side, were in charge of that situation. Of course, they
1 interpret the events differently, and Zuka told me, What do you mean,
2 Sovici gateway? It's impossible for there not to have been harassment,
3 and that they had not captured the Sovici gateway, and that they had not
4 been there, and that everything was invented by Piske and Polo.
5 If I may continue. So when they buried that individual Cikota,
6 they came there, they raised hell, but there were no casualties,
7 reportedly. There were some houses torched, and the population was
8 afraid, and the population was then supposed to be sent to Jablanica, but
9 was directed instead towards Prozor and Gornji Vakuf.
10 And from Arif Pasalic, the subsequent day he sought from me oil
11 or fuel and buses to bus people from Gornji Vakuf to Jablanica, so I
12 found out then that they had not gone to Jablanica, but to Gornji Vakuf.
13 I also learned later on why they had not been taken to Jablanica; because
14 of the marble blocks on the road disrupting traffic. This is what I
15 learned from Piske and Polo and, on the other hand, from Zuka and Nihad.
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. General, I'm going to show you a statement of a witness in this
18 courtroom. I tried to find out whether it was a protected witness. I
19 hope I'm not going to make a mistake. His name is Nihad Kovac. He was a
20 witness of Sovici and Doljani. 10307 is the page of the transcript, and
21 we have his words.
22 In a statement he prepared for the Prosecution, and during
23 examination by the Prosecutor, he said that the houses in Sovici and
24 Doljani were torched on the 18th, maybe later, maybe after the 20th. And
25 during my cross-examination, I asked him to focus and try to tell us
1 precisely whether the houses had been torched on the 18th or on the 21st,
2 because it was extremely important for us in this case. And Nihad Kovac
3 said that he thought that the houses were torched on the 21st, and that
4 was the day after the burial of Cikota, one of the commanders in the
5 Convicts Battalion.
6 Tell us, what you heard from Nihad Kovac, is that the same what
7 you learned with the interlocutors that you named?
8 A. As I've already said, after the intervention in the area of the
9 Sovici gateway and control of the overall territory, everything calmed
10 down. What I do know, that the population was harassed and the houses
11 were torched later on.
12 Q. Fine, General. Let's take a look at the next document, P2195.
13 It is an information produced by the BiH Army, signed by
14 Enver Zejnilagic, and it discusses the Halilovic-Petkovic agreement, but
15 also says that the HVO, at their own initiative, sent the civilians to
16 Gornji Vakuf.
17 You, Witness, said that you heard about the civilians from
18 Sovici/Doljani being directed towards Gornji Vakuf. Does this document
19 correspond to your knowledge of the matter of the time?
20 A. Yes, they were supposed to go to Jablanica initially, but I
21 learned that they went to Gornji Vakuf because of the road being blocked.
22 Q. Thank you. Let's take a look at the next document, 4D1079,
23 4D1079. The second page, under item 1 of this document, a commission
24 comprised of two representatives of the Croatian side say:
25 "One of the commissions visited areas of Sovici, Doljani, and
1 Slatina in the presence of General Petkovic and Halilovic. Everything
2 asked was realised."
3 Please tell us, General, did the Muslim side require the Croatian
4 side of the HVO to get the buses for the transport of the Sovici and
5 Doljani civilians?
6 A. In this whole case, there's no doubt about it, because Arif
7 subsequently sought that I provide the fuel for the buses to transport
8 them back, which means that the Muslim side required the transport of
9 those civilians.
10 Q. Let's take a look at the next document, 4D430. This is another
11 BiH Army document. In the lower part of the document, towards the end,
12 dated on the 17th of April, 1993, so this was way before this evacuation,
13 it is stated:
14 "The Gornji Vakuf-Prozor-Jablanica road is prepared for
15 completion, and in a section of the road in the village of Gornja Slatina
16 there are obstructions made of granite blocks which cannot be moved, so
17 passage is possible only by small passenger vehicles in emergency cases."
18 And there is another document discussing the same topic, the
19 other being P1911. I'm going to ask you questions about both. And this
20 is a document by the European Union Monitoring Mission or European
21 Community Monitoring Mission
22 Item 5(b), it is stated that on the approach-way from Prozor to
23 Jablanica by Slatina, there is a strong fortified position where passage
24 of vehicles is barred by large granite blocks.
25 General, please tell us whether these reports correspond to your
1 knowledge about the obstructions on the road towards Jablanica.
2 A. From these documents, from the descriptions, I can say that this
3 is the obstruction that we discussed.
4 Q. Let's take a look at P2825.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Again, Witness, I would like to know: Did you
6 actually see the blocks or is this also hearsay?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not see those blocks because
8 I did not go in that direction.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Witness, please tell us -- you've already told us that are not an
12 immediate eye-witness in that area, but could you tell us whether you had
13 any cause to doubt BiH Army officers and European Monitoring Mission
14 members, or other people you spoke to would lie about obstructions on
15 that road, barring large vehicles from passing the place?
16 A. You know, there is a quarry very close by, and there are huge
17 blocks, five- ten-ton blocks. There's plenty of that. I don't know what
18 was the size of those blocks on the road, but there's no doubt and
19 there's no cause for them to lie. First of all, this is not an HVO
20 source, and, on the other hand, these are professionals.
21 Q. Fine. Let's take a look at P2825. This is an SIS Information
22 from the North-West Herzegovina Operations Zone which states that in the
23 period from the 10th to the 15th of June, 1993, from Gornji Vakuf via
24 Dobrosine and Privor and further down the road towards Jablanica, eight
25 buses carrying refugees passed. Those refugees come from Doljani and
1 Sovici. They were transferred to Gornji Vakuf, and now they're being
2 transferred to Jablanica.
3 General, please tell us, did you have knowledge that ultimately
4 civilians of Muslim ethnicity were transferred to Jablanica, as had been
5 promised to them by Sefer Halilovic?
6 A. I didn't have any knowledge about that. And on the 18th of June,
7 at that period, I was in Central Bosnia. I could have learnt about it,
8 but not in any such detail.
9 Q. When Arif Pasalic asked you to secure fuel, petrol, and the buses
10 for the inhabitants of Sovici and Doljani to be transferred from
11 Gornji Vakuf to Jablanica, did you undertake anything in respect of that
12 request, demand?
13 A. Well, I insisted with the Main Staff. I prevailed upon them to
14 see that it was carried out. Now, why they didn't go to Jablanica, I
15 don't know, and all these problems about the check-points along the way
16 and so on. But you're asking me about the document dated the 18th of
18 Q. It doesn't say when.
19 A. I don't know exactly when they were sent back, the people from
20 Gornji Vakuf, to Jablanica.
21 Q. Very well, General. Now, on the basis of all the knowledge you
22 have about the events --
23 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me. Before you continue on, if counsel could
24 assist us with clarifying the question on page 40, line 4:
25 "When Arif Pasalic asked you to secure fuel, petrol, and the
1 buses for the inhabitants of Sovici and Doljani to be transferred from
2 Gornji Vakuf to Jablanica," if my memory is mistaken, I apologise, but
3 the only testimony I recall so far is the arrangement of buses to take
4 people from Sovici to somewhere else, and it turned out that the
5 allegation is instead of going to Jablanica it went to Gornji Vakuf, and
6 I don't recall any evidence about there being a second arrangement for
7 buses to go -- for Mr. Pasalic to go from Gornji Vakuf to Jablanica. And
8 if I'm mistaken, if that can be indicated, I'll appreciate it.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Well, I can tell my learned friend
10 Mr. Scott that he's wrong, because the witness said quite clearly that
11 from Arif Pasalic he learned that the civilians had been transferred to
12 Gornji Vakuf and not to Jablanica.
13 But anyway, Witness, you can tell us that yourself, but I don't
14 want this to be deducted from my own time.
15 Q. Tell us, Witness, when and how did you learn that the civilians
16 had gone to Gornji Vakuf and what did you talk about to Pasalic?
17 A. Already the next day, I think it was the 6th, Arif Pasalic was
18 very angry and asked why the civilians had gone to Gornji Vakuf, and he
19 said that I should secure the fuel needed - I didn't have any fuels - and
20 get the buses to return these civilians to Jablanica. So that was his
21 ultimatum. He wanted the population to be returned to Jablanica. And
22 that's when I learnt that this transport had been carried out, as I asked
23 about the buses, and it wasn't to Jablanica but to Gornji Vakuf, and now
24 what had to be organised was the return of these people to Jablanica.
25 And I -- well, with all the other problems that I had to solve, Pasalic
1 and I and all those meetings that we had and so on, I don't know exactly
2 when they were returned. And from this document, the 6th, I see that I
3 wasn't there already at that time, but I don't know what the exact date
4 was and whether they were returned at all.
5 Q. Tell us, General, this request from Arif Pasalic, did you convey
6 it to the Main Staff for them to find buses and so that the inhabitants
7 of Sovici and Doljani could be transported from Gornji Vakuf to
9 A. Well, you know, you get up in the morning at 5.00 or 6.00 a.m.,
10 you get into an IPS
11 else. You spend the whole day there. When you come back in the evening,
12 you take out your little notebook to see what you need to do, and I'm
13 sure that I conveyed this request for this.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I? Excuse me.
15 Witness, maybe I have missed something and ought to know; then,
16 please, I apologise. I would like to know who actually put those granite
17 blocks on the road.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The TO, or, rather, the BH Army.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Did --
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I assume, that is, because given
21 the place that it was at, it must have been the BH Army.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I find it difficult to understand, having some
23 familiarity with what the military can do, why they were not blown up.
24 Blocks can be blown up. You have lots of explosives. You drill a hole,
25 you put in an explosive, you close it, and, boom, the block is
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] And where would we get
4 explosives from, Your Honour Judge Trechsel? Where would we get the
5 explosives from?
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I did not ask a question of you. I'm sorry.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, please let the
8 witness answer. He has the same competence as you, and he can answer
9 this technical question put to him by a Judge.
10 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Judge Trechsel said that
11 it's easy in the army, it's easy to deal with that.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] He says it's easy; you just
14 get some explosives, warehouses are full of explosives, and then you just
15 blow it up.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, what's your answer?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've already said that the blocks
18 were heavy, they were large blocks. I don't know how they managed to put
19 them there in the first place, but probably they rolled them there. But
20 to remove them would be a greater problem. I don't know how Petkovic and
21 Sefer managed to pass through at all. Perhaps smaller vehicles were able
22 to pass through, but buses or large trucks with trailers, they wouldn't
23 be able to pass. But to remove this obstacle was a very difficult thing
24 to do.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we will soon have the
1 opportunity to ask General Petkovic about these granite blocks as well,
2 but let's return to Arif Pasalic now.
3 Q. Anyway, you were with him for quite a long time during those
4 days; isn't that right, General?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Tell us, please, did you, at some time in that first half of May
7 1993, go back to the Mostar area with Arif Pasalic from this area of
8 Jablanica and Konjic?
9 A. At least two or three times together in an APC.
10 Q. So you were together in one APC
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. I'm interested in your return on the 8th of May, 1993.
13 A. On the 8th of May, 1993, we were in Jablanica, and in Konjic, for
14 that matter, and then we stayed for quite some time, and it was already
15 getting dark when we left Jablanica with these APCs. Carlos was the
16 commander, and the journey -- well, you couldn't see anything through
17 those slits on the APC
18 reached Dracevo, and Dracevo is south of Capljina, near Metkovici. It
19 was the headquarters or base of the battalion and its unit. And suddenly
20 we stepped down from the APC
21 asked us whether we were going to stay together or whether we would
22 continue on separately. But Arif Pasalic and I, for four days, were
23 stopped by UNPROFOR. There were guards.
24 Just let me paint this picture. If I wanted to go to the toilet,
25 for example, I'd open the door and I'd have a rifle cocked at me. I went
1 to search for the toilet. He said, Wait. Ten minutes later, a jeep
2 turned up with a driver and two soldiers at the back. I got into the
3 jeep. They drove me 50 metres off to the toilet, and I returned. So we
4 were guarded in this way.
5 So that four days later, Sefer and Petkovic arrived, and the two
6 of us went to Medjugorje, for direct negotiations there that were being
7 held in Medjugorje.
8 Q. General, the Prosecutor claimed in these proceedings that the HVO
9 prevented the exit of Sefer Halilovic on that day, the 8th or 9th of May,
10 1993, in Mostar because -- "Pasalic," I meant to say. The departure of
11 Arif Pasalic, I meant to say, Arif Pasalic's departure during those days
12 in the Mostar area. And the reason they gave was that the HVO was
13 preparing an attack against the BH Army in Mostar, that that was the
14 reason, and that this conduct towards Arif Pasalic, he wanted to leave
15 the BH Army without the number-one man.
16 So can you now, General, comment on this assertion made? Was
17 that the truth of it or not?
18 A. The route we followed passes mostly through an area controlled by
19 the BH Army, and I don't know how the HVO could prevent Arif Pasalic from
20 leaving the APC
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, General.
22 Your Honours, that completes the topic of Sovici and Doljani, if
23 anybody has some questions to ask on that topic.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I listened very
25 carefully to the questions put to you by Ms. Alaburic. When she asked
1 all these questions on May 8th, I listened even more closely.
2 If I understand you correctly, on May 8, 1993, you are with
3 Arif Pasalic, and you are in an armoured vehicle, the both of you, plus
4 Carlos and a fourth person, because I believe that you said there were
5 four of you in the APC
6 were guarded for four days. So that means 8 May plus four days, that's
7 May 12.
8 On May 9, an event occurred in Mostar, and the Trial Chamber will
9 have to determine who actually attacked, whether it was the BH Army or
10 the HVO.
11 Let's assume that the BH Army attacked. The commander of the
12 4th Corps is Mr. Arif Pasalic, but he's with you on May 9. And according
13 to what you say, it seems that you were more or less prisoner, a prisoner
14 of the international forces. If you had to go to the toilet, you had to
15 have an escort.
16 Now, here are my questions: First, why did the international
17 forces keep you for four days?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because later on I learnt -- or,
19 rather, on the second and third day, judging by the artillery fire, I
20 realised that there was a conflict going on, and probably during that
21 conflict they kept us in Mostar. Two or three days later, I learned
22 about this. Or they couldn't, perhaps, transfer us elsewhere, so I was
23 held there.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What you are telling us is very
25 new. We never heard of this. So you were arrested, but you were not the
1 only one; Pasalic also was under arrest?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Pasalic too.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Militarily-wise, if the BH Army
4 attacks the HVO, does this mean that his commander, Mr. Pasalic, needs to
5 be there?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The whole day of the 8th, and on
7 the 6th and 7th, he was attending negotiations, trying to solve the
8 problem in Konjic and Jablanica. So the whole day on the 8th, as well,
9 he was in Konjic and Jablanica. We set out in the evening, when it grew
10 dark. Now, where he should have been, in my view, he should have been
11 where he was, since we were solving -- trying to resolve this problem of
12 the conflict, and we'd been doing that for the past fortnight.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] During four days you spent with
14 him, was it possible for you to communicate or to contact your own
15 soldiers or your own line of command? What about him; was he able to
16 call Halilovic or not? Were you really under arrest, in custody?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They didn't give us any
18 transistors, or radios, or newspapers or any information whatsoever for
19 the first three days. It was only on the fourth day that the commander
20 organised a lunch with us, and these two men came at that moment and took
21 us to Medjugorje.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have heard a whole series --
23 a whole battalion of people who came to testify, and if I had known this,
24 I would have put this question to them. I would have asked them why they
25 kept a high military representative of the HVO, i.e., you, and
1 Mr. Pasalic in custody for four days. I would have been very interested
2 in their answer. Unfortunately, I'm just discovering this after the
4 Let's go back to Sovici and Doljani. Ms. Alaburic did not really
5 spend a lot of time on these issues. I believe that she's waiting for
6 Mr. Petkovic to testify to go into details. But you briefly skimmed on a
7 number of things, and they drew my attention.
8 Cikota was killed, and then he's buried. Unless I'm wrong, I
9 believe that when General Praljak was testifying, he said he went to his
10 burial and then he left. Now, you are saying that after the burial, the
11 soldiers of the Convicts Battalion went over there and abused the local
12 population. You said this, and no one reacted. But according to what
13 you know, can you confirm that the events which occurred in Sovici and
14 Doljani were carried out by soldiers of the Convicts Battalion who went
15 there after Cikota's burial, maybe to commit this abuse, maybe for
16 retaliation, or I don't know for what reason?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As for Praljak, I don't know about
18 that. I don't know that he was attending a burial funeral. But from
19 talking to Marko Polo, or Stipo Polo, rather, it was clear that they went
20 to the village after the funeral and all hell broke loose there - that's
21 what I realised after the burial - out of hatred or retaliation or
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the Kordic case, and I
24 could show you that questions and answers were asked publicly and this is
25 public knowledge, out of memory -- I don't have the page with me, but out
1 of memory, I think you said that according to you, there were some rogue
2 units. Now, can you tell us whether the Convicts Battalion was actually
3 controlled by the HVO?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were units at both sides
5 which were and were not under control. They were because they're part of
6 the composition of the HVO, when they had to receive something from the
7 HVO. But when they wanted to do something or not to do something, to go
8 to the defence line, then they were not under control. There were groups
9 of people or units whose use could be questionable in comparison with
10 other units.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're not really answering the
12 question. I would like to know whether the Convicts Battalion was
13 controlled by the HVO. Yes or no?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know about the group Vitezovi or
15 Knights in Vitez. I don't know about the Convicts Battalion. Most
16 probably, it wasn't. I don't know. I cannot confirm either way because
17 I was not in that area.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You don't know. Very well.
19 But you added that the Vitezovi were rogue, were a rogue unit?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I could not command them. I
21 could not instruct them to go to the defence line, like I could in the
22 case of other units.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And why is that?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because from the very beginning
25 they were an HOS unit which was not part of the HVO, but later on it was
1 part of the HVO. It was headed by Darko Kraljevic, who was as he was.
2 He, in the darkest hours for Vitez, he managed to get a special status
3 for him and his unit to hold as much defence line as he wanted, and he
4 was different from the other units.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
6 Ms. Alaburic, I believe you have 35 minutes left.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I almost
8 thought there was 37, not 35. Well, it was a mistake in translation.
9 Q. Now, General, let's discuss joint command and joint commission.
10 First, let's take a look at 1467.
11 Your Honours, that would be in the first binder. It could be the
12 last or the penultimate block of issues.
13 General, please look at the screen so that we don't waste time
14 looking for the documents. I'm going to ask you simple questions.
15 So it would be P1467. It is an order by Sefer Halilovic and
16 Milivoj Petkovic, dated 11th of February, 1993, stating that the
17 commanders of the 3rd Corps of the army and the HVO operations zone
18 establish a joint co-ordinations team comprised of three members per
19 side, and then there is a list of definitions of that team's tasks.
20 General, you can see the first page of this document. Tell us,
21 did you know that in mid-February a co-ordinations team was established,
22 headed by Hadzihasanovic and Blaskic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Let's take a look at the next document, 4D1205.
25 General, I'm shifting my sequence of documents. Please take a
1 look at the screen.
2 Sir, this is a set of documents co-signed by Blaskic and
3 Hadzihasanovic. Each of them pertains to a different topic. I'm going
4 to list all of them, and finally I'm going to ask you, General, whether
5 you had any knowledge of those orders and whether they had been carried
7 The first of all is to remove all roadblocks and obstacles from
8 all communications. The second is at the level of all municipalities,
9 commissions should be established to work towards calming down the
10 situation. The third was to fill with earth all trenches and bunkers,
11 and after the withdrawal of units from the contact line, that all places
12 to be visited and toured. Fourth, that all transports which had been
13 stopped should be let through to get to their destinations. Fifth, to
14 form check-points to control the goods, to be manned by the
15 representatives of the two armies, together with civilian
16 representatives. The sixth, to release all prisoners unconditionally,
17 prisoners and detained persons. The seventh, to secure the conditions
18 for the return of those who are refugees. The next is to urgently
19 withdraw units from the contact line.
20 So, General, these orders are dated the 13th of February, 1993
21 Did you know that Hadzihasanovic and Blaskic had issued orders of this
23 A. Yes. This was a practice throughout that time, first conflict
24 and then trying to resolve it.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm skipping four
1 documents, if you are trying to follow me in your binders.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a follow-up question.
3 Earlier on, we saw a document signed by the 3rd Corps commander.
4 That was speaking about the roadblocks, or the marble blocks, rather, on
5 the road, and this is confirmed in the document by Hadzihasanovic. So
6 what you observed is supported by this document. But this makes me
7 revisit the question put by my fellow Judge, without an answer. You
8 said, Well, if there are blocks on the road, you can push them aside. If
9 they're so big that you can't push them aside, can't you use explosives
10 to destroy them, by digging a hole into them and putting dynamite to blow
11 them up? And if you don't have the equipment, can't you turn to the
12 Logistics Section in your brigade, or in the operative zone, or still in
13 the headquarters, for them to provide you with the explosives in order to
14 blow up the blocks that prevent traffic? That is an everyday occurrence,
15 isn't it?
16 When I was in Switzerland
17 road, and you have some people in charge of maintaining the roads that do
18 that every day.
19 Were you that deprived? Because that seems to be what
20 General Praljak says.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] An obstacle may be removed in a
22 certain way, using a certain method, if there is the will to remove it.
23 If there's the will to remove it, there will be a way to do it, if
24 there's time; maybe a big vehicle to drag it away, or by explosives,
25 depending on the type of the obstacle. If there is a will to remove it,
1 it can be removed using an appropriate method.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I see. So when there's a will,
3 there's a way. But obviously there was no will here; is that so?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. General, please tell us who removes obstacles in which territory?
8 Would the HVO remove obstacles in the area controlled by the Croats or
9 would they go into the Muslim-controlled territory to remove obstacles?
10 A. If the Territorial Defence is removing an HVO obstacle, then
11 conflict ensues, combat ensues, and vice versa. If there is an obstacle
12 introduced by the TO or the Army of BiH, then they have to remove it,
13 otherwise there is conflict, conflagration.
14 Q. Do I understand you correctly? Each side should remove obstacles
15 in their territory if they want to do so?
16 A. Yes, if in Ahmici the obstacle is there, then the TO or the BiH
17 Army has to remove it. Otherwise, the HVO must use armed force to do it,
18 or conversely in Jablanica, but in the period of agreements or talks, so
19 conflicts are out of the question. Now, it only boils down to the method
20 to remove the obstacle in question.
21 Q. Fine, General. Let's discuss joint command. Let's take a look
22 at 4D455. The document will be shown on your screen.
23 And before it appears on the screen, I will describe it. It is a
24 decision on the appointment of members of the Joint Command of the HVO
25 and the ABiH, the nomination of the Croatian representatives to that
1 body, signed by the chief of the Main Staff of the HVO. It is dated the
2 26th of April, 1993, and here, General, we can see that on behalf of the
3 Croats, you, Mario Andric and Zuka Totic are nominated into that Joint
5 Please tell us, General, were you really nominated into the
6 Joint Command?
7 A. Yes. Totic was nominated or was supposed to be appointed at my
8 insistence to free him from captivity, because the Mujahedin had him
9 captured, and so I wanted to release him by him being nominated.
10 Q. Fine. And from this document on nomination, it follows that
11 joint commands have been established at the levels of operations zones
12 and corps levels. Was this so, General?
13 A. Yes. I can list you the names of the people at least in the
14 military district or the corps, where their seats were, et cetera.
15 Q. I would like to do so had we had time, but let's look at the next
16 document, P2155.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, General. You said
18 so in the Kordic case, when you testified about Totic, you said that he
19 had been appointed because he had been detained and that was a way of
20 releasing -- or having him released.
21 Now, we have here an appointment. It is dated the 26th of April.
22 General Petkovic is the one who is appointing him and signed the text,
23 but he signed on a proposal coming from you or was it his own idea to
24 appoint Totic to the Joint Command to exert pressure on the BH Army?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The order dated 26th was the
1 culmination of the preceding activities concerning the nomination and
2 appointment. Previously, I had been quizzed whether I would concede to
3 go to the Joint Command, and I acceded to that suggestion. And so in our
4 talks, I don't know whether Blaskic or Petkovic, because we'd met this
5 day, I insisted for Totic to be released. He was from my tactical group,
6 a commander in Zenica. This is what I had insisted on, and Petkovic must
7 have acceded to that because eventually he signed that order.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is very well.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Let's take the next document.
10 Q. P2155 is going to appear on your screen? It is an order
11 co-signed by Petkovic and Halilovic, dated the 30th April 1993,
12 implementation of joint commands at the level of operative zones or
13 corps, and it is stated that that command will be comprised of:
14 Hadzihasanovic, Blaskic, and their deputies, et cetera.
15 General, did you know that Hadzihasanovic and Blaskic would lead
16 the Joint Command at operation zone or corps level.
17 A. Yes, they did leave, but there were also Nakic. From the corps
18 of the operations zone, we had Nakic nominated to the Joint Command, and
19 Juric, but I'm not sure about the latter.
20 Q. Let's take a look at 4D594.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.
22 Witness, this is one of the very few documents in which we can
23 find "ABiH" and "HVO." Look at the letterhead of the document. We can
24 see "Joint Command of the BH Army and HVO." Under that, there is the
25 reference number. It's "Broj" in your language, isn't it, "1-2"? Can
1 you confirm that this is one of the first documents co-signed by
2 General Petkovic and General Halilovic?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From the position of the
4 Joint Command, yes, but they signed some other documents. But, yes, with
5 respect to the Joint Command, this concerns Zenica. I wasn't in Zenica.
6 I was shown the apartment where I was supposed to be. And these are one
7 of the first documents of the Joint Command.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You may not have an answer to
9 this. You never know. But, you know, Judges are curious by nature, they
10 put questions, and then sometimes the answer crops up.
11 How is it that in this official document - it was signed by two
12 high-ranking officers - how is it that there's no letterhead saying
13 "Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina"?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot answer this question,
15 whether there's no reference of Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I remember the question,
17 I'll put it in due time to General Petkovic.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, let's see who was in
19 the command at the level of the corps of the operative zone. And for
20 that, let's look at 4D594.
21 Q. This is an order from Tihomir Blaskic, dated the 1st of May,
22 1993, on the establishment of a joint command of the three armies at the
23 level of the operative zone -- or, rather, corps, and mention is made
24 here of the gentlemen, two of whom you mentioned yourself; is that right,
1 A. Yes. I forget to mention Vukovic.
2 Q. Right.
3 A. That command worked at the level of the operative zone.
4 Q. Here's another document on that same topic, P2726, 2726. It's an
5 agreement signed in Kiseljak on the 10th of June, 1993, signed by
6 Petkovic and Rasim Delic. And in item 2, General, it says here -- or,
7 rather, your name is mentioned here. Tell us, please, were you at that
8 meeting that resulted in this agreement?
9 A. Petkovic and I came from the Prozor area. We went to Kiseljak.
10 And on the 9th, we were supposed to meet with Sefer to discuss the
11 various activities; I mean, Sefer and others. However, Siber and Karisik
12 came to negotiate, because Petkovic didn't want to talk to a level which
13 was not suitable. So I talked to them on the first day. Then Delic
14 arrived on the second day, and the explanation was that there'd been a
15 replacement in the BH Army. Instead of Sefer Delic [as interpreted],
16 that the number-one man came and these were talks and negotiations.
17 However, after all these talks and negotiations, later on I felt in the
18 field, when I was in the field, well, the worst period in the war started
19 from that point onwards, as far as I'm concerned.
20 Q. You said "Sefer Delic." Who was appointed to the function?
21 A. Delic, Rasim. Rasim Delic, instead of Sefer Halilovic, is what I
22 meant. I knew many of these people personally, I knew theirs names,
23 their nicknames, so just ask me if you need explanations.
24 Q. Just, tell me in a word. Well, you said that you knew
25 Rasim Delic from before. What was your opinion of him, as a professional
2 A. As I said, I knew Delic from 1967. When he was a cadet, I was a
3 year older. I knew him through his years of service. He replaced me as
4 Chief of Staff when I went to Derventa. Anyway, as far as I know, he's
5 one of the most capable officers that they had, and it seemed logical to
6 me that this replacement should have taken place, Sefer and Delic.
7 Q. Now, General, let's go back to our Central Bosnia of April 1993.
8 Your Honours, that's the subject that was dealt with in the first
9 part of the binder, so before the Joint Command issue.
10 I'm going to skip over two documents and move on to 4D --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, regarding the last
12 document that was signed in Kiseljak, were you there?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, both days, both days at the
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You see, I noted that this
16 document, too, was co-signed by Mr. Jean-Pierre Thebault and by
17 Brigadier Hayes. Do you remember these two internationals being present?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were present, but I knew
19 Thebault better because he was in Central Bosnia more than this other
20 one, Hayes. Morillon was before that, and then Hayes came afterwards.
21 But, yes, I did know them.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Why did these two individuals
23 co-sign this document? What did their signature mean?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What it signified was this: As
25 witnesses, they confirmed it, they strengthened the agreement. Their
1 signatures, first and foremost, meant that they were there when the
2 agreement was reached, and, secondly, that the international community
3 stood behind it, supported it.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. A bit of a mystery. This
5 is a document in B/C/S. I suppose that Mr. Thebault and Mr. Hayes did
6 not speak your language; did they? So how did it take place? Was it
7 translated to them, as far as you can remember?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They always had translators --
9 interpreters going with them, and the document was harmonised. They knew
10 what was written in the document.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, since I intend to
12 discuss Central Bosnia as another area with this witness, perhaps we
13 could take a break now, and then I could go into that matter without
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We're going to
16 break for 20 minutes.
17 --- Recess taken at 5.36 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 5.58 p.m.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation].
21 Q. General, we have half an hour left, roughly, so let's try and
22 deal with Central Bosnia for a bit, and let's start off with April 1993.
23 The first document that I'd like us to discuss is 4D597, and
24 along with that document we have prepared a map. Their Honours have the
1 May we provide the witness with it, and place it on the ELMO,
3 In the meantime, let me say that the document that we have before
4 us now is a preparatory combat order from Tihomir Blaskic of the 15th of
5 April, 1993. Otherwise, it's an exhibit in the Blaskic trial. And we
6 would like to focus on item 2 of that combat order, where Tihomir Blaskic
7 assesses the axis of attack by the BH Army.
8 I hope this time isn't being deducted from my overall time.
9 Your Honour, I don't think it's fair, really, to deduct time that is
10 needed for documents to be located.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Would you think it would be fair to change the
12 rules at this point in the proceedings? I don't think so. I'm sorry.
13 It was fair and unfair to everyone.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, when you see that
15 the witness finds it hard to locate a document, which is easy to
16 understand, you can tell the usher during the break that you're going to
17 have questions on specific documents, and the usher can find the
18 documents in question and will show them to the witness. This way, you
19 won't waste any time; on the contrary.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I did provide the usher, during
21 the break, with this map that I intended to have placed on the ELMO, so
22 we're going to work with that map.
23 Q. General, during the proofing session for your testimony, we
24 prepared this map. You drew the line there, and we coloured it in blue.
25 On both sides of the blue is green. And now let's see what
1 General Blaskic says about the possible axes of attack by the BH Army.
2 He says that the BH Army most probably could take control of Kuber and
3 separate it from Vitez, and that is something that is marked with the
4 number 1. Is that right, General?
5 A. Yes, Kuber, yes, yes.
6 Q. Then he goes on to say that the forces of the BH Army want to go
7 across Potrolica [phoen] and Kuber to link up with their forces in
8 Vranjska and Kruscica, and this linking up is the number 2 on the map.
9 So tell us, General, for this link to be effected, they had to go through
10 the territory controlled by the Croatian side; is that right?
11 A. Yes, certainly. Here on this map, we can see in greater detail
12 that Santici are along the road, and Ahmici is a village a little further
13 from the road. But over the past 20 years, the houses have gone lower
14 down, so the concept of Ahmici is used, the name Ahmici is used to denote
15 all this area.
16 Q. So that is the number 3 on the map? That is to say, that in
17 Nadioci and Ahmici, blockades are to be set up; right?
18 A. By the Territorial Defence, that is.
19 Q. Yes. So that was Tihomir Blaskic's assessment of the situation.
20 And he also goes on to say that he expects an attack on the fire brigade
21 facility and some other localities. Now, tell me, General, mid-April
22 1993, did the HVO in this area, the area that you were in -- could it
23 have launched an attack against the BH Army, for example, in the
24 direction of Zenica, with the aim of taking control of Zenica, or in a
25 direction which would go towards the south-east, or in any other
1 direction, for that matter? Was the HVO capable of engaging in attack?
2 A. I can say professionally that it was not capable of launching
3 attacks, except diversions, sabotage, smaller operations.
4 Q. General, would you place your signature on that map with today's
5 date, and then I'd like to ask the usher -- or, rather, I'd like to ask
6 the Court for an IC number for this map. Thank you.
7 A. [Marks].
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Madam Usher
9 [as interpreted].
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, the document just marked by the
11 witness shall be given Exhibit IC01139. Thank you, Your Honours.
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. General, now look at your screen, and the documents will come up
14 there, the first of which is 2D288. Yes. 2D288 is an evaluation by the
15 chief of security of the Supreme Command Staff of the Army of Bosnia and
17 1993. And he says that it is realistic to expect further tense relations
18 and an all-out military confrontation between the HVO and the BH Army.
19 Now, you knew this man, Fikret Muslimovic. You've already told us that;
20 is that right, General?
21 A. Yes. I'd like to mention that this is their Supreme Command.
22 Q. Yes. Now, tell us, General, on the side of the HVO, were there
23 also assessments made that there would be an all-out military
24 confrontation, and was the HVO preparing for such an eventuality, an
25 all-out confrontation?
1 A. There was some documents and preparations for defence against a
2 military confrontation.
3 Q. Okay. Now let's look at the next document, which is 4D1198, and
4 this is an order for attack of the 303rd, a famous Zenica Brigade. And
5 in point 4, the commander says what he has decided. And at the very end
6 of item 4, it says:
7 "For further advancement towards the communication line and road
8 running from Busovaca to Vitez."
9 Now, tell us, General, does this order mean that in this area,
10 the Lasva River Valley
11 A. Yes, quite definitely. This is an order. Now, when you ask
12 whether there were any HVO preparations, well, you had to prepare for the
13 defence, that's one thing, and this is an order for combat.
14 Q. This is an order for attack from the BH Army.
15 Let's look at the next document, which is 4D1518, which is a
16 combat report of the 7th Muslim Brigade, in which it says that the unit
17 was sent in the direction of Ilmice [phoen], and I'm going to leave some
18 names out, but the final destination is Ahmici. Tell us, please,
19 General, did you know that in the fighting in and around Ahmici, the
20 7th Muslim Brigade took part?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now let's look at the next document, which is 4D1516. Once
23 again, the 7th Muslim Brigade, and it says that a unit of that brigade
24 carried out its assignment to cleanse Sik [phoen] and Gola Kosa, and that
25 it was ready to take control of the village of Ahmici
1 General, during those days was there fighting around Ahmici?
2 A. Not only around Ahmici, but the broader area around Ahmici. The
3 BH Army took control of the dominant features and elevations in the
4 hinterland at the back of Ahmici.
5 Q. Now let's look at document 4D1514. Once again, the 7th Muslim
6 Brigade. The date is the 18th of April, 1993, and I'm interested in item
7 1.1, where it says that part of the 7th Muslim Brigade was engaged in
8 fighting in the region of Ahmici village jointly with the BH Army and the
9 local population. Tell us, please, General, to the best of your
10 knowledge, the local population who were Muslims, did they help the 7th
11 Muslim Brigade and the BH Army in the fighting against the HVO?
12 A. Well, you say "the local population." It means soldiers who
13 weren't up at the front-line, who were at home, but they were still
14 soldiers in the sense of having weapons and commanders and so on, because
15 the make-up of the unit was of a rural composition. So that's what that
16 means. And when he says, I have cleansed Golo Brdo, that means that
17 there were HVO soldiers up there and he cleansed the area of them.
18 Q. Very well. Let's look at 4D1513 now, the next document. This is
19 also --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, the lawyer asked a
21 question saying that there was an action by the BH Army and the local
22 population, and you, you say that in your view, the local population,
23 they were actually soldiers. But could there be no other possibility?
24 I'm thinking of civilians who happened to be there, defending as a
25 village defends, taking it in turns with rifles, hunting rifles, or
1 sticks, or God knows what, and who co-operate with the BH Army so that
2 when there is a conflict or a clash, they take part in it, they're
3 involved. Or is that not possible, according to you? Could they only be
4 soldiers on leave, or having a rest, or being at home, who have their own
5 weapons and will then join the BH Army? Could you be more specific?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In mixed-population villages which
7 had previously been inhabited by both Muslims and Croats, refugees
8 reached those villages and they were accommodated at those villages. So
9 we have an HVO unit in the village together with a TO unit of that
10 village. Your notion of civilians and whether they could have been in
11 that area, whether there were men who were not soldiers in that area of
12 the Lasva River Valley
13 had uniforms and rifles from the age of 18 until a ripe old age. So this
14 formulation, incorporation, and with the support and assistance of the
15 local population, this denotes a platoon, or a company, or even a larger
16 unit being accommodated at that village, and this does not include people
17 with hunting rifles, or pitchforks, or, you know, God knows what.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You know, we have
19 seen a lot of documents, and we know that the HVO or the BH Army were
20 initially created from the TO and then from volunteers who came, because
21 there was no mobilisation, as is known, or draft, as is known in some
22 countries. And when you have such a system, it may happen that there are
23 civilians. Take a man who's 22. He doesn't want to be a volunteer, he
24 doesn't want to go and fight. He was not asked to join the TO, or the
25 BH Army, or the HVO. He's just sitting quietly at home, minding his
1 cattle. But he's also a hunter, so he happens to have a hunting rifle.
2 But he's a civilian. He may have a jacket, but he's a civilian. He
3 doesn't have his military booklet. And so suddenly he's been asked to
4 help defend the village, so together with other people he goes to
5 trenches, if there are any, in order to defend and make sure that the
6 village is not attacked, as part of the HVO -- or in the HVO or the
7 BH Army, but he's still not a serviceman. And when there is an attack,
8 he takes his rifle and fires the rifle. Have you come across such
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do not exclude the possibility of
11 an exception, but it would be a strict exception. A man of 22 was either
12 away or he was a soldier assigned to a unit. There were such people in
14 not to perform a defence function, that was impossible.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There is another case or
16 situation we've come across. We saw that there were hundreds of
17 thousands of refugees going from towns to villages, et cetera. I have in
18 mind the refugees from Bugojno. And there's all sorts of people among
19 the refugees; civilian populations, soldiers. They're all mingled
20 together. And refugees arrive in a village. Are they civilians, are
21 they military, we don't know. It's total anarchy that prevails.
22 Let us suppose there is an attack against those, quote/unquote
23 "civilians," and if there are civilians among these people, have you come
24 across a situation in which civilians may turn into fighters because
25 they're given rifles, weapons to defend themselves?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, they are fighters. There is
2 this film "Lost in Translation," and when it comes to terms of "soldier,"
3 "fighter," "civilian," we cannot find our bearings, as far as my
4 impression is concerned. Well, there could be exceptions, but I'm
5 talking about the Lasva River Valley
6 had decisions by the JNA that they were unfit for the army, but we forced
7 them into the trenches because it was a fight for survival. Otherwise,
8 we could not have survived.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As I understand it, in your
10 view there were no civilians, as a matter of fact, apart from women and
11 children. Any man, maybe except very old men, any man could be a
12 soldier; is that right?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. General, please tell us, could women have been soldiers or have a
16 defence function?
17 A. Yes, perform a defence function. But when it comes to my part of
18 the world, men are supposed to fight and defend their wars. A certain
19 percentage of women in our units, but these are younger women, without
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, let us return to the
23 I remember a woman who was present at that meeting headed by the
24 Spaniard, together with General Petkovic and General Halilovic. In the
25 background, I think I saw a woman standing. Is that right? Or she might
1 have been a long-haired man. I don't know, but I thought it was a woman.
2 Do you remember that there were, in the BH Army or in the HVO, women
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. General, what awaits us is a more voluminous document from this
8 set. I'm speaking about all the documents until the penultimate in this
9 section. It's 4D1106. General, please try to find that document.
10 A. Which document?
11 Q. 4D1106. If I may ask Madam Usher to assist.
12 May I refresh your memory, when I ask that this goes for an
13 Enver Hadzihasanovic document, dated October 1993, whereby he reports on
14 the number of men and the equipment in possession of the 3rd Corps. On
15 page 3 of that document, Enver Hadzihasanovic sums up the number of men
16 in his corps.
17 General, please take a look at your screen, and there he says
18 that he had 51.735 soldiers of the 3rd Corps. Please tell us, what is
19 the number of members of the HVO in the Lasva River Valley
21 A. Some 8.000 people.
22 Q. Could you please tell us the ratio of men between the HVO and the
23 BiH Army in the area that you worked in?
24 A. Well, part of that corps worked in the direction of Kiseljak, but
25 at least two-thirds of the 51.000 were focusing their attention on the
1 Lasva River Valley
2 Q. Please tell us, General, was there any possibility for you to
3 receive assistance by HVO units from any direction?
4 A. Well, not even a bird could reach us in October 1993.
5 Q. Fine. On the next page, we have a list of weapons available to
6 the 3rd Corps. General, during the proofing session you added up all the
7 howitzers, mortars, and anti-aircraft cannons, anti-aircraft
8 machine-guns, et cetera, so could you please sum it up for us? At that
9 moment, did the HVO possess better equipment or more weapons, and what
10 was the ratio of fire-power between the two sides?
11 A. Apart from personal side-arms -- that would be roughly that
12 ratio. As far as heavier weapons are concerned, the truth was not
13 reflected in those tables because tables are used to distribute weapons
14 among corps. Most probably some things were missing; for instance, 150
15 pieces of heavy artillery, or there were 50 PAT, or anti-aircraft
16 machine-guns, but we would be wasting time if we were adding up.
17 Q. Let's not waste time. But what was the ratio of their weapons to
18 the HVO's weapons?
19 A. It was 2:1, even higher than 2:1.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 A. But it's not just the artillery, it's the question also of
22 ordnance. We were cut off for 10 months, and we could not bring in
23 reinforcements or bring in supplies.
24 Q. You mean your problems in ordnance supplies?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Let's take a look at 4D1200. This is an UNPROFOR information
2 about the Mujahedin in Central Bosnia.
3 General, do you recall this document? Under item 2, let me jog
4 your memory, it is stated there that the Mujahedin are Muslim
5 fundamentalists, followers of Jihad or holy war, and that the majority of
6 those Mujahedin are foreign nationals, but there are also locals there.
7 And it states that both strands fight within the ranks of the 7th Muslim
8 Brigade, that this is a unit of fundamentalists. It is further on stated
9 that there are other fundamentalist organisations who are not Mujahedin.
10 They group Muslims from abroad and those from Krajina and Banja Luka.
11 They are assault brigades.
12 Under item 7, there is a reference to the 7th Muslim Brigade,
13 which is responsible to the 3rd Corps, but is commanded by the
14 Supreme Command; in other words, Delic, by Delic.
15 So let's not read through this whole document, but please tell us
16 whether what I've just read corresponds to your knowledge about the
17 Mujahedin, or would you have any corrections?
18 A. Well, I know everything about the Mujahedin. Is this a
19 Hadzihasanovic document?
20 Q. No, it's an UNPROFOR document.
21 A. Well, they had the same level of knowledge about them as I did.
22 Without denying the Muslims the right to organise themselves as best they
23 could, I must tell you that the arrival of the Mujahedin was an assault
24 not only on the Croats, but on the Muslims as well, in terms of
25 civilisation, in terms of them imposing their world-view, imposing rules
1 that girls should get married at the age of 12 or 13, then introduction
2 of "nikab," which had not been seen for 50, 60 years before that. Then
3 they introduced banners, for instance, a black banner with Arab
4 scripture on it in Zenica. And El Mujahid was one of the bravest units
5 that Alagic commanded, because when we were capturing Kupres jointly in
6 1994, he told me, I will capture feature 1800. I told him, No, you won't
7 be able to capture that. He said, Well, you know that the only fighters
8 who could take that feature are the Mujahedin.
9 So the elements of the 7th Muslim Brigade, in other words, the
10 Mujahedin who were different from other units, that's something which I
11 felt on my own skin. They assaulted Totic in Zenica. They murdered four
12 of his escort party, and he arrested them. And they released him only
13 when we managed to find eight Mujahedin to exchange them for him. So
14 they had complete disregard for their own personnel.
15 Q. Please tell us, General --
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is going to be your last
17 question. Your time is up.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay, you can reflect, because I put another
19 question in the meantime. But I put it to you, Ms. Alaburic.
20 On line 9 of page 70, you have said it is an UNPROFOR document.
21 I read, on top, on the right-hand side, within the square "From HQ, BH
22 Command, Kiseljak." How does that go together?
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do not have the
24 English version of this document, but this is quite clear. UNPROFOR had
25 its main core headquarters for Bosnia-Herzegovina at Kiseljak, and the
1 seat of the UNPROFOR for the whole of the Balkans was in Zagreb. So this
2 is a report from Kiseljak to Zagreb
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And the UNPROFOR in Kiseljak would call itself
4 "HQ, BH Command"? That's what I have in English.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I cannot tell you how
6 they labelled themselves, but we've seen reams of documents and we know
7 it for a fact that the UNPROFOR's headquarters for Bosnia-Herzegovina was
8 located at Kiseljak.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Maybe if I may try an explanation.
10 In the original -- no, in the translation, we have the word "Za
11 BiH," and that might mean "with the BiH." It would then be the UNPROFOR
12 Command located with BiH.
13 JUDGE PRANDLER: If I may.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Please, dear colleague.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] No, no, Your Honour, it's clearly
16 stated it's from --
17 JUDGE PRANDLER: I'm sorry.
18 MS. ALABURIC: Excuse me.
19 JUDGE PRANDLER: I'm sorry, Ms. Alaburic, for interrupting you.
20 I would like to help both of you. It is a UN document, and if
21 you take the left-hand second section, there you see that 2 UNPROFOR
22 liaison headquarter team, headquarters Vicenza, Italy, and then
23 afterwards "in full headquarters, UNPROFOR, Zagreb, headquarters,
24 BritBat." And on the other side, the right side, you will see "from
25 Headquarters BH Command, Kiseljak," which means that the BritBat Command
1 called itself "Headquarters, BH, Kiseljak." So I believe that it is,
2 anyway, a UN -- I mean -- I said "UN," but UNPROFOR, but on the other
3 hand, British, in a way, paper, which was sent, and they have -- in
4 paragraph 2, they have explained their views as far as the Mujahedin are
5 concerned, about the two parts of it, et cetera, it belongs to the
6 subject material, as such. But the document is really in value at least
7 valid, and it is an UNPROFOR document. Thank you.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Your Honour Trechsel, this mark "BH," does it not mean "Army of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina"? This is a command for Bosnia-Herzegovina in
11 Kiseljak, and it pertains to UNPROFOR.
12 Q. General, where was the UNPROFOR headquarters in
14 A. For UNPROFOR, at Kiseljak. And for the British Battalion, in
16 Q. Thank you very much. I believe that we've clarified this point.
17 General, I have five minutes or less --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Your time is up. Now is the
19 time for your last question, but your time is up.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, just one document and
21 one question.
22 4D567, 4D567. You will see it on your screen. This is a
23 schematic of Central Bosnia, with the situation in November 1993. It is
24 marked on this document that by that moment, BiH Army units had captured
25 the following towns: Fojnica, 6.000 Croats fled; Bugojno, 15.000
1 Croatians fled; Novi Travnik, 3.000 Croatians fled; Travnik, 25.000
2 Croats fled; the area south of Zenica, 12.000 Croats fled; Kakanj, 15.000
3 Croatians fled; and Vares, 9.000 Croats fled.
4 Q. My question to you, General: Were those Croats expelled from
5 that area? Did they flee because of a justifiable reason, or,
6 alternatively, did they just leave that territory for no reason at all to
7 resettle in Herzegovina
8 A. The figures are really impressive. It is difficult to imagine
9 that somebody would leave their homes without pressure, without crimes
10 being committed nearby, without realisation that they no longer can
11 survive there and maintain their presence, without the perspective that
12 things may improve, knowing the ratio of power and what had gone on
13 before, without their own state, because what was supposed to be the
14 successor to Yugoslavia
15 to brute force and nothing else, so people had to leave their homes to go
16 who knows where. This was the situation of both the Croats and the
17 Muslims, and Serbs elsewhere, but nobody leaves their home of their own
18 volition, or following a political call, or anything like that. You do
19 not leave your home if your life is not threatened.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, General.
21 Your Honours, my time is up. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I have a follow-up
23 question on the Mujahedin.
24 Can you tell us in what respect the presence of these foreigners
25 in the 7th Brigade may have played a part in the clashes between the HVO
1 and the BH Army? And let me fine-tune my question. If the Mujahedin had
2 not been present, would there have been as many clashes as that?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I couldn't claim anything like
4 that, and I don't blame only the Mujahedins. They did not wage a policy
5 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, or, rather, they weren't the only ones who --
6 well, let me put it this way: I don't think we should tie all evil to
7 their name. They just brought in a psychological change. Their numbers
8 could not have been held responsible for the things that were ascribed to
9 them. They were a good unit, in the sense of having carrying out
10 commanders' orders, and later on they were concentrated in the
11 El Mujahid. They were in the 7th Muslim Brigade, of course. Now, the
12 7th Muslim Brigade did not as act as a whole.
13 When you say "the 7th Muslim Brigade," you mean the whole
14 brigade, but they acted in groups on a broad area. So one brigade would
15 appear in Bugojno, Travnik, Dusina, Kiseljak, all over the place. So it
16 wasn't one unit. Organisationally and in terms of logistics, it was in
17 one place, specifically in Zenica, and later on I don't know whether it
18 changed places, but it was a unit from which the necessary structure and
19 resources were taken to help other people to realise their goals.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [No interpretation]
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Ms. Alaburic, what's the
22 matter? What did you say?
23 MS. ALABURIC: I just wanted to ask what happened to
24 Judge Trechsel because we didn't see your head and we thought that
25 something happened. I'm sorry.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm still alive, though it may not sound it.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, in your view, talking
3 of the Mujahedin, were they known within the HVO, within the military
4 wing of the HVO? Were they spoken about in areas where there were
5 soldiers? Did they instill fear as to their image and what they may have
6 done? Did they have any impact on the civilian population so that the
7 mere mention of them being there may cause people to flee? Did they have
8 this kind of strength or force of psychological impact which may have led
9 HVO units to behave in a specific way and may have led the civilians to
10 be caught by fear, so that even if crimes were ascribed to Mujahedins,
11 this would cause panic?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The activities of the Mujahedin and
13 their combat -- the value of their combat and fighting ability, but
14 psychologically, too, this had an effect on the enemy; in this case, the
15 HVO. Now, the knowledge that heads were rolling, heads were being cut
16 off in certain places, and I knew the names of some of those people,
17 these rituals, moving around the territory when we weren't in conflict,
18 displaying their manner of dress, their shouts to battle, and so on, the
19 "Allahu Akbar" cries, "Allah is great," and all the other slogans - I
20 don't want to show you what these cries are like - but, anyway, it all
21 had a morale effect on the population and on the HVO soldiers.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, this influence on the
23 population and on the morale of soldiers, do you think that it could lead
24 soldiers to behave abnormally, in a way that they would not have behaved
25 if they had been confronted with traditional soldiers, but here these
1 Mujahedin were not traditional soldiers?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, certainly. In relation
3 to the number of others, they were certainly -- they certainly brought
4 something new; combat values, the BH Army. They were a sort of catalyst.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I'd like to react with respect to
6 the translation.
7 The witness said that they were yeast, that the literal word is
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter notes that she said "catalyst."
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness explain what he
11 meant by that?
12 Witness, what did you mean when you said -- when you used the
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, let me put it this way: Soup
15 with salt and soup without salt. So it was this addition of salt. It
16 was this additive that produced a new product, gave a new value.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As a former senior officer in
18 the JNA, on the opposite side, or on the friendly side - I don't know how
19 you want to put it - I mean within the BH Army, there were former
20 colleagues of yours who were with you in the JNA. You even had very good
21 relations with some of them. You mentioned the late Alagic, for example.
22 So when you were talking with them, did they discuss the problem of the
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, they didn't talk to me about
25 them, because militarily speaking, they weren't a problem to them. But I
1 knew that with the population, the Muslim population, the locals,
2 autoctonos population, that they were a problem to them because of their
3 conduct and this imposition by force of Sharia Law or whatever else
4 linked to their daily lives. And I've already mentioned marriages to
5 under-age girls, to young girls, and that was a novelty in those areas.
6 And then women who were wearing black, that wasn't the custom beforehand.
7 So this was something that the local Muslims didn't agree with and
8 there's no dilemma there. It was something new that was imposed.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We saw the constitutional text
10 regarding the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, where, in a very explicit
11 fashion, there is mention of the three constitutive nations and mention
12 of the religions, of the three religions; Catholics, Orthodox, and
13 Muslims. I would like to know whether these Mujahedins were disturbing
14 this constitutional balance that had been struck.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, they didn't upset the
16 constitutional balance by their numbers, but they introduced something
17 new which had not -- that the local population had not seen the likes of
18 anything like that, because the Bosnian area was a European area, just
19 like any other -- or Yugoslav area, and suddenly we had the advent of
20 something that was not commensurate to the civilisation that the normal
21 people there had known up until then. And this was imposed by force,
22 where they were able to impose it. In Han Bila, for example, or in the
23 area where they were first accommodated - it's a valley separate from the
24 Lasva River Valley
25 town of Travnik as well. I had never seen a woman wearing - what's it
1 called? - completely black clothes. And not one; there were many of them
2 like that.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak and his Defence
4 team mentioned on several occasions the "Islamic Declaration," written by
5 Alija Izetbegovic. They told us, in so many words, that Izetbegovic
6 wanted to Islamise the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. What's your take
7 on this?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 11th of April - it was
9 Easter 1993 - my people's flags were hoisted. And previously for Bajram,
10 the whole of Travnik was green. So this Islamisation was very sudden, at
11 least in the external marks and signs of it. It engulfed a large area.
12 And Alija's declaration, dating back to the 1970s, unless I'm mistaken,
13 for which he was sentenced to a term in prison by the system of the day,
14 as far as I remember, but the fact remains that suddenly, in the broad
15 masses of the population, something was changing, something had happened
16 which had never happened before. So I can't die under a green flag,
17 whereas it would have been an honour for me to have laid down my life
18 under the tricolour flag.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
20 We have 10 minutes before the end of this hearing. Let me ask
21 the Defence teams. They have two hours altogether. I would like to know
22 who wants to take the floor first.
23 Mr. Karnavas?
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Good afternoon, or good evening, I should say,
25 Mr. President and Your Honours, to everyone in and around the courtroom.
1 We will not be cross-examining the gentleman, but we do wish to
2 thank him for coming here to give his evidence.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll skip -- no,
4 we'll not skip 2D.
5 Ms. Nozica, 2D.
6 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
7 We are going to cross-examine the witness, but I always insist
8 upon our internal order, and by that order I'm third in line. We do
9 intend to examine the witness. We know the amount of time we have at our
10 disposal, and I think we're going to need around 30 minutes for our
11 cross-examination. And if we exceed that time, then we'll ask to use our
12 own time. But as far as I know, other Defence teams will be
13 cross-examining this witness as well, so it will be a good idea for us to
14 hear everyone. Thank you.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. 2D, 30 minutes.
16 What about 3D, Mr. Kovacic?
17 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
18 The Defence of General Praljak will be cross-examining this
19 witness, and we will need half an hour. We think that we'll be able to
20 conclude the cross-examination within that time. However, if there will
21 be no cross-examination by other Defence teams, then we would, of course,
22 like to use that additional time. We'd welcome it.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
24 For Mr. Coric, 5D?
25 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your
2 For the time being, we don't intend to cross-examine. However,
3 based on experience, when new topics are broached, I would like to
4 reserve the right to cross-examine within the two hours that have been
5 allocated to the various Defence teams. Thank you.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] For Mr. Pusic.
7 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
8 We probably won't be cross-examining this witness. And as we are
9 reaching the end of today's day, we'll make the final decision tomorrow
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I don't think we should start
12 now. We only have a few minutes left.
13 We will start tomorrow afternoon. We'll start with the two
14 Defence teams who said they would take the floor, 2D and 3D. And then
15 Mr. Scott will start, so he has to be ready with his binders for his own
17 I wish you all a pleasant evening, and we will meet tomorrow at
19 [The witness stands down]
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.53 p.m.
21 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 2nd day of
22 December, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.