1 Wednesday, 31 March 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The Accused Praljak and Pusic not present]
5 [The witness takes the stand]
6 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can you kindly call
8 the case, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning,
11 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic
12 et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
14 Today is Wednesday, 31st of March, 2010. I would like to, first
15 of all, greet the witness, the accused, including the people who are not
16 here for various reasons, Defence counsel, all the members of the OTP,
17 and more specifically Ms. West, who's going to conduct her
18 cross-examination in a few minutes, and all the people assisting us.
19 I believe the Registrar has an IC list of numbers to give us.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour, thank you.
21 4D has submitted its response to the Prosecution's and other
22 Defence objections to its documents tendered through
23 Witness Milivoj Petkovic. This list shall be given Exhibit IC01229.
24 Thank you, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber also wanted
1 to indicate to Praljak's Defence that the Trial Chamber has deliberated
2 on the request for certification to appeal. The Trial Chamber's decision
3 will be filed either today or tomorrow. The Trial Chamber has
4 deliberated on this issue, and based on that, it will not accept any
5 request for reply whatsoever.
6 Based on that, I wanted to ask Mr. Ibrisimovic whether he had any
7 questions to put to the witness.
8 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Mr. President, no
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Ibrisimovic.
11 Ms. West, you have the floor.
12 MS. WEST: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning,
13 Your Honours. Good morning, everyone in and around the courtroom.
14 WITNESS: ZVONKO VIDOVIC [Resumed]
15 [The witness answered through interpreter]
16 MS. WEST: Good morning, Mr. Vidovic. My name is Kim West; I'm
17 with the Office of the Prosecution. I'm going to be asking you some
18 questions this morning.
19 Cross-examination by Ms. West:
20 Q. Can you hear me?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Mr. Vidovic, yesterday you told the Trial Chamber that your
23 promotion in November of 1993 had been proposed by Mr. Coric, and we saw
24 a document in regard to that. Were you ever actually promoted?
25 A. I was not promoted. The document that we saw yesterday was only
1 a proposal, and it coincided, more or less, with the departure of
2 Mr. Coric to a position in the civilian police. And since at that time I
3 was, pursuant to his permission, sent to Zagreb for professional
4 additional training at the Faculty of Criminology in Zagreb, where I and
5 one of my colleagues from the service attended subjects dealing with
6 crime tactics and methods and technology and techniques, so very soon
7 after that I went to Zagreb
8 was some personnel changes within the entire Military Police
9 Administration, so that the proposal never took effect as it was set out;
10 not only regarding myself, but many of the other people from the list as
11 well. So, in actual fact, after that I did not go back to the Crime
12 Investigation Department of the Military Police in Ljubuski.
13 Q. So you actually left the military police in December of 1993;
15 A. Roughly, yes.
16 Q. So up until the time of the proposal, up until November of 1993,
17 where was your office?
18 A. Up until my departure to Ljubuski, I worked throughout in the
19 offices in Mostar, in Mostar Centre; first of all, in the building of the
20 medical school, which at the beginning of the war was right up at the
21 front-line, and then afterwards in the Mechanical Engineering Faculty
22 building, on the first floor.
23 Q. Sir, I'm going to show you a map, and this is going to come up on
24 your screen, and we're going to turn to Sanction. The map is P11236.
25 And I think -- sir, can you see that now? Not yet. This is a map that
1 the Trial Chamber is familiar -- I think everyone's familiar with it.
2 We've seen it before. But this is the map that the Trial Chamber used on
3 its tour of the region. It's 11236.
4 Mr. Vidovic, let's focus specifically on May of 1993. Where was
5 your office?
6 A. At the time, the office I worked in was in the Machine
7 Engineering Faculty building. Do you want me to point it out to you
8 or --
9 Q. Yes. And would that be number 14 on this map? Is that a good
10 representation of the location?
11 A. The numbers are very small here. I can barely see them. Where
12 it says "Strelcevina," [phoen] above that.
13 Q. Can you tell me if that's number 14?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And so number -- do you see the stadium?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And is that number 16, that's just above number 14?
18 A. Yes, that's right.
19 Q. Do you see the Vranica building?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And is that number 13, that appears to be a bit below number --
22 the Mechanical Faculty building?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Would you agree with me that those locations, the stadium and the
25 Vranica building were close to your office?
1 A. Well, not far. Vranica, and then some 250 to 300 metres, and the
2 stadium at 100 metres distance from the building I worked in.
3 Q. Thank you, sir, could you -- I'm not sure if the Trial Chamber
4 prefer that he sign the hard copy or if he signs on the screen.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: No signature needed, because he did not write
6 anything on the map.
7 MS. WEST: Thank you, Your Honour. Although he has now testified
8 in regard to the map, it would be my position that that would be enough
9 to authenticate the map. But I can have him also write on it as well, if
10 that would be satisfactory.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, why don't you sign it,
12 and we'll give it an exhibit number, since we know that you have located
13 the stadium, the office, and the Vranica building, 13, 14 and 16. Sign
14 it, then.
15 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
16 MS. WEST: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can we have a
18 number, please.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. That would be given
20 Exhibit IC01230. Thank you, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: A little correction. The numbers are really not
22 easy to read. It's 15 and not 16. 13, 14, and 15 are the identified
24 MS. WEST: Thank you, Your Honour. Thank you for that
1 Q. Sir, we're going to talk a little bit about your testimony
2 yesterday, and specifically Judge Antonetti asked you a question --
3 excuse me. This is from Monday. It's from the daily transcript, 29, but
4 you'll see it on the screen. And this is what he said:
5 "What I would like to know is this: Please listen carefully.
6 When a report is drafted for it to be sent on to the military prosecutor,
7 do you always ask for permission from the military unit commander whom
8 the soldiers belong to, or don't you ask him anything whatsoever, you
9 simply forward the report to the military prosecutor?"
10 And your answer was this:
11 "We were autonomous in all matters with regard to the criminal
12 reports. We were a sort of a service of the public -- of the Military
13 Prosecutor's office, and all our criminal reports went to them. We never
14 applied to any military commander to allow us to submit our criminal
15 reports to the military prosecutor."
16 So, Mr. Vidovic, is it fair to say that your decisions to
17 investigate cases were not based off of the interests of other members of
18 the HVO? Those decisions that you made, they were independent and
19 autonomous; correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And those decisions were not at all influenced by the identity of
22 the alleged perpetrator, whether that person be Muslim, Serbian, or
23 Croatian; correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And nor were those decisions influenced by the identity of the
1 victims? For example, if the victims were non-Croats, that didn't sway
2 your decision not to investigate; correct?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. Mr. Vidovic, many of the people arrested on the 30th of June and
5 the days thereafter were taken to the Heliodrom; right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And you became involved in that process; correct?
8 A. In part, yes.
9 Q. Can you describe for us your involvement?
10 A. It was like this: I and the service that I worked for never took
11 part in taking people away to Heliodrom. We were involved in writing
12 down and registering them. And they were disarmed members of the HVO of
13 Muslim ethnicity, and what we did was -- under orders from the operative
14 zone, for a few days we would take down basic information about them;
15 their names, and surnames, and the units they belonged to. So let me
16 repeat. We did not participate, I and my service, in any taking of
17 people to Heliodrom.
18 Q. Thank you. And we're just going to focus right now about -- in
19 regard to that registration. Those people that you registered in early
20 July and late June, those people were Muslim; correct?
21 A. Our department started this registration about three or four days
22 after the conflict broke out; that is to say, after the attack by the
23 BH Army on North Camp. And so most of the people registered were members
24 of the HVO of Muslim ethnicity.
25 Q. And those people who were brought to the Heliodrom, those Muslim
1 men, were brought there to ensure that they wouldn't then fight for the
2 ABiH; correct?
3 A. They were disarmed, following orders from the unit commander in
4 which they had taken part, and they are disarmed for security reasons,
5 precisely the way you put it, so as not to commit treason within the HVO.
6 Q. And it was the fact that they were Muslims that formed their
7 grounds of allegiance to the ABiH; is that right?
8 A. Yes, because the 30th of June was the day when the BH Army
9 attacked the Croatian Defence Council around North Camp.
10 Q. Mr. Vidovic, yesterday you spoke about this earlier in the day,
11 and you, for the most part, reiterated what you just said. On page 9 of
12 the daily transcript, you said that you were there to make a list of all
13 the detainees who were then disarmed by the HVO -- of the HVO, who were
14 Muslim, and whose units had isolated them and put them at Heliodrom. You
15 also said that you made a list, and you said you had the basic details of
16 the person there; the names, the surname, where they were from. You said
17 it was just the basics. You said that those lists were handed over to
18 the warden of the prison. And when asked by Judge Antonetti about who
19 was in a position to free those people, your answer was:
20 "I didn't know under whose authority they were or who had the
21 authority to do that."
22 And a further question from the President as regards to the
23 status of those people who were there, you said that:
24 "The ones that I interviewed and whose details I took down, they
25 were HVO soldiers of Muslim ethnicity, in the vast majority of cases."
1 Sir, we're going to focus on that, and we're going to look at
2 what Josef Praljak said about the those interviews and look at his
3 testimony. Excuse me, Josip Praljak. He testified in front of the
4 Trial Chamber about this very issue, and this is going to be on Sanction.
5 And this is from February 26, 2007. Thank you.
6 And, sir, when asked about the Muslim men who were brought to the
7 Heliodrom in the first part of July - you'll see this on the screen,
8 you'll have it translated - he said:
9 "We never established the number of people who arrived, because
10 that job, the job of taking them in and registering them, registering
11 those who were arriving, was done by 10 to 12 employees of the MUP, of
12 the military police, of the SIS, with Zvonko Vidovic at its head."
13 Sir, would you agree with me that that testimony was correct?
14 A. I wasn't at the head of any group. All I did was work at the
15 head of my department. As I've already said, Josip Marcinko was my
16 superior, and from orders -- on orders from Marcinko, with the same MUP
17 employees and employees of the military police and SIS, were sent there
18 simply to do my job, to do the work with regard to registering and
19 listing. So I don't know where he gets this from, the fact that I was
20 its head.
21 Q. Well, we're going to move to the next part of the transcript for
22 Mr. Praljak, and it's just a little bit later, in which he speaks a
23 little bit more about this. And the question was:
24 "Can you tell the Judges more what was said or understood by you
25 as to the role of Mr. Zvonko Vidovic in doing the intake or reception of
1 these people who were coming to the Heliodrom prison ..."
2 The answer was:
3 "... Vidovic informed Bozic, and I was present, that all the
4 registration and taking over of the people who had arrived would be
5 carried out by his people and that they would compile a complete list of
6 the people brought in, which list would be handed over to the prison."
7 Sir, do you agree with that testimony?
8 A. Well, I'll repeat what I said a moment ago. I took part with
9 those same people from the MUP, SIS, the military police, the
10 Crime Department, in compiling the registration, and all the lists we
11 made, we handed over to Mr. Bozic.
12 Q. Sir, I'm going -- thank you. I'm going to show you a list of
13 names now. They're on the screen, and I'm going to ask if you recognise
14 any of these names. Were these people with whom you worked during
15 registration at the Heliodrom? Do you recognise any of them?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. There are four names in front of you. Do you recognise all four?
18 A. There's just a mistake here. The first two names, there's a
19 spelling mistake. It's Stjepan Rubinic and Toni Ramljak with a J,
20 R-a-m-l-j-a-k. But otherwise, yes, those are people who worked with me
21 in the department, the Crime Investigation Department.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. Ms. West, how will this get into the
23 record? It is -- we see four names on the screen, and that is absolutely
24 all that we see.
25 MS. WEST: Thank you, Judge Trechsel. I think perhaps the best
1 way is to mark this for identification or perhaps I can have the witness
2 himself just testify to the names. I did this only for my own aid.
3 Q. So, sir --
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: But could you perhaps say where it comes from?
5 Because there, it comes from the air.
6 MS. WEST: Your Honour, I think further on in the
7 cross-examination, we'll discover that.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay.
9 MS. WEST:
10 Q. Mr. Vidovic, these four people, can you tell us what their names
11 were. And putting aside my spelling mistakes, can you tell us the four
12 people with whom you worked.
13 A. The interpretation is a little strange, but I get the gist of it.
14 Let me repeat, they were people who worked with me in the same Department
15 for Crime Prevention.
16 Q. And tell us the names of those four people, please.
17 A. Number 1, Toni Ramljak, l-j, number 2, Stjepan Rubinic, with an
18 R. Number 3, Zeljko Kovic; and number 4, Damir Cipra.
19 Q. Sir, now we're going to turn to the binders, which I believe you
20 probably have there, and there's a total of three binders. And my hope
21 is most of these exhibits are grouped according to subject matter so that
22 we can move fairly quickly.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, a while ago you said
24 that the interpretation sounded strange to you. What did you mean,
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The lady doing the interpretation
2 stopped a bit, paused, so I couldn't follow the gist of the whole
3 interpretation, but ultimately she told me what she meant. So first I
4 didn't quite understand because she was a little hesitant, so that's what
5 I meant.
6 MS. WEST:
7 Q. So you have binder 1 in front of you, and it's separated into
8 parts. And we're going to go to part 4, which is the last part at the
10 And perhaps in the beginning the witness could have the usher's
11 assistance. We're going to part 4. There we go, thank you.
12 And specifically we're going to go to Exhibit P0304.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. West, I'm looking at the
14 list of documents. Have all the documents been admitted or have some not
15 been admitted yet? In order to avoid the discussion on probative value
16 and relevance, it would be desirable, if a document has not been
17 admitted, to let us know that it has not already been admitted.
18 MS. WEST: Indeed. Thank you, Mr. President, I'll do so. P03040
19 is an admitted document.
20 Q. Sir, this is a list of persons taken to the Central Military
21 Remand facility, 30 June 1993
22 by Stefan Rubinic, one of the individuals you just mentioned. Is this a
23 list that's familiar to you? Have you seen this type of list before?
24 A. I haven't seen this specific list before. But, roughly speaking,
25 they're the types of lists that we're talking about. I haven't seen this
1 one, in particular, because Stjepan Rubinic was doing that one.
2 Q. So if we look at number 1, we have a name, we have a date of
3 birth, we have an address, and we have what I'll term a job, "member of
4 the HVO." If we look at number 2, we've got a name, a date of birth, an
5 address, and then again what looks to be a job, and then a status. He
6 says he's unemployed. And if we took some time and we went through all
7 124 names, I can tell you, Mr. Vidovic, we would see the same -- we'd see
8 the same thing; the name, the address, the date of birth, and then what
9 their status was, whether they had a job, whether they're in the HVO, or
10 whether they have a civilian job, or whether they're unemployed or a
12 Sir, now, if this is the type of list that was created when you
13 did your registration, you would agree with me that when you told the
14 Trial Chamber that you took down just the basics, the basics would
15 include the person's job or their status?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And of this list, this example of one of the lists that was
18 taken, there's 124 people. And just let me tell you, for the purposes of
19 this question, I looked through the entire list, and I determined from
20 the information that was written down that there were 29 HVO members and
21 there were 95 civilians or people who were employed in a job that was not
22 the military. And there was also 12 pensioners listed, people over the
23 age of 50.
24 So, Mr. Vidovic, my question for you is: Of this list, where
25 about 23 per cent of the entire list were HVO members and 77 per cent of
1 the entire list were civilians, would you agree that that general
2 percentage represents the people that you met on June 30th and registered
3 in the days afterwards?
4 A. What I can say to this question is this: I've already said that
5 under orders, we were engaged to make these lists. I, nor my people from
6 the department, brought those people to the Heliodrom in the first place.
7 Now, the military units who disarmed them probably had a reason for doing
8 so. That's one point.
9 The second point is this --
10 Q. Excuse me. So I think we're going to probably have this problem
11 in the hours to come, but I asked you whether this list, in a general
12 way, represented the number of civilians and HVO members that were
13 registered on those days, and your answer is not responsive to my
14 question. So we're going to try it again. I would ask that you focus on
15 my question and try to give an answer that's responsive.
16 In this list in front of you, there are 124 people.
17 Twenty-three per cent of those people are HVO members, Muslim HVO
18 members, but 77 per cent are civilians. Would you agree with me that
19 when you did the registration at Heliodrom, and when you testified before
20 this Chamber that for the most part those people were HVO members, that
21 you were incorrect?
22 A. I can repeat once more that at the moment when we were making
23 those lists, we had no way of verifying what these people had said to us,
24 like that they had been drafted or not, so we took whatever they said for
1 Q. All right. Then that's a different issue. Sir, are you now
2 telling the Trial Chamber when they told you they were an HVO member, you
3 had no way of verifying that, but nonetheless you put it down on the
4 list, didn't you? And when I say "you," I mean you and the people with
5 whom you worked.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So when these people told you that they worked at Soko Aircraft
8 Industry and they were now unemployed, you put that down on a list, but
9 you just didn't verify it; is that what you're telling us now?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. So if we were to look at all the lists from Heliodrom that were
12 created from the beginning of July, those lists would include information
13 about the status of the registry; correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, you've testified that you gave those lists to the prison,
16 but I'd like to look at Mr. Praljak's diary in regard to what he said
17 about the list. And this is P00352. It's in the same section of that
18 binder. It's binder 1, part 4, and it's P00352.
19 A. Number?
20 Q. 352. Do you see that? Thank you. And this is an admitted
21 exhibit, and the Trial Chamber has seen it before, and it's --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I'm not going to bore
23 Ms. West by -- or bother her by interrupting her, but I have two
25 I'm looking at the list because I'm interested in the members. I
1 see, for instance, that there is a person there; it's number 73. And the
2 son of this person works for the military police. So the son works for
3 the military police, and we arrest the father.
4 Look at number 86 now. This person seems to have an immunity
5 certificate which has been signed by Zeljko Siljeg or somebody else; I
6 don't know. It is rather strange, isn't it? How do you explain that
7 those people have been arrested?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I can only go back to
9 what I've already said, that we saw those people for the first time at
10 the Heliodrom. So I cannot provide a good explanation how a person was
11 taken in, whose son was in the military police. I said yesterday that
12 members of the military police at that time did not disarm their fellow
13 soldiers of Muslim ethnicity, at least as far as our battalion in Mostar
14 is concerned.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 My apologies, Ms. West. Please proceed.
17 MS. WEST: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Q. We're at P00352. This is the diary, and specifically we're going
19 to go to page 28 of the English. But I'm looking for the July 9th entry,
20 and I think that will help you.
21 The July 9th entry indicates -- sir, you may have that in front
22 of you on the screen. It indicates that Praljak wrote down:
23 "I asked Zvonko to send me a list of prisoners. He said I would
24 get it as soon as it was completed."
25 And then if we go to July 30th, which is the same page of the
1 English, it's the next entry, there is a meeting with the warden, and he
2 writes down:
3 "I asked Zvonko Vidovic to finally send a list of the prisoners,
4 and he always says, 'You will get it.'"
5 Mr. Vidovic, is it possible that, at least by July 30th, you had
6 not yet sent a list to the prison?
7 A. I think that these are our lists, the lists of the
8 Crime Department and of the register of persons who we are processing in
9 our criminal investigations, because at the time we already had the
10 problem with the people on who are worked and the problem of these
11 disarmed people who were put up in the same building.
12 Q. All right, Mr. Vidovic. Well, let's look at what Mr. Pusic said
13 about this subject matter.
14 We're going to go to P04141. It's the same section of the
15 binder, P04141. This is an admitted exhibit, and this is from
16 August 9th.
17 This is a decision, and under number 1 he writes:
18 "All detainees will be registered using a personal data slip
19 filled in by themselves and checked by the prison warden, who is charged
20 with completing a list of detainees and supplying it, as well as the
21 proposed personal data slips, to this commission. For the purpose of
22 classification, it is desirable that along with the name of the detainee,
23 all the directives are known to the prison warden shall be entered with
24 regard to the proper practice of physically accommodating them separately
25 (BH Army prisoners by location of capture, et cetera)."
1 So, sir, would you agree with me that at least by August 12th at
2 the Heliodrom, there's still a problem with classification of the
3 prisoners; in other words, they don't know who's an HVO Muslim detainee,
4 and they don't know who's a civilian, and they don't know who's a BH Army
5 prisoner, and they still have not physically separated them? Would you
6 agree with me that that's the case?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And also in a very general way, and this is a general question,
9 would you agree that the inability to separate the prisoners by status
10 might cause difficulties for the prison?
11 A. For the prison, at any rate, yes. It was a big problem for my
12 service, too. I have lists of persons with whom I work in my service,
13 but -- or I had at the time, but I was already faced with the situation
14 that the people on who I worked, in the framework of criminal
15 investigations, are mixed up with these others, they're not separated.
16 And that's not only a problem of the prison, but also of our department.
17 Q. So then let's first talk about the problem for the prison. Would
18 one of the problems for the prison be this: that when HVO unit commanders
19 came in and wanted to take the prisoners out for labour, there was no way
20 for the prison to determine the status of the people who were going out
21 for labour? Would that be one of the problems?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And let's go back to the diary. It's P0352, P00352. And we're
24 going to go to the next page in the English, which is page 29.
25 Specifically, it's the entry for September 22nd, 1993.
1 And in this entry, Mr. Praljak writes that he had spoken to
2 Stanko Bozic, and he writes:
3 "Army members and civilians have not yet been separated to avoid
4 releasing wrong people, to prevent an army soldier leaving instead of a
5 civilian. Some are said to have left in this way."
6 Now, Mr. Praljak is talking about a different problem than I was
7 talking about, but would you agree with me that, nonetheless, by
8 September 22nd there is still no classification and segregation of the
10 A. I cannot remember exactly what happened in late September. I can
11 tell where I was at the time, but I cannot reply with a yes or no to your
12 question because I simply don't know.
13 Q. Fair enough. Sir, we're going to go to P0341 --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a second, Witness. My
15 apologies for taking the floor. But on numerous occasions, and even
16 yesterday you said that people who were arrested were disarmed, and you
17 repeat this again and again. So I can easily understand that for
18 security reasons, you have to disarm people. But when looking closely at
19 the list, I see that number 50 and number 120 are doing humanitarian
20 work, which would mean that people doing humanitarian work are armed to
21 the teeth. But I also note that number 9, who is of Muslim ethnicity,
22 has a wife who is Croat. So we are arresting someone, and the wife of
23 this person is Croat. So we are arresting people doing humanitarian work
24 that are supposedly armed, as well as people of mixed ethnicity. So how
25 do you explain this? Do you continue to say that all those people were
1 armed and that they were disarmed?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can repeat once more,
3 Your Honour, that we came to the Heliodrom and only there did we receive
4 information about those people. All these are things that I heard, and
5 not saw. That's what I want to stress. We met them for the first time
6 when we started registering them.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you were told
8 that those people were disarmed, and so you're telling me you that you
9 heard about it, but you had no idea, yourself?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 MS. WEST: P03411. It's in the same part of that binder, P03411.
12 Q. This is remarks and instructions authored by you, and it's
13 12 July 1993
14 indicated it was to -- well, it says it's to the Military Remand Prison.
15 Let's just look at a little bit of your testimony from yesterday.
16 It's going to come up on Sanction. It's J, and I apologise to the usher
17 for this back and forth, but I can just read this. This is your
18 testimony from March 30th.
19 Judge Antonetti said:
20 "Well, who was in a position to free those people?"
21 And you said:
22 "At that time, I didn't know under whose authority they were or
23 who had the authority to do that."
24 So I'd like to look at this document, 3411. And under number 1,
25 you wrote:
1 "Until further notice, it is forbidden to release any detainees
2 using the procedure and practice of the recent days. Any possible
3 exceptions must be requested from and approved by the chief of the
4 Military Police Administration, Mr. Valentin Coric, or his deputy,
5 Mr. Lavric, and it will be pointed out that they are exceptions."
6 So this is what you wrote almost two weeks after the prisoners
7 started coming into the Heliodrom. So, sir, would you agree with me that
8 the only person who has the ability to release any of those detainees,
9 according to what you wrote, is Mr. Coric or Mr. Lavric?
10 A. No, I don't agree. This letter refers exclusively to the persons
11 under the jurisdiction of our Crime Department, who we were processing.
12 We worked on them every day, and Stanko Bozic and Mr. Praljak know them
13 as persons from the Crime Department. So this, what we're looking at,
14 only refers to persons under our jurisdiction. In those days, it was
15 known to happen that they would take people with whom we were working.
16 Q. So under number 3, it says:
17 "Visits to the detainees are not allowed, or the delivery of any
18 food, messages, and the like, except with the written approval of the
19 chief of the Mostar Section," and that being you.
20 So does this regard only those people upon whom you were
21 investigating; is that your testimony, sir?
22 A. Exactly.
23 Q. And so to the extent of that group of people -- to the extent
24 that you were involved with that group of people, what percentage of them
25 were at the Heliodrom? Excuse me, strike that.
1 What percentage of the total population at the Heliodrom
2 comprised that group of people?
3 A. You mean the people we were investigating?
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. Well, here and now, after almost 17 years, I cannot really go
6 into percentages, but I can say that it was a substantial number of
8 Q. So would you say it's the majority of the people there? Is it
9 more than 50 per cent of the people there?
10 A. I don't wish to speculate about percentages. I simply cannot
11 say, here and now, after almost 17 years. But I can say that it was
12 large number because all members of our section had a relatively large
13 number of cases that they were investigating or they were about to file
14 criminal reports against, because we were faced with a large number of
15 criminal offences daily.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a question of a technical
18 I see that the way you work is almost similar to the one in my
19 country, but I would like to have some clarification on one issue. When
20 a policeman is interviewing a witness, is he in a position to free this
21 person or does this policeman have to obtain the agreement of the
22 prosecutor for the rest of the procedure?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in our work there were
24 two aspects of what you are talking about, so there was police detention
25 up to 12 hours and police detention of up to 72 hours with a permission
1 issued by the investigating judge. In the latter case, we would have to
2 inform the investigating judge of the existence or non-existence of
3 grounds for additional detention.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So another
5 technical question.
6 Amongst those that were at the Heliodrom, did you check those
7 that were detained for 12 hours already and those who after three days
8 had to be referred to the discretion of an investigating judge, or did
9 you not take this into account?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean the ones we were
11 registering, the disarmed members?
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, exactly.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, our registering work
14 was completed, as far as our department was concerned. We had nothing
15 more to do with them after we had registered them and handed over the
17 MS. WEST:
18 Q. Mr. Vidovic, to the extent that there was a substantial number of
19 these types of detainees, do you concede, then, that the military police
20 was responsible at least for them?
21 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I apologise to my learned
22 friend, but it seems that the question is unclear. Perhaps you could
23 make yourself clear who exactly you're referring to, the ones from the
24 lists or the ones being investigated for criminal offences, because there
25 was an interruption so the witness may not actually know which group
1 you're referring to.
2 MS. WEST: Thank you.
3 Q. I'm speaking about the ones who were investigated, the ones that
4 you were just speaking about with Judge Antonetti.
5 A. Could you then repeat the entire question.
6 Q. Those individuals who you were talking about, the ones who were
7 under investigation, the substantial number who remained at the
8 Heliodrom, do you concede that the military police was responsible for
10 A. As far as our Crime Department was concerned, where I worked too,
11 we only did work from our remit. They were put up at the Heliodrom, and
12 the people working at the Heliodrom were supposed to take care of all
13 other aspects of their stay there.
14 Q. Sir, we're going to go to P05477.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me.
16 Witness, I do not find this question very satisfactory. There
17 are two things. One is the question whether a person is detained and
18 someone has the responsibility for the fact that a person is deprived of
19 his or her liberty. Another matter is the specific execution of
20 detention; at what time they get breakfast, when they can see a doctor,
21 where they sleep, and so forth. Am I correct that when you said this was
22 a matter of Heliodrom, you referred to the second aspect; namely, the
23 practical execution of the deprivation of liberty, whereas you have not
24 answered the question who is responsible for the decision whether they
25 are or not deprived of their liberty?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'll repeat what I've
2 already said.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. Please do not repeat. I put a
4 question, and try to answer this question. You don't have to repeat,
5 because I've heard what you've said. And if that had been satisfactory,
6 I would not have put the question.
7 Can you make -- can you tell me whether the military police was
8 responsible for the fact of deprivation of liberty? Not how it was
9 carried out in practice.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The military police was not
11 responsible for the deprivation of liberty.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And it was also, as you said, not responsible
13 for how the people were held, because that was Heliodrom, and the result
14 is that you say the military police was in no way responsible for this
15 class of detainees; is that your testimony?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you mean the Crime Department of
17 the Military Police, where I worked, then, yes, we were not responsible
18 for detaining or depriving of liberty the HVO detainees.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. I think that clarifies your answer.
20 Excuse me, Ms. West.
21 MS. WEST:
22 Q. P0547 --
23 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, but I have to
24 correct the transcript. On page 25, line 16, the witness said "the HVO
25 soldiers," not "HVO detainees." Thank you.
1 MS. WEST:
2 Q. 5477. This is the same binder, but it's part 2 of the binder.
3 So it's towards the front, part 2, P05477.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. I have that in part 4.
5 MS. WEST: Then that's my mistake, and as long as you have it.
6 Q. Do you have that, sir? Thank you.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. This is a September 29th letter to Mr. Stojic, and it's from you.
9 And in the very -- well, counsel for Mr. Petkovic asked you about this
10 document yesterday, and she focused, I believe, on a certain part of it.
11 But I'm going to look at another part of it.
12 In the beginning, the very first paragraph, you are talking about
13 an incident that has damaged the development of the situation in the
14 military and civilian HR-HB HVO, and in the second paragraph you talk
15 specifically about this problem. And you wrote:
16 "Last week, during the most fierce military operations in the
17 Mostar region, HVO soldiers came to Heliodrom, which is currently being
18 used as a detention centre for civilians, with a note that said that the
19 bearer should be allowed to take away the prisoners of his choosing.
20 Among those chosen, all of whom were Croats housed in the remand centre,
21 were four murderers," and you list the names:
22 "And the last one was detained as a civilian and will therefore
23 face a civil court, also for the crime of murder."
24 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, but I don't
25 know whether the problem is that the interpreter doesn't have the
1 document before her or whether Ms. West is speaking too fast, but the
2 witness is getting just every fifth word of the document. So perhaps he
3 could be allowed to read it for himself in Croatian, because otherwise,
4 just listening to the interpretation, he can't understand what it's
6 MS. WEST: Thank you.
7 Q. Sir, if you can take a moment and read that second paragraph.
8 That describes the problem you were complaining about.
9 And under the third paragraph, you say that:
10 "The above-mentioned note was signed by Mr. Tuta ..."
11 So, Mr. Vidovic, you indicated that the Heliodrom was currently
12 being used as a detention centre for civilians. When you wrote that,
13 were you talking about the civilians who had been arrested after
14 June 30th?
15 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Once again, I don't know whether the
16 problem lies in the reading of the text or whether it's the
17 interpretation, but it says "which is at the moment being used as a
18 detention facility for civilians." "Detention," is the word used, "for
19 civilians," and not as a detention centre. As a remand prison, in fact.
20 MS. WEST: Well, I'll take either one, "detention facility" or
21 "detention centre for civilians."
22 Q. And when you wrote --
23 MS. TOMANOVIC: Sorry, Ms. West, but you should take it as remand
24 prison, not detention centre. Sorry.
25 MS. WEST:
1 Q. Mr. Vidovic, go to the -- you have the Croatian version in front
2 of you. I want you to read out paragraph 2. And as you read it, it will
3 be translated for the Court. You can read it out loud. Sir, read it out
5 A. You mean this, that starts "Naime"?
6 "Last week, during the fiercest military operations in the Mostar
7 region in the premises of the Central Military Remand Prison of
8 Heliodrom, which is currently being used as a detention centre for
9 civilians ..."
10 Q. Thank you, that's enough. Thank you. So when --
11 MS. TOMANOVIC: Sorry, but --
12 [Interpretation] I apologise, but that's not the right
13 translation. "Pritvor" is not translated as "detention centre," but as
14 "remand prison." I would really ask the interpreters to be precise,
15 because this is important.
16 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] There's another important
17 thing that the witness said which wasn't interpreted. He said "and as
18 'pritvor.'" The "i" or "and" is being left out, because this way it
19 turns out that it is just as "pritvor." And I see that in the English
20 version of the document, this "and" is missing, which in this case would
21 be "and" or "also." The "i," et cetera.
22 THE INTERPRETER: The witness says, I did say "i," meaning "and."
23 MS. WEST:
24 Q. Well, this debate will be decided by the Trial Chamber. What I
25 want to focus on is the word "civilians." When you wrote that, what type
1 of people were you referring to?
2 A. I'll finally answer. It's like this: What I'm writing here on
3 the date stipulated above exclusively refers to the latter part of the
4 text. And in the latter part of the text, it is very clear what I want
5 to say. Gentlemen Bijuk, Anic, and Drmac, they were people who were
6 permanent clients, if I can put it that way, of our department, and at
7 this point in time, well, I say that they're murderers, that they had
8 committed the crime of murder. And this detention for civilians, well,
9 Madam Prosecutor, you see that Drago Klemo was detained as a civilian.
10 So if you followed carefully what I said earlier on about the civilian
11 prison in Santiceva Street, which was called Celovina, that at the
12 beginning of the conflict, when it broke out, because of the front-line,
13 he was transferred to Heliodrom and then was used -- which was then used
14 as a civilian -- for civilian detention. So apart from Drago Klemo, on
15 the premises of Heliodrom there were other civilian suspects, that is to
16 say, people suspected of having committed various crimes.
17 Q. Sir, the crux of this letter is your complaint, and this
18 complaint is addressed to Stojic. So if we go to page 3 of the English,
19 and this is where you list a number of points, and it starts with:
20 "I would hereby like to ask you the following," Stojic, "the
22 "To agree at the highest level on a united position with regard
23 to HVO units not interfering in military or civilian police affairs ..."
24 And then you list something else. And the third thing is what
25 Ms. Alaburic focused on. But if we go to the fourth point, you say:
1 "With all due respect to combat readiness and morale of the HVO
2 soldiers, I would hereby also like to ask you to explain to certain
3 commanders once more that they should not count on detainees who are
4 under investigation until their case is finished ..."
5 Sir, you sent this letter to Mr. Stojic to complain about Tuta.
6 Did you get a response from Mr. Stojic?
7 A. Well, it's like this: In my work at this time, I began to
8 encounter this problem more and more frequently.
9 Q. Excuse, Mr. Vidovic, and I apologise for interrupting. But the
10 question I asked you calls for a yes-or-no answer. And then we can talk
11 about it a little bit more, but my question is: Did you get a response
12 from Mr. Stojic, whether verbal or written?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Mr. Vidovic, why did you address it to Mr. Stojic? Did you think
15 he was in a position to do something about Tuta?
16 A. Not for that reason, because apart from writing to Mr. Stojic, I
17 also was writing to the military commanders. There were several
18 addressees, so I was trying to find ways and means of coming to grips
19 with the situation. Somebody had to decide. So here I'm just informing
20 various officials about what was happening.
21 Q. Sir, in addition to Mr. Stojic, you also put on notice other HVO
22 military commanders; correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And that was because you felt they were in a position to do
25 something to control Tuta?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. We're going to go to P03133. This is, I think, the same part 4
3 of that binder. P03133. This is an admitted exhibit as well.
4 This is July 3rd, and again it's a special report signed by you.
5 And if we can go to the fourth paragraph. It's the same subject matter
6 we were just talking about. You say:
7 "This department objects to poor security for the detained
8 persons provided by the 1st Military Police Battalion."
9 And then you say:
10 "For example, at 1900 hours on July 2nd," I think that should be
11 1993, "an unknown soldier (supposedly from the 2nd Brigade, 3rd
12 Battalion) entered the hall where Muslims were and lined up 12 persons
13 with the intentions of taking them away, without anyone's authorisation.
14 I personally prevented him, even though the building was secured by three
15 military policemen. Please ask the security commander to reinforce
16 security measures. Combat activities are carried out inside the
17 barracks, and prisoners should not walk around freely without written
19 So you say that an unknown soldier entered the hall where Muslims
20 were lined up, and there were 12 persons, with the intention of taking
21 them away. Sir, do you have any idea whether those Muslims -- or what
22 the status were of those Muslims?
23 A. Probably those disarmed members of the HVO who were Muslims by
25 Q. Now, you say "probably." Why do you say "probably"? What makes
1 you think they were disarmed HVO Muslim members? Did they have different
2 clothes that suggested that? Were they segregated in a room, where you
3 knew there were only Muslim detainee HVO soldiers? How did you know they
4 were soldiers?
5 A. The soldiers with whom I had daily contacts with when I was given
6 an assignment, they were exclusively in the Heliodrom building. The
7 people I worked with were exclusively in Heliodrom, or, rather, detained
8 in Heliodrom. And that's why I said "probably," because actually I had
9 no contact with them. They were just people who were in Heliodrom.
10 Q. Sir, we're going to go back to Sanction, and we're going to look
11 at some more testimony from Mr. Praljak. And this was the
12 cross-examination of Mr. Praljak by Ms. Alaburic, and she was talking
13 about where these people were located and what their status was. And she
15 "All right. Now, what about the HVO soldiers who were brought to
16 the Heliodrom? Regardless of their ethnicity, what status did they
18 The answer was:
19 "During that period of time, and they were brought into the
20 prison, we didn't know they were the Muslims or whether they were the HVO
21 units or not.
22 "Q. Are you telling us, then, Mr. Praljak, and can you confirm
23 that in the facilities that you mentioned, that is to say, the prison,
24 the school, and the sports hall, that there were both HVO soldiers there
25 who were Muslims and soldiers of the BH Army, and perhaps some third
2 And his answer was, "Yes."
3 And if we can just skip to the bottom, the question is:
4 "Mr. Praljak, when you received requests and demands to release
5 prisoners to perform labour or detainees to perform labour, did you need
6 to contact the administration of the detention centre? Did the
7 administration of the detention centre have to see about this?"
8 And the answer was:
9 "When the order to release these people came, the shift commander
10 did not differentiate between persons. He did not differentiate the
11 different categories, but they would take these persons from prison out
12 in set order."
13 Mr. Vidovic, you earlier this morning indicated the lack of --
14 sorry. You earlier indicated that the lack --
15 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please.
16 The witness has not received the interpretation. You're going
17 too fast, and the interpreter can't follow. And this is a specific
18 question which refers to people being released for labour, to perform
19 labour, to release prisoners to perform labour. All the witness heard
20 through the interpretation was "release," not "released to perform
21 labour," so I think we should go slower and so that every word can be
22 translated, because it's not the same to release someone or to release
23 them to perform labour.
24 MS. WEST: Thank you, Counsel.
25 Q. Mr. Vidovic, we are talking about the issue of release for
1 labour. And would you agree with me that part of this -- let's call it a
2 disorganisation. Part of the problem was without a system of
3 classification, without a system of segregation, whether it be purposeful
4 or not, then prisoners could be taken out without any understanding as to
5 whether they were civilians, whether they were ABiH prisoners of war, or
6 whether they were HVO Muslim detainees; isn't that correct?
7 A. I can't say whether you're right or not, because I didn't take
8 part in what the commanders of the military units did with the release of
9 their detained armed members -- disarmed members.
10 Q. P06170. It's part 4 of binder 1, same part, P06170. This is
11 October 27th, and it's a report on the work of the Detainee Release
12 Commission. And this is a --
13 A. Can you repeat that.
14 Q. 6170. It's in part 4.
15 A. 6170?
16 Q. Correct. This is October 27th, 1993, and there was testimony
17 from Mr. Praljak about his. He indicated that it was delivered to
18 Mr. Stojic. And I'm not going to go through the whole letter, but if we
19 go the -- excuse me, to the penultimate paragraph, so towards the end, it
21 "I must mention that the SIS and the Crime Investigative Service
22 have still not segregated the Muslim armed force members from the others.
23 And simply segregating them in another building would prevent such events
24 because the release of detainees would be open to inspection."
25 Mr. Vidovic, I'm only focused on this issue of segregation.
1 Would you agree with me that even by October 27th, segregation had still
2 not happened at Heliodrom?
3 A. May I just take a moment to read through this, please?
4 Q. Please.
5 A. Can you now repeat your question, please?
6 Q. By October -- would you agree with me that by October 27th,
7 segregation had still not happened at Heliodrom?
8 A. I know nothing about that. At the end of October? Well, I was
9 already leaving the Crime Mostar Centre in Ljubuski.
10 Q. We haven't left yet, so we're going to go to November. We're
11 going to go to P06729. It's the same part, P06729. This is a report --
12 a SIS report -- a Military Police Sector report in relation to the work
13 of the prisoners at Gabela and Heliodrom. I'm going to English page 5,
14 and it's the heading "The Accommodation of Prisoners of War." There you
15 go. It's the heading "The Accommodation of Prisoners of War." And it
17 "In said facilities," we're talking about Gabela and the
18 Heliodrom, "there are 2,600 prisoners of war who are of the same category
19 as prisoners of war in the previous shelter of the same category; i.e.,
20 real prisoners of war have not been separated."
21 And then there's a dash, and it says:
22 "Members of the BH Army have not been separated from civilians
23 who've been brought 'for various reasons.'"
24 Mr. Vidovic, November 18th, would you agree that at the Heliodrom
25 the civilians have still not been separated from, in this case, BH Army
1 prisoners of war?
2 A. I can't answer that, because we're dealing with the 18th of
3 November here, and at the time, based on my calculations, I had already
4 ceased to be an employee of the Crime Department. And if you remember
5 the 11th of November and the proposal for an appointment, I was in
6 Ljubuski from the end of October, and I don't think I was in the police
7 at this time. I think I was in Zagreb
8 happening at Heliodrom, and I've never been to Gabela.
9 Q. Excuse me, you're saying November 18th, you're not involved in
10 any of this anymore?
11 A. I think that would be right, yes.
12 Q. If we can go to part 2 of that binder, so if you back up and go
13 to part 2 of that binder, P06702. P06702, I hope I'm correct, in part 2.
14 This is a November 17th letter, so the day before, from you, in which you
15 sign it: "Chief of the Military Police Crime Investigation Department."
16 And you say:
17 "On November 10th, 1993, we were informed by the Military Court
18 about the illegal release of a remand prisoner, Kozul ..."
19 And then you say:
20 "In talks with the chief, Mr. Coric, we learned that Kozul ...
21 was released ..." And it goes on.
22 And my point is, sir, on the November 17th, you are still well
23 involved with what's going on in the military police, aren't you?
24 A. Yes, that's Ljubuski, precisely. I got the dates mixed up, but I
25 was in Ljubuski at the time, as acting head of the Crime Department, but
1 I left very soon after that. By the end of November, I wasn't in the
2 military police anymore.
3 Q. And you mention your talks with Mr. Coric. Sir, how often did
4 you talk with Mr. Coric?
5 A. While we were working in Mostar, very rarely, hardly at all. And
6 when we came to Ljubuski, we met there for a few days, because, as I
7 said, he was leaving, going to the Ministry of the Interior, and I was
8 leaving for Zagreb
9 Q. But during the time when you were in Mostar, if a big event
10 happened or an incident of note happened, on those occasions would you
11 talk to Mr. Coric about those events?
12 A. Well, I wasn't able to talk to Mr. Coric. I wasn't in a position
13 to do that because we worked in a department which, in hierarchical
14 terms -- well, as regards some letters by Mr. Coric to our department, in
15 most cases they had to do with recommendations for work, because the
16 Military Police Administration, which was in Ljubuski, was a sort of,
17 well, let's say, administrative centre, if I can put it that way.
18 Q. What about those occasions, sir, when you were in Mostar, when
19 you were notified of significant incidents and you were copied on
20 notices, and Mr. Coric was also copied, and you were the only one copied
21 from the crime investigative services, for those types of events, would
22 you have cause to speak to Mr. Coric?
23 A. I was a member of the Crime Police Department of the
24 Mostar Centre, so I had a hierarchy to respect. My superior was
25 Mr. Marcinko and later on the battalion commander, and we drafted all our
1 reports in writing.
2 MS. WEST: Mr. President, may I do one more document before the
3 break? This is P03209. It's the same section. P03209. If you go back,
4 section 2.
5 Mr. Usher. 3209, thank you. This is July 5th.
6 Q. This is a July 5th report from Mr. Bozic at the Heliodrom, and in
7 it he reports that on July 5th, at 1.00 that morning, "... bursts were
8 fired at the windows of the halls and the school where detainees were
9 accommodated. The shooting lasted until 3.00, and the perpetrators are
10 our unidentified soldiers ..."
11 He says that:
12 "... the commander, Mile Pusic, the brigade police, and the
13 military police at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering were informed
14 immediately about this incident. An agreement was reached that the
15 brigade police should stop the incident. And according to the deputy
16 commander of the prison military police, Kozul, this was not done, and
17 the shooting stopped after some time without police intervention."
18 So, sir, at this point in July, this letter was copied to you,
19 Mr. Stojic, Mr. Coric, and Mr. Pusic. And at this point, on July 5th,
20 your office is at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Mostar;
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. Do you remember this incident? You have to speak.
24 A. Not really.
25 Q. "Not really" is somewhere between, yes and no, and I would submit
1 to you this is a fairly significant event.
2 A. No.
3 Q. You don't remember this. And so do you have any memory of anyone
4 from your group, investigative services, going over to the Heliodrom and
5 investigating this?
6 A. If this was sent to us through the Military Police Battalion, we
7 probably processed this incident.
8 Q. And at that point, you were the head of the Military Crime
9 Services in Mostar; right?
10 A. These are the very days when I took over from Mr. Marcinko, who
11 fell ill, when I assumed the position of head of the military crime
12 police in Mostar.
13 Q. Thank you. So, further reason why an incident in your early days
14 as being chief or lead of that group, "an early incident as unusual as
15 this should have taken some notice." So can you tell me -- I understand
16 you say you don't remember, but can you tell me, why is it that the
17 Military Police Investigative Services did not investigate this?
18 A. I cannot say that it didn't, because I don't remember. And we
19 see, from this document, that the brigade was informed, and the military
20 police at the brigade level, in keeping with the hierarchy. And probably
21 we, from the Crime Department, were also informed, because the
22 perpetrators were unknown soldiers. But I really don't know whether we
23 investigated this incident, but more likely we did, if we did receive
24 this letter.
25 MS. WEST: Thank you, Mr. President. May we break?
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll have the break.
2 --- Recess taken at 10.37 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 10.58 a.m.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
5 MS. WEST: Mr. President, may I proceed?
6 Q. Mr. Vidovic, so it appears that in regard to the Heliodrom, you
7 were involved, at least at the beginning, for the registration. Is it
8 also true that when people were released, you were involved to a certain
9 extent of signing off that they had no criminal record and they could be
10 released? Is that right?
11 A. We were requested to submit such certificates, that's correct.
12 Q. Okay. So we know you were involved in the beginning, you were
13 involved at the end, but now I want to talk about in the middle and what
14 your role was in regard to what was ongoing at Heliodrom while the
15 prisoners remained there. Did you have any role?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Okay. So to the extent that there were incidents that took place
18 there, were you notified, would you be involved with that sort of thing?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And so, for example, in instances where Muslims were maltreated,
21 there would have been a report, and would your group be notified?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And so when we see documents indicating maltreatment and you're
24 copied, should we understand that criminal investigations resulted from
25 those notifications?
1 A. We took action upon such notifications, and that action was
2 within our jurisdiction or remit.
3 Q. Okay. So from July to December of 1993, were you notified that
4 prisoners at the Heliodrom were being taken out to work and were either
5 killed or wounded?
6 A. I don't know anything about the prisoners being taken out to
7 work, apart from the detainees whom we processed. I was notified about
9 Q. Okay. So if you were notified about the detainees who might have
10 been wounded or killed because they were within your sector, is it your
11 position that any time we see documents of your notification, that would
12 regard those HVO Muslim detainees?
13 A. Well, not exactly. I believe I have to clarify.
14 Mr. Stanko Bozic wrote to me, among others, all the time. From early
15 July, he constantly informed me, among other persons, no matter whether
16 it was about those under the jurisdiction of our Crime Department, whom
17 we processed, or somebody else.
18 Q. Okay. So just so I am clear, it's your testimony that when you
19 were notified by Stanko Bozic that people had been taken from the
20 Heliodrom and had been wounded or killed, those people could either have
21 been HVO detainees, Muslim detainees, or they could have been Muslim
22 civilians; you don't know, but it could be either category?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And as a result of receiving those notifications, would you
25 conduct investigations?
1 A. Apart from conducting investigations, if we knew certain names
2 important for those investigations, we would also check whether, among
3 those names, there was someone whom we had processed for criminal
5 Q. And as part of the reason that -- in regard to all these
6 notifications, as part of the reason that you don't know whether those
7 people were either HVO Muslim detainees or Muslim civilians, is it
8 because the Heliodrom was randomly sending people out for labour without
9 any system in place?
10 A. I don't know which persons that's about unless I'm given the
11 names. So if I'm given a general report, without names, I cannot really
12 form an opinion.
13 Q. Sir, we're going to look at now binder 3. This is a different
14 binder. It's binder 3, and it comes in two parts. Specifically, we're
15 going to look at part 1. There we go.
16 Sir, this is -- in part 1 are 66 documents, dated from July 4th
17 through December 14th, where you were given notice that prisoners were
18 being taken from the Heliodrom for work and they were either wounded or
20 And for the record, it's not the Prosecution's position that this
21 is the universe of documents reflecting that during that period of time.
22 These are just the documents in regard -- that are copied to Mr. Vidovic.
23 So this is 66 documents. That's 24 weeks' worth of documents
24 where, if we average it out, you were notified at least -- or almost
25 three times a week of these deaths and woundings. Mr. Vidovic, would you
1 agree with me that this was a big problem for the HVO?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And this was not a problem that could go unnoticed by you or your
4 superiors, was it?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. So now if we go to part 2 of that binder, so it's the second
7 half, these are additional documents, and these documents are not in
8 numerical order. They go by date. They start in July, they go through
9 November, and what these are is -- yes, thank you. The first document
10 will be the order to send people out for labour, and then the document
11 right behind it is going to be the report on the woundings or killings.
12 So we're going to look at the very first one, 3253.
13 This appears -- it's July 7th, signed by Jelic. It appears to be
14 what I would term as a pro forma document, and it's requesting labour.
15 And we've seen this type of document several times.
16 Have you ever seen this type of document before, 3253?
17 A. 3253?
18 Q. Yes. Have you ever seen this type of document before? Maybe not
19 this particular one, but --
20 A. These are documents signed by the commander of the defence of the
21 city. I don't remember having seen these documents in going about the
22 work of our department.
23 Q. Okay. But if you'll bear with me, as a police officer and a
24 lawyer, I think you have some ability to talk about this document with
1 Sir, you'll see here, in a second paragraph, it has the person,
2 there's a line, they fill in the blank, "... is personally responsible
3 for taking over the prisoners for their security and welfare while they
4 will be carrying out public works ..."
5 And then in parentheses it has:
6 "(Cleaning of the streets, parks, settlements, and premises)."
7 And below that, it says:
8 "The prisoners are to be treated in accordance with the
9 International Humanitarian Law and Geneva Conventions."
10 Mr. Vidovic, are you aware that International Humanitarian Law
11 allows certain status of prisoners to do work, as long as it's not
12 related to military operations, and the work that they can do is
13 illustrated by this very document, this public works? Are you aware of
14 that law?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you're aware that prisoners are not allowed to do work
17 related to the conduct of military operations; correct?
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 Q. And would you agree with me that part of the reason that they're
20 allowed to do public work, cleaning the streets, parks, settlements,
21 premises, part of the reason that they're allowed to do that is that is
22 considered to be safe work, as opposed to military operations? Do you
23 agree that's a fair assessment?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Because in some places, in places where they would be carrying on
1 military operations, in those places there is a distinct possibility that
2 these prisoners could be wounded or killed; does that make sense?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And if, for example, civilians had been taken out to do work
5 related to military operations, that would have been a crime for which
6 you were responsible to investigate; correct?
7 A. You said "civilians"?
8 Q. Yes.
9 A. In our work, we exclusively dealt with military staff, military
11 Q. So if a military person came in and took some civilians out to do
12 work related to military operations, would you be obligated to
13 investigate that incident?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So let's look at the next document right behind it. It's P03293,
16 P03293. And this is the corresponding report to this order. So based on
17 this order -- this request for 40 prisoners, they were sent out, and
18 these 40 detainees were given for labour, with the approval of Mr. Pusic.
19 And on their return from labour:
20 " ... we were informed that one of the detainees ... was wounded
21 by the BH Army and was transferred to the hospital ..."
22 Sir, do you remember looking into this incident where
23 40 prisoners were actually sent out to do work and one of them was
25 A. We were indirectly involved in such cases, through military units
1 and their security structures, that is, the SIS at brigade level, who had
2 jurisdiction over them.
3 Q. So this report is copied to you, but you don't have any memory of
4 this -- of any investigation that your group conducted here; correct?
5 A. I cannot remember, based on this document, but I repeat that we
6 conducted certain investigations into such cases; I mean, our service.
7 Q. And would you agree with me that in a situation where one of the
8 prisoners was wounded by the BH Army, so in this case the enemy of the
9 HVO, it might give you an indication that these people were working in a
10 situation that had to do with something -- something to do with military
12 A. I must once again mention that all of Mostar was a war zone. The
13 entire city was a dangerous war zone, where there was daily shelling, and
14 you must know that even far away from the front-line people were killed
15 or wounded by snipers daily. In the area where my house is, and that is
16 some 700 or 800 metres away from the front-line, even there people were
17 killed by snipers; that is to say, in other words, that all of Mostar was
18 a war zone. So we cannot speak about parks being safe places.
19 Q. Then let's talk specifically about HVO positions. Let's go to
20 P03766, and you're going to see it just a couple more documents back.
21 03766. This is August 9th. This document is a request for 20 detainees
22 by the commander of the 2nd Battalion, Puljic.
23 And then you go to the very next document, 4221, and this is the
24 corresponding report in regard to these 20 prisoners.
25 Sir, in this request, it says:
1 "You are requested to place 20 detainees at our disposal to do
2 the necessary works on fortifying our positions."
3 Now, would you agree with me that "fortifying our positions" is
4 clearly related to military operations?
5 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. I am not
6 sure which document we're reading now, 4221 or another. I got lost
7 because the interpreter interpreted that into Croatian, but the
8 transcript shows something else. The transcript reads "in the report,"
9 whereas it was interpreted "you say." But none of these documents
10 originates from the witness.
11 MS. WEST: My fault.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. West, which document are we
13 talking about here?
14 MS. WEST: The first one, which is P03766. It's the
15 corresponding request, the first one, 3766. This is the request from
16 Mr. Puljic, and he says:
17 "You are requested to place 20 detainees at our disposal to do
18 the necessary works on fortifying our position."
19 Q. Mr. Vidovic, do you have that document?
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Ms. West, in my document, I read "25."
21 MS. WEST: That's correct, sir. Thank you, Your Honour,
22 "25 detainees."
23 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. Possibly my
24 learned friend is reading from the wrong document, because this doesn't
25 say "fortifying our positions." It says "perform urgent tasks for the
1 needs of," et cetera, and that's document 3766. So this may not be the
2 right document.
3 MS. WEST: I think it is my mistake, and I'll go back to it.
4 Thank you, Counsel.
5 Q. Mr. Vidovic, in these -- generally during that period of time,
6 when you were notified that people were killed or wounded, you've
7 testified that in some cases you started investigations. Tell the
8 Trial Chamber how you discerned which cases you started investigations on
9 and which cases you did not.
10 A. You're asking me generally, not related to this document, so your
11 question doesn't refer to this particular document, does it?
12 Q. Correct.
13 A. Our investigations were instigated if we received written
14 reports containing information that the persons mentioned there can be
15 found in our files. In such cases, we were duty-bound to act and inform
16 the Military Prosecutor's Office accordingly.
17 Q. Mr. Vidovic, we're going to stay in the same binder, but we're
18 going to go to the part before, part 1, and talk about these 66 reports.
19 When you just said "our investigations were instigated if we
20 received written reports containing information," I would submit to you
21 this is 66 times where you're receiving a written report indicating these
22 deaths and wounded. And if we go through these, and you can take a
23 moment to look at some of these, there are more than 66, but many of them
24 go to you, I would submit to you that in these reports, they don't
25 indicate whether these people are detainees, whether they are civilians,
1 whether they're ABiH prisoners of war, they just give names. And, sir,
2 would you agree with me that the reason that Bozic is just giving you
3 names of people and not giving you status is because he didn't know the
4 status? Sir, isn't that right?
5 A. I don't know what he knew. It was his business to know. But as
6 I said, he wrote to me all the time, whether it had to do with us or not.
7 Q. All right, sir. If it's your testimony that you conducted
8 investigations when you received notice of the status of the person
9 killed or wounded, are you telling this Trial Chamber that above and
10 beyond these 66 documents copied to you, you received other documents,
11 other reports, indicating that the persons wounded or killed were HVO --
12 or, rather, were people under your control? Is that what your testimony
14 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] The witness said -- I
15 apologise for interrupting the Prosecutor, but on page 48 the witness
16 said that, "we launch investigations when we received written reports
17 which contained information." And then as far as I understood him -- I
18 would like the witness to be given an opportunity to clarify, because
19 only half of what he said is being interpreted. Why doesn't he clarify
20 which registry -- registers or files he was referring to, because he said
21 several times over that upon receiving such reports, he would check his
22 files. I believe that he's trying to say something, but doesn't have the
23 chance to say it more clearly.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This could be an additional
25 question. But if the transcript does not faithfully reflect what the
1 witness has said, it is better for the witness to clarify this.
2 So, Witness, what did you say, exactly? And this should not be
3 deducted from the time of questions posed by or put by the Judges.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said -- the way it was, these
5 were our registers or files, namely, the files of the Crime Department,
6 where I worked, and which were made only for the use of our
7 Crime Department for the cases we were working on.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, as this has been interrupted anyway, I
9 would like to put to you what I consider a basic question.
10 Did you ever, ever start an investigation after you had received
11 a report that persons taken from Heliodrom to work had been killed or
12 wounded? Did that ever trigger an investigation?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes, if the persons
14 involved were detainees processed by our department. If the persons
15 involved were disarmed HVO members, the investigation was conducted by
16 the brigade, that is, the security structures of the brigade.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, I was actually asking whether you, the
18 Military Police Crime Prosecution Department, started any such
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's precisely what I want
21 to explain to you. We did if we had the authority over the person; that
22 is to say, if before we were processing him for another criminal offence.
23 And there were cases when such detainees, too, without permission from
24 the prosecution or informing us within our legal frameworks, would be
25 taken out to do labour.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Would it be possible for you to give
2 any examples for this? Do you recall any specific cases of that kind?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, before the break I
4 believe we saw a document where that note, the famous note, was mentioned
5 where certain soldiers were being handed over, people against whom a
6 criminal report had been filed for murder. If you remember the slip,
7 there was a slip there with a text and Tuta's signature, where there were
8 three civilians being taken -- three soldiers being taken and one
9 civilian. That's what I'm talking about.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
11 I'm sorry, I hope I didn't mess up your plan, Ms. West.
12 MS. WEST: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, please listen
15 There were 56 people killed and 191 people injured, and that's as
16 far as I can recollect, which means that, in total, there were over 200
17 cases of people who were either wounded or killed during the period in
18 question; namely, where they were detained at the Heliodrom. Out of
19 those roughly 200 cases, as far as you can recollect, how many
20 investigations did you launch? This is just a rough figure. One, five,
21 ten, twenty, fifty, what figure could you give? Because I can understand
22 that you cannot give the name of a victim. This can be understood.
23 Seventeen years down the line, who would be able to do that? However,
24 you may be in a position to remember as to whether there were five, ten,
25 twenty, thirty, or fifty investigations that were launched. That could
1 be possible.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think I can answer that by
3 giving a figure, but I do know that investigations were conducted. But I
4 really can't give you a number because, after all, it's been 17 years,
5 and I don't have those classifications in my mind now, within criminal
6 reports, to be able to know a definite number and so on. It's difficult
7 for me to do that, Your Honour, so I don't think I can answer your
8 question by giving you any figures.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
10 Please proceed, Ms. West.
11 MS. WEST:
12 Q. Mr. Vidovic, of these 66 reports to you giving you notice, there
13 are 19 reports where notice went to you and to Mr. Coric as well, and
14 there are 9 reports where notice went to you and Mr. Pusic as well. Upon
15 receipt of these reports, did you speak to Mr. Coric about them?
16 A. Well, it was like this: As I said a moment ago, Mr. Bozic would
17 write to me non-stop. I kept getting --
18 Q. Mr. Vidovic, I appreciate that and we have heard it, but my
19 question is quite clear and it requires a yes or no. It can be, Yes; it
20 can be, No; it can be, I don't know. When you received these reports,
21 the ones where Mr. Coric was copied, did you have a discussion with him?
22 A. You asked me whether I talked to Coric; is that it? Instead of
23 talking to him, I wrote to him, to Mr. Coric, and I asked that at
24 meetings of the Military Police Administration, finally our department,
25 from top level, be allowed to do our work, as it says in our heading and
1 title, "Department for the Prevention and Investigation of Crime." And
2 I think that sometime toward the end of July, at a meeting at the
3 military police, a decision was taken which was sent on down to me
4 through the battalion, because I wasn't at the meeting, it was the
5 commander battalion who attended the meeting, and I think that it was
6 precisely this written decision where Mr. Coric, the chief, was taking on
7 board what I had requested, was giving me permission. And after that,
8 I think that I personally gave a copy to Mr. Bozic of that decision. I
9 handed it to him personally, I think, and asked him not to keep writing
10 to me about matters that didn't come under my remit, but that he should
11 contact the military prosecutor.
12 Q. Let's talk about an example, one we just spoke about 15 minutes
13 ago. In a situation where you receive notice that an HVO military
14 commander came in, took out detainees, and that these detainees are
15 civilians, and that some of those civilians were wounded or killed, and
16 you receive notice of that, are you telling us that you did an
17 investigation and a prosecution resulted from that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And are you telling us that Mr. Coric told you to do that?
20 A. No. Why Coric? I don't understand.
21 Q. You, yourself, did an investigation, transferred it over to the
22 prosecution, and prosecutions resulted?
23 A. Yes, yes, yes.
24 Q. So, Mr. Vidovic, I've not seen any documents that look anything
25 like that. And in your direct testimony with counsel, we have not seen
1 any documents that look like that either. Are you suggesting that at the
2 time there's documents supporting this notion, but you haven't seen any
4 A. Well, I remember a very interesting case from the sphere of what
5 you're talking about. We had a situation - I think it was in July
6 1993 - in which an organised group of HVO soldiers right up at the
7 front-line, in Ricina Street, was mistreating people and forcing them out
8 of their flats. And since it was the front-line, and since that came
9 under the direct authority of the commander of the defence of the town,
10 Mr. Jelic, I personally informed him of that case, the one which we
11 received information about, that it had happened, and then a group was
12 organised under the command of Mr. Jelic directly which assisted us,
13 arrested these soldiers, and we processed them and filed criminal
14 reports. I think that was July 1993 in Ricina Street. And they were
15 members of the HVO who were up at the front-line.
16 Q. Can you tell me their names, and were they convicted?
17 A. I can't do that. Perhaps if I were to see a document.
18 Q. Well, let's look at P03518.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I'd like to get back
20 to a question which was put to you by Ms. West.
21 As far as civilians are concerned, you come from a country where
22 the law is being applied, and it is applied with precision. We had a
23 witness before you who explained to us that the civilian prison had been
24 transferred to the Heliodrom. We can, therefore, conclude that at the
25 Heliodrom there are also civilian prisoners. A civilian prisoner, unless
1 I'm mistaken - and if I make a mistake, please correct me, because you're
2 a lawyer - comes under the civilian authority, the civilian court, and
3 may serve a sentence that has been handed down by civilian jurisdiction,
4 unless we are talking about civilians that have been involved in cases
5 that fall within the authority of the military prosecutor or other
6 authorities. Based on that, a civilian who leaves the Heliodrom, as far
7 as you know, does this civilian, according to what Ms. West is saying,
8 fall under the authority of the military police and the military
9 prosecutor or can this civilian fall under the authority of the civilian
10 authorities, i.e., the civilian -- civil investigating judge who has
11 imprisoned him, the civil court, and the civil prosecutor?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you mean the case I quoted
13 earlier on, I think it was Mr. Klemo, and it was the crime of murder, but
14 he was a civilian, so he comes under civilian authority and jurisdiction.
15 But from the prison, he was taken out by a military personnel, taking him
16 to a military operation. But at the point of his arrival at Heliodrom
17 and while he was in Heliodrom, he was a civilian, pursuant to a
18 decision -- put there following a decision by a civilian court.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The military who took him out
20 of the prison, did they know what his legal position was exactly, as far
21 as you know?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't know what they
23 knew about the legal position. But the persons who were taken out and
24 who were under the authority of our department, we informed the military
25 prosecutor about that.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. My last question
3 You have noticed, as I have, and Ms. West pointed this out to
4 you, and I thank her for that, that the orders were all the same; it was
5 just a matter of filling in the empty boxes. But you filled in the empty
6 boxes by writing figures in there, We need 20 detainees, but there was no
7 difference between the civilians, prisoners of war, and the others. As
8 far as you know, don't you think this could be a source of confusion?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it wasn't I who was
10 doing this filling out. I didn't ask for those people, nor did I condone
11 it. There were exceptional cases in which I could give those who were
12 being processed by us, but then they would contact me, I would ask
13 permission from the prosecutor or investigating judge, and then I would
14 act. But that was a matter of mere logistics, nothing more. As to all
15 the rest, I did not take part in any of this giving of people for labour.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. West.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. I still want to stick with that
18 example with the four -- I don't think they were murderers; they were
19 suspected murderers, probably. Do you recall whether any of these was
20 wounded or killed while out working?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean of the four, or generally
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Of these four.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think they were harmed --
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: In that case --
1 THE WITNESS: [Previous translation continues] ... or killed.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think, in that case, the example fails. When
3 I asked you for examples of prosecution, I was thinking of cases where
4 persons -- prisoners, detainees, I use this un-technically, were taken to
5 work and were killed or wounded. That was what I meant might have called
6 for an investigation. And I wanted to know whether, in any such cases,
7 you had an example where there had actually been an investigation. And
8 so far, it seems we still have no example for that.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remember one example very
10 characteristic for what you're asking me about and saying, Your Honour.
11 And with your permission, I'll tell you about it.
12 During the war operations in July 1993, from the detention in
13 Heliodrom, taken out was -- and I think I'll be right in saying --
14 99 per cent right if I say that just like that famous slip we were
15 looking at, something was taken for the needs or requirements of an
16 operation -- or, rather, a member of the HVO was taken out. I can't
17 remember his name now, but I know that he was not from Mostar and that he
18 was a Serb. He was killed in the war operations, and our department
19 carried out a full investigation and handed the entire report over to --
20 we handed over the entire report and criminal report to the criminal
22 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness repeat his last sentence,
23 please. Thank you.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had an opportunity to meet him
25 just before this act. When he was taken over from Heliodrom and when we
1 learnt about his death, our department launched an investigation. He was
2 in Mostar alone. He wasn't from Mostar, himself, and he had nobody close
3 to him in Mostar. And I remember that we spent a long time looking for
4 anyone who knew him, and all that we learnt was that he was from Western
5 Bosnia, Prijedor or thereabouts. So that, Your Honour, would be an
6 example of what we were discussing.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Would you recall what the result of
8 the investigation was? Was anybody identified as a suspect?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
11 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I apologise for
12 interrupting. I was waiting patiently to say something linked to what my
13 learned friend said; that we, during these proceedings, have not seen
14 documents showing that something had been reported to the prosecutor.
15 What I want to say is that, unfortunately, during this trial we
16 did not receive from the prosecutor a single binder from any prosecutor's
17 office in Bosnia-Herzegovina, neither civilian nor military, and the
18 Defence of Mr. Coric earlier on - I'm sure Their Honours will
19 remember - during the Prlic Defence case, along with the witness,
20 introduced some CDs with books from the prosecution. However, they were
21 just books about cases registered. Neither the OTP nor us -- we weren't
22 able to access any complete documentation from all the prosecutor's
23 offices and military courts. And just like in this Military District
24 Court in Mostar and the military prosecutor in Mostar, that was the case
25 there too. That's my first point.
1 Now, my second point is: Unfortunately, in this trial, because
2 it doesn't exist in the Croatian archives, did we manage to access the
3 incoming and outgoing registration books, and the incoming and outgoing
4 registration books of the military police of the HVO, and I think -- nor
5 SIS, either, so that I think that nobody can claim in this trial either
6 that they've seen all the documents or that they will see them by the end
7 of this trial.
8 Thank you, Your Honour.
9 MS. WEST:
10 Q. Mr. Vidovic, in answer to Judge Trechsel's question, you gave us
11 one example of an investigation, and this is one example on the face of
12 66 notifications to you that there have been people killed or wounded.
13 Sir, I put it to you that the general HVO policy at the time was not to
14 investigate these cases at all, and my question is: Is this because the
15 HVO did not think it was a crime?
16 A. I can't answer on behalf of the entire HVO. As far as the
17 department that I worked in, we considered that every criminal report and
18 every crime committed should -- that a criminal report should be filed
19 against the perpetrator of those crimes and acts.
20 Q. Can you please look at P03518. So this is in part 1 of the
21 binder you're in.
22 A. I'd just like to ask the interpreters to speak up, because I hear
23 the Prosecutor louder than I hear the interpretation. Thank you.
24 Q. 3518, 3518. There you go. This is July 17th. This is a report.
25 You were copied, Mr. Coric, and Mr. Pusic:
1 "On July 16th, three detainees were supplied to work at
2 recovering the bodies of our soldiers who had been killed on the order of
3 Mr. Ivica Pisic ..."
5 " ... with the approval of Mr. Berislav Pusic, the control
7 And then it lists the detainees.
8 Mr. Vidovic, recovering bodies of soldiers is, of course, related
9 to the conduct of military operations, is it not?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And would you agree with me, sir, that this particular case was
12 not investigated, it was not sent over for prosecution, and no conviction
14 A. I can't say that. And here, from the document, we can see that
15 mention is made of the SIS of the brigade, and the brigade police is also
16 mentioned, so these are persons who came under their domain. I state,
17 once again, I cannot exclude the fact that an investigation was launched
18 later on by our department. But looking at this document, I can't know
19 that, I don't know that. All I can see from this document is that it is
20 an internal document from Heliodrom, informing about the activities of
21 the 3rd Brigade. And I have to add that the 3rd Brigade was located and
22 put up at Heliodrom.
23 Q. Thank you, sir. I want you to assume for me the following:
24 Assume that there's an influx of well over 2.000 prisoners into Heliodrom
25 in the month of July, that a substantial part of those people are
1 civilians, that they're mixed together with other people who are detained
2 at that facility, that the prison officials who run the place don't know
3 who's who, they don't know who's a civilian, they don't know who's an HVO
4 Muslim soldier, they don't know who is an ABiH prisoner of war, and they
5 don't know who is a real HVO detainee, that these people are subject to a
6 system whereby HVO military people come in, and without any rules or
7 regulations, they go ahead and they take whomever they want for labour,
8 without anyone in the prison and without any of those people coming in
9 knowing the status of who is going out. Mr. Vidovic, would you agree
10 with me that this is a system that might occasion civilians ending up
11 going to do forced labour in military operations?
12 A. I can agree with your assumption, but once again I have to
13 repeat, for the umpteenth time, what my role was in all this. I was a
14 crime investigator of the military police.
15 Q. And so do I take it that you are not -- it's your position that
16 you can't answer that question?
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me. The question -- if I may have the
18 mike. The question was answered, and the Prosecutor is now being unfair
19 to the witness. And there's no need to be unfair to the witness. He
20 did -- perhaps she wasn't listening or didn't get quite the answer that
21 she wanted, but he did indicate, it's very clear:
22 "I can agree with your assumption."
23 You posed a hypothetical, an assumption, and he said:
24 "I can agree with that."
25 But then he went on to stress his role. So you did get an
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. He did, in fact, answer.
3 I have a question after you, Mr. Ibrisimovic. You have the
5 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I didn't want to
6 interrupt my learned friend when she showed the document 3515
7 [as interpreted], but the identical situation was with other documents.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel repeat the number slowly, please.
9 Thank you.
10 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] And looking at paragraph 13,
11 Mr. Pusic at that time was not a liaison officer. I beg your pardon, I
12 mean control officer. But according to the 5th of July submission, he
13 was appointed head of the Service for Prisoner Exchange, and I'm saying
14 this for the record. The documents were P3518 and document P3293 and
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, on looking at the last
17 document, 3518, P3518, could the following situation have occurred:
18 Since the Heliodrom is a military prison where a soldier is being
19 sanctioned by the military authority by his brigade commander, and he is
20 taken into custody, and he serves a 15-day custody sentence -- every
21 person having done his military service knows exactly what this means.
22 So this person is in the Heliodrom, and then, lo and behold, his unit
23 wants to recover him because they want him to perform labour. He does
24 not report to the military prosecutor and he doesn't report to the
25 military police either, because he has been sanctioned as part of the
1 disciplinary measures, and his unit want to recover him because they want
2 him to perform labour, and he is killed in circumstances we are not
3 familiar with, since the document doesn't mention these. The
4 investigation that is going to be conducted -- well, should this
5 investigation be conducted by the SIS of his brigade, or the military
6 police of the brigade, and perhaps even by yourself, afterwards if it so
7 happens that an offence has been committed? Can you spell this out for
8 us, because we are discussing extremely complex matters and you can help
9 us understand the situation better.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the example you have
11 just given in the first part has to do with disciplinary proceedings
12 which the unit commander launched against his soldier. I must tell you
13 that these disciplinary proceedings -- or, rather, soldiers who were
14 sanctioned for disciplinary breaches by their commanders also served
15 their sentences, say 15 days, at the Heliodrom; that is, in the building
16 where detainees were because of whom we went to the Heliodrom daily or
17 according to need. If an incident as described by you should occur,
18 namely, that the commander takes a detainee out of detention while he's
19 serving his sentence, and I believe that you said the detainee got
20 killed, well, our department didn't process such cases. They were --
21 they came under the exclusive jurisdiction of the SIS of the brigade, or
22 the brigade generally speaking. We were not faced with such cases.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I think I was right
24 in asking the question.
25 Ms. West, please proceed.
1 MS. WEST: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. Mr. Vidovic, you spoke earlier about the reasons why post-June
3 30th that Muslim men were arrested. You said that they were arrested
4 because they were Muslim, and the concern was because they were Muslim,
5 their allegiance would be to the ABiH, and not the HVO. So I'd like to
6 look at P11237, and we're now in binder 2, which I think is a different
7 binder than what you have in front of you. Binder 2 has two parts,
8 part 1 and part 2. Thank you. We're going to go to P11237. Okay.
9 And this is July 11th, 1993, and it's to you, it's a request to
10 you. And it says:
11 "The following soldiers have joined and proved to be loyal to the
12 HVO since the beginning of the conflict with the Serb aggression as well
13 as in the latest conflict with the ABiH." And, We are requesting their
15 Mr. Vidovic, do you remember receiving requests like this?
16 A. This is one of the rare requests which was also sent directly to
17 me. I mentioned a short while ago, you may remember, about -- something
18 about logistics, and within logistics, let's say the Pioneers. I
19 remember an incident where an auxiliary road was built, it was under
20 construction, as a route from Mostar to Siroki Brijeg, because the
21 existing road that had been there before the war was constantly being
23 Q. I'm sure what you're saying is relevant to this. But just in a
24 general way, you'll agree with me that sometimes you receive requests to
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And in this case, these two soldiers, by their names, can you
3 tell their ethnicity or their nationality?
4 A. They are Muslims by ethnicity.
5 Q. Okay. And these people were released because it appeared to be
6 clear that their allegiance was not to the ABiH and it, in fact, was to
7 the HVO; correct?
8 A. Yes, but I must add that the person mentioned under 2,
9 Mr. Drljevic, was the subject of an investigation of ours for theft, so
10 he was under our jurisdiction at the Heliodrom. Senad Drljevic,
11 number 2.
12 Q. Okay, thank you. So, sir, you were involved in sort of a
13 logistical way in the releases of people from Heliodrom; is that fair?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And when people were released, where did they go?
16 A. Are you referring to this document, or is it a general question?
17 Q. General.
18 A. It can be seen here that they could go home or they could leave
19 Mostar, wherever they wanted to go.
20 Q. All right. Well, let's talk about some different people. We're
21 going to go to P03008. It's that binder, but it's the second part, 3008.
22 This is dated June 29th.
23 A. It's marked as "3008" here.
24 Q. So this is June 29th, and this is an early document. This is
25 even before the June 30 round-up. But it says -- it's from you, it's to
1 the Heliodrom, and it asks the administration to hand over the following
2 prisoners. It lists eight. And it says:
3 "The aforementioned prisoners will leave for the Federal Republic
4 of Yugoslavia at their own demand."
5 So in this case, these particular people were leaving
6 Herceg-Bosna; correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And if prisoners were willing to leave Herceg-Bosna, was that a
9 way they could get out of prison?
10 A. One of the ways.
11 Q. All right.
12 A. It wasn't a rule, though.
13 Q. Sir, we're going to go to P03616. It should just be a couple
14 more. And this is a meeting from July 21.
15 And for the record, I'll note, we talked about this yesterday, it
16 had a different exhibit number, it was a different translation, and
17 that -- from yesterday, the parties were using 5D04115. Today, we have
19 This is a meeting that you attended. You spoke about this
20 yesterday, and these are the minutes, so I want to focus on this. And
21 we're going to look at the bottom of English page 2 to 3, and it's the
22 part right under your name. And it says:
23 "If we (as we were charged to do) had carried out the round-up of
24 inhabitants in the town, it should not have happened that a unit or group
25 started rounding up people in the town."
1 And then you cite an example. You say that:
2 "The police from the Pupils' Hall of Residence, who of their own
3 bat, rounded up the inhabitants in one quarter of town and drove them out
4 of their flats which they then looted and carried off items. The Welfare
5 Centre is the institution to draw up a list of people who want to
6 emigrate to abroad, and why should we dispute that with them?"
7 Mr. Vidovic, at the beginning of this passage, Judge Trechsel
8 asked you about this, the part that says:
9 " ... if we, as we were charged to do, had carried out the
10 roundup of the inhabitants in town ..."
11 And, sir, is it your testimony that the military police was not
12 involved with the round-up of the residents?
13 A. Yes. I said yesterday, once I had seen this document, if I
14 remember well, that this was not a transcript, but rather that the
15 minutes were signed by one Javorka Ribica. This is a document of the
16 MUP, the civilian police. I saw this document for the first time
17 yesterday, and I decidedly claim that I did not say that. So this is
18 about the meeting the purpose of which was enhancing crime enforcement in
19 co-operation with the civilian and the military police, the
20 Military Court and the Prosecutor's Office. We saw that yesterday.
21 Q. Thank you. We're going to move on, because I'm not going to
22 focus on that right now. But I'm going to focus on the part that says:
23 "The Welfare Centre is the institution to draw up a list of
24 people who want to emigrate to abroad, and why should we dispute that
25 with them?"
1 Sir, you were familiar with this practice of the Welfare Centre;
3 A. My department, where I worked, had contacts with the Social
4 Welfare Centre, and pursuant to the orders received from the zone of
5 operations -- yes?
6 Q. So you were familiar with this practice of drawing up this list,
7 this list they had?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Do you know what the centre promised those people in return for
10 them to leave?
11 A. I don't know that.
12 Q. Do you think one of the reasons that these people were willing to
13 go abroad was perhaps because their flats were being looted and items
14 carried off?
15 A. I prefer to look at things from a different angle. There was a
16 war on in Mostar, and the state of war had been in place since
17 April 1992. The living conditions were unbearable for the vast majority
18 of the inhabitants of the town, irrespective of their religious or ethnic
20 Q. Let me stop you right there and ask you: This list that the
21 Welfare Centre drew up, do you understand that the people primarily on
22 that list were Muslim?
23 A. Yes.
24 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. Which list
25 are we talking about? Does the witness know that at all? I cannot see
1 any list in front of me, so I don't know what you're referring to.
2 MS. WEST: I think the witness understands what I'm referring to,
3 and it's what's in this document, page 3, at the top:
4 "The Welfare Centre is the institution to draw up a list of
5 people who want to emigrate ..."
6 Q. So, Mr. Vidovic, you've indicated that the people primarily on
7 the list were Muslim.
8 If we can go down on the English page towards the bottom, under
9 "Velimir Maric, president of the District Military Court."
10 And underneath Mr. Maric, it says:
11 "We are in a serious war for Croatian territory. Without unity,
12 the Croats will lose the war."
13 Now, Mr. Vidovic, you were at this meeting, and you heard this
14 discussion. Would you agree with me that part of the way to win the war
15 for what was here named Croatian territory was to get rid of the Muslims?
16 Would you agree with that, sir?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Was it a practice to send Muslims to third countries to get them
19 out of Herceg-Bosna?
20 A. I don't know of any practice involving the organised sending of
21 Muslims to third countries.
22 Q. Then let's talk about it the way you have, organised sending of
23 Muslims to third countries. Were you involved in that procedure?
24 A. I was not involved in that.
25 Q. Let's go to page 4 of the English, and it's the next occasion
1 where you speak, where the words are attributed to you. It says:
2 "The Defence Department invited me to be present as host for the
3 American attache's visit to the Heliodrom in Mostar, which they want to
4 put on a show and compare it with Manjaca. I think that we have to stop
5 bringing Muslims into the Heliodrom. In the days to come, we will help
6 those people leave the town for the Republic of Croatia and abroad as
7 soon as possible."
8 So let me ask you again, sir. Were you involved in that
9 organisation of sending Muslims to third countries?
10 A. I can only repeat, No.
11 Q. Okay. But at this point, you won't deny that many Muslims were
12 sent to third countries or sent out of Herceg-Bosna to another country;
14 A. At that point in time, many people from Mostar - Croats, Muslims,
15 and Serbs - were leaving Mostar because the war was raging in Mostar. So
16 we cannot say that only a certain ethnic group was leaving Mostar. You
17 must know that at that time the entire Adriatic Coast was flooded with
18 refugees who were put up in hotels, and those refugees were from
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina. They fled from the war because there was a war on in
20 Mostar. People were being killed.
21 Q. But what we're focus on right now is the lists that were created
22 by the Welfare Centre, and you've already agreed that those lists
23 comprised Muslim people, not Croats and not Serbs. Those lists comprised
24 Muslim people and that there was an organisation in place to remove them
25 to third countries.
1 I would like to go to P03572 --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I asked you this
3 question before on this point, but Ms. West is right in putting the
4 question again.
5 The document that we have before us is an incriminating document,
6 if we take this into account. You intervene in this discussion to say
7 that there is the American attache's visit, so we can understand what
8 this could mean; he's going to look at what's happening. And then you
10 "I think that we have to stop bringing Muslims into the
11 Heliodrom ..."
12 And then you say:
13 "... we have to help those people leave the town for the Republic
14 of Croatia and abroad as soon as possible."
15 So you can see what is happening, and this is what Ms. West is
16 putting to you. Sir, you have challenged this. I'm trying to place this
17 in the context on how things unfolded.
18 In this document, it is obvious that all participants are talking
19 about the crime trends; murders, unrest, and so on and so forth. And you
20 are taking the floor after the military prosecutor, who is not talking
21 about sending away Muslims to the outside, but to start proceedings, and
22 you're taking the floor just after him. So I was wondering whether you
23 were not tempted to say that all those people that are subject of
24 criminal investigations, as it happened in Cuba when they send away their
25 criminals to the United States, you are in favour for those Muslims to
1 all leave. Did you have that in mind, or, as far as you were concerned,
2 you had to go to the next step and making sure that all Muslims from
3 Mostar were leaving the territory?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in my reply I could
5 repeat that this is not a transcript, but rather minutes that I saw for
6 the first time yesterday. I disagree with what is said on page 2 and
7 also what's said on page 3. This was a meeting called by the civilian
8 police, and it only had one topic; namely, crime. I attended with my
9 colleagues from the department. And I repeat once more that I didn't
10 take part in the making of any lists or nor was I involved in the
11 organising of the departures of persons to third countries.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. If I understand you
13 correctly, you are saying that this is not a transcript, but these are
14 words that were lent to you, and it was taken by somebody else, so you
15 don't agree with this informal transcript, and you did not take part in
16 the departure of those Muslims to other countries. This is what we have
17 to understand from what you just said?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. West, please proceed.
20 MS. WEST:
21 Q. P03572. Do you have that, sir?
22 Thank you. This is an order from you, and it's July 19th, and
23 this is another order -- and it says:
24 "You are instructed to release from Heliodrom the person under
25 the name," it gives the name, "who is right now at work in the ATG or the
1 Convicts Battalion. The person mentioned above will be taken over and
2 taken to his apartment by the commander of the ATG, Martinovic, and he
3 has been put on a list of persons who are going to leave abroad for the
4 Office of Refugees at HZ-HB."
5 So, sir, in this particular case, although you have testified
6 that you were not involved in the organisation of the departure of
7 people, here it appears that you were ordering the release of a prisoner
8 at the Heliodrom to go abroad; isn't that true?
9 A. No. This document, the one that you're showing to me now, I
10 received a request to look into the criminal responsibility, and those
11 requests arrived through the Heliodrom, and this type of written document
12 I would return to the Heliodrom. So this was just one such document, one
13 of the documents needed so that, through the centre, these people should
14 be released. So all this is about is record-keeping.
15 Q. Fine, Mr. Vidovic. And I'm not suggesting that you had a say on
16 who goes on the Welfare Centre list. I don't think that's the case.
17 I think, as you've said, you're involved in the process and the
18 facilitation. You agree with me that that was the case? You helped move
19 these people along, you didn't put them on the list; is that right?
20 A. Let me repeat. My role in all this was to issue certain permits
21 and certificates from our department --
22 Q. I don't want you to repeat. And if you don't understand my
23 question, you can say that, but my question requires a, Yes, No, or, I
24 don't know. But let's just move on in this document. I think it would
25 be helpful.
1 At the very bottom on 3572, it says:
2 "He has not been returned. Stela took over, and took home."
3 Mr. Vidovic, what does that mean?
4 A. This is not my handwriting.
5 Q. I'm not suggesting it is. I just want to know what it means. Do
6 you know what that means?
7 A. I don't wish to speculate. All that I can say is that I returned
8 this through the battalion with a stamp, I sent it back with a stamp, so
9 this paper was sent to Heliodrom through our regular channels. Now, this
10 addition in handwriting, I don't want to speculate about that.
11 Q. Okay. Then I'm going to tell you what I think it means, and I'm
12 going to ask you a question. This indicates that when they went looking
13 for this Haris Tanovic, he wasn't at the work site for the
14 Convicts Battalion, and he had not been -- excuse me, he had not been
15 returned to the Heliodrom. And whoever wrote this indicated that,
16 instead, Stela took over and took him home. So, in fact, the commander
17 took this Muslim prisoner and took him home. If that's the case,
18 Mr. Vidovic, that would be a crime, wouldn't it?
19 A. I said a moment ago that we issued from our records that, from
20 the aspects of crime, he was of no interest to us, so I don't want to
22 Q. And I'm going to decline to accept that answer, because it's not
23 responsive. My question was: If this commander took this Muslim
24 prisoner home with him, that would be a crime, correct? And that would
25 be a crime that you would be obligated to investigate.
1 A. Well, if we had knowledge about that.
2 Q. Well, sir, you did have knowledge of it. It's written on the
3 paper, is it not?
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I'm going to object at this point.
5 Let's look at the transcript. Perhaps my learned colleague is not
6 listening to the answers that she's getting. The gentleman indicated
7 that that's not his handwriting. He indicated that he doesn't know who
8 put the handwriting there. He indicated that he signed it, and then it
9 went off to put a stamp, and then the document went afterwards someplace
10 where somebody put that writing on the document itself. Now we've come
11 full circle and now we're accusing the gentleman of lying, essentially,
12 or at least trying to cover up his tracks, when he's indicated all along
13 that he never saw the handwriting on the document before he signed it and
14 he didn't see the document after he signed it. And never mind the fact
15 that she posed a hypothetical based on facts which are really not in
16 evidence. Supposedly, this is what this means. We don't know, we don't
17 have any evidence. But I didn't object at that point in time, because I
18 took that to mean a general question, If somebody were to take somebody
19 home, would that be a crime? As a general nature, I accept the answer,
20 fine. But now to say that this gentleman knew about it and didn't do
21 anything, that is stretching it, it's going beyond the facts in this
22 case, and I would object.
23 MS. WEST: Mr. President, I'll move on. That document --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, perhaps you did not
25 understand the questions that were put to you.
1 We have a document dealing with someone called Haris Tanovic. It
2 seems that this person, Haris Tanovic, is working with the
3 Convicts Battalion. And you are saying -- because this is your document,
4 it's a document you drafted, you are saying that this person has to be
5 taken over, taken to his apartment by Colonel Martinovic, also known as
6 Stela, and then you say:
7 "Haris Tanovic has been put on the list of persons who are going
8 to leave abroad through the Office for Refugees."
9 And then you sign this document.
10 Ms. West has put the following question to you, and it's her
11 point of view, of course, but she's asking for your point of view. She
12 was wondering whether the fact that you take someone to his apartment and
13 then you send him abroad is a crime. This is a question that she's put
14 to you. What do you answer to this very question?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't really answer that, I
16 can't give a yes-or-no answer. It's very specific.
17 Your Honour, what I write here, well, I get a request in this
18 same form, and the request was to release from Heliodrom Tanovic, to
19 check out his connections to the Crime Department and the fact that he is
20 presently with the Convicts Battalion and will be taken over by such and
21 such, and that he's been included on the list. So I'm just copying that
22 out and sending it to Heliodrom. So I don't know whether there were
23 elements indicating that a crime had been committed, nor do I know what
24 was handwritten there and what happened later. This is a document sent
25 to Heliodrom, and afterwards I received no feedback information about
1 this. So it's difficult for me to answer and say whether it was, in
2 fact, a crime or not.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, what I don't understand is
4 why you were involved in this process in the first place.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's like this: We were
6 duty-bound, on orders from the operative zone, to issue certificates, as
7 the Crime Department.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, I understand better.
9 In other words, if this person or individual was the subject of an
10 investigation, you would have then stood in the way of his departure; is
11 that what you're saying?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If we were conducting an
13 investigation at that point in time, then, yes. In any other situation,
14 the person would have no interest, as far as we were concerned.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right, I have understood.
16 Ms. West, maybe she has understood also.
17 You have the floor.
18 My colleague has just told me that it is time to have a break.
19 We shall have a 20-minute break now.
20 --- Recess taken at 12.35 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 12.56 p.m.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. West, you have the floor.
23 MS. WEST: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 May I inquire as to the time remaining?
25 THE REGISTRAR: The Prosecution has used 2 hours and 5 minutes.
1 Thank you, Your Honours.
2 MS. WEST: Thank you.
3 Q. Mr. Vidovic, we're going to go to P03527. It's binder 2, part 2,
4 so I think you're right there. 3527. Is that binder 2? 3527.
5 Mr. Usher, my apologies, but if you could provide some
6 assistance, I think ...
7 THE WITNESS: It's okay.
8 MS. WEST: Thank you.
9 Q. Sir, this is July 18th, it's your report, and it's about events
10 on July 17th. This is a special report about the work of the branch
11 office, and we're going to go all the way to the last paragraph,
12 number 4:
13 "Yesterday evening at 2300 hours, the branch office assisted the
14 Office for Expelled Persons in the HZ-HB. In the organisation the first
15 group who voluntarily left Mostar, departed from the place in front of
16 the military police building and left for third countries. 500 persons
17 departed in 9 buses."
18 Mr. Vidovic, these 500 people left from in front of your
19 building; correct?
20 A. They left from in front of the zone that our building is located
21 in; that is to say, the area of the Mechanical Engineering Faculty.
22 Q. Okay. And these are the people who, as you called it, were --
23 there was an organisation by which to send them to third countries.
24 These are 500 of those people; correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And they are all Muslim, are they not?
2 A. From this position, I can't say whether all 500 were Muslims or
3 not. All I can do is to clarify what we were doing within this option.
4 Q. Let's go to P03617. It's in the same part of that binder, 3617.
5 This is a letter from exiled citizens of Mostar temporarily sheltered at
6 the refugee camp, and this is a letter that they put together regarding
7 their expulsion from Mostar. And specifically we're going to go to
8 paragraph 4 in the English, and it says:
9 "Prisoners, camp inmates, and concentration camp inmates who
10 assigned with the HVO and the Department for Social Welfare of the
11 so-called Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna that they would leave Mostar
12 with their families at their own will, and only half an hour to three
13 hours to prepare themselves for departure and to gather at the agreed
14 meeting place at the University of Mostar, Faculty of Mechanical
16 Mr. Vidovic, these are the people --
17 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment. I
18 apologise, but perhaps my colleague misunderstood, but this isn't a
19 letter from people leaving Mostar, or we received the wrong
20 interpretation. What this is, is a piece of information compiled by two
21 individuals, and we can see that it is some kind of meeting that was held
22 in front of the Embassy of the Republic of Herzegovina. Somebody
23 attended the meeting. So I don't know what the role of these two persons
24 signing the document is, but it's not a letter from the people
1 That's what I wanted to point out.
2 MS. WEST: Thank you.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed.
4 MS. WEST: Thank you, Counsel.
5 Q. But what I want to focus on is the mention of the Department for
6 Social Welfare. This is the department or the centre we spoke about
7 earlier and which you testified this department created lists, and on
8 those lists were just Muslim names; correct?
9 A. If you're asking me about the 500 people, I said that I wasn't
10 sure if all 500 were Muslims.
11 Q. Okay, and that's my mistake. What I am asking you about is
12 earlier we spike the list that the centre made. And it's your testimony
13 that the list that the centre made, or the Department of Social Welfare,
14 were comprised of Muslim people; is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And number 5 says they departed Mostar on July 18th. So, sir,
17 you will agree with me that on July 17th we had the departure of
18 500 people that you spoke of in your report, and then July 18th we have
19 the departure of another 500 people, as reflected here, and these people
20 are departing from in front of the Mechanical Engineering building.
21 Mr. Vidovic, your role in their departure to third countries, as
22 you testified, was to ensure that they didn't have any criminal --
23 outstanding criminal investigations; is that right?
24 A. That is right, yes.
25 Q. And for how many people who were departing for third countries
1 did you do this, did you run this check?
2 A. I can't tell you a number, because I simply don't remember.
3 Q. Was it more than 1.000, more than 2.000? Can you give us an
5 A. I don't want to speculate. I just can't speak about numbers.
6 It's been too much time since then. And it's a sensitive matter, so I
7 don't want to guess or speculate.
8 Q. Okay, then we won't talk about the numbers. But let's talk about
9 the names. Would you agree with me that the checks you did were of all
10 Muslim people?
11 A. We carried out various checks in our department, and a large
12 number of checks for people who were Muslim too.
13 Q. Mr. Vidovic, you testified on Monday regarding the crimes that
14 the military police investigated, and we spent much of Monday going
15 through lots of documents evidencing different types of crimes that you
16 investigated. Now -- and part of your testimony on the subject matter,
17 and I'll ask you this, was to show that there was a working rule of law
18 for the military police, or, rather, there was a system in place such
19 that poorly-behaving military police officers did not run amok in Mostar;
20 correct? You had a system in place?
21 A. We did that to all the members of the HVO, not just the military
22 police. We acted in the same way.
23 Q. Thank you. And so is it fair to say that the documents that you
24 showed us on Monday presented a fair sampling of the types of crimes that
25 you investigated?
1 A. Roughly, yes.
2 Q. And I'm sure there were more investigations, but did you testify
3 about the significant ones so that the Trial Chamber could have an
4 understanding about the work that you did in the military police?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Okay. So I'm going to show you a table, and this is on Sanction.
7 Mr. Usher, if I can have your assistance.
8 We took all the documents that you testified in -- on Monday,
9 I think it went into Tuesday, regarding these crimes and put them on a
10 table, and it's two page's long. And you mentioned 56 documents. Now,
11 we've looked at them, and it appears that several of them regard the same
12 investigation, so what we've done is we've actually separated them per
13 investigation. So, for example, you see right in the middle the rape and
14 murder of a mother, this is the Besirovic [phoen] family, there's
15 14 documents that relate to that one investigation. So you spoke about
16 56 documents, but, in fact, it was really only 24 separate
17 investigations, and of those there were eight murder investigations,
18 there were two attempted murder investigations, there were three rapes,
19 and there were ten thefts and robberies, and there was one assault. What
20 I would like to do now is focus on a few of the investigations in detail.
21 So, in specific, you spoke about an investigation regarding
22 Mr. Prlic's bodyguards, and let's review your testimony on that. I think
23 you will see that on the screen in front of you.
24 This is from March 29th, and it regarded two exhibits, 2508 and
25 3513, and the question was:
1 "Do you recall whether they were convicted?"
2 And you said:
3 "Yes, they were. I remember that."
4 And so then you looked on to the second document, and then
5 Judge Antonetti asked you a question. He says, and it's the bold:
6 "When you did your job, were you not prevented from doing your
7 job, as part of the Crime Department, regardless of the position of those
9 And specifically here we're talking about the fact that these
10 individuals worked for Mr. Prlic. And your answer was:
11 "Your Honour, we did not have any obstacles in our path, because
12 it had to do with some kind of security. For us, they were military
13 policemen. You will see the sequence of these dates, how these things
14 developed, that this was done in a very short period of time. The matter
15 had to be dealt with urgently, and that's how we treated it. Again, I
16 say that we filed a criminal report, and in this way we concluded our
17 work in the best way possible."
18 "As far as you can recollect," the question from Judge Antonetti,
19 "what sort of sentence was handed down for these individuals?"
20 And the answer was:
21 "I can't answer the question. I really don't know what kind of
22 prison sentences they were sentenced to, but I do know that they were
24 Now, sir, when you spoke about these -- in particular, they were
25 used, P03513, and then you also used P03508. Now this -- and we're going
1 to go back to those. And it's binder number 1, which I don't believe you
2 have in front of you - apologies, Mr. Usher - it's binder number 1,
3 part 1.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Just while we're looking at that, just a point of
6 There's nothing in the record, nor do we ascribe to the fact that
7 they were working for Mr. Prlic. They were assigned to protect him.
8 There is a difference. So just a point of clarification.
9 MS. WEST:
10 Q. So it's 3508. Do you see that, sir? This is the document that
11 you spoke about during your direct. And 1 through 4 are the names of the
12 people -- this is your report that you wrote. But let's go all the way
13 to the very last paragraph, and in the last paragraph it says:
14 "I stress that during the process of detaining the men and taking
15 the official notes, there were extremely intrusive precious by our
16 department with a goal of obstructing the procedural and legal process
17 which on this occasion too we persisted with."
18 Mr. Vidovic, when you answered the President's questions, had you
19 forgotten about this last paragraph and about what you were writing about
20 this intrusive pressure? Do you remember this?
21 A. I do remember this. But when I wrote this, I had in mind certain
22 military policemen who tried to prevent us in carrying out the job, so
23 their friends and even their relatives.
24 Q. Thank you. P06844. It's in the same section, P06844. This is
25 November 24th --
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, when I put the
2 question to you, I didn't know that this document existed. If I had all
3 the documents right from the start, I would be able to stream-line my
4 questions better, but that's the way things go.
5 In the last paragraph, the pressure exerted seem to come from
6 your own department; in other words, from your superiors, not from
7 members who are indicted. You do write "our department." Well, it's
8 very good of you to write about these pressures, but this was written
9 down. When I put the question to you before, I didn't know that this
10 document existed.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, allow me to read this
12 first, please. It says:
13 "I should like to mention that while being detained," these four
14 men, "and the taking of official notes by our department," which means
15 the process where our department staff take official notes from those
16 four men, at that moment, we even had attempts of certain military
17 policemen, their military policemen, their colleagues, trying physically
18 to enter, even relatives, with the aim of preventing the act, itself;
19 that is to say, that the members of our department should take these
20 official notes, should be allowed to take these official notes down, and
21 compile the minutes as a component part of a criminal report. So I think
22 that is clear if you read it carefully, although I don't know what the
23 interpretation you received was like.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I understand correctly, the
25 English translation does not quite say what is said in your language.
1 Members of your department, when one says "our department," one has the
2 feeling that this relates to superiors. This is something you have
3 specified. Good.
4 Ms. West.
5 MS. WEST: P06844. This is November --
6 [French interpretation on English channel]
7 MS. WEST: I'm hearing the French.
8 Q. This is a report from November 24th, and this regards those
9 individuals. And under item -- or right before the end, it's a box. You
10 can see that it's boxed out in the English. In regard to those
11 individuals, it says:
12 "After this, the suspects were kept in the Heliodrom because of
13 disciplinary measures."
14 Excuse me. If we can back up to the paragraph before, under
15 item 3:
16 "Examination of the said documentation of Heliodrom established
17 that Busic, Coric, Pazin and Djenovic [phoen] were imprisoned in
18 Heliodrom on July 16th for committing rape."
19 And these are those individuals we've just been speaking about.
20 "And on July 19th," three days later, "acting on a proposal from
21 the regional military prosecutor in Mostar," and they mention the judge,
22 "informed the Heliodrom that there were no longer legal conditions for
23 continuing to hold the accused in detention and that they were to be set
25 "After this, the suspects were kept in the Heliodrom because of
1 disciplinary measures ordered by their commander, lasting 30 days. It
2 can be seen from the duty diary that the accused were released from
3 prison on 15 and 16 August 1993 after serving their sentence."
4 Mr. Vidovic, perhaps you've had a little time to think about
5 this, but these men were never convicted and sentenced for their crime,
6 were they? The extent of their detention was three days plus 30 for
7 disciplinary measures. They were never convicted, were they?
8 A. It appears correct, if we look at this document. This was a
9 report which was made at a time when I was no longer a member of the
10 military police, that is, the Military Police Centre of Mostar, and you
11 can see on the last page the name of Mr. Ivan Vuksic. He is the man who
12 succeeded me in the position of chief of Crime Department of the
13 Military Police. But to get back to your question --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment before you
15 supplement this.
16 Since I have the document before me, it seems that these four
17 individuals were under arrest, but Judge Bevanda, Drago Bevanda, released
18 them, feeling that they no longer met the legal conditions to be
19 detained. So they were released. They will serve their disciplinary
20 sentence. So what I don't know, on the basis of this document, is this:
21 The investigating judge releases them, but was the Tribunal seized of
22 this or not? Because as I understand your procedure, the investigating
23 judge must send the case to the prosecutor, who must then seize the
24 Tribunal. Perhaps the prosecutor in Mostar didn't do anything about
25 this. Did you have any information to that effect or not?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I cannot say what
2 happened in this case. I did the work from my remit, and I submitted --
3 or, rather, forwarded the file on, and that's --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sorry for having interrupted
5 you, because you wanted to add something to this.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I just want to add, what have I
7 just told you and the Prosecutor, I'm glad that you asked the question to
8 me again, because this is an obvious example of the fact that the service
9 where I worked and whose head I was for a time was not prevented from
10 filing a criminal report, but the conditions under which we worked, and
11 what happened subsequently, is outside of the scope of my jurisdiction.
12 That's all I can say.
13 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just a
14 minute. I only want to say -- could Mr. Kovacic please switch off his
15 microphone. I just want to say that the Coric Defence presented evidence
16 from the court register of the Military Court in Mostar showing that
17 these persons were convicted. I don't have the transcript here, but I
18 can promise the Bench that by tomorrow I'll submit it. We have
19 documents, from the criminal report to the verdict of the Military Court
20 in Mostar. I'm positive about this case. By tomorrow, I can show you
21 the page of the transcript where this was recorded.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. West, according to the
23 Defence lawyer, we know that at the end of the day they were convicted.
24 MS. WEST: The Prosecution's position is different.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's wait for tomorrow for the
2 MS. WEST: May I proceed?
3 Q. Mr. Vidovic, when you were speaking about these crimes, you also
4 spoke about 5D04181, and this was a document regarding a theft that the
5 military police had investigated, a theft from a detainee at Dretelj. Do
6 you remember speaking about that?
7 A. You mean this criminal report? Is it the one I see here before
9 Q. No, no. Your testimony the other day, you spoke about a number
10 of criminal reports. One of them regarded a theft by an HVO soldier at
11 Dretelj. Do you remember talking about that?
12 You have to say, Yes.
13 A. I can't remember which report exactly. But if we spoke about
14 criminal reports for theft, all right.
15 MS. WEST: Well, the Trial Chamber will remember your testimony
16 about this.
17 At this point, I'd like to show you a video, a video that was
18 internationally aired at the end of August, beginning of September of
19 1993. It's P00977, and it's in French. The English translation is in
20 the first part of the binder. It's 977. There will be B/C/S subtitles.
21 [Video-clip played]
22 MS. WEST:
23 Q. Sir, I'm also going to show you P04588 that will appear on the
24 screen in a moment. This is also a picture of one of the prisoners at
1 Mr. Vidovic, you have shared with us an investigation into a
2 crime at Dretelj, and that was the theft of money from a detainee. So in
3 sharing that particular report with this Trial Chamber, are you telling
4 the Trial Chamber that that was the extent of the HVO military police
5 investigations at Dretelj at the time?
6 A. I didn't work at Dretelj. I worked in Mostar. I doubt that I
7 conducted the investigation you mentioned.
8 Q. Okay. Well, the reason I mention it is because it's one of the
9 investigations you spoke about on Monday. But I'll ask you a separate
11 The video that we just played was something that was aired
12 internationally. I think it was August 31st. It was aired all over
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina and was well known. At the time, didn't you see these
14 images or hear about what was going on at Dretelj, and think that the
15 military police better get down there and investigate, or did you think
16 that the military police was not doing that because they didn't think the
17 maltreatment at Dretelj was a crime?
18 A. Well, I can reply in only one way. At that time, I worked for
19 the Crime Department of the Mostar Centre. I've never been at Dretelj,
20 nor was it within my territorial jurisdiction. I worked for the
21 Crime Department of the Mostar Centre, first in the 3rd Battalion of the
22 Military Police and later in the 5th Battalion, as I said two days ago.
23 Q. Okay. But if you had seen these images in August and early
24 September of 1993 and you were in the zone that had Dretelj in it,
25 wouldn't you agree with me that, as a military police officer, you'd
1 think you better go to Dretelj and investigate?
2 A. But I couldn't go to Dretelj. That wasn't my area of
3 responsibility. I was at the Crime Centre of Mostar.
4 Q. And right now I'm only asking you in a general way, based on your
5 experience as a military police investigator. If you had seen something
6 like this and Dretelj was within your zone, after seeing this, don't you
7 think you would have gone down to investigate?
8 A. I can only give you a general answer. Well, in principle, I
9 would have done that, yes.
10 Q. Sir, are you aware of any HVO military police investigations and
11 prosecutions regarding the maltreatment of the prisoners at Dretelj?
12 A. I don't know. I was not aware, no.
13 Q. We're going to move on, and this is the same binder. It's
14 part 3. And first let me just ask you a couple of questions before you
15 get there.
16 You had indicated, in your direct testimony, that you didn't
17 investigate using any bias. And, for example, I think you told me
18 earlier today that you didn't -- you never not investigated because the
19 victims of the crime were Muslims, for example. Did you ever not
20 investigate a crime because the perpetrators were people that the HVO
21 wanted to protect?
22 A. I have repeated a zillion times here that we launched
23 investigations once we received information about a crime. I couldn't
24 have knowledge of all crimes committed in a town like Mostar.
25 Q. Okay. We're going to go to P03928, 3928. And this is a special
1 report to Valentin Coric, and it's compiled by Officer Toni Ramljak.
2 Toni Ramljak is somebody earlier today you mentioned who worked
3 with you; right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. This is August 3rd, and it says:
6 "The staff of this department have noticed lately that members of
7 the so-called ATG
8 the Mostar town area and that the Vinko Skrobo ATG and the Benko Penavic
10 listed as parts of the Convicts Battalion, they have special status for
11 unknown reasons. This special status is reflected in the fact that
12 neither the military police, nor any other law enforcement organ, is
13 taking any measures against the members of these units who commit crimes.
14 As far as the Department of Military Crime Police Centre Mostar is
15 concerned, centre head Zvonko Vidovic received an order some time ago
16 from the chief of the Military Police Administration that the centre
17 should only register certain acts committed by certain people from these
18 units ..."
19 Mr. Vidovic, do you remember receiving an order from Mr. Coric in
20 regard to not investigating these ATGs?
21 A. If we remember what I spoke about a short while ago about those
22 meetings with the MUP, which they hosted, and then with the military
23 police five days later, which we hosted, somewhere in between those
24 occasions I received an instruction from Chief Coric saying that all
25 criminal offences linked to these two units and their soldiers should
1 be -- we should collect information on all them, we should register them
2 all, and that it will be used in a comprehensive operation, the purpose
3 of which will be bringing the perpetrators to justice. Because if we
4 follow the sequence of documents carefully, then we will see that they
5 keep reappearing as perpetrators of serious crimes. And I believe that
6 operation was, indeed, later launched in co-operation with the MUP, the
7 Military Prosecutor's Office, and the Military Court.
8 Q. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Vidovic. I understand you -- you say that
9 Mr. Coric says, Collect all the information, register all the
10 information, but at some point we're going to put it together in a big
11 investigation and do it all at once; is that what you're saying?
12 A. Exactly. We had already sent a large number of documents, and
13 then we continued collecting everything else that would be used for that
14 large-scale operation. And if I may add, it was an operation which also
15 involved military units because of -- because these groups were as
16 dangerous as they were.
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vidovic. But let's look again at this language,
18 because I would submit that this language does not support what you've
19 just said. It says:
20 "... Vidovic received an order some time ago from Coric that the
21 centre should only register certain acts committed by certain people from
22 these units ..."
23 Sir, I would submit to you that what this means is that every
24 time somebody in one of the Convicts Battalion commits a crime, you
25 should look the other way, and that sometimes you should register some of
1 the acts with some of the people, but don't register them all. Sir,
2 wouldn't you agree with me that that's what it says? It says ignore some
3 of the crimes that they're committing, doesn't it?
4 A. This language is starting with certain people. Well, I cannot
5 say that all members of those units were criminals automatically, but it
6 was always the same people, specific people from those units, who kept
7 committing crimes. We had notes of that, we had registered that, and we
8 were preparing a larger-scale operation which would result in their
9 arrest and the filing of a large number of criminal reports. At that
10 time in Mostar, we had serious problems with them.
11 Q. You did, sir. And let's go on to the next paragraph to talk
12 about this a little bit more.
13 Ramljak writes:
14 "I would like to point out that of the entire personnel of the
15 above-mentioned units," the Convicts Battalion, "a large part is involved
16 in criminal activity, so that a vigorous pursuit action and the bringing
17 of the perpetrators of criminal acts to court would probably lead to a
18 break-up of those units."
19 Mr. Vidovic, isn't it true that Mr. Coric was telling you to not
20 investigate those units, because if you did, and if they were prosecuted
21 and they were made to leave those units, that those units would
22 ultimately break up; isn't that true?
23 A. The contrary is true, the opposite. In various investigations,
24 we were preparing to reach our ultimate goal. Mr. Coric, Mr. Ramljak,
25 and I, as well as all staff of my unit, were involved in a broad
1 operation which was meant to result in arrests. And the seven or eight
2 of us from our department were unarmed, except for our pistols, and we
3 worked in offices all the time. We were in no position to arrest those
5 Q. Sir, let me put the Prosecution case to you, and then I'm going
6 to ask a question and ask your comment.
7 The Trial Chamber has heard time and time again that the
8 Convicts Battalion was committing crime in Mostar, and, furthermore,
9 they've heard that the Convicts Battalion didn't come under the normal
10 chain of command of the HVO and instead reported directly to Boban. Yet,
11 nonetheless, during this cross-examination we have seen a document in
12 which you have complained to Stojic about the actions of the
13 Convicts Battalion. You have complained to other HVO commanders about
14 the actions of the Convicts Battalion, suggesting that at least from your
15 perspective, you thought they came under the HVO. And it appears now, to
16 keep them under control, that Mr. Coric is telling the Military Police
17 Crime Investigative Services to not investigate them, and, Don't
18 investigate all of them, because if you do, it's going to break up the
20 Sir, wouldn't you agree that the real story is the
21 Convicts Battalion was committing crimes, it was under the control of the
22 HVO chain of command, but the HVO purposely did nothing about it, because
23 if they had, it would have broken up one of their most effective and
24 aggressive units? Isn't that the case, sir?
25 A. I cannot agree with you for two reasons. Firstly, now that
1 you've put to me what I wrote to Mr. Stojic, well, that doesn't mean that
2 Mr. Stojic was accountable for that. He was in no position to give
3 orders to anyone, least of all to the Convicts Battalion. And, secondly,
4 we are preparing a large-scale operation which, in the military police
5 and in a war, can only be done in that way. So there must be
6 comprehensive preparation, and there must be -- or we must request the
7 support of military units to arrest such dangerous individuals, because
8 you must know that these two units not only engage in criminal activities
9 toward third persons; toward the end of summer of 1993, they also had a
10 clash with each other, namely, the Vinko Skrobo and the Benko Penavic
11 units, and there were some people wounded as a result, and we
12 investigated that.
13 I remember that Mr. Ramljak and I went to Split to interview the
14 wounded to learn about the facts of that armed conflict in a rather
15 peaceful part of town on the road from Mostar to Siroki Brijeg.
16 So if you can follow what I'm saying, those were very dangerous
17 units at the time, and I cannot say who was their direct superior at the
18 time. If they were part of the Convicts Battalion, then it would
19 probably have been the commander of that battalion.
20 MS. WEST: Mr. President, may I inquire how much time I have
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As for now, you have one minute
24 Registrar, how much time does Ms. West have left?
25 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have used two hours and
2 forty-two minutes, which means that you have eighteen minutes left. So
3 if you agree, we will carry on tomorrow for 18 minutes, and then there
4 will be a redirect.
5 Witness, you will have to come back tomorrow. Tomorrow, we will
6 be sitting in the afternoon. So we will start at a quarter past 2.00,
7 we'll have a break, and we will finish by 6.00 p.m., but I'm sure we'll
8 have plenty of time.
9 So we'll meet again tomorrow at quarter past 2.00. Thank you.
10 [The witness stands down]
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 1st day of April,
13 2010, at 2.15 p.m.